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What are you baking these days? Part VI [old]

(Note: There's a newer "What are you baking these days?" thread started. If you have a question or comment about something below, please go ahead and post it. But if you want to add a new thing you're baking to the list, please find the newest thread from this list: http://www.chow.com/search?query=&amp... -- The Chowhound Team )

So here we are at the sixth chapter of our baking adventure. Weather in NY is moderating a bit, so it's time to get that old rolling pin cracking! (Memo to self.) What are you up to in your kitchens, you bread cake cookie muffin tart pie confection bakers???

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  1. I bake pizza, specifically Chicago style fat pizza . . . It's the only thing I bake, other than cheese toast . . . from a family recipe which I didn't really learned just instinctively try to recreate . . .

    1. Peach-raspberry pie ... loosely based on a recipe for peach cobbler. Very yummy.

      1. The oven was on, so I made Alice Medrich's Brandied Apricot Cake from Cocolat, in two Bundt pans. It all went well, until I turned the cakes out, when part of both cakes decided to stay in the pan. This is a frustrating recipe as sometimes the cakes turn out perfect, and sometimes not. I liberally buttered and floured the pans before use. Still tastes great, though......breakfast tomorrow.

        I have this probelm only with this cake. I use the same pans for RLB's Golden Grand Marnier Cake as well as Kugelhopf, with absolutely no problem.

        4 Replies
        1. re: souschef

          Does some of the fruit adhere to the pan? I always hold my breath when unmolding Bundt cakes too. I'm sure this will be anathema to you but I've had the best luck with Crisco liberally applied (I use a paper towel), then flour, then a spray of PAM. Belt and suspenders. (My mom used to always grease her pans with butter, she thought it gave a butterier taste to things - but she almost always used margarine in baking, except for Christmas things - and butter tarts.)

          1. re: buttertart

            Yes, some of the fruit does adhere to the pan; never thought of that. I'll try your solution the next time. Thanks.

            As an experiment one thing I may do the next time is leave the fruit out of the batter, put a layer of batter in the bottom, fruit in a layer in the middle, then more batter, and see what happens.

            This recipe uses buttermilk, and I have made it many times, but this time you could really smell the buttermilk during the baking. It had a sour smell, but I know for sure that the buttermilk is okay (bought from a supermarket, and the best before date is well out into August).

            1. re: souschef

              That's strange, maybe a reaction with the fruit? Usually it just makes things smell extra-yummy baking. PS if buttermilk hasn't molded or started smelling "different" I have been known to use it ages after its sell-by to no ill effect.

              1. re: buttertart

                Baked blondies from tastespotting.Great recipe.

        2. Just made some lemon curd to fill a tart with tomorrow and then fill with fresh picked blueberries. I usually make the curd day of but too busy tomorrow. Hoping it will hold up well in the fridge and still be somewhat pourable tomorrow. It's been a while since I made curd and I always think I need to make it more often, I could eat a whole batch while it's still warm!

          Also made an expresso icebox cake which is chilling in the freezer. I wanted to make chocolate cookie dough balls but figured tomorrow would be too hot to feel like dipping something in chocolate. Think I will save that recipe for the holidays...

          1. simple-quick-delicious Gramercy Tavern bar nuts - into the 275°F oven for 35 minutes

            1 Reply
            1. re: Cynsa

              cynsa, that link seems to be broken, so if I may, here's another...that looks fabulous!


            2. Baklava! I've done it twice in two days; I don't know what has gotten into me lately. I I did it as a dessert for gyros and now I can't stop myself. I think the notion of having an entire pan of baklava has gotten me carried away! And no, I don't make the phyllo from scratch; neither do I eat it all myself. My friends are definitely making out like bandits!

              1 Reply
              1. re: auburnselkie

                I love baklava. If you are in Southern California, I will certainly help you eating it heh. My family used to make baklava all the time. I think the task of baking it would be such an arduous task for me, because it would be so tortuous--the thought of having to wait for it. I go to Papa Cristo's and buy some of their lovely baked baklava. I could probably--actually, I used to eat whole homemade trays that my parents made all by myself. Post some pics if you have some. Too bad Papa Cristo's is closed right now . . .

              2. When I weather cooled down a bit, I began baking. In the last week or so I made a blueberry buckle (Carol Walter's recipe), an apricot crumb cake (Nick Malgieri), Chocolate chip cookies, tunnel of coconut cake (KA). Yesterday I made a coconut cake, which was declared by my husband (who generally doesn't like any cakes except coconut) as being the best I ever made. I used Nick Malgieri's recipe which called for finely chopped coconut and coconut milk, I used Rose Levy Beranbaum's recipe for lemon curd for the middle and a basic confectioner's sugar/butter/vanilla/milk icing with curls of coconut on top. My only complaint was that the recipe specified 9" pans, and I would have been happier with a taller cake. Next time I will use 8". Today I am making two pies -- a pecan, and a fruit cream pie that I adapted from a bakery on LI. The filling is a combo of whipped cream cheese and whipped cream to lighten it (ha!), and then all kinds of uncooked summer fruit is draped around it in concentric circles. I will use peaches, blueberries and a couple of raspberries on top. It is a wonderful thing.

                6 Replies
                1. re: roxlet

                  Wow, roxlet! What are you going to do when you hit your stride?

                  1. re: buttertart

                    I have a houseful of Egyptian guests, plus I have brought desserts to all the dinners we've been invited to lately. My neighbor's son had a fairly serious operation this week, so I've been providing him with treats as well. We have about 10 extra mouths tonight plus our three and our three houseguests, two of whom are young men under 20, so it is difficult to keep up with the demand for chocolate chip cookies as well!

                    1. re: buttertart

                      Here are some pictures...

                      1. re: roxlet

                        Beautiful! I bet the tassies went over big with your Egyptian guests. Must make some soon. They're the American butter tart!

                        1. re: buttertart

                          The Egyptians didn't get the tassies -- they went to my son's friend who just had a serious operation and a real scare (wound up in Sloan Kettering but what he had was fortunately benign). I said to him, "I'd like to make you anything you want, but I can understand how you wouldn't want to eat now." And those words were barely out of my mouth when he said, "Tassies!" I was so happy that I could make him something to make him feel better. He is home now, and ah, the resilience of youth. I have promised beignets for this week...

                        2. re: roxlet

                          wow that food porn looks so good! seriously if you live near me, I am a young man who will eat tons of baked goods too, haha . . .

                    2. Have P. Reinhart's French bread with old dough in process and waiting for the butter to soften enough so I can make the CI sablés with hardboiled egg yolk certain people have been agitating for.

                      26 Replies
                      1. re: buttertart

                        Dag nab it, I burnt the sablés. They weren't getting done so I turned off my wonky oven and left them in there (do this with dense cakes for them to finish in the residual heat). A sablé not having the same mass as a cake it was too much for them. I was fussing about them when he for whom they were made said: "don't worry, I'll love them anyway".

                        1. re: buttertart

                          'I was fussing about them when he for whom they were made said: "don't worry, I'll love them anyway".'


                          1. re: souschef

                            :) 38 years together this September.

                            1. re: buttertart

                              Sweet! Congratulations buttertart :)

                                1. re: buttertart

                                  Yeah, Congratulations. Will 40 be celebrated at Taillevant?

                                  1. re: souschef

                                    Met at university in Sept, married the following May. I was barely out of diapers at the time, of course ;-) Am thinking Hibiscus in London, or the Fat Duck, or maybe another 3-star in Paris.

                                    1. re: buttertart

                                      Did you see Harters' review of The Fat Duck?

                                      1. re: souschef

                                        Yes indeed. We hadn't been to England until 2008 but I loved it - he still plumps for Paris. For a 40th maybe both!

                                        1. re: buttertart

                                          Come home for your anniversary, buttertart. How does a 25-course chef's table sound? $500 for you and the hubby, including a bottle of Champers. A 4-5 hour affair, I am told.

                                              1. re: souschef

                                                That looks wonderful. Why haven't I heard of it? Would be very appropriate - we honeymooned in Montreal.

                                        2. re: souschef

                                          By the way your quest for the perfect cannelé continues to fascinate - your dedication is most admirable, I just don't have it in me to keep at something like that. The most recent ones look great - the only ones I've seen in the flesh were not quite that dark, maybe heavy tinned copper (it was at a very snob bakery that I saw them) will be a more insulating material? Or maybe with its conductivity you'll be opening a whole new barrel of worms!

                                          1. re: buttertart

                                            Pilinut indicated in the canelé thread that she read somewhere that American bakers do not bake canelés as long as the French do, as their customers think they are burnt.

                                            I expect that the copper will affect the baking time......or maybe there will be a whole new can of worms opened.

                                            I can't let this go the way I could not let the marrons glacés go.

                                        3. re: buttertart

                                          I've been to Hibiscus and wasn't super impressed. Yes, the food was good and it was very inventive at times - the most memorable dish was a schezwan pepper jelly with strawberries and celeriac foam. But the dessert was not good - it was a white asparagus tart. White asparagus and dessert shouldn't be put together - I felt like I was in an episode of Chopped. Plus, we were there for our anniversary, and they didn't once acknowledge it, even though we had told them when we made the reservation. I didn't expect a free cake or something, but we did order the tasting menu and plenty of wine, and it felt like they could care less about making the day special. We're also young, and were on the borderline of being underdressed, so maybe that coloured our experience.

                                          However, I FULLY endorse you going to the Fat Duck. I haven't been, but Heston is my culinary idol. :-) What a way to spend an anniversary!

                                          Also, please consider Restaurant Gordon Ramsay on Royal Hospital Road. Their tasting menu (menu prestige) was one of the most amazing three hour experiences I've ever had. From start to finish, there was not one thing I ate that wasn't absolutely perfect. Best food EVER. It's not the Fat Duck, but we ended up there because it's much easier to get reservations. :-) Plus, their cheapest "house" wine, is one of the best white wines I've ever had - Chateau Bauduc I think...Ramsay owns a share in the vineyard and they supply his restaurants and Rick Stein's as well. For 6-7 pounds, it was great value.

                                          1. re: guster4lovers

                                            We've had 2 truly spectacular lunches at Hibiscus so are very interested in dinner there. Would love to get to the Fat Duck. And thanks for the tip on the Ramsay, sounds like a must-try for next visit to London, anniversary or no.

                                            1. re: buttertart

                                              We had lunch too - it's the best way of trying tasting menus (i.e. they're cheaper and reservations are easier to get). We really wanted to like it, and some moments were really great...but maybe we were there on an off-day. We haven't had great luck with two star places on either side of the Atlantic though. We call it the two michelin star curse. Ah well...maybe we'll give it another go next time we're there. :-)

                                              And you can get the menu prestige at Ramsay's restaurant at lunch (even if people say you can't - they aren't advertising it). I'd love to know what you think if you go. :-)

                                              1. re: guster4lovers

                                                Lunch is our policy too for the same reasons, generally speaking.
                                                I fully intend to get to Ramsay's next trip, have been seeing it recommended a lot recently. Have you been to the NY one? Contemplating it too.

                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                  Haven't been to the one in NY or LA (we're in SF at the moment), but would definitely go if given a chance! Ramsay's restaurants and Per Se (I think I say you mention you've been there too?) and French Laundry are high on our list. We've been to Bouchon and ad hoc and both were great. Ramsay and Keller are on my "Hell Yes I'd Go There in a Heartbeat" list. :-)

                                                  1. re: guster4lovers

                                                    Per Se twice (at a five-year interval). I like your "Hell Yes" list!

                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                      So now I not only envy your baking ability, but I envy your restaurant experiences! :-)

                                2. re: buttertart

                                  Here's my BBA french bread. Best I've baked yet!

                                  1. re: guster4lovers

                                    That is gorgeous. I must have another look at that book (I'm a Crust and Crumb girl).

                                    1. re: buttertart

                                      I wish I would have started with C&C - BBA has a high learning curve, and I've heard that C&C is better for starting out. I like his style though, and I know people swear by C&C. Have you liked the results generally? It's on my amazon list...

                                      1. re: guster4lovers

                                        Yes, everything I've made from it has been brilliant. The French bread with old dough is our staple.

                                3. I have been wanting to try from a blog, a Broccoli and Leek tart with potato crust. Just finished baking it, since the humidity broke here in Boston this weekend.
                                  I also have Nigella Lawson's Sunblushed tomatoes in the oven for pasta on Monday night. I nabbed a marked down bunch of grape tomatoes at the grocer's for .63 cents this morning. :)

                                  1. In the past week I've made:
                                    black and white cookies
                                    Rustic Hearth Bread from Baking Illustrated
                                    almond cookies
                                    crispy chocolate chip cookies

                                    My mom reminded me today about starting to bake for Christmas... she was looking at "all the pretty tins" in the craft store and said how "lovely" they will look filled with cookies.

                                    24 Replies
                                    1. re: iluvcookies

                                      And tonight I made a cinnamon-nut coffee cake. YUM!

                                      1. re: iluvcookies

                                        What recipe do you use iluvcookies?

                                      2. re: iluvcookies

                                        Maybe we should have a cookies thread starting in say mid-Oct?

                                        1. re: buttertart

                                          I'd actually love a Baking forum on this site... a cookies thread would be a great start!

                                          1. re: iluvcookies

                                            Well, this is a baking forum, innit? ;-)

                                            1. re: buttertart

                                              True... but one separate from Home Cooking.

                                              Tomorrow I'm making a Yeasted Coffee Ring with Sweet Cheese filling.

                                            2. re: iluvcookies

                                              A couple handy cookie threads:
                                              Monster xmas cookie thread http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/465142 and
                                              Cookie-paloooza http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/564196

                                              Shout out to alkapal for starting Cookiepaloooza - fantastic thread :)

                                          2. re: iluvcookies

                                            Starting baking for Christmas??? It's not December 23rd yet !!!

                                            I never bake cookies for Christmas; I just bake cakes for individual occasions at Christmas.

                                            1. re: souschef

                                              I bake all year... Christmas baking is no different except for the decorations. And pecan pie... I almost never use pecans the rest of the year.

                                              1. re: iluvcookies

                                                I bake all year too, and I HAVE been known to bake cookies too.

                                                Buttertart, you may want to check on a particularly tasty Lebanese cookie called "Gribee". I expect that are recipes online, but it is in the book "The International Cookie Cookbook" by Nancy Baggett. In it is also a very buttery German hazelnut spritz cookie.

                                                1. re: souschef

                                                  There you go again, recommending cookbooks I don't have. Will have to pick this one up too. Anything nut, I love. Middle Eastern cookies too.

                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                    Sorry, but I should have specified that Gribee is a pistachio cookie. I can post the recipe if you want, but you can't go wrong buying the book. Hehe I have a knack for picking books you don't have. How did I end up with that many cookbooks?

                                                    How 'bout this? You can get the book for 67 cents on Amazon.

                                                  2. re: souschef

                                                    Thanks for the cookbook recommendation! I took a look at it on Amazon and just ordered a (used) copy. Ready to bake!

                                                    1. re: janeh

                                                      If you find you like that author, you may want to check out her "International Chocolate Cookbook". I have had it for ages but have never made anything from it. It does looks interesting, but then anything chocolate looks interesting to me. You can get it on Amazon for 6 big pennies.

                                                      Sorry for the thread hijack.

                                                      1. re: souschef

                                                        Zowee! My next stop will be Amazon. Thanks again for the recommendations, souschef.

                                                        1. re: janeh

                                                          My pleasure! I am always happy to help people spend their money. Just ask buttertart!

                                                        2. re: souschef

                                                          You're responsible for placing at least 5 books in my library, sir - got the Baggetts this week (cookies are planned for later today) and am waiting for the chefs book, which is coming from the UK.

                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                            Glad to be of help ! ;)

                                                            If it's any consolation, I bought Pure Dessert and the Pierre Hermé book because of you, and I bought them new - no bargains.

                                                            Make you that you make the hazelnuss spritzgeback - very buttery.

                                                            1. re: souschef

                                                              Do you need a cookie press for them? I haven't had one of those in yonks.

                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                No, you use the pastry bag that you bought for the St. Honoré.

                                                                1. re: souschef

                                                                  You mean the one my mother gave me when I was a teenager!

                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                    Yes, unless you have mold on it that winks at you !

                                                                    I prefer to use disposable pastry bags as cleanup is much easier and they are more sanitary.

                                                                    1. re: souschef

                                                                      I need to stock up on those. The old one is in good shape and kept scrupulously clean however.

                                                      2. re: souschef

                                                        That is a fabulous cookbook and I highly recommend it! Must go bake cookies now.

                                                2. Lemon-apple-ginger muffins... mmmmmm.

                                                  1. An apple pie I've made about 10 times now - http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Apple-Pi...

                                                    We were gifted some super tart, super firm apples that were just amazing. (OK, it doesn't hurt that my old-fashioned lard crust - no vodka for me! - is always perfect. I'm such a grown up. A kind of braggy one, but a grownup.)

                                                    1. everything sounds so good.. Today I've made a bluberry & almond cake, super easy to make and it tasted really good.

                                                      Earlier this week I've mede cinnamon buns with sourdough, my favourite thing to bake, cuz then I have the whole freezer full of yummy cinnamon buns ^_^

                                                      1. We have an abundance of extremely ripe peaches, so I changed my Jewish Apple Cake recipe up a bit and made it with peaches... turned out really tasty (though I did let it go a bit too long... new oven, I have to get used to it and throw away all the previous times for baking of my recipes)

                                                        5 Replies
                                                        1. re: cgarner

                                                          Please share your Jewish Apple Cake recipe here. I'm trying to duplicate an apple cake from my mother's friend - who declines to share. Not too dense, with apple chunks, no raisins/nuts, no cinnamon. It was the perfect texture and the full flavor of apple that was so delightful. It's not as heavy/dense/solid as applesauce cake or apple bread pudding.
                                                          - For your version with peaches: did you chop or slice your peaches?

                                                          1. re: Cynsa

                                                            Where oh where is cgarner? I too would love the jewish apple cake recipe....pretty please.

                                                            1. re: millygirl

                                                              if it helps, I saw an apple cake on Smitten Kitchen that sounds like what you're looking for:


                                                              1. re: onecaketwocake

                                                                OMG, that looks wonderful. Yes, that is exactly the type of thing I'm after.
                                                                Thanks onecaketwocake. And BTW, you have a beautiful blog. Great pics and I've already tagged a few recipes to try out. Thank you!

                                                                1. re: millygirl

                                                                  aw thanks! I hope they turn out well for you. :)

                                                        2. Gluten Free brownies - start with 15 oz. can of black beans, drained and rinsed... puree in food processor with 3 eggs, 1/4 cup of cocoa powder, 1/3 cup melted butter and...

                                                          1. Peach-almond french toast with peachy maple syrup. The custard includes fresh peach puree and almond extract (along with the usual eggs, milk, and cream etc), and the maple syrup is warmed with peaches and toasted almonds. This was dinner last night ... yum.

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                                              Sounds fantastic. Is this your invention?

                                                              1. re: roxlet

                                                                It's based on a recipe from Bobby Flay. He used peaches, pecans, and bourbon--which would be great--but I didn't have any pecans and my audience wouldn't have cared for the bourbon, lol. I made other more minor changes throughout: challah instead of brioche, 1% instead of whole milk, brown instead of white sugar , more peach puree etc.

                                                            2. I made a peach upside-down cake using a recipe from allrecipes.com. My first. I baked it for the requisite number of minutes and until it was brown, let it sit in the pan for 5 min after on a rack, and when I turned it over onto a plate it was pretty loose. I don't know if this has to do with the peaches (white) or if I just needed to bake it longer. But it tasted fine and neither I nor Mr. M have croaked yet.

                                                              1. I made the Big Crumb Coffee Cake from smitten kitchen last night. Easy to put together and fantastic use of rhubarb! I made this as written using cake flour(she says you can use either) - the only sub I made was 2% plain balkan style yogurt for the sour cream (it was what I had and I wasn't in the mood to run to the store) I may just have to try this with other seasonal fruit. The topping was definitely crumbly but the cake still cut beautifully.


                                                                5 Replies
                                                                1. re: maplesugar

                                                                  I love this recipe. (It was originally in the NYT).

                                                                  1. re: toveggiegirl

                                                                    I didn't know (or skipped over that part in SK's blog) it was an NYT recipe. The other one I like that is a great everyday cake is the Raspberry Buttermilk Cake from Gourmet... it made the rounds with food bloggers about a year ago I think. Ah here's the link: http://www.gourmet.com/recipes/2000s/...

                                                                    I love how versatile and easy it is too - different than the Big Crumb Cake but it's another good everyday cake that can be adapted to use seasonal fruit. I'll be making it with blueberries for a BBQ this weekend :)

                                                                    1. re: maplesugar

                                                                      That buttermilk cake is pretty similar to the Sir Gawain cake (i.e., introduced by the poster of that name and henceforth known as such) that was a Chowhound phenomenon five years ago, with about a million threads about variations.

                                                                      I'm not baking anything right now because the element in the oven seems to have died. Have to wait until owner returns from a trip to find out the oven's fate.

                                                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                        Sorry to hear about the oven problems. Too hot to bake here today til the late evening...I'm curious about this Sir Gawain cake though so I'll have to go hunting since it predates my time here :)

                                                                2. gluten-free peanut ice cream cones. Trying out the new peanut flour from Trader Joe's and I have to say I like it!

                                                                  With it we served pop rock studded banana split ice cream. This was really fun and definitely something i would do again. The pop rocks could go in lots of things.


                                                                  All summer I make a lot of frozen yogurt. we get the super ripe bags of bananas from the produce market for a cheap price freeze them for a yogurt base, or just puree any fruit we have, add yogurt and churn. Have to eat right away, but it is yummy.

                                                                  We have been getting fantastic organic kitchen grade stone fruit for $1 per lb from a local farmer, so i have a flat of nectarines to bake with this week!

                                                                  1. Bread sponge going, NM's brownies out of the oven for dessert w French vanilla ice cream and hot fudge from Lagomarcino's, a banana 2-layer cake out of the oven to use up elderly bananas, to be frosted w "the best frosting ever" from here I think. Or maybe choc.

                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                      P the banana cake is from a 1963 Good Housekeeping book and is made in the high-ratio method (drys sifted together, soft shortening (and yes I used Crisco), eggs and part of the bananas in, beat 2 min, rest of bananas and vanilla in, beat 1 min. Rose beautifully and smells great, will post recipe if it's as good as it seems.

                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                        It was terriffic! And the frosting is lovely.

                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                          You can really find some gems in those old books. Sounds like you found one!

                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                            Is the frosting you refer to the "custard" buttercream, with the cooked flour and milk? That type was brought to my attention here on Chowhound years ago by the poster krissywats. Its texture is nice, and I think it's a nice balance: not super-rich like classic buttercream and not super-sweet confectioners' sugar types.

                                                                            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                              Yes, it's krissywats'. Everyone really enjoyed it and the cake. One thing I noticed about the cake - along with the others in that part of the book - was that it used less shortening than most cake recipes you see these days. It was very moist and tender anyway.

                                                                      2. My house guests are fiends for chocolate chip cookies, so I ran out of chocolate chips even though I buy the huge bag at Costco. Instead I made Butter pecan cookies today, as well as pie crust for a dinner we're having tomorrow. For the pies I am thinking a coconut cream brulee with raspberries and a lemon curd with blueberries, but I don't have to decide until tomorrow.

                                                                        1. I just pulled some delicious smelling chocolate cakes out of the oven - I had a craving :) I completely bastardized the Hershey's "Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Cake recipe and added a ton of malted milk powder to it (among other things). I can't wait to dig in later!

                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                            1. re: krisrishere

                                                                              How much malted milk powder did you add?

                                                                              We just made malt brownies, and couldn't decide on how much to add, so I did some google-fu for malt recipes and decided on about 1/4 cup. It wasn't quite enough, but when they cooled you could definitely taste the malt. I was going for the Sonic chocolate malt milkshake, but got only a hint of malty goodness. Sad.

                                                                              1. re: guster4lovers

                                                                                For the cake I added just shy of 2 cups, for the frosting I added only about 1/2 cup...wish I added more.

                                                                            2. Cookies ... Dorie's perfect peanut butter ones (this is the best recipe) and a chewy pecan-choc chip cookie (more pecans than chips). Yum.

                                                                              1. I'm leaving in 30 minutes to house-sit for ten days - and I've got the uglies here with my rustic version of a Kouign Amann. I've never tasted one. I've never seen one. So, reading recipes on the 'net and watching videos... this ensued, it's too hot from the oven to taste. Will there be flaky layers? I brushed the top with egg yolk and poured on melted butter and sugar to top it before it went into the oven...I carefully reduced the oven temperature from 450°F to 375°F ten minutes before the recipe's baking time of 40 minutes expired to avoid the Burned Sugar bits. Ding-Ding-Ding. Out-of-the-Oven. Baked in a cast-iron skillet.
                                                                                It's not the Bordeaux Canelé — and, it may not be Brittany's Kouign Amann.

                                                                                Here are tiny flowers-like cuties: http://www.foodbeam.com/2008/04/02/sa...

                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                1. re: Cynsa

                                                                                  Why do you say you have the uglies? That sure looks good. I've never had one, but it sure sounds like I would. There is a bakery in Montreal that specialzes in it, and it is also the name of the bakery. Supposedly wonderful.

                                                                                  I'm confused, though. The first link describes it as layers of brioches dough, while the scone implies that it is the same as puff pastry.

                                                                                  1. re: souschef

                                                                                    now I'm late. this one's hopefully the puff pastry type... car is packed, gotta dash. btw, I LIKE rustic - but those tiny flower cups were very pretty.

                                                                                    1. re: Cynsa

                                                                                      too sweet. Fortunately, DH has big Sweet Tooth.

                                                                                      1. re: Cynsa

                                                                                        That is honestly mouthwateringl, Cynsa! Beautiful layering. And I think it would pass muster in Britanny, too. I'll swap you a canelé for a slice of kouign amann any day.

                                                                                      2. re: Cynsa

                                                                                        Yours look great! I tried 4 different recipes for kouign aman and turned out some pretty ugly stuff, but luckily flour, butter and sugar combine to taste good most of the time, so it wasn't a waste.

                                                                                  2. Yesterday I made two pies for our dinner -- a blue berry crumble pie from Malgieri's Modern Baker, and a coconut creme brulee pie from Longbotham's Luscious Coconut Desserts. The blueberry pie was amazing, and Malgieri has a technique that resulted in a particularly delicious berry pie. He has you take 1 cup of the 6 cup of blueberries, put it in a saucepan with all the sugar (3/4 cup) and mash the berries until they exude their juices. Then, you cook until boiling and add 4 tablespoons of cornstarch that has been dissolved in water and some of the blueberry juice from the saucepan. This is cooked, stirring constantly until thickened. The contents of the saucepan is added to the additional 5 cups of berries and then turned into a pie crust, covered with streusel and baked. Best blueberry pie I ever made, bar none. The blueberries were absolutely the ideal texture. The creme brulee tarte was wonderful as well. I adapted Longbotham's recipe because she has you steep the coconut in the hot cream mixture and then discard it. I like the texture of the coconut, so I left it in. I think that without the coconut it might be a more elegant dessert, but this was delicious.

                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: roxlet

                                                                                      Aren't you glad I twisted your arm on the Malgieri?

                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                        Reading roxlet's post I almost got MY arm twisted on the Malgieri, but I have so many books I have decided no more books. But then there IS one on canalés, however it is $47+, so no go. How can a paperback cost so much money?

                                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                                          Yes, I am very glad, buttertart, though I have been evasive on my husband's "is that new" questions every time I whip one of them out. But this was an exceptional recipe for blueberry pie. "Best you've ever made" was his comment. My house guests pretty much polished it off last night after I went to bed, but there was enough for my son to have a piece for breakfast. What??? It's got wheat and fruit and it was eaten with milk. That's a balanced breakfast, isn't it? Now if he had had the coconut creme brulee, he would have had eggs too!

                                                                                      2. I made these today and they are really good. It's like having a doughnut
                                                                                        with your coffee. The recipe is an adaptation of the Cook's Illustrated basic muffin recipe.

                                                                                        Doughnut Flavored Muffins

                                                                                        Makes 12-14 standard size muffins (1/3 cup of batter each).


                                                                                        For the muffins:

                                                                                        3 cups all-purpose flour
                                                                                        1 tablespoon baking powder
                                                                                        1/2 teaspoon baking soda
                                                                                        1/2 teaspoon table salt
                                                                                        3/4 to 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg (to taste. I use 1 teaspoon)
                                                                                        1/2 teaspoon ground mace
                                                                                        10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
                                                                                        1 cup granulated sugar, less 1 tablespoon
                                                                                        2 large eggs
                                                                                        1-1/2 cups plain low-fat yogurt
                                                                                        1 teaspoon vanilla extract

                                                                                        For the top coating:

                                                                                        4 tablespoons granulated sugar
                                                                                        1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
                                                                                        4 tablespoons unsalted melted butter


                                                                                        For the muffins:

                                                                                        1. Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and heat oven to 375-F degrees.

                                                                                        2. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and mace in medium
                                                                                        bowl; set aside.

                                                                                        3. Beat butter and sugar with electric mixer on medium-high speed until
                                                                                        light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well
                                                                                        after each addition. Beat in one-half of dry ingredients. Beat in one-
                                                                                        third of yogurt. Beat in remaining dry ingredients in two batches,
                                                                                        alternating with yogurt, until incorporated. Add and Beat in vanilla

                                                                                        4. Spray twelve-cup muffin tin with vegetable cooking spray or coat
                                                                                        lightly with butter. Use ice cream scoop to add batter evenly
                                                                                        among cups (about 1/3 cup of batter each - fill muffin cups to top and
                                                                                        level them off).
                                                                                        Bake until muffins are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center
                                                                                        of one comes out clean - about 25 to 30 minutes.
                                                                                        Allow to cool about 5 minutes before adding topping.

                                                                                        For the top coating:

                                                                                        5. Combine 4 tablespoons granulated sugar and 1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon in a small bowl; mix well and set aside.

                                                                                        6. Use a pastry brush to paint the top of each muffin with the melted
                                                                                        butter, then sprinkle each muffin with a teaspoon of the cinnamon-sugar.
                                                                                        Or simply dip the tops of muffins into the melted butter, then roll in the
                                                                                        cinnamon-sugar. Serve warm or at room temperature.

                                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: Antilope

                                                                                          I've made these a bunch of times. They are too delicious. Really.

                                                                                          1. re: Antilope

                                                                                            My mother had a recipe for these in the '70s, they're not a CI invention btw.

                                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                                              The basic, plain, yogurt muffin recipe is indeed from CI. I modified it by adding the nutmeg, mace and sugar/cinnamon topping. CI does not list a Donut Flavored Muffin recipe on its website. The basic CI recipe is very good. That's why I used it as a basis for the final recipe.

                                                                                              1. re: Antilope

                                                                                                I wasn't casting aspersions on your recipe or its provenance, I meant that the concept of and recipes for the donut muffin antedated CI. It's good to know the yogurt muffin is very good.

                                                                                            2. re: Antilope

                                                                                              sounds really yummy, i was just looking for a cupcake recepie to try later and i guess i just found it :)

                                                                                              1. re: L987

                                                                                                I just made the doughnut muffin recipe from the King Arthur Flour site - pretty similar to this recipe but less butter and no yogurt or mace. Anyway, there were no leftovers in this house, and they're already asking for another batch!

                                                                                            3. I hade 2 eggwhites over from making mayo so i made some super simple meringues with chopped almonds..

                                                                                              1. Since yesterday was rather cool, I was inspired to bake a cake. I made the classic epicurious chocolate cake with a simple vanilla frosting. Only thing was that 2 of my guests decided to go out at the last minutes, and everyone else was too full after dinner to have any. However, my son reports that it made a dandy breakfast today!

                                                                                                1. now that i'm settled into my new place and have air conditioning again (woo-hoo!), i'm chomping at the bit to start baking. just started a new job and everyone wants to taste my creations, and we just happen to have a birthday coming up this week...so i'm thinking of whipping up some goodies to bring in as a surprise treat for the birthday girl. i've been kicking around some ideas, and i think i've settled on mu Ultimate Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies, and my Dark Chocolate Ganache Tart...topped with a compote made from fresh [local] Calimyrna figs since they're in season.

                                                                                                  1. The other day I made some very tasty and really basic oatmeal raisin cookies. I only wanted to make a small batch, so I halved my usual recipe to make 8 large cookies, scooped onto the pan with a 3 Tbsp. ice cream scoop. Here's the recipe for 16 cookies.

                                                                                                    Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

                                                                                                    • 1 stick butter, softened
                                                                                                    • 3/4 cup organic cane sugar
                                                                                                    • 1 large egg
                                                                                                    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
                                                                                                    • 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
                                                                                                    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
                                                                                                    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
                                                                                                    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
                                                                                                    • 1-1/2 cups rolled oats
                                                                                                    • 1/2 cup raisins

                                                                                                    1. Preheat oven to 350F.

                                                                                                    2. Cream the butter and sugar.

                                                                                                    3. Stir in the rest of the ingredients, except the oats and raisins.

                                                                                                    4. Fold in oats and raisins. Scoop onto parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.

                                                                                                    5. Wait a couple minutes, then transfer to wire cooling rack.

                                                                                                    1. I've been making the light wheat bread from Bread Baker's Apprentice lately, and it's been turning out better each time. I replace the sugar/honey with diastatic malt powder because we hate sweet bread. Oddly, when it was warm, it tasted like brioche. Go figure. When it cooled, it was the best wheat sandwich bread I ever had.

                                                                                                      I've also been obsessed with scones lately, but can't get them to rise. I replaced my baking powder/soda, made sure the butter was cold, handled them minimally, and still no rise. Any tips?

                                                                                                      Another problem is that I love scones of any variety, but to my husband a scone is a sweet version of a buttermilk-style biscuit with sultanas in it. I can't seem to find a recipe to satisfy both of us.

                                                                                                      8 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: guster4lovers

                                                                                                        First of all pardon my getting up on my soapbox.

                                                                                                        How do you make your scones ? Do you make them the way they are supposed to be made, i.e. you roll out the pastry and then cut out rounds with a sharp cookie cutter, pushing straight down on the cutter ? Or do you make them the lazy way, i.e. shape the batter into a round and cut it into wedges?

                                                                                                        To me you should be able to easily separate a scone horizontally with your hands so that you can fill it with butter, cream, etc. I have had wedges that you could not separate if your life depended upon it. They are better suited to be used as clay pigeons.

                                                                                                        Down from soapbox.

                                                                                                        If you use the wedge method ensure that you use a very thin, sharp knife so that you don't press the dough down when cutting.

                                                                                                        I have a scone recipe that has sultanas in it, but it is not at all sweet, so it may not please you. It serves more as a neutral base for stuff you put into it after you separate it into two. Please post here if you want it anyway.

                                                                                                        1. re: souschef

                                                                                                          I don't do the wedge - I roll and cut. My husband would have a heart attack if he saw me wedge them. :-)

                                                                                                          I agree about the ideal scone being tearable with hands. I'll have to try your recipe (I assume it's the same as the one you posted below). Do you think you could omit the almonds completely, or would I need to adjust the dry goods to compensate?

                                                                                                          1. re: guster4lovers

                                                                                                            Two tablespoons of almonds? You could just ignore them without compensating. The recipe I posted is the one I always use.

                                                                                                            Buttertart, do you think this recipe would work with chestnut flour?

                                                                                                            I'm glad you don't do the wedgie thing!

                                                                                                            1. re: souschef

                                                                                                              Cool - my husband doesn't eat almonds. He finds the concept of almonds in scones morally reprehensible. Basically, he'll allow sultanas and raisins. That's it...sigh... :-/

                                                                                                              I'll try your recipe and report back...we have a jar of lemon curd that is just begging to be slathered on scones!

                                                                                                              1. re: guster4lovers

                                                                                                                If you don't tell him about the almonds he'll never know! I should make them once without, just to see if there is a big difference in texture. He is missing SO much by not eating almonds.

                                                                                                                Looking forward to your report.

                                                                                                        2. re: guster4lovers

                                                                                                          The only scone recipe I use these days is for lemon cream scones from epicurious. They're not too sweet and the texture might be right for your husband if you bake them in mounds (which I do) rather than cutting into wedges. They're very adaptable, and the apricots could be replaced with sultanas.


                                                                                                          1. re: guster4lovers

                                                                                                            After pontificating here on scones last night I decided that I had to make some for breakfast this morning. Mine more than doubled in height. I ate mine with butter and guave preserves. This was the first time I had seen anything guava in Canada; I was used to eating fresh guavas in East Africa. This stuff was made in France, and was quite good.

                                                                                                            Picture attached.

                                                                                                            Recipe, taken from a book called "The Cookery Year":

                                                                                                            6 oz AP flour
                                                                                                            2 tsp baking powder
                                                                                                            1/4 tsp salt
                                                                                                            2 tbsp ground almonds
                                                                                                            2 oz butter, cold, cut into chunks
                                                                                                            2 oz raisins
                                                                                                            4 oz whole milk (1/2 cup)
                                                                                                            Few drops almond essence

                                                                                                            Preheat oven to 400 degrees

                                                                                                            Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a mixing bowl. Add ground almonds and stir to combine. Drop the butter into the mix and rub it in till it looks like breadcrumbs. To "rub it in" you have to lift the butter with your fingers and slide your fingers gently over the butter; the point is to break down the butter without melting it. Do not press down hard on the butter. You have to keep dropping the butter into the flour mix and lifting it.This process takes about 5-10 minutes. Excuse my being so explicit (no slight intended), but I had no idea about the process until my sister explained it to me many years ago.

                                                                                                            Drop in the raisins and stir to combine. Make a well in the centre and pour in the milk, with the almond essence. With a wooden spoon mix it all together till it forms a loose dough; it will be quite sticky. Turn it out onto a well-floured wooden board and knead gently only till it forms a smooth dough.

                                                                                                            Roll out the dough to 1/2 inch thick and use a 2-inch cookie cutter to cut straight down into the dough; resist the temptation to twist the cutter. Place on a baking sheet. Reroll the dough and cut again till the dough is all used up. Brush the tops with milk and bake for 15 minutes.

                                                                                                            Makes about 9 scones. Can be easily doubled.

                                                                                                            Split horizontally and stuff with clotted cream, preserves, etc.

                                                                                                            1. re: souschef

                                                                                                              That's how my mom made her piecrust - the lifting and rubbing - come to think of it, that's probably why my piecrust is never as flaky as hers.

                                                                                                          2. Finally made Sir Gawain's cake, with frozen sour cherries (they sell them in Hy-vee in iowa, why can't they sell them here???) and a good jolt of almond flavoring - was great warmish with French vanilla ice cream. Also made cinnamon streusel muffins from a Betty Crocker mix - they were very good, extremely tender, and much easier than my family's usual coffee cake. Not at all to be despised!

                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                              If you ever want a smaller, but somewhat similar, cake with sour cherries, try galleygirl's tart. Works well with fresh and jarred/canned, and I'm sure with frozen. Is made in an 8-inch springform. Add almond extract and sprinkle with brown or turbinado sugar before baking.

                                                                                                              I may bake again soon. Crossing fingers, I think I'll have a working oven. Whatever I bake will probably involve plums (I have loads from a family member's tree, and there's more for the asking). And probably almonds. Together. The flavors are greatly complementary, and I have some good recipes.

                                                                                                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                Glad to hear about the oven. Love plums - used to go nuts buying them in Berkeley (especially those yellow sweet sweet ones - the colors of all of them are so tempting). Often used them in the French Apple Cake from the 1974 (?) JoC - a recipe I must have made a hundred times over the years - made by cutting butter into flour/sugar/bp/salt sifted tog and adding egg, milk, and vanilla to it, sort of a fairly lean biscuit dough, top w fruit and sugar the fruit fairly heavily, dot w a fair amt of butter, bake.
                                                                                                                Another grreat cake recipe in that JoC is the Blitztorte, a yellow cake with baked-on meringue topping (you use the yolks in the cake and the whites in the meringue), top the meringue with slivered almonds, and bake. Fill with sugared fruit (raspberries are v good), lemon curd, lemon curd mixed with mascarpone, what have you. Even better when it sits (refrigerated) and the filling sinks in. Easier than a génoise-dacquoise affair and almost as good. You could add ground nuts to the meringue i/o topping it with the slivers.

                                                                                                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                  hey Caitlin, what's yr fave almond/plum cake recipe? I have some plums from a friend that I want to make into something I can freeze or give away that will keep well. Love the combo of flavours. Have recently seen the Plum Marzipan teacakes in the ottolenghi book, but have to look at how to convert the recipe to a loaf or round.

                                                                                                                  1. re: kookiegoddess

                                                                                                                    I made the plum marzipan muffins in Ottolenghi and loved them, they were wonderful. I froze some of them, and they did well in the freezer. I'm sure it would work baked in a couple of loaf pans, with a longer baking time. I had some thoughts about tweaking things slightly next time to improve the outcome, which you can read in my report in the COTM thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6417...

                                                                                                                1. re: BamiaWruz

                                                                                                                  Me too! 3 kinds - cinnamon sugar, strawberry, and Nutella. I wish I thought to take pictures of them. They lasted about 2 hours at work.

                                                                                                                2. Baked a batch of whole wheat bagels this morning. They're not exactly bakery-pretty, but they are delicious!

                                                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: mcel215

                                                                                                                      Thank you very much! I froze them the day I baked them, and they defrost great. Yum.

                                                                                                                      1. re: operagirl

                                                                                                                        Okay, I am going to bite the bullet and try making bagels this Saturday morning.

                                                                                                                        Could you give me a link to your recipe? Or could you summerize it here?

                                                                                                                        Thank you for your inspiration. BTW, I will need Bread Flour and yeast?

                                                                                                                        Can you tell I am not a break baker at all? ;)

                                                                                                                        1. re: operagirl

                                                                                                                          I don't have a bread machine, but will try with my KA.

                                                                                                                          If mine look half as good as yours I'll be happy, thanks.

                                                                                                                    2. re: operagirl

                                                                                                                      What recipe did you use? My BBA bagels are retarding in the fridge right now. :-)

                                                                                                                    3. These wonderful chocolate Nutella cookies =) Nutella makes everything better!


                                                                                                                      1. the dorie greenspan dimply plum cake that made the rounds on food blogs a while back. It was very tasty, but I used a bigger pan than called for and somehow I couldn't fit in all the plums, and it still took 20 minutes longer to bake than specified. Very odd... but delicious!

                                                                                                                        1. For me, tons of stuff.

                                                                                                                          First, I adapted a peach/blueberry cobbler from smittenkitchen.com to use up a surplus of patty pan squash. Turns out they taste just like apples when cooked for about 15 minutes with lemon rind, cinnamon, and sugar. Delicious and fooled a pack of squash-averse kids.

                                                                                                                          Next, chocolate zucchini cake. Perfectly ok, not great. Since squash explosion continues, will look for a different recipe next weekend.

                                                                                                                          Last night, rosemary/pine nut biscotti from recent Fine Cooking mag. Absolutely fantastic. I hope the ones I brought for lunch make it past 10 AM.

                                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: tcamp

                                                                                                                            Rosemary and pine nut biscotti sound wonderful. Is it possible to post this recipe tcamp? I'm not sure what the rules are around this kind of thing.

                                                                                                                            1. re: millygirl

                                                                                                                              Oops, my bad, they are from Eating Well magazine and here is the link:


                                                                                                                              1. re: tcamp

                                                                                                                                Thank you ever so much tcamp. Looks wonderful!!!!

                                                                                                                            2. re: tcamp

                                                                                                                              Hi tcamp,
                                                                                                                              I'm a new foodie and just joined a CSA in which I received a load of patty pans today. Could you please share how you adapted the peach/blueberry cobbler recipe to include this squash? I would appreciate lots of details, as I'm new to squash, too. (oh, I have lots to learn...)

                                                                                                                              I found (i think) the original recipe, but I don't know how to include/substitute the squash...


                                                                                                                              Thanks a lot!

                                                                                                                            3. Question for buttertart:

                                                                                                                              I have to make a birthday cake for tomorrow, and was thinking of using the chestnut pound cake from Pure Dessert as a base, baked in a 9-inch round pan. Since there is rum in the cake itself I am considering filling and frosting the cake with rum buttercream (the RLB version, of course). Do you think it will work, or will the buttercream overwhelm the taste of the cake ?


                                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                What about the easy chestnut buttercream instead? Rum is good with chestnuts of course and can be used as the flavoring in the buttercream (that buttercream is superb).
                                                                                                                                Are you sure about the poundcake as base? It's fairly dense (in a good way) and I think better as a Bundt or loaf. What about either of the the RLB CB chestnut layers?

                                                                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                  Thanks for the feedback. I am now thinking that it's too early in the season to make something with chestnuts. I'll have to rethink think this, inclining towards what I had originally planned - a bombe type cake made with genoise and filled with raspberries and ganache, and with a chocolate shell. A Michel Richard recipe that I made many years ago.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                    That sounds lovely. Chestnuts are a bit fallish but I'd be happy with that cake any time.
                                                                                                                                    You could also add japonaise layers with déchets of mg in them...
                                                                                                                                    Another Leo person's bday, huh? Mine's this Fri. I may have mentioned that ;-)

                                                                                                                              2. No-knead bread. What a revelation!! :-)

                                                                                                                                1. Strawberry chocolate hazelnut tart. A gluten free cookie crust base (adapted from Pure Dessert), a homemade chocolate hazelnut mixture and fresh strawberries. Had to use up lots of strawberries with what we had on hand.

                                                                                                                                  1. Paula Deen's Peach Cobbler is easy - butter, sugar, flour, peaches, cinnamon - bake 45 minutes. When you've been away from home for 10 days and you haven't unpacked... but you brought peaches from the Farmers Market... bake cobbler, then take a nap. It's 59°F in San Francisco.

                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: Cynsa

                                                                                                                                      I noticed that the Trader Joe's Multigrain Pancaks and Baking Mix was expired, so I've been using it to make fruit tarts in a 7x11 pan. No recipe - a stick of butter and some brown sugar, one egg, a splash of vanilla, then stir in a 3:1 ratio of baking mix to almond meal until the texture is right. I press most of it into the greased and sugared pan, top with fruit mixed with Splenda, cinnamon, and arrowroot, crumble remaining dough over it, then sprinkle with white sugar and bake at 350 for about 35 min. I did a blueberry one a couple of weeks ago, and a rhubarb/orange yesterday. Mom always made an ordinary sugar cookie dough with white flour and sugar, pressed into a pie pan, with blueberries, prune plums, or apples. I boosted the fiber and cut the sugar a little, and use the rectangle so I can cut bars and freeze some rather than tying up fridge space with a round pan until it is all eaten.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                                        great! easy peasy - love these throw-down concoctions of a pinch of this and a dash of that! A splash of vanilla makes it all better.

                                                                                                                                    2. i got my eyes set on a chocolate loaf cake for tonight. Something simple to have with some cream and berries or even ice cream (?)

                                                                                                                                      i don't know. i was in a baking hiatus for the last month or so and now i'm slowing coming back- but all i want is things involving chocolate, not the pies/tarts/fruity popsicles people are clamoring over.

                                                                                                                                      next up, biscotti and breakfast scones for the office bunch and maybe some chocolate ice box cake or paris brest for the wknd.

                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                      1. re: jeniyo

                                                                                                                                        If you are looking for a good recipe, Cook's Illustrated has a wonderfully moist and dense Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt Cake.

                                                                                                                                      2. I got the Master Chefs book souschef twisted me arm to get (...blast from the past, singing "Sign your name across my heart" to myself...all contributors BIG in the late 1980s) and was looking at the Tour d'Argent chocolate cake recipe. It's chocolate melted, tempered with whipped cream, and whipped cream folded in. Chilled in a cake ring and glazed with chocolate. How would this differ from slightly-whipped ganache molded in the same way? How on earth could you get chocolate molten enough to flow as a glaze and not warm enough to melt the "cake"? Do they have magic wands and fairy dust to sprinkle in their kitchen???

                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                          Aha! Now you know why I chose that for our next challenge. As they mention, it is difficult to do without getting the chocolate setting in the cream. The way I see it, the "cake" is pure ganache. I expect that I will screw it up royally a few times before I get it right if I follow the exact procedure.

                                                                                                                                        2. Been obsessed with bread lately. I've made bread every day for four days straight...and it's all gone, so I guess I'm improving at it!

                                                                                                                                          I posted my french bread upthread, but here's my granary style loaf (modified from the Light Wheat in BBA...my favourite go-to direct bread).

                                                                                                                                          And the most exciting thing EVER...I haven't been able to achieve the magical "windowpane effect" with any bread until this week. I did a moderately successful windowpane with the french bread dough, but with my bagels, I did it for reals! Here it is, in all its glory. Totally worth spending my summer baking bread!

                                                                                                                                          It's back to school (I'm a high school teacher) on Friday, and I'm at a new school this year, so I hope I'll have enough time to keep baking so regularly. I had to load up before then, so I've got bagels AND cinnamon rolls going right now. I blame my husband for the cinnamon rolls though. He saw me reading BBA and asked if we could make them again. How can I refuse when they're so delicious! I might make a cream cheese frosting for this batch though (if he'll let me). :-)

                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: guster4lovers

                                                                                                                                            Well done guster4lovers. That is just beautiful. If I pulled something like that out of the oven it would bring me to tears. Seriously.

                                                                                                                                            You've inspired me to drag out my copy of The Bread Bible and perhaps give it another shot. Once the weather cools down, that is! I must also check out the BBA, it's new to me.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: millygirl

                                                                                                                                              I totally recommend BBA if you've got a reasonable foundation in bread - I tried to use it a few months ago and failed spectacularly. But after I got to grips with the process and ingredients (like buying instant yeast!), it got a lot easier. The light wheat bread is probably the best starting bread because it's a direct dough and it has never failed to be delicious. :-) I've had The Bread Bible on my Amazon wishlist for a while...I'm interested to know how you get on with it.

                                                                                                                                              Every loaf gets better. I'm still struggling to get the right amount of proof in the final fermentation, especially in loaves using a brotform, but I'm much closer now than I ever was. Baking is so much of a science! I'm trying to keep detailed notes about every loaf I bake so that I can be scientific about analysing my failures and successes. :-)

                                                                                                                                          2. WHY WON'T MY PICTURE POST?! I'll try one more time...sorry for all the posts in a row. I can't figure out how to delete this one... :-(

                                                                                                                                            1. Oh PLEASE post this time! If it doesn't, I'm giving up. For now.

                                                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: guster4lovers

                                                                                                                                                That is the best pic of windowpane ever. You really got there. What flour are you using? I had good luck recently with Pillsbury bread flour, of all things.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                  Thanks! I'm inordinately proud of it...

                                                                                                                                                  I use King Arthur - this was a dough entirely made from their bread flour. I think the results I've gotten with them have been reliably good.

                                                                                                                                                2. I made a "bombe"-like cake yesterday that went horribly wrong. The recipe was by Michel Richard, from the Julia Child book "Cooking with Master Chefs", a VERY old book. I had made the cake when I first bought the book, and it turned out great.

                                                                                                                                                  Recipe is as follows: bake genoise in mixing bowl. Cool. Slice into three layers. Moisten layers with OJ and Grand Marnier. Reassemble cake with ganache and raspberries between layers. Chill.

                                                                                                                                                  Spread thin layer of melted chocolate over Saran Wrap, put into bowl chocolate side up. Place cake in bowl and chill. Remove from fridge. Remove cake from bowl . Remove plastic wrap from cake. Decorate, and Bob's your uncle.

                                                                                                                                                  When I tried to remove the wrap some of the chocolate came off in pieces. The chocolate dome was dull, which of course means the chocolate should have been tempered. But in any case there is the problem of combining something cold with melted chocolate; it seizes.

                                                                                                                                                  As I said, I made it before successfully. Any idea where I went wrong this time ?

                                                                                                                                                  1. A couple of weeks ago I tried a lemon tart recipe from the so-called "barefoot contessa" that was just awful. It wasn't EXACTLY inedible, but it wasn't very good. It was far far too sweet, the written recipe didn't match the demonstration on TV, and the lemon filling was thick, pale, and gluey. Both the filling AND the shortbread crust were way too sweet. I need a little more time to get over that recipe before I try another.

                                                                                                                                                    I ruined a batch of peanut butter cookies last week by overbeating the dough. I have never in my life before overbeat cookie dough. I hope never to do that again - throwing all that dough out really hurt!

                                                                                                                                                    I put a batch of chocolate chip cookies in the fridge tonight which I will bake up day after tomorrow. My son left my good cookie sheets in storage for which I may someday forgive him. In the meantime he's going to buy whatever semi-good cookie sheets i can find locally. Much to his annoyance, I'm sure. He thinks a "cookie sheet is a cookie sheet is a cookie sheet".

                                                                                                                                                    I'd like to make some bread but all my bread cookbooks appear to be lost. I guess I'll have to buy replacements. And I'd like to bake some pies but pie dough is something I've never had any luck with - I learned to cook out of cookbooks at the age of 6 so I've never had the technique demonstrated to me. My pie crusts have always come out really tough, probably from overhandling. Maybe some demonstrations on YouTube will help me with that.

                                                                                                                                                    I used to have a never-fail pizza crust recipe that was perfect every single time, but I've forgotten it, so I guess I'll be experimenting with that. My son has been buying bags of pizza dough at Trader Joe's and the stuff makes awful pizza crust. Hopefully I can find another easy never-fail recipe that will convince him he can make his own.

                                                                                                                                                    10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ZenSojourner

                                                                                                                                                      If you're near a restaurant supply store (or are an Amazon shopper) the aluminum half-sheet pand are cheap and work well for just about everything.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                        Amazon's where I got the ones I have now, but they were hardly cheap (13 g aluminum) at $30 a pop including shipping.


                                                                                                                                                        I have 2 of them at home (in storage unfortunately despite me specifically asking my son to bring them) and it hardly seems worth it to spend $60 on 2 more. My son won't appreciate them anyway. How much were you thinking they should cost?

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                          Are they as heavy as the ones from Williams-Sonoma ?

                                                                                                                                                          The ones from WS have a lifetime warranty. I had a problem with one after several years and got a free replacement.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                            Heavier, these are so heavy duty they don't need the wire reinforcement around the rim. They're mondo expensive though. Maybe I can get something heavier duty than normal locally but not quite all the way to the 13 g. I hate it when a cookie sheet warps! Drives me batty.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ZenSojourner

                                                                                                                                                              I know what you mean. I have a couple of expensive blue steel sheets I don't use much, as they go "TWANGGGG!" after a few minutes in the oven. If I am making something with puff pastry (such as pithiviers) it really screws it up.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ZenSojourner

                                                                                                                                                                The ones I've gotten from Amazon (and in the Chinese restaurant supply store I patronize, cheaper) are heavyweight and have never warped in the slightest.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                  Which ones did you get from Amazon? You can go into your account and look at past orders and it should give you a link to the item.

                                                                                                                                                                  I'm not having any luck finding a restaurant supply company near where I live. At least not one that carries something as (relatively) inconsequential as cookie sheets/jelly roll pans, as opposed to steam tables and walk in refrigerators.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ZenSojourner

                                                                                                                                                                    It was a couple of years ago - Lincoln Foodservice pans, no longer available. There are these though: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_nos...

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                        The link I gave is for the Lincoln Food Service pans. They were sold as "Wearever" and were bought by Vollrath, but that's the same pan. Mondo spensive but that's the pan. You can read the whole story of how to tell if its the right pan here:


                                                                                                                                                                        But for something to use (and leave with him) while I'm living with my son, the link you sent me is more appropriate. About 1/3rd to 1/2 the price, apparently still don't warp, they're good enough and less likely to make him turn purple at the expense, LOL!

                                                                                                                                                                        He shoulda brought me my good cookie sheets!

                                                                                                                                                          2. Been invited out to dinner this evening, and I'm taking dessert. Decided to make RLB's Golden Grand Marnier Cake. Made with sour cream, almonds, orange zest, and chocolate, and moistened with OJ and Grand Marnier after being baked. It smelled absolutely amazing when baking; I have made it many times before, and love the cake.

                                                                                                                                                            A bundt is a bundt is a bundt, and no one wants to see a picture of one, but I thought this one was particularly nice, so I am including a picture. The cake will get glazed with a chocolate/cream mixture, but this will happen on site as the cake is much easier to transport unglazed.

                                                                                                                                                            18 Replies
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                              That is gorgeous, which Bundt pan is it? Or is it a Kugelhopf pan? Must make that cake.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                I thought Bundt and Kugelhopf pans were one and the same thing. I use them interchangeably.

                                                                                                                                                                I decided to forego the glaze. The cake was great all the same - nice and moist and bursting with orange and chocolate.

                                                                                                                                                                RLB said that she once put in some extra Grand Marnier and sent it to a friend in France, I did the same once, but sent it to a friend in Germany. It got there a week later, and was really enjoyed by my friend.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                                  I just wish I had known about it when my dad was alive, Grand Marnier was his favorite after-dinner tipple.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                    If you had liked RLB before maybe you would have known about it.

                                                                                                                                                                    Have you ever had Grand Marnier Cream? My wife and I were given a bottle for Christmas many years ago. We decided that we did not like it as much as GM, but the bottle was gone by New Year's.

                                                                                                                                                                    Every time I make this cake I can't help but wonder what it would be like if instead of chocolate I used raisins soaked in rum and substituted rum for GM in the soaking syrup. Then again Kahlua and chocolate would be interesting too.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                                    souschef, which pan is this particular one made in?? It looks so wonderful and high - did you double the recipe by any chance? I must make this.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: millygirl

                                                                                                                                                                      In order to answer your question accurately, I just now filled the pan with water that I measured. It was a 9-cup pan, and is what is specified by RLB. I did not double the recipe. When baked it filled the whole pan; it was really high. As I was putting the batter into the pan I could not help but think that I needed a larger pan, but would not use a larger pan now. I do have larger pans so may well try one at some point.

                                                                                                                                                                      This cake is so good that I suggest that you use some really good chocolate; I used Felchlin callets that I quartered. Of late I have seen recipes here where people use Baker's chocolate, which I find horrible.

                                                                                                                                                                      Note to buttertart: I greased the pan liberally with butter and dusted with flour. The cake got released easily. This was the same pan that gave me trouble with the Medrich cake.

                                                                                                                                                                      Hey, almost time to start a new thread !

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                                        If you butter a baking pan well, there is no need to flour it as well. It will come out clean with only butter, but it must be real butter. I learned this from a pastry chef many years ago, and for me, it's the only way to fly. I also use butter without using parchment under-liners, and my cakes always come out clean. I love being able to bake chocolate cakes with no white flour residue ever!

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                                                          I do use real butter. The problem I have, and only realized that it was causing the problem when buttertart asked the question, is that fruit in the batter that happens to be on the bottom ends up sticking to the pan. Medrich bakes the cakes in a loaf pan - easier to turn out, and line, if necessary.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                                            I can't recall ever having anything stick in a buttered pan, but... a couple of things strike me as possibilities for sticking problems. First is a too-thin application of butter or a missed spot. The other possibility would be a rough or textured spot in the pan that provides enough "tooth" for a baking batter to adhere to despite the butter. Through the years I've undoubtedly had things like fruits, nuts, chocolate, cheese, and possibly even an occasional broken fingernail settle to the bottom of a pan but none has stuck. For the record, I never never ever use "non-stick" baking pans. I believe them to be a sin against nature.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                                                              I recall clearly one occasion a few years ago where I buttered 2 Bundt pans and forgot to flour them; the cakes did not turn out cleanly. I had trouble with both of them. I remade the cakes and this time made sure I floured the pans; they turned out cleanly.

                                                                                                                                                                              One thing I like about the flouring process is that you see if you have missed any spots.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                                                            I learned the trick of using cocoa instead of flour for chocolate cakes. Though I'll admit that for the past several years I have been a partisan of Baker's Joy (and other baking sprays). Definitely the most reliable for me.

                                                                                                                                                                  3. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                                    Feel a bit stupid asking, so forgive me...but what book is RLB?

                                                                                                                                                                    So many acronyms (and I'm a teacher...I can tell you about NCLB and CAHSEE and NEA and CTA and SART and hundreds more...) that my tiny brain can't always keep up. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                    But seriously? It looks delicious, wherever the recipe is from. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                    I'm nearly at the end of the primary fermentation of some wheat bread...and I achieved something that I thought was unachievable....WINDOWPANE! This is crazy - I hadn't ever been able to reach the mythic windowpane for nearly a year, and since making bagels, I've had no problems! It looks like there is a hole in the top right, but that's actually a really thin membrane of dough. The rule of 240 has been the key, I think. Before that, I think I was seriously overheating the water in the dough.

                                                                                                                                                                    Here is a picture, and my bagels. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: guster4lovers

                                                                                                                                                                      RLB = Rose Levy Beranbaum, she of the Cake (and Bread) Bibles among others - one of souschef's favorites. And one of mine since he forced me to take another look at the books (I had found her tediously detailed, but the recipes produce flawless results).

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: guster4lovers

                                                                                                                                                                        That is great-looking bread.

                                                                                                                                                                        Sounds like you need a BOA of TLA's and FLA's !

                                                                                                                                                                        Per buttertart, who will never forgive me for coercing her into buying five books (but she did get them at bargain prices), RLB's recipes always work, with one exception, and that is in the Bernachon book, where she makes chocolate genoise by mixing cocoa with flour. Her own version is far superior.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                                          Long since forgiven, it's wonderful to find overlooked gems.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                                        Can I just say there are some fabulous ideas on this thread - love it!!!

                                                                                                                                                                        I finally got around to some baking time the other day and settled on this RLB cake. Normally I probably would have passed on it but seeing souschef's pic and reading all the rave reviews I just knew that I had to give it a try. Wow, am I ever glad I did.
                                                                                                                                                                        IT IS FANTASTIC. Just had a piece with my morning coffee. Wonderfully moist and a nice hint of chocolate. Looks beautiful too. It came out so easily from the pan. It's a real keeper.

                                                                                                                                                                        Funny thing was, half way through I realized I didn't have any oranges or juice so I subsituted lemons instead. I was concerned it might compete with the Grand Marnier but it seemed to work just fine. It's deelish. I also didn't use all the glaze the recipe called for. I do this alot. Second guess things. It seemed to be getting quite wet, which I didn't want. But it was fine and know I know, I could use the entire glaze next time.

                                                                                                                                                                        Thanks souschef for introducing me to this one.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: millygirl

                                                                                                                                                                          That's good to know about the lemon because the increased acidity might throw things off at least slightly, glad it worked.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: millygirl

                                                                                                                                                                            Glad you like it so much. I also make it as cakelettes in mini-Bundt pans I got from Willliams-Sonoma. Turns out just as nice, except that the pans are a pain to clean with all those ridges.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. Baked another batch of whole wheat bagels this weekend, and they turned out even better than last week's batch! I am getting the hang of bagel rolling, plus I sprinkled the seeds instead of dipping the bagels in them.

                                                                                                                                                                          8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: operagirl

                                                                                                                                                                            These look incredible operagirl. May I ask what recipe you use?

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: millygirl

                                                                                                                                                                              Thank you! I used tweaked a recipe I found on the web, subbing half the flour with whole wheat pastry flour. Here's the recipe on my blog: http://operagirlcooks.com/2010/08/16/...

                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: operagirl

                                                                                                                                                                              Are bagels free form? I have never even tried to make one, but you are intriquiging me. :) They look so good.

                                                                                                                                                                              I have cooked for over 40 years and can cook up a storm, but haven't an inkling how to make a bagel. Hard? Medium? Or easy, operagirl ? Thx.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: mcel215

                                                                                                                                                                                Bagels are really easy actually! I was scared, but my first attempt turned out well (although are completely misshapen compared to operagirl's). Bagels are usually formed by forming balls, then either poking a hole in the middle and stretching it outward, or rolling it into a long tube and connecting it around your hand.

                                                                                                                                                                                I used the recipe in Bread Baker's Apprentice. It does rely on you having diastatic malt powder or syrup though (I've seen it at WF, but I bought it from King Arthur Flour online), but doesn't use lye in boiling.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: mcel215

                                                                                                                                                                                  Totally easy. With this latest batch, I made half of them by rolling a snake and then pinching/rolling the ends together, and the other half by rolling into a ball, then punching a hole in the middle with my thumb and widening it. They ended up looking the same, and the punch-a-hole method was certainly easier.

                                                                                                                                                                                  The only difference between making bagels and regular bread is that you must boil them before baking. This creates the chewy crust, and also gives you a sticky surface to sprinkle seeds onto.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: operagirl

                                                                                                                                                                                    Do you put anything into the boiling water? I must make bagels again, they are fun.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                      Nope, I just used plain boiling water. For pretzels you add baking soda, though, and some people do add this to the water for bagels to get a kind of pretzel-y crust.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: operagirl

                                                                                                                                                                                        I used baking soda and was relatively pleased with the results. I think I overboiled them, which I'll correct next time I make them...certainly not the baking soda's fault. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                1. I made the chocolate zucchini muffins from this post - they were very good and moist. They stuck a little to the muffin tins but the 2 small loaf pans turned out perfectly!