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

Hi all, now's the time of year that even people who don't normally bake sometimes get bitten by the baking bug. All contributions eagerly sought, family recipes, thoughts on holiday baking...let's shake a wooden spoon together and share recipes and experiences.

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  1. Pumpkin muffins using the leftover pumpkin pie stuff, seeing as how the pie pumpkin was bigger than we needed. Pumpkin pie, I guess that is a given

    We are planning persimmon cookies and date scones this week...yum!

    I'd share recipes but my guy made the pumpkin muffins from scratch from his imagination and I am not sure which recipe I'm going to use for the persimmon cookies but I'll post it when I actually bake it. In fact, if anyone has a good recipe for the cookies, I'd love to try it.

    I have a date cake recipe that just doesn't add up in my mind so I'm going to go round up a scone recipe and just go from there.

    1. Our niece is a senior at Portland State and a forward on the Vikings basketball team - they played at Haas Pavilion at UC Berkeley on Saturday and she made her 1000 pts at the game with Tulane. These are the cookies I baked for the Vikings... green and white for the school colors and hearts because we ♥ her.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Cynsa

        What lovely cookies and a lovely story! Thanks for sharing!

      2. Made an apple cinnamon breakfast "strata," i.e. a french toast casserole of sorts, stuffed with thinly sliced apples. Not-too-sweet and delicious!

        3 Replies
        1. re: operagirl

          Looks delicious operagirl! What have you drizzled over it, is that icing or a cream?

          1. re: Breadcrumbs

            Thanks! It's a lightly sweetened cream cheese glaze. 3 oz. cream cheese, 2 Tbsp. agave syrup and a splash of vanilla.

            1. re: operagirl

              Mmm, that sounds absolutely scrumptious! What a great idea, thanks for sharing!

        2. I usually make bread on Sundays and yesterday was no exception. Had some dough that I had used for pizza left over from the previous night and buzzed it up in the FP with water to make a slurry - used it in a freehand version of the no-knead - about a lb of white flour, 3 oz whole wheat, 2 tsp of salt, about 3/4 tsp of yeast (wanted to speed it up just a bit). Did this at 12:30 yesterday. Kept folding ot over in the bowl a few times during the day. At shortly after 8 kneaded it a bit and formed it into 2 boules that I put in PAM'd 9" cake pans. Let it rise 2 hrs, slashed it, turned the oven up to 425 deg F from the 275 or so it was already at, put pans in oven at the lower temp and covered them with stainless steel bowls. Baked 1 hr. This is the result. This recipe really does not require all of the foofing around with scorching hot dutch ovens etc.
          The second pic is of melba toast I made with bread from last week, with about 2x the whole wheat flour in it, that I baked at 425 deg F uncovered - you can see it got satisfyingly holey anyway.

          10 Replies
          1. re: buttertart

            Very nice buttertart, your boules are perfect looking. What is the texture like?

            1. re: Breadcrumbs

              I haven't cut them yet (pic was taken this am). Will post photo when I do. It should be nice and holey and a bit waxy like a good baguette. There was about a 30% ovenspring increase in height/size between the loaves as they went in the oven and as they ended up.

              1. re: buttertart

                Interior not as holey as I'd like (I think because of the ww flour) but great flavor and excellent crust. The extreme heat in the non-slobby non-shortcut recipe (which I can't use because of smoke alarms with more hairtrigger sensors than a bloodhound's nose) probably fosters holeyness/waxyness too.

                1. re: buttertart

                  You know, I'm not at all surprised about the ww flour/holes issue. That's actually why I'd asked. I have a friend who loves making bread but the ww boule has been his nemesis, its just been denser than he'd like. When I saw your proportions I wondered if the lower ratio of ww flour might make a difference. By the looks of your picture, I'd say it did. As you say, if you'd been able to use a higher temp I think you'd have been fine. Thanks buttertart, I'll point him to this thread.

                  1. re: Breadcrumbs

                    Also maybe a rather wetter dough, this was a bit firmish.

            2. re: buttertart

              Melba beats crackers any day for me--with cheese, soup, everything.

              1. re: blue room

                So easy to make, too - about 20 mins or so at 300 deg F. My husband prefers the melba toast to the bread...

              2. re: buttertart

                MMM... Your boules are very lovely and crunchity looking. It just so happens I made a deep dish pizza last night - but was not all that in love with the crust. Maybe I will fool around with your ideas and see what I can come up with. But I am dense (more dense than usual today). Can you clarify this for me?

                " turned the oven up to 425 deg F from the 275 or so it was already at, put pans in oven at the lower temp and covered them with stainless steel bowls."

                Melba toast. Hmm. I have never considered making it. But it looks so good! It is on the list!

                1. re: Sal Vanilla

                  Thanks. I don't remember why I had the oven on at 275, but it was. It's often on most of Sunday for this and that. My point was I was starting them in a warmish oven, not the blast furnace the real no-knead calls for, and they rose considerably while the oven was getting to 425.

                  1. re: buttertart

                    I decided that is what you meant. I ended up making bread from the old dough (from my pizza dough - which was really not very good) as usual and not making a slurry. I took the rest of it and made a slurry of sorts (starter). It is very stinky today! Just the way I likes it.

                    I did not start the bread at 275. But you know what - I am gonna try that. What the heck. I have never net a bread I was not willing to eat or refashion into something edible.

              3. Just made a cheesecake for T-day although i'm still over stuffed, we have Christmas parties coming up. I am thinking of fulling some pate au choux with some mushrooms or pastry cream.

                also I'm eying this trifle from a recent food mag that has gingerbread, custard, berries, rasp jam, chocolate custard and cream.. i am wondering if this combo will actually go well. what do you'll think?

                3 Replies
                1. re: jeniyo

                  That's the Tamasin Day-Lewis one from...Saveur? Fine Cooking? I thought it sounded a bit weird but I don't like chocolate with ginger very much.

                  1. re: buttertart

                    i think from Saveur. It just looks nice, but i seriously doubt that the gingerbread would work. now that i think about it, it IS kind of odd- like that episode of Friends where Rachel made a trifle and added meat...ok, not that bad, but you know~

                    humm... gonna look for a dessert to make that doesn't take a whole day...

                    have anyone made anything with chestnut flour?

                    1. re: jeniyo

                      Oh yeah. There are several Alice Medrich recipes with it (in Pure Dessert), a chestnut pound cake that's great and chestnut meringues, and there are chestnut layers in Rose Levy Beranbaum's The Cake Bible. LOVE!!! chestnut anything.

                2. I'm experimenting with using agave nectar and coconut oil to make my pies healthier while still tasting as good if not better. Agave replaces the sugar and is so safe even diabetics can eat it. The worst enemy your body has in pie crust is vegetable shortening which is 100% trans fat. Lard is better but coconut oil is not just healthier than shortening or lard it actually turns your pie crust into health food.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: TheKitchenHotline

                    I beg to differ re 100% trans fat, please see below (from Wikipedia):
                    "In April 2004 Smucker introduced "Crisco Zero Grams Trans Fat Per Serving All-Vegetable Shortening," which contained fully-hydrogenated palm oil blended with liquid vegetable oils to yield a shortening much like the original Crisco. From January 24, 2007 all Crisco shortening products were reformulated to contain less than one gram of trans fat per serving; the separately marketed trans-fat free version introduced in 2004 was consequently discontinued."
                    A few years back coconut oil was the devil incarnate in terms of received wisdom on the healthiness of foods, since it's one of the few vegetable fats that contains saturated fat.
                    Everything in moderation - including moderation.

                    1. re: TheKitchenHotline

                      You may want to look more into the health claims of agave nectar. It is touted as a health food, but it is high fructose. Fructose without fiber can wreak havoc on bodies with certain conditions, increasing the risk of diabetes and heart disease. It seems safest to use all sugars in moderation, rather than consider one healthier than another.

                    2. Does bread pudding count as baking?

                      A friend was walking by the local artisan bakery as they were about to dump their excess at the end of the day. He scored several loaves of bread, including some challah with dark chocolate chunks in it. I saw it and thought: bread pudding!

                      I googled around and finally settled on this recipe: http://www.joyofbaking.com/BreadPuddi...

                      It was super delicious, but the bottom wasn't completely set, even after a couple of hours (it was in a large soufflé dish, not a flat pan, because I didn't have a pan big enough for a water bath for a 9x13). I've always had trouble getting custards to set in this (gas) oven, though, and often end up finishing them off in the microwave.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: Ruth Lafler

                        Certainly does by me - that sounds like a very good recipe. perhaps the mixture was a bit deep in the soufflé dish therefore not setting up too well? Nice to read you here, by the way.

                        1. re: buttertart

                          Thanks for the welcome, buttertart!

                          Yeah, I'm sure the depth of the dish was a factor. It really was delicious, though, and the custard had a very light texture, not too heavy and dense.

                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                            Ruth--if you are using a souffle dish and baking at low heat anyway, you might consider forgetting the water bath. I do usually use one, but with a flatter dish, but my aunt used to make delicious bread pudding that always seemed both creamy and set, if that makes sense, in a deep Corningware dish. She never used the water bath (but did butter the dish very generously).

                            1. re: nomadchowwoman

                              Good point. I wasn't sure I needed the water bath either, but since the recipe called for it, I wanted to be safe. I think you're right, though, that making it in a deeper bowl makes a difference on whether or not a water bath is helpful. I also think I could have taken it out of the water bath towards the end and that might have firmed up the bottom.

                      2. Going a little crazy w/the vodka crusts; they're so easy to roll. I'm rolling them out, layering w/parchment, wwrapping well, and freezing them flat until next round of pie baking. But I have a question, probably a dumb one: what about making that crust without sugar, for savory dishes? Would leaving out sugar interfere with this particular method and hurt the pastry?

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: nomadchowwoman

                          I think the sugar is there for a little added tenderness but I'd feel free to leave it out myself - however, the pastry doesn't taste very sweet as it is.

                          1. re: nomadchowwoman

                            since you are becoming an expert with these what do you think would be the effect of using everclear instead of vodka? would I need to dilute it down to the alcohol content of vodka do you think? We dont have vodka around the house usually since nobody drinks it and I use the everclear for my liqueurs.

                            1. re: jen kalb

                              Believe me, I am hardly the expert--I just made my first one this past weekend. I have had very little success with pie pastry over the years, but this pastry was so easy to work with that I made two more batches (= four crusts) and froze them. However, to answer your question: if I understand CI correctly, vodka works because it offers the benefit of liquid without the gluten-forming properties of an equivalent amount of water (the example used says 4 T of 80-proof vodka contains about 2 1/2 T water, 1 1/2 T alcohol). Isn't everclear something like 90% alcohol? Now, I'm no scientist, and I don't know if this follows logically, but I'm wondering if that might not be even better than vodka: 4 T of everclear would still be 4 T of liquid, but not much of that would be water--maybe 1 1/2 T? If the "as little water as possible" rule is true, everclear may offer an advantage over vodka.
                              But I hope some more science-y types will weigh in on this one!

                          2. I made 2 creme brulee's last evening after making some rolls in a cast iron skillet. The rolls were frozen rolls Rodes Brand but you just sit them out 3-4 hours and let rise then bake. The creme brulee was a halved recipe from
                            I also had a cup of mini chocolate chips and so I made cookie dough and i will bake them tomorrow since all my cookie sheets are for some reason at my dad's
                            The recipe is from here...
                            I have a Photography Club meeting/Christmas Party and I am making a Trifle also for there but not sure what kind right now although this recipe looks good.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: LEsherick2008

                              That trifle really does look yummy and to save time, you could even use a purchased pound cake. I love caramel!

                            2. I asked about this on Cookware, where the one reply didn't tell me anything I didn't already know - maybe readers of this thread will have had practical expereince: having read that Hobart era Kitchen Aid stand mixers were better-made than current ones, I bid on a model 4C tilt-head
                              (4 qts, I think) on eBay and won. But I hadn't done my homework - turns out that it only included the wire whip and bowl because the paddle and dough hook weren't made for this model (built roughly 45 yrs ago). There seems to be no consensus on the horsepower so I don't know if it's worth trying to find out if attachments or other models fit mine. It didn't have the owner's manual. I tried to register for the KA user forum a week ago - registrations must be approved and I have heard nothing thus far.

                              I haven't used it other than to confirm that it operates smoothly at all speeds, and is in very nice condition. Will I ruin it if I try to make cookie doughs or bread doughs with it using the wire whip? (I did spring for the $11 for an online purchase warranty.)

                              8 Replies
                              1. re: greygarious

                                The wire whip should work for cookie dough, but I don't think it would work for bread dough. It could perhaps get twisted a bit by bread dough.

                                1. re: souschef

                                  I'd be cautious definitely on the bread dough. Maybe one of those slopppy wet wet Italian doughs I'm not crazy about making, although they do make good bread, could be done. With cookies you can definitely use it for the creaming and then put the flour in by hand.

                                2. re: greygarious

                                  I would definitely try to return this item if you could find a basis for doing so.Dont be shy.

                                  The wire whip is not going to work well on all the things you want this appliance for.
                                  These models - my Mom had one until recently - definitely had a paddle, which was probably called an all purpose beater. If you keep this mixer, you may be able to find one eventually on ebay or elxewhere. I have no idea about the dough hook, but a paddle definitely. -

                                  1. re: jen kalb

                                    The old KA dough hook sucks anyway (mine is ca. 1987 and I don't use it any more, the dough just whirls around on it). Paddle is good for just about anything. Maybe the smaller one of the new jobs with the integrated bowl scraper would fit?

                                    1. re: buttertart

                                      They did redesign the dough hook - the improved one is pigtail-shaped and reportedly does not have the problem the C-shaped one did. I guess I need to take my wire whip to a store and see if it fits onto the current floor models. If so, I can at least try getting a paddle.

                                      1. re: greygarious

                                        Great idea. I replaced the paddle once (the paint came off the old one) of course just before the snazzy ones came out.

                                    2. re: jen kalb

                                      I agree with Jen Kalb. It would definitely be worth ordering one. I have an old Hobart-made KA, and mine does have a paddle. I recently replaced it with one of the new silicone ones that scrape the sides as they beat, and it fit just fine. You can always return it if it doesn't work properly.

                                      1. re: roxlet

                                        I love my scraper paddle for my professional KA mixer I don't use the one it came with any more but I do use the wish for meringues and whipped cream. I have to start trying to make bread and if I do I will use the dough hook then. But the silicone scraper is the best.

                                  2. Whole Wheat Banana Bread from The New York Cookbook by Molly O’Neill

                                    Unlike most banana bread recipes I’ve used, this one called for butter as opposed to oil and, I liked the idea of using whole wheat flour so I thought I’d give this a try since I had a couple of over-ripe bananas to use up.

                                    Like most quick-breads, this comes together in no time. An interesting addition was 1 tsp of baking soda dissolved in ¼ cup of sour cream. Not sure if this causes some sort of chemical reaction that enhances the final product but I’d definitely not seen this in other recipes.

                                    The loaf turned out nicely. Moist but not as heavy and dense as other banana breads. Nice as a breakfast bread and great for the lunch box. I’d make this again.

                                    1. todao posted this recipe for Walnut Caramel Triangles http://www.recipecenter.com/Recipe.as...
                                      on http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7488... and I had all the ingredients in the house on Monday evening. It's a sweet treat and a snap to toss together quickly.
                                      Christmas baking begins now.

                                      1. I'm making a French pear cake based on this recipe: http://myfrenchcuisine.blogspot.com/2...

                                        I've subbed whole milk yogurt for half the melted butter, browned the remaining butter for a nice nutty flavor, and added salt (can't stand baked goods without it). Haven't taken it out of the oven yet, but the batter was DELICIOUS. I have high hopes.

                                        10 Replies
                                        1. re: ChristinaMason

                                          Very nice. I'm completely with you on the salt in baked goods. Family saying from my great-grandmother down to me: Never sweet without salt.

                                            1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                              It was good! I can highly recommend. And so easy. I'll try it with apples next.

                                            2. re: ChristinaMason

                                              Christina: I love pear cakes, and especially French ones. I've made the one from Bistro Cooking by Patricia Wells, and it's really good.

                                              The best one, though, has been the recipe I found online for a pear and chocolate cake from the great restaurant Al di La in Brooklyn. This is a wonderful cake. You put the batter in the pan and then sprinkle chopped pears and chocolate bits on top. The cake grows up around the fruit and choc. Browned butter is used as the shortening and the eggs, etc. are beaten for 9 minutes.


                                              1. re: oakjoan

                                                Oh oh oh that sounds amazing. Must hunt up.

                                                  1. re: Cynsa

                                                    Te adoro, te amo, je t'adore, wo ai ni, Cynsa. Thanks!!!

                                                    1. re: Cynsa

                                                      Thanks a lot Cynsa. I'm just tooo lazy!

                                                  2. re: oakjoan

                                                    I've had that pear and chocolate recipe bookmarked for a while now. Thanks for the reminder! I've been debating what to make for Christmas and that might be the ticket.

                                                    1. re: oakjoan

                                                      ooooh thank you for posting that about PW's Bistro book. I love pear cakes too, nice that I know from a reliable source this is a good recipe. Did you use bosc? I'm going tp look for that other recipe too.Thanks!

                                                  3. Have a daughter with a post Thanksgiving b-day. Took pity on her by baking a german chocolate cake, using the very good cake recipe on the Baker's box and a filling recipe made with cream from an old Cooks Illustrated in lieu of that made with evap milk that Bakers suggests. Its just such a marvelous cake. with great keeping qualities, too.

                                                    I do beat in the whole eggs rather than separating the eggs and folding in beaten egg whites as a final step - its a lot easier and produces a fine result.

                                                    1. ive made a really good carrot cake with mascarpone frosting

                                                      1. Time to make the Xmas pan forte - we do it with hazelnuts, almonds, candied orange peel and NO citron. Honey, ground coriander, nutmeg, a little cinnamon. A variation on Carol Fields' classic. I can't imagine Xmas without it.

                                                        1. I made 2 loaves of Cinnamon Raisen bread a la Dorie's Baking. Sorry I don't have photos, but if you've made it you know how good it smells when it is baking in the oven and at how almost foolproof the recipe is.

                                                          1. Hey, butter - I can't seem to get a copy of the picture to transfer here, but take a look at the cassis and matcha layer cake on http://confectionsofamasterbaker.blog...

                                                            5 Replies
                                                            1. re: greygarious

                                                              GORGEOUS! And such a tempting flavor combination. The pic did come through.

                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                Yes this cake really caught my eye. If that is your blog, I didn't realize that I had it in my food blog bookmarks. I'm only a novice at best, but would love to make something this beautiful and also to read up on what cassis and matcha are (though I have heard the latter term).

                                                                1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                                                  Cassis is black currant in French - can refer to the fruit or the liqueur. Matcha is Japanese powdered green tea, the one used for the tea ceremony. The flavors would be divine together.

                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                    I knew what matcha was from media and hearing the term in circles. Cassis I wasn't familiar with. Though I'm more familiar with currant. Thank goodness for being in a non rural area of my state (N.C.) though there are plenty of farms nearby ;-)

                                                                    1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                                                      Cassis is a really nice flavor, you can put the liqueur in white wine to make an apéritif (a Kir) and the blackcurrant jam made by English companies is a treat on toast.

                                                            2. Made some killer ginger snaps today! Tender and soft with a double dose of ginger (ground and freshly grated).

                                                              4 Replies
                                                                1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                                                  One of my own -- it's on my blog, but as the mods frown on self-promoting links I will post it here for you:

                                                                  Soft Whole Wheat Ginger Snaps

                                                                  makes 24 cookies

                                                                  1 1/2 C. (7.5 oz.) whole wheat pastry flour
                                                                  1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
                                                                  1/2 tsp. cinnamon
                                                                  1/4 tsp. cloves
                                                                  3/4 tsp. baking soda
                                                                  1/8 tsp. kosher salt

                                                                  1 stick (4 oz.) unsalted butter, room temperature
                                                                  1/2 C. organic cane sugar
                                                                  1 egg white
                                                                  1 Tbsp. finely microplaned fresh ginger
                                                                  3 Tbsp. molasses

                                                                  2 Tbsp. organic cane sugar

                                                                  1. Combine the flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, baking soda and salt in a small mixing bowl. Stir until evenly mixed.

                                                                  2. In a medium mixing bowl, use a whisk to cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in the egg white, fresh ginger, and molasses.

                                                                  4. Add the flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture, using a wooden spoon to stir just until all dry ingredients are absorbed into the dough. Chill dough for at least one hour (or up to overnight).

                                                                  5. Preheat oven to 350F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

                                                                  6. Put the remaining 2 Tbsp. of sugar into a small bowl. Scoop out walnut-sized pieces of dough, drop them into the sugar, then roll into balls and space evenly on the parchment-lined cookie sheets. Use the bottom of a drinking glass to press the dough balls down into 1/4″ thick discs.

                                                                  7. Bake cookies for 10 minutes. Allow to cool for a five minutes on the baking sheet, then use a thin spatula to gently transfer onto a wire cooling rack.

                                                                    1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                                                      You're most welcome. I'd love to know what you think if you try them out =)

                                                              1. Made my first cranberry-nut bread ("marbled" w/cream/cheese filling) of the season yesterday. DH and I snacked until we ate a whole loaf but for a slice, I cringe to admit. I had the slice slathered w/lemon curd for breakfast.

                                                                5 Replies
                                                                1. re: nomadchowwoman


                                                                  I would love to have the cranberry bread recipe. It sounds delicious! Many thanks! Happy New Year!

                                                                  1. re: Saudade

                                                                    I will type it up for you in the next day or two, Saudade. It really is tasty. And it freezes well so we'll be able to enjoy it long after the holidays (and cranberries) are gone.

                                                                    1. re: Saudade

                                                                      Lovely screen name. In some ways what a lot of CH is about.

                                                                      1. re: Saudade

                                                                        Happy New Year to you too, Saudade.

                                                                        MARBLED CRANBERRY-NUT BREAD

                                                                        1/2 c. golden raisins (or dried cranberries or cherries)
                                                                        ¼ c. bourbon
                                                                        ¼ c. water
                                                                        4 T butter, softened
                                                                        ½ c. white sugar
                                                                        ½ c. light brown sugar
                                                                        1 lg. egg
                                                                        2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
                                                                        2 tsp. baking powder
                                                                        ½ tsp. baking soda
                                                                        ½ tsp. salt
                                                                        ¾ c. orange juice
                                                                        2 c. fresh cranberries, rinsed and drained
                                                                        ¾ c. chopped walnuts or pecans [had black walnuts to use this year--delicious!]

                                                                        6 oz. cream cheese, softened
                                                                        1/3 c. sugar
                                                                        1 lg. egg
                                                                        grated zest of 1 orange

                                                                        In small pot, bring water and bourbon to a boil. Turn off heat and add raisins (or other dried fruit). Let raisins soak and plump for at least 30 minutes. Drain.

                                                                        Preheat oven to 350F.

                                                                        Prepare 9 X 5 loaf pan by buttering and lightly dusting with flour. (Cake-release products also work very well.)

                                                                        In bowl, cream butter and sugars; beat in one egg.
                                                                        Sift flour, baking powder, soda, and salt into bowl. Add flour to butter-sugar mixture, alternating with orange juice. Stir in fresh cranberries, raisins, and nuts.
                                                                        Prepare filling: process cream cheese, 1/3 c. sugar, egg, and orange zest until smooth.
                                                                        Pour about 2/3 batter into loaf pan. Top with filling, then add remaining batter. Use a knife to swirl batter (for marbled effect). Bake until golden brown, 55-60 minutes. Cool 10 minutes; transfer to wire rack. Keeps in refrigerator at least a week; also freezes well.
                                                                        (I wrap these in parchment and store them in the fridge. If freezing, I wrap them in plastic wrap and then in a zip-lock bag.)

                                                                        Makes 1 loaf.*

                                                                        * I like to double this recipe and make three loaves in smaller ("medium"--8 1/2 X 4 1/4) loaf pans; I just like the size better. I adjust baking time in that case to 45-50 minutes. I also make mini loaves sometimes; they take 35-40 minutes.

                                                                        1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                          Holy cow, that sounds great. Absolutely must make it!

                                                                    2. Over the last few days, I've made garlic potato rolls, herbed flatbread, sweet potato biscuits and banana walnut bread. More to come by the weekend....

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: Cherylptw

                                                                        Wow! Cherylptw! What fortitude! I'm impressed.

                                                                      2. I have to say that after seeing that absolutely stunning cake that greygarious made, I had to think twice about posting my super-simple and very beige offering!!!!

                                                                        Peanut Butter Oatmeal Raisin Cookies from “The Frog Commissary Cookbook” by Poses, Clark and Roller p. 253

                                                                        I was looking for a good lunchbox cookie and this recipe caught my eye. I also just recently acquired this cookbook so was keen to give it a try. Cookies are really yummy with just the right mix of crunchiness and chewiness.

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                          Those do look good, and that's another cookbook I'm pretty fond of--takes me back. DH and i threw a party in the first year of our marriage, and I made a lot of food from that book. The first peanut sauce I ever made came form that book. And if I recall correctly, there's a terrific carrot cake recipe in it.

                                                                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                            Lordy, I only wish I had enough ingenuity to make that cake! The baker is Gesine Bullock-Prado. Her entertaining memoir only contained a few recipes, but she has a baking/confection book coming out in the spring, entitled "Sugar Baby". The photo is from her blog. In the accompanying entry, she tries to explain how she did it and says she regrets not having photographed the process but promises to do so in the future.

                                                                          2. Mark Bittman's Apple Cake with Booze --- just as easy as it looked in the video, just as moist and long-keeping as he said it is, just as boozy and delicious (I used a mixture of calvados and bourbon for the pour-over).

                                                                            1. I bought a bushel (case) of Stayman Winesaps for the cellar just before I got sick and never got around to opening it until a week ago. they had been in our unheated entryway but are a bit on the soft side, I think either because of the one on top that got bruised and went bad, or because I didn't open the case and they smothered in their ethylene gases to some extent. So now it's apple city chez nous. This pie from...Canadian Living...(when I think apple, I think Canada) looked good and used 8 apples (the more the merrier, gotta get 'em eat up, as my Uncle Del used to say): http://www.canadianliving.com/food/sk...
                                                                              So. made the CI pastry, chilled it (it came together perfectly this time, I think I had been halving the amount of liquid in it inadvertently before, sloppy recipe-follower that I am). Peeled, cored, and cut the apples into 1/2 in wedges as directed. Tossed w the juice and rind of 1 lemon (should have been 1 tb juice, per recipe), 3 tb flour, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp each mace and nutmeg (recipe calls for 1 tsp cinnamon, am not taken with cinnamon, really), and 1 tsp of a dreamy 2-fold Madagascar Bourbon vanilla a friend makes (my addition). Let sit while pastry chilled and went to do some things about the house.
                                                                              Came back to a bowl with about 1 c liquid below the apples. Rolled out the pastry to a large circle per the recipe, plopped in the apples AND liquid (first mistake, should have at least boiled the juice down), put the pastry up over the edges, and topped it with the crumble topping (second mistake, it was supposed to be put on 2/3 of the way through, saw that and put aluminim foil over it to heep it from overbrowning). Baked at 350 per my oven thermometer on a baking sheet for drips for 90 mins as it calls for in total. Looked and smelled beautiful.
                                                                              Cut into it while it was still warm - tasted fantastic but was overjuicy (surprised?) and the bottom crust was mush.
                                                                              Lessons? don't overdo the lemon juice - don't let apples sit - if you do, drain them and/or boil down the juices before baking - don't top the open part until 2/3 of the way through (I expect some evaporation would have taken place in the first hour) - and I think better to bake the first 30 mins at 400 deg F to set the crust in any case. The baking sheet may have overinsulated the bottom from the heat too.
                                                                              If you make this (and it is delicious) be sure to put something on a rack below the pie to catch the juice, I think it will drip even if you're not as airy-fairy about the instructions as I was. Which don't be, please.

                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                Put a piece of parchment on the baking sheet, then put the sheet in the cold oven while preheating. That will give you excellent browning of the bottom crust, and the parchment means nothing to clean.

                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                  You know, I never put lemon juice in my apple pies because I get this weird piney taste when I do. I figure they're going to get brown from cooking and from the cinnamon and spices anyway, so why am I using lemon juice to keep them from oxidizing?

                                                                                2. The Hachiya persimmons had ballooned and were ready to burst juices for Persimmon Pudding. Baked five minutes too long, I gave it a dose of brandy - hot from the oven. All's well that ends well, the proof's in the pudding.

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: Cynsa

                                                                                    The 80 proof! The best persimmon thing I ever had was muffins from the Bridge Creek restaurant in Berkeley ca. 1986 (was across Shattuck from the then Coop) - a Marion Cunningham recipe. Like chestnuts and uni, a flavor essentially undescribable in therms of anything but itself.

                                                                                  2. Finally got back to baking today. I made corn muffins, which my son really likes as a breakfast option. I use the recipe from The Best Recipe, and they do come out really well. Not heavy, dense or cake-y. I also made cracked wheat bread, or rather, am making since I am just about to shape them for their final rise.

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: roxlet

                                                                                      roxlet: Thank you for reminding me about cornbread (or muffins). It got me to thinking about a wonderful recipe in Deborah Madison's Fields of Greens for cornbread with smoked cheese and chilies. I usually make it with cheddar because I decide to make it at the last minute and don't usually keep smoked cheese on hand. It's delicious either way.

                                                                                      If anybody's interested, I'll be glad to post it.

                                                                                    2. This is for roxlet and buttertart.

                                                                                      My mother made this many times for birthdays and other celebrations. It looks plain and unfancy but is rich (all those eggs and nuts!) and will please nut lovers. The recipe also works with other ground nuts, such as almonds.

                                                                                      Walnut Torte

                                                                                      For the cake:

                                                                                      4 eggs yolks
                                                                                      1 cup sugar
                                                                                      1 tsp. vanilla
                                                                                      8 egg whites (you will use the other 4 yolks for the filling)
                                                                                      2 2/3 cups ground walnuts
                                                                                      1 cup very fine dry breadcrumbs

                                                                                      Preheat oven to 325 degrees and line the bottoms of two 9-inch round cake pans with parchment paper. Beat the egg yolks with the sugar and vanilla until light. In a large bowl with clean beaters, beat the egg whites to stiff peaks. Fold the yolk mixture into the whites. Mix together the walnuts and breadcrumbs and gradually fold this mixture into the eggs. Divide the batter between the pans and bake for 30 minutes, or until the cakes test done.

                                                                                      For the filling:

                                                                                      1/2 cup sugar
                                                                                      2/3 cups powdered dry milk
                                                                                      4 egg yolks
                                                                                      1 egg
                                                                                      1 cup milk
                                                                                      1 tsp. vanilla
                                                                                      2 cups (or more) ground walnuts

                                                                                      Combine sugar, dry milk, egg yolks, whole egg, and milk in a saucepan. Cook slowly, stirring constantly, until thick. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and enough ground nuts to make a spreading consistency. Let cool to room temperature.

                                                                                      When cake and filling are completely cooled, spread filling between cake layers and over top and sides.

                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                        That looks fab, Caitlin. I love cakes made with ingredients other than regular flour.

                                                                                        I made a walnut roll from a Paula Wolfert cookbook for a family gathering. I think it was World of Food. In any case it looked awful, it was just too difficult to roll it up without damage. I almost left it home because it ended up looking like a big blob of speckled brown and white stuff. I'm glad I didn't, though, because it was just deelish.

                                                                                        It's just a walnut sponge-like cake with whipped cream filling in a jelly roll shape. In my case, it took a good deal of imagination to see it as a jelly roll shape. Well, unless you had a jelly roll that somebody had stepped on.

                                                                                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                          Thanks so much for posting this! I have copied it into my recipe folder.

                                                                                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                            Thanks very VERY much, Caitlin - this looks wonderful, I'm sure my husband will love it. Didn't see this unil just now - CH has been closing things I haven't read on me again...

                                                                                          2. Well, my wife has always been the primary baker between the two of us (even doing wedding cakes for friends), but I've decided to "up my game".

                                                                                            So lately I've been baking many things, but primarily brioche. Brioche for loaves, brioche for sticky buns, brioche for cinnamon rolls -- I mean really, can one ever have too much? And now it's time for holiday cookies!

                                                                                            1. Gosh. Everyone has been baking so many yummy things. Maybe I should share the sad cheat "bake" I did last night. I had old pate brise and some unknown disk of crust in my freezer that was always getting in my way for about - ahem - a year now. I always forget I have it until it gets in my way.

                                                                                              Anyway, I pulled in out yesterday, rolled it out and threw one on a sheetpan and baked it - flat, with sugar and cinnamon on it. The other I put in my oh so unused little brioche tins and baked them. Later I put ice cream, hot fudge and crumbled chocomint cookies into the cups. and ate... two. That was after gorging on pizza. I could not move and had to change into stretchy pants.

                                                                                              Tonight I am cooking up apples and freezer fruit and eating it with my slab of crust and some more ice cream. Dieting is for suckers.

                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                                                                                Sal you're hilarious! I almost sprayed my screen w tea when I read your post!! Love the stretchy pants! Bon Appetit for tonight's freezer fruit fiesta!!

                                                                                                  1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                                                                                    That actually sounds delicious to me!

                                                                                                  2. Today it's baby cakes for pilinut - with 24-hour canelé batter

                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: Cynsa

                                                                                                      Still can't keep away from those canelé, huh? ;-)

                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                        I was distracted by the madeleine thread... then, one attempt at macaron batter - they didn't dome but they were tasty. 'Canelé Redux' might be the next thread?

                                                                                                      2. re: Cynsa

                                                                                                        I hope that our dear friend Pilinut is okay, since the oven-less Cynsa is baking for her. Please tell us all is well Pilinut.

                                                                                                      3. I've finally started on my holiday baking (vs. just thinking about it.)

                                                                                                        Last night I made triple peanut butter cookies, one of my favorite recipes. Tonight I'll make macaroons, dipping them in both dark chocolate and toasted almonds.

                                                                                                        1. I just finished eating a Walnut Roll from the store but really want to make my own. Maybe after Christmas when my cookie making is done and snack on it on New Years Eve.

                                                                                                          1. Alton Brown's Free range Fruitcake. I made it yesterday, and had a little problem getting the center of the loaves to finish baking before the outside edges were too done.
                                                                                                            I wonder if the pan of water he recommended to put in the bottom of the oven was interfering with the air flow? Should I have used the convection bake instead of regular baking? I used pyrex loaf pans, maybe metal would have been better.

                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                            1. re: jmcarthur8

                                                                                                              I always use Magic Cake Strips on the outside of my cake pans, which seems to slow down the baking of the outer portion of the cake. I don't think water in the oven would have inhibited the baking.

                                                                                                            2. Only thing I ever bake is biscuits or cornbread but for some reason today I baked a cranberry orange quick bread. It's ugly as heck but it tastes good. Now the "why" in me wants to find out why the middle fell. I think my baking powder was old so I will buy fresh this week and retry the recipe on the weekend.

                                                                                                              1. Will be giving the french apple cake from Dorie's latest book a try. Any suggestions or moderations?

                                                                                                                1. Made Alice Medrich's chestnut poundcake with the following changes: used Cognac i/o rum, soaked cut-up candied chestnuts in an additional 1 TB Cognac (recipe calls for optional walnuts, I used same weight - 6 oz) of the chestnuts, and dredged them with a couple of TB of the flour mix before adding them to the batter. Recipe calls for a 12-cup tube pan, I used 2 that together hold appx 10 cups of batter. Rather good.
                                                                                                                  Also made my slob version of no-knead bread, using 8 oz of rye flour to 14 oz AP and 2 oz gluten, 1/2 tsp teast, 1 TB salt, a tsp caraway, 2 TB flaxseed. It rose well enough in the bowl and seemed to in the pans (despite certain people plopping down a clamshell of baby arugula on top of one of them midway through...) but there was no ovenspring - the bread seems to have collapsed a bit, even. Hmm. Haven't cut it yet so don't know how it is...no pic appended because somewhat dispirited-looking.
                                                                                                                  Here are the cakes...used the Wilton stuff to grease the pans and they came our perfectly. (Pans are Kaiser, Marshall's finds of a while ago.)

                                                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                    Don't you bake the most lovely things.

                                                                                                                    I 'think when people say they do their slob version that has to be code word for "most delicious and satisfying". If my bread comes out heavy, I call it hardtack and accuse people of being wimps if they make a face.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                                                                                                      It's just that I followed the recipe (Cook's Illustrated No-Knead Bread 2.0) once to the letter, and set off all the smolke alarms in the house (5) and my husband had to spend about 20 minutes getting them to stop while the cat cowered under a chair and I was getting the fantods from the noise, so I've been dumbing down the technique and temperatures to a manageable level for my cooking situation. Hence slob version.
                                                                                                                      Actually the first time I made one bread (from Beard on Bread) it overrose and partially deflated in the oven and my husband remembers it as the best version of it ever...so maybe there's hope for this. If not, lots and lots of rye melba toast is in our future.

                                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                        Cut into it last night and it is VERY chewy (I think because I put too much gluten flour in it) but did aereate and has great flavor, the long rise brings out the rye tang. Next time less gluten and a bit more kneading, I think, and a smaller pan (or more dough to a pan).

                                                                                                                    2. My son asked me to bake for his team's matches today as well as for the final class of his HS Orientation. For the team, I made that boring old standby, chocolate chip cookies, but for the class I made Alice Medrich's screaming ginger cookies, and boy, are they fabulous! The contain a copious amount of ground ginger, crystalized ginger chips as well as grated fresh ginger. Because these are for a bunch of HS kids, I omitted the fresh ginger, and they are still spicy and delicious. This is from Chewy, Gooey, Crispy, Crunchy. I think these are from chewy, but mine are a bit more crispy.

                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                        Must make! That is a fun book (haven't baked from it yet, though).

                                                                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                          My DH just said that these are the best cookies I have ever made! Now, that's saying something! I've made a lot of cookies in my day!

                                                                                                                          1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                            Must make. On the fruitcake binge this weekend (that's the plan, anyway).

                                                                                                                      2. Just started the holiday baking and getting some shortbread dough chilled and shaped. I made some whole wheat shortbread that will be baked and sandwiched with ganache. Then there are reugelchs, sugar cookies, gingerbread and blue cheese walnut crackers. all the dough will be ready to bake in the freezer.

                                                                                                                        I will be making some toffee and shrink wrapping them in my food saver for shipping =).

                                                                                                                        also made a batch of pizza dough for the busy cooking months ahead.


                                                                                                                        1. Last week, I made Dutch chocolate bars from a Maida Heatter book: An oatmeal/pecan/brown sugar crust (I used brown butter), with a brownie-ish layer baked on top. Had problems with crumbliness of crust, but flavor was good, and they were scarfed up at family Hanukkah dinner. Will report in more detail on BCOTM thread.

                                                                                                                          This weekend, I baked chocolate-chocolate chunk cookies with pecans and tart dried cherries from the new Medrich cookie book to take to a gathering. These are in the chunky section, but begin with chocolate wafer dough (from the crispy section), to which the chocolate chunks, pecans, and cherries are added; then they're baked as drop cookies. She says they'll be crispy outside, soft/cakey within, but mine were more crispy/crunchy, perhaps because the dough had been refrigerated overnight and was pretty solid before baking (I think because it has no egg). Regardless, they were good and very chocolaty, and received compliments as well as being eaten up.

                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                            Is that the bar that has chunks of milk chocolate in the brownie filling? That one is really good.

                                                                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                              No, no chunks - just melted chocolate and butter, sugar, egg, vanilla, flour, baking soda, salt.

                                                                                                                          2. Just made some "Eggnog" Macarons that turned out fantastic! Used the recipe on Tartelette's blog, and the macaron's themselves turned out pretty darn great ... my buttercream, on the other hand was gritty. Any ideas?

                                                                                                                            Planning on making Strawberry-Pistachio Rugelach tonight, and maybe some Chocolate/Persimmon muffins.

                                                                                                                            6 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: a213b

                                                                                                                              Would those perchance be the chocolate persimmon muffins from Good to the Grain? Those are on my agenda, probably for later in the week.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath


                                                                                                                                Made them last night, but unfortunately they did not turn out well, at all. BUT ... lest that discourage you from trying, I made a couple of modifications based out of necessity that I am positive negatively affected the outcome.

                                                                                                                                I cut the recipe in half (which shouldn't matter, I don't think), but because I thought I had Buckwheat Flour yet actually did not, I substituted 1:1 AP Flour. Also, I had only one persimmon and it didn't yield quite enough, and the batter seemed dry so I added a touch of oil.

                                                                                                                                Anyway, the muffins came out looking great (though much puffier due to the AP substitution) but were fairly bland. Both my wife and I agreed there just wasn't much depth of flavor, and I couldn't even really taste the persimmon.

                                                                                                                                Ahh, well. Between that and the Rugelach I made that were way too big (looked like mini croissants! at least they tasted good) last night was not a baker's delight.

                                                                                                                                1. re: a213b

                                                                                                                                  I am going to try the muffins because it was one of the recipes that immediately caught my eye when I got the book last summer, but we'll see how much the persimmon flavor comes through, even with the full amount. In my experience, persimmons have a pretty subtle flavor in baked goods, so it might be masked by all the chocolate.

                                                                                                                                  When you are baking other things from Good to the Grain, I'd love to have your input on this thread about the book: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/702840

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                    Ahhh, I stumbled on that recipe at David Leibowitz's site. I actually had to go back and check before I answered your question. (http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2010/12/...


                                                                                                                                    Is the book worth picking up?

                                                                                                                                    1. re: a213b

                                                                                                                                      I did notice that Lebovitz had posted about it, and thought there was a chance that people were picking it up there. The book has really great flavor combinations and interesting grains. I've made just a few things so far, but have liked them all, and the other people who have reported in the thread there also had good things to say. In the OP in that thread, I list some of what is in the book, in case you want to see if it appeals to you.

                                                                                                                            2. I've been making sugar cookies with the kids, we're perfecting our decorating technique (royal icing and sprinkles) before the their classroom parties Friday.

                                                                                                                              The husband's been making things from the Meyer lemons that came off the tree - fantastic lemon bars yesterday, a pie is planned for tomorrow.

                                                                                                                              1. I made the Gramercy Tavern Gingerbread yesterday and it was less than successful :( I have heard raves about it on this site as well as smittenkitchen and was excited to do something very Holiday. Now, I must admit that not only have I never baked gingerbread, I am pretty sure I have never really eaten gingerbread either. (Mom was not much into baking).
                                                                                                                                Rather than baking in a Bundt pan (which I don't have) I split it up into 4 mini loaf pans (with plans for gifting) and one medium loaf pan. Every loaf sunk in the middle! Smittenkitchen had this problem too, I think. This was disappointing since I was hoping to give these in Christmas baskets, although I would not be above giving some homely looking gingerbread if it tasted great. But I am not in love with the flavor. It's okay, but not something I really want to eat. They say it gets better with a bit of age, so I will taste again tonight and see if it's better. Maybe I just don't like gingerbread that much.

                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: greeneggsnham

                                                                                                                                  There was just an article on gingerbread in the Jan/Feb Cook's Illustrated - the fallen center is a usual thing with this kind of cake (some people like it, it's called "squidgy" in England) - since the batter is quite thin they recommend a bit more beating than you would normally do with a quick bread in order to activate the gluten to hold the cake up better.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                    Interesting. I never heard this before about developing the gluten for this type of cake. I made this same gingerbread recipe in a silicone bundt pan and did not have any problem with the middle sinking, but that was likely because there is no middle in a bundt pan (duh).

                                                                                                                                    1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                      Well, I suppose there's a middle in the middle of the cake parts...you could get a sort of channel effect...

                                                                                                                                2. One thing strange about this thread: stuff that I have not seen before comes up as seen before, and stuff that I HAVE seen before comes up as not seen before.

                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                  1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                    I've noticed that lately too, very annoying.

                                                                                                                                  2. Ok, I'm done ... done with my holiday baking, that is. Last week I made triple peanut butter cookies and chocolate-dipped macaroons. Yesterday, I made a double batch of gingersnaps (KAF), four batches of almond buttercrunch, one batch of chewy pecan-choc. chip cookies (more pecans than chips), and one batch of dog biscuits (for a dog who later stole some $$ cheese off the table ... sigh.) I've been told there are a few more kinds of cookies I should make, but really they might just have to wait til next year. :)

                                                                                                                                    1. Yesterday, I made saffron pistachio cookies, an experiment inspired by my favorite Indian ice cream flavor. They turned out great, and will be included in my holiday cookie gifts.

                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                        sounds good! saffron is one of my favourite spices, infact i had it in my muffins&cupcakes today

                                                                                                                                      2. now during to holiday seasin there a lot of baking and cooking going on in my kitchen, yesterday i made gingerbread cupcakes, they turn out ok, moist and a nice gingerbread flavor.

                                                                                                                                        Today i made the most amazing saffron and almond cupcakes/muffins. the only bad thing about them is that they r gone already

                                                                                                                                        1. I wanted to bring a vegan dessert to our office holiday potluck, so I googled around and eventually decided on this recipe: http://shmooedfood.blogspot.com/2005/...

                                                                                                                                          I one-and-a-halfed it and baked it in a 9x13. I thought it could have been a little more gingery (I didn't use the optional candied ginger), but I was happy with the texture, which is often disappointing in vegan baked goods. Everyone liked it well enough that it tied for second place in the dessert category (with the double chocolate peppermint brownies!).

                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                            Congratulations - that is a real accomplishment given the strictures you were operating under. Sounds good, too!

                                                                                                                                          2. Yesterday: a simple chocolate torte: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7535...
                                                                                                                                            Today: fruitcake or bust (really too late, but it's for my MIL and family in the midwest and they don't hold as much to the fruitcake must be aged idea.

                                                                                                                                            1. dont know if it count as baking but i made raspberry toffee today

                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. I want to make Panforte both a somewhat traditional and one with chocolate. Any good suggestions for recipes?

                                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                                                                                                                                    Get your hands on Carol Field's "The Italian Baker", a great great book and source for all things Italian.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                                                                                                                                      For one with chocolate, I have liked this chocolate-hazelnut panforte: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                        Oh good because I have hazelnuts that need to be used... non toasted though that can't be too hard.

                                                                                                                                                    2. I'm making a peppermint bark cheesecake today, for Christmas Day dessert (this was planned before I'd heard of the CF version.)

                                                                                                                                                      8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                                                                                                                                        That sounds delicious. I'm leaning toward a cheesecake myself, although there is a bit of husbandly agitation for a sour cherry pie from some of his hoard lovingly frozen this summer. Maybe a cheesecake with a sour cherry topping!

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                          A fine and tasty compromise--with a layer of creme fraiche or sour cream under those cherries. Yum.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                                            You betcha. Japanese cheesecake, I think. Love those.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                              I'm unfamiliar with Japanese cheesecake...

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                                                                                                                                                I don't make any other kind any more, this is lovely - like a cross between cheesecake and spongecake. Essentially a fallen cream cheese soufflé. One of these days I'm going to serve it warm. Do try it!

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                  I do like the photos of the wedges cut. It almost reminds me of angelfood.. but I'm guessing with the taste of cheesecake. Almost a play on consistency.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                                                                                                                                                    It's really something, try it. Lusher than angelfood.

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                                                                                                                                          Here's the final product. Turned out very nicely, if I do say so myself. :)

                                                                                                                                                          Peppermint bark both inside and on top, with a layer of lightly pepperminty whipped cream.

                                                                                                                                                        3. The ovens have been blasting: Marbled cranberry-nut loaves, so many I've lost count. Spiced nuts. Salted choc. chip-pistachio cookies. Meringue drops w/dried cranberries, choc.chips, pistachios. Today, it's ciabatta, whole wheat loaves, and caramel corn. Tomorrow's pies: chocolate mousse tart w/nut crust and whipped cream, lemon pecan pie, lemon buttermilk pie.
                                                                                                                                                          I'm hoping (fingers crossed) to make lemon thins from the new Alice Medrich book to take to my sister's tonight, but I have a feeling I might have to postpone that project until after Christmas, when more houseguests arrive so plenty more baking opportunities.

                                                                                                                                                          Happy holidays, all. May all your loaves rise, crusts flake, cookies crumble (in a good way!)

                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                                            Wow miss, you are a dynamo! I feel like a piker. And the same to you!

                                                                                                                                                          2. I bought a few of the Trader Joe's sugar cookie kits last week because they were discounted to 99 cents, more than worth it for the colored sugars, icing packets, and cookie cutters, although I didn't really need any of it. You have to supply 11 tbsp butter and an egg. I defrosted 2 sticks and only when I'd finished mixing them did I realize I'd used the entire 16 Tbsp butter. So I guesstimated in adding almond meal, whole wheat pastry flour, agave nectar, and egg. This gave me a lot of dough so I froze half and made 4 dozen cookies with the other. They rolled well and baked up fine, luckily. And I feel a little better about having added some healthier ingredients to the white sugar and flour in the mix. I haven't made holiday cookies in 7-8 years and didn't realize how many sprinkles, dragees, and colored sugars I already have - apparently I bought a lot when Kitchen Etc. was going out of business. I am infamous for using "vintage" ingredients. At least these keep forever!

                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                                                              I'll tell my husband to have a look for those next time in TJ's. He gets there more often than I.

                                                                                                                                                            2. I made 4 Bundt cakes using Alice Medrich's Chestnut Pound Cake recipe; 3 cakes were given away as gifts, while the fourth was for the yummy yummy in MY tummy experience. For each pair of cakes I used 1.5 times the recipe, and added 2oz of bittersweet chocolate that I whizzed in my food processor (no fake cocoa stuff). The chocolate taste was very subtle; not enough chocolate in my opinion. The next time it will be at least 4oz.

                                                                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                                Déchets or no? Very nice with bits of candied chestnut, I'm still holding out against chocolate in these. They are super. (There's a recipe for a marron glacé pannetone in one of Nick Malgieri's books - A Baker's Tour, I think - my favourite - I keep intending to make, maybe for New Year's - Turkish chestnuts in syrup to be used).

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                  Unfortunately no déchets as I gave away the ones I was saving to my niece (who is visiting from out of town) when I realized that she had never tasted marrons glacés; she loved them. I got precious few marrons glacés from the fifty chestnuts that I bought; I will post pictures in that thread tomorrow.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                                    Perhaps they're better some years than others (the raw materials).

                                                                                                                                                              2. Well, for Christmas I baked two nice buche de noels and I made the cute little meringue mushrooms. I also, for the first time, made a crocquembuche (cream puff tower drizzled in caramel) that turned out great. Big hit. Also, the macarons that I made were a favorite. I made almond filling, pistachio filling and raspberry filling. Also baked some gingerbread men, biscotti and shortbread and last...did the pretzel rods dipped in chocolate and then dredged them in various nuts. Had lots of fun baking everything!

                                                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: jarona

                                                                                                                                                                  Except for the shortbread and the biscotti I've never made any of those things. Must do.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                                                                      I love them, must try my hand at them. Have a friend in Paris who makes them beautifully - the salted caramel one truly was to die for. He gave me some - raspberry, pistachio, and chocolate too -, and some French chocolate, in exchange for the jumbo bag of chocolate chips I brought him last time - very sought after to make the chocolate chip cookies he learned to make when he was a business school trainee in NY.

                                                                                                                                                                2. Where do you all find the time to make so much.. I made my first attempt at Ciabatta and ti took me the better part of the day. The interior was nice and holey but the bread as a whole I think was a little dried out. The crust and interior were too crisp. See my other post on the matter and post your suggestions for help.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. Pie. It's Thanksgiving again today at Chez Roxlet. We have three Egyptian guests for dinner, and that is our favorite meal to serve them. I will make a pumpkin and a pecan.

                                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                      Nice. That's pronounced Chez Rox-lay, right?

                                                                                                                                                                    2. for a dessert open house, I baked:

                                                                                                                                                                      eggnog cheesecake
                                                                                                                                                                      matcha shortbread
                                                                                                                                                                      pumpkin fleur de sel caramels
                                                                                                                                                                      matzoh crack
                                                                                                                                                                      gingerbread cupcakes with maple cream cheese frosting
                                                                                                                                                                      peppermint bark
                                                                                                                                                                      bacon fudge
                                                                                                                                                                      and brown butter rice krispy treats

                                                                                                                                                                      of all of these, I think the bacon fudge was my favorite and also the easiest.

                                                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mollyomormon

                                                                                                                                                                        How did your pumpkin caramels turn out? What's the texture like? Did you use canned pumpkin, or an extract/flavoring? I'd love to see the recipe!

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: operagirl

                                                                                                                                                                          I made them for both thanksgiving and christmas because they were such a hit the first time! It's this recipe from Food52: http://www.food52.com/recipes/7115_sa...

                                                                                                                                                                          The texture is like smooth like a typical caramel recipe would make but with just a hint of texture from the pumpkin as well as spice notes (I used my own blend of spices rather than the pumpkin pie spice recommended in the recipe). I used canned organic pumpkin from my local co-op and I think any high quality canned pumpkin would be fine. Mine did start to crystallize after 4-5 days, but very few of them lasted that long!

                                                                                                                                                                          I really, really love your blog, by the way!

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mollyomormon

                                                                                                                                                                            Wow, those look so lovely, with the toasted pumpkin seeds and all. What a brilliant idea. I think I will try making them soon -- I just bought a candy thermometer and I'm excited to use it!

                                                                                                                                                                            P.S. Thanks for visiting my blog! I'm glad you like it!

                                                                                                                                                                      2. I've never been much of a pastry cook but I've been getting a lot more practice this past year. This was the culmination of my holiday baking this year: http://eatingfloyd.blogspot.com/2010/... Extreme Deep Dish Apple Pie

                                                                                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                            Oh yeah. In spite of it's hugeness, there were no leftovers from either the Pre-Thanksgiving Practice Potluck nor T-day dinner with my son's family and in-laws despite the 5 other pies and 1 cake at the dinner. Everybody commented on loving the filling. What surprised me about the very first one I made (before the potluck and dinner ones) was the fact that even after being cut and sitting over night there was no collapse of the crust. That pie stood tall until the very last slice was gone!

                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: morwen

                                                                                                                                                                            Well! Isn't that one impressively tall pie! You know what it reminds me of? It makes me think of old british books where people go to the pub and eat something after a long carriage ride. They would cut into not a thing piece of pie, but a big, deep fatty where the apples are cinnamony and tumbling out of the encasement! Yum!
                                                                                                                                                                            Apple crack. : ) I see you were thinking the same thing as I was!
                                                                                                                                                                            I like that you put in what your additions are (to the orig. recipe).

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                                                                                                                                                              Thanks for your comments Sal! It was a delight finding them. I hope you visit regularly!

                                                                                                                                                                          3. Haven't been too busy baking, but over the Christmas break did make the Japanese cheesecake I'm very fond of, and the chestnut cookies roxlet posted in the Christmas cookie thread. If you like chestnuts, make these. Please. They are excellent. I didn't use any cinnamon in mine because I thought it would detract from the flavor. (Made 15 gm each cookies and they took about 25-30 mins to bake at 325 deg F in my oven, would go a bit smaller next time.)

                                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                              Oh, I didn't realize you had made them! So they are excellent? And taste like roasted chestnuts?

                                                                                                                                                                            2. I have some family coming to town for a post-holiday holiday celebration, so am doing some baking as gifts to them: Claudia Fleming's Guinness Stout Ginger Cake in mini loaf pans (I just discovered I am rather short on ground ginger, so will add extra fresh to compensate) and lemon poppy seed shortbread (have discovered a new go-to icebox shortbread cookie recipe that can be made quick in the food processor and flavored however). Tomorrow morning will bake my pear fudge pie to have for dessert after we feed them dinner.

                                                                                                                                                                              9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                Nice, Caitlin. Love shortbread, you can't go wrong there. (Good to the Grain just arrived, so I'll be delving into it pretty soon!)

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                  The olive oil cake with rosemary and chocolate chunks is a great way to start (and keeps v. well), and bags of spelt flour, Bob's Red Mill or Arrowhead Mills especially, are pretty easy to come by.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                    Thanks for the tips - anything else really good?

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                      I've only baked a few things so far, but there are some very positive words for a few recipes people have tried in the thread on the book: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/702840

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                        Thanks for pointing me to this. To tell the truth, I've never made an olive oil cake because the thought of 1 c oil with its almost 2000 calories puts me off, I'm glad to see that the amount can be reduced. (Why oil bothers me and not butter is a matter for the mental health professionals, I suppose.)

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                          I know exactly what you mean re the oil. It was perfect with the amount I used, however. It really does keep and stay moist, too, so you can take a slice and leave the rest for days. I really do recommend this cake, though - the flavors work so, so well together. I just remembered that I chopped the chocolate to the size she specifies, but made a note to chop it in smaller pieces next time.

                                                                                                                                                                                          For those reading along, this is the fabulous olive oil cake recipe from Good to the Grain, which I made with 3/4 cup oil and 1 cup milk: http://www.thewednesdaychef.com/the_w...

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                            If anyone is pondering making Marcella Hazan's recipe for olive oil cake I would like to dissuade you.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Love her, but I made that cake for the first and only time a few months back for a dinner party and nobody ate more than a couple bites. The next day we tried it for breakfast thinking maybe it needed to sit, and well, it is the only cake ever in the history of Casa Vanilla that we have ever tossed a cake.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                                                                                                                                                                              Very surprising. Which recipe? What olive oil dod you use?

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                              I will make this as soon as I lay hands on the spelt flour. Thanks! Lots of things look very interesting in the book. You can take the girl out of Berkeley but you can't take Berkeley entirely out of the girl.

                                                                                                                                                                                2. I've been on a major cheese cake kick including...but not limited to...Cheesecake w/Raspberry Puree; Chocolate Cheesecake; Cheesecake Brownies; and Chocolate Cream Cheese Cupcakes. And the best part is, if you forget the stupid immersion bath (and stop worrying about a few small cracks in the top) cheesecake is pretty much the easiest dessert ever.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. For a New Year's celebration tonight, made Cheddar-Parmesan gougeres and a chocolate sour cream loaf cake with mini chocolate chips and chopped toasted pecans in it, both from the Canadian Living Complets Baking Book that came out in 2008 (an excellent book, I always find something nice to make in it).
                                                                                                                                                                                    http://www.canadianliving.com/food/pr... (didn't have the prosciutto, used 1/2 c Parmesan instead
                                                                                                                                                                                    )I'll post the loaf cake recipe if peeps want it, can't find it on their website. Pics below.
                                                                                                                                                                                    HAPPY NEW YEAR ALL!

                                                                                                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                      Don't bother with the chocolate loaf cake, really not impressed. I don't like cocoa in desserts very much, this had 3/4 of a cup. Should have known.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                        On the gougeres - the recipe calls for them to be dropped by scant tablespoonfuls. I weighed a TB pf the paste - 3/4 oz - so made them all that size. Dropped them and then picked them up and rolled them into smoother balls, made them high and round when baked.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                          Too much trouble. Why not just put the batter into a pastry bag fitted with a large tip ?

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                                                            Because then I'd have to clean the bag. Need to get some of the disposables.

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. I've been baking up a storm for our New Year's Day Open House tomorrow. I made coconut pyramids dipped in semi-sweet chocolate, Maida Heatter's Charlie Brown Peanut cookies, Alice Medrich's Ginger cookies, Pecan Tassies, chocolate crinkles, and a cheese cake. By this time tomorrow, if tradition holds, there will be nothing left...

                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Since we're over 200 posts again, here's the new thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/756878
                                                                                                                                                                                          All contributions on all threads to date ardently sought.