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What are you baking these days? Part XIV/14 2/1/11 - the first anniversary edition! [old]

Believe it or not, we have been baking and sharing notes on these threads since 2/1/10. Wonder how many pounds of butter, flour, and sugar we've used in the past year?
Starting Year Two off with a bang...what ARE you baking these days?

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  1. I am going to try my hand at Polish poppy seed bread today. I couldn't find my husband's aunt's recipe, which is outstanding, so I am trying one I stumbled across on the internet. There's nothing like the smell of fresh bread in the oven on a snowy day! (Or any day really!)

    2 Replies
    1. re: arp29

      It would be nice to have the link to the recipe - if it's good! Thanks.

      1. re: buttertart

        I am here to report back on the poppy seed bread! While it was not exactly like my husband's aunt's bread, it was still quite good. It made two HUGE loaves/logs/rolls and half of the first one and a quarter of the second one is already gone (it's been out of the oven less than an hour). Instead of a poppy seed filling for the second one, I smeared the dough rectangle with butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and raisins. I can't wait to make french toast with it tomorrow!


    2. Let's see. So much snow in New England, hungry teen and hubbie = lots of baking. Over the past few weeks, I've baked oatmeal/cranberry/chocolate chip cookies, double chocolate chip cookies with dried cherries, a pineapple upside down cake, 2 blueberry cakes, a chocolate chip bundt cake, and a chocolate cherry bundt cake. Next week, maybe a lemon blueberry bundt or an apple cake. Gotta keep up with demand!

      1. I was getting ready for Chinese NY, so i made some turnip cake- well, it doesn't really belong here (?) as the cake is steamed.

        anyway, i got lots of lemons and made a double batch of lemon curd last night with some those giant duck eggs my sis gave... i'm still thinking about what i should do with them. Tart? cake layers? lb cake? scones?? humm... i hope they set up correctly, because i winged it on the eggs...

        1. I make what I call healthy bread, I start with 3 cups 100 degree water, proof some yeast in it, and carry on with whole wheat, 10 grain cereal, honey, oatmeal, and of course some white flour, and any other stuff I can find that seems good.

          1. Tomorrow...Valentine cookies:) with my grandchildren. I think some simple sugar cookies, which we'll cut out in hearts, and some craisin shortbread hearts, which are I think a Martha Stewart recipe, and come out great. Those will be the little tiny hearts (like an inch) because they are Mommy's favorite and she is dieting:)

            1. Made Ronald Johnson's apple cake (pear version) last night. My house smells delicious!

              1 Reply
              1. re: mnosyne

                I love that cake. He was just the best writer too, love his books.

              2. As well as a lifelong quest for the perfect brownie (continued tonight with the brownies from the COTM, posted http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7632...) I'm also always looking for the perfect chocolate chip cookie. I did once have a small clipping from the Boston Globe which was the closest I've found but it has vanished in the huge pile of clippings, never to be seen again.

                So in the last week I've tried two new recipes. Nigella claims to have done a lot of testing to come up with the recipe in her new book Nigella Kitchen. The first day they were good, not great but they really lost it by the second day, becoming dull and not very appealing.

                I then tried My Chocolate Chip Cookies from Alice Medrich's Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy... Cookies, which had better staying power. She recommends resting the dough overnight and it did make a difference. I baked half the dough after two hours and they were a bit too hard for my taste. The next day I baked the rest and reduced the bake time by a minute to 10 mins. These were much better, a crispy edge but a chewy center, and they were still good two days later, which is the maximum time cookies last in my house anyway, with two teenagers plus their friends.

                13 Replies
                1. re: JaneEYB

                  Lissen sister, you've tried the best, why mess with the rest? (Kidding.)

                  1. re: buttertart

                    You're right of course, but you always wonder whether there is an even better one around the corner. Sort of like the days of dating, which I'm just re-entering after 20 years absence.

                    You gave me the best brownie recipe, Nick Malgieri's Supernatural Brownies, which I still agree with you on. So what do you think is the best choc chip cookie recipe? I do wish I could find the Globe clipping, they really were good. Let that be a lesson to me, if you have a clipping you really like, type it up on your computer.

                    1. re: JaneEYB

                      I haven't made choc chip cookies in a million years, my husband (chief cookie eater) doesn't like them. I have a very nice recipe of my mother's for a chocolate chip square with brown sugar meringue topping, would you like it?

                      1. re: buttertart

                        That is very sweet of you but meringue is probably my least favorite sweet thing so I probably would end up never making them. But I'm forever in your debt for the Supernatural Brownies.

                        1. re: JaneEYB

                          This makes a firm dry coating, not a lemon pie meringue - I'm not keen on the wet ones either.

                      2. re: JaneEYB

                        Do any of these Globe recipes look like the right one?

                        Chewy chocolate chip cookies

                        Crispy chocolate chip cookies

                        Chocolate chip cookies

                        Harbor View chocolate chip cookies


                        1. re: JaneEYB

                          People I know who have made them seem to swear by the Jacques Torres/NYT chocochip recipe.

                          1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                            Thank you so much toveggiegirl for sending those links. I had done that search on the Globe site myself and none of them seemed right (though I'm going to try them anyway). The clipping was a really small recipe (about 2" square), with the ingredients not spaced out on separate lines, no picture. I'm hoping someone else also clipped it, and didn't manage to lose it like me.

                            And thanks for the Jacques Torres rec. burgeoningfoodie. There is a recipe in the COTM "The Essential NYT Cookbook" that "draws heavily on one of Jacques Torres's recipes" so I'll try that one.

                            1. re: JaneEYB

                              Do you have an approximate date for the Globe recipe?
                              And, the Torres recipe is great. There are multiple versions out there; make sure you use on that requires refrigerating the dough for at least a day. It makes all the difference!

                              1. re: toveggiegirl

                                I SWEAR BY THE TORRES RECIPE with every organ in my body. 100%--it is exceptional. Actually I also brown the butter. That is the 1 absolute must-do adaption to the Torres recipe. And use an ice cream scooper to scoop the cookies!

                              2. re: JaneEYB

                                Well I've lived in the USA for 12 years so I know it was after 1999. And I haven't had the recipe for about 4 years. So some time between 1999 and 2007. Bit vague I'm afraid.

                                The Torres recipe in the Essential NYT Cookbook doesn't brown the butter, or even melt it, so I'll have to hunt around for your version GraceW unless you have a link. In the ENYTC version he uses 1.25 lbs of chocolate feves which seem huge to me - is that what you use? Don't know how the recipe could be called chocolate chip cookies.

                                1. re: JaneEYB

                                  I just brown it (because I want it that way) and I also use whatever chocolate chunks/chips I have--not the feves, but otherwise I follow the recipe.

                                  1. re: GraceW

                                    I made the version of Torres choc chip cookies in The Essential New York Times Cookbook. I rested the dough as suggested. These were OK cookies but they aren't going into my Hall of Fame in my search for the perfect cookie. I didn't follow the recipe exactly which may not have helped. I used regular choc chips rather than feves, which I felt would be far too large. I also reduced the size of the cookies by half (6" cookies seemed totally OTT) and reduced the baking time accordingly.

                                    The reasons I won't be making these again: Cookies too flat. Dough too salty and I didn't even sprinkle the top with sea salt as suggested. 1.5 teaspoons of coarse salt means you are always aware of salt on your taste buds as you eat the cookie. I like salt but I didn't want it to be this prominent in a choc chip cookie.

                                    So the quest goes on!

                      3. Just baked an apple pie today (amended Jamie Oliver's recipe a bit), but I have been baking a lot of cupcakes and muffins lately.

                        1. I made scones today and froze most of the unbaked ones.
                          For Lunar New Year, I am baking pineapple squares, chocolate chip cookies (I stopped making these, but got requests for them), baked coconut mochi cake. I want to make a sponge mousse cake, but my family might think it's overkill.
                          For Valentines, I want to make heart shaped version of circus animal cookies.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: Eat.Choui

                            You'd be a good person to ask - would something homemade be appropriate for me to give our new Chinese neigbors for guonian??? They did us a huge favor just after they moved in and I'd like to show appreciation.

                            1. re: buttertart

                              Yes! Homemade gifts are getting scarce for the New Year, since the pace of life is definitely more hurried here than in other countries, that it is most definitely welcomed. Dried fruits and tea are also great gifts. Next year, I'll attempt to make my own dried fruits for the Lunar New Year.

                              1. re: Eat.Choui

                                Tea is my least favourite thing to receive. I have a whole cupboard full of tea gifts we have received, and will probably not use most of them.

                            2. re: Eat.Choui

                              I'm making a batch of scones. One of my favorites - Zuni's orange and current scones.


                            3. Ice storm shut-in...nice feeling...maybe souschef's madeleine variation with chestnut flour today.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: buttertart

                                Ice storm? I was in Joisey once during an "ice storm". Lots of warnings about ice on the turnpike, but there was nothing. You should have been here during the '98 ice storm; now that was a major one. You can still see the effects here (downed trees that have not been cleared).

                                Light dusting of snow here today - only about 6 inches.

                                Please post back here or in the madeleine thread how they turn out. BTW many years ago I found an artisanal chestnut liqueur. I should see if I can find it again.

                                1. re: souschef

                                  I remember that storm very well, we have friends in way upstate NY - across from Cornwall, that far upstate - and they lost a lot of trees. This one was just inconveniencing. No downed wires etc in our area.
                                  Chestnut madeleines have not yet been confected, I was reminded we have 2 kinds of cookies and the almond cake going. I have a big pot of apples cooking to make apple butter as a consolation prize.

                              2. Will be trying my hand at the Ciabatta recipe found most recently on Michael Ruhlman's website as well as making and storing Peter Reinhart's Neo-Neopolitan Pizza Dough. May try to make my first cake later by trying the Baked Boys Apple Cake with Caramel Frosting or maybe finding the recipe for Malgieri's brownies and bringing those to Super Bowl Saturday. Would love to find some good and easy (and healthy) recipes for Chinese New Years.

                                3 Replies
                                    1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                      All in the service of spreading the good word.

                                1. This week's cake was supposed to be a red velvet for the bf's superbowl party, but turns out he'll be away travelling so I've got an opening for a different recipe. I've got a jar of ginger curd I need to use up - any suggestions? It's reasonably sweet but incredibly spicy and gingery. It would be far too much to go with a gingerbread or other spiced cake, so I'm wondering about a lemon sponge filled with mascarpone and curd?

                                  6 Replies
                                  1. re: gembellina

                                    Nigella has a lemon meringue cake which I've made with both lemon curd and lime curd. It's really quick and easy to make and looks and tastes great. I'm thinking it would work well with ginger curd and mascarpone, maybe lightened a bit with whipped cream.

                                    1. re: JaneEYB

                                      Are corn flower and corn starch one in the same?

                                    2. re: gembellina

                                      I love the "cake of the week" idea:) And lemon sponge filled with ginger curd and mascarpone sounds so good. Sadly I think it would amount to way more WW points that I am allowed to have. But please if you do end up making it report back....I'd love to hear how it turned out.

                                      1. re: sunflwrsdh

                                        It's on the back burner for the moment, but I think the jar is big enough to make the meringue pie as suggested by Jane, and the sponge. Thinning the meringue pie filling with whipped cream is a masterstroke as it's just so intense on its own!

                                    3. With all the snow/ice/winter misery, nothing cheers us up like something fresh from the oven.
                                      Today started with homemade waffle - Alton Brown's recipe. Then chocolate chip Kamish Bread (a version of mandel bread). I may go further and make cinnamon rolls for breakfast tomorrow since I have left over homemade pizza dough that works well for them. I've also made a baked oatmeal with blueberries that works well for breakfast when reheated and served with plain yogurt.

                                      1. These days...

                                        Every Sunday I bake off a loaf of bread for the coming week.

                                        This past Monday I made some awesome dried cherry and walnut biscotti, half dipped in chocolate. Goes wonderfully with my morning espresso.

                                        5 Replies
                                            1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                              If you're at all interested in the recipe, I found it online.
                                              I just subbed the cherries for cranberries and walnuts for the pistachio (trying to use up what I already have onhand).


                                              There's some really excellent recipes on that site.


                                              1. re: Novelli

                                                Funny--I made cranberry-pistachio over the holidays, but I'm now ready to try your version--and dipped in dark chocolate, yes. Thanks!

                                          1. Blondies (see below -- use dark brown sugar) that are butterscotch*y blondie perfection, and Deborah Madison's Little Nut Cookie. I have been making the cookies with walnuts. Next I want to try the variation with a little espresso powder.

                                            I would like to revisit Nigella's dense chocolate loaf cake. Decadent, delicious, better the 2nd day after baking, even better the 3rd.

                                            **************I want to make a batch of childhood favorites, a no-bake cookie recipe from my mom with chocolate and peanut butter and crunched up cereal this month. Anyone else make something on that idea?

                                            These are the blondies -- again, I go for the dark brown sugar (more butterscoch-y) and I skip the nuts


                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: twilight goddess

                                              No bakes are hugely popular here. I usually make mine w/ oatmeal thereby making it 'healthy'. He He!

                                              1. re: twilight goddess

                                                Just tried something new -- a variation on the blondies. I added 2 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder (after mixing the melted butter with the sugar and vanilla). Mmmmm. They're even better now, and so so easy.

                                              2. I baked some whole wheat/semolina crackers last weekend. Used the 101 Cookbooks recipe but halved the salt and grated some Piave Vecchio cheese on top before baking. Next time, I'd halve the recipe -- three cups of flour makes A LOT of crackers.

                                                1. I'm going to be a bit ambitious and try before Sunday night to make

                                                  Pizza Dough, Ciabatta, Schaum Torte and maybe one other item.. Maybe the meringue cake (listed on this thread), Super Natural Brownies or the Poppyseed Roll that arp29 mentioned . I don't think I'm going make a full out cake yet as I have a lot of other things needing to be done and these don't seem overly time consuming.

                                                  1. Was just minded of this..."Marge! It's 3 am! Shouldn't you be baking?" - HS
                                                    Cracks me up every time I think of it.

                                                    1. Down with a cold and feeling kind of crappy, but I wanted to replenish the corn muffins, which are my son's favorite breakfast recently. I use The Best Recipe recipe, and they do come out perfectly. My son eats them with this wonderful strawberry jam we get at Briermier farms on LI. The ingredients list strawberries and sugar. Period. And the jam is filled with these delicious tiny strawberries. Together with the muffins, it's pretty irresistible.

                                                      5 Replies
                                                      1. re: roxlet

                                                        Recipe for corn muffins, please ........when you are feeling better roxlet. BTW is a roxlet a small roxy ?

                                                        1. re: souschef

                                                          Nope -- roxlet is a combo of an old nickname and part of my last name.

                                                          1. re: roxlet

                                                            Those muffins and that combo sound dreamy. You spoil that boy! ;-) Hope you feel better soon, M is under the weather with it too.

                                                          2. re: souschef

                                                            Corn Muffins

                                                            In one bowl mix:
                                                            2 cups AP flour
                                                            1 cup stone ground cornmeal
                                                            1 1/2 tsp baking powder
                                                            1 tsp baking soda
                                                            1/2 tsp salt

                                                            In another bowl:
                                                            Beat 2 eggs, add
                                                            3/4 cup sugar
                                                            8 tablespoons melted butter cooled slightly and added in 3 additions beating after each
                                                            3/4 cup sour cream. Beat half in alternating with
                                                            1/2 cup of milk

                                                            Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix with a spatula until just combined.
                                                            Use a large ice cream scoop to fill 12 muffins using cupcake papers or spray with Baker's Joy. Bake for about 18 minutes at 400F, switching the pan back to front after 9 minutes. Remove to a wire rack and let cool.

                                                            I freeze these and they thaw in a microwave at about 45 second.

                                                            1. re: roxlet

                                                              Sound great, sour cream makes everything better. Thanks for this, roxlet!

                                                        2. I made a some bread dough (just a simple one made of fresh yeast, water, bread flour, durum wheat, olive oil and salt), baked one bread of half and saved the rest in the fridge for pizza later

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: L987

                                                            I do that a lot, or make pizza and hold part of the dough to add to bread dough the next day.

                                                          2. I've got pinapple-coconut muffins in the oven right now. OMG, smells heavenly. Joanne Chang Fine Cooking, Feb 2006

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. Croissants! Well, I attempted them. I did sort of give up on shaping. This was my first time ever working with laminated dough...and I have a warm kitchen and little counter space. Cue melted butter everywhere even though I kept chilling the dough. I figured it was better to use the dough to make something incorrectly shaped then try and carry on shaping correctly and end up having to throw everything out because the dough turned into an unsalvageable melted butter mess. Still I was pretty happy that it didn't end in total disaster and I got a nice light flaky texture and all the layers in the dough since it was my first experience with lamination.
                                                              I don't know if it was the recipe I used but they were actually far TOO buttery and if I made them again I would probably reduce the amount. I took one bite and couldn't eat any more. I think they're best saved for a morning when you're really hungry, so they're in the freezer now.
                                                              And I also made a sweet potato/semolina flour flatbread to use up leftover potato and flour and it was delicious, I'd love to try another version with dill or rosemary in the dough.

                                                              4 Replies
                                                              1. re: Slowdive

                                                                I'd love to see your flatbread recipe!

                                                                1. re: operagirl

                                                                  I pretty much just loosely scaled down this recipe for the 3/4 cup of potato I had on hand, replaced half of the flour with semolina flour, and omitted the olive oil (because I totally spaced and forgot it) http://www.buttercreambarbie.com/2010...
                                                                  I let it rise overnight in the fridge though, and baked it as a small flat round instead of in a sheet pan because it was a small amount of dough. Also I used one of the "white" sweet potatoes, not the bright orange ones.

                                                                  1. re: Slowdive

                                                                    Both your croissants and your flatbread sound amazing!

                                                                    1. re: sunflwrsdh

                                                                      Would have been better if they were actually croissants but hey, I've heard of much worse failures when attempting laminated dough! And that chick's focaccia recipe is great, I actually made the full recipe tonight but added a bunch of dill, rosemary and roasted garlic to the dough. Food like that is what the word "mouthgasm" was invented for.

                                                              2. Nothing today...a cleaning and shopping and errands day for me. Tomorrow, thinking about two recipes from Cooking Light....Macadamia Butter Cookies (in which you actually make a butter out of the macadamias....yum! and they have craisins!) and Lemon Polenta Cake with winter fruit compote. Later in the week, chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting and sprinkles for my grandduaghter's 5th birthday.

                                                                1. E just decided late this afternoon it would be nice to have a dessert when we get back from watching the Super Bowl tomorrow, so I decided on a double-layer banana cake. Warning ahead: Not from scratch. Had to do something quick so I cheated with boxed cake mix. It's from the Cake Doctor, and includes yellow cake mix plus oil, eggs, water, crème de banana liqueur, mashed bananas, cinnamon, and brown sugar. Hope it comes out good, it smells fantastic. I'm thinking chocolate-coffee frosting.

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Rubee

                                                                    That sounds delicious. I've been really into banana desserts lately.

                                                                    1. re: krisrishere

                                                                      It came out well, moist and nice banana flavor. E already wants me to add it to the rotation, especially since it's so easy and I always have ripe bananas in the freezer.

                                                                      To box of yellow cake mix (I used one with vanilla pudding in the mix), add 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 2 ripe mashed bananas, 1 cup of water, 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 3 large eggs, and 2 teaspoons crème de banana liqueur.

                                                                  2. Because of the diet that my husband and I have been on since September, I really haven't had the opportunity to bake. Today, however, is a different story. I polled the husband about what dessert he would love to have with his Super Bowl chili tonight and it was a toss up between brownies and cheesecake...so I'll do both! I'll make brownies with cheesecake batter swirled in and to finish, I raspberry drizzle for on top.

                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                    1. re: krisrishere

                                                                      I love cheesecake brownies, must make some soon.

                                                                      1. re: krisrishere

                                                                        Here's a picture of the cheesecake brownies. So cute and delicious.

                                                                      2. Question: Does anyone have a killer oatmeal cookie recipe? We had a nice lunch out yesterday and were given a big chocolate chunk cookie as a thank-you parting thing. My husband said that he really wished it had been oatmeal (man-speak for why don't you make some oatmeal cookies, dear). I make Peg Bracken's aggression cookies sometimes but would be v interested in hearing about your
                                                                        favo(u)rites. Thank you kindly.

                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                            Hi everyone,

                                                                            Nice to meet you all!

                                                                            I like the Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies recipe that's inside the top of the Quaker Oatmeal canister.

                                                                            Check your lid though... I think they *might* have changed the recipe. For the original version, use 1 cup of butter.

                                                                            I use a small dipper to portion them out. Works great!

                                                                            As for what I baked today. Two pineapple upside-down cakes.


                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                              Sorry, BT. I bake them occasionally for my husband, using an Ina Garten recipe. But as I'm not a fan of oatmeal cookies, I'm not much of a judge. And DH isn't either as he likes any and all oatmeal cookies, good or bad.

                                                                          2. For Valentines day next week, I will be making the Jacques Torres cookies. Typically I make one batch but divide the batter in 4 parts. The first section I put chocolate chips in, the second I mix in peanut butter and chocolate chips, the next I put in oatmeal and raisins, and finally either M&Ms or whatever candy I have.

                                                                            Also, it is roundabout my sister's birthday, and I think that I will make those peanut butter balls that my grandma usually makes for Christmas.. they have paraffin wax in them.. my grandparents are old now and forgot to make them for Christmas. Typically my whole family goes nuts for them; my sister and I even snag the tin of them and eat them at midnight while watching a Christmas Story. Well, when they didn't make them this year, we all silently were sad. I intend to make them for her and send them to her (at college). If anyone recognizes this.. and knows the recipe that would be great. I do not want to ask my grandparents this close to Christmas because they will realize we noticed the cookies were missing (BIG TIME) and feel bad. They might be what the world knows as "Buckeyes" but I am not sure.

                                                                            I also will probably make Cookie dough filled cupcakes for the student-group that I sponsor on Valentines as well.

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: GraceW

                                                                              If they're what my husband's great-aunt used to make, they are Buckeyes - the paraffin is in the chocolate, correct?

                                                                            2. I got 2 huge bags of lemons from my next door neighbor.

                                                                              Tonite I'm making lemon bars, mmmmmmm

                                                                              1. Baked from two COTM recipes this weekend: whiskey cake and "flat-and-chewy" CC cookies (both reported on COTM thread). We liked both.

                                                                                1. I had a surfeit of ripe bananas and somehow banana bread has not been met with enthusiasm in recent times. Instead, I decided to make a banana cake. The recipe I used is Best and Easiest Banana Cake from Malgieri's How to Bake. The DH snickered when he saw the title of this one. Anyway, it has just come out of the oven in all its golden deliciousness. I will report on actual flavor anon. BTW -- buttertart -- remember when I mentioned that Malgieri's sour cream coffee cake didn't have salt in its ingredients? This one didn't either, so I guess it's not a typo. I put a little in anyway.

                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                                                    I just tasted this, and it's another win for a Malgieri recipe. He suggests serving the banana cake with whipped cream, but I decide to cut the sheet cake in half and fill and frost with dark chocolate ganache. It is really delicious with this cake.

                                                                                    1. re: roxlet

                                                                                      Yes - I thought his recipes all had salt in them, but I would certainly add it myself too. I'm sure the old books invclude salt, maybe some kind of misbegotten lowering salt idea...ps I can imagine the snicker...

                                                                                      1. re: buttertart


                                                                                        (Just obliging you, Buttertart).

                                                                                    2. This week's disaster was Nigella's night and day cupcakes. I'm going to stop following her recipes, and just use her for inspiration, I think. Anyway these are supposedly intensely sweet brown sugar and cocoa sponges, with cream cheese and lemon frosting - dark and light, night and day. However the sponge wasn't really chocolately enough for me, and would have benefitted from all-brown sugar, rather than the dark-golden combo. The frosting was far too wet and ran everywhere. Will attempt them again in a few weeks with a tweak here and there.

                                                                                      Coming up is the famous Supernatural brownies I keep hearing about - cut into hearts for valentines day! Just one question: does anyone know approx how much a tablespoon of butter weighs?

                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: gembellina

                                                                                          Have you tried Nigella's dense chocolate loaf cake? I like the sound of those cupcakes -- the light and dark. Too bad they didn't dazzle.

                                                                                          1. re: twilight goddess

                                                                                            I haven't, but that's another one that sounds good. Have you had success with it?

                                                                                            1. re: gembellina

                                                                                              I have had success with Nigella's dense chocolate loaf cake. It's nothing fancy, but very moist and chocolatey!

                                                                                        2. I made the empanadas in Nick Malgieri's book Bake! and they were delicious. His recipe for quick puff pastry is superb, was surprisingly easy to make and work with and baked up beautifully. The empanada filling was really good too - I made the recipe exactly the way it appears in the book - and the empanadas were everything I was hoping they would be. Definitely a keeper and now I'm going to try the other recipes in the book that use the puff pastry.

                                                                                          1. I made grapefruit bars (like lemon bars) last night. We're a big grapefruit family, and these were a fun twist. Need to make them a bit more grapefruity, though.

                                                                                            Over the weekend I also made the bittersweet decadence cookies from Alice Medrich's Chewy Gooey book (or whatever it's called.) They're super rich and amazing. And sadly, they're now all gone.

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. I have a lemon tree with tons of lemon. So far I've made lemon bars, lemon chiffon cake with lemon curd. lemon-hazelnut kisses from Cook's Country. still have tons more. Any suggestions on other lemony treats I can make?

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: Eat.Choui

                                                                                                French tarte au citron, or a lemon pudding cake. What a wonderful "problem" to have, EC!

                                                                                              2. i recently made a birthday cake using rose levy beranbaum's recipes - the chocolate fudge cake from the cake bible and the caramel ganache from rose's heavenly cakes. wow!!! the cake is so fudgy and the ganache was perfection - so smooth and shiny with deep chocolate flavor and not too sweet. a very grown up cake. i used a salted butter caramel for the filling. heavenly indeed.

                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. re: tastycakes

                                                                                                  That sounds absolutely too, too good. Her recipes are fun to mix and match like that.

                                                                                                2. I am having a Valentines party: therefore, today I made Rocky Road Brownies, strawberry cupcakes, and snickerdoodles. I am baked-out

                                                                                                  1. Way too many green olives in the fridge has resulted in:

                                                                                                    Green olive focaccia, slathered with olive oil, herbes de Provence, and coarse sea salt before baking. Cut into palm-sized squares and split, it makes amazing turkey, roasted red pepper, and fresh basil sandwiches (with a light scraping of mayo on one slice).

                                                                                                    Olive and asiago cheese bread; I wanted something similar to the French olive and ham loaf hors-d'oeuvre, but yeast-raised instead of baking powder-raised. I used a Sally Lunn recipe as the base, but got cold feet and put in too much flour...came out more like challah. Needs tweaking, but tastes promising!

                                                                                                    1. I'm going to try my hand at making mint flavored marshmallows and use those to make s'mores and some mint hot chocolate.

                                                                                                      1. I sent the girls to school today with Lemon sour cream sugar cookies and Chocolate cupcakes decorated with buttercream and royal icing hearts.

                                                                                                        I still have some sugar cookie dough so I think I might bake some for DH and cover them with a lemon glaze.

                                                                                                        8 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: flourgirl

                                                                                                            Thanks! This was my second attempt using homemade royal icing. Next time I think I'll make the flood icing a bit thinner - getting the red to swirl took some doing,

                                                                                                            In your avatar are those heart shaped scones or? They look fantastic : )

                                                                                                            1. re: maplesugar

                                                                                                              I don't work with royal icing that often but I know it's not that easy getting the right consistency.

                                                                                                              And thanks, those are sour cherry pocket pies. I got the idea from the williams-sonoma website (there's a recipe on the site as well) but I used my own cutters (as opposed to their pocket pie cutter) and a dough recipe from rose levy beranbaum.

                                                                                                              1. re: flourgirl

                                                                                                                Yes, those are beautiful. I wish they were in my class! A student brought me some cookies--to be honest, they were not at all sweet. They tasted like pancakes, but I was overjoyed to get them! It is the thought that counts. And I am sure everyone at school was overjoyed to get your cookies as well.

                                                                                                          2. re: maplesugar

                                                                                                            Gorgeous. Your girls must surely have the prettiest cookies in the school!

                                                                                                            1. re: maplesugar

                                                                                                              I still have some of the sour cream sugar cookie dough leftover and well I don't need any more temptation lying around the house. I was thinking of freezing it and using it to bake Easter cookies -- any thoughts on whether to freeze the dough or bake then freeze and how long it'll keep?

                                                                                                              Thanks :)

                                                                                                              1. re: maplesugar

                                                                                                                Freeze the dough, and bake it later. I think cookie dough does better frozen and defrosted before baking than baked cookies do if they're frozen more than a couple of weeks. I wouldn't freeze it a very long time, but well wrapped, I think it will be fine until Easter.

                                                                                                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                  I'll keep this in mind for next time. We had company this weekend and I baked the rest and topped them with the lemon glaze from Ina Garten's Lemon Loaf Cake. DH who is a total lemon fanatic was in heaven : )

                                                                                                            2. Today I made David Lebovitz's chocolate chocolate chip cookies from Ready for Dessert. The jury is still out. My chocoholic son thought that they were maybe too chocolaty. The dough takes a full pound of dark chocolate plus two cups of chocolate chips. Maybe we'll be more in love tomorrow. I also made Sherry Yard's lemon tart in a base of pate sucre. The jury might be out on this as well since I didn't completely follow the directions for the Pate Sucre, which requires TWO four hour resting periods. Clearly this should have been begun yesterday. The pate sucre is crust is blind baked, and then the lemon/egg mixture is poured in and it is further baked. At this point, I was on the phone to my son's coach in Egypt, and got distracted and left he whole thing in too long, so we'll see how it tastes an I'll have to reserve final judgement until I make it again. So, a sort of frustrating and not so successful day of baking it seems.

                                                                                                              6 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                Roxlet, shouldn't you tell "His Highness" that there is no such thing as too chocolatey ?

                                                                                                                1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                  Yes,"his highness" is absolutely the correct designation. It does surprise me because he is a true chocolate gourmet. It has to be dark chocolate for him, and I was surprised he didn't flip for these cookies since they were 100% dark and bittersweet cookies. I'll see if my house guests like them today. Otherwise, it's off to the squash club with them tonight. They devour anything!

                                                                                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                    All is not lost! The house guests LOVE the cookies, and my son adored the lemon tart even though I thought it slightly over baked.

                                                                                                                    1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                      Great. I pity certain people's future wife-to-be with the high culinary standards you've instilled...

                                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                        Unless of course his mom teaches him how to do it himself.

                                                                                                                        1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                          Oh, yes! He was baking with me over the Christmas break, but is too busy with school and sports right now I fear!

                                                                                                              2. Yesterday I made heart shaped sugar cookies with a light cream cheese frosting some tinted pink, and some white frosted, all decorated with sprinkles, and the help of both grandchildren. (ages 2, and 5) Also tried to make Martha Stewart's craisin shortbread hearts with a teeny tiny heart cutter (like maybe 1/2 inch) to make them lighter in calories....not my best work...they were a little doughy, undercooked, which I didn't figure out until I had already cut several and then it was too late. I also used lite butter which I think affected the taste and texture adversely. Oh, well, live and learn. Sadly I had made them for Christmas and they came out perfect! Chocolate dipped strawberries were a Valentine's day hit at my house though:)

                                                                                                                1. Yesterday I made macarons for the first time. Just after I was done I said that might be the last time I'd make them, as they involve many steps and many dishes, but already I've started thinking of other kinds I want to make, lol. I made pale pink ones with raspberry preserves and natural/cream-colored ones with dark chocolate ganache. Yum.

                                                                                                                  1. Ricotta Orange Pound Cake – Giada De Laurentiis, Giada’s Kitchen New Italian Favorites – p. 188

                                                                                                                    When I first purchased this book I immediately flagged this recipe as a “must try” and its taken me almost 3 years to finally get to it!!

                                                                                                                    Giada suggests it be served w strawberries tossed in sugar however I just served it straight up. While the cake may be nice with some fruit, it certainly doesn’t need it, as it is just fabulous on its own.

                                                                                                                    This is the first time I’ve made a cake w ricotta other than a cheesecake. Prep is very simple. Flour, baking powder and salt are mixed together and set aside. Butter, ricotta and sugar are mixed together ‘til fluffy then eggs are added one at a time before adding vanilla, orange zest and Amaretto. I decided to skip the Amaretto and instead, added an equal amount of orange juice. Dry ingredients are incorporated w the wet and then the mixture is poured into a loaf pan and baked for 45-50 minutes. In my case it took 60 mins for the tester to come out clean. I wish I could bottle the aroma of this cake baking . . . heavenly!!

                                                                                                                    This is an absolutely wonderful, moist cake with a tender crumb. It is dense but not heavy feeling at all. I’m fairly confident that over-beating caused the crack in the top of the cake, as I got distracted cleaning muddy dog feet while the cake was mixing!!

                                                                                                                    It may have taken me 3 years to make this but I doubt it will take 3 weeks before I make it again! I’d highly recommend this cake. It would be lovely on a brunch spread.

                                                                                                                    10 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                      I love cakes like this. I'm definitely going to try it.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                        Looks delicious. This is the kind of cake I love but hate to have around because I'll eat the whole thing!

                                                                                                                        1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                          Lucky for me I have a skinny 10 yr old boy and a very large husband who help me avoid that fate. :) Otherwise I'd be as big as a house.

                                                                                                                          1. re: gembellina

                                                                                                                            Thanks everyone. This really is a delicious cake and it doesn't seem to suffer at all for being stored in the refrigerator. I'm making another one on Saturday to take as a hostess gift. I'm so happy to have found this recipe.

                                                                                                                            It's also on the Food Network Website so I've pasted a link here in case anyone wants to try it:


                                                                                                                            1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                              I am so all over that! Thank you Breadcrumbs!

                                                                                                                          2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                            Made this last night - looks and smells amazing! And mine took about 60 mins too. Unfortunately my loaf tin was a bit too small and I had some leakage issues, but that meant i had little drop-cakes cooking on the baking sheet below so it wasn't that unfortunate after all! I brought it to work today but someone already beat me to it with cupcakes, I'm hoping it will keep well til tomorrow all wrapped up. Thanks for the recipe!

                                                                                                                            1. re: gembellina

                                                                                                                              So glad it turned out well gembellina! I found it kept wonderfully and stayed very moist. I'm sure your co-workers will be delighted!!

                                                                                                                              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                "Best cake yet", according to eater-in-chief/my boss! Highly recommend this recipe.

                                                                                                                                1. re: gembellina

                                                                                                                                  Wonderful gembellina! Maybe you should sieze the moment and ask for a raise!!! ; )

                                                                                                                          3. Made an olive oil and rosemary chiffon cake with my sweetie for Valentine's Day. Moist, light and tasty and Weight Watchers friendly.

                                                                                                                            1. Not a whole lotta bakin' goin' on chez nous lately (too much stuff already made and me a bit poorly), but last night made white chocolate / marron glacé pote de creme in the pots I bought with wedding money back in the dark ages...4 oz white choc, 6 egg yolks, 1 c heavy cream, dribble of almond extract, 1 tsp vanilla - melt the white choc in 4c glass measure in the mw (2 mins on full), stir up, whisk into already-whisked egg yolks, add extracts and a dash of salt, strain through fine-meshed sieve back into pitcher, pour into 6 pots de creme (about 4 oz capacity) in which you've put a few crumbles (souschef: déchets) of marrons glacés, bake in hot water bath 20 mins (should have been 25, the bottoms were a bit creamy - but soooo good, especially in bed with a short pour of Sauternes).

                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                Sounds yummy, even though I don't like white chocolate. DId you use the Turkish marrons?

                                                                                                                                Hooray for buttertart; she believes in straining stuff.

                                                                                                                                1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                  Yes I did. This has to be strained, gets all the oogly bits (chalazae) out of it.
                                                                                                                                  It's based on the one in the JC "French Chef" pb book I've had for ages (which uses chocolate chips, 2 eggs plus 2 yolks, and rum or other booze). The yolks only make it taste gorgeous (non-eggy) and the most glorious pale yellow, like Jersey cream.

                                                                                                                              2. Made the famous Supernatural brownies at the weekend. It might be heresy, but I wasn't that thrilled. In fairness to NM, I may have overcooked them as my pan was slightly bigger than 9x13 so they were only about 1in thick. I cooked them for about 25 mins but maybe it was still too much - ever so slightly too cakey.

                                                                                                                                This weekend I'll finally be using the ginger curd I've mentioned before, in a tart with the first forced rhubarb from my mum's garden. I'm thinking some kind of hazelnut crust... If I have time on Sunday, I might have a bash at Breadcrumbs' orange ricotta loaf - I want some now!

                                                                                                                                1. A few days ago I made Hasselnuss Spritzgebäck from the International Cookie Cookbook by Nancy Baggett, but I used pistachios instead of hazelnuts, and skipped the chocolate decoration. Very buttery, light, and tasty.

                                                                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                    Oooh. I have that book. I'll take a look!

                                                                                                                                    1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                      souschef's been after me to make those for the longest, must do so.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                        I've just rubbed the skins off of 5 oz. of toasted hazelnuts for souschef's wonderful Chocolate Fig cake ... should I bake these cookies instead? recipe, please?
                                                                                                                                        I am back in baking-mode; Mom is recovering and her 24/7 home care program is lighter.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Cynsa

                                                                                                                                          For the dear, indefatigable Cynsa, here is the recipe, but despite how nice these cookies are, the chocolate fig cake is on another level. So, bake the cake !

                                                                                                                                          CHOCOLATE-GLAZED HAZELNUT SPRITZ WAFERS
                                                                                                                                          (Hasselnuss Spritzgebäck )

                                                                                                                                          70 gm whole hazelnuts
                                                                                                                                          1-1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
                                                                                                                                          100 gm sugar
                                                                                                                                          1 large egg
                                                                                                                                          1-1/4 tsp vanilla extract (plain or the Ina variety)
                                                                                                                                          1/8 tsp salt (for buttertart and roxy)
                                                                                                                                          180 gm AP flour

                                                                                                                                          CHOCOLATE GLAZE
                                                                                                                                          30 gm unsweetened chocolate
                                                                                                                                          30 gm semisweet chocolate
                                                                                                                                          1/4 tsp solid shortening

                                                                                                                                          Toast the nuts in a 325 oven ,16 to 20 minutes. I Allow to cool, then rub off the skins. If you are Cynsa, you have done this already. Take them for a test drive in your food processor till finely ground.

                                                                                                                                          Reset oven to 350.
                                                                                                                                          Beat butter till light. Add sugar and beat again, till fluffy. Add egg, vanilla, and salt and beat till uniform. Add flour gradually till uniform (again). Fold in the nuts.

                                                                                                                                          Place dough in a pastry bag armed with a star or 3/8 inch diameter tip. Pipe on parchment-lined baking sheets, in 2-inch strips, about 1-1/2 inches apart. Bake in centre of oven 9-11 min, or till edges begin to brown. Remove sheet from oven and let stand 1 minute, then transfer to wire rack. Note: they are very fragile.

                                                                                                                                          For glaze, throw all of the stuff into a double boiler, until melted and smooth. With a spoon, drizzle lines across each cookie and allow to set.

                                                                                                                                          May be stored for 3-4 days in an airtight container.

                                                                                                                                          Makes 40-45 delicious cookies.


                                                                                                                                          1) I found the dough very stiff and hard to pipe, but then I don't have the forearm of a Rambo. I think that the 3/8 inch star tip is a typo and should be 3/4 inch. That would be more in line with the picture, which shows wider cookies than I got. I last made these ages ago, and forgot this detail.

                                                                                                                                          2) Baked as specified, the cookies look rather pale, so I also baked a bunch for 15 minutes or so, till they acquired a nice brown colour. I took both to my favourite chocolate shop here (where I know the owner) and we did a taste test. The consensus was that while the browner cookies looked better, the paler ones tasted better.

                                                                                                                                          3) I have never made the glaze, so don't know how well it works. Personally I find it irritating when I see a recipe that specifies unsweetened and semisweet chocolate.

                                                                                                                                          What's with this darn CH editor? It skips all over the place when editing. Also, the latest posts on this thread that I looked at on my iPhone (and which came up as read) subsequently showed up as unread on my computer. CH fixed what was not broken.

                                                                                                                                  2. Mocha walnut cookies -- Today I made another batch of Deborah Madison's Little Nut Cookies, the mocha variation (a couple of ounces chopped up dark chocolate and 1 tsp instant espresso powder in with the batter). EVEN BETTER. YES. even. better.

                                                                                                                                    1. Feeling like an abject failure in the baking department these days. DH mentioned a longing for pineapple-upside down cake, one of the things his mother (who hated cooking) baked that he really loved. So this past weekend, I got out one of my heart-shaped pans and made one, using a nice recipe that I'd used before and liked. Only I accidentally threw out the juice drained from the pineapple, the liquid stipulated in this particular recipe. Since it is used in many other PUC recipes, I used milk, which I can't imagine had anything to do with the failure. The cake was beautiful, its top/bottom studded w/dried cranberries, and the dark rum in the recipe gave off a wonderful aroma. But several hours later, when we cut into it, the whole center of the cake was still runny. It was seriously under-baked. (Funny thing is, as the uncut cake was sitting looking beautiful, my mom showed up. Having heard DH reminisce about his mom's cake, she decided to surprise him with one. I felt really bad as it took some of the bang out of her surprise to see the one I' d made, but as I told her later, it turned out to be most fortunate that she'd made another.)

                                                                                                                                      Then, for last night's V-day dinner, I made a lemon tart topped w/raspberries and whipped cream in my other (favorite) asymmetrical heart-shaped pan. In the same oven in which I undercooked the PUcake, I managed to overcook the tart shell, which then broke into three pieces as I was transferring it to a plate. So we had Broken Heart Tart for dessert. Noone seemed to mind, but I think I need to lay off desserts for a bit.

                                                                                                                                      12 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                        I just went through a bad baking jag myself. One failure after another. It was driving me crazy and seriously undermining my confidence. Part of my problem was an oven that was seriously out of calibration, I knew about it & was compensating, but it just wasn't working anymore. I was under the impression that I needed to get a repair person in to fix it & kept putting off what I knew was going to be a fairly large bill for an apparently easy fix. I finally googled the issue & found out I could fix it myself. Thank goodness.

                                                                                                                                        I attribute most of the rest of my troubles to the baking powder I was using. I had recently switched brands and when I was trying to analyze my failures I realized that most of the troubles started at the same time I made the switch. Since I've switched back, things have been going much better.

                                                                                                                                        I also just think some of it was due to bad mojo. It happens to me occasionally. So I did what you did, and just left things alone for a while.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: flourgirl

                                                                                                                                          How did you fix the calibration on your oven? I have that problem too.
                                                                                                                                          What BPs did you use? I've used Calumet since forever and bought Rumson and am wondering if I should have...

                                                                                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                            I googled it. I have a GE cafe gas range and I was able to use the directions to calibrate the GE Profile. Digital controls offer easy self-calibration. It's been holding too. I re-calibrated at least 2 months ago and so far so good.

                                                                                                                                            I had switched from Rumson to Argo. I was actually doing fine with the Rumson, don't know why I switched - but I had failure after failure with the Argo. I chucked it and decided to try Bob's Red Mill. That's been working great.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: flourgirl

                                                                                                                                              Mine is a fairly old Whirlpool and dial control, so I think I'll need the gas company to do it.
                                                                                                                                              Good to know about the BP, thanks.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: flourgirl

                                                                                                                                                flourgirl, thank you so much for the info, I have a ge profile that does weird things at times as well. Didn't know or think to google! I don't know why I use it to fix computer and print probs.

                                                                                                                                                Doncha just love google!

                                                                                                                                                1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                                                                                  Honestly, I don't know what I did before google. There are so many ways that having all this information at my fingertips has improved my life and those of my family members - and saved us a lot of money as well.

                                                                                                                                              2. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                I have used Rumford for years and have always had success with it, provided it's not old. I prefer it because it has no sodium aluminum sulfate, which can give baked goods that soapy, metallic flavor sometimes. It just tastes cleaner to me.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                  I'm looking forward to trying it, I had heard good things about it. Thanks for feedback, Caitlin!

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                    BTW, I requested a late edit to my post above, for clarity. The baking powder we're speaking of is called Rumford, not Rumson.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                        Okay, okay, Caitlin, .where does one get this fabulous Rumford BP in our neighborhood?

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: oakjoan

                                                                                                                                                          Berkeley Bowl, among others.

                                                                                                                                                          I do like that you can buy it in a half-size canister, too, so you're not tossing out the unused half after a year. If it's all used while fresh and you must replace it, no harm, no foul.

                                                                                                                                            2. Well, for V day, I made a batch of chocolate brownies and a small cheesecake to dip in my chocolate fondue. The brownies and cheesecake came out fine but nothing spectacular. the brownies from SKitchen was too cakey and not fudgy enough of my liking, the cheesecake just doesn't have that ethereal effect on me this time, maybe it's because its not GIANT..

                                                                                                                                              anyway, i left the double boiler on while i'm doing some dishes last night and the ganache kind of broke, too hot.. i'm pretty bummed. i wonder if there is a way to use up broken ganache. more brownies???

                                                                                                                                              1. Had a real hit on my hands for Valentine's Day with those flourless peanut butter cookies. The recipe is everywhere and it calls for the addition of good quality chocolate along with the roasted chopped peanuts, the egg, the 3/4 cups sugar and the full cup of PB....with, of course, the dusting of Fleur de Sel on top.

                                                                                                                                                I added 3-4 tbsp of good quality butter because the organic PB can be dry. I omitted the chocolate for my non-chocolate loving daughter. I did, however, add macadamia nuts..

                                                                                                                                                I make this recipe (and lots of variations) because my daughter is celiac (no gluten of any kind). This is one recipe that helps skeptics understand that GF foods are not necessarily "yucky"!

                                                                                                                                                1. Tonight I'll be baking an almond layer cake, with raspberry filling, bittersweet frosting. Now I need to figure out what to make with the leftover yolks, preferably something savory.

                                                                                                                                                  1. I made the Cocoa Brownies on the cover of the current Bon Appetit magazine for my husband for V-Day. I've never made cocoa brownies before and was surprised how rich and chocolate-y they are. I'm also surprised at how good they were for days afterwards. All in all, a great success!


                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: aching

                                                                                                                                                      I made these as well and posted a question at the time, but I'll ask you. How sweet did you find them? I couldn't be sure, but as I was cleaning up, I realized that I MAY have used only 1 cup of sugar instead of 1 1/4 c. The brownies definitely weren't very sweet--but we liked them a lot.

                                                                                                                                                      I had never used cocoa in brownies, and I was very pleasantly surprised with the results.

                                                                                                                                                      BTW, they keep beautifully. I put them away in a tin and forgot about them. They were as good as ever when I discovered them again.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                                        I thought they were pretty sweet - I definitely would not have wanted them any sweeter - so I think perhaps you did omit that last 1/4 cup of sugar?

                                                                                                                                                        I made them last Monday and they're still moist and delicious today - sort of miraculous.

                                                                                                                                                    2. I am about to finish making the blueberry crumble pie from Malgieri's Modern Baker. Ok, ok. Full credit to you, buttertart!!

                                                                                                                                                      16 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                        Baby I'm a love Nick, baby I'm a need Nick. Did you ever get A Baker's Tour - I thibk it's his best book.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                          I'm going to have to check out this Malgieri guy since buttertart is so enamoured of him. I hope that the book is at my local bookstore.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                            I'm quite sure I saw some of them at a Chapters in London last time there, so you should be able to get it. If not there's always Amazon or abebooks.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                              I'll check Chapters, which is conveniently across the street from me. I'd like to just look at the book to see whether it has stuff that I don't have in other books; I don't really need more cookbooks. As you know, I don't like books that don't have weights, as I then have to bring out The Cake Bible to get the weights. BTW somewhere in TCB Rose states that she bought a Metzler laboratory scale (very expensive) to do her weighing; definitely my kind of person !

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                I just checked out "Bake" at Chapters. The stuff is all covered in much more detail in the RLB books that I have, and I don't have the patience to lightly spoon flour into a cup; let me know the weight, for heaven's sake (sorry to repeat one of my pet peeves ad nauseum) !

                                                                                                                                                                Unfortunately Chapters did not have the Payard book, but I did see one very interesting book, for the pictures if nothing else: "Paris Patisseries". I may well buy it. Great ideas on finishing touches in the pictures. There is a wonderful-looking Mont Blanc too, with the recipe.

                                                                                                                                                            2. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                              No, I don't have Baker's Tour, you beast.

                                                                                                                                                              I really do think that his method for blueberry pie (cooking some of the berries with all of the sugar and then adding and cooking them with the cornstarch) makes a fantastic pie. It is stiff enough to cut into perfect wedges but is still soft and delicious. I used frozen wild blueberries from Trader Joe's.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                  Where would you rank Modern Baker amongst his other books? Is it okay for a novice baker? Does it give nutritional information (I don't know why I even ask as it would be beside the point)? Truth is Border's is going out of business and they had Modern Baker, Ready for Dessert and a book by Sax that I can't quite remember (James Beard winner). Thought about picking one of them up even though they are still cheaper on amazon.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                                                                                                                                                    I am a newbie convert when i comes to Nick Malgieri baking books -- buttertart is the expert. That being said, I think that the recipes in Modern Baker are not particularly challenging, and he goes to some lengths to simplify the process (that being the "Modern" part. There is no nutritional information given, which one wouldn't expect in a baking book. Malgieri's newest book, Bake! (which I have only flipped through and do not own), seems to me to be best for a novice baker. It is profusely illustrated and has a lot of step-by-step detail.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                      Bake! is quite good for a novice, as is How to Bake (one of his early ones) - it's more comprehensive than Bake!. Modern Baker is very interesting and I especially like A Baker's Tour because it has recipes from a number of other countries (including one of the only recipes for butter tarts to appear in any American baking book I've seen).
                                                                                                                                                                      If you're interested in lower-calorie desserts, his Perfect Light Desserts is useful, but it's my least favorite of his books.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                        How is his chocolate book compared to the Bake (Baker's) group?

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                                                                                                                                                          The Chocolate book is fantastic, it's where the Supernatural brownies come from.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                                                                                                                                                      How does NM stack up to DL Ready For Dessert? or the Sax book?

                                                                                                                                                                2. I attempted the pineapple upside-down cake from Ad Hoc at Home, at it was thiiiiis close to wonderful- but the butter/brown sugar paste cooked over and smoked and I convinced myself the cake was done and I took it out to early! I think it would have been amazing and I look forward to trying it again, it was easy and had great flavor (at least the parts that cooked through!) Keller uses fresh pineapple in the recipe but I easily subbed canned for nostalgia sake and that part worked fine.

                                                                                                                                                                  After that, I was still craving a yellow cake with a caramelly-buttery frosting so I make the caramel cake from Chow, which turned out really, really well. The frosting was kind of glaze like, but had great flavor. Next time I'll probably split the cake in half, double the frosting and glaze both halves. The caramel frosting really makes the cake.

                                                                                                                                                                  Next up is the banana-toffee cake from the new Bon Apetit, still got the caramel bug I guess!

                                                                                                                                                                  1. Visiting my dear mother-in-law who is in her own home and still a pistol at 87 (also an excellent cook and baker - we were treated to cream puffs for dinner last night). I always bake and freeze stuff when we're there - today, 3 dozen crusty rolls, tomorrow the same, plus a Hesser almond cake and 3 Japanese cheesecakes (fir some reason, 3 bars of cream cheese were procured before my arrival and a few hints dropped). Maybe some of those interesting/scary Canadian Maritimes Velveeta raspberry squares too, just for the heck of it - or brownies.

                                                                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                      Got 3 dozen more crusty rolls, 4 loaves of French bread, 2 Japanese cheesecakes, the almond cake, and the brownies made today, Freezer is pretty full!!!

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                        An amazing day of baking! You're the champ!

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                          Not really, just a labor of love.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. I made a raspberry-apricot-almond Danish yesterday for brunch. Last night I made vaguely heart-shaped whoopie pies (heart shaped mini muffin tins) and cupcakes, trying out the cooked flour frosting so many here have raved about.

                                                                                                                                                                      Rainy day here, so I might make some bread.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. Had a major baking success today! I made my own version of Dinner with Julie's Rosemary Raisin Pecan Crisps, simplifying the recipe and using walnuts. I also subbed in half whole wheat flour, and only made half a batch, so a sheet pan's worth of crackers.

                                                                                                                                                                        Rosemary Raisin Walnut Crisps

                                                                                                                                                                        1/2 C. (75 g.) all purpose flour
                                                                                                                                                                        1/2 C. (80 g.) whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda

                                                                                                                                                                        1/4 tsp. kosher salt

                                                                                                                                                                        1 C. (240 ml.) lowfat buttermilk

                                                                                                                                                                        1/4 C. (84 g.) honey

                                                                                                                                                                        1/2 C. (80 g.) raisins
1 C. (120 g.) walnut halves and pieces
5" sprig fresh rosemary, de-stemmed and coarsely chopped

                                                                                                                                                                        1. Preheat the oven to 350F and grease a nonstick loaf pan.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the flours, baking soda, and salt until thoroughly combined.

                                                                                                                                                                        3. Add the buttermilk and honey to the dry ingredients and stir just until combined.

                                                                                                                                                                        4. Add the raisins, walnuts, and rosemary, stirring until evenly distributed throughout the batter.

                                                                                                                                                                        5. Pour the batter into the loaf pan. Bake for 40 minutes, or until golden brown and springy to the touch.

                                                                                                                                                                        6. Remove loaf from pan and let cool on a wire rack for about an hour. Once cooled, wrap in foil and transfer to the freezer. Let chill for at least two hours.

                                                                                                                                                                        7. Preheat the oven to 300F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

                                                                                                                                                                        8. Using a serrated bread knife, slice the loaf as thinly as possible, into about 1/8" thick slices.

                                                                                                                                                                        9. Lay the slices out in a single layer on the baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes on one side, flip over, and bake another 15 minutes on the second side.

                                                                                                                                                                        10. Remove crisps to a wire rack to cool. Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

                                                                                                                                                                        14 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: operagirl

                                                                                                                                                                          operagirl, thanks for sharing this! Your review, photo and changes have totally inspired me to give this a try. They sound (and look) wonderful!!

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                            You're most welcome! I'd love to know what you think when/if you try 'em out!

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                              These really are great, BC. I did a dried cranberry-hazelnut version of Julie's recipe (also subbed half WW flour), also very tasty. I love that the loaves freeze so well after the first bake so when you need a quick and easy app, you just pull out a loaf, slice, and bake and spread w/some cheese and pate. Voila! (I went ahead and made a whole recipe, used the last of my loaves on NYE. Operagirl has reminded me I need to make another; now to decide what fruit-nut-seed combination!)

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                                                                I really love the idea of these as I'm forever paying an arm and a leg for similar products at gourmet stores. Your Cranberry substitution sounds wonderful and I have lots of almonds on hand at the moment so I'll have to see what I can come up w. I'm really looking forward to giving these a try.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: operagirl

                                                                                                                                                                              What size loaf pan did you use, Operagirl? Yours look gorgeous with the big pieces of walnut.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: operagirl

                                                                                                                                                                                  That looks like one for me too, husband adores walnuts and crisp cookies/breadstuffs (melba toast over fresh bread, for example).

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: operagirl

                                                                                                                                                                                I made a double batch of these today and wanted to share some adjustments I made

                                                                                                                                                                                -- I baked the loaves in two parchment-lined pyrex loaf pans for 45 minutes, then did the same cool for an hour, freeze for two hours routine. The parchment made the loaves much easier to un-stick from the pans. I'd highly recommend it.

                                                                                                                                                                                -- I used about a tablespoon of dried rosemary instead of fresh this time, and I did not bother to chop it up. The flavor is a little less woodsy and pronounced, but I'll bet that the rosemary flavor will intensify overnight.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: operagirl

                                                                                                                                                                                  this just came out of the oven and is cooling on a rack for one hour,... will wrap and freeze... slice and bake, and hopefully it will be ready to take to our neighbors' Oscar party at 5 o'clock.
                                                                                                                                                                                  - thanks for the recipe :^)

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Cynsa

                                                                                                                                                                                    yikes, running out the door with these in hand - I should have doubled the recipe - they're so delicious I can't stop eating them - hope I don't arrive at the neighbors' door with an empty box.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: operagirl

                                                                                                                                                                                    Hi Operagirl,

                                                                                                                                                                                    I used to own a gourmet bakery and we produced this type of boutique expensive crackers, and I have made about 5 million of these, so here are a few tips from a pro:

                                                                                                                                                                                    Before freezing the loaf allow it to dry in the open air overnight, to avoid any mushy-ness when slicing after thawing later. Alternatively you can just leave it for a day or two uncovered and not freeze it at all.

                                                                                                                                                                                    When I was just testing the recipe out at home before going into production I used a small home size deli slicer which worked like a dream.

                                                                                                                                                                                    As for pans I tried them all. the best was aluminum pan oiled with canola oil and lined with parchment.

                                                                                                                                                                                    The other flavour combinations I developed were:
                                                                                                                                                                                    Star Anise with Apricot and Pepper Pecan and Mango Chilli with flax and sesame seed.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Also I found after selling the company and making crackers to serve at my own parties etc, I just kept powdered buttermilk on hand, so I could whip them up any time, and not have to use up a huge jug of buttermilk!

                                                                                                                                                                                    And my final tid-bit for you, the bigger the pieces of fruit and nuts in the loaf, the more visually appealing the crackers will look.

                                                                                                                                                                                    happy cracker making

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: CookieGal

                                                                                                                                                                                      Thanks so much for those tips CookieGal, I've pasted them to my recipe file. They're very helpful and much appreciated. I'll have to keep my eye out for powdered buttermilk, that's an absolutely fabulous idea!

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                        your welcome!

                                                                                                                                                                                        you know my favourite topping for the rosemary crackers is a nice ash goat cheese and balsamic fig jam! DIVINE COMBINATION!

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: CookieGal

                                                                                                                                                                                          I can imagine that would be a great combo CG! Thanks again!

                                                                                                                                                                                2. I made a Breton butter cake today. It's not kouign-amann; more of a shortbread-type cake, with 6 egg yolks. It's from a (snicker) Martha Stewart recipe, and it turned out beautifully. I've got to stop nibbling on it!

                                                                                                                                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mnosyne

                                                                                                                                                                                    I've always wanted to try making one of those! Congrats for taking the plunge!

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                      Thanks, rox. I could have done a better job of spreading it in the tart pan: there were some air pockets. Nothing to worry about really--just aesthetics. Recipe says it can be made in the food processor; I may try it.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                        I've made the gateau Basque (shortbread type) - isn't there one (or two) in Ready for Dessert? What I'd really like to make is a kouign amann but it's too much for two peeps.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                                                                            Not with Mister I don't like caramelized things very much in the house. And I love them.

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                            You need cold hands, which I ain't got!

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: mnosyne

                                                                                                                                                                                              Mine tend not to be either, but I did have success with the Canadian Living quick puff pastry recipe.

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Grape Pie. It's the same as your fave apple pie recipe but substitute seedless grapes.
                                                                                                                                                                                        or, try this with 5-1/2 cups of red seedless grapes (on sale this week for 87 cents a pound)... toss with 1/2 cup of sugar (add more if the grapes are tart), 3 Tablespoons melted butter, a pinch of salt, and two Tablespoons of instant tapioca. Bake at 425°F for 25 minutes or until bubbly.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. The DH came home from Costco today with some truly amazing strawberries. No only did they smell divine, but they were red through and through and we quite sweet and tasty. Since we had a guest for the DH's fried chicken, I decided to make strawberry shortcake. I went back to Modern Baker and used Nick Malgieri's rather different recipe. It is made in the food processor, and the recipe that makes 8 individual or one large shortcakes uses only 4 tablespoons of flour and buttermilk mixed with an egg instead of cream. They were divine -- very light with a good crunch on top. I highly recommend this recipe.

                                                                                                                                                                                          6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                            More cake-like or biscuit-like, roxlet? Not that I have--or need!--that cookbook. But it is strawberry season here . . .

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                It was a bread baking weekend here. I made NY deli rye a la smittenkitchen.com and Italian bread with big chunks of garlic.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Sorry -- I meant to write 4 tablespoons of butter, 2 cups of flour, 3 tablespoons of sugar, one tablespoon of baking powder, 1. tsp salt, 2/3 cup of buttermilk beaten with one egg. Basically, you pulse the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter 12 times, add in the buttermilk beaten with the egg until the dough comes together. Place on a baking sheet with parchment either in 8 individual dollops or in one large disk. Bake at 400 until browned.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  nomadchowwoman -- I'd say more biscuit-like than cake-like. And where are you that it's strawberry season already? I want to be there!

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                    New Orleans--but I have to say, they aren't terrific this year as we've had an unusually cold winter (I know it's nothing compared to the Northeast and Midwest, but for us, very cold and consistent, bad for the strawberry crop, which starts really early). And, unfortunately, we have no Costco here : (

                                                                                                                                                                                                    But that shortcake recipe sounds tempting.

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Today I was enticed to make a cake from the COTM - Laura Goodenough’s Apple Coffee Cake – p. 631 – Chapter 13. It was so delicious and I'd highly recommend it. Here's a link to my review and photos if you're interested:


                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Gearing up to help a friend throw a Harry Potter birthday party this weekend for her daughter. We're doing a fun cake (stack of books on a desk style) in chocolate and lemon. Baking that tomorrow, decorating it on Friday. I just finished up these sugar cookies for the dessert table:

                                                                                                                                                                                                    http://tradewindtiaras.blogspot.com/2... (brooms, sorting hats, owls


                                                                                                                                                                                                    We made chocolate owls and chocolate frogs yesterday. We'll make golden snitch shaped cake truffles on Friday. Probably some mini trifles with leftover cake scraps as well. Fill a small cauldron with green chocolate popcorn. Stuff like that. It's a big week for confections of all sorts around here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: modthyrth

                                                                                                                                                                                                      How wonderful, what a lovely birthday celebration!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: modthyrth

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Just wrote the post about the dessert table for the Harry Potter party, if anyone wants to see the final results of our baking efforts:


                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: modthyrth

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Wowie...zowie! Love the owl cookies, one of my favorite animals.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Oh my goodness! Thank-you so much for remembering to loop back on the party. I'm blown away by what you did! Truly. The attention to detail is staggering. I'm so impressed. I think your cookies are the most beautiful iced cookies I've ever seen. Love the glitter. Congratulations, you're extremely talented.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. And here we go over to Part 15 - please post new material there, but please keep commenting on anything that takes your fancy in the past 14 goes of this...

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. I made the ricotta-orange cake that Breadcrumbs and others have been touting, and all I can say is: they are right! Was this ever delicious, moist and citrusy, inducing swoons from DH and even approval from my very picky niece.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I used Giada's on-line recipe, which confused me a little, in that it calls for, "one orange, zested," but only the zest is mentioned in the directions (so "the zest of one orange" would be more accurate). I kept wondering whether I should have been doing something with the orange's juice, but concluded "probably not," and that was right as the cake turned out perfectly. As others have noted, it needs to be baked a bit longer than the 45-50 minutes stipulated. I baked it for one hour. NOTE: I didn't have amaretto, so I subbed orange liqueur, and I'd do the same next time, as I love orange.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              This is really easy. I will definitely make this again; have already put more ricotta on the shopping list.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              ETA: Is there no way to delete a post while the edit function is on?

                                                                                                                                                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                                                                                                You could make yourself a nice little glaze with that OJ, missy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    There's always a next time. Must make that too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Your cake looks lovely ncw, so glad you tried it and rec'd great reviews!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. May I say that I'm starting to get resentful toward this WAYBTD thread and my, ahem, rapidly developing sweet tooth (not to mention hips)? ; )

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Aw c'mon, you only live once. Just a little bit more of you to love.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. I made gluten free HEMP CHOCOLATE BROWNIES the other day.. hands down all time best ever brownie I have eaten or made!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    In a mixer bring together;

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2 fresh eggs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 Tbsp vanilla

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 tsp sea salt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    9 whole dates, pitted and torn into quarters

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2 Tbsp each: unsulphured molasses, honey, and brown rice syrup

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1/2 cup of almond butter

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1/2 cup of organic hemp flour

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1/2 cup pure cocoa power

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1/2 cup of chocolate pieces (I just cut up a chocolate bar)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 tsp baking power

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Combine everything together and pour into a prepared small square pan.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Sprinkle the top with organic hemp seeds and more pieces from your chocolate bar.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Bake at 325º for 20-25 minutes. Don’t worry about pulling a toothpick clean, the inside will set as it cools. Just make sure the top is firm-ish

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    dig in while they are warm.. its so worth burning your fingers for!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Just found this thread so here' s my 2 cents.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I'm just a little bit obsessed about baking bread at home in the kitchen and in my wood fired oven on the deck.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I get on one bread and then bake it daily until the kinks get worked out and it reproduces consistently.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      This one is rye bread.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      It's sized for my 4 quart kitchenaid and turns out a big loaf nearly 3 pounds.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      It uses 1 pound of starter to 1 lb 4 oz hi gluten flour with 1TBS each salt, instant yeast and dark malt syrup.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Put the dough together, feed the starter, go to work, come home, bake loaf.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      We set the temp to 55 when we're gone during the day so the schedule of it all is nice.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Good Luck

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: JayDK

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Gorgeous bread, JayDK! Very impressive, indeed! This is an older thread though. Maybe repost this on the new "What are you baking these days" thread.