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Mar 19, 2011 07:22 AM

What are you baking these days? Part XVI/16 3/19/11 [old]

So, we've just had our first gorgeous 70-ish degree day vouchsafed us (and just as rapidly taken away, much cooler today). Baking goes on even in the most pleasant of weathers, so what are your springtime and forever delights?

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  1. I seem to have permanently lost the original, but found on online recipe that I think is the same as my favorite Lemon-Coconut Bars. The neat thing is that you mix up the crust in the processor, then while it is doing it's preliminary baking, the liquid topping is done in the processor with no need to clean it first. I am going to make it with the juice of the excellent Sky Valley heirloom navel oranges from Trader Joe's instead of lemon. Never tried it with OJ before.

    BTW, buttertart, may I suggest renewing this thread the first of each month? I think it would make it easier for people to ascertain that they are on the current one that way. Plus, "Part 17 - April 20ll" might stand out more clearly than that string of Roman numerals (which, sadly, many younger people can't read) and numbers.

    8 Replies
    1. re: greygarious

      Greygarious, just to say -- I've tried orange *and* grapefruit as substitutes for lemon in pies and tarts (a cooked mixture) and was disappointed. Lemon is ... brighter and more distinct...
      orange just got lost, the pink grapefruit I used was also bland-ish.
      But it certainly might be way different with coconut--especially if zest is included.
      Let us know!

      1. re: blue room

        You can also add a tb of lemon to jazz it up.

        1. re: buttertart

          Darn! I was going to say that. Lemon can be added even to raspberries to bring out the flavour.

          1. re: souschef

            Lemon can be added to *vegetable soup* to bring out the flavor! It's a true "secret ingredient", to me.
            I made peach ice cream once and not until I added lemon juice was it really peachy!

            1. re: blue room

              Try that peach ice cream with just a hit of almond extract, blue room. You will never look back.

              1. re: mamachef

                My mom never made anything peach or cherry without almond extract.

                1. re: mamachef

                  In addition to the lemon. or instead of ?
                  This coming summer I can experiment!

          2. re: blue room

            You were right, blue room. The orange-coconut bars don't have orange flavor. I have orange extract which I meant, and forgot, to add. I did add 2 packets of TrueLemon powder to the fresh-squeezed OJ, and that's the only citrus flavor they have. Turns out the recipe is not the same as the one I lost. It came out overbaked and dry. I think I can tweak it to fix it but will use fresh lemon juice next time. I know there was no zest, and it used the juice of an entire lemon, 1/4 cup. I remember trying it with grapefruit ages ago and not liking that, either. Even pineapple juice lost its zip in baking. And I don't like lime, so lemon it is from now on!

        2. I think I want to make cranberry bars -- never tried making them myself before. How does this recipe look, or does anyone have a go-to recipe for this??

          2 Replies
          1. re: twilight goddess

            Sounds good to me, wish they were for fresh cranberries - still have 2 bags frozen.

          2. Been hard at it today for our annual southern dinner (14th) for 10 tonight. I baked a sour cherry pie, (which I made for the original dinner 14 years ago), followed by a blueberry pie. It is so difficult to find sour cherries. I wanted to make 2 sour cherry pies, and I had ordered canned sour cherries from a midwestern orchard, thinking that 4 cans were enough. Wrong. Four cans were really only 6 cups of cherries. The DH could not find sour cherries anywhere, so I decided to do the blueberry pie as the second pie. I followed the method from Nick Malgieri's Modern Baker for both pies. I also decided to make a coconut cake. I used Nick's recipe from Perfect Cakes except that I doubled the recipe and made 3 9" layers. One of my only gripes about NM is that he specifies 9" pans, and the cakes come out very thin. I made some lime curd to fill the layers, and a fantastic cooked flour frosting for the outside. It was a slightly different method for making this frosting. Since most of the recipes specify adding the sugar with the butter, and a lot of the comments were that the frosting was a little grainy, I decided to add the sugar to the flour and milk and to cook it together with those ingredients. I also had left-over coconut milk from the cake, so I subbed coconut milk for some of the milk. The frosting is fantastic -- not too sweet, really some of the best I've ever made.

            11 Replies
            1. re: roxlet

              I have used the recipe for cooked-flour frosting that was posted here on Chowhound years ago by krissywats, which has you cook the sugar-flour-milk yogether. No graininess whatsoever.

              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                The one that I saw most recently had the sugar and the butter creamed together and then the cooked flour added bit by bit. This had the cooked flour mixture beaten until cooled and then the butter is added bit by bit. If that's the same as the one posted by krissywats, it is really wonderful!

                1. re: roxlet

                  The one from krissywats has the cooked flour beaten into the butter, but sugar is cooked with the flour and milk. I'm going to go find it...huh, didn't remember the powdered sugar, but regardless, the finished frosting is terrific, and does not have any unpleasant grittiness. krissywats's post in 2005 was my intro to this type of frosting.

                  Here it is:

                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                    That's the first time I've seen it with confectioner's sugar! Doesn't that have cornstarch in it? Here's the one I used:

                    1/4 cup flour
                    1 cup sugar
                    1 cup milk
                    pinch of salt
                    1 cup butter cut in cubes
                    1 tsp vanilla

                    1. In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the sugar, flour, salt together. Add the milk and cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally until the mixture has thickened into a paste and slightly bubbly at edges

                    2. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on high speed until cool. Reduce the speed to low and add the butter bit by bit (make sure the butter is softened), beat until thoroughly incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy. If the frosting is too soft, transfer the bowl to the refrigerator to chill slightly: then beat again until it is the proper consistency.

                    3. Add the vanilla and continue mixing until combined.

                    1. re: roxlet

                      It's the only one I've seen w/powdered sugar (as I said, it's the first I ever saw). Trust me, from the taste/texture of the finished frosting, you wouldn't guess it was in there.

                      1. re: roxlet

                        I'm going to try cooking the sugar. The frosting I make is called Delicious Frosting and is very similar to your recipe. It says to use 1 cup milk or water, 6 T. of flour cook and cool,,then the cup of sugar, 6 T. butter,6 T. Crisco, and the vanilla. I have substituted juice for the milk.

                        1. re: roxlet

                          I think the one I used was with the sugar and butter creamed together, and if you beat the bejeebers out of it it's not gritty. Must try the other two. Great-looking desserts there, roxlet! Your guests must have been over the moon. N! M!! N! M!! N! M!!!

                          1. re: buttertart

                            That is a technique that is new to me - beating the beejeebers out of something.

                  2. re: roxlet

                    Sour cherry pie is my absolute favorite, and I'm so frustrated that the cherries are becoming so hard to find! Only a couple of the chains in our area carry them at all (but they all have plenty of nasty premade cherry pie filling, blech).

                    1. re: modthyrth

                      I really had to plan ahead for this one and order from the internet well in advance of the dinner. The cherries were very good, but I am also frustrated that cherries seem impossible to find locally.

                  3. I'm trying Alton Brown's Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies. You can never have too many recipes for the same thing!

                    1. Success! I made the bakewell tart today from Bake! by Nick Maglieri, and it turned out really, really well. I'm so excited! I was worried about my crust because it was a little crumbly and dry and it cracked a bit when transferring it to my tart pan, but I smoothed everything over and hoped for the best. I used some homemade strawberry jam as called for in the recipe- but the next time I make it I'm going to try the beautiful sour cherry preserves that I bought at the FM today, but for the first time I wanted to stick to the recipe.

                      The filling on top of the jam was thick, but not as stiff as I feared (even though my almond paste was really, really dry- more so than the usual stuff I buy), but I followed Caitlin's advice from the last thread and dabbed it in chunks. The filling "melts" and spreads by itself as it bakes, so I don't even think it's that necessary to smooth everything over too much before it goes in the oven.

                      Baked it for the full 40 minutes and it came out a beautiful golden brown with a bright layer of red jam at the bottom, and the crust was perfect! Hubby loved it, and is already requesting it again when we finish this one (and considering I want to have it for breakfast tomorrow morning, it won't be long!)

                      One question- the dough recipe made a double batch, so I have half left over. It's just the two of us, so I won't bake again for awhile (and I want to try the supernatural brownies next), so do you all think I can freeze the dough until I want to use it again? Thanks SO much for all the tips and inspiration, I love these threads, glad I have something to contribute this time.

                      10 Replies
                      1. re: mjhals

                        You can definitely freeze the dough, it freezes well. Wrap well and put in a freezer bag. Allow to thaw in the fridge when you want to use it.

                        1. re: mjhals

                          That would be so good with sour cherry...too many ideas, too little time, too few at home to eat stuff up...
                          Happy to have you here - great contributions!

                          1. re: mjhals

                            Alright! Hubby has finished the Bakewell tart, so I'm ready for my next experiment. I hope to make the supernatural brownies either tonight or tomorrow night. And since hubby has a marathon on Saturday, I expect these'll go fast. I seriously cannot wait to try them, I'll just have to elbow him out of the way to make sure I get a taste!

                            1. re: mjhals

                              Remember, let them sit overnight before cutting. I think some people whov've been disappointed with them haven't done that.

                              1. re: buttertart

                                Whoa, thanks for the tip, but that means I'm going to have to hide them. There's NO way I can get hubby to wait. Better make 'em tonight.

                                1. re: mjhals

                                  They're much better if let sit, believe me.

                                  1. re: buttertart

                                    Well, they're out of the oven, and they smell amazing! Not touching though, promise. Hubby is polishing off the last of the Girl Scout cookies (they may, actually, be from last year...) instead. The batter looked a little thin, but they seemed to have set up like normal. Can't wait to try them tomorrow!

                                      1. re: buttertart

                                        Oh. My. God. I can never make this again, seriously. I've eaten an obscene amount since yesterday (hubby will be lucky if there are any left when he finishes his race today- and here I was worried he'd eat them all! Oops). These seriously are the most amazing brownies ever.

                                        FWIW- my mom is a great baker (better baker than a cook, as is sometimes the case), but she NEVER made homemade brownies. She'd make the box ones a lot, when she didn't really feel like doing much but my dad still wanted a dessert. So I never really cared for brownies, I'd maybe have a piece from the middle, but I guess I just thought brownies weren't that special. I was wrong- these brownies take it to a whole new level. They're so moist and rich! I put in some milk chocolate chips before baking (just for good measure), since both hubby and I don't like nuts in our brownies. I can never make these again, they are single-handedly ruining my diet.

                                        1. re: mjhals

                                          I'm happy you love them. Make them, have a couple, and give the rest away - that's what I do. Share the love!