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What are you baking these days? May 2011 [old]

How is everybody doing on this pleasant May evening? Did you bake up a storm this weekend or just take it easy? I'm in the process of confecting my husband's birthday cake - a word was put in for one I made a couple of years ago, chestnut layers with chestnut and walnut meringue layers and chestnut buttercream. The last time I used Ruth Levy Beranbaum's chestnut sand cake layers from her "Cake Bible" (and her chestnut buttercream), this time I'm making her chestnut génoise and a Cognac soak. The meringue layers are from Alice Medrich's "Pure Dessert". This time I'm going to make a whipped ganache icing and chestnut cream between the layers. Hope it works out. So, how about you? What are you baking these days?

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  1. Mm, the leftover coconut cake from Easter pales something fierce in comparion to your extremely admiral efforts, so no, no baking this weekend. Happy birthday to mr buttertart!

    Btw, limes are VERRRRY cheap right now here, like Persians @ 14/$2. Something limey is in the works for me this week.

    2 Replies
    1. re: bushwickgirl

      Really? Must get some. Limes have been dear and NOT very good lately. (Birthday is Tuesday, and thanks!)

      1. re: buttertart

        Your cake sounds killer.

        My local crazy big Food Bazaar (bizarre) has 'em, I suppose just in time for Cinco de Mayo margs. I don't remember seeing them that cheap in the last ten years. Must find something special to make. Mangos are cheap now also.

    2. I had Dorie Greenspan's World Peace Cookies on my to-bake list for a long time and made them finally. Very delicious, but the fleur de sal was not detectable. I only bake one of two logs, so I'll cover the next log with a sprinkling of the fleur de sal before slicing and baking.

      I also recently made coconut layer cake using the recipe in Baking Illustrated. It was extremely sweet, but had a very good coconuty flavor. I got a weird separation thing going on with my cake. The top half of the cake was wet and gelatinous looking, while the bottom half was a bit denser, but normal looking. Can anyone explain what happened?

      4 Replies
      1. re: Eat.Choui

        Is there coconut or coconut milk in it?

        1. re: buttertart

          The recipe calls for Coco Lopez coconut cream. I used as directed in the recipe, dumping everything in the can out and whisking until combined. The Coco Lopez coconut cream is already sweet! Maybe that's why the cake was a too sugary for me.

          1. re: Eat.Choui

            Could be - it's also fairly fatty so that might have had some effect.

        2. re: Eat.Choui

          I sprinkle a pinch of fleur de sel on each cookie slice before baking, which gives it a nice look and adds that extra saltiness.

        3. A bourbony boozy chocolate cake.;)

          1 Reply
          1. Yesterday it was the blueberry crumb pie from Nick Malgieri's Modern Baker. It is really the best recipe I have ever made for any kind of berry and I have also used it for cherries. It's just a great method wherein you cook some of the berries with all of the sugar and cornstarch and then add it in to the rest of the berries. The resulting pie actually cuts into non-gloppy wedges, but is not overly thickened.
            Today, it was back to chocolate chip cookies. My son's coach is here from Egypt, and he has been dreaming about these cookies as well as a chocolate cake I made for his birthday while we were in Egypt. I will make the cake for him this week before his wife goes home.

            3 Replies
            1. re: roxlet

              His is just the best technique for berry pies.

              1. re: bushwickgirl

                Yes, and I don't know why I never knew it before! Thanks for introducing me to him, bt!

                1. re: roxlet

                  You're welcome! NM is da MAN! I'll try that with sour cherries next time too.

            2. Yesterday I baked Oatmeal Raisin cookies for a friend's birthday.

              1. Today it was Sour Cream Banana Bread: http://www.food.com/recipe/sour-cream... and a braided pizza bread. I was at a conference over the weekend, so today was the first day back in my kitchen.

                3 Replies
                1. re: tracylee

                  Braided pizza bread sounds good. Tell us more, please :)

                  1. re: ChristinaMason

                    I was reminded of it watching a cooking show recently, and used to do it with Super Suppers when I had a full-sized freezer.

                    Roll a pizza dough out into a rectangle.

                    Cut strips at the right and left sides at an angle away from the middle

                    Fill the middle with pizza toppings (I used tomato sauce I had in the fridge, pepperoni, sun dried tomato spread, and mozzerella)

                    Alternating sides, lay the strips from each side over the filling

                    Bake at 350 for 25 minutes, or until golden brown (can also be brushed with egg for crisping top)

                    Since I forgot to take pics as I went, I just went out and found a website with pics:


                    It's another recipe which could be filled with just about anything the family will eat!

                    1. re: tracylee

                      That sounds terrific and portable!

                2. Tonight's the birthday night - the layers are stuck together with the chestnut cream thinned with a bit of Armagnac (they didn't need a soak, they're quite moist) and the ganache is to be done when I get home.

                  9 Replies
                  1. re: buttertart

                    Don't get so excited that you forget to take pictures. We wanna see this creation!

                    1. re: buttertart

                      The cake - the génoise would have been better with a little soak, but it is quite delicious and the birthday boy was very happy with it. The ganache was 1:1 12 oz cream to 12 oz French 52% bittersweet - made emough for a 1/2 inch coating all around plus about a cup left over - cooled the pan in a sinkful of cold water for about 50 minutes and then beat it with a hand mixer until thich enough to spread. The meringue layers sort of melted into the whole (him: "where's that stuff you were making Saturday morning?") but the interplay of textures is v appealing and right up the birthday boy's street. Pics: cake after assembly and chilling, pre-ganache (pig timer and kitty toothpick holder for fun); ganache just made (my mom gave me that whisk); ganache whipped (with my ancient Hamilton Beach hand mixer from when we were first married); cake unprepossessingly frosted (that ganache is a dream to work with).

                      1. re: buttertart

                        Absolutely lovely. How about a photo of the inside?

                        1. re: roxlet

                          Will do, didn't get a pic last night and was in too much of the traditional rush this morning to snap one.

                            1. re: buttertart

                              Cake has ripened nicely - the génoise is moister and the meringue layers have sort of subsided into the whole. Scrummy.

                          1. re: buttertart

                            Very nice, Buttertart. BTW in your opening post you refer to "Ruth" Levy Beranbaum.

                        2. i finally got my hands on some rhubarb, so i made melissa clark's big crumb coffeecake with rhubarb. the crumbs were big and beautiful and it was very moist, but it barely fit in the 8x8 pan the recipe called for so i think it might've risen a little better in a larger pan.

                          i also made some strawberry rhubarb brown butter streusel bars using the smitten kitchen peach shortbread recipe and cooking down some strawberry and rhubarb with some sugar til it was thick and jammy, substituting that for the peaches. yum!!!

                          i froze the rest of the rhubarb and i think this weekend i will attempt to recreate the divine rhubarb piroshky i had in seattle from piroshky piroshky. if anyone has a good dough recipe for these, please post. it is not the same as pierogi; it is a soft, buttery yeast dough that is niether sweet nor savory.

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: tastycakes

                            Thanks for reminding me about the big crumb, isn't that the one that was in the NY times? I made it once before and it was delicious! I was wondering about freezing the rhubarb. Do you do anything special to it before you freeze it? Thanks
                            Ps. I am also going to make some into preserve from the Ferber book!

                            1. re: geminigirl

                              My mom used to just peel the stalks if necessary, slice it into reasonable 1/2 inch chunks, stick it in a freezer safe plastic container, seal and freeze away. I have purchased frozen in bulk for restaurant dessert applications and it was fine; sliced up and packed in plastic bags, no sugar, no blanching, etc. This method is great for short term freezer storage. So easy.

                              For longer storage, like up to a year, pack the sliced rhubarb in a light sugar syrup or fruit juice combined with water, just to cover the fruit; this prevents freezer burn and oxidation.

                              1. re: geminigirl

                                nope, just cut into 1/2 inch slices and toss it in a ziploc. freezes really well.

                                1. re: tastycakes

                                  Thanks, I am excited to pick this weekend and do some baking / canning / freezing! The spring asparagus and spinach are also in as well, all is good!

                              2. re: tastycakes

                                I can wait to hear about your rhubarb piroshki, was the pastry perhaps a mix of cream cheese and butter?

                              3. In April, I baked:
                                BBBBC, moist and deeelish http://tinyurl.com/3zca87x
                                Hot Cross Buns (I soaked the raisins in kirsch, and added chopped candied ginger) http://tinyurl.com/4xctk9g
                                Deep dish pizzas
                                Devil's food cake with swiss meringue buttercream. I think I prefer whipped cream as a frosting more than BC.
                                Acquired madeleine pan, first couple of batches were failcake. Must practice more!

                                In March, I acquired new cake pans and thus went a little nuts:
                                Streusel blueberry coffeecake from one of the Martha Stewart baking books... fail. Too dry.
                                Black Forest Cherry Cake, parts cobbled together from various sources, namely America's Test Kitchen's Baking Illustrated for the cherry prep, RLB's Cake Bible for the choco genoise.
                                Guinness chocolate cupcakes with whisky ganache
                                King Cake
                                Boston Cream Pie from America's Test Kitchen's Baking Illustrated
                                Cake made of green tea genoise, filled with lemon curd and poached pears leftover from the tartlets, and frosted with whipped cream.
                                Pear frangipane tartlets

                                Coming up: Chocolate Covered Strawberry Chip Cookies http://tinyurl.com/43f85cb

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: stilton

                                  You're a busy baker! Thanks for the recipe links. I didn't get around to hot cross buns this year :(

                                  1. re: stilton

                                    That green tea cake sounds ah-maze-ing!

                                  2. I haven't been a frequent baker over the last few years, but this past six months I'm back on it (tho there's only two of us in the house so I can't bake more than once a week, more like once every other week). Right now I'm on a quest for the perfect pound cake. So far I've tried two recipes.

                                    The first was an Edna Lewis Yellow Vanilla Pound Cake recipe I found in Saveur. http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes... The cake tasted good, but I think I overbaked it. The recipe says to bake "until the cake is quiet" so I followed the directions, but after the second check and it was still crackling, I used the wooden skewer testing method, and it was dry, so I took it out (even though it was still making crackling noises). It was definitely too dry. I will probably try it again sometime, but not right away.

                                    Last week I made the Classic Pound Cake recipe from the butter issue of Saveur http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes... and it fell, and fell hard. I know I overbeat it during the butter/sugar creaming stage, but the recipe said to cream until it was "satiny smooth," about 3 minutes. Well, after 3 minutes it was still rather gritty. After 8 minutes it was still gritty. At ten minutes, still gritty, I thought, well, it's not getting any smoother, so just keep going with the rest of the recipe. I knew it was the wrong thing to do, but live and learn, right? The cake was greasy. I'm not sure if that is because I beat it too long at that stage, or if it's the recipe.

                                    So my next trial is going to be a pound cake in a loaf pan rather than a tube or bundt pan. Hope springs eternal, especially in the springtime!

                                    15 Replies
                                    1. re: lisavf

                                      I don't think I've ever made a pound cake - it seems to be a tricky little buster (and it's not the primary baked goods eater's favorite). Wishing you every success!

                                      1. re: buttertart

                                        Thanks! I'll let you know if I meet with success. I'm being persistent because I want to make grilled pound cake with grilled fruit this summer, something I've always wanted to try.

                                          1. re: lisavf

                                            In a pricey rastaurant, I had toasted pound cake, which I think was better than grilled, since it was evenly crispy all around, not to mention readily made year-round. It was served with ice cream and sauce.

                                          2. re: buttertart

                                            Ooooh, a slice of real pound cake, well-baked with real butter.....that'll change any bakery freak's mind. They are tricky, though; the weight of the ingredients tend to make it slump or crack.

                                            1. re: mamachef

                                              If I'm going to make a cake that I'm going to put myself around most of (since M no like), it's going to be the Amanda Hesser almond paste one, which is quite poundcakey in itself.

                                          3. re: lisavf

                                            INA PINKNEY’S FAMOUS NEW OLD FASHIONED VANILLA BEAN POUND CAKE
                                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/773062 on Mar 26, 2011 05:56PM
                                            It's a good pound cake for toasting or grilling.
                                            Pound Cake is this primary baked goods eater's favorite - he's a sweet-toothed honey.

                                            btw, I baked Grammy's Chocolate Cookies last night, following Martha's version with only 2 cups of all-purpose flour and with Valrhona Dutch-process cocoa powder
                                            I made larger cookies - 1-1/4" balls of dough = 3 dozen cookies +

                                            1. re: Cynsa

                                              I'll second that vanilla bean pound cake. Here's the permalink, for fast access:


                                              1. re: souschef

                                                Thanks, folks! I'm going to print that recipe out and make it this weekend. Here's hoping third time's the charm!

                                                1. re: souschef

                                                  I made the cake again yesterday, but this time cut down on the sugar, using 5oz, as I found it too sweet the last time. Much as I like it, it is, well, plain vanilla, so I jazzed it up by taking a page out of The Cake Bible (thanks Ruth...er, Rose) and throwing in some chopped chocolate, orange zest, and Cointreau. It tasted a lot like the TCB cake, though not as moist, which is to be expected as it did not have a soaking syrup. Enjoyed it.

                                                  1. re: souschef

                                                    Hmpf. Once I do it, once. And never live it down. It's like we're married.

                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                      We need a "Rolling on the floor laughing" emoticon.

                                                      Actually you did it once before, but I did not call you on it.

                                                      Humble apologies; it will not happen again. :(

                                                      1. re: souschef

                                                        You don't get when I tease, either. It IS like being married! ;-)

                                              2. re: lisavf

                                                My mom made the best pound cake when I was growing up. I've had good success with this recipe from Bon Appetit Y'All:

                                              3. Another coworker is having a birthday, and this time, I'm making a light chocolate cake with coffee-cream cheese frosting. I used CI's recipe for "German" chocolate cake (supposed to be a subtle chocolate flavor), in the hopes of not overpowering the coffee icing. The batter tasted amazing---3 eggs and 1 1/2 sticks of butter will do that. But the layers didn't rise much, sadly, so it's going to be a short cake.

                                                Also, I skipped the parchment-lining step (overly confident in my nonstick pans), and the bottom layer stuck. Badly. Torn cake = lesson learned.

                                                I'm going to top the cake with espresso beans coated in milk, white, and dark chocolate.

                                                4 Replies
                                                1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                  Sounds totally and utterly delicious in any case. Love coffee desserts.

                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                    Aside from the low height, I really liked this chocolate cake recipe. Nice and mild and perfect for when you want the icing to take center stage.

                                                    1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                      What was the diameter of the cake? 3 eggs seems like a small amount.

                                                2. Erratum in OP: the estimable lady's name, famed of the Cake Bible and other essential cookbooks is ROSE Levy Beranbaum. Regret error.

                                                  1. I really like Corby Kummer's almond biscotti with a latte in the morning. I usually make these a few times a year. Here's a link to where I found the recipe: http://www.dendritics.com/scales/bisc.... I like these because they taste good and they last awhile (there is only 2 of us here at home).

                                                    Note1: I normally bake the almonds a couple of minutes longer.
                                                    Note2: I use a mixer because I had a problem with the almonds making the food processor's blade stick.
                                                    Note3: It is sticky - use flour on your hands.

                                                    1. One of my house guest loves carrot cake, so I made the version from The New Best Recipe. It looks and smells delicious, so we'll have to see how it tastes tonight. I used eatyourbooks.com to settle on a recipe, and I chose this one since I had everything I needed in the house!

                                                      12 Replies
                                                      1. re: roxlet

                                                        Please let us know what you think of the recipe. I was just looking at that one.

                                                        1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                          The recipe was terrific. It makes a 9X12 sheet cake, which I thought was quite large, so I cut it in half and took it to the squash club, where it was instantly devoured to raves. We had it for dessert last night, and there was one small piece left afterwards-- not too big after all! I also loved the cream cheese frosting, which didn't seem terribly sweet to me and complimented the cake very well. What's interesting about the recipe is that the whole thing is virtually made in the food processor -- from shredding the carrots, to mixing the sugars with the eggs and then gradually adding the oil in until it emulsifies. You then mix that with the flour, carrots, salt, baking powder and baking soda mixture and turn it into the pan to bake. Maybe my oven was cool, but it took longer than the 35-40 minutes specified. There was none of the heavy oiliness you sometimes get from carrot cake. This one was light with lots of visible pieces of carrot in it. I added some walnuts as an afterthought, and next time I think I would add more and toast them first. All in all, a lovely a quick cake to make. BTW, the frosting is also made in the food processor, but I wound up putting it through a sieve since I found it had some small lumps. It was delicious anyway.

                                                        2. re: roxlet

                                                          Do I need to break down and join EYB? How long did it take to input your library? That's my main stumbling block.

                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                            Yes, inputting the library was a job, and I still don't think that all my books are in. However, you can just go through lists of books and click to add them. It wasn't that difficult in the end. I find it useful just to figure out which books to look in. Yesterday I made a beef stew that I am not sure I would have landed on otherwise. I just typed in beef stew in my library and saw all the possibilities. I like looking at the ingredient list to help me decide which recipe to make since I can usually tell if I have what I need. I know some people are more sophisticated in how they use eyb, but I'm happy with it just to find recipes.

                                                            1. re: roxlet

                                                              I really should. I have been using books I've had for years more since really getting into this home cooking thing but there is so much more potential. I saw that stew reference, sounded right up you-know-who's street. And the cake sounds great but a no-go at ours because he doesn't like carrot cake. Fussy or spoiled...

                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                  I agree with the man. Carrots have no business being in cake. In soup, now that's a different matter.

                                                                  Call me fussy if you want, but don't call me spoiled as I do all of the cooking and baking at home. My wife stopped baking when she lost the recipe for toast!

                                                                  1. re: souschef

                                                                    M can cook (and does if i'm sick) but I don't let him. !!! He's worth spoiling.

                                                                    1. re: souschef

                                                                      "My wife stopped baking when she lost the recipe for toast!"

                                                                      That is so funny!!!

                                                                      1. re: trewq

                                                                        Hey Q, you're back ! I missed you !!

                                                                        1. re: souschef

                                                                          Miss you too! :)
                                                                          I baked some canneles a few weeks ago, and thought of you.

                                                                          1. re: trewq

                                                                            please post? will mix up the batter today to bake donation for bake sale on May 14.

                                                            2. I'm going to attempt my first French macaron using pistachios instead of almond. I have a link to one on serious eats in a feature called Cook The Book, but will gladly take recommendations from other tested recipes. Any hints I should know about?

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. I baked a banana bread recipe from a friend who swore it'd blow my inner tube outta the water.
                                                                It didn't but it is good and very moist but then I knew it would be due to contents of ingredient list.
                                                                "Nichaiel's Banana Bread"
                                                                loaf pan or 1 qt. le creuset oven proof saucepan
                                                                I used the1 1/2 qt "red heart" le creuset in my convection oven

                                                                3 banana's mashed
                                                                1 1/2 sticks butter [softened]
                                                                2 eggs
                                                                1 T vanilla
                                                                1/2 c white sugar
                                                                3/4 c dark brown sugar
                                                                1/2 cup heavy cream
                                                                1 t fresh lemon juice
                                                                2 cups flour
                                                                1/2 t salt
                                                                1 t baking soda
                                                                1 c nuts of your choice [optional] I didn't use nuts

                                                                In food processor goes the bananas pulse or run on full until smooth.
                                                                Add sugar[s] and blend well, then butter and blend well, then eggs and vanilla and blend well.
                                                                Put all in a bowl.
                                                                In new bowl put the flour with the salt and baking soda and whisk until well blended.
                                                                Stir the lemon juice into the heavy cream and let set for a few minutes, stir to blend.
                                                                When the heavy cream resembles buttermilk, mix it in the bowl of banana mix stirring to combine.
                                                                New bowl, add 1/3 flour mixture and 1/3 wet mixture and stir, then add 1/3 more flour and 1/3 more liquid and stir, then last 1/3 of both and stir to combine. Add nuts now if using.
                                                                Spray or grease your baking dish/loaf pan and put mix in, bake for 35-45 minutes using a wooden skewer to test for doneness.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: iL Divo

                                                                  I made a Chocolate Banana Cake recently that blew me away recently. It's more chocolate-y than banana tasting, but you can still taste the subtly of the banana. But boy, was it rich!

                                                                2. My mom requested this Chocolate Amaretto layer cake for Mother's day dessert:
                                                                  The cake is cooling and will get frosted in the morning.

                                                                  I also made a lemon yogurt cake as my Gran's special treat for the day.

                                                                  Next up, the chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting from Smitten Kitchen for my husband's birthday next week.

                                                                  Has anyone made this cake? Would love to hear any feedback before I make it!

                                                                  And I'll probably bake some homemade dog treats before the week is out. What can I say? Even my Boxer is a ChowHOUND :-)

                                                                  1. Congo bars from Leite's Culinaria. More like 7 layer bars. They were decadently delicious!!

                                                                    1. You all are putting me to shame. I just made the French bread with old dough from Peter Reinhart's "Crust and Crumb", my favorite of his books. I like this bread better than the no-knead and it's scarcely more trouble. I make it all the ime, nothing special. Have had intentions on a peanut butter cookie recipe all weekend, maybe during the week.

                                                                      10 Replies
                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                        I'm thinking of peanut butter cookies for today too. All we have are girl scout cookies -- the chocolate chip cookies are all gone.

                                                                        I made NM shortcake for strawberry shortcakes on Friday. Only thing is that I have a ton of strawberries left, and they are mediocre at best. They SMELL good, and were fine with the shortcake once macerated, but what to do with the rest of them? Anyone have any ideas for so-so strawbs?

                                                                        1. re: roxlet

                                                                          Do that DG strawberry, tomato, basil, and mozz appetizer salad from Around My French Table. Extremely - and surprisingly - good.

                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                            Nobody here will eat that, unfortunately.

                                                                            1. re: roxlet

                                                                              Not even you? You'd be surprised.

                                                                          2. re: roxlet

                                                                            I made my so-so strawberries into a sauce (cook a little with sugar) for pancakes or yogurt and others into a jam. You can freeze them whole and then combine in food processor with yogurt and sugar for smoothie or ice cream and milk for a strawberry milkshake (may need some superfine sugar).

                                                                            1. re: mscoffee1

                                                                              I may just freeze them. Good idea!

                                                                              1. re: roxlet

                                                                                Nigella Lawson has a recipe for strawberry crumble which she says works well to tranform mediocre strawberries

                                                                                1. re: limoen

                                                                                  Good idea! Which book is it in? I have domestic goddess...

                                                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                                                    It's from her new book, Kitchen (which I'm really enjoying). The recipe can be found online in metric here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/str... and in American measurements here: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ni.... She featured it on her 'Kitchen' tie-in show. It looks really good though I think you should probably taste before adding all the sugar (admittedly sugar is usually necessary for lacklustre strawberries).

                                                                            2. I made the lemon lust bars in "Flour" for my mom for Mother's day. She LOVES lemon bars and these were a real winner. The only change I made was that I used a 9" square pan instead of the 9 x 11 pan the recipe called for. My family prefers a higher crust to filling ratio than most recipes call for.

                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                              1. re: flourgirl

                                                                                Yours is the first post I think I've read about a recipe from Flour. How do you like the book?

                                                                                1. re: roxlet

                                                                                  This is the second recipe I've tried. I made the holiday sugar (cut out) cookies a few months back & I wasn't as happy with those. They tasted good but the cookies didn't hold their edges very well. If I try them again, I will chill the cookies before I bake them, but I've made other roll and cut cookies where that wasn't a necessary step (and not a step she mentions, either.)

                                                                                  These lemon bars are excellent, but the crust was a little difficult to work with. Even after chilling the dough for over 45 minutes (the instructions call for 30) it was way too soft and sticky to roll, as the instructions call for. Instead, I just floured my hands and pressed the dough into the pan and the crust came out great. (OK, so I just realized a made one more change to the recipe than I originally claimed.)

                                                                                  The book itself is very nice. Not every recipe has a photo but the photos it does have are very good. I like her voice, I like the mix of recipes presented, and there are quite a few things I want to try, like the homemade pop tarts and fig newtons..

                                                                              2. I recently got my sourdough starter back into action after being in the refrigerator for about a year. This last weekend I baked a couple of loaves of sourdough sweet bread. I'm also a member of the banana bread club. I don't really like the stuff, but my partner does, so he gets it now and again. I use Nancy Silverton's recipe from Pastries from the La Brea Bakery.

                                                                                1. another easy one: Almond Cake
                                                                                  mix together: one cup melted butter, 1-1/2 cup sugar, 2 eggs-beaten, 2 tablespoons almond extract, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1-2/3 cups all-purpose flour. Pour this thick batter into two greased pie plates that you have prepared with a baking spray. Sprinkle tops with sliced almonds (1/2 cup). Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes or less.

                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: Cynsa

                                                                                    I wish I'd had this recipe yesterday, I would have made it for dessert. Sounds great.

                                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                                      Mom isn't strong enough to venture to a restaurant for Mother's Day and I am recovering from gout - we had tea and pastries + almond cake with bouquets of tulips with her at 11 am on Mom's Day yesterday. I am off the crutches, did a throwdown with the walking cane, and I can stand upright for a few hours now before I resume the elevated foot position. DH walked to our neighborhood Sunday Farmers Market for sticky bun, apple strudel, and an olallieberry turnover.
                                                                                      Reading bread baking posts and the birthday cake with chestnut cream are my vicarious pleasures for now.
                                                                                      Macarons are next; my sad first attempt failed. Let's do it, buttertart :^)

                                                                                      1. re: Cynsa

                                                                                        That's a nice celebration in any case, restaurants on Mother's Day are a nightmare anyway. Hope the gout goes away posthaste (my dad had that, no fun).
                                                                                        Macarons...hmm...m a y b e...

                                                                                  2. Last night I made Raspberry Almond Bars, that got raves on a Food Board I belong to.
                                                                                    I substituted raspberry with black raspberry preserves and the recipe calls for 12 ounces
                                                                                    of white chocolate chips. I used Ghiradelli and tasted one after they cooled. They are fabulous.

                                                                                    13 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: mcel215

                                                                                        mcel, those sound great! Would you mind sharing a recipe?

                                                                                        1. re: mcel215

                                                                                          That recipe sounds fantastic and I have some homemade (not by me) black raspberry jam that needs a home. Please...the recipe?

                                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                                            Sure, I call them Sally's Raspberry-Almond Bars, because that's where I got the recipe. She tweaked it from someone who didn't add white chocolate chips. But, I love the addition.

                                                                                            Raspberry Almond Bars

                                                                                            1/2 cup butter
                                                                                            1-12 oz. package white chocolate chips, divided (just remove 1 cup and set aside)
                                                                                            2 eggs
                                                                                            1/2 cup sugar
                                                                                            1 teaspoon almond extract
                                                                                            1 cup all-purpose flour
                                                                                            1/2 teaspoon salt
                                                                                            1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam (I used Blackberry preserves)
                                                                                            1/4 cup sliced almonds (optional)

                                                                                            In a saucepan, melt butter. Remove from the heat; add 1 cup of the chips (do not stir).

                                                                                            In a small mixing bowl, beat eggs until foamy; gradually add sugar. Stir in chip mixture and almond extract.

                                                                                            Combine flour and salt; add to egg mixture just until combined. Spread half of the batter into a greased 9-inch square baking pan.

                                                                                            Bake at 325 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

                                                                                            In a small saucepan over low heat, melt jam; spread over warm crust. Stir remaining chips into the remaining batter; drop by teaspoonfuls over the jam layer. Sprinkle with almonds.

                                                                                            Bake 30-35 minutes longer or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

                                                                                            Cool on a wire rack. Cut into bars. Yield: 1 dozen*

                                                                                            *Sally's note:

                                                                                            If you want to triple the recipe (and believe me, you do!), use a 1/2 sheet pan.

                                                                                            I took a picture of them after they cooled.

                                                                                              1. re: mcel215

                                                                                                Yum indeed, and thanks for sharing the recipe. That's one of the things I love about these threads, the recipes.

                                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                  Although it does mean my computer "to try" file is up to a whopping 243 entries. I bake a couple every week, but I add much more than I make.

                                                                                                  1. re: mcel215

                                                                                                    Thanks for the recipe. These went over very well at work yesterday! I used homemade blackberry jam and they are definitely on the make again list, thanks

                                                                                                    1. re: geminigirl

                                                                                                      Your welcome, geminigirl. I have yet to add the almonds, but this weekend I will, heading to a BBQ. I bet that homemade blackberry jam made them fabulous. You have lucky co-workers. :)
                                                                                                      BTW, I have a friend in Vt., who said she made them with apricot preserves and they were wonderful too!
                                                                                                      And I have given all three white choc chips a trial run. Ghiradelli, Nestle and Market Basket. Not much difference in taste with Ghiradelli or Nestle, but MB is definately a lower grade. It makes the bars almost too sweet.

                                                                                                      1. re: mcel215

                                                                                                        I didn't use the almonds either, i was too lazy to chop them up...The apricot sounds really good as well, I like recipies that can be played around with, and a good way to use up all my extra preserves! I bet sour cherry would be delicious, but I didn't like how mine came out last summer...ps - I used Ghiradelli

                                                                                                        1. re: geminigirl

                                                                                                          I did use the almonds this time and they are delish too. I have a few tucked away in my freezer. ;)

                                                                                                          I posted a picture on my blog.

                                                                                              2. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7837...
                                                                                                Saw this on the cookie a day thread and thought it was well worth bringing to everyone's attention - hope okeydokey with you, Cynsa!
                                                                                                Very interesting, and uses a really oldfashioned leavener.

                                                                                                1. Displaying a clear lack of imagination, I once again made Rose Levy Beranbaum's Golden Grand Marnier Cake from "The Cake Bible", to take to a lunchtime reunion in someone's back yard; it was a great day for sitting outdoors (finally!) and catching up with people I had not seen in 30 years.

                                                                                                  As I dislike hard bits of chocolate in cake, I always use callets instead of chocolate chips when I make the cake. This time I was out of Felchlin callets (which I always quarter as they are so large), so I used Callebaut callets instead. As they are much smaller than Felchlin callets, I decided to not chop them; that was a mistake as I felt that they were still too large in the cake. I should have at least halved them. The next time I intend to finely chop them just to see what the texture of the cake turns out like.

                                                                                                  The cake was enjoyed by all present.

                                                                                                  No picture as it looked exactly like one I posted here before.

                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: souschef

                                                                                                    How big are the C callets? Smarties-sized?

                                                                                                  2. What am I baking today=all those cookies

                                                                                                    1. Nikki's Healthy Cookie Recipe (http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/...), for the visiting vegan brother. It's my first close-up experience with coconut oil - good stuff!

                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: THewat

                                                                                                        I've been very curious about these so let us know how they turned out!

                                                                                                        1. re: mollyomormon

                                                                                                          I'm a butter & cream baker, so these were a departure for me. I thought they were very good right out of the oven and for a couple of hours thereafter - after that the consistency changed in a way I didn't care for - they became increasingly soft & cakey. The flavor stayed good, though. In order for the cookies to be vegan, you have to use vegan chips or make a substitution.

                                                                                                      2. I just baked 2/3rds of the famous Epicurious double chocolate layer cake(http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...) . It made two perfect 9" layers, which is about as big as I'd want a cake for a non-celebratory purpose. I frosted it with the cooked flour frosting, which is just so delicious. Should have done a crumb coat, but since it was just us, I decided not to...

                                                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: mcel215

                                                                                                            I only had a little taste, but I have to say that it was delicious. I know the cooked flour frosting sounds weird -- at least I thought it did at first -- but it really is just fantastic.

                                                                                                            1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                              I love it too, so much less sweet.

                                                                                                          2. re: roxlet

                                                                                                            This cake is wonderful! I used that chocolate cake recipe for me daughter's birthday cake this past weekend. It calls for 2, 10 X 2 inch pans -which I don't have - so I used three 9 X 1(ish) inch pans I had. They came out lovely. I then used Ina's peanut butter frosting, as per my daughter's request. One of the best cakes I have made in a long time.

                                                                                                            1. re: foodie_guru

                                                                                                              And it is so moist, and stays that way to the very end!

                                                                                                              1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                agreed. Amazing. can't wait for the opportunity to make it again (sooner rather than later ;0)

                                                                                                          3. Yesterday morning I baked apple pie and two almond cakes for Saturday's bake sale for http://bakesalesf.wordpress.com/
                                                                                                            San Francisco raised $2400 (last year - $1700) We have a generous community.

                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: Cynsa

                                                                                                              Congratulations! Was the sale for anything in particular?

                                                                                                              1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                “The second annual National Food Bloggers Bake Sale is a great opportunity for us food bloggers across the country to come together, showcase our baked goods and help give back to our local communities.” says Gaby Dalkin, author of What’s Gaby Cooking and founder of the National Food Bloggers Bake Sale. “It also allows us the opportunity to meet our readers face to face and have them experience all of the baked goods they see on our blogs and create an awesome food blogging community in our respective states!”
                                                                                                                Last year’s Food Bloggers Bake Sale in San Francisco raised $1700 for Share our Strength and this year’s Bake Sale is looking to double that number. Funds raised through The National Food Bloggers Bake Sale support Share Our Strength’s efforts to end childhood hunger in America through their “No Kid Hungry” movement by helping fund afterschool and summer feeding programs. “Today, more families in America are facing hunger due to the economy and rising unemployment,” said Bill Shore, Share Our Strength Founder and Executive Director. “Summer is an especially difficult time because nearly 17 million children facing hunger in America no longer have access to the school meals they rely on,” added Shore.
                                                                                                                “Organizing the first San Francisco Food Bloggers Bake Sale last year was one of the most fulfilling things I’ve done,” said Anita Chu. “It was great to meet so many local, talented bakers and food bloggers and see them all come together for a common cause. Everyone was thrilled to help make a difference, and to get a chance to show off their baking skills!”
                                                                                                                SF Food Bloggers Bake Sale will be taking place at 18 Reasons from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. and at the Kiehl’s location from noon – 4 p.m.

                                                                                                                1. re: Cynsa

                                                                                                                  Congrats again, Cynsa. That's wonderful!

                                                                                                              2. Say you baking friends, can you help me out with understanding something weird that happened on Saturday night while prepping dinner - I used up some keema I'd made last week in samosas.

                                                                                                                The weird thing with the dough (bleached a-p flour, a bit of oil, a bit of salt, water to make it into a dough, rested 20 mins, separated into 2" balls and rolled out, each ball makes 2 samosa skins) was that I rolled them out and stacked them prior to filling, spraying with Pam to keep them separate. By the time I got to the last couple, I could have stretched the pieces out to 8 inches or more, they were like bubble gum. What the hey? I've heard of dough relaxing but this was ridic.

                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                  You know, this recipe sounds like the dough they use to make fateer in Egypt, which is rolled out and then stretched to an enormous size and then folded over toppings and baked in a very hot oven to make a pizza-like concoction. I would watch them make the fateer, and I was always in awe of how they could stretch it so thin. Someone had told me that the dough was just flour, oil, and water. Where is the recipe from, bt, and have you ever made this recipe before?

                                                                                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                    It's my hurry up and don't look at the recipe version of Madhur Jaffrey's Indian Cooking recipe. Was about 2 c flour, 2 tb oil, 1/2 tsp salt, and ? 3/4 c water, enough to make it to a firmish soft dough. I've made it many times before but usually roll, fill and fry as I go, this time since I've had issues with deep frying with my wonderful smoke alarms I wanted to have all my samosa ducks in a row before heating the oil.

                                                                                                                    By the way, drained them on a rack over a baking sheet in the warm oven and a good 1/3 of a cup of oil dripped out of them. Felt very virtuous.

                                                                                                                  1. Also made Alice Medrich's oatmeal cookies from Gooey etc - browned the butter, omitted the cinnamon, and substituted more nuts for the raisins, but proceeded otherwise as directed. Not 100 pct thrilled. I chilled the dough as suggested and made Tb-sized balls (the smaller cookies). They did not flatten in the oven and were nowhere near done at 10 mins. I had to smush them with my trusty Cuisinart pusher at about 10 mins to get them to cook through. Perhaps if the dough were just made and dropped by Tb they would work better. Tasty enough but nowhere near as good as my mom's favorite, Peg Bracken's Aggression Cookies: http://images.cookeatshare.com/recipe...
                                                                                                                    ETA: I have oven thermometers on both shelves of my oven and they were at 350, so that wasn't the problem.

                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                    1. Bread because my skin likes homemade bread better. Also cinnamon buns, I like this dough but I add cinnamon to the topping part: http://mennonitegirlscancook.blogspot...

                                                                                                                      That website by the way...is a goldmine of good stuff from home cooks.

                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: S_K

                                                                                                                        Thank you very much for that link - grew up in SW Ontario and there were Mennonite communities around us, great food - some of my most treasured cookbooks are Edna Staebler's.

                                                                                                                        1. re: S_K

                                                                                                                          yes, a double thank you. I grew up in Ohio and had Mennonite friends and good memories. Now that I've read this site, I want to make the slab pies from the recipes for crowds :^)

                                                                                                                        2. I'm going through a a cookie baking craze right now. Mostly oatmeal chocolate chip (I never did understand why people used raisins instead of chocolate. When I was little I thought the raisins were chocolate chunks and was hugely disappointed when I took my first bite). I did make a chocolate chip skillet cookie recently topped with vanilla ice cream and hot fudge. It was delicious!

                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: cioccolata

                                                                                                                            I like an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie a lot too. Raisins, nothenkyew.

                                                                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                              finally, someone who agrees with me :). Everyone I know who likes oatmeal cookies seems to prefer the raisins. I'm assuming it's just because they haven't tried the chocolate chip version (mainly because no one seems to offer one. Hence why I set out to perfect my own).

                                                                                                                            2. re: cioccolata

                                                                                                                              Ditto on the cookie phase!! I'm about to attempt a soft, chewy chocolate cookie with crunchy peanut butter filling (fingers crossed!!), but I'd really love to try a big fat skillet cookie, if anyone can recomment a good recipe?

                                                                                                                            3. Have a look at the muffin challenge and runoff, quite interesting. I like the sound of the currant muffins a lot, because I'm always beguiled into buying some and then they languish until I break down and make a summer pudding.

                                                                                                                              1. My neighbor left a bag of lemons from her backyard tree on our front porch. Lemon Bars have 40 minutes in the oven at 300°F. The timer is ticking.

                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. no baking for me until TGIF

                                                                                                                                  1. Sweet potato fries! Seriously so much better than regular ones.

                                                                                                                                    1. I just stumbled upon a brownie with a pretzel crumb top this week and gave it a try last night. Enjoying a square right now with my whipped almond milk smoothie and the pretzels really add a nice salty bite to the rich brownie. The recipe is found at this food blog:
                                                                                                                                      and I'll be taking a baking break for the rest of May. I'm off to Quebec City for holiday.

                                                                                                                                      Happy baking all!


                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                        That does sound good, and happy holidaymaking - QC is a lovely place. Squeeze in dinner at le Laurie-Raphael if you can.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                          If it's still there, we loved a restaurant called Toast that was in a hotel in the old city. Surprisingly inventive food!

                                                                                                                                        2. I just baked the Apple Raisin Pecan Snack Cake from Flour. Nice cake full of fruit. I glazed it with a cider glaze from King Arthur's book

                                                                                                                                          1. I recently stumbled upon a recipe for black bean brownies, which don't really appeal to me, but since my husband is doing Weight Watchers I figured I'd give them a whirl. I used this recipe...


                                                                                                                                            The changes I made were to put some dollops of peanut butter on top (I figured they couldn't taste all that bad if they had pb on top! :-) and chopped chocolate instead of the chips. They weren't bad! They are definitely not a traditional brownie, but I voluntarily ate more than one! (Of course, I also put a smidge of whipped cream on top!) My husband took the rest to work today and all of the women he works with loved them.

                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                            1. Tonight I am making Lidia's chicken with rice, which has been reported on separately on this board. It's a kind of poor man's risotto -- very easy and quick to make.

                                                                                                                                              Post dinner -- It was excellent! Easy and tasty!

                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                              1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                Obviously put this on the wrong board!!

                                                                                                                                              2. I just baked white chocolate, liquorice and pecan cookies. Haven't tried them yet but they look delicious. Im gonna make liquorice sauce now (for ice cream) its my new favorite

                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: L987

                                                                                                                                                  Please please please post that recipe, that'd go over really big in my house. LOVE licorice.

                                                                                                                                                2. I am baking a lemon curd tart that will be covered with berries. The curd came from Dorrie's Baking from my house to yours, and it uses 6 yolks and one whole egg and no cornstarch, which just means you have to beat, beat, beat it and watch it like a hawk. Quite tasty!

                                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                    mmmmmmmm. lemon curd. mmmmmmmm.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                        That tart sounds lovely. :)

                                                                                                                                                        I have had lemon curd on the brain for weeks now. I may have to find this recipe, because I just threw out my 15 year-old box of cornstarch. lol

                                                                                                                                                      2. I made a version of the Momofuku Crack Pie, but with my own adjustments (bittersweet chocolate crust, a touch of bourbon etc), AND I made two of them in miniature. Really tested my math skills knocking down the recipe to that level. lol

                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                            It was great!

                                                                                                                                                            I guess we're not allowed to link to our blogs with the recipes anymore? I had posted a link here in my earlier response but it's gone now.

                                                                                                                                                            Sorry. I've seen others do that and done it before without fall-out, didn't realize it was forbidden.

                                                                                                                                                        1. Got some blackberries (from Mexico) in Chinatown last Sunday and used them and the last Spies that actually kept quite well in my fridge drawer to make Nick Malgieri's version of Jane Grigson's apple and blackberry pie from "A Baker's Tour". I had seen this recipe forever and always wondered what it was like. It's very tasty indeed.
                                                                                                                                                          You make the pastry first, then chill it while you make the filling.
                                                                                                                                                          2 1/2 c flour, 12 tb butter, tsp salt, tsp baking powder, 7 tb heavy cream. I needed more like 9 to get it to cohere - I find that with his pastry recipes in general I need more liquid.
                                                                                                                                                          The filling is supposed to be 2 lb apples + 1 lb blackberries, I had 12 oz of the berries so used another apple (in The Fruit Book, Grigson says this is a pie to be made with what's at hand, I love that woman). Peel and slice the apples (I sliced across the quarters in about 1/4 in slices), put the peels and cores in a pan with half of the blackberries (I used 4 oz of the berries plus most of the 6th apple, cut up) and 1 c water, bring to boil, reduce juices to about half over medium heat (about 5 minutes), sieve to make 2/3 c of juice (I pushed most of the solids through the sieve so the result was a loose purée rather than juice). Stir in 1 c sugar (I used 3/4 c because the apples were quite sweet).
                                                                                                                                                          Put half of the sliced apples in a 12" gratin pan (I used LC), strew half of the berries on top, repeat and pour the juice over (I mived everything with my hands in the big bowl I had my apples in and banged it into the pan that way - the blackberries suffered a bit from this, so do it the right way).
                                                                                                                                                          Cover with the crust rolled out to fit the pan (it's very thick, you could make a 2-crust pie from it).
                                                                                                                                                          Cut a few 2" holes in it to vent and decorate with pastry scraps if the whim strikes.
                                                                                                                                                          Glaze with beaten egg and sprinklle with sugar (I used cream because I don't like egg-glazed pastry very much).
                                                                                                                                                          Bake at 375 deg F for 40 mins or so until all bubbly and golden.
                                                                                                                                                          This is very good but would be amazing warm. The crust is a bit biscuity. Come to think of it, how about some with pouring cream for bfast???

                                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                            yummy yummy yummy I ♥ PIE, especially for breakfast - next time I bake an apple pie, I'll slice the apple quarters cross-wise as you did :^)

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                              That looks and sounds fantastic! Pie for breakfast is ALWAYS good.

                                                                                                                                                            2. I finally gave it a try - chocolate cookies with peanut butter filling! And they tasted amazing!! Next venture may have to be a peanut butter cookie with chocolate filling :)

                                                                                                                                                              6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: BabsW

                                                                                                                                                                  Woops - tried to post the link, but apparently I can't do that - sorry guys, I'm new to this!! I'll try copying and pasting instead...

                                                                                                                                                                  First, to make the filling, spoon three quarters of a 375g jar of crunchy peanut butter into a bowl and microwave for 15 - 20 seconds. Then, add 3 tsp of icing sugar, mix to combine, and refrigerate until ready to use.

                                                                                                                                                                  For the cookies,
                                                                                                                                                                  225g butter, softened
                                                                                                                                                                  140g castor sugar
                                                                                                                                                                  1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
                                                                                                                                                                  2 tsp vanilla extract
                                                                                                                                                                  225g plain flour
                                                                                                                                                                  70g cocoa powder
                                                                                                                                                                  Preheat your oven to 190°C and line 2 baking trays with baking paper.

                                                                                                                                                                  Put the butter and sugar in a bowl and mix well with a wooden spoon. Then, beat in the egg yolk and vanilla extract. Sift together the flour and cocoa, then mix in thoroughly until combined.

                                                                                                                                                                  Next comes the hard part - putting them together. Scoop out a tablespoon-sized ball of dough, and gently flatten it on the baking paper.

                                                                                                                                                                  Take the peanut butter mixture out of the fridge, and spoon a little bit (about a teaspoon worth) into the middle of the flattened dough.

                                                                                                                                                                  Next up, gently cover the peanut butter ball with the cookie dough, ensuring you cover the peanut butter completely, carefully smoothing the dough over.

                                                                                                                                                                  This is a little tricky and time consuming - it works best if you wash and completely dry your hands in between every few cookies. Once that's done, into the oven they go, for 15 minutes.

                                                                                                                                                                  Warning: the smell of warm cocoa and peanut butter wafting through the air is damn near impossible to resist, but it's best to leave them to cool on their tray for 10 minutes or so. Then, get involved!

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: KitchenBug

                                                                                                                                                                    I saw it before it was deleted. I didn't realize that's a no-no either. oops!

                                                                                                                                                                    The recipe looks great. :)

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: KitchenBug

                                                                                                                                                                      Is that a Maida Heatter recipe, originally? I think roxlet posted about one quite like that.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: KitchenBug

                                                                                                                                                                        thanks, KitchenBug! I baked your cookies this morning for a picnic today - they're delish! I baked the cookies for 7 minutes. Also, I didn't chill the peanut butter filling... my quick trick: roll one tablespoon of cookie dough into ball and shape into a disk with fingers and thumb, place teaspoon of peanut butter filling into center and pull up edges to enclose the filling. Place on parchment paper lined cookie sheet, with sealed edges on bottom; flatten slightly with glass dipped in sugar. I oil the bottom of the glass lightly with vegetable oil and dip in a plate of granulated sugar. We like these chewy in the centers - 7 minutes seems about right in my oven.
                                                                                                                                                                        my simplified variation of KitchenBug's great chocolate peanut butter cookie:
                                                                                                                                                                        for the filling: mix 3/4 cup of creamy peanut butter with 3/4 cup of powdered sugar; set aside
                                                                                                                                                                        for the cookie dough: stir together 3 cups of all-purpose flour, 1 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 teaspoon of baking soda; set aside. In stand mixer: cream one cup of softened unsalted butter with 1 cup brown sugar and 1 cup white granulated sugar and 1/2 cup peanut butter until fluffy, add 2 eggs, one at a time, mix well, add 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract. Stir flour-cocoa mixture in by hand with wooden spoon until well combined. Bake 375°F for 7 minutes. Next time, I'll follow KitchenBug's recipe to the letter to bake her lovelies (see her photo) that are so divinely chocolatey.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Cynsa

                                                                                                                                                                          Nice! Must make, I love filled cookies.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. for Blancmange

                                                                                                                                                                    Ok, it's in the oven now baking away.
                                                                                                                                                                    I couldn't and didn't leave it alone of course, the batter was delicious but I added grounded down chocolate to the batter. So it'll be a flecked chocolate peanut butter pound cake with [yes] a glaze of cream in powdered sugar and cocoa.

                                                                                                                                                                    I'll let you know how it is, but how bad could it be? hahahahah \?/<<< that's hands up in the air side of my head with cocked head, like "I duh-no"............... *}

                                                                                                                                                                    1. Buttertart, I know you made the Hermé Chocolate-nut loaf & didn't care for it - have you made other things from Desserts by Pierre Herme that you have liked? I just found the book on sale...

                                                                                                                                                                      7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: THewat

                                                                                                                                                                        The cake is enjoying renewed popularity as rather good biscotti. The coconut tuiles are good but you'd have to be a hell of a lot more adept than I to make them properly (using a stencil or smearing them out with the heel of your hand - maybe you could just trop teaspoonfuls and see what happened). I made the prunes in Sauternes and they were dreamy. That's it. Was going to make one of the tarts but having made the coconut things was not sure of the effort:result ratio. The photos...oh my goodness.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                          Buttertart, I don't have that recipe book, but when I make tuiles I use a small offset spatula to spread out the batter, without using a stencil. Dropping teaspoons won't work as the batter won't spread on its own.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                                            This was very thick, might have worked before the required rest in the fridge.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                              The recipe I have (French Cookery School) does not require you to give the batter a rest before use.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                                                Hmm. I must look at that too. Great book.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                            Thanks Buttertart! Yes, I remember the biscotti from the prior thread. I'll try the prunes.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: THewat

                                                                                                                                                                              I made them to serve with a Finnish sand cake - a cardamom sour cream pound-ish loaf cake - from the Time-Life Foods of the World Scandinavian volume, super together.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. I recently just started to really get into garlic bread. I've always loved the stuff but had only really ever made in once or twice. Now I'm making some at least once a week. The hardest part for me is getting the amount of garlic just right. Sometimes I tend to overdo it to the point where I think our neighbors can smell it...

                                                                                                                                                                          1. Let's see, Saturday we got a pack of strawberries from Costco, so I made a fresh strawberry pie with those. Then Sunday it was CI's peanut butter cookies. I've mostly been baking my old standbys this year, brownies, molasses spice cookies and snickerdoodles. For a while I was in love with Ina Garten's crostata crust, so I was making fruit crostatas every couple days. Last week I was obsessed with making Chinese pork buns, so I tried those a couple times, but could never get them to turn out quite the way I wanted.

                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: gmm

                                                                                                                                                                              I haven't had a strawberry pie in eons.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. It was birthday party time around here again--this time my youngest turned two! Her nickname is Tykki-dyw (means "butterfly" in Cornish), so the theme was a butterfly-filled Tykki-Dyw is Turning Two.

                                                                                                                                                                              I made Old World Raspberry Bars, layered strawberry and lemon "nectar," homemade candy buttons (those old fashioned candies that were my favorites as a kid) in my party colors, little flower-shaped lemon tartlets with homemade lemon curd, edible sugar flower pots, butterfly and flower shaped sugar cookies, and of course, a cake. The cake was the centerpiece of the dessert table--a tower of over 200 fondant roses surrounded by fluttering butterflies. More pictures on my blog at http://tradewindtiaras.blogspot.com/2... .

                                                                                                                                                                              7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: modthyrth

                                                                                                                                                                                Oh my goodness that is beautiful. And what a darling nickname.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: modthyrth

                                                                                                                                                                                  Very impressive, modthyth! Amazing pictures of the other offerings as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: modthyrth

                                                                                                                                                                                    Oh wow... that is just magnificent! What a fortunate little butterfly your daughter is to have such a talented mum! The other photos are great too - love the flower pots and the little edible butterflies on the lemon tarts!!

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: modthyrth

                                                                                                                                                                                      truly beautiful works of art - but I am mystified, how do you serve this gorgeous-lovely cake? I'd be anxious to serves slices - did you take photos 'after'?

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Cynsa

                                                                                                                                                                                        It was kind of a mess to cut! A large serrated knife did the job, and it was really done like any other fondant cake. I follow the cake cutting guidelines and size charts from Earlene's Cakes ( http://www.earlenescakes.com/cakeserv... ). The only real problem was that the roses liked falling off when I was cutting the cake. Luckily, there were about a billion roses on the thing, so the kids had plenty, even if some fell off. ;-) I'm the photographer in the family as well as the baker/cake cutter, but my friend did pick up my camera and snap a few shots while I was serving the cake.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: modthyrth

                                                                                                                                                                                          oh, I'd happily catch a falling rose by any other name

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: modthyrth

                                                                                                                                                                                        Wow! Your table looks amazing. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                      3. Oh yeah ... baking. That might be over now that the heat and humidity have arrived here. Sigh.

                                                                                                                                                                                        I made oven-baked parmesan fries the other day. They were GOOD.
                                                                                                                                                                                        The recipe, and a pic, are here: http://areyouhungryyet.blogspot.com/2...

                                                                                                                                                                                        I've been making a lot of challah lately. We all like it, and I've found a good recipe. Last project was challah hamburger buns.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Banana bread ... using KAF's guaranteed recipe (not the ww recipe), minus the apricot jam. Not too sweet (which is good) and very tasty.

                                                                                                                                                                                        A goat cheese and leek galette (using a recipe found on this site) ... so good, as always.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Mini spinach and feta quiches in phyllo.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. I was just thinking that it was time I gave my nemesis (Buttertart, who else!) another challenge. This time I may well get egg on my face as she is a champeen bread baker but I'm not.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Buttertart, the challenge, should you accept it, is to make a "Brioche aux Fruits". As made by a former wonderful pastry shop here (the Swiss owner unfortunately died many years ago), it consisted of a brioche with the top knot cut off, the delicious contents of the brioche scooped out, and the brioche shell filled with pastry cream and fruit, then the top knot replaced. There was a thin chocolate shell on the bottom (inside) to prevent the brioche from going soggy.

                                                                                                                                                                                          The terms of the challenge is that the brioche has to be made, not purchased, and it should be done by July 4th (of this year, Buttertart dearest).

                                                                                                                                                                                          I made brioche once before, and it turned out good, but that was many years ago. Guess I should crack my reference book, "The Bread Bible", by R. Levy Beranbaum.

                                                                                                                                                                                          What say you Buttertart ?

                                                                                                                                                                                          11 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                                                            please post photos, buttertart - is this one mountain of a brioche or popover-sized?

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Cynsa

                                                                                                                                                                                              It is a large brioche, but I don't think I would call it a mountain (maybe a small hill?). Definitely not popover-sized - would be too fiddly.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Cynsa, please feel free to partcipate in the challenge. Watch that foot, though.

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                                                              Consider the gauntlet picked up. Anyone else game?
                                                                                                                                                                                              It's a great idea - I've only made brioche a few times and love it, so what better?
                                                                                                                                                                                              Traditional pan? Hmm, must get.
                                                                                                                                                                                              I'll use white chocolate as the coating, I think. How thick was the shell?
                                                                                                                                                                                              Free choice of recipes for the brioche?

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                Glad you have agreed to the challenge.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Yes, traditional pan. Should be easy to get; seen them at W-S.

                                                                                                                                                                                                The shell was very thin. I think I would just ......no, I'll let you figure it out :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                Any recipe; far be it for me to constrain you to a specific recipe. Just don't use whole wheat flour.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Choice of fruit is wide open, but I think berries would work best, with Grand Marnier pastry cream.

                                                                                                                                                                                                I would like to see the Canelé Crew (Cynsa, Pilinut, and TrewQ) get in on the action too. BTW, Pilinut has not posted anything here in a long time; Cynsa, I hope she's okay.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Anybody can play! I'll refer to it in the June thread OP.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                    This sounds interesting. I've never made brioche before but I'll give it a try! (how hard can it be, right? *nervous chuckle*) And if it turns out badly I'm sure my dogs won't mind... :) In all seriousness, as long as it tastes good my family is pretty good about willingly eating my failed attempts at new recipes. I can't wait to see how it turns out for those that are more experienced though. I'm sure those will be masterpieces!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                        You are too kind Buttertart. BTW I looked up the procedure for brioche in TBB; I had forgotten how involved it is.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                                                                          She could make pouring a glass of water complicated. I'm going to review my books and compare recipes. Isn't there a good one in her Bernachon book?

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                            In TBB she mentions that it is her latest version, i.e. she has improved on previous versions in TCB and TP&PB; the Bernachon book is very old. I have nothing but respect for the lady (apart from the darn Bernachon cocoa cakes), so if she comes up with a new way of pouring a glass of water, I'll follow it :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I know, she is great. It's just my rebellious streak. I'm sure that recipe makes sublime brioche...hmm, maybe this (long) weekend?

                                                                                                                                                                                            3. I seem to be high on Better Homes and Gardens magazine these days (must be the only time those words have been seen in print) - just noticed this very interesting and useful feature that I plan on spending some quality time with:

                                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Braided Pizza Bread again, but this time with puff pastry I had in the freezer. I may have made my sauce a bit too spicy, so I tried to spread it thin.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: tracylee

                                                                                                                                                                                                  OK, it wasn't too spicy after all. However, next time I'll go back to pizza dough. It was an odd combination of textures, as I'm sure you're all thinking, ha ha! I just figured the puff pastry would be easier, but in the time it took me to simmer down the sauce, a pizza dough would have been simple, but more dishes to clean.

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. We were celebrating DH's birthday tonight so I made him a lemon layer cake(his favorite) filled with lemon curd and iced it with Axalady's Mom Mom's Buttercream icing, omitting the vanilla and folding in some lemon curd in at the end.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I doubled the batch of icing so now I have to decide what to do with the leftovers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: maplesugar

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Happy birthday to your DH. It looks lovely!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: maplesugar

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Thanks, I took the picture with my cell phone so the photo doesn't do it justice taste wise (looks wise it helps hide my amateur icing job).

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Yesterday, the milk chocolate pistachio tart from MS's new Pies and Tarts (one of my friends likes milk better than dark chocolate, so I was excited to see the recipe).

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Delicious, but don't go out futzing in the garden while the crust is prebaking like I did and not take a timer along, the first one burned to a crisp.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Had whizzed up everything for the crust in the food processor rather than use her instructions to use room-temp butter and cream it with the sugar etc - even with my sluttish amendment it was a very nice crust, sort of sandy in a good way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        She has you bake the crust for 30 mins - I found that 20 mins sufficed and even at that the tart baked up a teeny bit overdone on the edges. Maybe in an oven with spot-on temperature control it could go 30 mins.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I didn't/couldn't wait for the shell to cool before putting the pistachio paste in the bottom so the delineation between the chocolate and pistachio layers wasn't as clear as in the mighty MS's photo.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Used French Nestlé milk chocolate that was quite high-percentage. Had a little left over so gave it to the milk chocolate aficionado, who pronounced it good, but not Hershey's. It is very nice chocolate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                          PS I found the crust impossible to roll out so patted it into the pan - the texture was still very nice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Many recipes for tart dough have you do that. I think it's better, actually. When I made a lemon/raspberry tart recently using pie dough, I realized that it was too thin and would have been better patted in.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I am not a dab hand with a rolling pin - and since I had to remake the crust (harrumpf...) I was glad not to have to go through the rigamarole. PS there was only just barely enough dough for the pan, to roll it and get it into the pan would have taken a master.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Buttertart, I always had a problem with trying to roll dough and get it into a pan unbroken, until I came across a great way of doing it; it may have been a RLB trick, but I'm not sure.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                In any case, what you do is roll out the dough on parchment paper, then on the centre set a cake tin that is slightly smaller in diameter than the pie pan. Quickly flip it over, remove the paper, replace it with the pie pan, then flip again, and the pastry is in the pan.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Thank you, I will definitely try this. Now if I can only overcome the rolled-out dough looking like a map of Australia or Ireland, or Hello Kitty's face, I'll be getting somewhere.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    IMO, rolling out dough is problematic when the dough is under-hydrated. I have a real issue with most pastry recipes since they call for so little water. I sprinkle and sprinkle until there are no more dry spots of flour. Then I gather it up, making sure that it is completely amalgamated, press it into a disk, and cover with plastic wrap, allowing it hydrate further in the fridge for at least an hour. I never have problems rolling out my dough this way, and the surface remains smooth, and dotted with small pieces of butter right below. Using enough water the absolutely the answer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Buttertart - better Australia than Italy, at least. I'll think of you & Hello Kitty next time I'm rolling. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Yet another Lebovitz almond cake - I am not crazy about this, but I have friends who are obsessed, I tell you. As a result, it seems like I make it once a week. And a loaf of the ubiquitous Hertzberg no-kneed bread. My brother is making a dynamite version of this & so far all I've succeeded in doing is burning the heck out of my thumb. I also have a pierre Hermé chocolate-nut loaf in the oven - despite Buttertart's panning. I was just so curious, I couldn't help myself. (And I know I can make it into biscotti if I dislike it.) Folding in melted & cooled butter at the end was a new experience for me...

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. I made a carrot cake topped with whipped cream and fresh local strawberries for a dinner party today. Then later I made a lemon layer cake with lemon curd for a birthday party tomorrow. Haven't frosted it yet, but I plan to use the cooked flour frosting mixed with some of the lemon curd.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart


                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The lemon cake turned out pretty well, I think. I actually ended up freezing one of the three layers, since they were all so fluffy and there's only four of us eating the cake. (Next time I need to remember to use the six-inch rounds I have.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. New to this thread...love the concept. I love to bake- love to cook, too, but baking just hits that spot, you know?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I baked cookies yesterday- chocolate chip, but added orange zest and cranberries. Oh, and pecans, because I am constitutionally unable to NOT add pecans to everything that they make sense in.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I love the look of James Peterson's 'Baking' book, and was going to bake my way through it, but the first recipe I wanted to make, Puff Pastry, looked wrong. It called for sticks instead of cups- I searched the internet and found the correct measurements on his blog, in a post he did about puff pastry. I found no reference to the error in the book. So, now I'm leery, a bit. I'm checking other sources, etc, to see if they 'match', so to speak. The puff pastry that I made from Julia Child's 'Baking w/Julia' book was really good. I need to make it more so I can get better, too many butter leaks for me. I did make JP's hazelnut fragipane, which was really good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Last weekend I made a cherry pie. I'd never made one, and don't think I ever have had one made with anything but Comstock. I got the cherries(jarred) from TJ's, and used a Cooks Illustrated recipe. It was good, but I don't think I loved the little bit of cinnamon and allspice added. Next time I'm going to leave that out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Not sure what is next. Croissants, maybe?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Carpe

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yum to all of the above!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I put pecans in a lot of things, too. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I love making croissants -- I like the process AND the final result. Last time I made mini croissants, and I still have the other half of the dough in the freezer. Too bad it's about 9,000 degrees outside and I'm staying away from the oven.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Just used my tart pan for the first time: Peak of the Season Strawberry Tart from: Northwest Essentials: Cooking with Ingredients That Define a Region's Cuisine. Tart was super easy. Vanilla pastry cream a little harder.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Highly recommened!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: melpy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Yay for a new tart pan! Tarts are so great.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. I love you guys. You inspire me. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I baked jam bars and granola bars for on the go breakfast stuff and wrapped it up...only I found the jam bars to be too sweet and the granola bars not interesting enough with the spontaneous bit of cinnamon added somehow making things taste muddy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Husband likes them and says I'm nuts...but I would be afraid to serve it to people if I hate it. GAH.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: S_K

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        You gotta watch that cinnamon, it can do that. As long as husband likes them, you have a customer for them! Make something else.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Over and out on this hot June am, to the June thread...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Let's get baking!