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

(Note: A new thread for July 2011 has been started here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/795242 If you've got a comment on something below, go ahead, but if you want to add an additional item that you're baking, please jump to the new thread. Thanks! -- The Chowhound Team )

Good morning and Happy Canada Day! Make some butter tarts in honour of the day. Or have a Bloody Caesar (or a nice strong cup of tea) and then make them.

So...here we are in July already. souschef's challenge is still in effect (Brioche aux Fruits - a classically-shaped brioche, hollowed out, lined with chocolate, and filled with creme patissiere and berries). Deadline is July 14th, Bastille Day (or la Fete Nationale, to our French friends).

What's in your oven? Flag cakes for today or for the glorious Fourth? Nice things featuring summer fruit? Interesting cookies? Or good old favorites? We all look forward to hearing from everybody.

What are you baking these days?

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  1. I can never remember making a brioche in a "classically-shaped brioche" pan, but I'd like to purchase something that is glass. Recently I purchased this brand of glass, Marinex, vs. Pyrex, and I see the Marinex brioche piece at

    http://www.amazon.com/Marinex-1-1-3-Q...

    I'm curious as to the size - 1 and 1/3 qt. - do you think it is a size that I could use for various recipes of brioche.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Rella

      That's gorgeous, wish I'd seen it before buying my Matfer 7" one from Amazon for this. It should be good for a decent-sized loaf, considering it's around the size of a 4-c Pyrex measuring cup.

      1. re: buttertart

        I checked it out on Amazon, and it says:

        "Marinex Bakeware can go from the freezer/refrigerator to a pre-heated oven where the oven temperature does not exceed 100C or 212F to start."

        You are supposed to bake the RLB brioche at 350F. Maybe I'm missing something, but it seems unusual for bakeware to not take 350F, which is used a lot in baking.

        1. re: souschef

          I think they mean that it can go from very cold freezer into a warm oven but if you are putting the dish at room temperature it should be fine in 350F oven.

    2. Made a sour cherry pie last weekend but that's long gone - however, there are plenty of cherries in the freezer for at least 3 more pies! I also ran across this recipe for an almond brown butter torte with sour cherry sauce that looks delicious: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

      In addition, I am going to be visiting some friends in August and invading their lake house for several days, so I want to bring a variety of home-baked treats with me to thank them for their hospitality. I have tried and true faves, of course, but I'd love some new ideas (and I have all of July to test them) - so hit me with your favorite treats that travel well and hold for a while at room temperature!

      14 Replies
      1. re: biondanonima

        If you are looking for sour cherry treats other than pie, I recommend this: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/281699

        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

          Not specifically, but thank you for posting the link, because that does look really delicious!

        2. re: biondanonima

          Check this discussion of a recipe for a chocolate chip square similar to one my mother made every couple of weeks when I was a kid and my brothers inhaled (the difference between it and my mom's is posted below it). Everyone I've given this to (Cynsa and mamachef among them) has loved it.

          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7730...

          1. re: buttertart

            That looks interesting - I'm not a fan of meringue, though. How prominent is the meringue layer? And is it crisp or chewy?

            I do think this will be my chance to try the Supernatural brownies that you rave about - I'll have to bake them the day before we leave anyway, so I won't be tempted to cut and gobble before the magic happens!

            1. re: biondanonima

              It's a thinnish layer and both crisp and chewy at the same time.
              Supernaturals always fit the bill too! Hope you love them.

              1. re: buttertart

                As I posted in the other thread, I liked the Supernaturals but everyone else I served them to LOVED them, so they're certainly going to be one of my regular recipes from now on. I have a whole line up of other brownie recipes to try now as well, including the Medrich, Ina Garten, CI Chewy, CI Triple chocolate and Mancatcher. So much chocolate, so little time!

                Aside from that, I made one of my better loaves of no-knead bread yesterday, using whey for the liquid. I baked it for 25 minutes covered and 35 mins uncovered, which resulted in an almost burnt top crust, but the extra crispiness was worth it.

                1. re: biondanonima

                  I have used the whey that I have left over from making paneer,

                  How did you come by the whey that you used.

                  1. re: Rella

                    I make Greek yogurt pretty regularly, and I like it very thick so I end up straining off quite a bit of whey. It seems to keep pretty well in the fridge (what I used last night had been in there at least two weeks, maybe longer) and I hear it freezes well also.

                    1. re: biondanonima

                      Yes, I get my whey from draining yogurt, too. I forgot that. I'm going to give the next no-knead a try with some whey. I usually use a flour mixture 1:3 KA bread flour with either kamut, spelt or rye. I think it might go well with spelt. Thanks.

                  2. re: biondanonima

                    I love it that you Canadians have different cookies than we do down below. What is a Supernatural? And Nainamo bars, although it's possible I actually made them many years ago -- can't remember. Are they good? Is there a national cookie?

                    1. re: somervilleoldtimer

                      Nick Malgieri's Supernatural Brownies are a delight! We love 'em, too.
                      http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes...

                      1. re: somervilleoldtimer

                        Ah, Nanaimo Bars! A bit of a national treasure here in the great white north! Originally made in Nanaimo British Columbia and now claimed as our own all over the country. Here is a recipe for the original:

                        http://www.canadianliving.com/food/na...

                        Over the years a number of variations have emerged, the one w a mint flavoured filling is likely the most common though.

                        1. re: somervilleoldtimer

                          Nanaimo bars! Three differently flavored layers of butter - coconut/walnut, custard and chocolate. In my family we call them Cardiac Event Bars. But we have them every year when we celebrate Canada Day here in Los Angeles and look forward to them all year until it comes around!

                          Last year I made them for my husband's office and then had to follow them with a sheaf of paper carrying the recipe. ;>

                2. re: biondanonima

                  I've made the epicurious brown butter torte a few times with great success.
                  this year I made a cherry pie -- from Rose Levy Beranbaum's Pie & Pastry Bible (yum!)
                  A lemon/blueberry bundt cake from Rustic Fruit Desserts, and
                  Cherry almond bars (also from Rustic Fruit Desserts).
                  All delectable, and my friends love me more!!

                3. Baking powder biscuits for strawberry shortcake. I prefer biscuits to sponge cakes or angel food cake with strawberries. Since I bake gluten free food, I 'cheat' and use a wonderful mix from Duinkerken Foods, Charlottetown, P.E.I. I prided myself in my ordinary biscuits but these are superior. Sometimes a mix is the route when G.F. baking. By the time 3 or four expensive flours have been bought plus leavening agents, it's sometimes more expedient to use to a mix - not always. I like cookies, cakes and loaves baked from scratch.

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: rakip

                    I make a chocolate shortcake (uses cocoa) ... easy and so so good with strawberries!

                    1. re: firecooked

                      THAT is awesome idea. A chocolately biscuit. Will you share the recipe, please. Thank you.

                      1. re: Matahari22

                        Here you go...

                        Chocolate Shortcakes

                        1 ¼ cups flour
                        ½ cup cocoa powder
                        ½ cup sugar
                        1 tablespoon baking powder
                        1/8 teaspoon salt
                        1 cup chilled whipping cream
                        ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

                        Oven: 400F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

                        Whisk dry ingredients in a large bowl. Beat cream and vanilla in a medium bowl until firm peaks form. Stir cream into flour mixture until most clumps form. Transfer mixture to lightly floured surface and knead gently until dough forms ball, about 10 turns. Pat dough out to ¾-inch thickness. Using 2 ½ to 3 inch cutter, cut out biscuits. Gather dough, pat out again, and cut a total of 6-8 biscuits. Place on prepared baking sheet. Bake until toothpick comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Cool on rack.

                        1. re: firecooked

                          Thank you! I have been very sick, and have not been eating enough. I finally made my apple cake today but I put it in muffin tins so I can freeze them easier, since it makes lots of cake, and I am not eating much, plus it's just me.

                          This is next on my list to make! I love chocolate!

                          1. re: Matahari22

                            Sorry to hear you haven't been well Matahari. I hope your yummy-sounding muffins entice you to have a little to eat and, that you're on the road to recovery.

                            1. re: Breadcrumbs

                              BC, thank you for the well wishes. Still no change, and I went to doctor on Wednesday. My ear is completely clogged, I cannot hear anything out of it. :( The muffins have come in handy, as I must eat and drink a lot of milk when I take these antibiotics. I really think I will be making my apple cake recipe, and baking them off in twelve muffin cups. Perfect size, and since it's just me, I won't be wasting a sheet of apple cake, since I can pop the muffins in the freezer.

                              Just praying I won't need a tube in my ear, and nothing is very wrong. Calling ENT on Monday.

                              1. re: Matahari22

                                Folks, we removed some posts from this sub-thread and would ask that you keep the focus on food, rather than on offering advice for dealing with antibiotics and other health issues. We try to avoid having people offer medical advice on Chowhound, as there's no way to vet whether it's safe or appropriate.

                                1. re: The Chowhound Team

                                  But you know, Chowhound Team, that for many, food and health are inseparable. So perhaps you would consider a food/health board. There are some who would never leave, and others who would only check in occasionally. A good disclaimer at the top and you're ready to roll!

                  2. Been making strawberry shortcake. With a sweet biscuit dough.

                    Tomorrow I am baking my favorite apple cake to bring to a 4th picnic. It's the moist apple cake ever.

                    http://allrecipes.com//Recipe/german-...

                    1. Last night I baked a tres leches cake for my daughter for her birthday celebration tomorrow.

                      On Mon for the BBQ we're having a peach kuchen and (what I hope will taste like) donut ice cream. We had some donut ice cream some time ago from a food truck. Theirs wasn't nearly creamy enough but the flavor was superb. I steeped my cream with cinnamon sticks and cardamom pods and I hope that will capture the flavor.

                      Oh, and I made these Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/al... last week and they flew out of the kitchen! I didn't taste them myself because I've cut all grains out of my diet but the family certainly loved them and the reviews at FN were almost entirely raves.

                      PS Not to be negative but I don't get tres leches cakes. It's what my daughter requested so I was happy to make it but I find the texture gross. Anyone else? Or is there a secret to finding a point where enough of the damned tres leches syrup is enough!?

                      11 Replies
                      1. re: rainey

                        If your cake has enough firm spongy structure to keep the liquid inside until it is released by a bite, then there is not too much syrup. Alton Brown has a good one over at the Food Network site. Usually I find that people who don't like Tres Leches say it's too sweet, or "not chocolate".

                        But the sensation of biting into a solid and finding liquid (like Baba au Rhum, or even watermelon or juicy chicken) can be pleasurable to some people. Others in the family might like it.

                        1. re: BangorDin

                          Well, the important thing is that it's what the birthday girl wants. ;>

                          Thanks for the guidelines.

                          1. re: BangorDin

                            Too funny! I just got around to checking out the Alton Brown tres leches cake, BangorDin, and it turns out that's the recipe I printed out a week or so ago. I find his recipes very reliable and I very much like his palate so he's often the first resource I go to.

                            I baked mine in a springform pan (for considerably longer to reach 200˚) because I thought the sides could contain the syrup and then I could remove them for frosting and cutting. Worked out fine. I have since noted that a number of recipes recommend splitting a round cake to layer in a whipped cream filling. Mine is certainly deep enough and I'd go for that option but I've already soaked it so I think I missed my opportunity to cut it. Still, I think it worked out well to soak it and rest it in the pan.

                            Anyone have any ideas for stabilizing the whipped cream frosting? It's a large cake (and, I suspect, rich) and I don't see it getting finished in a single day. I'd like the whipped cream to hold up for a bit if possible.

                          2. re: rainey

                            I made peach kuchen on Friday night too! This was only the second time I executed a pressed-in tart crust in a fluted loose-bottom pan and though there were no leaks, I would like to learn to make a uniform crust. Base was even, but sides could've been better. Is there a trick to doing this right? It would help to know how much of the mixture to save for the sides. I guess I could've scraped some up from the base when sides looked anemic.

                            1. re: sweetTooth

                              I also use a press-in base but I don't worry too much about uniform. I just sprinkle it around and keep pressing where it's needed until I'm happy. ;>

                              1. re: rainey

                                Heh, heh.. yeah, I was certainly being nit picky about the crust. Once it was baked, the crust was hardly in focus - the gorgeous looking peaches stole the show. Rainey, did the recipe you used call for fresh peaches or canned? Mine called for canned but I used fresh. They tasted great when I was slicing them, but I was underwhelmed by their performance in the tart. There was hardly any competing sweetness from custard or crust, so dunno why peaches almost tasted too tart. I switched out the cinnamon in the recipe for cardamom (Mr. Sweettooth hates cinnamon) and loved it. I plan to try again if I come by sweeter peaches in the next few weeks.
                                In other news, baked a Chard tart from Joy Of Cooking and Ina Garten's Brownie pudding for dinner tonight. The latter was yummy if a tad too rich and sweet. Will cut sugar by 1/2 cup and butter by 1/2 stick next time. The tart was ho hum.. I had high hopes. I must've kneaded the crust dough too much - it was tough. Didn't think I was in danger of overworking it, given the amount of oil in it. I was wrong. But the filling didn't wow either. Needs more herbs I think. I'm pretty sure I saw something like this on Lidia's Italy. Need to look up recipe and compare differences. Yeah dinner was a calorie bomb tonight. Too bad it didn't taste worth it. :-(

                                1. re: sweetTooth

                                  I used this recipe (which has canned peaches as the primary choice) but 1 used 4 large peeled fresh peaches. Can't be specific about the flavor since I don't eat things with grains or sweetener but the family and guests liked it a lot.

                                  Guests, of course, have to be polite about it but the fam is trained to give me real, tough feedback so I can continue improving while desisting from expanding. ;>

                                  http://www.tasteofhome.com/Recipes/So...

                                  I used a springform pan which resulted in much higher sides and fruit that was covered by the custard layer. Not necessarily my choice as I think some browing of the fruit would be appealing but I find the round form and being able to remove the sides make it easier to serve and more "guest ready" than the homey rectangular baking pan which is, otherwise, perfect for a down home dessert like kuchen.

                                  I would use the recipe again but next time I'd probably only pour on enough of the sour cream custard mix to fill in between the fruit to leave the prettiness of the fruit exposed.

                                  Here's a pic:

                                   
                              2. re: sweetTooth

                                Nick Malgieri has you make ropes of dough for the sides, which are easy to make pretty uniform, and then those ropes are placed around the sides of the tart pan and pressed in. I think this would help with he uniformity.

                                1. re: roxlet

                                  An excellent tip for a doughy-dough. Not so do-able for crumb type press-in doughs.

                                  I just love NIck Malgieri. He is so practical and approachable in his style and his recipes never fail.

                              3. re: rainey

                                Wow -- I'm so impressed that you're still baking after cutting out all grains!

                                1. re: somervilleoldtimer

                                  I had to do it for my health and my sanity. I'm GLAD I did it but that doesn't mean that I can't still enjoy the aromas, visuals or offering pleasure to my family. ;> ]

                                  Once I got the stuff that's toxic to me out of my system I don't find it all that difficult to pass on.