HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


What are you baking these days? October 2011, part deux [old]

(Note: The new thread is here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8151... If you have a reply to something below, go ahead and post it, but if you're adding a new entry, please jump to the new thread. --The Chowhound Team)

I made the walnut and prune cake from "150 Best American Recipes" for dessert for a very nice family dinner last night and served it with whipped cream, lightly sweetened and flavored with Cognac. VERY tasty indeed, recommend highly. What's sayin' lovin' from YOUR oven lately?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I just made the brown butter cookies from America's 150 Best Recipes. These are absolutely delicious -- sandy, almost caramel tasting, and plain. I think these would be excellent with finely chopped pecans, making the definitive pecan sandy, The recipe is super simple -- brown two sticks of butter, let them cool and add in a cup of sugar and a teaspoon of vanilla. Mix 2 cups of flour with 1/2 tsp of baking soda and 1/4 tsp of salt. I used a small cookie scoop to make small rounds, and baked about 14 minutes at 350 till lightly browned. Supposedly they improve in taste over the next 5 days or so. Simple, easy to make, easy cleanup, using pantry ingredients. What's not to love?

    7 Replies
    1. re: roxlet

      This sounds like the spoon cookies from epicurious which I love.

      And which is on the agenda for later this week. To send along with someone who is moving and to send with SO for a weekend up north with the guys.

      1. re: roxlet

        I made these yesterday morning, and I would swear I measured out the ingredients correctly, but I'm beginning to wonder. My "dough" was so crumbly and sandy that it was very difficult to make balls. (I wonder if my flour was particularly lacking in moisture?) I needed about 2 T, which I squeezed between my palm, to make a ball; any smaller amount and the balls would disintegrate. As a result, I had to bake them longer than the recipe directs, and they came out somewhat hard. They also didn't spread at all. (Are they supposed to?) They're still edible--in fact, I agree completely that the flavor is delicious.

        My photography skills are non-existent (the cookies were a nice light tan, colorwise), but can you or anyone who has made these tell me if these look anything like what the finished cookie should look like? What was your dough like?

        1. re: nomadchowwoman

          It is crumbly dough, but I have a small (11/2 teaspoon) scoop, and that worked perfectly to form the balls. I will try to take a photo of the cookies for you. The scoop made it easy.

          1. re: roxlet

            TY, roxlet. For some reason I could not get my photo to upload, but the finished cookies looked exactly as the unbaked, except for a little color. I will try these again--but would love to know how these should look.

              1. re: roxlet

                Mine didn't spread much at all, sort of like oldfashioned covered ladies' coat buttons. They're cute!

                1. re: roxlet

                  Now I feel better about mine, which were very tasty (what I really liked about them was that caramelly flavor you decribe) though a little hard, but I'm sure they'd have been more ideal if I could have made them smaller and not had to bake them so long.

                  Now the photo thing is working, I guess. Mine are not as good looking as yours--but not so far off that I have to hang my head in shame.

                  I wonder how these would fare w/an egg added to the dough?

        2. I was visiting friends this weekend and made them Caitlin's scones. They did not have a scale, so I painstakingly lightly spooned flour into a measuring cup. I discovered why the recipe states that you may need more cream; this batter was very dry compared to the sticky batter I'm used to when I make them at home. Weight/volume difference.

          I baked them at 400 instead of 425, and after about 12 minutes the smoke detector went off. Then it hit me.....buttertart does not use a timer, but instead relies on her infamous smoke detector to tell her when the stuff is done !!!

          The oven was way too hot, and the parchment lining the cookie sheet got scorched; also, the bottom of the scones got burnt while the top did not get browned enough and the scones did not get cooked through enough to my liking. Hazards of using an unknown oven.

          4 Replies
            1. re: souschef

              I can't remember if you've ever tried making my recipe? It never fails me.

              1. re: chef chicklet

                No, I have not. Caitlin's is my current favourite, as they work really great, for minimal effort. Would you mind posting a link to yours, please. Thanks.

                1. re: souschef


                  I see you don't care for triangles and I've never tried them round... but here it is my recipe if you want. This recipe was modeled after Starbucks Blueberry scones. I worked about 1 year on these to get it just the way my friend claims they were like Starbucks. She has renamed them to Better than Starbucks Scones. Here's a photo, these are a little browner another friend I was teaching how to make these, was teaching me how to make sushi at the same time and we forgot to set the timer. They're a little darker than I usually bake them, still good. If you were to make them into wedges (8) rolled at the thickness I suggest, then 17 mins is all they need. If you do make these and make the rounds you prefer, will you post your findings regarding baking time and thickness etc. so we can share that information as well. Thanks Susan!

            2. due to some extenuating work circumstances, i had an extra pound of browned butter in the fridge to play with this weekend. from that, i've made (so far):

              -Browned Butter Pie - very interesting... browned butter pastry crust, pressed into pie tin, brushed with melted browned butter and sprinkled with salt, bake til golden; filled with a browned butter, brown sugar, egg, vanilla type filling... purposely didn't overbake, and it's oozy in a cool way when cut into...

              -Browned Butter Custard "Pie" - i riffed off of the Momofuku version in Food and Wine... definitely wouldn't make it again

              -Triple Chocolate Layered Torte/Cake - based off of something in a blog I read a while back, but did a flourless browned butter chocolate cake at the bottom, semi-sweet chocolate mousse in the middle, and a white chocolate topping, somewhere between mousse and ganache.. well received

              -for my eight year old neighbor's birthday, i made him homemade chocolate syrup (for chocolate milk, or whatever else he might like) -- i taste tested it in almond milk... gooood.
              -also made the same kid homemade peanut butter cups. he was thrilled. [planning to make a variation tomorrow subbing pumpkin butter and ground pumpkin seeds for the PB, and white chocolate for the coating]

              -for the dog, PB&Oats Grain Free, Dairy Free Biscuits. he approves.

              i was supposed to work on a Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake thing for work, but am still mulling in the old noggin...

              btw, i love the fall... when REAL pumpkins appear for purchase and culinary pursuits.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Emme

                I do so love browned butter.
                Made a considerably less sophisticated dessert for a meeting at work:
                Pumpkin bars with white chocolate and cinnamon chips, from the always reliable "two peas in a pod" blog. Considered the chocolate chip variation, but had some cinnamon chips to use up.

              2. Nancy Silvertons' Creme Fraiche Coffee Cake from her "Pastries from La Brea Bakery". Not usually a fan of coffee cake (often tastes too greasy + too dry to me), thought I would try this one after reading some good reviews and seeing that it contained 2 cups of creme fraiche! Really, really delicious. Very tender. Highly recommend. I didn't have any pastry flour, so I used 1 cup of cake flour + 2 cups regular unbleached flour. Also, as a reviewer on Saveur's site mentioned, the second layer of streusel is placed on top the cake before it goes in the oven and most of it ends up falling off when you cut the cake; recommend covering both layers of streusel with cake batter.


                1 Reply
                1. I've put together an orange and almond cake I'm very happy with, as it has just the flavor and texture I was looking for. It has orange marmalade, orange juice and zest, and almond meal, for nice depth of flavor and a good, moist crumb. I'm not a great fan of marmalade on its own (e.g., on toast), but it works well here, disappearing into the cake and adding a layer of complexity. Tasters have been enthusiastic.

                  13 Replies
                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                    Yum! care to share the recipe? sounds terrific.

                    1. re: buttertart

                      Of course, it is my pleasure! I'm thinking this would also be good to serve at a dinner party sans glaze (probably with a dusting of powdered sugar), with a warm chocolate sauce. Hmm, that may happen this holiday season. This is a cake that will keep well for several days on the counter.

                      Caitlin's Orange Marmalade Almond Cake


                      1 1/2 cups (6.75 oz) all-purpose flour
                      3/4 cup (2.5 oz) almond meal
                      2 teaspoons baking powder
                      1/2 teaspoon baking soda
                      1/4 teaspoon salt
                      1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter
                      2/3 cup sugar
                      1/3 cup orange marmalade
                      1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
                      1/4 teaspoon almond extract
                      2 large eggs
                      1/2 cup orange juice


                      1 cup powdered sugar
                      2 tablespoons orange juice
                      1/2 teaspoon orange flower water

                      Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a 9-inch springform pan or 9 x 2-inch round cake pan with parchment and grease the parchment and the sides of the pan. Stir together the flour, almond meal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside. With an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in the eggs, followed by the marmalade, orange zest, and almond extract. Beat in half the dry ingredients, followed by all of the orange juice, and finally the remaining dry ingredients. Smooth the batter in the pan and bake 25 to 30 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. Cool the pan on a rack 10 minutes or so, then invert the cake and peel off the parchment. Turn the cake right side up and allow it to cool completely.

                      When the cake has cooled, make the glaze: Sift the powdered sugar into a bowl and whisk in the orange juice and orange flower water. Put the cake on a plate, spoon the glaze on, and spread it over the top. Let stand until glaze sets. Store well covered at room temperature.

                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                          Caitlin--is almond meal the same as ground almonds--i.e., would grinding whole almonds w/skins result in almond meal?

                          1. re: nomadchowwoman

                            Essentially, yes. Almond meal is ground almonds, as is almond flour. It's just that the flour is ground more finely and is usually made from blanched almonds whereas almond meal is more often made from almonds with the skins on.

                            Good instructions, and info, here: http://glutenfreecooking.about.com/od...

                            As they say, the one thing you need to be careful about is not to go past the ground meal stage or you'll end up with almond butter.

                            1. re: nomadchowwoman

                              The almond meal I used here (and most often use) is made from blanched almonds, and quite finely ground, so perhaps some would call it almond flour (not the store I buy it from). I've also used unblanched almond meal.

                              If you're making it at home, you want to grind it as fine as you can; I think a good strategy, if you're making it to use in a baking recipe, is to add a little of the sugar, which seems to help prevent turning it to butter.

                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                Thank you so much. I think I'm going to give this a whirl this afternoon; looks really good.

                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                  Caitlin: I figure you get your almond meal at the same place I do. I found it in the cooler section near the flour and sugar, etc. at Berkeley Bowl. It comes in a plastic bag and doesn't seem to have any skins in it - being whitish yellow.

                                  I use it all the time since I have been addicted to recipes using it since I made that orange or clementine/tangerine cake with an almond meal base for a few years now....can't remember where I found it, but it starts with simmering tangerines/clementines until they are completely soft.

                                  Nigel Slater (I think it's Kitchen Diaries) has a terrific chocolate almond cake which uses almond meal and regular flour. I made it for a dinner party last week and it was a huge success.

                                  His plum cake also uses almond meal and regular flower. Slater asks us to grind the almonds ourselves, but I'm too lazy, and with such a good source available...who needs to? Trader Joe's even has almond meal now!

                              2. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                I made your cake, Caitlin, yesterday, and it was lovely on all fronts--baking aroma, looks, taste. We had it after a large meal out last night for my mom's ("70-somethingth," as she likes to say) birthday. (For that reason, my niece insisted on the heart-shaped pan.)

                                It really is a great cake, and so far has held up well on the counter though I don't expect it to last much longer; Sweet-tooth Sister, who is also maddeningly rail thin (grrrrrr), is in town, and she loves it as much as does maddeningly thin DH.

                                This was very easy to put together. Lacking almond extract, I subbed vanilla. And I only used 1/4 tsp rose blossom water in the glaze as I find the particular brand I have very strong (they seem to differ a good bit) and was afraid of laying on the perfume too strong(as I did last time I used it). And while I just knew I had sliced almonds in the fridge, I discovered I did not. They looked so pretty scattered over the top on your cake.

                                If one likes orange--and I most definitely do--this is a wonderful recipe. (My photo does not do it justice.) Thanks, Caitlin.

                                1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                  I'm so pleased that you enjoyed it, NCW, and happy seventy-somethingth birthday to your mom! I love the heart-shaped cake.

                              3. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one who is not a great fan of marmalade on its own; you are the first I have come across apart from myself.

                                1. I baked some of the BH&G sesame chocolate cookies yesterday to take to friends (who liked them) - used 72% choc, think I'd use a milder one next time. http://www.bhg.com/recipe/cookies/cho...

                                  1. I'll look forward to the walnut & prune cake recipe making it to the web. Sounds great. I did a batch of Clotilde's Very Chocolate Cookies http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2007/09/... for a meeting & got rave, rave reviews. They are one of my all-time favorites. Bread going into the oven now.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: THewat

                                      Bread out. Plum Conserve on the way.

                                    2. This week was apple pies--one Indiana Orchard Apple Crumb pie and one Down-East Cranberry Apple pie, both from Richard Sax's Classic Home Desserts.Both were for a dinner event, so I've promised two more pies for my kids, as they didn't get nearly enough.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: lisaonthecape

                                        I have the original copy of the Richard Sax book. Is that where your recipes came from?

                                        And how were they?

                                        1. re: karykat

                                          My copy was published in 1994, which I think is the original publication date. I made the pies for an event at our church, and they disappeared in minutes. The apple crumb pie is easy, since it doesn't have a top crust. The cranberry apple one takes a bit longer because the cranberry mixture needs about 25 minutes to cook. My all-time favorite, though, is Best All-American Apple Pie in The Pie and Pastry Bible. It's a much more involved recipe (like all of Rose Levy Beranbaum's recipes) but the flavor is wonderful. (One cautionary note: the microwave time to reduce the apple liquid to a syrup is way too long. Try a minute at a time until it reduces to the appropriate quantity.) If you have the patience to deal with Rose, you will be rewarded with a wonderful pie.

                                      2. I also made Grandma Ople's apple pie:
                                        Used my mother's lard crust, as always.

                                        While I have no problem with other pies, great apple pie has always eluded me. Grandma Ople's was by far the tastiest I've ever made. I'm sure the stick of butter that went in the filling had nothing to do with it.

                                        25 Replies
                                        1. re: emily

                                          Lol! Yes, it must have been just a coincidence that the best tasting apple pie had a stick of butter in it!
                                          I, too, have been searching for the perfect apple pie recipe, and I think I am going to try the method where you cook the apple first the next time I make a pie. I think I will do a combo of Macintosh and Golden Delicious to have one apple that breaks down and one that stays firm. And maybe put some butter in there too? I have used a method for blueberry pie from Nick Malgieri where you cook some of the blueberries with the sugar and the cornstarch, and then add those in to the uncooked berries, which are the main part. It resulted in the best blueberry pie I ever made, so I want to try to adapt that to an apple pie in some way.

                                          1. re: roxlet

                                            Roxlet, using your idea where you cook the apples first, how about proceeding as if you were going to make a Tarte Tatin (a real one, where you cook the apples slowly till they exude their juices and then caramelize, not a fake one where you dump apples into caramel), then let the apples cool before you make your pie. There"s lots of butter in that method.

                                            1. re: souschef

                                              I have made many a Tarte Tatin the old fashioned way, and I agree that there is nothing more glorious than those caramelized, buttery apples. That an interesting idea to do that to apples in an apple pie, but I am wondering if, in volume, it would be too much. A Tarte Tatin has only one layer of apples, which is why I think the proportions work so beautifully. Maybe there is something in between -- like cooking the apples to a lesser state of caramelization. I will have to think about this one! Thanks for the idea, souschef!

                                              1. re: souschef

                                                There was a recipe published in the NYTimes in 2001 using exactly this technique. http://www.nytimes.com/2001/11/14/din...

                                                I tried it right after it was published and have never looked back. Because you cook the apples down somewhat, you start with five pounds of them. (Once a year I would kill for one of those peeler/corer gizmos; five pounds is a *lot* of apples.) I usually use 1/3 macs, 1/3 golden delicious, and 1/3 granny smiths for exactly the reason roxlet noted above and I like the hit of tart in there.

                                                1. re: JoanN

                                                  Wow--that looks good. I might have to give apple pie a shot this Thanksgiving. I'd sworn off them after many failures; only once have I made one I liked, but it wasn't a traditional one.

                                                  1. re: JoanN

                                                    That peeler/corer gizmo changed my life. Even if I used it only once a year, I would still keep it. It's awesome. I'm going to check out that recipe. Thanks JoanN!

                                                    1. re: JoanN

                                                      Looks good, if a bit stingy on the butter and heavy on the cinnamon. To me the right amount of cinnamon is no cinnamon.

                                                      1. re: JoanN

                                                        JoanN-- you use this method and you don't use any thickener at all?

                                                        1. re: roxlet

                                                          @souschef: What can I say? I like cinnamon in my apple pie. Not too much of it, but some.

                                                          @roxlet: Right. No thickener. And yes, I've been making this pie at least once a year since it was first published. Actually, now that I type that I realize it's not true. I didn't make it one Thanksgiving and had to listen to the complaints all year long.

                                                      2. re: roxlet

                                                        If you have the RLB Pie and Pastry Bible (and if not, why not), her apple pie recipe (or one of them) has apples prepped and let stand, then the juices reduced/caramelized. I liked that one.

                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                          I have tried that one several time, but it seemed to address the juice issue more than the taste issue for me. My last pie was really good, but I wasn't 100% happy with the apples. I used all Golden Delicious (an apple I never eat!), and I felt that the apples lacked depth and there wasn't a "saucy" part to hold the whole thing together, if you know what I mean...

                                                          1. re: roxlet

                                                            Macs or Macouns for that - I never ever use Golden Delicious, I don't care what Julia et al say. I bet that pommes Reinettes (closest analogs to same) taste better in France.

                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                              I have never used anything other than Granny Smith in Tarte Tatin, though I wonder how Honey Crisp (my favourite apple) would be.

                                                              1. re: souschef

                                                                I've found that the newly(ish) "engineered apples like the Honeycrisp and the Braeburn don't cook very well. Re Honeycrisp: like them but find the taste very reminiscent of apple juice, the kid kind. Have a feeling that was intended. I like a more complicated apple taste (a Spy, or a wish I could have it again Lobo).

                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                  Funny that you say it tastes like apple juice as I don't like apple juice - I find it too sweet.

                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                    "engineered apples"?

                                                                    "This apple originated in New Zealand in the early 1950s, as a chance seedling with Lady Hamilton and Granny Smith as possible parents. Now grown in the United States, Braeburn is a multipurpose apple good for all types of apple uses. Its color varies from orange to red over a yellow background. This crisp, juicy apple has a rich, spicy−sweet flavor. U.S. Braeburns are available beginning in October through July."


                                                                    Odds are New Zealand farmers were trying to get apples that suited their climate and were resistant to local pests, so like the creators of all heirloom varieties before them, they planted the seeds of the best apples (for quality, heavy bearing, and storage) they grew until they had trees that reliably reproduced those characteristics. They allowed the various traditional varieties they were growing naturally to cross-pollinate, and that was the extent of the "engineering".

                                                                    As for their value in cooking, it depends on what you are making. They wouldn't work for applesauce or apple butter as they mostly keep their shape, but if you like dense, many-layered apple pies made w/ a huge amount of very thinly sliced apples sprinkled every few tiers w/ sugar/cinnamon & dots of butter as my grandmother used to make, they are excellent. I think she used Rome Beauty, but she was infamous for not sharing her cooking secrets. She also used a rich cookie-dough like crust that may have been more forgiving of long, slow cooking than a standard pie crust would have been.

                                                                    1. re: Stein the Fine

                                                                      Apples are not self-pollinating, they need bees to pollinate them.
                                                                      I think a good Braeburn is a very nice apple (and all apple varieties currently grown are "engineered" in the sense that it took human intervention to breed them) to eat raw, but I myself don't like the flavor or texture when cooked in any application. I don't like Romes for that matter, to eat or cook with. My ideal pie apple is the Northern Spy, which is getting more and more difficult to find.

                                                                      But the best apple and the best application is the one one likes most.

                                                                  2. re: souschef

                                                                    ooooooo yes. I love the taste of honey crisp. I recently bought a few golden apples, I forget the name (not golden delicious) after explaining my flavor and texture preferences. I mentioned the honey crisp and the produce mgr. steered me to this basket of golden apples and cut one open. DARN, I hope they still have them and I'll find the name. They were excellent, so juicy, a bit tart-but sweet, crisp, and a nice skin that didn't stay around in your mouth like a piece of leather.

                                                              2. re: buttertart

                                                                I should check it out as I do have the book.

                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                  I tried RLB's, but it must not have worked that well for me since I never made it again.

                                                                  Going to try the NY Times version and see how it compares to Grandma Ople's. I also have Kate Zuckerman's apple pie on my list; she also has you cook the apples with sugar and butter first, though I'd leave out the dried figs (they have no place in apple pie, imo):

                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                    That's my favorite, too (Best All-American Apple Pie). The last time I made it, I used apples that we picked that afternoon. They were either Macouns or Cortlands; I can't remember which because we picked both kinds. I think I kept the Macouns for eating and used the Cortlands for baking.

                                                                    Her pecan pie is wonderful, too--not cloyingly sweet like most. She uses Lyle's Golden Syrup, which is readily available these days. Richard Sax has a similar recipe from John Thorne (also using Lyle's syrup) in Classic Home Desserts. I haven't tried that one yet, but I think it would be very, very good.

                                                                  2. re: roxlet

                                                                    I decided to try pre-cooking my apples for apple pie a couple of years ago and I have never looked back. I think CI did a spread on how pre-cooking then cooling the apples allows them to hold their shape but still release all of their juices and become perfectly toothsome. Not sure why that is, but it does seem to be true - by nuking my apples until their juices came out and letting them cool before putting them in the pie crust, I made the best apple pie I've ever had! If the apples are particularly juicy you can reduce the juice further before adding it to the pie this way as well, so you don't need much thickener (btw, I use flour and butter to thicken apple pies, probably because that's how mom did it).

                                                                    I think the blend of apple types and the size of the cut is important too. I like the flavor of Macs, and the juice that they add, but I only use one or two per pie and cut them largish so they don't break down TOO much. Goldens have a nice texture but are too sweet on their own - I cut them in medium slices. Grannies are too tart and firm on their own, but if you use just one or two and slice them very thin, they add the perfect balance to the sweet. I also really like Northern Spies (if available - they're hard to find in stores) - they are nicely balanced., sweetness-wise, and have a good texture. I just made an apple crostata with a blend of goldens, spies, pink ladies (really tart ones, almost like a granny), a mac and a fuji and it was probably the best apple dessert I've ever had.

                                                                    ETA: Here's a link to the thread where I posted the exact quote from CI - I can't find it on their website just now: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5616...

                                                                    1. re: biondanonima

                                                                      I'm so glad you wrote this about your experience. I have veered away from making apple pie. It matters not one bit how thin I cut the apples they don't cook. Oh they keep their shape, but are toothsome, not what I want in an apple pie. Do you toss the apples in flour and your spices and dot with butter? I'm going to start cooking mine first too.

                                                                      I'm trying to recreate my mom's French Apple Pie. Not a hugely deep pie with a crumble crust, and the apples just the right amount of ooze.

                                                                2. I have been working on a 'breakfast cookie'. It's an oatmeal banana cookie and I added pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries and semi sweet chocolate chips. I've also done almonds and apricots and pistachio and raisins, to switch up the nuts and dried fruit.

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Matahari22

                                                                    Your cookie sounds delicious. Care to share?

                                                                    1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                      Sorry, I haven't been here for a while, so I missed this.    I figure, better late than never, I hope.... Sorry Christina.

                                                                      Oatmeal Banana Breakfast Cookie

                                                                      1 cup white sugar
                                                                      1 cup margarine
                                                                      2 eggs
                                                                      1 teaspoon almond extract
                                                                      1 cup all-purpose flour
                                                                      1 cup white whole wheat flour
                                                                      1 teaspoon baking soda
                                                                      1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
                                                                      3 ripe bananas, mashed
                                                                      2 cups rolled oats
                                                                      1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
                                                                      1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
                                                                      1/2 cup dried cherries 

                                                                      Preheat oven to 375 degrees F 
                                                                      In a medium bowl, cream butter and sugar together until smooth. Stir in the eggs and vanilla. Sift together the flour, baking soda,  and cinnamon, stir into the creamed mixture. Then add the mashed bananas, rolled oats and chocolate chips, pumpkin seeds and cherries, mix until well blended.
                                                                      Drop dough by spoonfuls onto unprepared cookie sheets. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove cookies from pan to cool on wire racks.

                                                                  2. I just made an amazing chocolate cake with dark chocolate frosting. The best part was the frosting – made with 72% dark chocolate, maple syrup, almond milk and confectioner's sugar. No one would ever believe this cake was vegan! I had quite a mishap making it, which you can read about here! http://www.whatwouldcathyeat.com/2011...

                                                                    Here's the recipe:

                                                                    Vegan Chocolate Cake with Dark Chocolate Frosting

                                                                    For the cake:

                                                                    3 cups unbleached white flour
                                                                    2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (the better quality, the better your cake will be
                                                                    )2 teaspoons baking soda
                                                                    1 teaspoon salt
                                                                    2 cups sugar
                                                                    3/4 cup organic canola oil
                                                                    1 cup cold brewed coffee
                                                                    1 cup cold water (or more coffee)
                                                                    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
                                                                    2 tablespoons cider vinegar

                                                                    For the ganache:

                                                                    3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
                                                                    6 ounces 72% dark chocolate (if you are vegan, check the label carefully)
                                                                    3 tablespoons maple syrup
                                                                    1/4 cup confectioner's sugar, sifted

                                                                    Preheat the oven to 350.

                                                                    Spray two 8-inch round cake pans with cooking oil spray, then place a circle of parchment paper in each pan and spray again.

                                                                    Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt and sugar into a mixing bowl. In another bowl, mix the oil, water, coffee and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix with a spoon just until combined. Add the vinegar and stir just until it's evenly distributed in the batter.

                                                                    Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 30 minutes, or until it springs back when lightly touched in the middle. Set aside to cool.

                                                                    Place frosting ingredients in a small pot, heat gently and stir until the chocolate is totally melted. Cool until it's the right texture for spreading.

                                                                    When the cakes have cooled, put a serving plate on the pan and and carefully invert. Remove the parchment paper. Spread some frosting over the top. Place a plate on the pan containing the second layer, invert, then repeat the process with another plate so the rounded side is up. Transfer it onto the bottom layer. Spread the frosting over the top and sides of the cake.

                                                                    Serve immediately or leave lightly covered at room temperature and serve later or the next day.

                                                                    1. Just made Dorie's dressy chocolate loaf cake for a friend's birthday.. it's sitting in the freezer right now. When I defrost it, my mother's raspberry chambord ham will be the filling..
                                                                      Just hope that I can successfully slice the cake into thirds without destroying it!

                                                                      1. I was going to make the pear cake from the thread on Home Cooking, but then this recipe caught my eye and stole my heart away:
                                                                        This drunken apple cake is currently cooling on the counter and smelling divine!

                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                        1. re: roxlet

                                                                          Let us know how it tastes - I just checked the recipe and it sounds like something I would swoon for!

                                                                          1. re: biondanonima

                                                                            It was very good. I served it with a little pour of heavy cream. Everyone liked it but said they like my standard apple cake better. This was more dessert-y and less homey than my other apple cake. I would try to cut the apples even thinner next time. It seemed like my cake had fewer apples when compared with the photo, but there were a lot of them only perhaps a bit thicker cut. I used my apple corer/peeler/slicer gizmo, which results in apples slices about 1/4" thick.

                                                                            1. re: roxlet

                                                                              This definitely looks like it would benefit from very thin slices. A bit of pre-cooking of the fruit might not hurt either - did your apples get fully cooked in the cake, or were they still a bit crunchy?

                                                                              1. re: biondanonima

                                                                                They were fully cooked, which was the one thing I was worried about. I'm not sure that pre-cooking them would really do as much as thinner slices...

                                                                        2. Today, I made some simple chocolate chip cookies with brickle bits instead of nuts.
                                                                          Since DH and I are both on Weight Watchers, I don't mind the fact that they will all be bagged up for box lunches at our Master Gardeners' Ag Heritage Days on Friday. I did have two - hubby is afraid to try one, probably in fear that he may sleepwalk and there won't be any left on Friday morning.
                                                                          Made the kitchen smell great, until I roasted the ribs for dinner. Then it smelled a different great.

                                                                          1. Cinnamon wacky cake, in a loaf pan, with a cinnamon-sugar swirl in the middle and more cinnamon-sugar on top. I had to mix it in the bowl so I could add it to the pan in 2 parts, and was a bit worried it wouldn't rise as well as it should. It's half done baking in the oven now, though, and it seems to be rising just fine. I'm hoping the raw sugar I used in the swirl retains some of its crunch to contrast the airiness of the cake.

                                                                            1. Chocolate-peanut butter cookies, from KAF.

                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                              1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                                                                Are those the ones that have the mini Reese's Peanut Butter cups in them? I've been wanting to make those and have bought the mini cups from the KAF site. How did they come out?

                                                                                1. re: roxlet

                                                                                  Yup, the same ones! They are SO good! Lacking ultra-mini pbc cups last week, I made these with pb and regular chocolate chips ... and they were not the same. Could have been many other factors, but I didn't particularly care for them. These? They're chocolatey and peanut buttery and still soft the next day. Yum.

                                                                                  Do pay attention to the height of the cookies, which they note. They don't cook very long, so anything too high won't be as cooked. Mine last week looked more like boulders (crumbly ones at that.)

                                                                              2. Well, cupcakes. I'm going a wee bit more seasonal and made a pralines and cream cupcake with a creamy caramel filling and praline frosting (the cake being a sour cream cupcake which really worked out well), and then I did a pumpkin pound cake one with pumpkin mousse filling and a cinnamon-sour cream frosting. It was my first time making mousse, and I don't know why I don't do it all the time! Well, I know *why*, I suppose. I want to fit into my kitchen chair. But still!

                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                1. re: auburnselkie

                                                                                  Sometimes it's hard knowing how easy to make some foods are, lol.

                                                                                  That all sounds great!

                                                                                  1. re: auburnselkie

                                                                                    Those all sound fantastic. Where did you get the recipes for the caramel filling and the praline frosting? Sounds really good together.

                                                                                  2. My version of banana bread, and soon it will be pumpkin pies. Reminds me that I need to start looking for pumpkins before they are all gone from the markets.

                                                                                    1. Banana bread. My best recipe yet. Has macadamia nuts, vanilla, lemon zest and toasted coconut. OMG. The lemon zest really brings out an awesome favor/

                                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: shaebones

                                                                                        Would love to have your recipe as that sounds wonderful. I usually find banana bread (esp. mine) just kind of blah. And I have many bananas taking up space in my freezer right now.

                                                                                        1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                          Mine is the basic recipe from Better Homes, and Gardens New Cook Book (1996) that I have added allspice, nutmeg, cloves, and sometimes cardamom, or black pepper depending on my mood. The spices, and bananas are not measured. I use 3 big bananas, and the spices are just what looks right that day. everyone who has tried it loves it. My neighbors polished off a loaf the same day I gave it to them. It is usually best after sitting in the fridge for a day to let the spices infuse the loaf.

                                                                                          1. re: shaebones

                                                                                            man, that sounds sooooooo much better than plain old. Love the complexity of flavors. i'd be tempted to put some whole wheat flour and coffee powder in there too. and sub pecans for macadamias- for their deeper taste. thank you for the inspiration.

                                                                                            1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                              Wouldn't sub the macs. Its a brilliant add. :)

                                                                                            2. re: shaebones

                                                                                              I have a recipe from the Johnny Alfords baking book (can't remember his wife's name) that has unsweetened coconut in it too. Didn't know I like coconut until I tried this. Not too sweet.

                                                                                              Need to try some of your other ingredients too.

                                                                                            3. Today a pie, I think. And whole wheat bread - anybody have a favorite recipe I could try? Seldom very happy with my efforts in the ww direction.

                                                                                              10 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                My favourite whole wheat bread is from Bread Baker's Apprentice - the Light Wheat one. It's only 33% wheat, but I've pushed it up to over 50% and it's still delicious. I also leave out the sugar, because it has this great natural sweetness.

                                                                                                1. re: guster4lovers

                                                                                                  Hehe, you backed me up, thanks, because I gave my recommend of the same to missy buttertart.
                                                                                                  'Tis a good loaf.

                                                                                                2. re: buttertart

                                                                                                  How "whole wheat" are you looking for? I have never had much success with 100% whole-wheat breads except as focaccia and flatbreads where a tall, risen structure isn't the goal, and so usually opt for multi-grain loaves.

                                                                                                  My favorite bread has 1-1/2 cups bread flour, 3/4 cup whole wheat flour, 3/4 cup mixture of oats and multi-grain cereal.

                                                                                                  I bet you could push that up to 1-1/4 cups bread flour, 1 cup whole wheat and 3/4 cups of mixed grains or even possibly an even 1 cup : 1 cup : 1 cup. Actually, I may try that today.

                                                                                                  I do second the precious posters' recommendations of anything from the BBA. I have not had a bad loaf from there yet.

                                                                                                  1. re: BabsW

                                                                                                    I ended up making the Carl Goh's bread from Beard on Bread (a recipe I've been intending to make ever since I got the book) - very nice, particularly toasted. Making no-knead with about 25% semolina flour today.

                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                      Oh, I have that book! I haven't opened it in a while though. I do love a good toasting bread.

                                                                                                      Have fun with the no-knead bread. I still have not tried that.

                                                                                                      1. re: BabsW

                                                                                                        That book taught me how to make bread. Love it.

                                                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                          Recommend anything in particular from B on B? I have it too and haven't used it in forever.

                                                                                                          1. re: karykat

                                                                                                            Mrs Elizabeth Ovenstad's bread is my husband's favorite. The Danish sourdough rye is very good. The free-form white loaf is bangin'. There's a recipe for sugared, twisted rolls that are raised in water - in a tea towel in the original, a BIG HUGE MESS, but a Ziplock bag would work nicely - that are so good I only made them once. Also the George Lang potato bread. Pizza caccia nanza. Italian feather bread. Pretty much anything.

                                                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                              Rolls raised in water? I'm trying to picture that. How does it affect texture and taste and everything?

                                                                                                  2. I'm baking two pies today, both apple (one for me and one for neighbor), using the Cook's Illustrated vodka pie dough recipe. I've also been making a lot of fudge. Thinking about maybe doing some Halloween sugar cookies to bring to work as well.

                                                                                                    1. I think I have finally hit on the ideal cornmeal scone: just add 1/2 cup cornmeal to Caitlin's recipe.

                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: souschef

                                                                                                        Are you adding the cornmeal or subbing it for 1/2 cup of the flour?

                                                                                                      2. Made chocolate chip cookies (with pretzel M&Ms) and peanut butter cookies (with mini-peanut butter cups) for a bake sale at work.
                                                                                                        Now I am trying to decide whether to make Dorie's brown sugar bundt cake with pears or the pear and chocolate chunk cake from Smitten Kitchen's site for a meeting on Wednesday..
                                                                                                        Have gone through a lot of butter this week-end!

                                                                                                        1. Just made the King Arthur Flour chocolate peanut butter cup cookies. Do you like Reeses Peanut Butter Cups. Oh. My. God. Incredibly good. My son will flip when he gets home.


                                                                                                          13 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                            Oh my! I know what I'm baking tomorrow! That looks amazing.

                                                                                                            1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                              Those are SO good, I agree! I'm just mad I didn't buy a second bag of mini pb cups with my last order.

                                                                                                              1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                                                                                                I did buy a second bag, but I went back to buy more, they are sold out. I requested to be notified when they are back in stock...

                                                                                                                1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                  Hmmm... they sound very tempting. I had picked up some miniature President's Choice peanut butter cups (store brand of a Canadian grocery chain).. which were very good, and had to be used in something before I ate them all....
                                                                                                                  Boy, that KAF recipe looks GOOD!

                                                                                                                  1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                    My son just scarfed down about 4 of them and thought that they were among the best cookies he ever had.

                                                                                                              2. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                Uh oh. I know somebody who will double flip. Where are you buying the minis?

                                                                                                                1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                  In the King Arthur web site, but they are currently sold out. I put my name down to be notified when they are back in stock. Glad I bought two bags. Here are photos of the cookies and the pies.

                                                                                                                    1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                      I want 6 of the cookies, stat! Pies are v cute, too.

                                                                                                                    2. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                      Roxlet, I'm sorry to beat a dead thread, but I made these today and you're not kidding - they are amazing! Definitely a keeper recipe. I used Trader Joe's mini peanut butter cups because that's what I had but it was the only change I made. Mine were almost like a brownie on the inside and the peanut butter stayed liquid after the cookie cooled. I ate one and called my best guy friend to come get the rest of them!

                                                                                                                      1. re: auburnselkie

                                                                                                                        Did those peanut butter cups melt completely? Were they still together when then were baked? My son is requesting these to bring to his classes for his birthday, but KA is sold out.

                                                                                                                    3. Haven't weighed in on these threads much since I went gluten-free a few months ago, but I made a great loaf of Russian-style bread last weekend so I thought I'd share! I used a blend including brown rice flour, teff flour, and tapioca starch. Lots of caraway seeds too.

                                                                                                                      1. I'm on my way home to make some blueberry-cranberry brown sugar muffins for my partner. I'm going to top them with some raw cream and organic strawberries that I picked up when I went to grab things for tonight's dinner.

                                                                                                                        1. I made CI's big, chewy oatmeal cookies subbing vanilla, chocolate chunks, and pecan pieces for the nutmeg and raisins. They were fantastic warm out of the oven. The bottoms got a nice, golden brown-butter flavor.

                                                                                                                          I had some problem with the size/spacing: the recipe calls for rolling the dough into balls from 2 heaping tablespoons and then putting those 2 inches apart on 2 parchment lined sheets. I could barely fit 1/4 of a recipe on a single pan, much less 1/2!

                                                                                                                          1. Apple crumb pie (more like a tart actually, as the pie pans disappeared and I used a springform pan instead.)

                                                                                                                            1. I baked a deep dish pizza last night and had some extra dough (but not enough to make another pizza). Ended up turning it into mini cinnamon rolls with brown butter and cocoa nibs (I like something nutty in my cinnamon rolls and that was all I had in the cupboard). They turned out so well that less that 24 hours later, there's only one left.

                                                                                                                              We're planning to take the dog for a loooong walk this evening.

                                                                                                                              1. Just pulled some apple and gingerbread muffins from the oven!

                                                                                                                                1. Today I'm baking the 2nd mutli-grain loaf of the week because we tore through the one I baked on Sunday, and it was gone by Tuesday.

                                                                                                                                  I've also got an idea in the works for a New England-type Spotted Dick using maple sugar, cranberries, walnuts and dried blueberries, but I'm not sure if I can do it in my regular bundt cake pan or if I need a lidded pudding mold, or if there is some other option for steaming it.

                                                                                                                                  Also to be baked soon, my pumpkin gingerbread and some sort of ginger scone so I can put my newly purchased crystallized ginger to good use.

                                                                                                                                  I'm also in crisis mode because I was just laid off - along with 24 others, and for me, "crisis" means brownies. Soon. Perhaps today.

                                                                                                                                  Aaaaand, I went or the orchard yesterday and got 1/2 bushel of Northern Spies, so a pie (or 4) is in the near future. As is pumpkin-apple butter.

                                                                                                                                  15 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: BabsW

                                                                                                                                    So sorry! I hope that this door closing will mean a new, better, door opening - one filled with lots of brownies.

                                                                                                                                    Everything you're making sounds amazing.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: milklady

                                                                                                                                      My family and friends have all been encouraging me to create some sort of cottage industry centering around my baking, but I haven't the faintest idea how to go about doing something like that.

                                                                                                                                      In the meantime, baking will serve as a welcome stress relief for me. Thanks :)

                                                                                                                                    2. re: BabsW

                                                                                                                                      Sorry to hear that! Baking is good therapy. And I'm way jealous of your Spies.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart


                                                                                                                                        I wait all year for the Spies to ripen. :)

                                                                                                                                      2. re: BabsW

                                                                                                                                        So sorry about the layoff, Babs. I don't have a pudding mold, but I have very successfully steamed puddings in a Pyrex bowl covered with foil, with string or a rubber band around the foil to keep it on tight. I put the bowl on a rack in the pot, and steamed away. I imagine you could do the same with a bundt pan.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                          I do have kitchen twine and foil. I could give it a try.

                                                                                                                                          Thanks :)

                                                                                                                                          1. re: BabsW

                                                                                                                                            What if you put a flat pan lit or cookie sheet on top of a bowl or pot and weighted it down with something heavy. Seems like that would make an airtight seal.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: karykat

                                                                                                                                              Yeah, I think that would work. :) Thanks!

                                                                                                                                        2. re: BabsW

                                                                                                                                          BabsW , I was searching for some pie education on the thread and had time to read some of the previous posts I'd missed. So sorry to hear about the layoff, I know how that feels. Hopefully sharing on CH will give you an outlet of sorts.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                                                                            Thank you :) It has helped me stay busy. which can be a good thing. If I'm left to dwell on the bad stuff, nothing good ever comes of that.

                                                                                                                                            I have been cooking and baking up a storm lately, which is my favorite sort of therapy. :)

                                                                                                                                            1. re: BabsW

                                                                                                                                              It is wonderful to do, isn't it? It satisfies a creative urge, and it makes other people happy.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                It is wonderful! My kids have been thrilled to pieces :)

                                                                                                                                                I just need a bigger family. lol

                                                                                                                                                1. re: BabsW

                                                                                                                                                  My son plays squash, and squash players use up so many calories that they are always hungry. I take excess baked goods to the club where they are scarfed down instantly.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                    That's a good solution for everyone!

                                                                                                                                              2. re: BabsW

                                                                                                                                                Even though we don't understand at the time, sometimes decisions are made for us that we should of made on our own long ago. The mighty universe!

                                                                                                                                          2. Last weekend I made chocolate chip/white chocolate chunk cookies, and chewy chocolate gingerbread cookies.

                                                                                                                                            This week it's all about the cake - a dozen gluten free vegan cupcakes, a giant chocolate cake with mocha filling, buttercream frosting and fondant details decorated as Noah's Ark, and a regular-sized chocolate cake with chocolate filling and buttercream frosting and fondant details, decorated in a baseball/birthday theme.

                                                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: milklady

                                                                                                                                              Gluten-free vegan cupcakes? What's next, virtual ones? ;-)

                                                                                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                Seriously! At least these didn't need to be "refined sugar" free!
                                                                                                                                                The things I do for my kids' friends with celiac and allergies...I just can't bear to see them left out.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: milklady

                                                                                                                                                  Very nice of you. Glad you didn't take my remark the wrong way!

                                                                                                                                              2. re: milklady

                                                                                                                                                milklady, will you share the recipe for the chewy chocolate gingerbread cookies?

                                                                                                                                              3. Kids had a Halloween party at school today so I brought "blood and guts" pizza to DD's grade 5 class. Pizza dough stuffed with mozzarella, topped with marinara "blood". Oh and this is a "before" picture--I was in such a rush I forgot to take the after photo before it was all gone.

                                                                                                                                                6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: maplesugar

                                                                                                                                                  That is both cool and appropriately gross. Bet it tasted good!

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                    Heh I assume the pizza tasted good (my go-to pizza dough & sauce recipes) - it was gone in a flash. I also made Spiderweb cookies for DS's Kindergarten class...*ahem* I rushed it so a few of them are a good example of why you let the dam dry before flooding; fortunately the kids didn't care. :)

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: maplesugar

                                                                                                                                                      Those look great! Are they just your basic sugar cookies?

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: BabsW

                                                                                                                                                        Thanks :) The sugar cookie recipe I use is Sour Cream Sugar Cookies from Better Homes & Gardens' "New Baking Book." (c 1998) I like them because they're easy to put together, stay moist and aren't overly sweet--a good thing since I'm usually topping them with royal icing.

                                                                                                                                                      2. re: maplesugar

                                                                                                                                                        Very cool cookies and "guts" pizza! Looks like you're really in the Halloween spirit!

                                                                                                                                                  2. been baking a lot of themed stuff for work lately, but today was 2 Hours of Baking on a Dare... day. Friend came over with some of the new TJ's Organic Sweetened Condensed Milk... just milk and cane juice. Not so bad. No pies or tres leches cake allowed... 5 dishes...
                                                                                                                                                    1. Blueberry Custard Bars
                                                                                                                                                    2. Creamy Caramel Cups
                                                                                                                                                    3. Graham Blondies
                                                                                                                                                    4. Bruleed Oatmeal Squares
                                                                                                                                                    5. (Microwave) Cheesecake... lest you judge I was out of time...
                                                                                                                                                    I kind of thrive on these Chopped/Iron Chef kind of challenges...

                                                                                                                                                    7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Emme

                                                                                                                                                      You did very well for two hour's time.

                                                                                                                                                      Care to share the Graham Blondie recipe?

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: bushwickgirl

                                                                                                                                                        Bushwickgirl.. was just thinking the same thing! Graham Blondies sounds lovely..

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                                                          So pathetic... and this is rough...
                                                                                                                                                          2 cup or so graham cracker crumbs
                                                                                                                                                          roughly 14 oz sweetened condensed milk
                                                                                                                                                          1 tbsp vanilla
                                                                                                                                                          3-4 tbsp browned butter, melted (i grabbed a bit and threw it in the pot to brown)
                                                                                                                                                          chips (i had some caramel bits i'd made, so i used some of those on one part, some white chocolate on another, and some semi-sweet on another...)
                                                                                                                                                          fleur de sel

                                                                                                                                                          mix it all up and press into a "drip broiler" size pan... for a normal 8x8 i'd prolly double the recipe. might even fit doubled in a 9x13, not sure. then i sprinkled different chips on different corners, and sprinkled with fleur de sel. i baked it at 350 F for maybe 10-15 minutes, not really sure in the chaos, but i pulled it out just slightly under done. i can't decide whether i might add a little dark brown sugar or a bit of honey next time, maybe, but i don't know.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Emme

                                                                                                                                                            Yumm.. love graham cracker flavour, genius idea to make blondies with it..

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Emme

                                                                                                                                                              That sounds great; I really like the experimental aspect of the blondies.

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Emme

                                                                                                                                                          I'm getting excited about the bruleed oatmeal squares. Like an oatmeal cake? Or bars?

                                                                                                                                                          Can I talk you into the recipe?

                                                                                                                                                          (You are way faster than me. All this would hav taken me more than 2 hours.)

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: karykat

                                                                                                                                                            I'm not sure how much of a "recipe" it is, since I was throwing things together left and right... I took sweetened condensed milk, thinned it with a little milk (or maybe water, can't remember) and mixed it with oats (regular), a tablespoon or so of melted browned butter, and an egg. Also, a pinch of salt, vanilla, dash of cinnamon. I spread it in a square silicone baking dish lined with parchment -- i had a few cooked sliced apples that i had leftover from something else, so in half the baking dish, i did a layer of oat mixture, then a layer of apples, then the rest of the oats. Baked for maybe 10-20 minutes. Pulled it out of the pan to cool - threw it in fridge prematurely to do so. Then sliced into squares, melted a bit of butter in the pan, and browned the squares. To plate, i sprinkled a thin layer of dark brown sugar on top and torched em. Went well with a Vanilla Malted Brown Butter ice cream i had in the freezer from a few days earlier.

                                                                                                                                                            The Blueberry Custard bars - i completely forgot i nixed the blueberries! And they cooked a little longer than intended but they're slightly gooey on the inside, but ever so small an amount of the graham cracker crust also set on the top and they're ridiculously chewy and delightful!

                                                                                                                                                        3. I haven't been doing a lot of baking this month (at work or at home :( not that many weddings this month) but I did make 500 chocolate chip cookies with my mom last Saturday for my brother's HS marching band. I've also done the Daring Bakers (it's nice to have a required baking project to keep my skills up, baking wedding cakes is basically the same thing every week) which was especially good this month: povitica. It was really good

                                                                                                                                                          9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: sarahjay

                                                                                                                                                            What fillings did you use for your povitica? Is that a poppy seed filling on the right? I've only ever had walnut, but poppy seed sounds good.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: BabsW

                                                                                                                                                              I made a poppy seed filling (for hamantaschen) and an almond and cinnamon filling. I wanted to use ingredients I already had, and I was out of walnuts.

                                                                                                                                                            2. re: sarahjay

                                                                                                                                                              Absolutely gorgeous - I so want a slice of your povitica right now!

                                                                                                                                                              This is perfect baking weather... I'm thinking flaky, sweet and buttery, or chocolaty richness ... stone fruits or almonds? I need to shop for chestnut flour to make souschef's chocolate chestnut cake

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Cynsa

                                                                                                                                                                You don't need chestnut flour for that cake; plain flour is all you need.......it's a génoise. I suggest you make it with plain flour before trying it with chestnut flour.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                                  whew! it's not so easy to find the chestnut flour. I'll bake this afternoon and assemble tomorrow - thanks for the dispensation, souschef

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Cynsa

                                                                                                                                                                    Chestnut flour has a somewhat odd flavor, not quote what you'd expect. I must make that cake too.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Cynsa

                                                                                                                                                                      You're welcome, my child !

                                                                                                                                                                      I buy chestnut flour at an Italian deli, and yes, buttertart is right, it does have a somewhat odd flavour.

                                                                                                                                                                      That cake is Madame Souschef's favourite cake. It definitely has to be served at room temperature.

                                                                                                                                                                2. re: sarahjay

                                                                                                                                                                  Gourmet had a really nice recipe for that one Christmas. Must make again.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sarahjay

                                                                                                                                                                    How far separated are povitica and Babka?

                                                                                                                                                                  2. Ended up making Dorie Greenspan's brown sugar bundt cake.. I was inspired by the postings on pear cake, so added pears and raisins. It was really good! I was worried that it might be a little plain, but my co-workers devoured it...

                                                                                                                                                                    1. Since we're expecting some wintry weather this weekend in the east, way, way too early in the season, I might add, lots of baking seems appropriate; on schedule, apple crisp with sultanas, peanut brittle, classic cranberry orange quick bread, chocolate espresso cookies, a batch of lemon curd to fill mrbushy's Halloween birthday cake, and maybe, just maybe David Leitie's pumpkin cake with maple cream cheese icing.

                                                                                                                                                                      Now that should hold us for awhile.

                                                                                                                                                                      8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: bushwickgirl

                                                                                                                                                                        That all sounds wonderful! That pumpkin cake with cream cheese icing sounds like something that I might have to investigate.

                                                                                                                                                                        I got a 1/2 bushel of Northern spies this week and will no doubt be making something with them. I have an idea for adapting an apple-pumpkin butter recipe, but then there is always just, y'know, apple pie, which is awesome by itself.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: bushwickgirl

                                                                                                                                                                          Wow! I'm impressed! That's a LOT of baking, and it all sounds wonderful. What kind of birthday cake are you making for mrbushy? My hubs birthday is on Wednesday, but he will be out of town, and we will celebrate on Friday. He loves coconut cake, which I will likely make for him, and sometimes I put lemon curd between the layers.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                            I'm thinking coconut, mrbushy loves that also, we had one recently and it was a big hit. Happy birthday to all the Scorpios out there!

                                                                                                                                                                            Cranberry orange bread, check. Chocolate espresso cookie dough, check. I may wait for tomorrow for the peanut brittle. Later today, apple crisp and lemon curd.

                                                                                                                                                                            For BabsW, or anyone else interested, pumpkin cake with maple cream cheese icing:


                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: bushwickgirl

                                                                                                                                                                              Thank you for the link, bushwickgirl. This cake is definitely going on my to-bake list!

                                                                                                                                                                              You are on fire with all of your baking today!

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: bushwickgirl

                                                                                                                                                                                Does this pumpkin cake taste pretty much like a carrot cake?

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                  Lighter than carrot cake, more like a spice cake with the richness of pumpkin, less sweet, and the maple icing is killer. I increased the black pepper by 1/4 teaspoon.

                                                                                                                                                                                  I made this cake last year, and it was gone in a second.

                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: bushwickgirl

                                                                                                                                                                                  The pumpkin cake is superb. I threw in a handful of crystalized ginger, which gave it a little bit more of a bite. It was met with raves.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. Crumb topped apple pie with a cheddar cheese crust, tomorrow.

                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: sunflwrsdh

                                                                                                                                                                                Yum! The cheddar crust is just the variation I was planning to make on the apple crumb pie I made a few days ago.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. For our dinner tonight, I made Maida Heatter's Pecan Maple tarts. I was going to make pecan pie, but I hate how cut pie looks all raggedy sometimes, and since I recently bought individual tart pans, this fit the bill. My only concern is that the recipe seems to have called for larger individual tarte pans, though I feel that these are quite large enough for a portion. I have quite a bit of the liquid left (enough for at least 2 more tarts of this size, and I made 6), and I toasted far too many pecans, which she gave the weight for and I did weigh out. We will see how they turn out. On back-up is the pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting I made yesterday. When I asked my son today what kind of cake he'd like for his impending birthday, he said that he might want this one! Quite a testimonial. Since I had quite a bit of tart dough left over, I decided to try out my new pan, which makes individual pies -- good also for pot pies, I'm thinking. I had some left over cooked apples in the fridge, so I made one fill it with those. That's cooling on the counter and it looks quite cute.

                                                                                                                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                  Here's some pics of the pecan maple tartlets and the pumpkin cake with cream cheese maple frosting:

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sunflwrsdh

                                                                                                                                                                                      Lovely x 2; I could easily eat pumpkin and pecans every day.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                    Apple crisp. Hubs FAVORITE dessert. Will be baking in the oven while we have dinner. Hot apple crisp w large scoop of sweet cream ice cream. Hmmm. Maybe we'll skip dinner. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. I brought home a Kugelhopf pan on Friday. I guess I am going to be putting it to work for some Christmas goodies

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. I just made three mini apple tarts with the wonderful Cook's Illustrated vodka pie dough (I do love it so) and an apple cobbler. I'm trying to use up all the apples I've had sitting around. And after all this there is still apples left over to use!

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. It doesn't really count as baking, since I didn't use the oven, but I made chocolate and pb acorns.

                                                                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                                                                                                                                                                            Those are totally cool! How did you make? I see you have a hersheys kiss. What is that cookie attached to it? And how did you attach it? And also a little chocolate chip?

                                                                                                                                                                                            Love it.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Directions needed.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: karykat

                                                                                                                                                                                              They're super simple! And even easier to just pop in your mouth, lol.

                                                                                                                                                                                              mini choc. chips
                                                                                                                                                                                              mini Nutter Butters (which I found in Snak Pak cups of about 40 cookies)
                                                                                                                                                                                              Hershey's kisses (unwrapped)
                                                                                                                                                                                              melted chocolate (I just melted some of the chips)

                                                                                                                                                                                              Use some of the melted chocolate to attach the kiss to the cookie. Let that cool for a few seconds, and then use a tiny dab of chocolate to attach the mini chip to the top of the cookie. Let set in the fridge for a few minutes. Done! :)

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                                                                                                                                                                                Thank you!

                                                                                                                                                                                                I will find some of those mini Nutter Butters. Good cookies too!

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. I already have an excellent sweet potato pie recipe, one I'd worked on for quite sometime. Now I'm so thrilled to report that I finally mastered a perfect flaky pie dough! Yippee!

                                                                                                                                                                                            34 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                                                                                                                              To me that is the baking equivalent of Mount Everest.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I stand proud with you, but I didn't use that one. If the one I'm looking at is it, perhaps next time. I forgot about that. Serious Eats recipe?

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Cooks Illustrated, originally. My mom would be appalled if she know I still couldn't do it by touch.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Yes-wouldn't that be nice! I think I finally have it. Did you ever think you'd see so many recipes for something so simple. I finally got biscuits down, this has been my latest project, but I've been waiting for cooler temps to practice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Sadly C1 is not available to me. So after much research, many bad attempts, I used an old Southern recipe, the pastry dough for a Dewberry pie. I've never seen a Dewberry darn it. I am so happy with this dough, yeah baby!

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Sorry Buttertart! missed this, of course!

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I got this from an old Southern Lee Bailey's cookbook.- do you want the Dewberry pie and the dough, or just the dough?

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                                                                                                                                            The dough, primarily. What's a dewberry?

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Dewberry from the description he gives is similar to a blackberry. Sounds similar to a olallieberry we have in central/coastal ca. Dewberry related to blackberry when allowed to get purplish black, will develop a dewy look. Gotta love wiki~
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Anyway. The dough - preheat oven 425F
                                                                                                                                                                                                              2 Cups ap flour
                                                                                                                                                                                                              1/2 tsp salt - I used sea salt
                                                                                                                                                                                                              1 tsp sugar - next time I'd use more
                                                                                                                                                                                                              3/4 cup or 1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter - I used salted - icy cold. cut into small cubes until and keep it chilled til ready to use.
                                                                                                                                                                                                              5 T ice cold water. I used an 8oz glass of water with two ice cubes - and I think I added 6 or 7 Tablespoons. How much depends on the humidity. just go easy until it barely holds together

                                                                                                                                                                                                              They recommend a food processor, add all the dry ingredients whirl a couple times, then add the butter whirl til resembles coarse meal, add the water a T at a time. gather the dough. Place between two sheets of wax paper, flatten the ball slightly and refrigerate for 30 mins.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              This is what I did.
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Same ingredients. Dry ingredients into the bowl, whisked.
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Add the small butter chunks, and cut it with a pastry knife. I worked at it for about 5 mins, the butter and flour looked like large sand crystals. Then I added the water slowly. Then I floured my board, patted the dough and shaped it into a disk. Covered with plastic wrap, refrigerated for 30 mins. Rolled out as usual.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              This time the pie the incorporation of the butter was different for me. I think that because I really go it well incorporated and didn't make it paste first is what helped with the flakiness. Then adding the ice water, kept the butter solid, and I then quickly chilled it. I'll be making a chocolate pie either tomorrow or Friday, I'll let you know if what I'm thinking how I handled the butter etc. works again for me. Cross you fingers!

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Here's a couple of pictures. I had some leftover dough that I made into strips and laid them loosely over the top. After tasting them I really wanted them on the pie and was sorry I'd not made a design or proper lattice work. I sugared and put cinnamon on them and gave them to dh and the little guy. They loved the pie dough!

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: karykat

                                                                                                                                                                                                    You don't even want to know. After so many failed attempts at trying to make a flaky pie crust, I sunk into denial. I convinced myself pate brisee was okay to use even in a sweet potato pie. Realizing I must face my fears I've finally conquered the beast!

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: karykat

                                                                                                                                                                                                      KaryKat -You don't want to know. I came out of my denial admitting pate brisee doesn't work with sweet potato pie. The beast has been conquered!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I use pate brisee with just about everything, particularly my pumpkin pie. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: BabsW

                                                                                                                                                                                                          oh no sorry! My frustration with not being able to conquer good, no great pie dough came through. I love pate brisee and have used it just like you. But here's the deal.. I since then have found out that there are different pastry dough for different pies. Something juicy, didn't work as well, apple pie for instance. Custard pies go either way, which my particular sweet potato pie is, it's a custard. Actually the pie dough I've recently learned is reminiscent of puff pastry but yet different... : )

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Yes, I have been in denial with the pate brisee too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: karykat

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I'm sure you have access to lots and lots of good pie dough recipes. I'd be happy to share this one if you want.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                                                                                                                                              The super-flaky pie crust still eludes me. Lately I've been thinking about making my own leaf lard for it. lol

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: BabsW

                                                                                                                                                                                                                My pie dough is super flaky, so maybe you could give this a whirl:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                3 cups of flour
                                                                                                                                                                                                                3 tablespoons of sugar
                                                                                                                                                                                                                1/4 teaspoon salt.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                8 oz (1 stick) of butter, frozen solid
                                                                                                                                                                                                                8 oz crisco
                                                                                                                                                                                                                ice water

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Cut the crisco up into small cubes (this is easier if you use the stick Crisco and keep it in the freezer), Put it in the freezer.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                Put ice cubes in 1/2 cup of water, set aside.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                Measure 3 cups of four, salt and sugar and put in a bowl.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                Using the large holes on a box grater, grate the butter into the flour, stopping every little while to toss the butter in the flour (i.e. don't let it all sit on top of the flour. Also make sure that the grated butter doesn't stick inside the grater.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                Add frozen Crisco, toss, and then use a pastry cutter to make sure there are no overly large pieces.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                Remove ice from the water, and start slowly pouring the ice in along the sides of the bowl. Use your hands or a fork to keep the flour moving so that no area gets soggy. When the dough begins to hold together, dump it on a board, segregating the dry bits from the wet part, and add water to the dry part drop by drop until it, too, begins to hold together. Gather the dough into one large, flat disc, and with the heel of your hand, push it away from you on the board. Divide into two parts, flatten, and wrap in plastic wrap for at least an hour.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                IMO, the enemy of pie dough is not enough water. Just make sure that the dough holds together when you make the two disks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Oh, thank you!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Do you have a preferred use for the flaky crust over a butter-rich one?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    i grate my fat as well! very helpful... i grate on parchment on a sheet pan, spread it out, then stick in the freezer for ten minutes...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I must try both of these against the vodka crust. My mom used lard and "cut it in" by making a kind of finger-snapping motion on bits of the flour-covered fat. I think that's why it was so flaky. Do you do anything like that, roxlet?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          @BabsW, I rarely use the all butter crust, and the flaky one that I make I use for all sorts of pies, both double crust and single. I have other crusts, that are made with eggs, for example, that I use for more savory fillings like a quiche or a pizza rustica.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          @buttertart, I remember using that finger snapping motion with butter when I first began baking pies many years ago. My feeling is that can warm up the lard, butter, shortening or whatever fat you are using. I think that one of the reasons the grating method works so well is that these shards of cold butter are evenly dispersed through the flour, and when you add in the crisco, which has already been cut into small bits, you have to work the dough very little. Aside from adding enough water, that is the other key to a flaky crust. I actually have made many lard crusts in the past, and I will occasionally still make them for certain Italian pastries, but I find that I prefer the butter/shortening crust above all others. Obviously, an all-butter crust is a fine thing, but it has more "snap" and less flaky tenderness than I am used to.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            wow so many techniques and ways, ingredients and methods, it just goes on and on. No wonder I've had such a tough time getting it right! Butter is frozen is the shortening frozen as well? I have kept my shortening in the fridge for years (mainly because it keeps forever there) I am in such a pie making mode. I love pah!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ps. and don't forget vinegar in pie dough too! Have you tried that? I was searching for a Pate Sucree recipe and saw that one as well today. Wow.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Yes, I freeze my shortening too, but it never gets really frozen the way butter does.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              This cold fat thing has always puzzled me. My mother and grandmother are both renowned pie bakers. Neither one has ever bothered with chilling the fat or with using even cold water. Also, pies/pastry have been around for much longer than refrigeration has - ???????

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Same here with my mom, lard out of the cupboard and coldish water from the tap.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Ah, you are right, but there were cold pantries as well as cold houses before refrigeration! It just seems to work better keeping things cold for me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The house I grew up in had a room right off the kitchen. The old lady that lived there called it a pantry. It had a nice lower counter where you could roll out and prepare pies, and then up a little higher was a shelf for the baker to place pies to cool by the window. My mother used it exactly for that. On the other side of it, when my Dad wasn't making sauerkraut, pickles, and wine, my Dad brewed beer in there and stored his capped beer and canned foods in the lower cabinets. What I wouldn't do to have a little pantry like that where no one could see the mess, It was just darling. The town where I lived was populated with German's, Scandinavians and Swedes. There was a whole lot of baking going on!.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Now do you understand why I kick kick myself for not paying more attention!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      We had a cold pantry when I was growing up. That's the place I avoided when the bacala was being soaked!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. We had a discussion here a while ago about enriching ganache with egg yolks, but I was wondering if we had determined conclusively if it was safe, i.e. does pouring hot cream into egg yolks cook them sufficiently that they are safe?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Over and up to the first November thread... http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8151...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Be there or be square.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The dots did you in again, buttertart. The link does not work.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. I made some yummy pecan toffee bars (http://minimalistcook.com/2010/12/20/..., extra pecans, less toffee, no white chocolate in my house ;), but my husband has me totally beat out - crumpets, pretzels, apple pie, and experimental blackberry cookies all in the last few days. Good guy to have around!