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What are you baking these days? November 2011, part 2

Hi everybody, here we go with the second part of November, when things usually get hot and heavy in the baking department. What are you planning in the way of holiday treats? What are you keeping your cookie jar and cake keeper full of? Let's discuss.

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  1. I've been baking cake.... for a class I teach. The theme was Classical era, so I did my version of a Mozart cake, inspired by those chocolates. It's a bottom layer of chocolate/hazelnut, middle layer of vanilla/almond, and top layer of pistachio. It had a creamy chocolate filling, and the whole cake was covered in ganache.

    3 Replies
        1. Does anyone have a good link or reference to laminating dough in a somewhat easy fashion? I know it colder in most places given the season, but I don't know if that helps keeping the butter cold.

          Along those lines has anyone ever used a pasta machine for something like this or for something other than pasta?

          3 Replies
          1. re: burgeoningfoodie

            You should have a look at "quick puff pastry" on the "Canadian Living" magazine site - they show a very interesting technique that could be adapted to yeast dough if that's what you're making. I'd link it but for some reason am having trouble with the site.

            1. re: buttertart

              I've seen that before but thought laminating dough was slightly different. Want to try my hand at a great croissant and eventually pain au chocolate.

            2. re: burgeoningfoodie

              I use the Joy of Cooking recipe/method and find it reliable and awesome as long as I use Plugra or Kerrygold butter. I tried a domestic high butterfat "European style" butter once and it was terrible. I've also used the Tartine formula and that was so awful that I'm certain there must be a misprint. It calls for way less butter in the lamination than any other recipe I've seen.

              The thing about laminated dough is that all the talk makes it out to be much harder and time consuming than it really is. Just get out your rolling pin give it a try--it's faster than making cookies. Just be careful! Homemade croissants are quite an addiction. I always, always make a double batch for freezer stash.

            3. Just renewed my relationship with the best dessert book ever, Richard Sax' Classic Home Desserts. This weekend witnessed Austrian Walnut Torte with Coffee Whipped Cream and Lemon Icebox Crumbles and the Ginger Oatmeal Shortbread (completely addictive). That is a spectacular book for baking inspiration.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Splendid Spatula

                Must have another look at it. Walnuts go over big at our house.

                1. re: buttertart

                  Thanks for the tip Splendid.. will add to my library hold list. Ginger Oatmeal Shortbread sounds wonderful...

              2. I'm making a peanut butter cheesecake with chocolate topping and pumpkin whoopie pie with a maple filling.

                3 Replies
                1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                  Those are both MAGICAL combinations... I just tried my first whoopie pie while in NYC this past week-end.. maple with a cream cheese salted caramel filling. Very yummy...

                  1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                    I actually decided to give Smitten Kitchen's Chocolate peanutbutter cake a try. It came out okay. The two snags I hit were a very soupy batter and the choco/peanutbutter ganache wound up setting more like a frosting and less like a dripping ganache. Looks aside, I'm sure it will taste great.

                    The Whoopie Pies will be a hit too I'm sure for those that are anti peanutbutter or anti pnutbutter and Chocolate.

                    1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                      I have looked at that recipe many times.. the key is an event with enough people to eat it! Haven't gotten around to it yet. As I've said before, too many recipes, not enough time!

                  2. Just finished up my fruitcake for the season. Will be traveling over Thanksgiving, and am working later this week, so wanted to get it done. I use a pound cake based quite loosely on James Beard's recipe, but didn't use as much sugar or butter, or flour (about 3/4 of the recipe), used whole wheat flour, and dried fruit soaked in brandy.... apricots, cherries, cranberries, blueberries, dates. Spiced it with cardamom, cinnamon, and allspice. I made some mini cakes, mini loaves, and a couple of other medium sized loaves. I dunked them in a warmed jelly, a mix of what was in the fridge, seedless strawberry and raspberry, apple jelly with vanilla, and brandy. Used walnuts and some hazelnuts.

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: wyogal

                      That sounds amazing! (the fruit cake) I one of those people that loves fruit cake, not all, but freshly made like this, yum!

                      1. re: chef chicklet

                        I have always wondered - is it okay to call someone who loves fruit cake a fruit cake lover, or can that be misconstrued?

                      2. re: wyogal

                        A friend and I made fruitcakes yesterday as well. We used Emeril's recipe, I think it's called Creole Christmas fruitcake, and is similar to the one you described, using a white pound cake base, with lots of dried fruits soaked in simple syrup, Gran Marnier ( we substituted Orange Patron Liqueur, because we aleady had some) and bourbon. Then we poked holes, soaked cakes with more of the syrup stuff, wrapped them in cheesecloth, and they are to age three weeks, being "fed" with more of the syrup stuff every couple of days. There is also a whiskey/cream sauce in the recipe to serve over them. We made Martha Stewart's cranberry shortbread bars, and lemon poppyseed shortbread as well. And I have dough made for gingersnaps and almond crescents.

                        1. re: sunflwrsdh

                          Never before has anyone's description of a fruitcake make me wish I could try some until your post just now. WOW. Love almond crescents, too. You've left me with a recipe or two to google. Thanks!

                          1. re: kattyeyes

                            Thanks, Kattyeyes. It's my first attempt at fruitcake, and I don't really like the traditional kins with candied fruit, so am trying this, And, much like bacon, bourbon always makes everything better:). Almond crescents are my husband's favorite cookie, the recipe I use is an old one from his Swedish grandmother, let me know if you don't find one and I will share. I also dip the ends in chocolate.

                            1. re: sunflwrsdh

                              HA--right there with you re bacon and bourbon! A dear friend of the fam used to make almond crescents. I'll ask my mom if she has that recipe--else I'll be knocking on yer door again. Thank you!

                        2. re: wyogal

                          love the sound and looks of your fruitcake.
                          years ago for a newish job I'd taken I went all out to impress with (of all things) home made fruitcake. I dumped everything into many huge pans and even included (hold on to you hats) gumdrops. so much butter/dark brown sugar/chocolate chips/nuts of every size and shape/dried fruit galore, turned out amazing.

                          Brava wyogal!

                        3. After a very successful rum cake, I decided to make a somewhat boozy chocolate version - this is a chocolate espresso kahlua cake. It's a mouthful, but tastes so good.

                          It's a dense cake that tastes quite good by itself, but it needed that extra touch. I did a kahlua-rum syrup and here's is is 'resting'. This was my first attempt at the cake and I decided to turn it into a plate because I was worried it might stick to the pan. Not at all.

                          I've made this cake a couple more time and it's unbelievably delicious.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: nikkib99

                            I got just 1 thing to say to you Nikki.....
                            RECIPE please!

                          2. As I'm trying to slim down slightly before fattening up at the holidays, I've cut back on baking, but did make gingerbread today, plain old fashioned no frills gingerbread, from James Beard's American Cookery, very quick and simple to make, one bowl, no eggs, nice and gingery, done in 35 minutes.

                            I'm going to try to abstain from the huge amount of whipped cream I usually need with gingerbread.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: bushwickgirl

                              I adore gingerbread --and recipes that only take one bowl!

                              1. re: roxlet

                                love warm gingerbread cake drizzled with warm lemon sauce

                            2. Today I baked Martha Stewart's Blueberry Muffins. This the best recipe I've used so far. I don't ever have a problem with the blueberries sinking, her batter is on the thick side so they stay put. The house smells amazing! Tomorrow, if I can find a decent muffin recipe for Apple Cinnamon Streusel Muffins, that's on for tomorrow. I had another thought after I posted this.

                              I have a jar of lovely dark cherries from Trader Joe's that I need to use. There's a bundt cake recipe in MS Baking HB using cherries, Cherry Streusel Coffee Cake. I'm wanting to take her recipe, somehow get cream cheese in there, and make a cake Cherry Cream Cheese Streusel loaf or taller muffins using my popover tray. Must think more about this....

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: chef chicklet

                                the blueberry muffins from MS. I'll have to look that recipe up. I've made the ATK one and they say it's the best....my opinion is different though.

                              2. Components for Chocolate Blackout Cake (recipe from Cook's Country) are cooling right now.

                                1. Did these this afternoon:
                                  very nice, very well received! I just brushed the tops with butter and cinnamon sugar, didn't roll the whole muffins in butter as recipe calls for!

                                  1. Well, thanks to Buttertart's suggestions, I returned from NYC with chocolate from Trader Joe's (among other things)... and also picked up some baking stuff at Target that we get here (namely chocolate covered heath chips and andes mint chips). The question now is; how to use them???

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: rstuart

                                      I got a few bars of pounds plus chocolate from TJ. The bittersweet with almonds, the semisweet, and the regular bittersweet. You can use the bars for brownies, cupcakes, or just gnaw on them while reading CH.

                                      1. re: nikkib99

                                        Yes. I got the pounds plus bittersweet. Pretty sure they will go into my peppermint bark at Christmas...

                                        1. re: rstuart

                                          Yippee! Hope you enjoyed the city and TJs.

                                          1. re: buttertart

                                            Oh I did! Also at Momofuku milk bar....

                                    2. I baked another loaf of my multigrain bread today to bring with me on a road trip this weekend.

                                      We're planning on having an indoor picnic instead of eating out at restaurants for every meal, so I volunteered the bread. I also need to bake a loaf of pumpernickel and if I don't get off my diff soon to start that, I suspect I will be up until the wee hours of the morning doing that, but that's a labor of love, not a chore. lol

                                      I also promised to bring brownies and I think I will try out some sort of Almond Joyesque version with layers of coconut, chopped almonds and chocolate shavings.

                                      1. Homemade pizza today: spicy bbq chicken and cheese

                                        1. As a thank you to a friend I made RLB's Golden Grand Marnier Cake, but with some modifications. He has a delicate condition - he's allergic to chocolate, so I left out the chocolate. He's also a teetotaller, so I left out the GM; okay, it's really just an orange cake. I've made the cake many times before, and was really surprised that it was not as high as it usually is (same pan). Does anyone have any idea why? Why would some chopped chocolate influence how high a cake rises?

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: souschef

                                            I could not leave my question alone, so I baked the cake again, this time WITH chocolate in it, and it rose to its usual height. Strange !

                                            This time I was out of Felchlin 68% Bolivia chocolate (my usual), so I used Callebaut 54%, and found it too sweet.

                                            1. re: souschef

                                              That's odd. Could it have something to do with any acid in the chocolate? Is the leavener baking soda based?

                                              How did it taste without the chocolate? I'm looking for a nice orange cake.

                                              1. re: BabsW

                                                The leavener is baking powder and baking soda. Perhaps I'm making a big deal of it for no reason - it was maybe 85 % of its usual size.

                                                I don't know how it tasted without the chocolate as I gave it away. You should try it without the chocolate; maybe up the orange zest.

                                                1. re: souschef

                                                  I'd probably keep the Grand Marnier in it. No problems cooking and baking with booze here. :)

                                          2. Cookies ... lots of cookies in preparation for the munching hordes next week. :)
                                            -triple-pb chip with peanut m&ms
                                            -Dorie's perfect pb cookies
                                            -choc. chip but with millions of choc. slivers instead of chips

                                            1. I am making three cakes between today and tomorrow for a family and friends (his and ours) birthday celebration with about 30 people. One of our guests has a birthday on Monday, so the third cake will be for him -- his very favorite, Boston Cream Pie. The other two will be the old stand-by, the Epicurious Double Chocolate Cake with vanilla flour frosting, and Nick Malgieri's Coconut Cake with coconut flour frosting. The chocolate cake is very large, and for the Coconut Cake, I'll be doubling the recipe. In between, I will mix up pie crust to freeze and take with me to San Diego on Tuesday to make 5 pies on Wednesday. It's much easier working in my kitchen than my SIL's, so I hope the crusts make it cross country in good shape!

                                              8 Replies
                                              1. re: roxlet

                                                Wow! So your carry -on will contain pie crust?

                                                1. re: rstuart

                                                  Yes, and I'm afraid they will think it's plastique or something! We're going to my SIL's, so I will make my husband be the one to carry them on, lol!

                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                    I'd wrap it v well and put it into one of those soft-sided sixpack coolers, and put it in checked baggage. V cool in the cargo hold this time of year. We almost had a 2 kg piece of 6 yr old Canadian cheddar (labeled with the cheese factory's details) confiscated when coming tthrough Customs at Toronto airport. Very maddening. Had to do some splainin.

                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                      We're not planning on checking luggage, so I hope we won't have a problem. For some reason, things wrapped in newspaper seem to really stay frozen for a long time.

                                                      1. re: roxlet

                                                        Newspaper is a really excellent insulator, I know people who use it to keep the frost off tender plants in drafty cold single pane windows, and before the advent of insulated clothing, employees who worked packing frozen food products used to line their clothing with newspaper to keep warm. So you'll be fine with that method.

                                                        1. re: roxlet

                                                          Yes! I flew home with brats (not children) from Wisconsin that way--frozen and wrapped in newspaper--it was a magical thing! Safe travels to you and your crust, too!

                                                          1. re: kattyeyes

                                                            My husband brought everything from steaks to bacon to ham to Cairo frozen and wrapped in newspaper. He left NY, had a ten hour layover in London, and then flew to Cairo. When he arrived, everything was still frozen!

                                                            1. re: roxlet

                                                              It's the magic of newspaper. For more than just reading or lining bird cages...

                                                2. I made KA's Sweet and Salty Cookies:

                                                  I LOVED them. For the second batch, I used only 1/4 cup of shortening, vs. 1/2 cup, because I wanted them a little bit less "greasy" and I wanted them to spread a bit less. My "tasters" loved them too, except for one woman who does not like butterscotch.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: soccermom13

                                                    Those sound terrific. KA has some interesting new recipes on their (excellent) website.

                                                  2. Eh, I just posted this to part 1.

                                                    Alice Medrich's Brownies.

                                                    1. Just took a Railway Cake, aka Spotted Dog out of the oven. Used a recipe from Darina Allen's "Forgotten Skills of Cooking." Can't wait to taste it!

                                                      5 Replies
                                                        1. re: rstuart

                                                          Railway Cake, Spotted Dog, Spotted Dick or Irish Soda Bread, with a little sugar, dried fruit; currants and raisins, all the same thing.

                                                          1. re: bushwickgirl

                                                            I'd heard of spotted dick, but thought that it was a steamed pudding?

                                                            1. re: rstuart

                                                              In England a spotted dick is a steamed suet pudding with dried fruit, but Darina Allen is an Irish chef, and the Irish version is a lightly sweet soda bread.

                                                              Here's the straight dope, from thestraightdope.com:

                                                              "The Oxford Companion to Food comments that, strictly speaking, "spotted dick" is made by taking a flat sheet, (sic) spreading sugar and raisins on it, then rolling it up. A similar dessert is "spotted dog," a plain cylinder of suet paste with the raisins and currants and sugar stuck into it, so that the spots are visible on the outside. Both spotted dick and spotted dog were traditionally boiled (or even steamed) in a cloth, but nowadays they are usually baked."

                                                              "The dessert is slightly different in Ireland. In Ireland in the late 1800s, the tradition of yeast-bread manufacture was not strong, so most breads were raised with bicarbonate of soda and an acid, rather than with yeast, and thus called soda breads. Thus, the spotted dick in Ireland is sweet soda bread, with sugar, currants, and raisins, and it's also called the spotted dog or railway cake."

                                                              1. re: bushwickgirl

                                                                You learn something new every day.. thanks Bushwickgirl! Sounds much better to me than the English Spotted Dick.. I've never been that fond of steamed puds..

                                                      1. Mark Bittman's (from "How to Cook Everything") cornbread. Not too exciting, I know, but I was struck by the first sentence of his introduction: "This is one of the most important recipes I know." He explains that it is little work, and can be used in many situations, like brownies.

                                                        To me cornbread is just a once-or-twice-a-year dish--with pork and sauerkraut or a new chili recipe.

                                                        But his is a good version--it rose and browned nicely and is moist. (I used the basic recipe -- he includes lots of options.)

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. Didn't do any sweet baking this weekend (still eating up the stuff on hand), but needed bread, and the whole-wheat with wheat germ bread I winged last week was rather unprepossessing so I made that into melba toast (made great melba toast, per the sampler).

                                                          Made no-knead on Saturday am and it didn't rise very much, so let it sit overnight and it did rise nicely. Yesterday am added about 2 c water, more flour, and a bit more yeast, and made a boule, a loaf, and a pizza caccia nanza out of it.

                                                          Question: Why do breads made on a starter base seldom brown as well as the straight-dough ones? Does part of the carbohydrate get eaten up or something?

                                                          3 Replies
                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                              That's a good question for Harold McGee or maybe over at www.thefreshloaf.com. I'll do some inquires.

                                                            2. Looking for good pumpkin (non pie) recipes. I thought I saw one that was a good cake but it got poor reviews in Saveur.

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                                                I posted in another thread about a steamed pumpkin cake I've made from Food and Wine - it turned out great the first time I made it, but the second time I overcooked it and used too much clove, which ruined it. I would definitely recommend it, though, as long as you are more careful than I was!


                                                              2. Nanny's oatmeal cookies, but with shredded coconut (1/2 cup) and chopped dark chocolate feves (1/4 cup) instead of M&Ms. Used my brandy-new Zeroll cookie scoop and they are picture perf!

                                                                5 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                                                          ♥ u all--thank you kindly! If you were closer, I'd share. ;)

                                                                    1. This week I am baking Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake and mostly likely Sweet Potato Bourbon Cake. I want to do two of each (one for home, one for work) but it will mostly depend on total cost. The Holidays are so expensive!

                                                                      1. I have a hankering for carrot cake cupcakes, but really don't need a full batch of them, so I'm going to see how successfully I can reduce a recipe to yield about 3 or 4.

                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                        1. re: BabsW

                                                                          Made them! I got 8 cupcakes by cutting down my usual recipe to use just 1 egg. I wish there were any easier way to reduce recipes that call for egg. Most egg substitutes are just egg white and emulsifiers, so I am not sure the results would be exactly the same as whole eggs. I think you can only cut down a whole egg so far, right?

                                                                          Anyway, these were moist, and hit the spot for my craving. Besides, you can never go wrong with cream cheese frosting, I say.

                                                                          1. re: BabsW

                                                                            <<I wish there were any easier way to reduce recipes that call for egg.>> Me, too.

                                                                            <<I think you can only cut down a whole egg so far, right?>> Think so. However, you can probably fiddle with that, too. I once left ALL THE EGGS out of a cake (Hershey's Deep, Dark Chocolate), and though it didn't rise as high as a "normal" cake, it still tasted good. ;)

                                                                            I agree with your thoughts on cream cheese frosting, too.

                                                                            1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                              BTW, since I can't edit the post above...I left out all the eggs ACCIDENTALLY...

                                                                              1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                For some baked goods that have few eggs and which I don't want all that fluffy-cakey anyway, I have no problem omitting the eggs, as with brownies.

                                                                                Cake is harder. Sometimes I want only 1 or 2 cupcakes, not 3 dozen. lol

                                                                                1. re: BabsW

                                                                                  Understood, completely. I'm the queen of half-batches for the same reason! ;)

                                                                          2. I needed bread for my stuffing so I baked baguettes this weekend, using an old recipe that came with the first set of baguette pans my mom bought for herself back in the 70s. It's not my favorite bread recipe anymore (no-knead with whey is pretty much the only bread I make for eating these days), but there is something about the texture of both the bread and the crust that makes it FABULOUS for my rustic stuffing. I usually knead it by hand but I had other things to do so I let my Kitchenaid do the work, and the texture is much better, I think, than when I do it by hand - I must be a lazy kneader!

                                                                            Anyway, I also made pie crust and the dough for olive cheese balls, all of which went into the freezer for use on Wednesday. 1.5 lbs of butter gone in less than an hour. 'Tis the season!

                                                                            1. Made gluten-free pumpkin pie for a harvest-themed cooking club gathering yesterday -- and it was a big hit! For the crust, I used a mixture of almond flour, brown rice flour, teff flour, tapioca starch, and xanthan gum. For the filling, I used a fresh sugar pie pumpkin, halved, wrapped in foil, and baked on a cookie sheet for an hour and a half.

                                                                              Also made a loaf of GF bread last week -- Sour Cream and Chive bread, using 2 C. of leftover roasted garlic sour cream I'd made for a catering event. It's dense and tasty, sort of a cross between bread and biscuits.

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: operagirl

                                                                                And here're a couple pics of the pie =)

                                                                              2. I had some ricotta and sour cream to use up before we leave town tomorrow, so I made muffins for the road trip, and will leave a few at home for the kids (grown, at the house).
                                                                                I dumped the ricotta and sour cream into a bowl, added some Bisquick (yes), some milk, a couple of eggs, some sugar, a bit of oil. Baked at 450F for 17 minutes.
                                                                                Oh my. mmmmmmmmmm.

                                                                                1. Carrot cake ... planning ahead for Thursday. Cake is made (three layers) but not frosted, and now in the freezer resting comfortably.

                                                                                  Also made a triple batch of cran-orange-ginger sauce, though that wassn't baked.

                                                                                  1. Just made an apple cake to use up the last of the apples we spent way too much picking ourselves. Yum, yum! So moist.

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: The Jeff Next Door

                                                                                      I may have to think about something like that. I got some apples at the farmers market just for eating for snacks and they turned out to be not that good. Kind of watery tasting with tough skins. An apple cake might be a good use for them.

                                                                                    2. Cornbread last night for stuffin' muffins today. I totally love this recipe and have mentioned it here on the playground in the past. Thank you, Virginia Hanker, whoever you are! Happy Thanksgiving, my fellow baking friends!

                                                                                      1. Right out of the oven --

                                                                                        I always make and bake a little face from scraps ahead of time, then plunk it on the hot pie.

                                                                                        This is plain ol' Libby's canned pumpkin recipe, but I have real lard this year so the crust is special.

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: blue room

                                                                                          That's a happy pie--I ♥ it! So cute!

                                                                                        2. Here's my Annual Tgiving Pecan Pie: crust is the all-butter one from CI More Best Recipes - had to add 3-4 tb of frozen vodka over the liquid called for to get it to come together, but man is it good, brittle/flaky/tender - and the filling Fannie Farmer Baking Book "Golden pecan pie" - light corn syrup and 1/2 c white sugar, 4 tb melted butter, 3 eggs, 1 tsp vanilla, 1 1/4 c (lightly toasted) pecans.

                                                                                          Also made some Parker House rolls from the same book, good but not all that photogenic..

                                                                                          If you don't have the FF Baking Book, strongly suggest you get it - the recipes work and there are lots of interesting ones in it. I have never been disappointed with anything from it. If I were to be limited to one baking book (perish the thought) this would be it.

                                                                                          8 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                                            Buttertart, what's special/different about Parker House rolls? It came up a few times on one of the Top Chef programs, so I was wondering.

                                                                                            1. re: souschef

                                                                                              They're a basic sweetish roll dough that's rolled out and cut into strips, then a side is buttered and the other one folded over it. This shows them the way I made them:


                                                                                              This shows them the way I remember them looking (from a bakery):


                                                                                              This is what I was aiming for, and the first method doesn't make them look like this:


                                                                                              I didn't notice that the Fannie Farmer recipe made 60!!! rolls - now have about 20 rolls plus 2x450 gm pieces of dough in the freezer I think I'll make into raisin or currant bread. Or some sort of bun. The dough is similar to a Chelsea bun dough.

                                                                                              Saveur magazine featured "Parker House" rolls by Tom Colicchio a while back - they were not shaped properly (which inscensed me, the shape is their charm). They were invented at the Parker House hotel in Boston, early 20th C.

                                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                Thanks for the info, Buttertart.

                                                                                                Do you have a recipe for Chelsea buns? I love Chelsea buns.

                                                                                                1. re: souschef

                                                                                                  I have six or so recipes, let me have a look at them. BTW I know you don't want to get more cookbooks, but do you have Paula Peck's "The Art of Fine Baking"? It was published in 1961. I think you'd love it - used copies are cheap as dirt (the one I got is a first edition, and I paid $3.98 for it). All kinds of unusual and fancy stuff, right up your street.

                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                    I don't have the book, but I may buy it if you insist ! I already have more recipes than days left on this planet.

                                                                                                    1. re: souschef

                                                                                                      You and me both, brother. Entered some of my cookbooks on Eat Your Books and am up to 46K recipes plus. The Peck is wonderful, though.

                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                        Okay, I just bought it from Amazon for $3.88. It is supposedly in "as new" condition.

                                                                                                        1. re: souschef

                                                                                                          You will not regret it. Funny but a lot of the tips considered new are in this book.

                                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                                              Looks gorgeous buttertart.. and this from a confirmed pecan hater!

                                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                  Dislike all nuts really.. peanuts are OK... I guess. It's always driven my mother nuts.. I'd beg her to make CC cookies or brownies without walnuts!

                                                                                                  1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                    My mom never put nuts in cc cookies but if a nut could go into anything else, it was going. Love nuts.

                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                      I loved nuts so much that as a kid my mother called me the squirrel!

                                                                                                      1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                        The good thing about it is that when I make spiced pecans etc for Christmas, I know that they will actually make it out of the house! Unlike many other things.. like say, peppermint bark. Which I will "test". Until I realised I've eaten the whole batch.. so it can be useful! I just picked about 2 Lbs of pecans and 1/2 Lb of walnuts.. those will sit in the fridge unmolested until it's time to use them..

                                                                                                        1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                          Picked? I thought you were in Canada.

                                                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                            Picked up! What a difference a word can make! At a bulk food store ;)

                                                                                                            1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                              I was wondering! And pulling your leg a little.

                                                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                Well hey, with global warming, you never know!

                                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                Ah pecan pie -- exquisite silken golden -- I love that flavor! I'm pretty sure, most of the time, that you can't beat the classics. Did you do the crust edge just freehand? Mine look haphazard, I've given up trying.

                                                                                                1. re: blue room

                                                                                                  Cheater's pie pan, zigzag edge. I don't fuss either, just happy to get the damn dough in there intact.

                                                                                              2. been doing a lot of baking as of late, especially a lot of experimenting.
                                                                                                most obviously for thanksgiving... for the family, it was a Pumpkin Pie (mine isn't traditional, but was very well-received) and a White Balsamic Custard Fruit Tart with a Plum Butter glaze. used a pate sablee which rolled out and baked beautifully. when possible i will definitely be using this dough recipe.
                                                                                                work related - pumpkin scones with a spiced glaze, cream scones, cranberry biscotti with a cream cheese drizzle, and a whole host of gluten free stuff.
                                                                                                did a nice gluten-free cream scone.
                                                                                                only gluten-free failure was last week -- made a no knead bread that i accidentally made too chewy... imagine that. oh well, i know exactly what i did wrong... won't happen again.

                                                                                                today, i played with leftover stuff to use up...
                                                                                                -Plum Tiramisu -- am I the only one that could possibly sip Amaretto straight like a cocktail?
                                                                                                -Coeur a la Creme
                                                                                                -Hi-Ratio Strawberry Cake - i'm waiting to cut this til tmrw. Wanted to do a high ratio cake, using strawberry powder, and butter instead of shortening... normally i'd add an extra yolk, but didn't want that to compete with strawberry flavor. So fingers crossed, I'm hoping I pulled off a hi-ratio white cake with butter... and strawberry. It set, so I'm over one hurdle. I used the combination method... mixed my dry, cut in my butter, then added the mixed liquids in thirds. Time will tell.
                                                                                                -White Chocolate Malted Tunnel of Fudge Cake -- i've been wanting to futz with this for a while, and had the extra time today... i don't know if it remained with a gooey core or not... will not be glazing and cutting til tmrw... basically i subbed white chocolate for the semisweet, subbed white chocolate chips for the nuts, subbed malted milk powder and nonfat dry milk for the cocoa powder... and upped the baking temp to 375, hoping i could get the outside to set first and pull it out when the inside was still gooey. if nothing else, i'm sure it has a pudding-y inside, but fingers crossed here too that just maybe there's a little goo... has anyone else tried a white chocolate version of the tunnel of fudge cake? with or without nuts...

                                                                                                tomorrow... a cinnamon roll cake, and likely something with amaretto... if anyone has any favorite recipes using amaretto, i'm all eyeballs!

                                                                                                happy day after Thanksgiving to all! may your food comas be wearing off...

                                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: Emme

                                                                                                  thought i'd report back just in case anyone wondered...

                                                                                                  Strawberry Cake set up beautifully -- i'm definitely going to be playing around with other fruits. the best review was "wow, this tastes like fresh strawberries... but a cake... that doesn't make sense. but that's what it tastes like."

                                                                                                  White Chocolate Malted Tunnel of Fudge -- well it worked! no nuts, but i had a tunnel of goo! only snafu was user error... i had a new bundt pan, and obviously didn't grease and flour it properly... couldn't get the thing to turn out. had to serve it from the bundt, which was okay because i wasn't going to glaze it, but still... will make sure for next time.

                                                                                                  Cinnamon Roll Cake -- awesome... a yellowy cake with nice pockets of butter, brown sugary, cinnamonness and a light cream cheese glaze. only change is next time i'll probably do the whole thing with browned butter.

                                                                                                  Also, made a Pumpkin Pavlova this afternoon for a desserty thing later tonight. Filled it with a light vanilla bean mousse and garnished with pumpkin seed brittle pieces. We'll see the reception...

                                                                                                  and now starting to think about tomorrow...

                                                                                                  1. re: Emme

                                                                                                    Cinnamon Roll cake? That is something that would go over big time in my house! Would you share the recipe?

                                                                                                    1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                      happy to when i get my computer back... sigh.

                                                                                                    2. re: Emme

                                                                                                      Emme, do you have a link or recipe for the strawberry cake? I had to look up "hi-ratio" -- I've never seen that term before.
                                                                                                      How nice to have "fresh strawberries" some time this winter.

                                                                                                      1. re: blue room

                                                                                                        i do not have any link... because i built it from scratch... literally by the numbers :) as above, my computer and recipe files are not available but will share when they are.

                                                                                                        easy to construct though...

                                                                                                        flour is less than or equal to sugar
                                                                                                        eggs roughly equal fat or slightly more than fat
                                                                                                        eggs + other liquids = sugar

                                                                                                        i know i used powdered strawberry as part of my flour, and my sugar outweighted by flour.
                                                                                                        i used butter for my fat, and only egg whites (the part that scared me in terms of emulsifying the butter). i also used a combo of milk, cream cheese and sour cream for my "liquids." and of course, baking powder, baking soda, vanilla, and salt.

                                                                                                  2. Emme ... As always, your baking list is both impressive and delicious-sounding!

                                                                                                    For Thanksgiving this year I made:
                                                                                                    -a three-layer carrot cake
                                                                                                    -pumpkin chiffon pie
                                                                                                    -classic apple pie
                                                                                                    -apple crumb pie/cake w/cheddar crust
                                                                                                    -chocolate-cran-pecan pie
                                                                                                    -raspberry key lime tart
                                                                                                    -mocha buttercrunch pie

                                                                                                    7 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                                                                                      my hats off to you! how many people were present? what made you do both the apple pie and the crumb pie with cheddar? the raspberry key lime sounds fab.

                                                                                                      1. re: Emme

                                                                                                        Thanks! We had 11 for dinner, but 10 more for dessert. I hadn't planned on making so many things, but I saw a recipe days before I wanted to try (the mocha one) and one of the guests was getting excited about having my apple pie ... which hadn't been on the menu. I had lots of apples, though, so it was easy to do--and it was one of the first ones to go.

                                                                                                        1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                                                                                          Can you point us to the recipe for the mocha buttercrunch pie, please? (And tell us how it was, of course.)

                                                                                                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                            I was just about to ask the same thing!

                                                                                                            1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                              We all liked it! It's very rich and creamy. I used strong coffee instead of instant coffee, and it was just fine.

                                                                                                              The recipe is here: http://mobile.slate.com/articles/brie...

                                                                                                              And check out the article that goes with this. I know someone who who attended that dinner, with 20 people and 19 pies.

                                                                                                              1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                                                                                                Why is it called butterCRUNCH pie? It looks like the filling and topping are really creamy. Unless it's the crust that's crunchy?

                                                                                                                Looks sinfully rich and good.

                                                                                                                1. re: karykat

                                                                                                                  The crust is crunchy -- and I sprinkled chopped toasted walnuts on top for extra crunch.

                                                                                                    2. Birthday cakes and pies. November is for birthdays in my house, and Thanksgiving in my SIL's La Jolla house.

                                                                                                      12 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                        Ohmygoodness, check out the festive food porn!
                                                                                                        Pic 1 - Is that your Mounds cake?
                                                                                                        Pic 2 - What Boston cream recipe did you use? Were you happy with it? I was thinking of making Lidia's cupcakes into a cake because I loved it so much.
                                                                                                        Your pics are making me hungry!

                                                                                                        1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                          Yes, #1 is the Mounds cake. I melted bittersweet chocolate and put a layer of that on each cake and topped with the frosting mixed with coconut. It might not have been exactly a Mounds cake, but the bittersweet chocolate added a nice bitter note. This was a double recipe of Nick Malgier's coconut cake, and a double recipe of flour frosting made with coconut milk instead of regular milk. For the Boston Cream Pie I used the recipe in the new CI compendium. I never got to taste it -- it disappeared, and my son became a convert, declaring Boston Cream Pie his new favorite cake. My only quibble is that the recipe had you refrigerated the cake after pouring the ganache frosting on it, and, although I took the cake out a couple of hours before serving, the frosting hardened and made the cake difficult to cut. The third cake is the epicurious double chocolate cake with flour frosting.

                                                                                                          1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                            Someone in my house wants some of that Boston cream pie, I want some of them all except the pumpkin pie.

                                                                                                            1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                              "my son...his new favorite" ...
                                                                                                              There's something about men and Boston Cream Pie -- !
                                                                                                              The same thing happened at my house a few years ago, with Mr. blue room.

                                                                                                              1. re: blue room

                                                                                                                You're right! The friend I made it specially for is a man, and it is his favorite too!

                                                                                                          2. re: roxlet

                                                                                                            Hi Roxlet,

                                                                                                            Beautiful baked goods---thanks for posting the photos.

                                                                                                            Question for you re Malgieri's Coconut Cake---I made a full recipe of this and baked it in two eight inch pans. My layers are only about 1.5-1.75 inches tall. (That's an approximation because I wrapped the layers in plastic and foil and they are in the freezer and I am too tired to unwrap them and measure precisely). Are your layers higher?

                                                                                                            I plan to use Zoe Francois' filling and toasted meringue frosting. (See link below.) I know this will not be my favorite tasting frosting, but if I can make it look like Zoe's, I'll be thrilled. It's spectacular. Plus, I want to play with my new torch :0)


                                                                                                            1. re: soccermom13

                                                                                                              I think that despite being a baking god, Malgieri's comments about the height of his layers seem to be consistently misstated. First of all, he specifies 9" pans, which yield more of a pancake than a cake layer. If he says 9", I am much happier with the result using an 8" pan, and even so, the layers are not very high. The cake I posted above was a double recipe baked in three 9" pans.

                                                                                                              Let us know on the Zoe Francois filling and frosting. I find that meringue tends to wilt after a day or so, and for the most part, the baked good itself is still edible. Even with lemon meringue pie, I tend to remove the meringue after a day if the pie is not eaten since the meringue gets very unappealing. But this is a very impressive-looking cake, and torching it will be fun!

                                                                                                              1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                I loved the flavor of NM's cake. Next time I will make three layers, not two, because I like the look of a higher cake.

                                                                                                                Zoe Francois' filling and meringue frosting were wonderful. And the frosting looked fabulous. I have a hard time making cakes look good, but this is easy to do. Francois gives clear directions which even I could follow and achieve success. (Gotta say, using a torch is fun :0)

                                                                                                                I frosted the cake then stored it overnight and served it the next day and there was no wilting of the meringue.

                                                                                                                I will definitely make this again.

                                                                                                                1. re: soccermom13

                                                                                                                  Yes, the flavor is terrific, but the layers in a single recipe tend to be on the short side -- even using the 8" pans.

                                                                                                                  I'm glad to hear that the frosting worked and that it held up overnight. How did you store it?

                                                                                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                    I get peverse pleasure in knowing that I'm not the only one with the pan-size problem.

                                                                                                                    1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                      Yes, it's bizarre, isn't it? He is a brilliant cookbook writer, but the pan size thing is so off.

                                                                                                                    2. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                      I stored it in a cake saver (plastic base with big domed cover that snaps on tightly) in my basement, which is coolish. It's just so darn impressive with those torched curls/spikes of meringue!

                                                                                                                      Question for you Roxlet---what brand/type of coconut do you use in NM's cake?

                                                                                                            2. US baking buddies please note - this company has some of the best dried fruit and nuts you'll ever lay tooth to: http://apricotking.com/ Not affiliated in any way, just a happy customer. greygarious turned me on to them, for which, thanks.

                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                Looks good, but those are California pistachios -- not worth the calories, imho!

                                                                                                                1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                  The walnuts and dried fruit are excellent. I like CA pistachios, myself, but the Antep ones from Turkey are much better.

                                                                                                                2. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                  Nice to know about the apricot source.

                                                                                                                  Last year I was ecstatic about the citron from "Nuts Online", but my package this year is paler in flavor and color. The dried strawberries*, however, are excellent.

                                                                                                                  *not truly dried -- they are sweetened a little I think, and still retain a plump moist quality.

                                                                                                                3. This past week I felt that I never actually left the kitchen with all of the baking/cooking and cleaning that comes with the holidays, but it was well worth it. For thanksgiving this year I settled on making the following:
                                                                                                                  Epi's chocolate glazed chocolate tart, CI's Pecan Pie, Pioneer Woman's Rum Cake, Apple Pie, and Epi's Pumpkin Cheesecake with Caramel Swirl

                                                                                                                  I also made Cranberry Orange Muffins and Pumpkin Cranberry Pecan muffins for breakfast/brunch friday for the big game and also whipped up some choc. chip cookies for game night. I am looking forward to a break sometime in the near future;)

                                                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: Redstickchef

                                                                                                                    Wow! You sure did Thanksgiving right. Congrats on being able to make so many delicious treats!

                                                                                                                    1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                      By the way, roxlet, my friend made your apple cake the weekend before Thanksgiving and her family liked it so much she had to make another one FOR Thanksgiving. She says to thank you very much.

                                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                        Oh, I'm glad. I've been thinking about that cake lately, and next time I make it, I am going to put some caramel bits I got from King Arthur Flour in with the apples.

                                                                                                                        1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                          Oh yeah. I had some (major yum) and want to make it myself soon, maybe the ho-hum TJs caramels could end up in it, cut up?

                                                                                                                  2. Apple-cranberry crisp with almonds. The "before" is prettier than the "after" BUT "after" tasted great! ;)

                                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                      Would you please share the recipe. TIA

                                                                                                                      1. re: paprkutr

                                                                                                                        My pleasure. Please note, Nanny's recipe for fruit crisp calls for 4 cups of fruit. I used 5 cups of Macouns and 1 1/2 cups of cranberries. I think I should have upped the cornstarch (or maybe the fruit was just extra juicy). In any case, here we go!

                                                                                                                        APPLE-CRANBERRY CRISP WITH ALMONDS

                                                                                                                        FOR FRUIT
                                                                                                                        5 cups Macouns, cored and cubed (4 BIG apples yielded 5 cups for me)
                                                                                                                        1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
                                                                                                                        1 cup sugar
                                                                                                                        1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon of cornstarch (*2 tablespoons* is the correct measurement based on cups of fruit I used--noted for next time!)

                                                                                                                        FOR CRISP
                                                                                                                        1 stick (8 tablespoons salted butter)
                                                                                                                        1 cup quick oats
                                                                                                                        1/3 cup granulated sugar
                                                                                                                        1/3 cup light brown sugar
                                                                                                                        6 tablespoons flour
                                                                                                                        1 teaspoon cinnamon
                                                                                                                        1/4 teaspoon salt
                                                                                                                        2 tablespoons water (I thought I was fancy and used cognac--did my kitchen smell AMAZING, too! You can't taste it, of course...)
                                                                                                                        1/2 cup sliced almonds

                                                                                                                        Butter an 8 x 8 baking dish. In a bowl, combine fruit with sugar and cornstarch to coat. Place fruit in dish.

                                                                                                                        Melt butter in skillet. Add quick oats and almonds and saute, stirring constantly, 3 minutes or a little more to get the oats 'n almonds lightly browned. Don't go too crazy because they'll brown more in the oven. ;)

                                                                                                                        Mix together sugars, flour, cinnamon and salt. Stir into oat/nut mixture.

                                                                                                                        Spread crisp mixture over fruit.

                                                                                                                        Sprinkle water (or booze if you are so inclined!) over the top. Bake at 400 degrees F 30 minutes or until fruit is tender.

                                                                                                                        ENJOY--with best wishes from Nanny and me! ♥

                                                                                                                        1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                          Thank you, I hope to try it for New Years

                                                                                                                          1. re: paprkutr

                                                                                                                            EXCELLENT! If you wanna fancy it up, you can serve with a little heavy cream poured over or ice cream, if you prefer. Happy New Year a little early! *<:)

                                                                                                                    2. After many months of staying away, I made canelés again! This time, using the pointers from the last canelé thread, they came out beautifully! Maybe it was all my fond thoughts of Cynsa, souschef, trewq, et al that did it.

                                                                                                                      Sorry, no photos, but I'll post some if the the remaining batter works out as well. Fingers crossed--we all know how temperamental those little cakes can be.

                                                                                                                      11 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: pilinut

                                                                                                                        Yay pilinut! Saw a crossection photo of one on "Paris Patisseries" Facebook page (tagged evidently, at the top) and thought about you fan(atic)s. Looks worth it.

                                                                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                          You'd love it, buttertart! It's like a mutant rum custard-cake in a thin, crisp shell. Particularly heavenly while it's warm. Since some of us have already made all the mistakes (and posted them), you don't have to re-invent the wheel and you can go straight to canelé heaven.

                                                                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                              Where have I heard that before? Pilinut is right - we have done all the work for you. If you need beeswax, let me know and I'll ship some to you.

                                                                                                                              1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                Beeswax and I still haven't a proper pan or molds. Fewer excuses now because Margie's ovens hold temp unlike ye olde lousy stove.

                                                                                                                        2. re: pilinut

                                                                                                                          I'd resume baking canelés again if I can find anyone to eat them. Sorry that the pix won't post. Yesterday's batch was very satisfactory; crisp caramelized shell and custardy interior - the copper molds producing good color and shape; the aluminum molds baked with blonde tops.
                                                                                                                          Pistou's notes on head space worked wonders and corrected the puffy tops overflow. I heated the molds, brushed with beeswax & oil, upturned to drain, then into the freezer for one hour. Filled with 3/8" head space over batter, preheated 475°F oven reduced to 450°F for 15 minutes, then to 350°F for 45 minutes convection.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Cynsa

                                                                                                                            Cynsa, on one of the canelé threads trewq raised the issue that 475°F is above the melting point of tin, which is used for lining the molds, so I had to reduce the temperature at which I baked them; can't remember what temperature I used as it's been such a long time.

                                                                                                                            You're too cute to end up looking like Tin Man !

                                                                                                                            1. re: Cynsa

                                                                                                                              Posting the picture Cynsa sent me. It was a bitmap, so would not post. I had to convert it to JPEG.

                                                                                                                              1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                thank you, souschef, for posting the pix for me - you're an angel and a gentleman.

                                                                                                                                1. re: Cynsa

                                                                                                                                  Cynsa.. looks gorgeous! I love canelés, am so impressed that you made them...

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Cynsa

                                                                                                                                    I agree. Gorgeous works of art. I can almost taste them.

                                                                                                                            2. Just started my Christmas baking with peppermint bark.
                                                                                                                              I made chocolate toffee pretzel bark last Christmas for the first time, and I remember that I tried a few varations, and one was better than the others. Of course, looking at my recipes and notes... I have no idea which of the 3 versions was best! Sigh..

                                                                                                                              6 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                                Chocolate toffee pretzel bark sounds outrageous! Is that the one you can't remember? I hope you do and post the recipe here!

                                                                                                                                1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                  It is fantastic, and SO easy! But sadly addictive.... the 3 recipes that I have are variations of each other, with varying proportions of chocolate (dark, milk, or white), toffee chips and crushed pretzels. Here is the original:
                                                                                                                                  Scroll down to the bottom...

                                                                                                                                  1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                                    That's too easy -- too easy to make and too easy to eat!

                                                                                                                                    1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                      You oughta try these chocolate bars from Trader Joe's, 70% cacao with little bits of toffee, pecans, walnuts, and sea salt. Only $1.99 for the 3.5 oz bar, and so very good.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                        Yes, I find myself eating spoonfuls out of the bowl! The other variations have two layers, one of dark and one of white chocolate!

                                                                                                                                2. A friend is looking for a good Venetian/rainbow cookie recipe, anybody make them/got one?

                                                                                                                                  1. had a few extra minutes today while some things were baking/cooling etc. i originally wanted to do a Balsamic Cookie, first turning reduced balsamic mixed with melted butter into a powder with tapioca maltodextrin, but i didn't have enough time to let the mixture cool to add the TM. so instead i just used the syrup in a melting momentish preparation. took me all of 3 minutes to make, well 6 including the 2 minutes to reduce the balsamic and another to cool it slightly. chilled the dough, rolled in powdered sugar and baked. made them on the fly, and am going to have to make them again to remember and weigh the exact amounts i used.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                        The discussion continues--rabbit, rabbit, rabbit--HERE 'TIS! Happy December 1st!

                                                                                                                                        (Happy to help, buttertart!)

                                                                                                                                        1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                          Dang posting from mobile in the wilds of underserved by WiFi northern NJ...thanks k-e!