HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


What are you baking these days? January 2012 [old]

2012!!! Too much NYE...
So here we are in the new year...time to get out the mixing bowls and whip up something good. I succumbed to the gorgeous swirl Bundt pan and am trying to decide what to break it in on...

What are YOU baking these days?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. We're doing an early birthday celebration for my sisters that are leaving tomorrow. They're not traditional birthday cake eaters so I'm making a lemon poppy seed snacking cake. This recipe is great, it comes together and bakes quickly, and stays moist for days (kept well covered)


    3 Replies
    1. re: sarahjay

      Sounds fab, I love poppyseed anything.

      1. re: sarahjay

        After a bit of hassling, I ended up making a second birthday cake. I made a peanut butter bundt with a chocolate glaze from this book: http://www.amazon.com/Cake-Keeper-Cak... Every cake I've made from it is great, and we're not big frosting fans in my family (apart from Italian meringue/white mountain icing) so this book is a favorite.

        1. re: sarahjay

          Yum... I have that cookbook, but haven't tried that recipe yet.. will have to add it to the list!

      2. Once I get the Christmas decorations squared away I'm planning to make Ina Garten's Lemon Cakes and some Morning Glory Muffin Bars.

        1. May I suggest that you break that pan in on the Brandied Apricot Cake from "Cocolat". I want to see how it turns out .....sticking, etc. The recipe will easily fill two pans, so you could also use a loaf pan, which is what AM does.

          3 Replies
            1. re: buttertart

              My reasons are purely selfish! I want to see if you have the same trouble as I do with that cake.

          1. Santa brought me a Williams-Sonoma gift card that is going to buy me the heritage bundt pan, as well. I've been coveting it since I first saw a photo, and finally decided I must have it, despite having no place to store it.

            21 Replies
            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

              Santa knows you well ;) I've always liked the look of that one http://www.williams-sonoma.com/produc... but already own the Anniversary one... so I can't really justify both. Have fun spending your gift card!

                  1. re: sandylc

                    Oh Now I really want one of those. Wonderful pan!

                1. re: maplesugar

                  I got TWO of those for Christmas, and haven't baked from it yet. Looking for a perfect recipe.

                  1. re: roxlet

                    How about the Golden Grand Marnier Cake from The Cake Bible. One recipe may well be enough to fill both pans - they look small. It's a really great cake.

                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                        It's bigger than it looks. The recipe specifies a 9-cup pan.

                        BTW when I make that cake I use chopped-up callets instead of chocolate chips.

                        1. re: souschef

                          Didn't get a chance to comment (limited computer access, was at my MIL's for a few days) - the Mission fig position? Snortlechuckle.

                          1. re: buttertart

                            Glad to see YOU are awake, Buttercup !

                      2. re: souschef

                        I actually returned on the of the pans and got 4 mini loaf pans and a credit...

                      3. re: roxlet

                        the triple citrus yogurt cake on the food and wine magazine website is fantastic. it will certainly do your pans justice. i'll be making this with blood oranges and meyer lemons since they are in season.

                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                            That's the one. The curry shortbreads in the same article are delicious as well. They can go sweet or savory - I like to use them for hors douvres topped with goat cheese and mango chutney or smoked chicken and apples etc.

                              1. re: tastycakes

                                Thanks for the recommendation of this cake. I made it for Saturday dinner with my folks and served it with lemon curd and strawberries. Everyone was happy.

                          2. re: Caitlin McGrath

                            I posted below saying a that this has been a pan Imhave wanted, but DH likes glazes or frostings. do you think the shape would be lost if I glazed the cake?

                            1. re: angelsmom

                              Glazed, no. The indentations are quite deep.

                              1. re: buttertart

                                Thanks, where do I keep another pan, nut I just love this one.

                          3. I'm making a key lime meringue pie tonight, with raspberries and blackberries in and around. Graham cracker-almond crust.

                            2 Replies
                              1. re: angelsmom

                                It was, thanks! I ended up just putting the berries beside, as I didn't want them to get heated up when I did the meringue topping. Good way to start the new year. :)

                            1. Made the potato bread in the latest " Baking Sheet" from King Arthut Flour...made one loaf and 9
                              mini loaves in the darling little Wilton plaque that I bought at Amazon.com. Love that pan as it makes loaves that are only 1 1/2 x 3. just the right size for mini blt's to add to the appetizer buffet at my next party.

                              1. Oh, I am so jealous. I have wanted that pan, bu DH always wants frosting on cakes so there go the beautiful swirls. Let us know what you bake in it.

                                1. Not really baking, but a darling dessert called Spaghettieis. It is an ice cream sundae,originating in Germany, that looks like a bowl of spaghetti.
                                  We had a German dinner, so I followed it with this dessert.

                                  1. I made some mocha cupcakes with espresso buttercream and dark chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter buttercream for a work party. I'm not much of a baker but they turned out delish!

                                    1. David Leite's orange olive oil cake. OMG sooo good..... and Joy the Bakers chocolate chip oatmeal cookies. In the oven right now. :)

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: shaebones

                                        I finally printed this recipe, it just sounds so good. Do y'all think that adding some blueberries, tossed with a little flour so they won't sink, would be a good idea?

                                      2. January 1st was my birthday, and I had an assortment of dried fruit left over from making
                                        Free Range Fruitcakes before Christmas.
                                        Weight Watchers doesn't allow an entire Red Velvet cake, which would have been my preference for a birthday cake, so I made two more fruitcakes.
                                        I can eat a couple of nibbles of that and be satisfied (well, kind of). But I would wolf down way too much Red Velvet if it was sitting right there in the kitchen.

                                        Since I can't put booze in the fruitcake (for medical reasons), I have basted them with either homemade pear jam, homemade peach jam, or British orange marmalade. I find that I like the tang of the marmalade the best.
                                        The moisture of the jams and marmalade soaks into the cake as it ages. Of course, I wasn't about to wait yesterday for it to age any more than until after dinner.

                                        1. I've made this mixed berry cake in a plain ol' bundt cake many times with chambord and without the pile of berries in the middle. I've used whatever berries I have on hand, but equal amount of raspberrie, blueberries and blackberries is my favorite. http://www.williams-sonoma.com/recipe...

                                          Would look lovely in your swirly pan!

                                          1. Whole wheat potato rolls for grass-fed burgers
                                            Laminated, yeasted, pecan coffeecakes
                                            Old-fashioned dilly bread

                                            ...so far this year. I'm ready to bake!

                                            1. Roasted chestnut cookies. They went so fast over the holiday. I recall enjoying one and was never quick enough to the cookie tray for another. So this batch is for the baker.


                                              my secret ingredient for the icing sugar (that you coat each baked cookie in) was a dash of cinnamon and a dash of lemongrass powder, shake the warm cookies inside a large ziplock bag in small batches.

                                              1. As Madame Souschef and I were sick during the Christmas season, my sister made us a belated Christmas dinner a couple of days ago. I made the dessert - the chocolate fig cake. It was interesting that this time it tasted completely different as a number of components were very different from what I usually use:
                                                - I used Turkish figs instead of Calmyna. They were moister, and had a jammy texture after being simmered in Cognac. This texture was noticeable in the cake. I prefer the Calmyrna version; even better than the Mission fig position.
                                                - I ran out of Felchlin chocolate (how do I let that happen?), so I used a mixture of Callebaut 70% (inside the cake) and Lindt 50% (in the glaze).
                                                - I ran out of Felchlin gianduja, so had to use Ritter Sport praline. It was not a bad chocolate, though it did not have the voluptuous mouthfeel of the Felchlin.

                                                I was really amazed at the difference. The cake was jammier and a lot more moist, but, while it was still delicious, it was not as good as usual. You could really taste the difference in the chocolate.

                                                1. The last thing I baked was two loaves of date-nut bread. I usually bake it for Christmas but circumstances were otherwise this year. I have enough dates for about 3 more loaves so will finish them up.

                                                  1. Double-apple bran muffins.. I try to make healthy muffins for my breakfast. Got some lovely home-made apple butter for Christmas from some of my aunts. Recipe was... OK. Nothing special, won't be repeating.

                                                    1. I baked a couple of things yesterday: Lazy Mary's Lemon Tart, to which I added unsweetened coconut. Very easy, very tasty though I would have liked a slightly more lemony bite. I'll try adding some regular lemon zest to the recipe next time.


                                                      I also made my husband a mini cobbler with some fruit lingering in the fridge: a scant 1/2 c of cranberries, two bosc pairs, and a gala (?) apple. It actually came out great. I had a little with yogurt for breakfast.

                                                      1. I made a french fruitcake from a favorite book: "Paris Boulangerie Patisserie " by Linda Dannenberg. It is a light poundcake sort of thing loaded with dried fruits, soaked in rum syrup, and glazed with melted apricot jam. Light and delicious....I will make it again.

                                                        This cookbook is my very favorite out of about 500 cookbooks. I will be spending more time in the future baking more from it....that's a resolution!

                                                        3 Replies
                                                        1. re: sandylc

                                                          I baked a couple of loaves of whole wheat/cheddar/jalapeño bread - especially great for a zippy grilled cheese sandwich. Then yesterday i made an apple sharlotka from smittenlitchen, using up the bowl of apples that never got made into apple sauce at latke time! The sharlotka was simple and good, with few ingredients to bring on post-holiday guilt/panic! I added a dash of salt and next time I think that I'll add some cinnamon and perhaps some raisins. Anyway, lovely for dessert last night and even better warmed for breakfast this a.m.


                                                          1. re: janeh

                                                            Were you happy with the ww/cheddar/jalapeno bread recipe? If so, will you share? I'm looking to get back to breadmaking and love anything jalapeno.

                                                            1. re: tcamp

                                                              tcamp, I pretty much improvised, using my usual honey whole wheat recipe with 1/2 King Arthur white whole wheat flour - I think that any basic white or whole wheat recipe would work.. I had an 8oz block of extra sharp cheddar which I shredded and kneaded into the dough, leaving about 1/2 cup to sprinkle on top. I also chopped some more cheddar into small cubes and mixed them in - maybe 2 oz. I removed the seeds and veins from three fresh jalapeños, then chopped and mixed in, saving a bit to sprinkle on top (under the cheese sprinkle so they don't burn). I was concerned that 3 jalapeños might be too much, but they mellowed with baking.This recipe made 2 loaves. It was great toasted and makes an amazing grilled cheese sandwich. Enjoy!

                                                        2. Bacon butterscotch pretzel cookies. If they get baked at all - the dough is very tasty!

                                                          1. Alice Medrich's cocoa browniies, with browned butter (ehh, no match for the Supernaturals). Hard rolls. Amanda H's almond cake - with buttermilk instead of sour cream (none on hand) and the egg whites whipped firm with some of the sugar folded in at the end. This last was great, 3 in high in a deep 9 in pan, and did not sink in the middle. I'm glad I'm 1500 miles from the rest of the cake, irresistible.

                                                            1. Bread that is half whole wheat and half rye. Has caraway seeds or cumin seeds which I grind up in coffee mill and work into the dough.

                                                              1. So we have a bunch of people here who each own one or more heritage bundt pan(s), but nothing to show for it. Get baking and post pictures!

                                                                A Bavarian cream would be nice in those pans. It would also be interesting to see how a savarin would turn out.

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: souschef

                                                                  I'm sick with a cold, baking maybe this weekend. :(

                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                    Ma pauvre petite ! Please refer to the remedies Cynsa posted when I was sick.

                                                                    BTW creme caramel is wonderful when your throat is sore. If you need a good recipe, here's one I have made a bazillion times:


                                                                2. I'm also sick with a cold, but I'm going to make a pear crisp for dessert tonight with hopes that it will cure me. Dinner is going to be baked polenta, which is one of my favorite comfort foods.

                                                                  I can't wait to feel better so I can make blood orange olive oil cake:


                                                                  Mmm, those blood oranges in my fruit bowl are going to taste delicious!

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: caseyjo

                                                                    Must look for some, I love blood oranges.

                                                                  2. Today I baked a pan of dark chocolate brownies with chocolate/mint chips to take to a pot luck dinner tomorrow. They smell great.


                                                                    Now my dilemma is do I want to serve them in the pan, which means not having ANY till dinner tomorrow, or do I want to cut them and display them nicely on a glass platter, which means I can have any number of little squares tonight, and nobody will know the difference??!!

                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                    1. re: jmcarthur8

                                                                      On a platter, much classier, and more fun for the cook!

                                                                      1. re: jmcarthur8

                                                                        Think that I clipped that recipe jmcarthur.. tell me how they are?

                                                                        1. re: rstuart

                                                                          DO NOT...absolutely do not let yourself be alone in the house with a pan of these brownies.

                                                                          They are that good. They're a little cakey, a little fudgey , and the mint adds that little touch of coolness against the dark cocoa.

                                                                          1. re: jmcarthur8

                                                                            Thanks for the warning! Now I have to make it !

                                                                      2. This is the second of the baking pans that I received for Christmas -- the honeycomb cake pan:
                                                                        And here is the cake that I baked from it. I love it because of the portion aspect of the cake. I used the recipe that came with the wrapper, and which is a slightly almond scented cake. When it's out of the pan (and it released very well, particularly using the wilton cake release), you brush it with a glaze make with brown sugar, honey and water. I think that this pan will work with any 9 cup bundt recipe.

                                                                        1. I have just gotten around to downloading the photos of my baked goods from my New Year's Day open house. Included are rosemary rolls, adapted from The Italian Baker, and a selection of cookies.

                                                                          7 Replies
                                                                          1. re: roxlet

                                                                            Gorgeous roxlet! What were the cookies?

                                                                            1. re: rstuart

                                                                              Thanks, rstuart! I made chocolate dipped coconut pyramids, pearl sugar-rolled ginger cookies, pecan tassies, brownies, and a neighbor brought lemon squares, plus another neighbor's aunt made baklava. I also made a cheesecake.

                                                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                                                    Speaking of tassies.....I came upon your recipe, Roxlet, and made them for my holiday cookie boxes and plates. Much simpler to put together than the tarts I've made in years past - what a delight! Thanks!

                                                                                    1. re: janeh

                                                                                      So glad that you enjoyed them! I have a lot of regulars who would be upset if I didn't make pecan tassies for all my parties.

                                                                              1. I have a friend who is looking for great cakes that are eggless and could stand up in a mold (like bundt, angelfood, etc) instead of a sheet cake. Just some names to search for would be great so you don't have to post a link or anything. It is for a birthday.

                                                                                Also no soy or peanuts.

                                                                                Thanks bunches!

                                                                                14 Replies
                                                                                1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                                                                  If your friend is interested in chocolate cake, the classic wacky cake is an excellent choice - no eggs (or dairy) included. A double recipe works perfectly in a standard bundt pan. I prefer to use coffee instead of water, to deepen the flavor. Wacky cake: http://savorysweetlife.com/2010/01/ch...

                                                                                  I have made an orange version, too, if she'd like a non-chocolate alternative. Let me know if you'd like that recipe, and I'll post it.

                                                                                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                    Thank you for your suggestion! I've passed it along.

                                                                                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                      Caitlin, please post your orange Wacky Cake recipe.
                                                                                      Lost my baking mojo. Will bake for neighbor's 90th birthday party: brownies, pecan tassies, and Laurie's Pear Tart in cupcake form... I'd like to add your Orange Wacky Cake to the table, please. TIA

                                                                                      1. re: Cynsa

                                                                                        Here you go. As I mentioned above, you can double the recipe and bake it in a bundt pan (increasing the baking time, of course), and a double recipe also should work in a 9x13-inch pan.

                                                                                        1 3/4 cups flour
                                                                                        3/4 cup sugar
                                                                                        1 teaspoon baking soda
                                                                                        1/4 teaspoon salt
                                                                                        1 cup orange juice plus grated zest of an orange
                                                                                        6 tablespoons neutral vegetable oil
                                                                                        1 teaspoon white vinegar

                                                                                        Preheat the oven to 350ºF and grease an 8-inch-square pan. Whisk the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl and whisk in the wet ingredients until all combined. Pour into a greased pan and bake until a tester comes out clean, 25-30 minutes. Cool pan on a rack.

                                                                                        It never occurred to me to bake Laurie's Pear Tart, aka galleygirl's tart as cupcakes. I've actually never made it with pears, just with sour cherries (fresh, bottled, canned all work great).

                                                                                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                          Caitlin, have you ever tried making it with melted butter instead of oil?

                                                                                          1. re: souschef

                                                                                            Nope, but I'm sure it would work fine and taste good. I've mostly made these when requested to produce a cakeish something sans dairy and/or eggs.

                                                                                            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                              Surprisingly (or not), the Amazon chocolate cake isn't as good made with butter.

                                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                  I have a mental block about using oil in cake.

                                                                                                  1. re: souschef

                                                                                                    Me, too. I understand the appeal of it - the cake is extra soft and stays fresh longer when oil is used, but in my mind the taste is compromised when oil is used.

                                                                                                    1. re: souschef

                                                                                                      Well I know Jews use Oil if it needs to keep with being kosher dietary laws depending on the main meal.

                                                                                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                Thank you for this recipe, Caitlin, it's a lovely light moist vegan delight. My neighbors will be pleased ♥. alas, my pix won't post. I topped it with toasted sliced almonds.

                                                                                                1. re: Cynsa

                                                                                                  Glad to hear it went over well, Cynsa. Used the recipe last summer to make a plum upside-down cake that would serve an audience that included some vegans (who were very pleased). Pan lined with lightly oiled parchment, sprinkled with brown sugar, topped with a layer of sliced Satsuma plums and then the cake batter.

                                                                                          2. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                                                                            I've made this excellent eggless cake with yogurt a number of times: http://www.sailusfood.com/2010/06/15/...

                                                                                            The recipe talks about options for adding chocolate, but I've also added citrus juice and zest to the wet ingredients for added flavour. The finished product doesn't taste particularly yogurty, so you could probably add any number of different things and have it taste great.

                                                                                          3. Have bread dough based on Saturday's pizza crust as a poolish rising, CI sablé dough in the fridge (unable to leave well enough alone, I made it in the food processor and added 1/2 c of minced walnuts), and butter sofening to make a chocolate Bundt in the heritage pan. Pics forthcoming.

                                                                                            9 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                                              Pics. The swirl Bundt holds about 2-3 c less batter than a traditional large Bundt pan. Purty, ain't it?

                                                                                              I got 2 small tube/Bundt pans at Marshall's several years ago and they're very handy - make a cake to keep and one to give away. The angular cake is a lot smaller than the swirl one.
                                                                                              This recipe is really a keeper.

                                                                                              Sablé dough still in the fridge...

                                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                So, BT, are you saying you could fill a small bundt pan w/what you couldn't get into the heritage pan? Mine arrived a few days ago, and I'm dying to try it out.

                                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                  Am I some kind of a pervert for really really wanting to mound berries in the center of that swirl cake? So pretty!

                                                                                                  1. re: silvergirl

                                                                                                    No, not at all, the recipe suggests tangy whipped cream and raspberries with it. Just don't make it strawberries if it's for me, do not like chocolate with strawberry!

                                                                                                  2. re: buttertart

                                                                                                    OOOOh yes very purty. Buttertart do you ever have trouble getting cakes out of those purty pans? What is your keeper recipe; can you share? Is it fudgy, moist, rich and delicious? Hope so!

                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                      I love that swirl design. But are these pans dark nonstick pans?

                                                                                                      I have had terrible luck with those. Things burned. I actually made one dome cake that was burned on the outside and raw in the middle!

                                                                                                      I had the same experience in different ovens and trying different temps. Like reducing the temp 25 degrees.

                                                                                                      I finally gave away my dark nonstick pan collection (which was then pretty big) and just use heavy gauge aluminum pans with parchment liners.

                                                                                                      But see these neat designs and are tempted again.

                                                                                                      1. re: karykat

                                                                                                        It's actually light aluminum-colored and the nonstick is transparent.

                                                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                          Hmmmmm. Now you're really tempting me.

                                                                                                          I will check into it.

                                                                                                  3. For those coveting the WS heritage bundt pan that Caitlin, roxlet, and buttertart have all mentioned on this thread (available online only, according to WS)--WS is offering free shipping, today only. Just sayin'.

                                                                                                    7 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                      Thanks for the heads-up about free shipping, NCW. I just took advantage to buy the pan. I was planning to head to the nearby W-S to buy it, but hadn't got around to it yet. Strange that the site says it's internet only, as I have definitely seen it on the shelf at the brick-and-mortar W-S stores, just a couple of months ago.

                                                                                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                        I also saw it on the shelf at Chef Central in Westchester, which surprised me since it's supposed to be exclusive to W-S.

                                                                                                        1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                          I got mine from CHEFS website. Haven't bought anything from W-S for ages because I always find what I want for less elsewhere. Thereby appeasing my little tightwad heart.

                                                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                            That's so odd--as they claim it as an "exclusive"--but they also claim it's available online only, but apparently that's not so either.
                                                                                                            Oh well, I succumbed to the "no shipping charges" and ordered it yeserday. But I certainly wish I'd known it could be had elsewhere, possibly cheaper. (I feel the same way about W-S: much of what they carry can be found at better prices, but I am a sucker for come-ons.)

                                                                                                            1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                              I just looked it up on www.chefscatalog.com and the price is the same as at W-S. I haven't ordered anything from Chefs for years, however, for reference, it looks as if they now offer free 2-day shipping on most items, and free return shipping. I certainly wouldn't have paid $7.50 in shipping, vs. going to the local W-S store. But I also didn't realize I could buy this item all over the place.

                                                                                                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                I got mine and a couple of other things when they (Chef's) had a free shipping offer.

                                                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                  Oh, I see now that what I thought was their free shipping is actually participation in a third-party program.

                                                                                                    2. I made the CI lemon bundt cake in my heritage bundt pan. I have made a number of lemon cakes and pound cakes over the last year or so searching for the perfect one. According to my son, this is definitely the best of the bunch, and really delicious. The book states that it starts out fluffy, and becomes more pound cake-like by the second day. The only hard part was making the glaze look attractive on the swirls. Gorgeous it may not have been, but it sure was delicious!

                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                        Yum.. sounds good Roxlet. does CI stand for Cook's Illustrated?

                                                                                                        1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                          This and the chocolate Bundt which is killer are both in Cook's Illustrated "More Best Recipes" humongous tome.

                                                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                            Hmm... looks like I'll be putting another book on hold at the library!

                                                                                                      2. I ended my post-holiday baking hiatus today with a vanilla bean-pink peppercorn bundt cake, a recipe I tried purely out of curiosity. Apparently, pink peppercorns, unlike black, white, and green - which are all Piper negrum - are a relative of the rose. I don't think I'd tasted them except as part of those multicolored mixed peppercorns that include all four together in a grinder. They are peppery tasting, and also a bit fruity. The cake has a nice, moist crumb and both vanilla beans and extract, and the two teaspoons of ground pink peppercorns give it a gentle pepperiness; vanilla with a bit of je ne sais quois. The powdered sugar glaze, with vanilla and a little bit (1/4 teaspoon) of ground pink pepper is a bit more assertively peppery, but not too much so. The speckles in the photo are a finishing sprinkle.

                                                                                                        Curiosity satisfied, I don't need to repeat the exercise, but will consider the cake sans pepper if I ever have need of a nice, moist vanilla bean bundt cake.

                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                          The friends I gave much of this cake to (needing to get it out of the house, so it didn't all end up in me) were very pleased with it, and loved the background pepperiness.

                                                                                                        2. been baking a lot of cake... so much so that even though exhausted i came home yesterday and started working on a new cookie... browned butter, dried bing cherries, (homemade) nutella nuggets... it's still being refined...

                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                              thanks... and bloody time consuming... the big cakes are easy, and i wanted to redo the big play-doh label as it's off center but didn't have time. but man, the minis are about 1 1/2 - 2 inches tall, lid and all, so it's pain-staking fondanting, lidding, piping the labels, etc. but totally worth it when you see the faces of 3 year olds glow.

                                                                                                              i was just excited that the parents all had seconds, and that they even ate the fondant. the ego needs to be stroked in one way or another... ;)

                                                                                                              1. re: Emme

                                                                                                                I can appreciate the time consuming, pain staking steps, Emme. Kudos.

                                                                                                          1. My mom used to make a "tunnel of fudge" cake with the bundt. It didn't require frosting since it was full of fudge. I will have to dig that thing out and make it now!

                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                            1. Let's try this again ...

                                                                                                              Angel biscuits to go with the leftovers we were having for dinner
                                                                                                              Hot-buttered pretzels just because (and these were a huge hit ...)

                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                              1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                                                                                                I'm off to go make a bunch of pretzel dough myself! I do a class with 9 year olds twice a month (doing all kinds of things, not just food) and we're going to boil and bake pretzels tomorrow night.

                                                                                                              2. Bourbon brownies with bourbon caramel freakin' frosting. Damn, these are powerful good.

                                                                                                                1. inspired by another thread, i've got some cinnamon rolls proofing right now... added a bit of cardamom to the dough as well.

                                                                                                                  did a refining run on the Browned Butter, Bing Cherry and Nutella Nugget cookies i started.

                                                                                                                  and began another gluten-free cookie base... we'll see how they all turn out tomorrow.

                                                                                                                  tomorrow, i think a no-knead bread shall begin... i've begun adding just a bit of sorghum flour into the mix, and loving the results...

                                                                                                                  1. I made a pan of the chocolate matzo buttercrunch to send to my stepmother's niece (a dorm-dwelling college freshman) for her birthday. As she doesn't care for nuts, I decided to top it with pretzels, for that sweet/salty hit. I was looking for a small packet of pretzels so I wouldn't have the rest sitting around (I'm not much for pretzels on their own), and the only small one at the market was alphabet pretzels, which are pretty small and very cute, so I didn't break them up.

                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                      That does sound very cute (and appropriate for a student). I`ve read about using pretzels rather than nuts in some blogs.. someone made a not-pecan pie with pretzels!

                                                                                                                    2. The chocolate-caramel tart with hazelnut crust from Kate Zuckerman's"The Sweet Life" for a dinner party last night (v good), Still have to bake the sablé dough I made last weekend and MUST make a raspberry pie today or throw out a boatload of berries.

                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                        The pie's in the oven and the sablés are baked.

                                                                                                                          1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                            Any time! The piecrust is from the recipe on the Tenderflake lard box (Canadian, sent to me by a sweetie pie). Haven't tried it yet, hope it's good. My mom used that recipe.
                                                                                                                            Interestingly, the lard is slicker and not s granular as the Armour one here - it's said not to be hydrogenated, perhaps that's why.

                                                                                                                      2. I've got blueberry muffins in the oven to use up berries, and I'm planning on <a href="http://pastrystudio.blogspot.com/2012...> apple cake for Sunday supper. It's been super rainy and chilly here (SF bay) so we've been eating cozy foods and soups.

                                                                                                                        1. http://www.food52.com/recipes/15543_p...

                                                                                                                          My continuing quest for rugelach recipes, I landed on this one and oh boy! was it worth the visit. Savory, flaky and so satisfying.

                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                          1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                            That looks amazing! Orange things, sage, and walnuts is one of my favorites combos! Thanks!

                                                                                                                          2. I made some corn muffins from The Best Recipe today, and I noticed something interesting. I the past, I used the corn meal that I had on hand, which was a coarse ground. Today, I had a finer, white corn meal, and the muffins definitely domed much more. It is a very good corn muffin recipe, which ever kind of corn meal you use.

                                                                                                                            1. For some reason I wish the holidays were still upon us, because my family is on a health kick so my baking has definitely taken a backseat to their efforts. However, I have been able to sneak in a few baked goods recently. I made Chocolate Linzer cookies yesterday and a beautiful chocolate cheesecake for my birthday. Oh it was blissful!) I also made a second batch of stollen because my Aunt asked me to ship her one and I am trying to find the perfect king cake recipe to make for mardi gras and a red velvet cake recipe. For some reason the majority of men in my life like red velvet cake and I have somehow been cajoled into making one. Hopefully, I will find a recipe that I like soon because the ones that I have looked for so far have been lacking in the cocoa powder department. I prefer a cake with a bit more cocoa than just two or three teaspoons. If anyone has any suggestions, I would really appreciate it!

                                                                                                                              11 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: Redstickchef

                                                                                                                                The red velvet thing is a true conundrum! I don't want to eat that red food coloring, but it has to be replaced with something - I wonder if vodka would work. Then, flavor needs to be added to the cake....good luck!

                                                                                                                                1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                  I think vodka always works -- when you drink it!

                                                                                                                                2. re: Redstickchef

                                                                                                                                  I just wanted to follow up and say that I finally made red velvet cupcakes and they were a huge success! I used Martha Stewart's Red Velvet Chocolate Cake recipe and used Cakeman Raven's cream cheese frosting recipe. Both came out wonderfully! I highly recommend using these recipes. I had tried the epicurious red velvet cake with berries before and to me it came out a bit dry, so I will definitely be using the other one from now on.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Redstickchef

                                                                                                                                    You got me curious about the cocoa in the Martha Stewart recipe. It is twice the amount that is in my old recipe for RV cake that I got from a Southern lady back in the 70's. My recipe calls for just 2 heaping tablespoons - but I never thought of a Red Velvet cake as a chocolate cake. I always thought of it as a buttermilk cake..( And I use my old friend's traditional boiled white frosting, not the newer cream cheese frosting.)
                                                                                                                                    That must be why MS has titled hers "Red Velvet Chocolate Cake". It is a different animal. I love love love my old traditional recipe, and it is rare to find one commercially that has the same flavor. Seems they are usually just a yellow or chocolate cake colored red. But that's not the point of the cake - it's the combination of the buttermilk and the hint of cocoa, along with the vinegar, that make it so different from other cakes. Now I want to go make one!

                                                                                                                                    My sons made one once with green instead of red food coloring. It looked ...interesting. But it just wasn't as good! I am such a pathetic traditionalist about some foods. Especially Southern foods.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: jmcarthur8

                                                                                                                                      Another fine old baked good fallen victim to the chocolatization of baking these days. I like the sound of it much more as you explain it (and if memory serves, that was how it was presented a looong time ago when I was first served it), than as done nowadays, as a milder chocolate cake about which people complain of its lack of chocolateiness. Makes sense the latter way. Makes me much more likely to give it a go, with that swell boiled frosting.

                                                                                                                                      Older recipes for chocolate baked goods don't call for the 6-8 oz minimum of most recipes today, and they were damn good. You don't need a sledgehammer to drive a twopenny nail.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                        Butternut, you sound like you're ready to try bacon instead of chocolate :) Is your dislike of "chocolatization" really a dislike of "cocoa-ization"?

                                                                                                                                        You really should try my version of chocolate madeleines - chocolate melted with the butter; none of that fake cocoa stuff.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                          Travesty! I don't dislike it at all, it's just that not everything HAS to be chocolate.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                            I didn't say everything has to be chocolate. I do like orange madeleines too.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                I never kid about chocolate, and take everything said about the 5th food group very seriously :)

                                                                                                                                3. I've been attempting sourdough for the first time this last week. I've used Peter Reinhart's recipe for the starter and San Francisco Sourdough in Artisan Breads Every Day. The starter seems to be working well -- it kept bubbling up and out of the container the first 2 days I had it in the fridge. The bread turned out okay as well, although I made a few mistakes. I didn't score it deep enough (a stupid mistake -- this may have been my first real sourdough, but I've scored bread a million times) so it bulged out horribly when it was baking. Possibly the ugliest loaf of bread I've ever seen, and a bit steamed and gummy on the inside from lack of vent holes. But overall okay for a first attempt. My boyfriend likes it at least.

                                                                                                                                  Today I realised it was time to refresh my starter, which involves throwing away all but 3/4 c of it. It was still this close to bursting from its container and it seemed horrible to toss all that flour and yeasty goodness, so I'm on a bit of a sourdough frenzy today. I'm making Reinhart's pizza dough from the same book and fresh cranberry cinnamon rolls (using a dough recipe from Cooks.com and a filling based on one from Epicurious). Might try some sort of sourdough cookie as well, but I'm a bit worried I'll run out of flour if I keep it up.

                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: BananaBirkLarsen

                                                                                                                                    Sounds like you're on a roll -- a sourdough roll!

                                                                                                                                    1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                      Literally! :D

                                                                                                                                      I've also added sourdough biscuits to the mix as we're having stew for dinner -- I found a recipe that calls for a whole *cup* of starter, which should clean me out of the extra I have.

                                                                                                                                      I think next time I refresh the starter, I might just make a half recipe. I don't think we'll be able to keep up with all the bread if I have to do this every five days. There are only 2 of us!

                                                                                                                                  2. Promised to make blondies for a colleague's leaving do on Friday.. they are his favorite. Just can't decide which recipe to use..

                                                                                                                                    8 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                                      Enthusiastically recommend Bittman's blondies!

                                                                                                                                      1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                        Hmmm.. where would I find that recipe? Is this it?
                                                                                                                                        I've made it before, and was considering trying it with browned butter.
                                                                                                                                        Another recipe that I've made before and was truly wonderful was this:
                                                                                                                                        Too many recipes, not enough time!!!

                                                                                                                                        1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                                          Yup, I found it through SmittenKitchen, added an extra 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla and tried the bourbon variation (+ the extra T of flour), too. With or without the bourbon, they're great, but we roll on the boozy side of the street and loved the kicked up version.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                            It's especially useful for those times I forget to take the butter out of the fridge to soften before work.. melting it does make it much easier! I think that I made it with white chocolate and dried cranberries? It's definitely one of the contenders! Maybe with coconut and chocolate chips....

                                                                                                                                            1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                                              Mounds blondies--mmmm! Coconut and chocolate is always a winning combo.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                                                Be sure your audience likes coconut, I don't like it with chocolate myself.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                  I figure there's enough people (it's a potluck lunch) so somebody will like it!
                                                                                                                                                  Of course, I am also considering chocolate chip pretzel cookie bars...

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                                                    Well, ended up using Dorie's Chewy Chunky blondies, with white chocolate, dark chocolate, and coconut.. test pieces were pretty good..

                                                                                                                                      2. Over the past week I've made pizza dough from the master recipe in Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day and really liked the crust. I also made a couple of loaves of ciabatta using Lahey's no-knead method.

                                                                                                                                        On the dessert front, I took another stab at Lazy Mary's Lemon Tart from the Food 52 blog/book. I used Meyer lemon, but I added zest from a regular lemon, and that gave it the lemony bite I found lacking the other time I made this. I know I'll make this again and again as it is not only really good but so darned easy.


                                                                                                                                        But what's given me fits are the Bittersweet Chocolate Espresso cookies I tried. The recipe is from a local chef, Alon Shaya, but my cookies did not come out like his. His were tiny mounds, not much wider than a quarter, with a crackly surface that was smooth and shiny between the cracks, almost meringue-y. The inside was like a chewy brownie. I've seen photos of crinkle cookies that look similar, and the surface of Alice Medrich's chocolate decadence cookies look similar (but without the white from the confectioner's sugar).

                                                                                                                                        I followed the recipe as written, except that I used Ghirardelli bittersweet chips instead of Fechlin. For the first batch, the batter was too loose to form balls or roll them in sugar, even after a 30-minute rest. I tried again the next day after letting the batter sit in the fridge overnight. I was then able to form balls (but the batter was much to thick to make teaspoon-sized balls as directed) and roll them in the sugar, but they came out flat. For the next batch I made the balls and froze them and then rolled them in the sugar and baked them. They came out a little better, retaining someting of a mound-ish shape. (If the photos post, you can see the two versions.)

                                                                                                                                        But they still don't look the same: the surface is not as smooth or crackly. They 're very tasty but not quite the same texture-wise as the chef's. I had a ton of this batter/dough so I rolled what remained into several logs, and they're in the freezer.

                                                                                                                                        I wonder if any of you skilled bakers might take a look at the recipe and see what you think.

                                                                                                                                        Choc Chips, semi sweet 2 ½ cups
                                                                                                                                        Cake Flour ¾ cup
                                                                                                                                        Baking Powder 1 ½ tsp
                                                                                                                                        Salt ½ tsp
                                                                                                                                        Chocolate chips, 62% fechlin 3 cups
                                                                                                                                        Butter unsalted, Soft ½ cup
                                                                                                                                        Eggs, whole, @ room temp 6
                                                                                                                                        Sugar 2 cups
                                                                                                                                        Espresso, brewed ¼ cup
                                                                                                                                        Vanilla Extract 1 ½ tsp

                                                                                                                                        Place the 2 1/2 cups of chocolate chips in the freezer. If you do not freeze the chocolate chips, they will melt and you won’t get the chunks of chocolate in the cookie.

                                                                                                                                        Sift into bowl flour, baking powder & salt and set aside.
                                                                                                                                        Melt remaining chocolate in a bowl over a double boiler; once melted whisk in butter.

                                                                                                                                        Use mixer to whisk together eggs & sugar to ribbon stage; the mixture should be very, very thick and light pale color (approximately 6 - 8 min).

                                                                                                                                        Once eggs and sugar are ready, slowly add in the melted chocolate; scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the cake flour, baking powder and salt; scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula again. Add espresso and vanilla extract.

                                                                                                                                        Change attachment from whisk to paddle and add frozen chocolate chips.
                                                                                                                                        Mix just until combined.

                                                                                                                                        Let mixture set (approximately 20 minutes) until it is ready to scoop into balls about the size of a large teaspoon. Roll balls in powdered sugar, and place on baking sheet
                                                                                                                                        Bake 350F for 10-12 minutes.

                                                                                                                                        You can freeze the cookie dough as well.

                                                                                                                                        14 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                          You said that the batter was too thick; I think it would be lighter if you folded the chocolate into the butter/sugar mixture instead of beating it in. The same with the flour. This is just my opinion; I may well be way off.

                                                                                                                                          If you do fold them in I would beat in the expresso and vanilla before the chocolate.

                                                                                                                                          Personally I prefer melted chocolate to chunks in the cookie.

                                                                                                                                          BTW Felchlin is very much better than Ghirardelli. A lot more expensive too.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                            Since the 3 cups of chocolate chips are melted, you could use any 60-62% chocolate, chopped, and have much better choices, quality-wise, than are usually available in chips.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                              Ghirardelli Bittersweet chocolate bars have better ingredients/flavor than their chips and are cheap at Target.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                I bought a few bars the last time I was going through the SFO airport, but did not care for them.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                  Were they the large 4-oz. 60%, or the stupid, lower quality candy bar-ish ones? The 4-oz. bars are amazing for the money, but are usually found in the baking aisle of the grocery store. The candy-type items from Ghirardelli are terrible. I should have been more clear!

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                    I'm not sure (it was about 2 years ago), but I think it was the 4 oz bars.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                      I'm not fond of Ghirardelli either.
                                                                                                                                                      souschef, have you seen this? Talk about a recipe burning a hole in one's pocket (noy baking, BUT!): http://sweets.seriouseats.com/2011/03...

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                        Buttertart.. I read about that today on the Kitchn.. looks great.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                          Interesting that Blumenthal states what Medrich also does -- to get the true taste of chocolate (hot chocolate in her case), you have to use water, not cream or milk.

                                                                                                                                                          I'd like to try it, but since the comments indicate that the proportions in the original recipe are incorrect, I don't want to waste any of my expensive Felchlin. Wish I could get TJ's Pound Plus here for experimenting.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                            I'll try it with, and it's still cool enough to mail some choccy...

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                              On receipt the cheque will be in the mail. Thanks BT.

                                                                                                                                                2. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                  Agreed. Fortunately Felchlin comes in "callets", but they are too large to be used as chips, so I just quarter them.

                                                                                                                                                3. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                  And no local source anyway, as far as I can tell. But do any of you know if the quality of chocolate would afffect the surface texture? The chef's version had a crisp, satiny-y exterior, as though the confectioner's sugar had melded into the exterior, interrupted by chocolate cracks. Mine just seemed like, well, confectioner's sugar on top. I think his interior was more chewy than mine as well.

                                                                                                                                                  At any rate, once I use up this (gigantic) batch, I'll try these again using your tips. These were good, but not like that (platonic, now, I guess) chef's version. They were heavenly--and I'm not even a big chocolate person.

                                                                                                                                                  Thank you.

                                                                                                                                                4. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                                  My photography skills leave a lot to be desired, but these are the cookies--one from the refrigerated dough, one from frozen.

                                                                                                                                                5. Not really baking but I made pb cup (choc-pb) rice krispie treats.

                                                                                                                                                  Oh, and meatloaf, with tiny meatballs frozen for future soup use

                                                                                                                                                  1. Finally broke into the Biscoff that I got from an aunt in the States for Christmas.. and made Biscoff Oatmeal cookies from Two Peas in their Pod. Very simple, very good.
                                                                                                                                                    I'm going to visit family in Colorado next month, and I'm sure that I will be stocking up on more!

                                                                                                                                                    1. I made these
                                                                                                                                                      yesterday, and recommend them wholeheartedly. You almost certainly have all the ingredients, except the large size cystal sugar -- but I used regular plain ordinary table sugar, and we're delighted with these. I used regular sugar, but followed everything else exactly. They're buttery and crispy and addictive. Here's a picture of the very last one!
                                                                                                                                                      p.s. I recently read that cane sugar carmelizes better/tastier than non-cane. I did use cane sugar for these, but don't really know if it makes a difference.

                                                                                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: blue room

                                                                                                                                                        That is a really interesting recipe, thanks for sharing.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: julesrules

                                                                                                                                                          It's also good to know you used regular sugar, because that pretty large crystal sugar seems to be sold here as a decorative accent, in tiny containers for big bucks. I know my local bulk store doesn't have it either, I'll have to check the chain known for bulk baking supplies.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: julesrules

                                                                                                                                                            Probably Sugar in the Raw would do the trick nicely, too, and is easier to find right in the supermarket.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                                              I get turbinado sugar in the bulk section at the natural foods store - the crystals are larger and stay on the surface (and sparkle) nicely.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: janeh

                                                                                                                                                                Yes I like turbinado for scones, some cookies too. For this recipe though I'm not sure if it would brown TOO much, since it is already brown. Also at Christmas I wanted the white large crystal sugar for cookie decorating :) I wonder if the problem is that we perhaps don't manufacture it in Canada, so it becomes a specialty product (we do believe it or not have a cane sugar refinery in downtown Toronto).

                                                                                                                                                      2. The last week has been a continued struggle to keep up with my sourdough starter that has to be replenished (and all but 3/4 cup either used or discarded) every 5 days. So...

                                                                                                                                                        Oatmeal whole wheat sandwich bread from thefreshloaf.com was mostly a failure. I don't have a mixer, so I had to knead by hand and had a heck of a time getting it to the proper consistency. I'm not sure if I overkneaded or underkneaded, but it didn't rise as much as it was supposed to and the top broke on one side when it was baking (with both loaves). Denser than I would like, and kind of gummy, but I guess it makes okay toast.

                                                                                                                                                        Whole wheat sourdough hearth bread from a Peter Reinhart recipe turned out well, although I overbaked the first loaf and underbaked the second. If anyone has tips for judging doneness, they would be very appreciated -- I'm new to this and the thumping-the-bottom-to-see-if-it-sounds-hollow thing isn't working for me.

                                                                                                                                                        My babies, however, are my sourdough bagels (which I adapted from Reinhart's recipe for non-sourdough bagels). Aside from the one bagel that slipped off the pan and into the sink filled with dirty dishwater, they turned out perfectly. The best bagels I've had since I left New York. I'm already getting the starter ready to make another double batch tomorrow.

                                                                                                                                                        And since today is replenishing day, I'm also proofing my latest batch of starter. This time I'm only making a half-batch though. There are only 2 of us and I just don't think I can justify baking all the bread I would need to use up the full starter every 5 days.

                                                                                                                                                        8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: BananaBirkLarsen

                                                                                                                                                          My dad baked bread when I was growing up and always used the "thump the bottom" method to test for doneness. I bake all of our bread, and that method hasn't been so successful for me! What's really made the difference is the use of a thermometer - I got a thermapen last year and it's just great not to be guessing. I hesitated due to the cost, but am glad to have it - we also use it for meat and other cooking.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: janeh

                                                                                                                                                            A thermometer's a great idea! Do you take the bread's temperature when it's coming out of the oven or do you bake it with the thermometer in?

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: BananaBirkLarsen

                                                                                                                                                              The thermapen or any "insta-read" thermometer works best. You just stick it in when you think the bread is done and check the temperature.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                                                Hmm... I'll have to keep a look out for a sale. This sounds very useful.

                                                                                                                                                          2. re: BananaBirkLarsen

                                                                                                                                                            Ooh, I don't think I've ever even had a sourdough bagel--they sound delish (save for the dirty dishwater casualty). Do you have pics?

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                                              Sadly, I lost my camera and have yet to replace it.

                                                                                                                                                            2. re: BananaBirkLarsen

                                                                                                                                                              ^^There are only 2 of us and I just don't think I can justify baking all the bread I would need to use up the full starter every 5 days.^^
                                                                                                                                                              This is where I wish I lived in a neighborhood with other bakers so we could share and bake up a storm! Bakers must also be walkers and/or bikers so we stay on the good foot. :) Can you imagine the progressive dinners?

                                                                                                                                                              ETA: So, sourdough starter, does it become like Amish friendship bread where you hafta "feed" it all the time, then max out on distributing starter to other friends? I always did want to try to make sourdough as I love it, but seems it might be a wasteful endeavor as I do not live in a neighborhood of CHs. :)

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                                                Oh, yes, it would be wonderful to live a short (or even a moderate) walk away from other bakers. My downstairs neighbour is into food, although she isn't a baker, so I often pass my extras off to her, which is nice.

                                                                                                                                                                I made my starter using Peter Reinhart's recipe. He refers to it as "refreshing" as opposed to feeding. Every 5 days you take 3/4 cup of starter, add flour and water and proof it for 4-8 hours at room temperature. Relatively easy, but since it makes way more than 3/4 cup of starter, I've been having to bake a ton in order to use up the remainder before the next refresh time.

                                                                                                                                                            3. Made some everything bagels with a bit each of whole wheat and rye. Oh, my.

                                                                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                Ooh, this sounds delicious! I haven't started experimenting with flours or flavours yet. What do you do to make yours "everything"?

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: BananaBirkLarsen

                                                                                                                                                                  Poppy seeds, sesame seeds, kosher salt, and dried onion flakes. My best idea in a long time is to put the toppings on the BOTTOM as well.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                    Ah, you have saved a lot of relationships with that one!

                                                                                                                                                              2. Cook's Illustrated's drop biscuits--LOVE this recipe. Just a half batch so I could enjoy the lovely strawberries and blueberries my mom brought to me. Touch of almond extract in the whipped cream and breakfast was served!

                                                                                                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                                                  How beautiful, kattyeyes! How does one rate an invitation, lol!

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                    Thank you, HillJ! Friends in good chow like you are always welcome. :)

                                                                                                                                                                    1. This cake is cooling now: baking on demand: Butter Cake for today's Bakers Dozen meeting "Mirror-Mirror"
                                                                                                                                                                      We’ll all bake and bring the same ONE RECIPE. Will they be mirror images of each other…or will they have differences that are reflections of each individual baker? The challenge is to see if we can bake cakes that mirror each other. The recipe, Our Favorite Butter Cake, is from The Bakers Dozen Cookbook and is halved with a longer baking time. Each cake will list the selected brand of flour, sugar, butter for ingredients.
                                                                                                                                                                      Our Favorite Butter Cake
                                                                                                                                                                      1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
                                                                                                                                                                      1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
                                                                                                                                                                      1/8 tsp. salt
                                                                                                                                                                      4 ounces unsalted butter at room temperature
                                                                                                                                                                      1 cup sugar
                                                                                                                                                                      2 large eggs, lightly beaten at room temperature
                                                                                                                                                                      1/2 cup whole milk
                                                                                                                                                                      1/2 tsp. vanilla
                                                                                                                                                                      Position rack in lower third of oven. Preheat to 350°F
                                                                                                                                                                      Line bottom of 8 x 4 inch loaf pan with parchment paper and grease the sides.
                                                                                                                                                                      Sift flour, salt, and baking powder together and set aside.
                                                                                                                                                                      Beat butter in mixing bowl on medium speed until light in color about 45 seconds - add 1 cup sugar in a steady stream, scrape down bowl and continue to beat for 4 to 5 minutes, scraping down the sides, until lighter in color and texture.
                                                                                                                                                                      Pour in eggs, by the tablespoon gradually and beat to ivory color for 3 to 4 minutes.
                                                                                                                                                                      Reduce speed on mixed to low: add flour in 3 additions, alternating with milk and vanilla in 2 additions. Beat after each addition until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl.
                                                                                                                                                                      Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Bake about 50 minutes until top springs back and toothpick inserted in center crack is dry or crumbled. Transfer to cooling rack for 10 minutes.
                                                                                                                                                                      Unmold, remove paper and continue cooling on rack.

                                                                                                                                                                      Baking this Citrus Scented Polenta cake next: http://www.domenicacooks.com/2012/01/...
                                                                                                                                                                      Then, working myself into a frenzy to bake genoise for souschef's chestnut cake recipe

                                                                                                                                                                      18 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Cynsa

                                                                                                                                                                        I love this idea--whattacool experiment! Identifying the brand and strength of the vanilla is key, too. For example, I always use Penzey's double-strength vanilla and use the full amount the recipe calls for.

                                                                                                                                                                        Another consideration: baking powder. For sweets, I always use Italian baking powder with vanilla--"Lievito Pane Degli Angeli" vaniglinato - per dolce. Willing to bet every cake is a little different. Have fun!

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                                                          as predicted, each cake was different in appearance (some were flat-topped, some domed with a center crack), crumb (dense, fluffy, light to rich yellow), taste, texture, crust, sweetness - all were delicious:
                                                                                                                                                                          1. flours are all-purpose unbleached or bleached/organic or regular: King Arthur, Gold Medal, Whole Foods bulk, Safeway, Giutos http://giustos.com/
                                                                                                                                                                          2. sugars varied: C&H cane sugar or evaporated cane syrup
                                                                                                                                                                          3. butters: Plugra, First Street unsalted, Safeway unsalted, McCelland's http://mcclellandsdairy.com/
                                                                                                                                                                          4. vanilla extract: Madagascar Vanilla, Nielsen-Massey, a homemade vanilla extract, Penzy's, vanilla paste, too many to note here
                                                                                                                                                                          5. baking powder: Double-Acting: Rumford, Clabber Girl
                                                                                                                                                                          6. discussion of sifting vs. whisking dry ingredients
                                                                                                                                                                          7. discussion of flour: to dip/scoop & level or spoon & level
                                                                                                                                                                          8. timing: baked yesterday or this morning before meeting
                                                                                                                                                                          9. discussion of baking loaf pans of glass, metal, dark or light metal, thickness, non-stick coating, design,foil
                                                                                                                                                                          10. method: electric mixer with paddle or whisk, stand or hand-held
                                                                                                                                                                          - only 3 of the 70 cakes were baked in convection ovens
                                                                                                                                                                          - from 10 am to 1:30 pm: we tasted cakes, group discussion —then, lunch!
                                                                                                                                                                          interesting comment: much depends also on the mood of the baker - we influence our own results, it's not only ingredients and technique

                                                                                                                                                                          now I am curious about Italian baking powder with vanilla--"Lievito Pane Degli Angeli" vaniglinato - per dolce. where do you source this?

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Cynsa

                                                                                                                                                                            VERY cool! And SEVENTY cakes--WOW!!! I wish I could be in on such a group! Interesting indeed about the mood of the baker. I can appreciate that.

                                                                                                                                                                            Now, about the Italian baking powder with vanilla--when my mom returned from a trip to Italy, she brought it back, then convinced our local Italian market to stock it. I see you're in SF--bet one of your local Italian markets might stock the same, or could order for you. More info here:


                                                                                                                                                                            Barring that, I found it on Amazon:

                                                                                                                                                                            What I wouldn't do for a piece of cake right now...

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Cynsa

                                                                                                                                                                              Cynsa, item 7: did you guys consider weighing as well ?

                                                                                                                                                                              Wish I were part of that group, but instead of foggy SFO I'm in snowy YOW.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                                                yes, but since we were following ONE RECIPE for all - we opted for the volume method - evidently different flours have differing weights for the same volume. so many variables to consider... even the humidity of the day's weather. Bakers are so-o-o exacting/precise/detailed.
                                                                                                                                                                                Discussion also included how-to fill loaf pan with cake batter - drop on floor to release air/pros and cons, and stirring batter in loaf pan with handle end of wooden spoon with a quick two-turns results in flat top-no dome cake.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Cynsa

                                                                                                                                                                                I am very interested to know whether, among the cakes you tasted, you had a favorite, and if you did, what was the flour/butter variable.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Cynsa

                                                                                                                                                                              Hey Cynsa, glad to see that you are back to baking again. The recipe of which you speak is (I hope) the Chocolate Chestnut Cake. You will not, I guarantee you, regret the large amount of time you spend on the cake once that first piece touches your tongue. Just ensure that it is served at room temperature.

                                                                                                                                                                              BTW I find that genoise turns out best if it is beaten by hand over hot water.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                                                I won't tell you how many times I have started to bake the chocolate chestnut cake recipe with good intentions and was waylaid by life's distractions. I'll get there yet.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                                                  Question for you souschef -- can you taste the chestnut in the chestnut chocolate cake? I love chestnuts (and love chocolate) but it seems like the chocolate would mask the chocolate.

                                                                                                                                                                                  What do you think?

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: karykat

                                                                                                                                                                                    Think of the combination of chocolate and chestnuts as a new flavour. I can taste in it my mind (I have made it many times as it's my wife's favourite cake), and don't think that the chocolate masks the flavour of the chestnuts. It is very definitely not just chocolate.

                                                                                                                                                                                    I'm waiting to hear Cynsa's opinion of the cake.

                                                                                                                                                                                    One of these days I'm hoping to make that cake and decorate it with marrons glacés that I have made. Should be a great combination.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                                                        Interesting. I may have to try that.

                                                                                                                                                                                        And you've made your own marrons glaces? I know that's complicated. Wow.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: karykat

                                                                                                                                                                                          Here's the link to the thread I started on making marrons glacés:


                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                                                            Amazing. Almost (but not quite) as much attention and effort as for the caneles.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Cynsa

                                                                                                                                                                                    Cynsa sounds like you have a fun baking group. Curious, what other themes or challenges have you guys done?

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Island

                                                                                                                                                                                      always of interest: annual field trips & tours to taste stone fruits in a local orchard and fruit at local strawberry farm/research facility; tasted vanilla extracts; tasted local honeys; cheese-tastings; discussed grains and flours, allergy-free baking, types of Indian breads/naan, puris, parathas; 'small cake' decorating class - my first attempt with fondant; presentations or discussions with Rose Levy Beranbaum, Shirley Corriher, Harold McGee, San Francisco Baking Institute, photographers & food stylists, cookbook writing & editing, baking with chocolate - demo by Guittard Chocolates; wholesale and retail baking discussions; we've had a 'cupcakes' panel discussion with local retail cupcake bakers. whew! can't remember it all.

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Cynsa

                                                                                                                                                                                      My friend went to that with her employer. I'm sure I'll hear about it on Sat, but she was really excited/intimidated when I talked to her about the cake yesterday!

                                                                                                                                                                                    3. I made the oatmeal cookies from Medrich's Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy. It's made with melted butter (v. easily mixed up by hand), so I went ahead and browned the butter. She calls for walnuts and raisins, but I used some things I had hanging around from the holidays: half the can of Planter's roasted nuts someone brought over (mostly peanuts and almonds, with a few pistachios and a random hazelnut and pecan) and half a bag of Guittard 63% bittersweet chocolate chips. The recipe is in the Chewy chapter, and she describes them as having crisp edges and chewy centers, but mine are crisp throughout, for whatever reason. No matter; they still taste very good, and I imagine they'll go over well at the meeting they're headed to tonight.

                                                                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                        Do you think they were crispy instead of chewy because you browned the butter? I'm trying to think of other recipes I've made with browned butter--seems they call for additional butter when you're browning...do you recall the same? I'm sure you won't bring any back from your meeting, regardless! :)

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                                                                          I have been assuming that it may have been the browned butter that affected the texture, because that was really the only thing I changed other than the inclusions (I'm an inveterate recipe tweaker, but didn't do s otherwise this time). I followed her instructions for mixing, chilling, treatment of baking sheets. I baked in a convection oven, but I haven't found that makes a big difference, other than sometimes in the timing. I didn't increase the amount of butter, but I also didn't strain it, and I think that's why the increase is indicated (because you decrease the volume when you strain out the solids). I'm not sure, but indeed, the tin came back empty and someone requested the recipe, so it was hardly an issue.

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                          Browned butter in crispy cookies - in my book, that's a win-win!