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

Hi all, starting this (the second anniversary edition!) a wee bit early because I have much less access to the internet in the mornings lately...Have been baking a bit less too (after a burst that left us with far more baked goods than two people can get themselves around), but intend to get going again this weekend. So...what are you baking these days?

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  1. I am baking, for the first time, the almond cake that everyone raved about here from the ENYT cookbook. Wish me luck.

    3 Replies
      1. re: buttertart

        How long do you blend in your food processor. I just looked at the original in the NY Times and it said to mix 8minutes in stand mixer.

      2. re: angelsmom

        Sounds like something tasty! I'll have to check out this recipe.

        Is this the one?

      3. I haven't baked anything since Christmas but I'm trying to decide on something delicious for the Super Bowl (it need not be football or NY/NE themed, just good eats!). Inspire me, Chowhounds!

        1. Right this minute, a Lazy Scone (saves time to do it in a pie pan and cut in wedges). 1 1/4 cups flour, 1 1/4 cups oats, 1 1/2 tsps baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/3 cup brown sugar all in a big bowl. In a big cup: 1/4 cup oil, 1 egg, 1/2 cup milk, 1-2 tsp maple extract. Mix in with 2 tablespoons soft butter and some golden raisins and chopped walnuts (or dates or whatever you like). Bake in pie pan @ 350 for about 25 minutes. Beloved niece is now on plane en route here. Will have warm scone and coffee ready for her.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Querencia

            Love lazy recipes with little clean-up. Your last sentence made me smile, very sweet. :)

          2. I make the crumb cake recipe from Carole Walters Great Coffeecake recipes, and it was super simple (1 bowl), and super good. It is the perfect breakfast for my son who doesn't like to eat in the morning.

            1. Having to do some vegan baking and experimenting. Not so much enjoying it. Man eggs are useful. That said, I'm mostly pleased with a chocolate cupcake with a cocoa PB frosting, faux-reos, speculaas, and carrot cake. Planning on a Amartetto Blueberry Crumble tomorrow, and hopefully another couple of plated desserts and possibly ice cream, upon which I must and will decide tonight.

              Have a cake contest coming up in March, and got to do a test run of "woodgrain fondant." i was quite pleased with the results.

              1. Since Sunday 2/5 is World Nutella Day (no, really! http://www.nutelladay.com/ ), I'm making Pierre Herme's Nutella Tart http://ilforno.typepad.com/il_forno/2... . I made it once before, and knowing now how good it is, it will be all I can do to keep myself from doing a face-plant into it as soon as it's halfway cooled.

                7 Replies
                1. re: MsMaryMc

                  You hadda go and post about that, dincha? Sounds awfully good.

                    1. re: MsMaryMc

                      I'm making minis of this tart right now - cannot WAIT to taste the final product!!!!!!!! Also making lemon bars from Joy of Cooking and a couple of loaves of no-knead bread. Carb overload!

                        1. re: MsMaryMc

                          I just did quality control on them - they are DELICIOUS! And adorable (I hope my pic posts)! However, when I make them again I will make a couple of changes. There's not enough contrast between the chocolate filling and the Nutella, so I will use a darker chocolate and/or reduce the added sugar (I used 70% but I would go as dark as 85%). Also, there's not enough Nutella for my taste, so I will probably double the Nutella (although this might actually be my fault, since I made minis I didn't actually measure the 2/3c. called for, I just put a heaping tablespoon in the bottom of each tart). Mine are topped with salted pecans, which is a change I would keep - the saltiness goes perfectly. The recipe made the perfect amount for 6 mini tarts (as did Dorie Greenspan's recipe for Pate Sablee, which I used for the crust).

                          1. re: biondanonima

                            These look heavenly, biondanomima!

                      1. The other day I made peppermint patty brownies, by mixing up my favorite chewy + fudgy brownie recipe and tossing one cup of chopped up peppermint patties into the batter. The peppermint infused every bite, not just the parts containing the candy. Tasters raved, even those who don't identify as minty dessert people!

                        A few weeks back, I had tried junior mint brownies, using Dave Lebovitz's recipe, here:


                        Dave's brownies burned a bit along the edges whereas my old favorite fudgy brownie recipe did not do that. I do agree with his idea to store these in the fridge, as chilling certainly enhances the mintyliciousness.

                        A few other recent successes, all from Alice Medrich's Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy:

                        *mini sticky buns with pecans (see photo
                        )*caramel cheesecake bars
                        *gooey turtle bars

                        I made two different kinds of homemade caramel sauce -- for the cheesecake bars I did a salted caramel sauce with the candy thermometer, and then the turtles call for a caramel of sweetened condensed milk.

                        I can't select a favorite from the three above, but each was just *exquisite* I can't wait to try more of her recipes!

                        8 Replies
                        1. re: peppermint_sky

                          Peppermint Sky, I have a bag of york peppermint patties I wanted to use up.. I was considering Dorie Greenspan's Brrr-ownies,, but now I'm curious! What is your favorite chewy and fudgy brownie recipe, and how many peppermint patties did you use?

                          1. re: rstuart

                            I don't know which recipe peppermint_sky made, but I've made the one from Everyday Food (available on marthastewart.com, I believe), and it was wonderful. My main hint is to make sure that your oven tempature is not over the recommended temperature. I know someone who had the problem of the patties dissolving into the brownies, until she realized her oven was running hot.

                            1. re: roxlet

                              I've been meaning to make that recipe, Roxlet. Glad to have a positive review for it!

                              1. re: roxlet

                                Is this the one you made, roxlet?


                                As Martha suggests in this recipe, I also stacked layers of batter - peppermint patties - batter in Dave L's mint brownies (whereas last time I distributed the candy throughout all of the batter). Warning -- I would definitely leave the very edges of the pan candy-free as Martha suggests, as my 1st batch scorched along the edges when I didn't leave that "narrow border" without the candy!

                                In Martha's recipe, the cooking time of 45 to 55 minutes at 350 seems excessive to me. Did you cook yours for that long, roxlet?

                                1. re: peppermint_sky

                                  Yes, I believe that's the one I made. I think I first saw it in one of the Everyday Food TV shows, and the patties were described as being "shingled.". Truthfully, I don't remember how long I cooked it for since it's a while since I made these. I cut themin quite small pieces, finding them quite rich.

                              2. re: rstuart


                                I used the brownie recipe from the Original Moosewood cookbook (link below).

                                At the very end, after everything else was mixed into the batter, I added exactly one cup chopped peppermint patties. Coincidentally, I had also looked at Dorie's recipe and that's where I came up with the amount of peppermint patties (although my recipe is 9 x 13 and hers is 8 x 8 with the cup of candy). A cup was a good amount for 9 x 13 because I didn't want the peppermint to overwhelm the rest of the flavors. If you make Dorie's recipe or another 8 x 8 recipe, I would decrease the amount of candy to less than a cup.

                                Here's the Moosewood recipe. I used the 3/4 cup flour for fudgier brownies.


                                1. re: peppermint_sky

                                  Thanks to both roxlet and peppermint sky.. I will report back when I try to make mine!

                                  1. re: rstuart

                                    You're welcome! Looking forward to the report!

                            2. Pretzel buns for sloppy joes tonight. Wishing I had made a double batch.

                              (apologies for the poor photo-cell phone picture)

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: maplesugar

                                Where's that recipe from, maplesugar?

                                1. re: maplesugar

                                  Those are neat! What are they like inside?

                                  1. re: blue room

                                    They're kind of laquered (?? best I can describe sorry) outside--due in part to the baking soda bath and the quick brush with egg yolk and the inside is like a soft pretzel but (obviously) thicker. The recipe is from a tried and true food blog I've followed for awhile now: http://dinnerwithjulie.com/2009/05/11...

                                    If you make these don't make the mistake I did and form the rolls and let them rest one on top of the other (they'll stick like glue and if you're me you'll be re-weighing and rolling them while the water and baking soda is busy boiling and spitting all over the stove top). Ok weighing them was a little OCD but it meant each was roughly the same size (about a baseball--I got 12 instead of 10) Form the rolls and rest them on a cutting board/counter, putting the damp tea towel you used for the rise to cover. Oh, and greased cookie sheets are probably better than parchment since some of the baking soda mixture seemed to stay pooled under the rolls instead of baking off like it would have otherwise.

                                    I'm planning to make soft pretzels with the next batch :)

                                    1. re: maplesugar

                                      Thanks, maplesugar-- I'm intrigued by these!

                                2. Had a chocolate craving, but relatively empty cupboards, so I went for an altered version of Alice Medrich's Bittersweet Decadence Cookies.

                                  The big problem was that I was almost out of sugar, had less than half the amount of chocolate called for and had no nuts at all. So I halved the recipe and subbed powdered sugar for regular. Then I used chopped crystallized ginger and cocoa nibs in place of the nuts and chocolate chunks. And then I realised that I was also out of baking powder, so I tossed in some baking soda and cream of tartar.

                                  They came out surprisingly well, although I really wish I had nuts and the ginger (which was homemade and sitting in the cupboard for months) was a touch stringy. The ginger taste is nice, though, and I think I would include it again if it were fresher and less stringy.

                                  1. Well, I made a Duncan Hines cake--French Vanilla--because two CH evil women/devils-on-my-shoulder encouraged me to go buy more one night last year (ahem, buttertart and mamachef). So, as is the rule in my family, Duncan Hines in the box is perfectly acceptable, but NEVER canned frosting. So I will whip up some almond frosting later and sprinkle with rainbow nonpareils because I JUST FEEL LIKE HAVING CAKE FESTOONED WITH PRETTY COLORS. :) And I will strongly consider Cynsa's baking group cake for my next butter cake endeavor.

                                    ETA, this one's for you both:

                                    4 Replies
                                      1. re: buttertart

                                        Enjoy your breakfast! :) Happy Friday!

                                        1. re: kattyeyes

                                          Aw, you're so sweet. Just saw this - now I know what's for dessert tonight!

                                          1. re: kattyeyes

                                            oh, I want that. :^) just give me cake and I'll be happy. cake with sprinkles - even better!

                                      2. Helped dear daughter make ice cream cone cupcakes tonight from MS's Cupcakes book. Pics tomorrow once they've been frosted. :)

                                        8 Replies
                                        1. re: maplesugar

                                          There used to be ice cream cone candies when I was a kid - these are fun!

                                          1. re: buttertart

                                            I remember ice cream cone candies! We baked the cupcakes last night after supper and I made Mom Mom's Buttercream http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/388523 while she was at school today so she could frost them as soon as she came home. She was so excited and so proud! I made the chocolate version (pictured here) with some of the icing by adding 1 tsp. dark cocoa powder to 1/2c. prepared icing. Delicious!

                                            The results:

                                            1. re: maplesugar

                                              Sweetest photo on this whole thread--LOVE those kiddos with their cupcake cones! What fun! *<:)

                                              1. re: kattyeyes

                                                Adorable. I thought you might, maplesugar, it would seem we have a national origin in common!

                                              2. re: maplesugar

                                                What a great pictures! I loved baking with my mother when I was a child.. that's where I got my love of baking. And I always got to lick the beaters ;)

                                                1. re: rstuart

                                                  Yes, but my mom--both THEN and NOW--never leaves as much frosting/batter/dough on the beaters as *I* do for licking purposes. I always feel gypped. HA HA!

                                                  1. re: kattyeyes

                                                    One of my favorite things about being an adult.. never have to fight over the beaters!

                                            2. Yesterday I made mocha brownies from the Pioneer Woman's cookbook. Homemade brownies with a thick layer of mocha buttercream on top. I'm telling you, mocha buttercream is a revelation. I ate it until I was sick :)

                                              I did half the frosting recipe, and it was still plenty (even after my snacking). I made them in an 8x8 pan, which is what she calls for in the cookbook. Not mentioned here.


                                              2 Replies
                                              1. Last week I baked some biscotti with tonka bean, almond, and white chocolate. I think it turned out rather well since they only lasted about two days.

                                                1. Out of the blue, my son requested that i make him a pumpkin pie. HS and sports are so tough, the poor kid is exhausted, so I decided to surprise him when he gets home from school. I now have a pumpkin pie in the oven. Who said it's just for Thanksgiving? Since all I had was a large can of pumpkin, I decided to make some pumpkin muffins to freeze for breakfasts. I used Dorrie's recipe from Baking from My Home to Yours, but I omitted the raisins and the pumpkin seeds since I had neither. They're lovely looking with nice, high tops.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                    I love pumpkin baked goods all year round! Hope that he appreciated the surprise..

                                                    1. re: rstuart

                                                      He did, and everyone knows that pumpkin pie is the real breakfast of champions!

                                                  2. This morning I baked a loaf of Banana Bread with walnuts and tomorrow I am making the most amazing Carrot Cake with Whipped Cream frosting, this is for a Super Bowl party. I have made it several times before and it is incredible.

                                                    1. Having just gotten the new edition of Carol Field with its tantalizing photos (have just leafed through it, but I'm glad I indulged), it's Italian baking weekend chez nous. Or in la casa nostra, I suppose?

                                                      4 Replies
                                                        1. re: roxlet

                                                          Pane di Como. The first one in the book. Pistachio Amanda almond cake (in 2 small bundts, one for us and one to give to my friend at work). And the bowned butter cookies that mysteiously dosappeared and somebody's looking hangdog about.

                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                            Are these all from Italian Baker?

                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                              This cake sounds delicious, I can't find it in the original.

                                                        2. Our kitchen remodel was finished yesterday! Phase One, that is--but at least I have a fully functioning kitchen again! I've never been so happy at the thought of not going out for dinner.

                                                          Our oven broke a few days before Christmas, which precipitated the whole kitchen reno, so my husband didn't get to have his traditional Christmas coffee cake. I promised to make that the inagural thing baked in our oven, and made it last night. Made bagels this morning. I love my new kitchen, and I LOOOVE my new appliances! Gas cooktop! Double ovens! Oh, the things I'll be able to make now!

                                                          I'm doing a photo shoot in a week or two with a baby shower theme of "Blush." I know I want to try making Sao Bao (Chinese steamed buns that look like blushing peaches), but I haven't come up with any other clever ideas for the dessert table. Any of you brilliant bakers have thoughts or recommendations?

                                                          1. I noticed recently that my market started stocking hazelnut meal in the refrigerator case next to the almond meal. I thought it would be fun to play with, and used some for the first time today. I baked hazelnut squares, taking as inspiration poster krisishere's almond squares but riffing on the ingredients.

                                                            Here are her ingredients, and what I used.

                                                            2 eggs: same
                                                            1 cup sugar: a touch over 3/4 cup sugar
                                                            1/2 cup vegetable oil: 4 T. browned butter + 4 T. roasted hazelnut oil
                                                            2 tsp. almond extract: 2 T. Frangelico + dash vanilla
                                                            1 cup flour: 1/2 cup flour + heaping 1/2 cup hazelnut meal
                                                            1/2 tsp. baking powder: same
                                                            pinch salt: same

                                                            Whisked it all together in the order given, poured it into an 8x8-in. metal baking pan lined with a parchment sling and sprayed with baking spray, and baked at 350F for about 25 minutes, until a toothpick came out clean. After they cooled I melted a bit of bittersweet chocolate and created a Jackson Pollack homage over the top, then set it aside until it set. Cut in 24 little squares.

                                                            My goodness, but these things are OUT OF SIGHT. Rich, with a tender but chewy texture, and just amazing flavor, lots of depth. I think I should get most of them out of the house for my own sake. This has gone into the permanent file.

                                                            12 Replies
                                                            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                              YEAHHHHHHHHHHHH! They sound OUTTA SIGHT for sure! Way to change it up, Caitlin! Roasted hazelnut oil, eh? Veddy intedesting. P.S. Isn't doing the Pollack thing fun? :)

                                                              1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                This is the first time I've baked with the hazelnut oil, mostly I use it on vegetables or in a vinaigrette (it's very nice with sherry vinegar). This is the brand I have: http://www.latourangelle.com/index.php

                                                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                  I had bought mine for vinaigrette, too. I can't wait to try to bake with it...and I'll try it on vegetables, too, though the big draw for me is something SWEET. :)

                                                                  1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                    i love to use Hazelnut Oil in Carrot Cake with a Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting :)

                                                                    also not bad in cookies...

                                                                    good stuff tis.

                                                              2. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                OK, major deliciousness going on here!

                                                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                  Holy cow, Caitlin! Sound terrif. They're also v good with walnuts and browned butter - hadn't thought of the nut oil...

                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                    Oh, Caitlin! thank you for sharing! I've got some almond meal I've been wanting to use up, and you've inspired me. (I'll bet the hazelnuts have a richer taste, but you know how it goes when you're using up ingredients. I'll have to try hazelnuts next time).


                                                                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                      Caitlin, how do you roast hazelnut oil ?

                                                                      1. re: souschef

                                                                        Not hazelnut oil, roasted; oil pressed from roasted hazelnuts.

                                                                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                          Caitlin, that was a gotcha. I was wondering if you would figure out that I was just being a smartass.

                                                                    2. I am crazy obsessed with this thing one of our local bakeries makes that I have nicknamed "crack bombs". It's a baseball-ish sized ball of brioche filled with pastry cream and rolled in sugar, and I have not been able to stop thinking about them since I ate my first one a couple of months ago.
                                                                      I recreated them at home once already with great success and am working a brioche dough right now for another batch for Sunday brunch. They're so simple and so delicious, and a perfect backup plan for when I don't have time to do croissants or danish.

                                                                      8 Replies
                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                            Buttertart , could you please go up to the post about the ENYT almond cake? I had a question.It is at the beginning of this thread.

                                                                            1. re: angelsmom

                                                                              Sorry, have been offline. You can do it in the food processor or stand mixer. I think Hesser suggests the fp because she doesn't have a stand mixer.

                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                I did it in the FP, but I will do in stand mixer next time. Mine did not rise in the center at all, let alone rise and fall as the recipes states.

                                                                        1. re: splatgirl

                                                                          That sounds so good, do you have a recipe.

                                                                          1. re: splatgirl

                                                                            How did I miss this post before? That sounds wonderful. Do you bake the brioches with the pastry cream in it, or do you inject it in after?

                                                                            Definitely have to make this, but skipping the rolled in sugar part as I don't like the crunch of sugar.

                                                                          2. Brunch this morning, so I made two quiches: bacon and cambazola and broccoli and cheddar (with a few other ends of cheeses thrown in)

                                                                            And then cheddar cornbread to go with chili for the game tonight.

                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                            1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                                                              Ooh, bacon and Cambozola! NICE! I love Cambozola (and bacon, too, for that matter)! I love cheddar cornbread, too.

                                                                              I'm trying out a Buffalo roasted cauliflower strata with gorgonzola today--inspired by the Serious Eats cauli recipe, combined with my usual strata. The bread is soaking in the fridge as I type. More later if it's shareworthy! I hope so! Fingers crossed.

                                                                              1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                Here's the main dish and a cute mini of the strata. It really was delicious--light and fluffy with a crispy top and just a hint of heat. I usually always throw some form of meat in when I make these; this was the first time I omitted meat altogether and we didn't miss it at all!

                                                                            2. Just made another batch of oatmeal biscoff cookies, and snickerdoodle blondies with cinnamon chips (very, very good!)...
                                                                              I also made "tropical mango" muffins (from the Dairy Farmers of Canada's annual milk calendar). Now I have to decide if I have enough time before Downton Abbey to put make those peppermint brownies I got advice on...

                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                              1. re: rstuart

                                                                                How are the tropical mango muffins? Excited to hear about the peppermint brownies of course, too!

                                                                                1. re: peppermint_sky

                                                                                  The muffins are quite good; I've been making them for a few years. They're fairly healthy as well.. here is the recipe
                                                                                  I ended up using Dorie Greenspan's brrr-ownie recipe and... I just wasn't impressed :( I truly love brownies, and just didn't care for these ones. I will have to try the Martha Stewart one...

                                                                                  1. re: rstuart

                                                                                    That was what happened to me with the Dave Lebovitz chocolate mint brownie recipe (link below). At this point, given our experiences, it seems best to go with a tried-and-true brownie, then just add in the peppermint patties!

                                                                                    Can I ask why you weren't impressed by Dorie's recipe? Did you get that scorched-edge thing or just a slightly odd flavor or texture?

                                                                                    Dave's recipe is actually an adaptation of Maida Heatter's chocolate mint brownies from her Brand-New Book of Great Cookies. He made his own peppermint candies, apparently. Ummm, I did not.


                                                                                    1. re: rstuart

                                                                                      Did you try your mint brownies chilled, rstuart? They may also improve in a day or so. That happened to me with the Dave L recipe. I happened to be serving them to a crowd the day I made them, though... while I was not thrilled to be setting out something that I personally didn't find extraordinary, I did get publicly praised for them! So that was interesting... LOL.

                                                                                      I served the 2nd version (Moosewood recipe + peppermint patties strewn throughout the batter, not in a single layer) to the same group, and I believe they preferred the 2nd based on the number of people who said Yummmm to me, with some adding "I''m totally not a mint person but these are great..."

                                                                                      1. re: peppermint_sky

                                                                                        I haven't yet Peppermint Sky...I put the rest in the freezer for an event on Friday. I would have tried the Moosewood one, but I didn't have enough unsweetened chocolate on hand! I found the brownies a bit dry.. I took them out at the minimum time, but maybe I should have done them 5 minutes earlier? It's hard to know. My favorite brownie recipe is the Nigella one from the Domestic Goddess, although I have dozens of others to try!!
                                                                                        I will probably try the MS or yours at some point in the future.
                                                                                        I'll let you know what my colleagues think!

                                                                                2. Yesterday made Lemon Custard Cakes -- the variety that separates into a cake layer on top and a custard on the bottom. Next time, I might make Pommelo or Grapefruit, but will cut the juice with some lemon to maintain the acidity.

                                                                                  Also, made some Gruyere and Pecorino Romano individual souffles. i included a pinch of smoked paprika and a pinch of nutmeg. i fear i was a bit light-handed on both counts. next time, i'd up the smoked paprika and forgo the nutmeg in favor of dry mustard powder.

                                                                                  Lastly, for the game today, i did a weird take on combining strata, dip, and cupcakes... I layered crusty bread in small pieces, then Bonnie's Buffalo Chicken dip, then bread, then dip... baked a bit, sprinkled with cheese, and baked more. in sturdy cupcake liners in aluminum liners... all 36 of them are gone.

                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: Emme

                                                                                    My cheese soufflé recipe uses dry mustard powder, but I always seem to be out of it, and always forget to buy some, so I use regular mustard. What kind of difference do you think dry powder would make (since you mentioned it)? I've never used nutmeg, but think it would be good.

                                                                                    Speaking of mustard I was the unfortunate recipient of a chicken salad sandwich made with honey mustard. Thought it was disgustingly sweet.

                                                                                    1. re: souschef

                                                                                      i feel like the difference between using powder and regular is sort of ineffable... but i'm going to try to eff it. to me, the powder has more of a zing, undiluted by mustard ingredients :) i believe the substitution suggestions are along the lines of 1 tsp dry for 1 tbsp wet. and also a reduction in liquid when subbing in dry for wet. i'm not sure in the small amount you use the wet that it makes all the difference, but if let's say you were subbing out 1 tsp of dry, and using 1 tbsp of wet without reducing the liquid, i'm not sure if that would significantly affect texture... of course if you're kind of substituting a commensurate amount, then you're not getting the full zing of the powder... oh eff it. i think i failed.

                                                                                      i tend to always keep dry mustard around... use it in so many things for just a bit of extra zing that makes people wonder what that is.

                                                                                  2. I made another batch of gooey caramel turtle bars today!~ Yummmm. These cookies are just extraordinary -- the buttery shortbread crust, homemade vanilla caramel dreamy/creaminess, then dark chocolate and toasted pecans -- each is marvelous on its own, and the fusion of all of the layers together is fantastic! Mmmmmm. Another winner from Alice Medrich's Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy.
                                                                                    Putting these together definitely calls for focus and attention/enthusiasm for multiple steps including 15 minutes of constant stirring (and a candy thermometer). They're a lot of fun to make though, one of my more exciting baking projects recently! First I toasted the pecans while I put the shortbread together. Then, as the shortbread crust baked, I prepared the caramel filling, which was done just about when the crust came out of the oven. If you make these, be sure to sprinkle the chocolate and nuts quickly over the caramel so that they sink into the filling!

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: peppermint_sky

                                                                                      Those sound amazing. I have that book, and I am thinking that I didn't notice that recipe on purpose :)

                                                                                    2. Potato focaccia and Italian Rainbow Cookies (though the Red was changed to green because of allergies in the crowd)

                                                                                      1. I also baked some tasty mistakes yesterday. Meyer lemon bars over a crust of half almond flour, half regular flour, similar to my favorite almond shortbread recipe. I also used bitter almond instead of almond extract for the crust. The lemon bars were otherwise how I make lemon bars, minus 1/4 cup of sugar to account for the sweetness of the Meyers.

                                                                                        But I was multitasking...and I'll be the first to admit I don't multitask any better than anyone else, so I forgot this little ingredient--2 T flour in the lemon part--till the goodies were coming out of the oven and didn't appear as they usually do. HA HA HA! Rather than forming a separate layer as "normal" lemon bars do, all the lemony goodness just baked right over the crust. I might make the same mistake again, next time on purpose, because they really are quite delish, even if a little funny looking (note the strange craters on top). I'm calling them Meyer lemon frangipane bars.

                                                                                        I'd also like to try this again the RIGHT way (remembering flour), and maybe with the addition of rosemary in the crust as my friend Patty did here:

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                          You might be on to something, kattyeyes--those look fab. I think I'd like them just fine without the gooey layer (not that there's anything wrong with that).

                                                                                        2. In addition to the Nutella tart and lemon bars, I made some little appetizers for the Super Bowl - phyllo dough filled with an assortment of odds and ends I had in the house. Goat cheese and chorizo with cilantro and golden raisins, "stuffed mushroom" filling (finely diced mushrooms, onions, red peppers and bacon held together with gruyere), and maple-sriracha pork belly with caramelized onions and jack cheese. All three were hits, but the pork belly ones were my faves. The only problem was that they were EXTREMELY rich with all the butter in the phyllo - I know it's the nature of the beast, but I wish there were a way to enjoy phyllo with just a little less butter. Any suggestions for other wrappers for these tasty fillings?

                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: biondanonima

                                                                                            Drooling...what delicious combos! Maybe use some of the toppings over crostini instead of phyllo?

                                                                                            1. re: biondanonima

                                                                                              Totally with you on the savory phyllo treats! I like asparagus with Swiss and -- yes, definitely the mushroom filling! I also make an entree version -- phyllo strudel ( a log) filled with cream cheese, dill, sauteed mushroom and shallot/onion, a touch of lemon.... Yummm. I have done mushroom - blue cheese - red peppers as appetizers too.

                                                                                              I recently tried freezing an (already cooked) strudel and reheating -- excellent! Good to know that phyllo can be frozen, b/c sometimes I just like to make a LOT once I am in the groove of gingerly maneuvering the sheets. The phyllo crumbled a little more than usual on the reheating, so maybe not for guests, but perfect just for enjoying something gourmet + homemade on a weeknight with a simple Pop! into the oven.

                                                                                              1. re: biondanonima

                                                                                                For savory stuff in filo, I have brushed it lightly with olive oil instead of using butter, and you can even spray it with olive oil (for example, using one of the Misto sprayers). Also, it works pretty well to brush the butter on every other or every third sheet of filo, if you're stacking several. You still get the crisp layers.

                                                                                                For freezing, little appetizer-size things can be frozen unbaked (do it on a sheet pan, then transfer to a bag), then brushed with butter and baked from frozen.

                                                                                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                  What are you favorite savory fillings, Caitlin?

                                                                                              2. I made a pumpkin pie for my son the other day, and having made a double crust of pastry, I asked him if there was anything else he would like. Yes, lemon meringue pie -- without the meringue! Since he's the only one eating it, he's right in that the meringue doesn't remain appetizing for very long. Basically, it looks like a nice lemon pie that's....missing something!

                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                  Must be a trend we've started--lemon SOMETHING with SOMETHING MISSING! :)

                                                                                                  1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                    Yes, good idea -- at least today!

                                                                                                2. I finally inaugurated my heritage bundt pan, last week, and made the citrusy pound cake (on epicurious), and after all that zesting--and making the candied citrus peel, the cake was gorgeous, but . . . DRY. I decided to bake using the "convection bake" function. You'd think that would be fine for a cake, wouldn't you? I took the cake out at 1 hour, 10 min, instead of the 1:30 called for--and so dry. To add insult to injury, my candied peels just looked like a pile of sugary things, not the little jewel threads I envisioned. (The ones in the photo are from the glaze.) Oh well.

                                                                                                  Better luck w/my shortbreads yesterday: I tried the Smitten Kitchen recipe, which uses hard egg yolks (who knew? well, probably lots of you folks, but not I) and lots of orange zest. They were divine in our strawberry shortcakes although I patted the dough out a little thinner than I should have as I was trying hard to get 12 cakes out of it.

                                                                                                  I also baked up the last of the bittersweet chocolate cookie dough from my freezer. Still wish I could figure out the secret to getting those to come out like something resembling the chef's.

                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                    The bundt cake may be dry, but it looks gorgeous! I inaugurated mine with the lemon cake from the Cook's Illustrated cookbook, and it was delicious. But I love the idea of the citrusy pound cake too. Do you think it was dry because it was over-baked or because there was something inherent in the recipe?

                                                                                                    1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                      I think it may have been using the convection function, which I usually forget about. The recipe looks pretty standard for this kind of cake, I think. One thing I do bake are bundt cakes, often lemon or orange, w/sour cream or yogurt. And they're usually moist. But this was stick-to-your-palate dry. (Of course, my husband ate it anyway. At least, I can always count on that.)


                                                                                                      BTW, I have all the CI mags bound in the annual volumes. Do you happen to know from which that lemon cake recipe comes, roxlet?

                                                                                                      1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                        No, sorry! I got the recipe from the new Cook's Illustrated cookbook. The only magazines I have saved are some old issues of Gourmet that had recipes I loved.

                                                                                                  2. Baked the Lemon Poppyseed variation of the Sour Cream Muffins in Joy. Both to use up sour cream and because Mr.Sugar is a huge fan of lemon sweets. They're so light!! (In texture, not in calories heh I used 14% sour cream). Delicious lemon flavor, not as pronounced as commercial versions but I could up the lemon factor with a glaze). I'll definitely be experimenting with this recipe as a base in future.

                                                                                                    1. Today I baked these lemon ginger bars from Nick Malgieri: http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/20...

                                                                                                      They come together by hand, and I stuck to the recipe except that I doubled the crystallized ginger from 1/4 to 1/2 cup (1/4 cup definitely not enough for a 9x13, in my ginger-loving opinion) and added a bit extra zest from my large Meyer lemon. It also took an extra tablespoon of liquid to get the glaze the right consistency, and I used all Meyer lemon juice, no water. These baked a hair too long, I think (I was looking for his "firm" descriptor), and the edges were definitely too hard and crusty, and had to be trimmed before I cut them into squares. They could be a touch moister inside, but that's quibbling. They have a nice, chewy texture. As advertised, they have no burn, but are pleasantly gingery. The bars are in a tin for someone to take to a class tea break tomorrow, and there are the trimmings left for nibbling.

                                                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                        That recipe has long been on my list of things to try.. I realised that I had cut/printed out the recipe from 3 different sources. Glad to hear it's good..

                                                                                                        1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                          I actually thought of you when I was cutting them, because I know you live over here with me on the "you can't have too much ginger" street.

                                                                                                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                            So true! And I know that there's another poster who has recommended this recipe...can't remember who though!

                                                                                                            1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                              bushwickgirl is a fan of these too.

                                                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                Right, I think that one of her posts is where I first read about it!

                                                                                                      2. I haven't been baking as much (at home at least) but I do have dough in the fridge to make pretzel rolls. I need to make about 200 in a could of weeks and need to know how many batches to make and what size to make each roll. I'm thinking a 75-100g roll would be a good size for what I need.
                                                                                                        I always use Alton Brown's soft pretzel recipe for pretzels or pretzel rolls. It's a fantastic recipe.

                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: sarahjay

                                                                                                          Can you paraphrase the recipe or provide a link? Thanks!

                                                                                                          1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                            We make these several times a year. I do a class with 9 year olds from church and I always do this once every year with them. Their parents are always impressed :)


                                                                                                        2. Working (very) late tonight and taking the edge off with some peripheral bread baking. Made a double recipe of sourdough pizza dough earlier and packed all 8 little blobs into the freezer for later use. I was going to replace about a cup of the unbleached bread flour with semolina for a bit of a change, but I'm so used to my regular pizza recipe, I completely forgot to do it. Oh well. Maybe I'll remember next time.

                                                                                                          Now I'm attempting to convert my favorite pain au lait recipe into a sourdough pain au lait. It's on its first rise right now and everything looks good, so I have high hopes it will turn out. I'll probably shape the pains and put them in the fridge overnight so I can wait until tomorrow morning to bake them. There's nothing like waking up to fresh bread!

                                                                                                          1. It's been unusually cool in Dubai recently (well, it's been as low as 70 during the day but it feels cold to us) and I've been taking the opportunity to crank out some baking. Tried two different cinnamon rolls/sticky bun recipes, one from Alton Brown and the other one using a no-knead brioche recipe and my own toppings.

                                                                                                            Lesson learned: don't use chopped almonds as they will tear the dough when you're rolling it up. Otherwise both recipes came out remarkably similar despite the kneaded/no knead difference. All in all, both recipes turned out fine and we were happy to eat them but I've made/had better sticky buns in the past.

                                                                                                            I've also been making David Lebovitz's Fruitcake Bars. Fabulous. Light and nutty and fresh tasty and a breeze to make. http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2009/12/...

                                                                                                            1. I'm so happy this thread has taken off again! Everybody's baking sounds splendid. I made some wonderful bread from the Field book, the browned butter cookies from the 150 best American recipes one (the best simplest cookies ever), and screwed up the ENYT almond cake by using pistachio paste. The Pane di Como is divine as are the cookies. Pics later.

                                                                                                              13 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                Could I hear more about the browned butter cookies?

                                                                                                                1. re: peppermint_sky

                                                                                                                  They are from the recent COTM 150 Best AMerican Recipes, and they are delicious, super simple to make and actually improve with age. I'll try to see if they're on line somewhere.

                                                                                                                  1. re: peppermint_sky

                                                                                                                    The recipe is here, from the original source - scroll down to Nancy Kux's Dream Cookies: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article...

                                                                                                                    Two caveats based on the experience of multiple Chowhounds: you must add salt (about 1/3 tsp. in the dough is good, or sprinkle coarse salt on the cookies right when they come out of the oven), and they're best at least three days after baking, not before (they keep exceptionally well).

                                                                                                                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                      They're pretty dang good on the day they're made, too. I always let the butter resolidify, then add the sugar -- it helps to scrape up the stuck-on browned bits. The dough comes together to the consistency of perfect sandcastle sand. I weigh 15 gm cookies -- 10 gm is probably more the size they're intended to be. They don't spread so can be put on the sheets quite close together.

                                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                        I dunno, when I tasted them the day after I baked them, I thought, "eh." On day three, it was a whole different cookie, just as others had said. I also took the opposite MO, and didn't let the butter cool long. Didn't have problems scraping up the bits, it all mixed up easily, and I dropped it by spoonfuls instead of rolling into balls.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                          Caitlin and Buttertart.. do you just stir the ingredients, or use a mixer (from the link above.. just says "stir")..

                                                                                                                            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                              Thanks Caitlin... another one added to the long list!

                                                                                                                        2. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                          Here is a recipe paraphrase that buttertart did...
                                                                                                                          Brown 2 sticks of butter, allow to cool. Stir in 1 c sugar, scraping up all of the stuck brown bits. Add 1 tsp vanilla. Whisk 2 c flour with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp baking soda, stir into the butter and sugar mixture. Roll in small balls (the dough will have the lovely consistency of perfect sand castle sand), bake on parchment-covered baking sheets for 12-15 mins at 350 deg F. You can put them about 1 inch apart because they don't spread. They should rise and crack a bit and be golden on the bottoms when done. Tender when hot, let them cool on the sheets.

                                                                                                                          1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                            Hey! what about copyright rules? Just kiddin'.

                                                                                                                    2. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                      Here's the bread. The pistachio cake is a mess but very tasty.

                                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                        HERE's the bread. Best white bread I've ever made.

                                                                                                                      2. I have made a possibly profoundly stupid error. I made some snickerdoodle blondies with cinnamon chips this week-end, which included a lot of cinnamon. In fact, I went through so much, I had to open a new bag, and wash my spice bottle; I sprinkled a few teaspoons over the top (mixed with sugar). I tested 2 pieces, and they seemed just great.
                                                                                                                        However, putting away the dishes today, I realised that I had actually used up the last of my CAYENNE in said blondies. It can't have been that much... maybe 1/2 ts? However, I cannot understand how I couldn't taste it.. unless I mixed them unevenly, and some poor soul will bite into a mouthful of cayenne.
                                                                                                                        Any ideas, fellow bakers? Should I toss the lot??

                                                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                          Did you taste them? I like cayenne in gingersnaps, to get that supercharged grocery store gingersnap taste. You may be on to something.

                                                                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                            I've also made "Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles" but with ground chipotle and ancho chili powders in addition to the cinnamon and chocolate. I'm with you, buttertart--do a taste test, rstuart! You may be pleasantly surprised.

                                                                                                                            ETA: And now I want to make them again, thank you for the nudge. ;)

                                                                                                                            1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                              The odd thing is that I tasted 2 small pieces when I made it (before I knew about the Cayenne in the batter!)... and I thought that they were really good. The recipe itself is quite sweet; it also had 3/4 Cup of cinnamon chips in it. The cayenne was also pretty old, so not that strong. They're in the freezer now.. waiting to be served to my colleagues at a big meeting tomorrow. I'm also going to pull out some other options just in case.
                                                                                                                              I will let you all know if I get any strange looks from my co-workers!

                                                                                                                              1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                                You may want to advise them beforehand. I avoid anything with cayenne as it makes my lips tingle very unpleasantly.

                                                                                                                                1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                  Well, I had a few taste-testers try them. They all loved them, but also all mentioned a spicy aftertaste. I think that I will describe them as "spicy" snickerdoodle blondies!!

                                                                                                                        2. I just made Cynsa's Favourite Butter Cake (posted by her in January), but I was in the mood for orange, so I added the grated zest of 2 oranges.

                                                                                                                          In the spirit of Cynsa, I ate a piece while it was still warm (I don't have the tongue to eat it straight out of the oven as she does). It was very tasty indeed, and the orange came through very well. I like the light crumb. The only change I would make is put in a little less sugar (3/4 cup instead of 1 cup) as it is a touch too sweet.

                                                                                                                          14 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                            DH declared this cake too dry (it was not overbaked, I tested the center crack with a toothpick) but he does prefer gooey cakes underbaked. Nonetheless, after sitting in a covered airtight container, the cake acquired a very nice moistness and he happily finished it. So, souschef, will you taste again in two days, please?
                                                                                                                            I agree about reducing the sugar to 3/4 cup and adding the orange zest. Brilliant.

                                                                                                                            1. re: Cynsa

                                                                                                                              What about gilding the lily and adding an orange juice/zest/icing sugar glaze a la those orange cruller doughnuts I remember so fondly from the bakeries in sw Ont?
                                                                                                                              And a link to the cake would be nice too.

                                                                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                let's see if this works: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8259...
                                                                                                                                for glaze? sifted confectioner's or powdered sugar + orange juice + zest

                                                                                                                                1. re: Cynsa

                                                                                                                                  That's the ticket. I was speaking souschef's and my (culinary) native language with that "icing" sugar.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                    Wait, saying "icing" sugar is a Canadian thing too? I had no idea, but I guess you learn something new every day. Between "icing" sugar and "tomato sauce" and "pr-oh-cessed" cheese, I'm surprised that I can even find my way around an American grocery store.

                                                                                                                                    In any case, the glaze and the cake sound delicious in anybody's culinary language.

                                                                                                                              2. re: Cynsa

                                                                                                                                Cynsa, I promise to taste it again in two days.....if there's any left. If there is not, I will make two more and set one aside specifically for testing purposes.

                                                                                                                                If you want a more moist orange cake I suggest that you make RLB's Golden Grand Marnier Cake. In the batter there is sour cream (always great for a moist cake) and ground almonds. After the cake comes out of the oven, you poke it all over and brush on a mixture of OJ, sugar, and Grand Marnier; then after you turn it out, you brush it again. I made it last weekend, and it is definitely more moist than yours.

                                                                                                                                I had toyed with brushing your cake with the syrup, but wanted to taste it as is before. It would be interesting to make it with sour cream instead of milk.

                                                                                                                                BTW my version did not have a cracked top. You use 1-1/2 cups of flour; I used 7.5 oz. I don't know if the amount of flour is a factor. Perhaps more butter too? I see lots of possibilities with tweaking that cake.

                                                                                                                                Buttertart, the glaze sounds good, but they tend to be too sweet. I was thinking that the cake would be a good foil for some orange buttercream.

                                                                                                                                BTW if you want to slice the cake very cleanly, use a ham slicer; it has a really thin blade. I use it for slicing biscotti too, and it does a great job.

                                                                                                                                1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                  You could use the RLB glaze on Cynsa's cake.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                    That's exactly what I wanted to do. It's not a glaze as much as a soaking syrup. She recommends a chocolate glaze, to go with the chocolate inside her cake.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                      No. chocolate. Want orange cake. Do not want chocolate. souschef, do you get the divine Temple oranges that are in season now up there in the True North Strong and Free? My favourite orange. Must make something with them when I stop stuffing myself with them at every opportunity.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                        The chocolate in RLB's cake can be easily left out. I should try that next.

                                                                                                                                        I have not seen Temple oranges; will be sure to look for them the next time.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                          They're a mandarin/grapefruit cross. Very nice.

                                                                                                                                2. re: Cynsa

                                                                                                                                  Cynsa, I tasted the cake again this morning (after leaving it tightly wrapped in cling film but unrefrigerated overnight); it was definitely more moist, and definitely too sweet.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                    Cynsa, the cake made it through to today, so I tasted it again this morning for breakfast. It is no moister than it was yesterday. Seems sweeter, though (far too sweet). I think I would reduce the sugar to 1/2 cup.

                                                                                                                                    I have not, I think, seen orange extract in the stores, but it no doubt exists. Perhaps use that instead of vanilla in the cake?

                                                                                                                                    1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                      They sell an orange oil here. Boyjalian?

                                                                                                                              3. It's cold and rainy/sleety tonight, so I made a double batch of hot buttered soft pretzels. One batch just doesn't make it around here ...

                                                                                                                                1. friend needed to make muffins for something for her kids. we decided on a gingersnap muffin of sorts. i asked her if she had molasses, and she said oh sure! (i have it by the jug, so was happy to bring...) i get there, and she's pulling out ingredients. great. i look on the counter. it's maple syrup (fortunately real). i looked at it, then at her... i was about to assume she misunderstood me, and thought i asked about maple syrup. she said you asked if i had molasses. see, i have a whole jar! ... i love her dearly, but she thought maple syrup and molasses were essentially synonymous... she also believes butter and margarine are essentially the same... fortunately for those around her, she cooks and bakes minimally.

                                                                                                                                  happy ending to the story, we made Pancake Muffins with a Maple Buttercream.

                                                                                                                                  1. I am about to make my first recipe from Dan Lepard's Short and Sweet. There are soo many good things is there I didn't know where to start!

                                                                                                                                    Anyway, it will be a Cherry and Sherry Cake to take to work later. My colleagues are going to be very happy. I will report back. Here's the recipe from the Guardian, which has been tweaked slightly for the book.


                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                      Interesting. Sounds somewhat like Julia Child's "Le Cake" from Mastering. Is sponge flour cake flour i.e. soft, low-gluten, finely milled?

                                                                                                                                    2. Yesterday I made an Apple Bundt Cake from Epicurious:


                                                                                                                                      It was delicious - I love the crunchy edges. It has some orange juice and some orange peel in it that I thought would be odd, but it wasn't at all. I used some Granny Smiths and a Gala, and the cake was moist and rich. I could eat that for every meal till it's gone.....

                                                                                                                                      1. Anyone making a King Cake? Got a favorite recipe?

                                                                                                                                        17 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                                                                                                                          I have the plastic baby to insert after baking and will make the green-gold-purple sugars... but I've not found the King Cake recipe and I am baking it for Saturday. What recipe are you baking?
                                                                                                                                          If I use the brioche recipe, I need to start it tomorrow for the overnight rest.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Cynsa

                                                                                                                                            Cynsa, I remember seeing the recipe in a Lenotre book that I have, so I looked it up. It's traditionaly made for Epiphany (Jan 6th), so I was wondering why you are making it now (too late even for Epiphany relative to Chinese New Year).

                                                                                                                                            In any case, it's the same recipe as almond pithiviers, just decorated differently (two circles of puff pastry enclosing almond cream, top decorated with diamond shapes).

                                                                                                                                            1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                              Wikipedia says "A king cake (sometimes rendered as kingcake, kings' cake, king's cake, or three kings cake) is a type of cake associated with the festival of Epiphany in the Christmas season in a number of countries, and in other places with the pre-Lenten celebrations of Mardi Gras / Carnival."

                                                                                                                                              I never even knew about the Epiphany or Christmas associations--for me (a west coast Yankee), it's always been a Mardi Gras thing.

                                                                                                                                              I've never tried making it--yeast breads still scare me--but I've had good luck with recipes from The Gumbo Pages http://gumbopages.com/recipe-page.html . His king cake recipe is via Emeril http://www.gumbopages.com/food/desser... .

                                                                                                                                              1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                The New Orleans one is a sweet yeast bread decorated in a distinctively colored fashion...

                                                                                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                  these are all lookin' good, thanks for the pix! >^..^<

                                                                                                                                              2. re: Cynsa

                                                                                                                                                There are several recipes on the King Arthur web site, I believe.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Cynsa

                                                                                                                                                  Neighbors' Mardi Gras celebration at 6 pm tomorrow. She's from New Iberia, Louisiana and makes a rockin' Gumbo. We wait for it every year! Last time I made pralines, this year it's the King Cake.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Cynsa

                                                                                                                                                    Here's a typical one:


                                                                                                                                                    It's full-on king cake season here. They're everywhere. (This year some of the bakeries have introduced red velvet and chocolate versions.


                                                                                                                                                    Have fun at your party!

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Cynsa

                                                                                                                                                      Laissez les bon temps rouler, all you King Cake bakers! *<:)

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Cynsa

                                                                                                                                                          I find the KA recipes extremely reliable and quite good.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                            The KA recipe is in its first rise. Feels silky like brioche, smells heavenly with the freshly grated nutmeg and lemon zest. My concern is that it's sticky and will be difficult to handle - I was reluctant to add more flour because I don't want it to be dense/heavy.

                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Cynsa

                                                                                                                                                            Baked 2 recipes: the King Arthur version has a filling of cream cheese and DH declares it his fave; the brioche-like yeast dough is rich with eggs, fragrant with nutmeg and lemon zest, soft and tender, and the light airy batter is impossible to roll out - I opted to layer it in a well-greased Bundt pan and reduced the baking time to 30 minutes in the convection oven. The other version is browneyedbaker's recipe with the cinnamon filling and this is my fave for a sweet breakfast roll oozing with its sugary buttery cinnamon - the slices had that cinnamon spiral throughout. sorry CH's not letting me post the pix with the message 'Please enter something before responding'.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Cynsa

                                                                                                                                                              Could you try again, possibly? May have been a temporary glitch. The cream cheese one sounds great, and how about letting the brioche-like one rise in the fridge? Would be easier to handle, I should think.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                6th attempt and posted query to Site Talk

                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Cynsa

                                                                                                                                                                I'm with your DH--I wish I could have a sample!

                                                                                                                                                      1. I still had a lot of dates left from my Christmas sticky toffee pudding, so today I decided to make date bars from The Homesick Texan cookbook. It is a very simple recipe that uses only one tablespoon of butter, but the batter is chock full of chopped dates and pecans. Surprisingly, despite the cup of sugar and a cup and a half of dates, this recipe is not very sweet. It's tasty, but I'm not sure I will make it again.

                                                                                                                                                        1. I did my first cheesecake for the super bowl crowd - easy & gone. http://www.gourmet.com/recipes/1990s/...

                                                                                                                                                          And now I've made three Walnut and Prune Cakes Périgord Style - the first one was so good I just kept making them. A lot of people have said nice things about the recipe on these threads; you can find it here: http://www.nytimes.com/1998/11/04/din...

                                                                                                                                                          And I've made some granola, and some brandied fruit compote, and some blood orange compote.

                                                                                                                                                          Next up probably lemon mousse - anyone have a delicious, not-too-sweet, recipe? I was going to start with this one: http://www.gather.com/viewArticle.act...

                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: THewat

                                                                                                                                                            Wow - that cheesecake looks fantastic. And I've been in the mood for cheesecake. Thanks for sharing!


                                                                                                                                                          2. I have been a lurker on the baking threads but now thought I would ask about what to make for a GTG at work. Each quarter we have wine and beer while we listen to the earnings release. There is generally chips and stuff but I thought I would bake something especially since this quarter's call falls on Valentine's day. So what would you make to go with beer and wine? TIA

                                                                                                                                                            18 Replies
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod

                                                                                                                                                              Chocolate crinkles as they're dark and chocolatey and pair nicely with red wine. Or how 'bout a beer-based chocolate cake (like Irish car bomb)? I've been eyeing boozy chocolate bundt cakes for a while, but haven't tried any recipes yet. I do have a folder of saved recipe links if you'd like me to share any of them. Happy VD! ♥

                                                                                                                                                              ETA: I've been making bourbon brownies with salted caramel frosting--just whipped up another batch yesterday. Another boozy/chocolatey idea for your consideration.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                                                    Is that the salted caramel frosting? Sounds yummy. Where did you get the recipe?

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod

                                                                                                                                                                      Yes, I riffed and merged some salted caramel sauce into a variation of my favorite cream cheese frosting. I'll get to blogging it this weekend, no doubt, but if you need it sooner, I can post here, quick 'n dirty.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                          It shall be done! :)

                                                                                                                                                                          BOURBON SALTED CARAMEL FROSTING

                                                                                                                                                                          First, make the salted caramel. In a small saucepan, over medium-high heat, whisk together:

                                                                                                                                                                          1 tablespoon light brown sugar
                                                                                                                                                                          1 tablespoon heavy cream
                                                                                                                                                                          1 tablespoon butter
                                                                                                                                                                          good pinch of salt

                                                                                                                                                                          Continue to whisk till sugar dissolves, then cook for one more minute. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

                                                                                                                                                                          Meanwhile, get the rest of the frosting together.

                                                                                                                                                                          3 oz. cream cheese (I got away with Neufchatel, so can you), softened
                                                                                                                                                                          4 tablespoons butter, softened
                                                                                                                                                                          1/2 teaspoon teaspoon vanilla
                                                                                                                                                                          2 tablespoons bourbon
                                                                                                                                                                          1.5 cups powdered sugar

                                                                                                                                                                          Cream together butter, cream cheese, bourbon and vanilla. Gradually blend in powdered sugar. Then blend in salted caramel.

                                                                                                                                                                          To be quite honest, this makes enough to frost a 9 x 13 cake, but I frosted generously, then put the rest of the frosting in a small bowl so I can snack on it 'cause that's just how I roll! :)

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                                                                Thank you both! They're extra moist from the bourbon and go down way too easy. ;)

                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                                                                Any suggestions for the brownie base or is this a frosting that you could put on a piece of cardboard and no one would notice?

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod

                                                                                                                                                                                  HA HA HA, the frosting IS really yummy, but you probably want to put some quality brownies underneath to make it a total knockout combo. ;) My personal favorite brownie is the Ghirardelli recipe on the Sweet Ground Chocolate and Cocoa canister, with sugar cut back to just 1/2 cup and about 1/4 cup of chopped dark chocolate added in.

                                                                                                                                                                                  I did blog it last night if you would like all the specifics and pics (you can see the cool new sweater I got in the mail, LOL), but otherwise, I'd say if you have a favorite brownie recipe, feel free to run with it, poke the holes, pour the bourbon and frost away!


                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                                                                    kattyeyes, I have to say, that combination of the salted caramel frosting with deep dark brownie seems irresistible. But I think I am even more taken with... your pot moose! Oh my gosh! So glad I scrolled down your blog so, to my surprise and delight, I spotted that hand-crafted (for you!) pot moose. I can just imagine how cute my Le Creuset would look accessorized with a pot moose!

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: peppermint_sky

                                                                                                                                                                                      Aww, thank you kindly, peppermint sky. The pot moose is quite adorable, I agree. The moose maker himself is a handsome devil, too! ;) Let me know how you like the brownies if you try them.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                                                                                    A P.S. here, having made these a couple of times now. No need to poke holes. Bourbon sinks right in--in fact, it sizzles--when poured over a pan of warm brownies.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                        You are already onto my tricks! INDEED! And breathe deeply! :) AHHHHHHHHH!

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                        Has this been talked about elsewhere? And have you tried this method?

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                                                                                                                                                          No I haven't, but i'm going to. I've seen it mentioned here and there, on CH as well.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                            i've done it but used agar agar (instead of gelatin)... have not done just water and chocolate... have to do it soon too!

                                                                                                                                                                      2. apple charlotte, and butter shortbreads, cut out with a heart-shaped cookie cutter.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. Frustration: bread didn't rise right - it has 15 more minutes in the oven, but I'm not expecting much. And then I made the lemon filling for this tart: http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/20... and had trouble with my thermometer, which wouldn't rise above 160 for EVER, and then jumped to 183 and fell again... My whisk was making tracks, so I took the cream off the heat & added the butter, and it's in the refrigerator, but... I doubt it ever really got to 180. I'm really grumpy.

                                                                                                                                                                          10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: THewat

                                                                                                                                                                            I had a time like that last week with my pistachio cake, and no one but myself to blame because I tinkered with the recipe so much. Amazingly (completely amazingly), it tastes great!

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                              And I burnt the first crust after I posted & had to make another... That was such a bad day. Three cheers for the ones that turn out well despite all odds.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: THewat

                                                                                                                                                                              I hope it turns out well for you, because I've made this lemon cream and it is truly extraordinary. My most favorite lemon dessert ever, I think - although I don't make it frequently because it is SO dangerous. Way too easy to eat, and you'd never know there are two and a half sticks of butter in it!

                                                                                                                                                                              I made a batch of lemon bars last night myself, but sadly they were payment for a Super Bowl bet my husband made, so I only got a little taste for quality control purposes!

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: biondanonima

                                                                                                                                                                                I've wanted to make that but don't have enough lemon fanciers about most of the time. Also have thought I'd probably end up with lemon soup.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                  I've now made it twice. The first time, with a working thermometer, it was a breeze. Even without a working thermometer, it turned out fine, so I actually think it's somewhat forgiving. In both cases, the tarts found extremely appreciative eaters, and pleased groups that contained both foodies & not-foodies. Personally, I found it overwhelmingly rich both times, and didn't really want it, which made me less excited about serving it. I don't know if that's just because I know how much butter is in it...

                                                                                                                                                                                  It's a crazy easy dinner party desert because you can make the cream a day or two in advance, make the crust in the morning, and put the two together in any spare three minutes before your guests arrive - or when you're clearing dinner dishes if you're running late. I made one and a quarter times the recipe so I could make little gluten-free pot de cremes on the side.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Buttertart, you could make this in your sleep. You do need lemon fanciers, though - it has a good lemon flavor.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: THewat

                                                                                                                                                                                    The pots de creme appeal. Wonder if you could freeze it?

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                      Dunno. I have some lemon cream left - I'll drop it in the freezer. It doesn't seem likely to do well to me, but what do I know?

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: THewat

                                                                                                                                                                                          As I recall, there was a note in the recipe that said the cream could be frozen for a couple of months - I can't find my source now, though, so I'm not sure. Worth a shot!

                                                                                                                                                                              2. Bagels (kinda ridiculous I just don't go buy them...)

                                                                                                                                                                                My son's birthday cake...baked to his exact specifications (don't laugh):
                                                                                                                                                                                - Duncan Hines Yellow Cake (the version with the sour cream and instant pudding mix in it)
                                                                                                                                                                                - Chocolate morsels and chopped Reese's Peanut Butter cups mixed into the cake layers
                                                                                                                                                                                - Hershey's Perfectly Chocolate Chocolate Frosting (with crushed oreos mixed into the frosting between the layers)
                                                                                                                                                                                - Decorated with M&M's

                                                                                                                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                    As certain people would say, I'd totally hit that!

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                      Ditto. I feel a bit hungry just reading it..

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. I've got dough resting for cinnamon rolls. I'll put them in the fridge and bake in the morning. I'll bake some for home and some for work tomorrow. It's hard to not want to eat cake all the time on Saturdays (well, any day, really) so whole wheat cinnamon rolls are a good sweet, healthier alternative to tiramisu cake with buttercream icing :)

                                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sarahjay

                                                                                                                                                                                      With the turtles that I made recently, I get your concept. It is hard not to eat turtles all the time on (insert day). Cake, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Just took the congo bars out of the oven. Made them nut free for my best pal's nut allergy kids for my visit tomorrow. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. On a Carol Field "Italian Baker" kick. The last of the pane di Como was made into melba toast and sliced for regular toast. The starter for l'Otto di Merano rye bread is burbling to itself, bread to be confected tonight.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Time for more mini sticky buns in the next couple of days... 2nd time with this recipe (another keeper from Alice Medrich's Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-In-Your-Mouth Cookies) excited! :)

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. I made pita, but didn't let them rest long enough before baking so they didn't puff, but they still worked for our black bean/cilantro "falafel"

                                                                                                                                                                                            I'm making peanut butter blossoms with dove hearts instead of kisses for v-day. That's all I've got planned for this week.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Brownies from Ad Hoc At Home last night - incredibly rich, fudgy, chocolaty. One of the best recipes I've ever tried, although I think they could have used a little less butter (they were a tad greasy) and a little less sugar (or a spoonful of espresso powder and darker chocolate chunks). I nearly ate myself sick on them last night, yet I'm tempted to have one for breakfast!

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. I'm making heart-shaped cinnamon rolls tonight (the shape is a goal, at least ...) and I'm also finishing up some pb pretzel hearts, dipping them in chocolate. And while that might seem like enough already, I can't decide what to make for dessert tomorrow night ... pie, mousse, mini molten cakes. It will definitely be something.

                                                                                                                                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                                                                                                                                                                                  It's a good day for heart-shaped baking! PB pretzel hearts with chocolate? Oh my! I made (also heart-shaped) blueberry corn muffins this morning.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yum! Those look great!

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I started the pumpkin cinnamon rolls but ran out of time (and steam). They'll be a day after V-day treat, lol. But I made mac and cheese (with heart-shaped pasta) and the pb pretzels, so that's a good start to the day (we like to extend our holidays here, lol.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                                                                                                                                                                                      HA HA, yes, it's always good to extend the celebration. :) Are the pb pretzels cupcakes with a pretzel on top? Look at the shiny chocolate--NOM NOM NOM! And I just love your HEART-Y mac 'n cheese! Couldn't resist. BA DUM BUM! Happy hearts day to you and all the other bakers! ♥

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                                                                                        And to you, Kattyeyes!

                                                                                                                                                                                                        The pb pretzels are mini pretzels with sweetened pb in between (pb, brown sugar, conf. sugar, and a little butter), and then dipped in chocolate. Simple and yet so tasty.

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Over the weekend, I adapted a recipe by Anne Byrn (The Cake Doctor) to make gluten-free Chocolate-Covered Cherry Cupcakes. Without the frosting, they were fine, but with the frosting - amazing. We had to freeze half the batch so there would be some left on Valentine's Day.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Chocolate-Cherry Cake Ingredients
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 package (16 oz.) gluten-free chocolate cake mix*
                                                                                                                                                                                                  3 large eggs
                                                                                                                                                                                                  2 tsp. almond or vanilla extract
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 can (21 oz.) - 1/4 C. cherry pie filling
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 C. (6 oz.) chocolate chips

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Chocolate Frosting Ingredients
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 C. granulated sugar
                                                                                                                                                                                                  5 T. margarine
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1/3 C. milk (rice, almond, soy, or dairy)
                                                                                                                                                                                                  2 T. light corn syrup
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 C. (6 oz.) semisweet chocolate chips
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 tsp. vanilla extract

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1) Preheat to 350 degrees F. Either line cupcake pans with 16 liners or lightly mist a 9 x 13-inch cake pan with cooking spray.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  2) In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, eggs, and extract and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed 1 minute. The mixture will be very dry, almost the texture of graham cracker crumbs before you press them into a pie crust.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  3) Add the cherry pie filling and beat on medium speed until just blended, about 20 to 30 seconds. There will still be some big cherry chunks, which is nice in the finished cake. Add the chocolate chips and mix with a big wooden spoon. Thick batter alert!
                                                                                                                                                                                                  4) Divide the batter between the cupcake liners or spread into your prepared pan. Smooth the top.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  5) Bake cupcakes about 18-20 minutes or sheet cake for 30-35 minutes, until the top feels dry and springs back when lightly pressed.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  6) While the cake cools, prepare the icing. Place the sugar, margarine, milk, and corn syrup in medium-sized saucepan over medium-heat. Stir until the mixture comes to a boil, about 3 to 4 minutes. Let the mixture boil for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate chips and vanilla, stirring until the dissolved. The frosting hardens quickly, so just reheat it slightly if needed.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  7) Frost! Eat! Enjoy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. More sourdough bagels! A double batch this time, and my first attempt at incorporating different flavours into the dough. I'm doing half everything (grilled onion pieces and granulated garlic in the dough, poppy seeds, salt, more granulated garlic and maybe a touch of smoked paprika on top) and half cinnamon-apricot (just cinnamon and sour dried apricot pieces in the dough -- I'm not usually a fan of sugar crusts on my bagels).

                                                                                                                                                                                                    They're all shaped and rising right now. The apricot ones were particularly difficult to roll out because the apricot pieces kept tearing the dough. In the end, I had to do a combination of rolling the dough balls between my hands and sort of pulling them into ropes, instead of just rolling them on my cutting board like I usually do. I also have my first attempt at homemade crockpot cream cheese draining in the fridge, but that's best left for another thread.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I have about 3/4 cup of leftover oatmeal from breakfast, so I think I'm also going to try a recipe I found for cooked oatmeal cookies. I put some leftover chopped apricot in the oatmeal, and I think I may brown the butter first too, so I guess they will be browned butter oatmeal apricot cookies. That is if they work out. The one review was positive, but I have a few doubts.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: BananaBirkLarsen

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Turns out I was right to be wary of the cookies. Too much moisture, not enough fat or sugar = a spongy, cakey consistency and a bland flavour. Most of the flavour that is there comes from the browned butter and apricots, neither of which was called for in the original recipe. Ah well. At least I only made 1/2 a recipe, and they'll probably get eaten regardless. At least the bagels turned out (the cinnamon-apricot ones look particularly good).

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Lots of baking today, though none of it was earth-shattering. First up was corn muffins, followed by blueberry muffins, all packaged up and in the freezer for my son's breakfasts. Somehow, he just doesn't feel like having much more than a muffin these days, and we finished up the last of them this morning. Then, since he has his advisory class tomorrow, he asked me to make a Valentine's day treat for the class. I obliged with a basic rolled sugar cookie cut out in the shape of a heart, iced with a thin confectioner's sugar icing, and then sprinkled with red sanding sugar. Cute, not too exciting, but something that no one can object to in terms of nut allergies and such.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. I made this epi double ginger sour cream cake last night: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo.... Half cup less sugar and it was great. Very pound cakey, moist and the ginger hit is strong. My guy loved the crunch of the sugar on the outside and I loved not frosting it (since my cakes always look like a troll decorated them).

                                                                                                                                                                                                        11 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: miss louella

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Ooh, that's a beauty of a cake--did you ginger up the strawberries, too? Your comment made me chuckle, picturing a troll decorating cake! ;) I had one when I was a kiddo in the 70s. Never knew he baked. HA HA HA! Back on track, though, I'm saving that recipe--and good to know about less sugar. I like to pull that trick, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Thanks katty! you made me laugh too! We skipped the strawberries since we'd had farmer's market berries and cream for dessert the night before. I'll try to attach a photo of my cake--if it works, you'll see it still has what I'm now calling that childlike charm. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                            edited to add: I forgot to mention I'd whipped some cream and folded lemon curd into it to make a sort of on-the-side frosting, but the cake was great without it. I think next time I'd add some lemon zest to the batter though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: miss louella

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Aww, I love it! ♥ "Childlike charm"--that's great and right up this kat's alley as well. :) What kinda flowers?

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                The flowers are primula malacoides--um, not sure if they're edible or not but we took them off before diving in.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: miss louella

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I looked it up and found a link about them as they are so pretty. Turns out they are a pretty WEED (who'dathunk?!) with similarities to POISON IVY! YIPES! So please be careful. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Maybe plant some johnny jump-ups for your future decorating endeavors? They're both beautiful and edible. Here's a helpful chart for future reference if you're interested:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yikes!!! And to think I paid good money for that "weed." Still love it in my garden. But yes, will definitely plant some flowers that are actually EDIBLE for the future. Thanks so much!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: miss louella

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Very interesting recipe (I'm looking for somethin pound cakey and moist), but sounds like way too much sugar; I would reduce it to 1 cup. I think I'll make it, substituting grated orange zest and candied orange peel instead of the ginger - too much ginger for me, though I do like ginger, but not usually in cakes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I would like to try this as a zesty orange cake, too -- great idea, souschef. Lemon could be nice too. Or both!

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: peppermint_sky

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I think lemon added to an orange cake would enhance the orange.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Do report back after you reduce the sugar even further. I am constantly reducing sugar and frequently adding some whole wheat pastry flour to desserts, but I'm not really a sweets gal. On V-day I told my guy I'd make him a cake that didn't even have a dash of "good for him" in it. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I was happily surprised that the candied ginger softened up so much during baking.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              3. re: miss louella

                                                                                                                                                                                                                That is one of my favorite recipes.. glad to know it's possible to reduce the sugar, I've never dared! I use low-fat sour cream though..

                                                                                                                                                                                                              4. I am spending 3 glorious months in a condo at the beach, and have made a few muffins and cokies just mainly to be able to get a feel for the oven here it heats like 30 degrees hotter than it should bit I made a birthday cake for my brother it was a Zebra cake with 4 colors used to alternate with the white cake. Basically I made two layers I decided the vanilla cake in half and decided that in quarters and colored them sky blue, orange, green, and purple. The one cake layer I started with a scoop of vanilla "white" then blue, the white, then orange, white again, and blue once more till I was all out of batter. I did the same in the other cake pan with the purple and green. I baked these off let cool then they went in the fridge over night. I made a cream cheese icing and frosted the cake with the two layers oh I did level the layers after they were cooled. My neice my brother's daughter sprinkled on her choice of sprinkles and placed happy birthday candles on it. I will post pictures later today.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. I have been tasked with making a king cake.. I also want to try and make a Bean Cake which apparently came about via Nation of Islam, I've made a 2 step mousse (or Pots De Creme) using only chocolate and water, I want to make muhallabia and some almond crisps care of Sarabeth Levine.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Wow! the February thread took off, after a surprisingly light December and January. Off over to part 2? http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8341...