HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >

Discussion

What are you baking these days? February 2012, part deux! [old]

Hi everybody, I'm very tickled the baking thread has gotten so much play this month. For ease of opening and so our scrolling fingers don't get worn to nubs, here's part two...so, what ARE you baking these days?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
Posting Guidelines | FAQs | Feedback
Cancel
  1. While not actual baking I did make chocolate dipped strawberries today.

    1 Reply
    1. re: LEsherick2007

      I made those as well, to my son's absolute delight. I made a bunch on Wednesday when I found some unusually delicious strawberries, and yesterday, when he came home from school, he wanted to know if the chocolate-dipped-strawberry had come again, so I made the rest of the container, which were promptly devoured. I used dark Calebaut caillets, and they made a read difference.

    2. I am baking (stovetop, of course) my first ever batch of English Muffins right now!!!!

      3 Replies
      1. re: sandylc

        How'd they go?

        1. re: THewat

          Not bad....a good start! I relearned that my stove (all of the stoves I've ever had, actually) is hotter than the stoves of those who write recipes!!

          I also relearned that I like some whole grain in my bread products - I like the extra flavor. The muffins are pretty good, though! Thanks for asking!

        2. re: sandylc

          one of my favorite things to make for guests at breakfast/brunch time!

        3. I inaugurated my heritage bundt pan with a saffron almond cake, flavored with saffron and orange zest steeped in hot milk, plus almond paste. The saffron is the chief flavor (though it's nice and mellow), with the almond paste in the background. Bright yellow interior from the saffron. The several saffron fanciers I served it to raved, and all agree that the almond pairs very well. I'm considering the possibility of cutting the butter a bit to bring up the almond paste flavor, plus perhaps the addition of a touch of almond extract, but then, I'm an almond fanatic. Not exactly an inexpensive cake to make, with a good whack of saffron. (And almond paste, which I gather has become quite dear in many markets. I am thankful to be very blessed in the almond paste department.)

          This pan did put the fear of sticking in me, so before I used it I went and bought a bottle of Wilton Cake Release ($3.99 at Michaels, or $2.40 with the 40% off one item coupon from their circular). Cake slipped right out of the pan.

          Then on Valentine's Day, I baked a few dozen quick and easy mini chocolate muffins for my housemate to take to her evening class for their tea break. I added finely chopped dried cherries, but really they were too finely chopped and didn't have much presence.

           
           
           
          5 Replies
          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

            That looks lovely, Caitlin. It's such a great pan! Everything I've made so far looks so special.

            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

              Caitlin, How much is a good whack of saffron? I have this much left from a Penzey's purchase.

               
              1. re: blue room

                The recipe is for a 6-cup bundt pan, and calls for 1/2 tsp. saffron. I doubled the recipe, so used 1 tsp. Would still be good with a bit less, too, I'm sure. Let me know if you're interested and I'll post the recipe.

                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                  I see a couple online (maybe the same one twice)

                  http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/almon...

                  or http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/20/din...

                  Are these about right? I do have enough saffron if it takes 1/2 tsp.

                  1. re: blue room

                    Though I got it from a cookbook, the recipe in your links is the same one I used. The amounts in the linked recipe are equivalent to the doubled recipe I made, except for calling for less saffron and milk (I used 1/2 cup milk total). The batter amount in the linked recipe will work in the heritage bundt pan.

            2. Pumpkin muffins. I knew I should have left it at 1/2 cup of pumpkin (just like taking tests--go with your first answer), but NO...I added 3/4 and it altered the consistency of my usual muffins. It's OK, they still taste fine, they're ultra-moist and it's fun to play and practice...and to validate, "Hey, I DO know what the hell I'm talking about!" HA HA. Happy Friday, baking friends!

               
              1. This is my colored Zebra cake I told everyone about in the What are you baking these days? February 2012 Part 1

                 
                 
                 
                1 Reply
                1. re: LEsherick2007

                  Wow! Looks like a lot of fun..!

                2. to take advantage of some macadamia nuts brought home to me as a souvenir, i made some "macadella..." i make my own homemade nutella, and this version with the same except with macadamias instead of fiberts. then i hunked the macadella into little nuggets, and incorporated them (at the end before baking) into white chocolate and macadella nugget brownies.

                  have to start brioche dough tmrw for a thing on sunday. i also need to make a big batch of rugelach, but i can't seem to decide which flavor i want to make... cinnamon/cardamom; pistachio

                  1. Although I am crazy about the Malgieri Supernatural brownies, I wanted to make a smaller pan of them, and since I also love the recipes in 150 Best American Recipes, I tried the Anderson Perfect Brownies. We shall see.

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: buttertart

                      They are stunners. Do make them!

                      1. re: buttertart

                        Is this the recipe? http://www.mybakingaddiction.com/amaz...

                        1. re: biondanonima

                          Yes it is. Mine looked exactly like the pic.

                          1. re: buttertart

                            Yumm... added to the brownie file.
                            I realised that my freezer was bare of any baked goods, so made King Arthur's double dark mocha drops with cappuccino and chocolate chips.. very yummy, and addictive!

                            1. re: rstuart

                              Just perused the recipe. Those appeal to me. Where do they fall on the sweetness scale? I like a less sweet (world peace, for example) cookie.

                              1. re: peppermint_sky

                                Hmm.. not sure if the question was directed at me or buttertart! Just in case it was me; they are pretty sweet, and I find that you have to use slightly less chips than called for, otherwise they don't keep together. They are pretty small, so I don't think that they are *too* much... definitely worth a try, in my opinion. The espresso powder adds a nice touch...

                                1. re: rstuart

                                  Yes, the question was for you regarding the double dark mocha drops. Sometimes I add espresso powder to blondies or brownies and tasters + I enjoy the extra (mystery) layer.

                                  1. re: peppermint_sky

                                    It only has cocoa powder, no melted chocolate... so the more that I think about it, it's not overly sweet.

                    2. Double batch of sourdough for English muffins, but one batch is rolled out and rising for salt sticks.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: tim irvine

                        JEALOUS! I would sit up pretty and bark like a seal for a sourdough English muffin. Are they a pain to make?

                        1. re: kattyeyes

                          actually they are pathetically easy once your starter is mature. My starter began as fresh organic flour and chlorine free water. The texture is thick but still a little liquid, but I doubt the texture really matters. It catches wild yeast from the air and over time gets quite active. I feed it once a week with more flour and water, often a mixture of AP with a little wheat or rye, and a sprinkle of organic turbinado sugar. It fluffs up a lot after feeding. I mind it and stir it regularly to keep it in its bowl. Half a day to a day later it has calmed don and gets covered and put back in the fridge.

                          Anyway, a cup of starter, two cups of AP flour, a scant tsp. of salt, and a cup of chlorine free water, along with a splash of malt vinegar go in the Kitchenaid with the paddle, not the dough hook, and get about 7-8 minutes on setting 4. I pour the dough onto a lightly floured counter, sprinkle a little more flour over the top, roll it out to about 1/2", cut the muffins, and put them on a cookie sheet sprinkled with corn meal to rise for most of the day. Then I cook them on a dry cast iron griddle over very low heat. The final muffins are about 1 1/2" thick. The wet batter produce plenty of nice holes to catch butter.

                          1. re: tim irvine

                            I really must get going on a starter--part of my goals for the year--so I can make delicious sourdough treats. Thanks for your follow-up. I e-mailed to myself for future ref. "Plenty of nice holes to catch butter..." Mmmmmmmmmmmm!

                            1. re: kattyeyes

                              Fair warning, bread made with just starter, flour, salt, and water will not taste sour. It actually has a very interesting and complex flavor, more like real French bread, but not the tangy taste I associate with San Francisco sourdough.

                      2. Martha Stewart's lemon cake....in the oven right now...smells like heaven, :)

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: shaebones

                          Which one? And -- how is/was it?

                          1. re: peppermint_sky

                            Glazed lemon pound cake. I skipped the glaze....it was sweet enough for me. ...and it was VERY good. I will try Ina Garten's next. Recipes are similar but Ina's calls for a LOT more lemon.

                            http://www.marthastewart.com/print/33...

                            1. re: shaebones

                              I am on a lemon kick too -- see below :)

                              1. re: shaebones

                                I haven't made the Martha one, but Ins's is my new gold standard.

                          2. Cheese bread with onions/bacon/Cheddar for neighbors' Saturday Brunch today.
                            http://www.cookingbread.com/cheese_br...

                            1. Getting ready to do a St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake for a coworker's birthday request! Might have to sneak a taste!

                              http://smittenkitchen.com/2010/03/st-...

                              PS -- I really want one of those heritage bundt pans! Everything that comes out of them looks so lovely!

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: ForFoodsSake

                                I have used this pan to make a lemon cake -- very cool looking of course, but any glaze poured on top immediately runs down those steep sweeping swirls, so be prepared to catch the still-liquid glaze and re-pour until enough of it has soaked in.

                                1. re: blue room

                                  Thanks for the tip! Will keep that in mind when I break down and buy one.

                              2. LInzer muffins from gourmet mag 2005 for a breakfast themed pot luck after church today. They have good reviews and they smell good, but are too hot to eat right now.

                                Edited to add: They were really good! I wish I would have put in the almond extract the recipe calls for, but I was out (how, I don't know, I use it in everything and have never let myself run out before!) so they weren't as "almondy" as I would have liked. Also, the jam sank, but they still tasted good. Will for sure make them again

                                http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                10 Replies
                                1. re: sarahjay

                                  Saved--thank you! Those sound SO NICE! I love all things almondy myself. ;)

                                  1. re: kattyeyes

                                    Those look fantastic, must make. Almond is my favorite flavor for baked goods too.

                                    1. re: buttertart

                                      I made them today (sort of) -- subbed blueberries for jam (didn't have raspberry), used Temple orange rind i/o lemon, and added a speck of mace for the blueberries. They're very good this way too.

                                  2. re: sarahjay

                                    Hi, reporting back! I really loved this idea and am also loving the base muffin recipe I've been making lately, so I took the Linzer idea you shared and applied it to my own recipe. YUMMY!

                                    Also, for whatever reason, I focused on "the jam sank" in your comment, so I put the teaspoon of preserves (I used tart cherry) on top and waited for the jam to sink. HA HA HA. Quickly realizing it wasn't going to do that in front of my eyes before it hit the oven, I kinda swirled the preserves under/into the batter, just slightly. What a delicious idea and a sweet way to start the day! Thank you!

                                    1. re: kattyeyes

                                      Dangit, forgot the photo. Here 'tis!

                                       
                                      1. re: kattyeyes

                                        Nice, k-e! Where'd ya get the heart-shaped silicone baking cups?

                                        1. re: buttertart

                                          Thanks! :) Target, I think, tho' I did just look there for you and didn't see them (like the elusive black kitty t-shirt, but I digress!). ;) They're from Wilton. AHA--here they are at Walmart:
                                          http://www.walmart.com/search/search-...

                                          I butter 'em up and everything I bake pops out nice-nice. Highly recommend. I rather like those Brownie Blossom molds as well ('cause spring is comin'!!!).

                                          1. re: kattyeyes

                                            I have two sets of the Wilton heart molds - picked them up at Homesense (same parent co. as Homegoods/TJ Maxx/Marshalls) after Valentines in 2011. Michaels Craft Store also carries them iirc. Love Wilton's single silicone cups - I have the square ones too.

                                            I often find muffin/cupcake recipes make more/just shy of 12, so the single molds come in handy.

                                            1. re: maplesugar

                                              I like those square ones too, must get!!!

                                      2. re: kattyeyes

                                        So glad everyone liked them! I'm glad I stumbled onto it :)

                                    2. White Chocolate Custardy Bread Pudding -- i wanted to use up the challah i had in the freezer... only after i started making the custard and actually opened the bag of defrosted bread cubes, did I realize that i in fact had sourdough... i forgot i used the challah. Not to be deterred... I went ahead and used the sourdough, dotting it with butter to try and apologize to the pudding, reassuring it that i would try to add back in some of the buttery richness... we'll see if it accepts my apology.

                                      Pound Cake -- i rarely make this, but a friend wanted it. her ideal is Sara Lee... so for her, i'm trying to approximate it :)

                                      Layer Bars -- neighbor kid's birthday... omitted the nuts and used a combo of semi-sweet chips and caramel bits... again, we'll see. i don't think you can go wrong with these anyways...

                                      1. Ina Garten's lemon yogurt cake sans lemon. I had some blueberries in the freezer I was tired of looking at, so I made it into jam, which I swirled through the cake. I baked it in an 8x10ish pan with turbinado sugar and orange zest on top.

                                        12 Replies
                                        1. re: silvergirl

                                          How did that taste? Great combination....

                                          1. re: peppermint_sky

                                            My husband had 5 pieces for breakfast this morning (don't tell him I told you.). It was really good.

                                            1. re: silvergirl

                                              Adorable.

                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                And now he's eating the rest ;-)

                                                1. re: silvergirl

                                                  Nice when they really love something. Mine tends to hoard when that's the case.

                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                    Yes, I had actually forgotten how much he loved that cake. I made the original lemon a while back and took to his mom's for lunch and he got a little agitated that I left what was left for her. I think I'll do some variation for Easter.

                                                    1. re: silvergirl

                                                      Nice. You just left out the lemon?
                                                      Lemon always seems Easter-y to me.

                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                        Ii also upped the vanilla from half a teaspoon to a full. I think in the book Ina Garten said her recipe was "inspired" by Dorie Greenspan's orange yogurt cake. I don't think I've seen that recipe though.

                                                        1. re: silvergirl

                                                          Very nice, I'll take a look.

                                                      2. re: silvergirl

                                                        Which of Ina's is your favorite..the lemon cake or the lemon yogurt one?

                                                        1. re: angelsmom

                                                          I haven't made the lemon. I usually stick to maida heatter's east 62nd street lemon or ina's lemon yogurt. Have you made the other? Do you recomend it? One of my boys requests lemon cake for his birthdays so if it's great, I'd love to hear about it.

                                                          1. re: silvergirl

                                                            No, I have not made either. From your posts you mentioned making Ina's yogurt lemon cake sans lemon an then in your other post you talked about making the original lemon cake that your husband loved so I assumed it was Ina's too. Sorry for the confusion.

                                          2. in the oven right now -- some citrusy magic --- Very Tangy Lemon Bars 2.0

                                            This afternoon I'm trying my 4th recipe from Alice Medrich's book Chewy Gooey Crunchy Crispy. She emphatically heralds the tartness of these bars, which immediately grabbed my attention. She even acknowledges that "an esteemed New England cooking magazine once pronounced my lemon bars too sour." I decided to go for it with that news! I am a girl who appreciates a zingy dessert -- so, outrageous in its zinginess? Even better!

                                            I was curious about the differences between this recipe and a much-beloved family favorite lemon bar. Her recipe calls for 1 1/2 tsp finely grated zest plus 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice cut with a cup plus 2 Tbsp sugar in the filling (whereas our family recipe for lemon bars calls for just a few Tbsp juice with less than 1 cup sugar). We'll see!

                                            The crust was done in 22 minutes at 350 (Alice suggested 25 to 30 mins) and I kept reminding myself turn down the oven temp to 300 when you pour in the filling, turn down the temp when you pour in the filling! (I remembered).

                                            So they're baking now.... very sunshiney colors for a bright and springy-looking day! ☆

                                            5 Replies
                                            1. re: peppermint_sky

                                              I use about 1/3 c. of lemon juice and the zest of two lemons to 1 c. sugar in mine, so pretty close to the same proportions, and mine are pretty tart but not shockingly so, I don't think. How did they turn out?

                                              1. re: peppermint_sky

                                                Oh, my gosh. Very Tangy Lemon Bars 2.0 are divine divine. Making another batch for friends over the next few days... not too tart at all! I wouldn't have even thought "extreme" or "sour" upon taking the first taste. Each bite offers a burst of freshness, with a decadent buttery crunch in that bottom layer. Mmmmm. Lovely color!

                                                So if anyone else is curious about trying new cookie recipes -- let me say that I"ve been delighted with all four recipes that I've tried in this book, Medrich's Chewy Gooey -- caramel cheesecake bars, mini pecan sticky buns, gooey caramel turtles (with homemade caramel for the cheesecake bars and the turtles). I'm so glad I spotted the (cute) title when someone mentioned it during a Christmas cookie thread here this year. I grabbed a copy from the library, but I'm thinking that I will make the investment.

                                                1. re: peppermint_sky

                                                  What else are your favorites from this book?

                                                  1. re: angelsmom

                                                    angels mom,

                                                    I have only tried those four so far. Every single one is a delicious, attractive keeper.

                                                    1. re: peppermint_sky

                                                      Thanks so much, bought the lemons today.

                                              2. I made Muddy Buddies recently... I know that isn't really baking, but I am trying real REAL hard not to make it again, because it is so addicting. (Also, I made my family's version which is... 1 whole box of Rice chex, 2 bags of chocolate chips, and 1 jar of peanut butter, and 1 bag of powdered sugar.. you don't even measure you just dump!)

                                                1. Made an attempt at King Cakes though the hole closed up. Making them for an SFA event in my area.

                                                  I also made some gluten free almond crisps care of SaraBeth Levine

                                                   
                                                   
                                                   
                                                  1. Are you baking pączki today? For Fat Tuesday... or, Fat Thursday?

                                                    1. Raspberry bourbon brownies. Lesson learned: no need to poke holes, the bourbon sinks RIGHT IN to the fresh-n-hot-out-of-the-oven brownies. I can hear it sizzling as I type! AHM NOM NOM NOM. SIZZLE, SIZZLE! >>^..^<<

                                                      4 Replies
                                                      1. re: kattyeyes

                                                        Salted caramel frosting REALLY makes these brownies and I found myself thinking they seemed "nekked" without it, so I woke up this morning, whipped up the frosting, and though I had already cut them all, individually frosted each one.

                                                        I scaled back the butter (3 tablespoons), Neufchatel (2 oz.) and confectioners sugar (1.25 cups) to make slightly less frosting. I left the salted caramel portion the same. There was still leftover, but not quite as much...and I'm totally OK with that as I love snagging it by the spoonful for a little bourbon-laced salted sweetness when I crave it. :)

                                                        Here they are in their special delivery container. There's a foil "sidecar" for the extra two that don't fit. HA HA!

                                                         
                                                        1. re: kattyeyes

                                                          Sidecar = + many cute points!

                                                          I am intrigued by the caramel frosting. I know you linked to the frosting recipe when you originally made it -- could you add that link again?

                                                          1. re: peppermint_sky

                                                            peppermint_sky, looks like kattyeyes posted the recipe here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8312...

                                                          2. re: kattyeyes

                                                            Oh you kid!

                                                        2. because i'm going out of town tomorrow, rather than pack, i thought it best to get in the kitchen and dirty some dishes... if only bringing baked goods held a chance of getting me bumped into first class...

                                                          in the oven for their first bake, two variations of biscotti --
                                                          cocoa bing cherry hazelnut (planning on a white chocolate tangy cream cheese drizzle) - cocoa powder, ground toasted hazelnut flour
                                                          bing cherry hazelnut with dark chocolate chips

                                                          next up (or maybe tmrw before i leave...) - roasted beet chip cookies - i'm going to make the beet "chips" out of a beet shortbread thing... we'll see...

                                                          1. The simple (but popular here in my house!) Lemon Pudding Cake. This is the recipe I used:
                                                            http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...
                                                            I used this new (to me) idea
                                                            http://anorthyorkshirejournal.blogspo...
                                                            It worked very well!

                                                             
                                                            4 Replies
                                                            1. re: blue room

                                                              Mmm, love citrus pudding cake. And that's a very cool tip about juicing!

                                                              1. re: blue room

                                                                Whodathunk (re lengthwise vs. crosswise)--thanks for sharing that link!
                                                                Also, your yummy lemon pudding cake sounds like something my mom makes called "lemon sponge"--I'll hafta ask if they're one and the same.

                                                                1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                  The recipe called for 2 large lemons -- I only needed *one* because of the tip! Why is this not a better-known technique?

                                                                  1. re: blue room

                                                                    That's EXCELLENT! I, for one, plan to tell anyone who will listen re this tip. :) May I suggest you also share that link on its own thread where it might get more exposure?

                                                                    ETA: My mom said yes, her old-timey lemon sponge recipe sounds just like your lemon pudding cake. YUM, that has always been one of my faves! She was pleased to hear the tip, too.

                                                              2. Sounds like I’m not the only one in the mood for the tangy taste of lemon this month. I adapted the “Hot Lemon Poke Cake” from "The Cake Mix Doctor Returns" to make it gluten-free. Really just had to change the cake mix, and everything else was the same. I made it with fresh orange juice (a great way to use up all those mandarin oranges I bought earlier in the month), but lemon was still the dominant flavor. Moist, tangy, very good.

                                                                Hot Lemon Cake
                                                                1 package (16-18 oz.) regular yellow cake mix or gluten-free vanilla cake mix
                                                                1 package (3 oz.) lemon gelatin
                                                                1 C. orange juice or water
                                                                ½ C. vegetable oil
                                                                4 large eggs
                                                                1 large lemon
                                                                1 C. sifted confectioners’ sugar

                                                                1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mist a Bundt pan with cooking spray.
                                                                2) Combine cake mix, gelatin, juice, oil, and eggs, and beat on low speed, about 30 seconds. Increase the mixer speed to medium, and beat until smooth, about 1½ minutes longer.
                                                                3) Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top, and bake about 45-50 minutes.
                                                                4) Meanwhile, make the glaze: Grate enough lemon zest to make 2 tsp. Squeeze 3 T. of lemon juice into a medium microwave-safe bowl, and microwave on high for 20-30 seconds. Whisk in the sifted confectioners’ sugar (be sure to sift the sugar or you’ll have unsightly white lumps on your cake. Trust me :)
                                                                5) When the cake is done, use a skewer or chopstick to poke holes in the cake. Slowly spoon the glaze over the cake so that it sinks into the holes.
                                                                Serve warm. Makes 16-20 servings
                                                                For more detailed instructions and photos, see http://www.glutenfreehappyplace.com/2...

                                                                 
                                                                1. I made the Romanian walnut coffee cake/sweet bread in this month's Saveur today. It's a very interesting recipe -- you make a very stiff first dough and let it rise, then add a mixture of milk, sugar, walnuts and rum (I used Cognac, don't get much call for rum 'round this manor, Squire) that you boil the bejeebers out of until it's thick and dulce de leche-colored to it. I'm glad I didn't do my what are they crazy 4 cups of flour to 1 cup of milk in the first dough thing because the walnut stuff makes it very loose. Smells heavenly, bakes for 75 mins (I used a dark tin) so is a bit dark. Looking forward to busting into it. (Great issue of Saveur, by the way.)

                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                    Wow! I saw that recipe, too. Tell us how it turned out!!!

                                                                    1. re: sandylc

                                                                      Not as amazing as I expected. I may have let it rise a bit too much (I had stuck it in the fridge when it was at the top of the pan, and it domed a bit -- and more in the oven) or baked it a bit too long. Mr. Walnut aka the Beast aka my husband of more years than I care to count wasn't impressed (and you could pretty much put walnuts on a ping-pong ball and he'd eat it). I'm going to make it into melba toast, I bet it'll be nice with cheese.

                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                        So sad! Thank you for your sacrifice - you have saved us.....

                                                                        1. re: sandylc

                                                                          It was amusing to make in any case, never saw a recipe like it. My work friend's son is married to a Romanian woman and her mother is here visiting -- we're going to check with her on the recipe.

                                                                  2. Walnut Date Bars!! With Orange Buttercream frosting!! Courtesy of biodonanima, thankee kindly. And get this. I'm alone. With a pan of them. Well ok, a pan minus the four "bars, haa ha" that I already ate. These things are crazy.
                                                                    I'm on a sugar high.

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: mamachef

                                                                      Ees sound good, honeybun.

                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                        Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

                                                                    2. Black bottom pecan praline bars --

                                                                      --my next experiment from Alice Medrich's Chewy Gooey (so far I'm 4 for 4 with the stellar cookies I've tried in this book). Baking away right now, these bar cookies involve 2 layers -- a slim bittersweet brownie base capped with a (brown butter) blondie-esque topping just tumbling over with (toasted) pecans! Looks intriguing and I'm hoping that the layers will entice visually and provide a surprising juxtaposition of flavors. I am much more a fan of bar cookies than any other variety, I realize.... so I'm excited to try these.

                                                                      Now they're cooling. I may end up in the danger zone described one post up by mamachef . . . a whole pan of these beckoning all night long!

                                                                      I just tweaked a couple of items in Medrich's recipe here -- I toasted the pecans first and browned the butter for the topping. For ingredients, I used Ghirardelli unsweetened for the brownie layer. If I can get my paws on the Scharffen Berger that she suggests (didn't see it at Whole Foods), I will try that in the next batch.

                                                                      31 Replies
                                                                      1. re: peppermint_sky

                                                                        Those sound delish and I love bar cookies, too, as they're so much less fussy than portioning out cookie dough!

                                                                        If your Whole Foods is like mine, their store-packed cocoa in the little plastic tubs is Valrhona. Try it--you won't be disappointed. :) Just ask, they'll tell you where to find it. They are always moving the cocoa around near me so it's like a scavenger hunt trying to locate it.

                                                                        1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                          Good idea, kattyeyes. I have noticed that Valrhona and drooled; I think I even bought some once but didn't get around to finding a recipe that calls for the cocoa and then it disappeared, as items occasionally do in my kitchen. (For tonight's recipe, though, I needed the unsweetened bar. I scouted out the WF baking aisle and saw for unsweetened just the Baker's unsweetened and Ghirardelli and something outrageously expensive/organic that was not Valrhona or Sscharffen Berger). Do you use the cocoa for those luscious-looking brownies you make?

                                                                          1. re: peppermint_sky

                                                                            Oh, OOPS, I didn't realize you used a bar rather than cocoa powder. How many are left this morning? :)

                                                                            My local WF used to sell Valrhona feves (dark, milk and white) in those little tubs, too, until one day, no more. So I had them order a massive (6 # 9 oz!) bag of 70% dark chocolate feves for me--Guanaja. I chop a handful (1/4 to 1/3 cup) to add to any of the Ghirardelli brownie variations I make. But the cocoa powder in the brownies is the sweetened Ghirardelli kind.

                                                                            On my to-do list for the year is to convert the sweetened cocoa to unsweetened cocoa plus sugar (I have the conversions handy, just haven't done it yet). Should be a tasty experiment!

                                                                            Meanwhile, fellow caramel lover, these up your alley? They're salted turtle cookies.
                                                                            http://honestcooking.com/2012/02/25/s...

                                                                            1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                              Oh man, those sound good!

                                                                              1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                                                                Hey, lady! Don't they? I've never seen caramel bits before. I googled and found this:
                                                                                http://www.google.com/products/catalo...

                                                                                They don't look very "bitty" (HA, bitty)...more like little clusters. Have you used them? I'll hafta take a gander in the supermarket.

                                                                                1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                  I've seen those, but I think maybe at Target and not the regular grocery store. I guess you could chop up the regular caramels if these aren't available ... sticky work, but do-able.

                                                                                  1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                                                                    Apparently, they are a Christmas-related thing...for what, I dunno...I'd have guessed Halloween faster for caramel apples, but anyway...THANK YOU, WALMART! I bought the last two bags today. I'm going to caramelize my own favorite CCCs and leave the pecans out. NOM NOM NOM NOM NOM!

                                                                                    1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                      Oh brother. You are one wicked woman. Hmm, those bo.ring TJs salt caramels might come in handy in a cookie.

                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                        Ultimate compliment. ;) I don't remember you mentioning TJ's caramels. Are they too salty? Or just not so sexy on their own?

                                                                                        1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                          Indeedy. Blah. Not salty at all.

                                                                                      2. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                        Oh, Kt! I had to try a handful of these bits to taste test 'em...they're rather grainy if you've never tried them. :( I suppose what should I have expected for $1.99 a bag?! So anyone who's considering this recipe--I'd recommend making your own caramels OR chopping up ones you know you like. Skip these bits unless you're making 'em for little folks or crowds who wouldn't appreciate the difference.

                                                                                        1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                          Oh that's disappointing! Wait ... how about these? http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/i...

                                                                                          Not quite as convenient as the grocery store, but I can always find an excuse to order from KAF (and the reviews are good)!

                                                                                          1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                                                                            Thank you! The KA site's bits look shockingly similar to the Kraft bits--and the Kraft list of ingredients is about the same:
                                                                                            Sugar, Corn Syrup, Skim Milk, Palm Oil, Butter (Cream, Salt), Salt, Emulsifiers (Vegetable Mono- And Diglycerides, Soy Lecithin), Natural Flavor. Contains: Milk, Soy.

                                                                                            Gotta figure there must be only so many unique places churning these out...

                                                                                            Maybe I'll cheat and "enhance" using the KA suggestion:
                                                                                            "gently heat 1/2 cup caramel bits with 1 tablespoon heavy cream, stirring until smooth, to make a tasty topping. Increase the heavy cream to 3 tablespoons to make a delicious sauce."

                                                                                            Or maybe, once baked into a cookie, they'll be melty and delicious. I'm just kinda concerned they will retain their "bitty" shapes and stay somewhat grainy. Hmmm. Gotta noodle on this one before trying it in my CCCs. What are your thoughts? Do you have a favorite store-bought caramel you'd consider chopping up to add?

                                                                                            1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                              The regular-sized Kraft ones always seem to have an odd aftertaste, IMO. I usually make caramel for apples and such ... and probably that's the easiest solution--not fast, but fairly inexpensive at least.

                                                                                              1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                                                                                Ah, OK--thank you for validating--it's not just me! Making your own caramel is definitely the tastiest solution.

                                                                                                1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                  KA sells big hunks of caramel you could cut up. I believe roxlet gets her bits from KA and likes them.

                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                    Yes, I like the bits, and I know that they look like the Kraft ones, but I son't have a source for them, so I order from KA. BTW, in honor of leap year, 29 cent shipping on orders over $29 at KA today!

                                                                                                    1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                      Rox, when you put the bits in brownies, do they keep their shape--like crazy little chickpeas--or do they melt into the brownie as gobs of caramel?

                                                                                                      I did a little experiment in the name of deliciousness for dessert. I melted 1 tablespoon of bits with 1 teaspoon of cream in the micro to make a sauce and added a dash of salt. It smoothed out and stirred together beautifully--no more gritty/grainy texture and even the samples I tasted sans the apple I was trying it with were much better than the "raw" bits.

                                                                                                      So if you tell me the bits DO melt into the baked good, game on and I will try them in my CCCs, But if you say they keep their chickpea shape, I'm going to mess with them before I add them to my dough. So please do tell. :) I must say adding cream and melting the bits made a HUGE difference. Thank you in advance (for helping make my cookies even more fattening, HA HA)!

                                                                                              2. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                A side note here....did anyone watch the sixty minutes piece about "natural flavors"? "Natural" flavors are "natural"; however they are not made from what they are supposed to taste like. In other words, "natural vanilla flavor" does not have any vanilla beans in it - if it had actual vanilla in it, it would be called "vanilla extract". Now, who wants to know what is frequently used to create vanilla flavor? Here it is....

                                                                                                stuff from beaver anal glands!!!!! Yippee!!!!

                                                                                                Hope it didn't ruin anyone's day!!!

                                                                                                Just one more reason to not only read ingredients labels, but to know what you are reading.

                                                                                                I did hesitate to post this due to the downer quality of it.....

                                                                                                1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                  I'd always heard vanilla flavor came from by-products of the paper-making industry, or synthesized in a lab. I think the beaver thing would be as expensive as real vanilla.

                                                                                                  1. re: sarahjay

                                                                                                    You do make sense. The video was quite interesting. I think the synthesized vanilla would be called "artificial vanilla", however. There are three:

                                                                                                    artificial
                                                                                                    natural
                                                                                                    extract or pure

                                                                                                    1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castoreum

                                                                                                      Holy moly, look at this! I've heard of castoreum for years. Maybe they make artificial castoreum these days? Are beavers really hunted for this? Oh my poor national animal.

                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                        Eek ... good to know, but yuck.

                                                                                                        I was just coming back to mention the KAF shipping deal today -- glad someone else remembered earlier in the day!

                                                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                          Unfortunately if I understand correctly if they artificially make the castoreum (thanks for finding that), then the end product has to be called artificial, not natural.

                                                                                                          Hubby and I had a fun time saying, "beaver butt ice cream".

                                                                                                          1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                            :) You could serve it on beaver tail pastries, like they have in Ottawa. (I guess artificial, yes -- the rules on food labeling are abstruse.)

                                                                              2. re: peppermint_sky

                                                                                Holy Mother of God, peppermint_sky. Those sound just unbelievable.

                                                                                1. re: mamachef

                                                                                  Thanks, mc! I hope they taste unbelievable. I am impressed by my own restraint. Waiting for these to cool completely... but I am excited to dive into this creation, believe me!

                                                                                2. re: peppermint_sky

                                                                                  I have had my eye on that recipe, and was thinking of trying it soon, so I'm looking forward to reading about your results!

                                                                                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                    Have you tried other recipes from that book, Caitlin?

                                                                                    1. re: peppermint_sky

                                                                                      I have only made two, Chocolate Chunk Cookies with Cherries and Pecans (p. 145) and Oatmeal (p. 150). They both tasted great and people gobbled them up, but neither came out with the texture she describes (cakey in the first place, chewy in the second), and instead both were crisp. Probably my fault; I may have overbaked the chocolate ones, and I used browned butter in the oatmeal, which could have affected them somehow. I recently looked through it again, and there are so many appealing recipes!

                                                                                  2. re: peppermint_sky

                                                                                    I gotta take another look at that book. Those sound amazing. Like your tweaks, too.

                                                                                  3. I made gougeres to take to a party today, using (instead of the usual Gruyere) a cheese I discovered recently and really enjoy - applewood smoked cheddar. The gougeres were interesting in that the the first bite did not seem special, but the aftertaste was really good. The next time I will use more cheese; I used 6oz of cheese for a panade made with 7.5 oz flour, 5oz butter, and 6 eggs.

                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: souschef

                                                                                      How nice, souschef. That cheese sounds really good - I can appreciate that it's subtle enough to leave an afterglow instead of bashing you in the mouth immediately.

                                                                                      1. re: mamachef

                                                                                        That's one thing I do not like, smoked cheese of any variety. Dunno why. I am a bit iffy on smoked things in general, have to be in the mood. That being said, I'd eat anything you made in a heartbeat, mister!

                                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                                          I'm honoured !

                                                                                          I just can't keep this cheese around; I keep eating it. Unfortunately it's on the pricey side.

                                                                                    2. It's a chilly Sunday morning here, and I'm using up some leftover challah that's been sitting in the freezer for a while in a bread pudding--or baked French toast?--with apples.

                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                                                                        So how did it turn out?

                                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                                          It was good! I added chopped pecans towards the end, which added crunch and more flavor. Maple syrup on top ...

                                                                                      2. Ever since I turned Cynsa's favourite butter cake into an orange cake, I've been wanting to make a more orangey cake. Then in the first February thread I saw this epicurious one posted and decided to make it, using candied orange peel instead of ginger:

                                                                                        http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                                                                        But first I had to find candied orange peel. As I could not find any here in the 'burbs, I decided to make my own. Back to epi for a recipe:

                                                                                        http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                                                                        Whoever developed that orange peel recipe was high on sugar. It states that you have to cook the peel of 2 oranges in simple syrup made with 3 cups sugar and 3 cups water; I thought it was too much syrup. I cooked the peel of 4 oranges in 2 cups sugar and 2 cups water, and the syrup was plenty. In addition, after I tossed the peel in 1 cup sugar, I had about 3/4 cups sugar left after I removed the peel from the dish. After dicing the peel I ran it through a sieve with large holes, to remove the excess sugar; I got beautiful yellow sugar.

                                                                                        I had intended to use 1 cup sugar instead of 2, but after comparing the recipe with my gold standard (RLB's Golden Grand Marnier Cake), decided to use 1-1/2 cups sugar (10.5 oz). I used 10 oz flour for the 2-1/4 cups that was specified. I disllike the crunch of sugar, so did not coat the pan with raw sugar. In the mix I used the grated zest of two oranges.

                                                                                        Just realized I was rambling...the cake was great. Very nice and moist and orangey, and the candied peel stayed soft, except for the few pieces that were in contact with the pan; they got a bit chewy. It was also cheaper than the GGM Cake (no expensive Felchlin chocolate or GM). It was great for breakfast this AM ! A definite repeat, though getting the pith off the zest is a PITH (pain in the hands, or as my French-Canadian BIL would say, pain in the hass).

                                                                                        14 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: souschef

                                                                                          This sounds delightful. Did you ice it with anything?

                                                                                          1. re: roxlet

                                                                                            Nope, it did not need icing.

                                                                                          2. re: souschef

                                                                                            makin' me crazy - just one bite, please, please. I want your orange cake and nibbles of candied orange peel.
                                                                                            House guests arriving on our Wedding Anniversary - will bake the genoise for the Chocolate Chestnut Cake - at long last. Must clean house first; make grocery list to bake on Wednesday to eat on Thursday.

                                                                                            1. re: Cynsa

                                                                                              I forgot to mention that the candied orange peel was delicious. You really must make some peel and the cake.

                                                                                              I did not follow the recipe when peeling the oranges. I halved and juiced them (Gotta get my Vitamin C!), then quartered each half before getting rid of the pith.

                                                                                              Looking forward to your opinion of the CCC. Don't forget that you have to use puree de marrons, not creme de marrons.

                                                                                            2. re: souschef

                                                                                              Souschef, if you are looking for a way to bump up the orange flavor further, I stumbled upon something the other day that might work - a recipe for citrus "dust." You take whole citrus fruits (I used oranges, but anything would work) and slice them paper thin, then dehydrate in a 200 degree oven for several hours, until completely brittle. Pulverize in a coffee/spice grinder (add a pinch of sugar and/or salt if desired) and presto, dust. It's very intensely flavored and I think it would be a great addition to any recipe that calls for zest. The pith does add a bitter note, but I don't find it overwhelming with the oranges - if I were making a grapefruit version I would probably remove the zest in large strips, then remove the pith before slicing the fruit.

                                                                                              1. re: biondanonima

                                                                                                Thanks for the tip. I saw orange dust in a store here recently, and wanted to try it, but was concerned that it would be gritty. Since you recommend it I'll give it a shot.

                                                                                                1. re: souschef

                                                                                                  I processed mine to death in a coffee grinder - the consistency is very fine, almost like powdered sugar. I have yet to mix it into anything like frosting, where the slightest bit of grit would be noticeable, but I am certain it would blend easily into cake batters and the like.

                                                                                                  1. re: biondanonima

                                                                                                    Does it not smell at least a bit of coffee after you process it? I'm not a fan of coffee flavor in cake, much as I like coffee.

                                                                                                    I recently picked up some kumquats, which I will subject to the candying process (whole, of course), as I really like them.

                                                                                                    1. re: souschef

                                                                                                      I didn't notice an off flavor, and I don't have a sense of smell so I can't comment on that. My husband didn't notice that it smelled of coffee, nor did he comment that his coffee the next day tasted of oranges, so I don't think it was an issue. I am actually planning to get a second coffee grinder just to use for spice grinding, though - they're fairly cheap and not worrying about flavor contamination would be worth it.

                                                                                              2. re: souschef

                                                                                                When I created an orange-almond cake recipe last year, I discovered that adding orange marmalade really punched up the orange flavor, and that it, combined with orange juice and zest, created an intense and layered effect in the cake. And it just disappeared into the cake, leaving no trace of its texture or the bitter edge found in straight marmalade (which, despite being a fan of some bitter flavors - bitter greens, Campari, etc. - I don't much care for). None of the various people I served the cake to guessed it had marmalade in it.

                                                                                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                  Proper marmalade or the American stuff?

                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                    How is the "American stuff" different? Perhaps I've been lucky, but if I've used American brands, I've not found them substantially different than British ones such as Tiptree, Robertson's, etc. But then, I'm not an afficionado.

                                                                                                  2. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                    I should try it though I really dislike marmalade; life is too short to eat anything bitter.

                                                                                                    1. re: souschef

                                                                                                      Yeah, I'm not an admirer of pith.

                                                                                                2. No interesting/exciting baking here, just my faithful standby--no-knead ciabatta. And a huge batch of granola, also an old standby.

                                                                                                  But I am itching to break out my copy of the Medrich book after reading this thread.

                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                    Is it the NYT recipe (your no-knead ciabatta) or something else?

                                                                                                    1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                      It's the one from Jim Lahey's "My Bread," which is slightly different from the NYT recipe, Bittman's adaptation of Lahey's recipe. But it's easy, and it works every time--and I have zero baking skills.

                                                                                                       
                                                                                                       
                                                                                                      1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                        Cool, thank you--will check it out. Appreciate the photos, too--looks great!

                                                                                                  2. I have to make cookies for a church thing this week, but I'm not sure what to make. This is a crowd that is impressed by cake-mix cookies, so it will be something cheap and easy.

                                                                                                    10 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: sarahjay

                                                                                                      Not cheap - but pecan bars are always a hit. Whoopie pies also so easy, and people think they are hard to make. Home made moon pies - same idea. Brown butter blondies. Salted oatmeal cookies. Kick up the brownies a bit, by making them into s'more brownies - graham cracker crust and marshmallows on top.

                                                                                                      1. re: jsaimd

                                                                                                        I think I might just make rice krispie treats (with sprinkles!), the kids will like them and they'll be fast and easy. Whoopie pies are kind of my thing, but I save them for special occasions because they do take a bit of time.

                                                                                                        1. re: sarahjay

                                                                                                          RK treats are always a hit and will be extra-appealing to the kiddos by adding sprinkles. What a fun idea!

                                                                                                          1. re: sarahjay

                                                                                                            Rice Krispies treats are always a winner... I keep wanted to try a browned butter version that I read about somewhere...

                                                                                                            1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                              Brown butter is great in rice kirspies, but the bars turn out crunchier/firmer. I've been toying with using half browned butter, half just melted butter

                                                                                                              1. re: sarahjay

                                                                                                                The trick (when I made them, anyway) is just to add a little more butter if you brown it--'cause this doesn't look crunchy, does it? :)

                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                  Oh rice krispie square, I am powerless before thee, so I never make thou.

                                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                    I only make them to take places, but sometimes I have to make them at work, (for cake figure molding, I work at a custom cake shop). I had to make them at work today and we all stood around the giant copper pot scraping the last of it out and eating the cereal treat. It gets dangerous. That and fresh raspberries are the only things I find hard to resist at work. I'm a pie girl working at a cake shop :)

                                                                                                                    1. re: sarahjay

                                                                                                                      I can imagine. Good thing you're a pie girl! I baked pies as a summer job once (and I'm a cake girl).

                                                                                                                2. re: sarahjay

                                                                                                                  Crunchy is not good in RK squares.
                                                                                                                  Buttertart; I also find them so irresistible, I can't make them. Ditto with the Western Canadian variation, cocoa puffed wheat squares...

                                                                                                        2. I made a double recipe of Pam Anderson's brownies from 150 Best American Recipes. They are lovely and very chocolaty with a mix of unsweetened chocolate and semi-sweet chocolate. I would say that they are plenty fudgy but slightly more cakey than Nick Malgieri's Supernatural Brownies. Both are great to have in your brownie-making arsenal. I love making brownies since the clean-up is so easy and everyone is so happy to have them. I never understand why people make packaged brownies when the real thing is truly effortless.

                                                                                                          1. Trying to decide what to make for a meeting at work: one of these two, but I can't decide which one..
                                                                                                            a chocolate chip sour cream coffee cake
                                                                                                            http://smittenkitchen.com/2006/11/cub...
                                                                                                            Or a coffee heath bar cake
                                                                                                            http://lickthebowlgood.blogspot.com/2...

                                                                                                            6 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                              Wow, that Heath Bar cake sounds awesome, and quite different. I have made many sour cream coffee cakes, but none on a sheet pan as the smittenkitchen.com one is done. I'd go for the Heath Bar one myself!

                                                                                                              1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                I am very tempted, especially since I have a bag of heath bar bits I picked up at Target the last time I was in the States!

                                                                                                                1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                  Oh, that's funny. I live in NY and the only place I've ever been able to find Heath Bar Bits is at Target!

                                                                                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                    I got it at the Target in Brooklyn, while visiting a friend there! Also got some Andes chocolate mint chips.. should use those too...

                                                                                                                2. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                  Well, I made it last night. Smelled wonderful baking.. I wasn't too sure what I thought about it.. but then I ended up eating 4 pieces (and going to bed with an achy tummy..) I don't know if that's just due to poor impulse control, or if it really was that good. I'll see what my colleagues say...

                                                                                                                  1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                    Ah, achy tummy is the baker's ailment!

                                                                                                              2. My son is getting increasingly fussy about breakfast before school, so I made a couple of loaves of cracked wheat bread, which is his favorite bread ever. It's from an old Fleishmann's baking leaflet that my husband had. My son had already gone through almost half a loaf of warm bread with butter for an after work-out snack. Ah, to be 16! In the oven right now is an applesauce oatmeal quick bread from the King Arthur site. I hope this will also temp him in the morning, or he can take a slice with him when he leaves for school. I ran it by him first, and it seems to get uniformly good reviews on the web site:
                                                                                                                http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipe...

                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                  That looks really good.. yum!

                                                                                                                2. Ok my dears, 2 things.
                                                                                                                  1. What should I make as dessert for a dinner for my (dear) SIL and a friend on Thurs? Dinner will be either chestnut soup or arugula/pear/Roquefort salad, scallops with beurre noir and almonds, saffron rice, sugar snaps with shallots. Any and all suggestions welcomed. Was thinking a dacquoise or the serious choc "cake" from Plenty, but we're in pretty rich territory here already. Thoughts?
                                                                                                                  2. I'll be in T.O. for a couple of days soon, if you're there too and would like to meet, my email's in my profile :)

                                                                                                                  16 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                    If you go with the chestnut soup for your starter, I would definitely choose something lighter/fruity for dessert. I dislike dacquoise (meringue in general), but if you know your guests will like it that might be a good option, if you choose a light/fruity filling. If you do the arugula salad (which would be my preference, since you have nuts with your scallops), I would go for broke with the chocolate cake. Oh, and I would invite me. :)

                                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                      2. Just e-mailed you..

                                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                        How about light and chocolate? http://www.marthastewart.com/316592/c... or Herve This' chocolate mousse?

                                                                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                          I agree with something lighter and fruity....
                                                                                                                          Perhaps a Sea Salt Dusted Pavlova with Lemon Curd and Fruit
                                                                                                                          or
                                                                                                                          Lemon or Grapefruit or Orange Custard Cake - i have a good recipe for the kind that automatically separates into cake and custard layer
                                                                                                                          or
                                                                                                                          Pommelo Clafoutis

                                                                                                                          Wish I was in T.O. too...

                                                                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                            How about pears poached in a Riesling/simple syrup mixture, served with a mascarpone sauce underneath and a chocolate sauce on top. I've made it a few times, and really like it. Of course, you can never go wrong with chocolate cake.

                                                                                                                            Or a passion fruit soufflé.

                                                                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                              I'll say it again: Pavlova! With lemon curd and fruits! Yummala!!
                                                                                                                              Though dacquoise is always always a welcome guest on anybody's dessert cart, home ed.
                                                                                                                              An abbreviated trifle? Just sponge, custard and some marinated fruit? (Although I guess that's not really abbreviated, when you get down to it...
                                                                                                                              Wine-poached, spiced pear clafoutis.
                                                                                                                              Dinner sounds stellar, lady.

                                                                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                This one screams citrus to me, not chocolate. If you want to go traditional - a good lemon tart (or meyer lemon). I like Alice Medrich's and adore Pierre Herme's lemon cream tart although the latter is not light at all.

                                                                                                                                for lighter - a dacquoise with a lime curd filling lightened with whipped cream - make the dacquoise with pecans.

                                                                                                                                A coconut cake, soaked in passion fruit syrup and frosted with whipped cream would be nice too. It would have the brightness I think I would crave after that meal.

                                                                                                                                for something totally different a parsnip cardamom creme brulee topped with a citrus compote.

                                                                                                                                1. re: jsaimd

                                                                                                                                  Thanks everybody, and wish you were in T.O. too! Still deciding.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                    So, I know these two love chocolate, and I decided something relatively light would be in order so they wouldn't keel over from excess. After going through a bunch of books, I lit on "Bittersweet Deception" from "Bittersweet" by Medrich. You make a cocoa/water/salt/sugar puddingy thing, then pour that over 5 oz chopped choc, add vanilla and booze (Grand Marnier for me) then beat 2 eggs + 1 egg white (I used 3 eggs, why throw the yolk away, sheesh) with 1/2 c of sugar, then fold into the choc, then bake in water bath until lightly crusted and still shivery in the center. Cool, chill, unmold, (let warm up a bit - me), serve. I may serve some frozen Temple orange supremes with it if I get schmancy.
                                                                                                                                    Figured considerably lighter than something with nuts and butter. Also signifies on a lot of levels -- Berkeley (Cocolat opened while we were there, and a friend worked there), everybody involved likes orange and choc together, my SIL's friend is Canadian and that's a big thing up there (viz. Terry's chocolate oranges), her background is Dutch (so you got chocolate AND the House of Orange covered...). Grand Marnier inspired by souschef and my dad, whose favorite thing on earth it was.
                                                                                                                                    Must join Overthinkers Anonymous...

                                                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                      Sounds fabulous, but somehow not light!

                                                                                                                                      1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                        It's not exactly dietetic, but everything else I looked at had scads and oodles of butter etc in them.

                                                                                                                                      2. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                        I'm a passionfruit instead of oranges person because I think that is the most perfect marriage on the planet...but that is just me...

                                                                                                                                        1. re: jsaimd

                                                                                                                                          I didn't think that passion fruit and oranges were an exclusive-or thing. I like both.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                            -good point!

                                                                                                                                            I live in California with big Mexican markets - we get passionfruit puree in the freezer section at most of these markets.

                                                                                                                                          2. re: jsaimd

                                                                                                                                            Passionfruit is one of my favourite flavours too, just rather harder to come by than orange.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                              And a lot more expensive.

                                                                                                                                  2. I have been bad about posting but these days is birthday season with some cakes and cupcakes (pics I think I will post). Most of my baking is gluten free, adapted from regular recipes

                                                                                                                                    Brown butter cake - made the Tom Douglas which was dense when I converted to GF and then my favorite one from the Sweet Melissa cookbook. It is a lovely cake GF, but make sure you have a good oven. The one in the house we just moved into (rental) has a horrible cold spot in the middle of the oven and is super hot on top - even with a heavy stone in it...someday we will own a house : )).

                                                                                                                                    Good old Black Magic Cake - always a winner

                                                                                                                                    Cupcakes were tie dye with Martha Stewart's vanilla cupcake recipe - not gluten free. Well received. Glazed with chocolate glaze before frosting. Used a marshmallow to pile frosting on for the monster. (see pic)

                                                                                                                                    Vanilla cake from King Arthur's Gluten free recipe - used their brown rice mix sub. Raised well, tasted good, but really really dry - if you make it, plan to soak well.

                                                                                                                                    Fillings were chocolate hazelnut mousse (my own recipe on the fly - yummy) and chocolate truffle

                                                                                                                                    Frostings were an Italian Buttercream, White chocolate cream cheese, and Cook's Illustrated chocolate. Oh - and good old American Buttercream but I always use either whipped cream or buttermilk instead of milk to cut the sweetness a bit.

                                                                                                                                    Fondant used was Duff, Satin Ice and Fondarific - best taste is Fondarific IMO, easiest to use and best overall is Satin Ice. Didn't like taste of Duff, but it was easy to use.

                                                                                                                                    Also - brown sugar ice cream with fudge swirl and buttered pecans. Used the Jeni's ice cream base - my favorite.

                                                                                                                                    Buche Noel was in December - but it was hazelnut dacquoise, salted caramel mousse, milk chocolate fuilletine, spiced pear compote.

                                                                                                                                    gluten free buttermilk glazed donuts

                                                                                                                                    upside-down cherry brown butter cake (I like brown butter)

                                                                                                                                    Trying to decide what to make for Sunday dinner - guest of honor is a new Celiac 12 year old girl. Want it to be something special (so not necessarily naturally GF), kid and adult appealing and maybe a bit technical to make for fun - any suggestions from you all that bake so frequently?

                                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                    8 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: jsaimd

                                                                                                                                      Wow, jsaimd. I'm not on this thread enough, so I guess I've missed your artistry. Look at that! Just....Wow!!
                                                                                                                                      Today I made an Irish Soda bread and found out at the very last minute that I'm clean out of raisins and currants, so I subbed in a half-cup of crushed pecans (I'd have used walnuts, but guess what else I didn't have?) and I'm currently (haha! unintentional!!) enjoying a warm slice with unsalted butter and a sprinkle of salt, with a mug of mulled cider. Delicious, and it might tide me over till sixish. :)
                                                                                                                                      Thursday I've got to finish the baking for a Friday night sweet table at Temple. NM's Supernaturals, because there can never EVER be enough chocolate (can there?), and for a change of pace I'm going to toss some gougeres into the mix. (There might not ever be able for there to be enough cheese either.) A nod to the not-sweet-freaks; easy, and shore are mighty tasty, too.)
                                                                                                                                      Have a great safe rest of the week, y'all.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: jsaimd

                                                                                                                                        Wow! Great looking cakes, and it seems like you had some real fun making them!

                                                                                                                                        1. re: jsaimd

                                                                                                                                          ! That is one kickass guitar! ROCK ON! Really nice job!

                                                                                                                                          Your monsters' wistful marshmallow eyes totally reminded me of the Yip-Yips and made me smile. BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR-RING! Greetings! Hi there!
                                                                                                                                          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KTc3Ps...

                                                                                                                                          What a lovely Bûche de Noël, too! And salted caramel mousse to boot? You're speaking my language!

                                                                                                                                          1. re: jsaimd

                                                                                                                                            Wow! So impressed with your artistry.. decorating is definitely not my strength, so I am very impressed...

                                                                                                                                            1. re: jsaimd

                                                                                                                                              Amazing! I don't have any decorating ability whatsoever.
                                                                                                                                              But hey, isn't Duff...beer? :)

                                                                                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                Duff as in Ace of Cakes put out a brand of cake decorating things at Michael's. It is actually decent stuff, not nasty like Wilton fondant, but not my cup of tea.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: jsaimd

                                                                                                                                                  Oho. Just a symptom of Simpsonsitis in my case.

                                                                                                                                              2. re: jsaimd

                                                                                                                                                Satin Ice is my favorite too. It's also cheaper (from my wholesaler) than other brands (fondariffic costs twice as much, pettinice is disgusting, fondx is nice but pricier).

                                                                                                                                                As a brown butter fan, have you ever tried the hazelnut brown butter cake from smitten kitchen? It's one of my favorite cakes. I don't usually serve it with ganache, as she does, but I like it with spiced ice cream and sometimes salted caramel sauce.

                                                                                                                                                http://smittenkitchen.com/2008/03/haz...

                                                                                                                                              3. I made a double recipe of the Pam Anderson Brownies for 150 Best American Recipes today, and baked them in 2 8" pans, which seems to have made them less cakey. I also added a bit of espresso powder to the melted chocolate/butter, and stirred in some caramel pieces before baking. The people at the bake sale should be very happy. These will certainly sell well, plus I packaged them individually with little ribbons and tags saying what they are.

                                                                                                                                                1. I made Finnish pancakes for the first time and my partner said they're restaurant worthy. He's never said that about anything I've made (I'm not a bad cook, honest) so this one's a keeper for sure! The closest thing I can compare it to is a Yorkshire pudding that's really large, squishy and sweet. So good with butter and homemade jam.

                                                                                                                                                  This apparently isn't a traditional recipe but I choose it because I had a jar of crystallized honey that I wanted to use up: http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,195,1...

                                                                                                                                                  The instructions for the cooking vessel are a little vague so after some internet sleuthing, I used the largest dish I own - a 10" x 15" Pyrex dish with 3" sides - and it was the perfect size. The second time I halved the recipe and used the 8" square Pyrex with equal results. Except that they're so tasty I'll be making the full amount the next time! :)

                                                                                                                                                  1. Happy nearly March! Here's the new thread...
                                                                                                                                                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/836471