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What are you baking these days? March, 2012 [old]

Hi there, everybody! Here we go into the month when Spring begins, hip hip hooray! I have a new chocolate thing in the fridge ready for tomorrow night's dinner (will post recipe if it's as good as I hope). How about you? What are YOU baking these days?

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  1. Because the weather has been unusually cool where we live (Dubai) I've been baking far more than usual. We're finishing up a Gordon Ramsay coffee crumb cake that was very nice, not too sweet and with a firm crumb that mixed well with the side of vanilla ice cream.

    This weekend I am making a batch of the David Lebovitz fruitcake bars that we seemingly can't eat enough of in this household, and I'm torn between trying out the Smitten Kitchen brown butter cake or the Smitten Kitchen St. Louis gooey butter cake that will be served at a dinner party on Saturday.

    It falls in the category of baking so I might as well add it: the other night I made Ottolenghi's cauliflower cake. It's more like a heavy souffle than a cake but it was delicious and an ingenous way to serve baked vegetables. I'm having the leftovers for lunch today while pondering ideas for improving it by substituting different kinds of cheese, adding other vegs to the mix or serving it with a light and slightly spicy tomato sauce.

    13 Replies
    1. re: Roland Parker

      Hmm... what is considered cool in Dubai?
      My brother is a big fan of Gordon Ramsey, but I've never made any of his recipes.. his sweets are good too?

      1. re: rstuart

        Low 70s during the day, dropping into the 60s at night. It did warm up to about 80 over the weekend before dropping to 70 today. This time last year we were solidly in the 80s.

        It does sound ridiculous to claim that it's cool weather but our bodies are acclimitized, and the coolness is made worse by that practically everyone has marble/tile floors which makes the houses feel even cooler inside.

        I only have one Gordon Ramsey cookbook that was passed to me by a friend who left Dubai. I'd place him in the same league as Nigella Lawson and Ina Garten with solid, well tested and simple recipes that are very rewarding. His sweets are the same as other British cooks, not too sweet.

        1. re: Roland Parker

          I guess it's all what you're used to!

      2. re: Roland Parker

        Would there be a link to the GR cake? Coffee cake as in coffee-flavored?

        1. re: buttertart

          Coffee and Almond crunch cake. It's both coffee flavored and a coffee cake. It's a pleasant, not overly sweet cake and very good with a scoop of ice cream on the side because the crumbs intermingle with the melted ice cream. The flavors also nicely developed over several days although the cake did dry out a bit (not that I minded).

          I found a recipe at the following link:

          http://tortaallagianduia.blogspot.com...

          But it's in metric, I'm afraid.

          1. re: Roland Parker

            I speak metric (have a scale). Thanks, this looks VERY good.

            1. re: Roland Parker

              Here it is, converted. Looks great! I think ground almonds are a little extravagant for my budget, but I would really like to make this. Fantastic idea a coffee cake with coffee flavoring, and that photo is drool-inducing.

              http://www.cooking.com/recipes-and-mo...

          2. re: Roland Parker

            Update:

            I made the Smitten Kitchen brown butter cake. It was....good in an adult way by which I mean a nice nutty flavour, the burnt butter flavour and dark chocolate ganache icing. The boys didn't care for the cake which didn't surprise me.

            While I enjoyed the cake I don't think it turned out the way it was supposed to. I imagine the egg whites deflated too much when I added the melted butter batter, so the end result wasn't necessarily as light and fluffy as it could have been and turned out more like a dense, extra moist mittel-Europa style torte. I will try the cake again another time.

            This weekend: Smitten Kitchen chocolate chip sour cream coffee cake! Thank goodness that everyone in this household has been very physically active in the last few months to justify all the cakes I've been baking.

            1. re: Roland Parker

              I'm pretty sure I beat the whites with some (maybe half?) of the sugar for extra stability, but it's been probably 2 years since I've made it. Should do that one again :)

              1. re: Roland Parker

                Roland.. I made the SK coffee cake on Sunday, and it was very popular at work.. a friend asked for the recipe to make it for a family member's birthday.. I will definitely be making it again!

                1. re: rstuart

                  I think I overbaked it slightly. I may have inadvertently added too much baking power/soda as the cake rose tremendously during baking before settling back down to a reasonable level.

                  The recipe called for dividing the eggs and beating the whites until stiff and then folding the whites into the batter, but the batter was so thick that beating/folding the whites separately seemed to make no difference. The batter was as thick as a biscuit batter. Should this be normal?

                  Still, it's the chocolate chips that makes this the cake more than however the batter is supposed to be. It is *not* a light dessert and felt heavier than a traditional cake, but a warm slice is delicious.

                  * Now I wonder if the reason for a heavy batter is to stand up to the weight of the chocolate chips? A thinner, more traditional cake batter may be too weak?

                  1. re: Roland Parker

                    Roland; the batter was really thick, although I did find that it lightened up a *bit* when I folded in the egg whites. I think that she warns you that it is a very thick batter.. I definitely had to spread it out with an offset spatula to get it to cover the bottom of the pan.
                    I cut the cake into small pieces.. but still found it utterly addictive!!

            2. Focaccia stuffed with sauteed onions and green bell peppers, and chopped pitted black olives. The yeast is 6 years past it's expiration date and still active because of storage method.

              4 Replies
                1. re: roxlet

                  Mine is 5 years out of date (SAF instant, was 500 gm pkg) and ditto, always kept frozen.

                  1. re: roxlet

                    No, fridge...in a glass jar with well fitting lid.

                  2. re: ChiliDude

                    The focaccia did not turn out as expected. Two separate layers of dough were rolled out. The ingredients used to stuff the focaccia were too oily due to the sauteing so the 2 layers did not adhere as I wished. More experimentation is necessary. Maybe the dough should be rolled out, filled and then flopped over like a calzone?

                  3. One of my employees just went through a bad breakup and is very emotionally fragile, definitely in need of some TLC. So I took stock of the pantry last night, and baked a small pan of coffee brown butter blondies for her. They're more cakey than chewy because I had to add a second egg to make the batter come together (not sure what was up as the recipe used standard proportions, but there was no way I could have incorporated the dry ingredients with just one egg). The flavor, however, is terrific. Magical brown butter does it again.

                    1 Reply
                    1. Vanilla bean sables, from the new Fine Cooking (and by Dorie, who I love).

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                        These are really good. I don't think they'll make it til the weekend. :b

                         
                      2. This poppy seed lemon cake from Smitten Kitchen: http://smittenkitchen.com/2010/01/pop... . I snuck a sliver before dinner and it's really really good. Rich and buttery and pound cake-ish, but not too sweet. I'm going to slice up some strawberries to top it with for dessert.

                        1. Not sure if it counts as baking (I will bake it) but I'm making lasagna for a small church dinner group on Sunday. Other people will bring sides and dessert so I'm just making the lasagna. I usually start from scratch, but am thinking about buying ricotta, noodles, sausage, and maybe even sauce from the store (I would doctor the sauce for sure) They'll just be impressed it isn't Stouffers. If it was just for family I would do the whole thing from scratch.

                          1. After 2.5 months off work for surgeries DH is back to work--hiphip hooray! I baked Cranberry Lemon & Chocolate Chip Scones as a Thank you to his coworkers who shouldered his workload while he was away.

                             
                            1. Inspired by this post on Peanut Butter Lovers Day (Thursday, don't feel bad if you missed "the day"--who on earth would have known, HA HA):
                              http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10...

                              I made an 8 x 8" peanut butter cake taking the peanut butter component from the above recipe and adapting to a smaller cake from my own recipe files, then topped it with a chocolate cream cheese frosting. My mom said, without having read anything about it, "It tastes like a Reese's!" And it does...except in cake form. Fun experiment!

                              Overall, I prefer peanut butter PIE or cookies or cheesecake or cups, but it hasn't stopped me from eating any of this cake. :) Oh, and as usual, despite attempting a smaller batch of frosting, I have leftover frosting for spooning from the fridge!

                               
                              4 Replies
                              1. re: kattyeyes

                                YUM ... as usual, lol. Chocolate and peanut butter is a deadly delicious combination--I can't tell you how many recipes I've pinned recently with those two ingredients, lol.

                                1. re: kattyeyes

                                  Peanut butter pie!!! want want. Good recipe, k-e?

                                  1. re: buttertart

                                    I wish I had one for you. I've only eaten it at a BBQ place in my neck of the woods. However, GHG dug up some good links on a thread a few years ago. Of those, these ring my bell the loudest (and bet would appeal to you as neither of us are Cool Whip gals). But correct me if I'm wrong and I'll post ALL of them:

                                    This sounds freakin' amazing, but make mine creamy rather than crunchy PB, please:
                                    http://blogquat.blogspot.com/2009/03/...

                                    Quicker/easier and would be better with a chocolate crust, IMO:
                                    http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/pa...

                                    This could be a contender, too, though I much prefer a chocolate crust to a graham one:
                                    http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                    Can't vouch for ANY of these, so if anyone else can, or has their own fave PB pie recipe, please share. :)

                                    1. re: buttertart

                                      I can vouch for the Peanut Butter Pie Recipe here: http://www.injennieskitchen.com/2011/... it was delicious ...so good that I haven't made it again for fear of eating it all :)

                                  2. Need some inspiration, bakers. I am in the mood to make **another superstar bar cookie** this weekend, preferably something beloved to another chow baker. For flavors and ingredients, I could go for fruit (fresh, not preserves) or chocolate-y. Just something dazzling in all ways. I've made a bunch of new-to-me bar cookies since the arrival of 2012, and I'd like to add another.

                                    I saw some raspberries that looked great at the market. They seemed to smile at me in a come-hither way....

                                    8 Replies
                                    1. re: peppermint_sky

                                      kattyeyes puts raspberries and white chocolate in her brownies sometimes...

                                      1. re: buttertart

                                        Yes, I do! I am probably the only person you know who immediately thinks of baking brownies when I buy or pick raspberries. :) You can also make brownies with a cheesecake swirl and get the raspberries in there that way (I made a brownie variation back in 2010). I've also swirled key lime cheesecake in your much loved supernaturals. If I had a dollar for every brownie I ever baked...cha-ching!

                                      2. re: peppermint_sky

                                        Would you be interested in adapting this favorite-of-mine Penzey's peach cheesecake bar recipe for your raspberries instead?
                                        http://www.penzeys.com/cgi-bin/penzey...

                                        Or raspberry shortbread bars, perhaps?

                                        1. re: kattyeyes

                                          Both sound great! I could eat up a whole pan of the peach bars -- yummmmmm!

                                          I wonder -- would the raspberries on their own work in that recipe? Most raspberry square recipes call for the berries and then preserves too but I just feel like then it's not *truly from scratch, LOL, so I resist. Given the texture of raspberries, I don't know. Why not give it a try, though, right?

                                          Did you have a raspberry shortbread recipe, kattyeyes? If so, I welcome it.

                                          Alice Medrich has a raspberry-laced chocolate bundt cake that looks good, too, in Bittersweet. But I couldn't find many reviews from bloggers etc on that recipe (it's not the ruffle cake that she did with Julia C). She uses a puree of fresh raspberries instead of buttermilk. Sounds great. I don't know if I have a bundt pan lying around, though... LOL.

                                          1. re: peppermint_sky

                                            Just realized.... I could make my own preserves. I was thinking oh no, boiling water bath and canning = cumbersome. But -- aha! -- since I would be using right away in my squares, I wouldn't have to bother with all of that. Anyone have a good recipe for a quick homemade raspberry preserves (filling) for squares or bars?

                                            1. re: peppermint_sky

                                              Ah, I see what you mean about raspberry preserves vs. exclusively fresh berries. I have seen recipes where they use both--half and half. I'm all for playing in the kitchen and giving it a whirl. Let us know how you make out!

                                              I wish I had a raspberry shortbread recipe to share. I'm sure someone reading along has a good one, though, so stay tuned. Happy baking, whatever you decide! :)

                                            2. re: kattyeyes

                                              and thank you, buttertart and kattyeyes, for responding :)

                                            3. re: peppermint_sky

                                              I make these triple citrus bars from America's Test Kitchen, and they are just what I need every single time. They have animal crackers in the crust. I could probably find a link to the recipe if you want.

                                            4. Just this afternoon made poppy seed cookies from my great great grandmother's recipe. Tweaked it a bit - added a splash of orange blossom water along with the orange juice, and a little fleur de sel on top to go with the dusting of sugar.

                                              Making a Thai lunch at work next week, plan to pair it with coconut rice pudding, lime sauce and mango sorbet.

                                              4 Replies
                                              1. re: sbp

                                                Could you possibly share the recipe? I have 1/2 lb of nice fresh seeds.

                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                  Sure. The recipe says "Chaya Rotenberg, b. 1877":

                                                  6 cups flour
                                                  1 1/4 cups oil (I used a stick of butter, melted, added oil to 1 and 1/4 cups
                                                  4 eggs
                                                  2 1/2 tsp baking powder
                                                  1 1/2 cups sugar
                                                  1/4 pound poppy seeds
                                                  1 tbl salt
                                                  1 tsp vanilla
                                                  1/2 cup orange juice (I also added a "glug" of orange blossom water
                                                  Milk and sugar (and fleur de sel, optional) for wash

                                                  Mix dry, add wet, mix. Chill

                                                  Flour board, grab about baseball sized hunk of dough, start rolling it out. At this point, you need to get a feel for the dough and work in flour as needed. It will still be very moist. Roll out to a rectangle. Lightly brush milk on top (I use my hands to spread it out). Sprinkle on sugar, a bit of salt. Cut into cookie sized rectangles (I've always used a pastry cutter with a fluted wheel - because that's what my mother and grandmother used). Transfer to cookie sheet, bake at 350 for about 10 minutes - till LIGHTLY golden (bottom and very edges should be light brown, top should still be mostly white).

                                                  These cookies are sweet and savory. Addictive.

                                                  1. re: sbp

                                                    Those sound quite wonderful. Thanks!

                                                2. re: sbp

                                                  Second the recipe request. I'd love a cookie for next week's feast!

                                                3. Toffee Cinnamon Blondies... super GOOEY, super cookie-dough tasting...
                                                  I put my picture below.

                                                  I found the recipe on "Keep it Sweet" blog--http://www.keepitsweetblog.com/chewy-...

                                                   
                                                  1. Hamantaschen for Purim (even though I'm not Jewish)

                                                    Irish soda bread (even though I'm only slightly Irish)

                                                    Irish car bomb cupcakes (even though I don't drink)

                                                    :)

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: DawnMW

                                                      Lol I like the mix! I need to start think about hamentaschen, maybe with some kind of variation this time.

                                                    2. I baked eggs in Canadian bacon this morning. Yes, like the ones that everyone seems to be talking about lately--though I had saved this idea from Yankee a while ago. Super easy and good.

                                                      This afternoon will feature more vanilla bean sablés (at least mixing them up) and a cornmeal-cheddar version too. And maybe something with chocolate.

                                                      10 Replies
                                                      1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                                        Neither version of the sables happened--forgot the cheddar for the second kind. But I did make five layer bars and have cream biscuits in the oven now, to go with maple-dijon baked chicken.

                                                        1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                                          this is second reference that i have read tonight about maple-dijon chicken - could you share that recipe? Someone else made reference on a different thread.

                                                          1. re: smilingal

                                                            Sure! It's very easy:

                                                            Maple-dijon chicken

                                                            1 pkg boneless skinless chicken thighs (could do bone-in)
                                                            1/2 c Dijon mustard
                                                            1/4 c maple syrup
                                                            Splash (1-2 Tbs) of rice wine vinegar
                                                            Rosemary

                                                            Put the chicken in a baking dish. Mix the Dijon, maple, vinegar and rosemary together and pour over the chicken. Bake for 30-45 min, basting a couple of times, til the chicken is browned and happy. Sprinkle with a little fresh rosemary (or not -- I really like rosemary) and enjoy.

                                                            1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                                              thanks for the recipe cckt! looks yummy!

                                                        2. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                                          baked eggs in Canadian bacon....what is this of which you speak? I am in the dark here & have not heard of that. Thank you.

                                                          1. re: cstout

                                                            This is so easy and good. This recipe uses bacon, but I like Canadian bacon because it's already cooked, yk? (at least mine is ... does it come uncooked?) You could also use a regular slice of ham etc. Basically you put the piece of bacon or ham in a muffin tin, crack an egg into it, add a sprinkle of cheese/cream/pepper (no salt needed b/c of the salty meat, IMO), and bake at 350 or so for 10-15 min.

                                                            http://www.yankeemagazine.com/issues/...

                                                            And here's a pic of the final product

                                                             
                                                            1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                                              I like your pic better than Yankee Magazine's! And I'm a Yankee! ;) Very nice!

                                                              1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                                                Chocolatechipkt, oohhhh, the Canadian Bacon cups look so good.

                                                                Also saw that you have many other pictures too, will visit each & everyone...thanks so much for sharing. Looks like I'll need another cup of coffee to get me through all that eye candy...hope you will have the recipes somewhere to go with the pics.

                                                                Thanks for taking the time to share.

                                                                1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                                                  Ooh, totally trying this! I have some low-carb family members that will flip over it, too. Thanks so much! :)

                                                            2. Making an oatmeal cake for dessert for my lasagna dinner tonight. It's a favorite family recipe made from cooked oatmeal with caramel sauce on top.

                                                              3 Replies
                                                              1. re: sarahjay

                                                                Yum.. would you be willing to share the recipe?

                                                                1. re: rstuart

                                                                  This is a cake I've been eating (and making) since I was little. It's always a hit, especially when it's still a bit warm.

                                                                  OATMEAL CAKE
                                                                  1 1/2 C boiling water
                                                                  1 C oats
                                                                  1/2 C butter or margarine
                                                                  1 C brown sugar
                                                                  1 C sugar
                                                                  2 eggs
                                                                  1 1/2 C flour
                                                                  1 tsp cinnamon
                                                                  1/2 tsp nutmeg
                                                                  1 tsp baking soda
                                                                  1/2 tsp salt

                                                                  Caramel Sauce
                                                                  1 cup sugar
                                                                  2 T corn syrup
                                                                  1/4 cup water
                                                                  1/3 cup heavy cream, warmed
                                                                  salt
                                                                  vanilla

                                                                  Preheat oven to 350°

                                                                  Pour boiling water over oats in a small bowl. Let cool

                                                                  In a larger mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars together. Add eggs and oats and mix well.

                                                                  Sift together dry ingredients. Gradually stir into wet mixture. Stir until smooth.

                                                                  Pour batter into greased 9x13x2" baking pan. Bake for 35-45 minutes.

                                                                  Caramel Sauce
                                                                  Heat sugar, syrup, and water. Boil until light amber colored. Add cream, stir until combined. Remove from heat before adding vanilla and salt. Pour over cake

                                                              2. I am NOT a baker AT ALL, but for this afternoon's big feast (fourteen of us!), I decided to go all out and make a three-layer chocolate cake. Now. Let me tell you that a) I hate baking, b) I especially hate baking desserts, c) I can't stand chocolate cake because it's always dry and never chocolatey enough and always too sweet, and d) if I bake a dessert it's something rustic and simple. All that to say that this was the easiest, most delicious chocolate cake I've ever, ever had.

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

                                                                I did cut the sugar down to three cups, and if I ever made it again, I'd cut it to 2.5. It wasn't too sweet but it was right on the edge and I really like things to be just barely sweet. I ended up whipping the ganache, and adding another cup or so of cream as I whipped, to lighten (ha!) the frosting up a bit. Oh, and I steeped a vanilla bean in the cream for the ganache, and added a few tablespoons of bourbon to it as well.

                                                                Seriously, it was as easy as a muffin batter and went together like a dream -- no creaming, no fussing, just melting and stirring -- and of course ganache is incredible simple. I think it took longer to butter and flour the cake tins than to make the batter. It is absolutely going to be my go-to chocolate cake for the times when I need to make one. Super moist, dense, rich, and flavorful.

                                                                1. We had bad news at work on Friday, so I'm hoping that Smitten Kitchen's chocolate sour cream coffee cake will lift my colleagues' spirits.. test pieces were very yummy...
                                                                  http://smittenkitchen.com/2006/11/cub...

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: rstuart

                                                                    Smitten Kitchen is the best. If that coffee cake isn't enough, then make the chocolate-peanut butter layer cake!

                                                                    1. re: GraceW

                                                                      Yes.. I've noticed that recipe. I've made many, many of her recipes over the years, and always had success...

                                                                  2. I wound up making Baked!'s marble bundt cake. I liked the description -- the fact that most marble cakes are merely visual with very little chocolate taste, unlike this one that uses 6 ounces of dark chocolate in the chocolate part. I was concerned when I added the vanilla batter to the melted chocolate since it appeared to sieze and it wasn't fluid enough to drag through the vanilla batter in order to get the marble effect. Since there was a lot of extra batter, I made a mini loaf version, and it seemed that my worry was in vain since it tasted quite good. I am giving the cake away, so I unfortunately won't be able to see how the marble effect turned out in the bundt pan.

                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                    1. re: roxlet

                                                                      I have both their cookbooks.. but I haven't made anything from them for a while. This reminds me I should pull them out and re-read them..

                                                                      1. re: rstuart

                                                                        I never got the second one, and I'd be curious to see if there is anything worthwhile in it. My friend lives near the bakery, and she said that everything is great, but that doesn't always translate to the cook book!

                                                                        1. re: roxlet

                                                                          I have made special trips to Baked when I've been to NYC just to try it! The recipes from the first cook-book that I tried were good.. clearly it's time to pull out the second one!

                                                                    2. Yesterday, I made a Greek walnut cake soaked with coffee-and-honey syrup, which is very delicious. Crumbly and dense with nuts, super moist and syrupy, with a nice depth from the coffee. Kind of the best of baklava, but way simpler to make and without the over-the-top sweetness that baklava often suffers from.

                                                                      I also made "forgotten cookies" from a link gleaned from a CH thread last year: meringue drops with chopped bittersweet chocolate and toasted almonds folded in that go into a preheated oven, which is then turned off, any stay in the cooling oven overnight (hence, forgotten). http://www.healthyfood.co.nz/recipes/...

                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                        And what about that walnut cake recipe, young lady?

                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                          Yes, I imagine this would go over well in the buttertart household! The recipe doesn't include salt in its ingredients, but I added some.

                                                                          Walnut Cake with Coffee Syrup (paraphrased from The Olive and the Caper)

                                                                          5 T. butter, at room temp.
                                                                          1/3 cup sugar
                                                                          4 lg. eggs, separated
                                                                          8 oz. walnuts, finely chopped but not ground
                                                                          1 cup finely crumbled zwieback or melba toast (I subbed panko)
                                                                          1 tsp. baking powder
                                                                          1/2 tsp. cinnamon
                                                                          1/4 tsp. ground cloves
                                                                          2 T. brandy
                                                                          cooled coffee syrup (see below)

                                                                          Preheat oven to 350F and butter an 8x8-inch baking pan. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then beat in egg yolks one at a time. Stir in walnuts, crumbs, baking powder, spices, and brandy (the mixture will be thick and sandy). Whip the egg whites to stiff peaks and fold them into the walnut mixture in three additions. Smooth the batter in the pan and bake until a tester comes out clean, 30-40 minutes. Let cool to room temp. Once cool, cut the cake, while still in the pan, into 12 pieces. Slowly spoon the coffee syrup over, allowing it to seep into the cuts before adding more. Allow the cake to stand at least 2 hours to absorb the syrup before serving. Will keep at room temp. for 5 days.

                                                                          Coffee Syrup

                                                                          1/2 cup sugar
                                                                          1/2 cup honey
                                                                          1/2 cup strong brewed coffee
                                                                          1/4 cup water

                                                                          Bring all the ingredients to a boil in a small saucepan, lower heat, and simmer until thickened and reduced to 3/4 cup. Set aside to cool, then store in fridge indefinitely (or, you know, pour it on the cake).

                                                                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                            That has a certain somebody's name all over it. Thanks! (No baking for me this past weekend, family and friends in from out of town, much carousing.)

                                                                            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                              Oh, Cailtin, that sounds SO good! I may give that a try-I was going to chime in here with the Saveur March issue cover story on cake as my inspiration to bake something, but you have stopped me DEAD in my tracks. I might even check out that cookbook, which admittedly I had avoided as I loathe both olives and capers!

                                                                              1. re: LJS

                                                                                I found the book in general rather uninteresting.

                                                                                1. re: LJS

                                                                                  It is the current Cookbook of the Month, so you might want to keep an eye on those threads to see how peoples' experiences with it shake out. At this early moment in the month, they seem to be all over, ranging from underwhelming to just all right to excellent, depending on the dish. And BTW, there are many with neither of the title ingredients. I certainly can unreservedly recommend this recipe!

                                                                          2. i had some time in the kitchen yesterday...

                                                                            i was trying to replicate the Cohen's potato knishes we used to get when I was a kid in the blue box from the freezer section. I came close, but not quite. I think Cohen's must be fried first... I think. Version 2.0 will be upcoming.

                                                                            Made a variation on Bittman's Tomato Cobbler. I was highly underwhelmed, and if I make one again, I know what I will do very differently. More herbs in the tomato part, more balance for the acid, and reduce the cornmeal in the cobbler dough/batter. i have no problem with simple, clean flavors, but even simple and clean necessitates balance.

                                                                            Made some chocolate crinkle cookies, but forgot that i had meant to make an alteration in my recipe. Used oil instead of butter (had originally created one that was dairy and soy free), and meant to notate for myself to sub back in butter. Next time. Also may play with using a touch of melted chocolate as well as the cocoa powder. I always love making these though, as the crackle effect never ceases to make me smile.

                                                                            Did some maple creme brulee. Meh, I wanted to be more pleased with the results. Next time I'm gonna drop the whole egg for just a yolk, in addition to the other 3-4 that are in there. I may or may not use a combo of maple and brown sugar. I was particularly upset with the harder edge that baked on the top -- i used a water bath, i didn't overbake (in fact i was concerned i underbaked them), so i'm not sure what promoted that skin... oh well.

                                                                            a vanilla brown sugar cookie -- this was really just playing with technique. i took one of my cookie recipes and just switched around the method for mixing. treated like a streusel dough. mixed melted butter with sugars, added vanilla, salt, and baking soda, then added flour til combined. added a little egg and heavy cream. i baked after chilling as i always do. it was very interesting. they were really crisp on the bottom and edges, but (partially due to bread flour and milk powder), were a little puffy and chewy on top. next time, i'm going to omit the egg.

                                                                            finally, as an homage to nostalgia and my mom, i made her version of chicken divan for some friends coming over... it's the most gauche recipe ever, but put a salad in front of it, some bread and veggies on the side, and brownies for dessert, still managed to make happy stomachs.

                                                                            was going to do macarons tonight, inspired by reading another post, and thinking how long it's been since i've made them, but alas... i opted not to, especially knowing that i should really be doing work on a cake instead...

                                                                            11 Replies
                                                                            1. re: Emme

                                                                              ohhhh Emmeeeeeee - Please share, when you are happy with your results, your recipe for the knishes! My family would love those!

                                                                              1. re: smilingal

                                                                                i'm almost there... do you have a preference for kosher/dairy/etc?

                                                                                1. re: Emme

                                                                                  no preference - the one you think is the bestest!

                                                                                  1. re: Emme

                                                                                    emme - was interested in your best "regular" recipe - but just wondered if, per chance, you have a passover rendition?

                                                                                    1. re: smilingal

                                                                                      we're talking gluten free, eh? my gluten-free will include milk powder... is that an issue?

                                                                                      1. re: Emme

                                                                                        i don't know about gluten free - said ashamedly! flour is the issue - bread - etc. otherwise not so observant.

                                                                                2. re: Emme

                                                                                  Emme, this is probably a silly thing to ask because i'm sure you already thought of it, but have you checked your oven temp lately? if it's running a little hot that could account for the skin on your creme brulée. oh, and if you want to amp up the maple flavor, skip the granulated sugar and try sprinkling it with *maple sugar* instead when you torch it.

                                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                    i have a thermometer in my oven, but thanks!

                                                                                    1. re: Emme

                                                                                      i figured :) just wondering if there's a hot spot somewhere. was it a particularly dry day? i know you used a water bath, but maybe the humidity in the oven still wasn't quite high enough - that'll do it too.

                                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                        i appreciate the thought ghg! no excess dryness -- if i make em again, i'll prolly lower the oven temp a bit more, just to let them cook even more slowly. that said, skin on top or no, i think i actually prefer traditional creme brulee. i do also like brown sugar CB too...

                                                                                  2. re: Emme

                                                                                    nudging you for the potato knish recipe pretty please!?

                                                                                  3. This weekend I made homemade thin mints (how do I always manage to miss the Girl Scouts???), which worked out well because a.) it made a lot and b.) I like these better than the Girl Scout ones! I also made French Toast cupcakes with bacon bits in the batter, topped with a maple cream cheese frosting and more crumbled bacon. My brother-in-law called them "man cupcakes" (a compliment, I am pretty certain). Today it's homemade oatmeal creme pies for my sister's office, and the daily bread (French country loaf). Easy and good! The temperature's going to drop thirty degrees between today and tomorrow, so I predict lots of warm, good baking smells coming from my kitchen in the next few days!

                                                                                    13 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: auburnselkie

                                                                                      Those homemade thin mints are already on my to-bake list--now a bit higher than before. "Man cupcakes"--HA HA HA! :) Continued happy baking to you!

                                                                                      1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                        This is the version I finally decided on. Really, really good. And easy! http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/20...

                                                                                        1. re: auburnselkie

                                                                                          Saved--thank you! I look forward to trying them!

                                                                                          1. re: auburnselkie

                                                                                            This thread inspired me to make some last night, but I used a different recipe (which ain't bad, but I'll try the SeriousEats one next).

                                                                                            Didn't have semi-sweet choc on hand though ... woops. I've now got "slightly unsweet" cookies with a fair peppermint kick.

                                                                                        2. re: auburnselkie

                                                                                          is it wrong that when accosted by girl scouts the other day i told them i couldn't buy them (really because of price), but when pushed, couldn't help but tell them i make them myself, and sshhh they're even better? ...yeah it was wrong, but i was tired.

                                                                                          i love making homemade thin mints, but even more so, love making homemade samoas!

                                                                                          1. re: Emme

                                                                                            Far be it from me to tell anyone they're wrong (especially when they're right)! Plus you can't trust me when I'm tired, either.

                                                                                            Do you have a recipe for your homemade samoas? Those are next on my "I don't need to buy Girl Scout Cookies" list. Before anyone fusses, I know it's a good group, and I happily donate money - I just don't want the cookies.

                                                                                            1. re: auburnselkie

                                                                                              Sure thing...

                                                                                              Cookies

                                                                                              225 g Butter, Unsalted
                                                                                              115 g Sugar
                                                                                              250 g Flour
                                                                                              ¼ tsp. Baking Powder
                                                                                              ½ tsp. Salt
                                                                                              ½ tsp. Vanilla Extract
                                                                                              2 tablespoons Milk

                                                                                              Caramel Topping

                                                                                              105 g Sugar
                                                                                              2 tablespoons Water
                                                                                              43 g Butter, Unsalted
                                                                                              ¼ cup Heavy Cream
                                                                                              225 g Toasted Coconut (NOTE: I use less because I toast coconut flour, which is much tinier shreds than the bagged stuff, probably closer to 175 g)
                                                                                              ½ - 1 tbsp. Milk

                                                                                              Chocolate Topping

                                                                                              225-250 g Milk Chocolate (I've done it with both semi-sweet and milk, and prefer the milk, likely also because I use an unsweetened coconut flour.)

                                                                                              Make cookies first. Mix together butter and sugar. Mix dry ingredients. Add to butter/sugar. Then stir in milk. Chill. Roll out and cut into samoa shape... or if you're lazy like me, roll into a log, chill and slice. Bake at 350 til set and golden, but not dark.

                                                                                              Make caramel - put sugar and water in a saucepan/pot. Stir til sugar dissolves, then don't stir anymore and cook til sugar caramelizes. I don't do this by temperature, just by sight. Stir in butter til melted. Remove from heat, stir in cream, and whisk vigorously til it comes together and is smooth. Cool.

                                                                                              For assembly... mix caramel with a little milk to thin if necessary and stir in coconut. Melt chocolate. Put some of the caramel mixture on top of each shortbread. Dip the bottoms in melted chocolate and drizzle the remainder on top of the cookies. Let set.

                                                                                              Enjoy!

                                                                                              1. re: Emme

                                                                                                Thank you for the recipe. I've always liked samosa,but we don't get then in Canada; all I've seen here is chocolate and vanilla. And a big thank you for the weights of the ingredients. Have to make these soon.

                                                                                                1. re: souschef

                                                                                                  no problem. i detest measuring cups. if you asked me about my essentials, my digital scale and my whisk are the top two...

                                                                                                  1. re: souschef

                                                                                                    Dinged again by the iPad - converted samoas to samosa.

                                                                                                      1. re: Emme

                                                                                                        I don't think so. I like to keep them separate.

                                                                                                  2. re: Emme

                                                                                                    Thank you for these - I can't wait to try them! I'll report back. :)

                                                                                            2. I'm getting ready to make a lot of quick puff pastry, 5# of butter's worth. I'm catering a wedding on Saturday, so it's busy time here. Tomorrow I'm making a LOT of pretzel dough, 20+ pounds of flour worth (my boss said I could mix it at work and let it slow rise in the walk-in until Thursday)

                                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: sarahjay

                                                                                                That's a tremendous amount of work. Are you making actual pretzels with the pretzel dough, or pretzel rolls. Unusual for a wedding!

                                                                                                1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                  rolls, not pretzels.

                                                                                                  It's a mid-afternoon reception, starting at 3:30, so it's a light meal. The rolls will be served with ham and cheese and a few choices of mustard. I chose to do pretzel rolls to be different than other weddings with the Costco croissants, or sandwich rolls.

                                                                                                  There will also be meatballs in a sauce (requested by the bride), spinach salad, fruit salad (I'm not really excited about it, most fruit will be out of season, but she insisted) and some puff pastry bites that I've been working on today that have blackberry jam and brie, baked in mini muffin pans. I'm baking them halfway, just until the pastry holds its shape and will finish baking/reheat on site.

                                                                                                  1. re: sarahjay

                                                                                                    The pretzel rolls went great! I have pictures on my blog (which I can't link to here) but I made about 8 dozen too many, in part because there were fewer guests than expected (I planned on 130 and I think about 90 showed up) and because the dough rose more than in the test batches, so I made 60g rolls instead of the 70g I had planned on. The one thing I didn't like about them was that I had done them two days ahead so the pretzel salt disappeared. The rolls were fine in terms of texture and crust, but they weren't as pretty as when they had the salt on top.

                                                                                                    This was the easiest wedding I've done by far, probably because I limited the bride to 5 items (last time there were 13, WAY too many) and because I have more practice, more of a routine and system for how I do things.

                                                                                                    1. re: sarahjay

                                                                                                      Congratulations on what sounds like a job very well done! I saw them on your blog, and they look very nice. BTW, I saw your biscuit recipe using grated frozen butter. I do the same, but I grate the butter right into the flour, and periodically toss as I grate. It works, uh, great!

                                                                                                      1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                        I totally wanna try those biskies--they look incredible!

                                                                                              2. There was a death in the extended family, so will be traveling tomorrow. I'm bringing some lemon pound cakes, and some brioche cardamom rolls. Made some peanut butter cookies yesterday. (along with some sausage, cheese, crackers, hummus, will stop when we get there and pick up a try of fresh veggies and some deli roasted chicken).

                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                    Thanks. We never really personally knew the deceased, but only through his sister (our sister-in-law). We are going to help support her, she took care of the day to day care of her brother, he had a brain injury (tumors), and she was his advocate for the last 9 years.

                                                                                                1. My son hasn't really wanted breakfast lately, just toast, and sometimes not even that. I asked him if he'd like some cinnamon bread for breakfast, and he seemed to like that idea, but then I decided to make cinnamon rolls instead. I used a recipe from the King Arthur website, and they seemed to have come out quite well. The proof will be in tomorrow's breakfast...

                                                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                    Please report back - I can't seem to get cinnamon rolls right. They always seem too...bready!

                                                                                                    1. re: auburnselkie

                                                                                                      This is the recipe I used, and instead of the filling in the recipe, I used the King Arthur cinnamon filling that they sell on their web site. Before putting the filling on, the dough is rolled out fairly thinly, which resulted in a roll that wasn't too "bready." No mistake, it's a bread recipe for sure, but I think the results were very good.
                                                                                                      http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipe...

                                                                                                      1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                        The most recent Cooks' Illustrated had a nice cinnamon bread recipe in it, formed by a twisty babka method.

                                                                                                        1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                          Oh, thank you! That sounds like a great project for this weekend.

                                                                                                          1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                            Well, these were a huge hit. My son got his appetite back on the school bus halfway to school (after staring at them for 2 minutes in the kitchen, I asked him if he wanted them to go) and ate two cinnamon rolls to the envy of his bus mates. He said that they were perfect -- not too sweet and not too bready.

                                                                                                              1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                Awesome! I will give it a try myself this weekend and report back. Wish me luck!

                                                                                                        2. Because I did some work yesterday, I figured I could take today off to get in some quality time in the kitchen. I'm halfway through making a double batch of poppy seed sourdough bagels (and crockpot cream cheese to go with) and those aged chocolate chip cookies people around here mention every once in a while (I did mine with browned butter) as well as some dinner prep and washing the bag of oranges I picked yesterday, which will eventually become orangecello (just as soon as the microplane grater I ordered arrives in the mail). And yet, now that I think about it, I didn't do any actual baking. The bagels and the cookies need to ferment in the fridge at least overnight. The only time I turned on the oven was to briefly bake a couple of lamb bones for my dog (just long enough to cook the bits of meat still clinging to them).

                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: auburnselkie

                                                                                                              I posted about it a while back here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8262...

                                                                                                              It's really very good. Much creamier and fresher tasting than the supermarket stuff. I really really want to make a cheesecake out of it, but I haven't got around to it yet.

                                                                                                              1. re: BananaBirkLarsen

                                                                                                                Saved - thank you so much! I can't wait to try it.

                                                                                                          1. Hamentaschen, Babka, Nanaimo Bars, (some pie for Pi Day) and at a request.. another King Cake.

                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                                                                                              Pi Day ... thanks for the reminder! What kind of hamentaschen did you make? I was planning to make some today, but the afternoon disappeared.

                                                                                                              1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                                                                                                +1 on the reminder! I have a coconut pie recipe I want to try. I'll have to remember to do that next week :)

                                                                                                                1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                                                                                                  I tried to recreate some from a low fat jewish cookbook. My wife made them once but they were very very tough and I was curious as to whether it was just a bad recipe or maybe she over mixed the dough. I may make some that Sarabeth Levine has on her website. I love a coconut cream pie, but then again I like lots of pies. I like the one that Sandra Bullock's sister just put up which she calls The Velvet Elvis (dulce de leche, bananas, bacon).

                                                                                                              2. So inpsired by this thread...I was boring myself let alone all you charming Chowhounds with a recitation of my fhouse-bopund-with-flu-baking: white bread and oatmeal shortbreads (not exaclty food-erotica). I was mildly inspired by the March issue of Saveur, those cakes are fabulous and the feature story is so bitter-sweet that I was tempted by ALL of them.

                                                                                                                But then I read Cailtin McGrath's inspirational message about a much more intriguing cake a few posts ago and decided that is where I am going to put MY recovering effort!

                                                                                                                7 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: LJS

                                                                                                                  Spill on those oatmeal shortbreads, LJS, they sound pretty darn good to me.

                                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                    Happy to oblige!

                                                                                                                    Oatmeal Shortbread Cookies

                                                                                                                    -3/4 cup AP flour
                                                                                                                    -2/3 cup oatmeal (Minute, I think they call it,NOT instant-microwave or large flake)
                                                                                                                    -1/2 cup cornstarch
                                                                                                                    -1/2 cup icing sugar
                                                                                                                    -3/4 cup softened butter (if you use unsalted butter, add 1/2 tsp salt to recipe)

                                                                                                                    Blend all ingredients with "light" hands or pastry blender. When all is blended to pea-sized crumbs, add 1-3 tsps water, as if for pie dough-just enough to bind.

                                                                                                                    Work dough into soft smooth ball and shape on a floured surface, into a log, about 8 inches long (or two 4-5 inch logs if that becomes unwieldy). Don't fret about overworking, you don't mind a bit of gluten formation here, it is not flakey pie crust you are going for!

                                                                                                                    Rest log(s) in fridge for 30 mins.

                                                                                                                    Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees.

                                                                                                                    Slice log into 1/8-1/4 inch rounds and place on unbaked cookie sheet. (They don't spread much). You should get about 3 dozen, but recipe is forgving of variations in size.

                                                                                                                    Bake for 15-20 mins (just very slightly browned on bottom-peek at 15. mins....mine needed nearly 25 as I sliced rather thickly).

                                                                                                                    Cool completely before packing in tins-they keep well for a week and freeze well for a couple of months.

                                                                                                                    1. re: LJS

                                                                                                                      Re the oats--Quaker's canister says "quick - 1 minute" oats. I know this well because many years ago, I sent a wiseass to the store to get some for me, emphasizing NOT INSTANT. He returned with the correct oats, crossed out "QUICK" and handwrote "INSTANT" on the label. HA HA HA.

                                                                                                                      1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                        QUICK is absolutely correct: I buy mine at a bulk store as we go through a lot and therefore had no packaging to consult when I wrote up the recipe.
                                                                                                                        BTW, I think I know that wiseass-he is related to the one who pretends to be unable to read my list on those few times I send him out to shop, despite the fact he has been reading my scrawl for 33 years...comes home wondering where I usually purchase "fnesh fnuit" and why I need 'bittermilk'-HA HA HA-sigh....

                                                                                                                        1. re: LJS

                                                                                                                          They are ALL brothers, I agree! Thanks for the chuckle!

                                                                                                                          1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                            These sound really very good, I need to try them! For you Yanks out there, icing sugar = confectioner's.

                                                                                                                            Tee hee both, mine complains about my handwriting alla time. I can't help it if I didn't go to parochial school!

                                                                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                              In case you all think women are perfect - my wife keeps buying me extra-large eggs, even though I keep tellling her I use only large. And she stopped cooking when she lost the recipe for toast !

                                                                                                                              Oh, and BT, my wife's chicken scratching is unreadable to me a lot of the time.

                                                                                                                2. I'm going to conquer sourdough this month! (That is, if my starter's any good.)

                                                                                                                  1. Made biscoff white chocolate blondies yesterday (using the last precious 1/4 cup of my biscoff). Not sure if I didn't cover them well enough or over cooked them, but they were a bit dry. This did not stop me from eating 2 pieces, but in my defense, it was late, and i hadn't had dinner...

                                                                                                                    1. I just pulled out a big pan of brownies from the oven.

                                                                                                                      60% cacao, toasted walnuts, some cold leftover espresso, and a good dash of hot peperoncino powder. When I licked the spoon (and bowl) I got that nice little tingle-heat in the back of my throat.

                                                                                                                      Can hardly wait 'til morning.

                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                      1. re: Novelli

                                                                                                                        OH! Excellent with a nice short espresso!

                                                                                                                      2. Has anyone baked from Tish Boyle's The Good Cookie? I recently acquired this book. Paging through, I spotted a whole bunch of appealing recipes, including a creamsicle bar cookie that is basically like a lemon square but with orange curd atop the shortbread crust... mmmmmm.

                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                        1. re: peppermint_sky

                                                                                                                          Peppermint Sky.. I am sure that I have baked from that (I know that I took it out of the library at some point). However, I can't remember what I made!

                                                                                                                        2. Needing a nice piece of orange pound cake, I thought about Caitlin McGrath's statement that marmalade boosts orange flavour in a cake. While I would not even dream of questioning the assertions of the redoubtable Miz McGrath, not even Caitlin could make me pay for a jar of marmalade, as I hate the stuff. I needed something else.

                                                                                                                          I bought some fresh kumquats a few days ago, so I subjected them to the candying process I used with the orange peel, except that I didn't dry them; I left them overnight in the syrup in which I had cooked them. I tasted a few - loved them. The next day I got them out of the syrup, chopped off the tops, and squeezed out the insides (can't have seeds in my cake). After dicing them I used them in the epi recipe I had made before.

                                                                                                                          Very nice orange flavour, better than with the candied peel, but perhaps a bit too sweet. Eating a piece now for breakfast. Had I not had to go out immediately after turning it out, I would have pulled a Cynsa and tasted it immediately.

                                                                                                                          1. An all day-staff meeting, and we were asked to contribute food.. i made the banana espresso chocolate chip muffins from Baked.. I'm sure I just read about it on a thread here! Then made milk chocolate dried cherries blondies.. based on a Mark Bittman recipe I found on smitten kitchen. It's quick because you melt the butter, and endlessly adaptable...

                                                                                                                            1. I have a big, but casual, dinner party tomorrow night, and I just made the first of the three pies I'm making for dessert. Non-Key Lime Pie (let's call it Persian Lime Pie) is done and in the fridge, and tomorrow I am making cherry pie from my hoarded frozen cherries as well as a coconut cream pie. Can you guess that dinner will be fried chicken and all the southern fixings you can think of?

                                                                                                                              6 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                sigh - as i have enjoyed reading all these yummy posts - and struggling during my third week on weight watchers - I can only satisfy my yearnings with a WW Smart Ones frozen key lime pie.

                                                                                                                                1. re: smilingal

                                                                                                                                  Ah, you'll be the better for it, and so should I be doing it!

                                                                                                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                    Beautiful--and what a nice variety of pies.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                      I don't like pie.. but regardless of that: I think they are very pretty! Nice work!

                                                                                                                                      1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                        Gorgeous!

                                                                                                                                        My husband would be insanely jealous. He loves custard and cream pies but I've never made them.

                                                                                                                                        Was the cherry pie sour cherry? My grandparents who lived near Gettysburg were surrounded by some of the finest orchards on the East Coast and sour cherry pie is a family treat to this day. It's one of the first things I ask from my mother (along with fried chicken) whenever we return "home" for a visit. She bakes at least a dozen sour cherry pies during the fruit season and freezes them for consumption throughout the winter.

                                                                                                                                    2. Peppery Feta Shortbread: http://www.thecitycook.com/cooking/re...

                                                                                                                                      Dough is in the fridge. If they're good they'll be a nice trick - they couldn't be easier.

                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: THewat

                                                                                                                                        Somebody gave me some really nice dates and I found a recipe for date squares in an old Craig Claiborne New York Times Cookbook. It used to be one of my faves, but I hadn't used it for several years. The date squares were really good, especially since the recipe included NO butter or oil. They're very chewy, but quite nice, especially because eating them makes me feel less guilty.

                                                                                                                                        If anybody wants the recipe, I can find the page or paraphrase.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: oakjoan

                                                                                                                                          Oakjoan.. I'm a big date square fan.. would love to have another recipe!

                                                                                                                                      2. Today's baking: one big spanikopita, tiropita triangles, and a braided lemon bread.

                                                                                                                                        8 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                                                                                                                          You're killing me, lady! There's a phyllo frenzy in Kt's kitchen! ;)

                                                                                                                                          1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                            LOL, once you open the package, I figure it's good to keep on using it. Plus, some people aren't as thrilled with spinach and feta as I am (and they don't realize feta is in tiropita, lol.)

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                                                                                                                              Final report: the spanikopita was yummy and eaten by all -- including the 3 yo. The tiropita was also good, served with a drizzle of honey on top and parsley. And the braided lemon bread was yummy, but kind of pita to make. My kitchen was too cool last night apparently, so after a couple of hours with no results I put the bowl on a low heating pad and went to bed. The dough liked that treatment, and it was happy and poufy this morning. The braid didn't stay when I baked it, but it tasted good (though not really a 3 yo-type flavor) so I'm happy. Plus, b/c the recipe makes two, I have another one in the freezer ready to rise and then bake when the mood hits.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                                                                                                                                Greek humor--kind of a "pita"--that made me giggle. ;) I had a similar issue last winter making no-knead bread, so I moved mine to a warmer room upstairs on a TV tray...only to forget it was there, knock it over and totally shatter my beautiful pasta bowl I had since my first apartment! :( I like the heating pad idea, though--very clever!

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                                    Thanks! That was the nice end ... lol.

                                                                                                                                          2. This easy (esp. if you have lemon curd on hand), delicious lemon-goat cheese tart. The crust is the easiest, most foolproof I've ever made.

                                                                                                                                            http://www.cafejohnsonia.com/2009/04/...

                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                            1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                              Mmm, and I just happen to have extra lemon curd. That looks great!

                                                                                                                                            2. The thin and crisp oatmeal cookies from the big CI book (the baking recipes in it are really appealling) and an experiment, thought up by the Beast -- combining the two cookies that come closest to the Ur-cookie of his childhood, that the family who made them called Pfeffernuesse but they were nothing at all like a Pfeffernuss, in the hopes of achieving the holy grail.
                                                                                                                                              Apparently a short, sandy either rolled out and cut or icebox sliced cookie (since they were given to his family by the suitboxfull, my vote is for the latter), with ground nuts or maybe not in them, about the size and thickness of a 50 cent piece. To him, cookie bliss. So here's me making the brown butter dream cookie dough (150 Best Am'can Recipes) and the sablé dough (CI new book, also in "More Best Recipes"), and combining them, and making them into rolls which I will ensconce in paper towel inside rolls (slit), and putting them into the fridge overnight, and baking them tomorrow...so he can taste them and inevitably say "very good, but not quite like Mrs. Weller's".

                                                                                                                                              8 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                That paper towel roll thing is an intriguing idea! Is that to keep the rolls from flattening out? Do you use the paper towel rolls to form the cookies? Explain please!!!

                                                                                                                                                1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                  Here's a pic. I roll the dough in waxed paper or parchment, making it about the dianeter of the roll. Then I slip/wedge the roll into the slit pt roll, bind it up with rubber bands, and bang it into the fridge.
                                                                                                                                                  The second pic is of the baked cookies. They're very good and EXTREMELY short, but himself has not had a chance to lay tooth to them. They're too big and too thick, anyway -- I think I may put some more flour in the dough to stiffen them a bit. The roll was very hard to cut and keep the slices intact, I think because of the shortness.
                                                                                                                                                  The third pic is the part of the dough that wouldn't fit in the 2 rolls I have, so I put some chocolate chips in it and baked the coolies without chilling the dough. Quite good, VERY sandy.

                                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                    I'm not sure I understand. If you're rolling the dough in the silpat, where does the paper towel roll come in?

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                      No Silpat involved, cookie dough on waxed paper, rolled into cylinder, inserted into a previously-slit lengthwise empty paper towel roll, bound up w rubber bands to keep it snug.
                                                                                                                                                      PS verdict on the cookies: too big but almost nailed it -- I may add some flour to the rest of the dough and rechill it. They were a bit firmer, it seems.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                        ohhhh by "pt" you meant "paper towel" ... sorry, was trying to figure out the method you were describing, too. thanks for sharing!

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                    buttertart - wonder if you would suggest some of your fav recipes from "more Best" - i just got that book - but have yet to cook from it.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: smilingal

                                                                                                                                                      The baked wild rice with porcini mushrooms is wonderful (even the plain baked rice is), as is the vodka piecrust and the sablé recipe. Pretty much all of the baking recipes in it are very appealing, but I haven't made that many things from it.

                                                                                                                                                  2. Tomorrow I am making homemade thin mints -- thanks for the idea, auburnselkie. Deciding between these three versions, probably going with the one posted by cakespy and tested/recommended above by auburnselkie. That one contains cornstarch, whereas the other two do not. I don't really know the chemistry here -- is the cornstarch for the crispy factor? Bopping around online, I read one hypothesis that cornstarch gives alfajores a "melt-in-your-mouth effect."

                                                                                                                                                    The top 2 recipes are quite similar other than cornstarch and milk in cakespy's version and an egg/no cornstarch/no milk in quite curious's variation. Both contain peppermint extract in the cookie itself, but the third recipe calls for the peppermint in the chocolate coating. I think peppermint in the center is more true to the GSC flavor?!

                                                                                                                                                    http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/20...

                                                                                                                                                    http://www.quitecurious.com/making-th...

                                                                                                                                                    http://theviewfromthegreatisland.blog...

                                                                                                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: peppermint_sky

                                                                                                                                                      I tried the seriouseats.com version, and other than unintentionally using unsweetened choc (woops ...), I thought it was pretty good. Definitely a crispy cookie and easy to put together. Not sure whether I would've preferred the peppermint in the cookie instead.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: tammyh

                                                                                                                                                        But the serious eats version (cakespy) --does-- call for the peppermint in the cookie. Both vanilla and peppermint extracts are added with the milk to the cookie batter in that version.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: peppermint_sky

                                                                                                                                                          oh sorry, I'm mixing the recipes up then ...

                                                                                                                                                      2. re: peppermint_sky

                                                                                                                                                        I put the peppermint just in the cookie. I added way more than it called for (some of the commenters said that after baking you lost some of the minty taste); just tasted it until it seemed like too much and figured that was enough. The Girl Scout version doesn't have mint in the coating, if I am remembering correctly.
                                                                                                                                                        I will say that if I had to do it again, I would have used peppermint oil rather than the extract (I think the flavor is stronger and cleaner), but I didn't have any on hand and I wasn't going to drive 45 minutes for it.
                                                                                                                                                        The cookies are nice and crisp and stay that way (I kept mine in the fridge) - I don't know what the cornstarch contributes to that. Perhaps one of the baking scientists on this board can weigh in?
                                                                                                                                                        This made a lot of cookies - I still have a log in the freezer waiting to be dipped! ;)

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: auburnselkie

                                                                                                                                                          Reporting on my homemade thin mints--

                                                                                                                                                          So I did end up using this recipe (initially suggested above by auburnselkie):

                                                                                                                                                          http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/20...

                                                                                                                                                          Delicious, pretty, and certainly tempting.

                                                                                                                                                          Like auburnselkie, I ended up increasing the peppermint to be sure that flavor would shine here (just in the batter -- no mint in the coating, true to the original GS version). So I used 1 1/8 tsp peppermint extract in the batter, which definitely provides a minty sensation with each bite.

                                                                                                                                                          Some complained about dry/crumbly dough, too, so I added a couple of extra Tablespoons of milk. Mine was easy to shape into logs. I froze for about 3 hours and then sliced and baked on parchment-covered cookie sheets.

                                                                                                                                                          Yes -- I too was happy with the generous yield of delicious cookies here! I think I ended up with about 5 dozen?!? Some will be shared at a party. They are delicious and soooo attractive with that chocolate coating!

                                                                                                                                                      3. Cherry almond shortbread bars--just outta the oven.

                                                                                                                                                        8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                                          And no recipe? Holding out on us, Missy?

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                            It will hit Katty's Kitchen very soon for the blow-by-blow with pics. But in short, I took my favorite almond shortbread recipe, split the dough in 2, added Smucker's Orchard's Finest Michigan Red Tart Cherry Preserves (this stuff is so good, I eat it straight from the spoon!) as a layer in between, then added sliced almonds and a small spoonful of sugar over the top. My mom said "Oh my god" more than once when she tried one today. :)

                                                                                                                                                            I wanted to try this ever since peppermint sky was talkin' raspberry bars last week...and these were worth the wait!

                                                                                                                                                            ETA: Yet another reminder how much I need an offset spatula!

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                                              No offset spatula? Just use the BACK of a large spoon. That also works well for spreading chilled butter on delicate bread.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                                                I have about 6 small off-sets at home and use them all the time! I also have a larger one at home, plus my full kit at work.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                                                  Get a spatch, k-e, you'll never look back.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                                                      My MIL says she doesn't know how she baked without it. :)

                                                                                                                                                              2. I have a lot of baking to do this week. Today we are celebrating 3 family birthdays, so I made the epicurious double chocolate cake, but instead of making it in 3 9" pans, as I usually do, I made it in two 8" pans and used the rest to make mini cupcakes that will be part of my baking for my son's crew team bake sale on Wednesday. They're on a rack in the freezer now, and I will defrost and ice on Tuesday, when I will make some vanilla cupcakes as well. Today's cake is iced with vanilla flour frosting, and I made a double recipe to have enough to frost the cupcakes. For Tuesday I need to make something for my son's advisory period, so I am thinking of using the Heath Bar Crunch cookie recipe on the bag of bits that I picked up several weeks ago, unless I can find a better recipe that uses the Heath Bar Crunch bits. Anyone have one they love?

                                                                                                                                                                1. Today I'm making Peter Reinhart's Poor Man's Brioche to go with the slightly runny orange curd I made last week. I might make some more orange curd as well, since I have more oranges to use up and I want to try making marshmallows from the leftover egg whites.

                                                                                                                                                                  I might start a loaf or two of something or another later as well, since I have sourdough starter I need to use, but I'm not quite sure what yet. Something leaner I can use for sandwiches.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. Pineapple upside down cake - first time ever - in a cast iron skillet. I was shocked at the mess in the kitchen and how many bowls I used. DS helped me flip it (actually he did the flipping - do you know how heavy a cast iron skillet is with a full pan of cake and fruit in it??). Came out gorgeous! Used a recipe off of Dole website.

                                                                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: JerryMe

                                                                                                                                                                        LOLOL, yes I do (know EXACTLY how heavy that is)...and I have the wrists of a child. You were lucky to have a "flipping" helper. :) Nice job!

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: JerryMe

                                                                                                                                                                          Beautiful!
                                                                                                                                                                          And, yes, I do know. I end up w/burns from flying sizzling caramel every time I make tarte tatin. (My husband is afraid to do the flipping!)

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                                                            I have never been burned by caramel when turning out Tarte Tatin, but on one occasion the handle of the copper pan I use ended up on my forearm; it was not fun. So I purchased a special cover for the handle that goes on as soon as the pan exits the oven. I find that the trick to turning it out is to cover the pan with the serving plate and then flip the pan parallel to the plane of your body, never towards or away from you.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                                              The problem I run into is that, because of the slightly raised handle on the skillet, the serving plate sits awkwardly across my cast iron skillet (my perfectly seasoned "heirloom" has a weirdly short handle, too, compounding the problem) and when I flip, some caramel inevitably goes flying--but I'll keep in mind your tip as to keep the pan parallel to my body next time; maybe that's my problem.

                                                                                                                                                                              I do lust after a proper tarte tatin pan, with flush handles on either side, but that are really pricey.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                                                                I use a copper saute pan. It works great. The pan was expensive, though.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. I baked a batch of the Brown Butter Dream Cookies (also referenced upthread by buttertart), using Organic Valley European-style cultured butter with 84% butterfat. I'm not sure if the butter has made a difference in flavor, vs. using sweet uncultured butter. I'll wait and try them again on Tuesday before taking them to the meeting they're destined for. I find these are definitely better in general with a bit of age, as the flavors just come into balance.

                                                                                                                                                                          ETA: The recipe is here (scroll down to Nancy Kux's Dream Cookies), but it's crucial to add 1/3-1/2 tsp. salt. You can put them an inch apart on the baking sheet, as they don't really spread. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article...

                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                            Verdict: I can't taste the cultured butter in the cookies (meaning they taste the same to me as they do made with uncultured). Back to my usual local Clover organic for baking.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. Photos of Nanaimo Bars, Almond Crisps and Babka

                                                                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                                                            9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                Nope not Canadian. North Carolinian but made for a Canucky's bday and book publishing party :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                  I am Canadian, so clearly I'm missing something here - do Americans not eat Nanaimo bars?

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: dianne0712

                                                                                                                                                                                    They're pretty unknown in the US, unless encountered in visits to BC, (or learned of by reading Chowhound or the like).

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                      Or having Canadian friends since high school (mine being from Winnipeg and Toronto).

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                                                                                                                                                                        Ha! We former Winnipegers are everywhere...

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                                                                                          Well my friend's dad works for the Jets and she now lives in Calgary.

                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                                                                                                                                                                  Pretty, pretty, pretty.

                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm going to make nanaimo bars one of these days.

                                                                                                                                                                                3. Bake-O-Rama. Saturday I made three pies, yesterday a chocolate birthday cake for a birthday dinner celebration, and three dozen mini chocolate cupcakes for a bake sale on Wednesday (they're in the freezer until getting frosted tomorrow night). Today I made Heath Bar Brickel cookies, and chocolate chip cookie bars also for the bake sale, and I have cracked wheat bread in its second rise before baking, and dough cinnamon rolls in its first rise. That's going to do it for me!!

                                                                                                                                                                                  11 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                    Wow! You're a busy woman! I wondered if you found a good recipe for your Health Bar pieces.. sounds like you did!

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                                                                                      It was the one from the bag, and my son loved them. It was an unusual recipe. I've never made a cookie recipe that called for two teaspoons of cream of tartar.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                        That is odd! I associated cream of tartar with meringues! But if your son liked it.. that's what matters!

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                                                                                          Cream of tartar gives a distinctive texture to cookies. I have 2 family recipes that require it.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                            Well, I just bought another bag of the brickel, and a large container of cream of tarter!

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                              And I just realised that I have it in my cupboard, despite the fact that I have never made meringues. I wonder what I used it for??

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                                                                                                My mom always put it in any egg whites she was beating.
                                                                                                                                                                                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8248... -- the cookies...

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I clipped that recipe when you posted it ;) Haven't tried it yet, but planning on it!

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                        roxlet,

                                                                                                                                                                                        Are the Heath Bar Brickel cookies soft and chewy? I am looking for a soft toffee cookie.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: peppermint_sky

                                                                                                                                                                                          I think my son said that they are soft, but I will double check with him later. They all went off to the bake sale this morning, or I would bite the bullet, so to speak, and try one!

                                                                                                                                                                                      3. After getting home from a cake competition this weekend, I was itching just to play... without fondant or royal icing or gumpaste....

                                                                                                                                                                                        Went in the creamy direction...

                                                                                                                                                                                        White Chocolate Panna Cotta - really please with how it turned out... just the right amount of white chocolate. Only thing I'll probably do next time is caramelize the white chocolate first.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Vanilla and Grape Bavarian - less thrilled, I think in comparison with texture of the panna cotta - I know they are completely different, but next time will use about 1/2 - 2/3 as much gelatin / agar-agar.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Lastly, Blood Orange Mousse - i had some blood oranges that were on the way out soon, so whipped up some mousse. Topped with some lightly scented rosemary whipped cream.

                                                                                                                                                                                        This week, I know I'll be making some Mango Cupcakes (against the will of my utter disdain and exhaustion of the cupcake fad) using freeze-dried mango powder. Haven't figured out a frosting profile yet.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Also gonna do some Peach or Nectarine Linzer Cookies.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Lastly, wanna make some yam and other veggie crackers...

                                                                                                                                                                                        Have not a whole ton of free time for experimentation this week... Already looking forward to the weekend.

                                                                                                                                                                                        18 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Emme

                                                                                                                                                                                          Were you a contestant or an audience member or judge?

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                            contestant... i learned a LOT for next year. i wish i could convey the spectacularity of some of the pieces... there were tons of categories - fondant, foreign techniques, tiered, sugar, non-cake, cake decoration without the cake, chocolate, gingerbread, a grand wedding cake portion that i so wanted to enter but didn't have someone to drive the entry down with me...

                                                                                                                                                                                            some really really incredibly impressive stuff. ...really inspired me to experiment with off-the-wall techniques... and to once and for all start blowing sugar :)

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Emme

                                                                                                                                                                                              That sounds like a very exciting thing to do. Where was the competition, and what area did you compete in?

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                it was in san diego -- my first year with this competition, so now i have an idea of the expectation level for next year... can't wait... i did two entries, both using fondant, royal, and gumpaste, both cakes, one tiered, one not. i was extremely careful to avoid all technique that could be characterized as foreign technique (Lambeth, Nirvana, Oriental stringwork, Australian, etc), as they were being lumped into one category, and the precision required to truly make those cakes look *perfect...* well, i didn't have that kind of time :) plus, they add brushed embroidery into the foreign techniques category this year, and to me, that's much easier than stringwork!

                                                                                                                                                                                                next year i will also be doing the grand wedding cake portion -- i wanted to this year because the theme was pick a song, and required 4+ tiers, 2+ tier heights, 2+ cake sizes and reflection of the theme song... but i didn't have anyone to drive my entry down with me, and didn't want to have damage (i already had that with one of my cakes... can't imagine working on an epic piece and having damage in transit...)

                                                                                                                                                                                                all in all good fun.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Emme

                                                                                                                                                                                                  darnitall. if i was still in LA i would have driven the cake down with you & cheered you on! i'm an expert at that LA - SD trip, having moved back & forth between both places.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  you'll have to keep us posted about the preparation and details for next year :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                    ...you mean when i ask you to fly in to ride shotgun in exchange for gluten free goodies, gossip and some kind of fun crawl once back in LA?
                                                                                                                                                                                                    ...hope you move back eventually!

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Emme

                                                                                                                                                                                                      sounds like a Thelma and Louise in the planning!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Emme

                                                                                                                                                                                                        honey, if i can swing it, i'm THERE. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Emme

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Can you post some pictures of your entry? I am so curious to know more about this!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                        sure... it was through the san diego cake club... what i learned: brighter colors... then again i was doing more realism... the baby had a really cool mobile above it that i made using a balloon to set the icing, but it broke in transit.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        you can see a bunch of the entries on their Facebook page.

                                                                                                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Emme

                                                                                                                                                                                                          My goodness! Sorry about your mobile, that's a bummer. Very impressive!

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Thank you for directing us to their FB page. Can I just say, Best of Show Creative Artistry: WOW! I LOVE THAT THING! Then again, I'm a Day of the Dead baby.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Emme

                                                                                                                                                                                                            These are lovely, Emme! Well done!

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                              comparatively blech :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                              my FAVORITE from the show was the one that has a hand-painted design that looks like a henna stencil. it also has a paint palette, paintbrush, and piece of notebook paper with the cake design mapped out on it... except all the accessories are made from gumpaste... even the piece of paper that she drew all the lines on and created the "torn from a spiral" look upon... incredible.
                                                                                                                                                                                                              also impressed by the Dia de Los Muertos cakes that was entirely hand-painted in royal icing...

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Emme

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Emme - these are beautiful! sooooooo impressive! Good luck in your competitions. Please feel free to share - I would love to follow your efforts!

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: smilingal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                awww thanks... i'm working on sculpture right now... trying to decide what my next pastillage piece will be... that's while i'm trying to gain the gumption to blow sugar... (i still need a heat lamp and chamber though...)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                if i had a bunch of friends like Duff that were artsy, i would loooove to have my own bespoken cake shop!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Emme

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  just keep following your dreams - don't lose sight or give up!

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Emme

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Wow!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                So am I understanding correctly that you transport your cakes TO the competition? ( I'd be a wreck--and thus probably get into one.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  exactly... which is why i didn't do the big competition that had a minimum of four tiers and whatnot. i couldn't trust the doweling... plus as i was driving down, my table cake somehow separated from its board... i spent most of the drive holding that table down... then i hit a bump, the table flipped, and i lost my bread basket and one of my wine glasses... just like that! i nearly cried (partially due to stir craziness from being in the car...)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  nowhere near even "very good." i have a major issue with one particular shade of red food gel... always wrecks my fondant, and i always seem to forget, which is why in the table you can see imperfections in the tablecloth... but the airborne table somehow seemed to trump "Wrinkled tablecloth..."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  anyone wanna join me in opening green eggs & hEMME cakes?

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. I let my sourdough starter sit for far too long again, and had to find a something to make that didn't rely so much on the starter for leavening. So sourdough-cinnamon coffee cake it is, in spite of the fact that I still have brioche and a ton or orange curd in the fridge and there are only two of us. I guess I can freeze it if I don't think we'll eat it now. I just can't stand to throw out a full cup of starter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    The refreshed starter will definitely be made into San Francisco-style sourdough tomorrow.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. I recently did a riff on the Baked Explorations banana peanut butter pie. I used a chocolate cookie crust (GF) and topped with a drizzle of dulce de leche, made the vanilla pudding as suggested except that I reserved a bit of the whipping cream, whipped it then folded it into the cooled custard to lighten it. I increased by 1/3 as I made it in a deep dish pan. Then layered the bananas - lots of them, topped with a peanut butter dulce de leche pudding layer. For that layer I skipped the powdered sugar and used dulce de leche. I added it to taste - probably 1/4 cup plus a couple of T of whipping cream and beat the heck out of it. Folded in whipped cream it was light and nice. Topped it with piped whipping cream, cookie crumbles, dulce de leche, bananas and candied peanuts. My husband is a big cream pie fan, but picky and said he enjoyed the recipe. (It's Lent for me so I didn't eat any).

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Pie, of course! Not sure what, yet, don't have many ingredients on hand, don't have transportation today. I'll have to look through some old cookbooks, they usually have lots of recipes with ordinary ingredients from the pantry.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: wyogal

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Happy Pie day! I'm flipping through MS's Pies & Tarts for inspiration--both for today & an upcoming decadent desserts sale at the kids' school.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Not baking, but candy making. For years I've wanted to duplicate my favorite See's Apricot Bonbons (a pound pictured below.) So *finally* amassing the right ingredients and equipment, I successfully prepared the cooked fondant that goes inside! It's a little tricky, calls for homemade marshmallow and citric acid and exact temps and marble slabs and serious muscle to knead and "cream" the fondant (stir until nearly solid!.) The stuff (also pictured below) is the perfect texture/sweetness with the tang of chopped dried apricots. I haven't yet tried to make the candy coating --*also* called fondant--very confusing. It is pourable, to coat the little balls of fruit fondant centers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: blue room

                                                                                                                                                                                                            once or twice many many years ago I received a box of See's in the mail. Those were heavenly - they made such a memorable impression. Good luck in your efforts - your little balls look yummy already!

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Since today is National Pi(e) Day, my pi r rhubarb.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Also in honor of Pi Day, I made banana-coconut cream pi(e).

                                                                                                                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Happy belated Pi Day! Where is my spoon? :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Come on over -- there's a little left ... at least there was ...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. I made another lemon-goat cheese tart, but I added some fresh thyme to the goat cheese mixture, and we loved this little tweak. Almost lost the whole thing when it slid from a precarious perch in the fridge: it got slightly battered but not too bad.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      That sounds delicious. Could you share the recipe?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: peppermint_sky

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Sure. I posted about it in the top part of the thread (easiest crust ever!), but here's the link--

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        http://www.cafejohnsonia.com/2009/04/...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          NCW, so you just chuck the crust in the oven, no lining or weights, and it works out well? That's how I'm reading the recipe, unless I misunderstood it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            My mother used to do that, just pricked it all over with a fork.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Making up a batch of bacon brownies tonite to take into work tomorrow.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I'm thinking of lightly dusting the bacon strips with brown sugar, then roasting until crisp. Toss them in the food processor to break them down into powder like, then mixing into the batter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Wish me luck!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. For something savory - thin-crust pizza.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I usually make some type of pizza (usually 3+ in one night) at least once a month. I'm going to start experimenting with different dough recipes. This week I incorporated bread flour in my recipe - see my pics here:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        https://craftygreenrabbit.wordpress.c...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        For something sweet, the cinnamon crumb surprise from "The Bread Bible". It's listed under quick breads, but it's really cake baked in a bread pan. The recipe calls for a 50/50 ratio of cake flour to sugar. I'm a fan of baked apples.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I need to bake something for a brunch this Saturday. May do a bread. Any suggestions?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        And will probably be baking a chocolate cake of some sort for a friend's birthday. Just made molten chocolate cakes (cupcakes) for the first time last month.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Pot o' gold cupcakes. I made rainbow cupcakes by layering brightly colored yellow cake batter in rainbow, piped on vanilla frosting (was supposed to be meringue frosting, but it has been raining and didn't want to risk it) with a bit green sugar sprinkled on top. In the middle I put a large marshmallow covered in chocolate with a bit of golden frosting dipped in large crystal gold sprinkles. Didn't get a picture unfortunately.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: jsaimd

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Sounds fun! Whenever I try anything artistic, it ends up looking tragic..

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. http://www.gilttaste.com/stories/3810...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I want to try these after making bread pudding yesterday from an over abundance of bread. The pudding came out a little soggy - probably not enough baking time. Hopefully, I'll have more success with these.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Here it is the 16th and me delinquent in my duties...join me on part 2? http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8392...