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

Hello April, glad you stopped by! Are you going to be as wacky as March? Please don't be Summer yet. We need some more cool weather to bake up a storm in...

I baked Rose Levy Beranbaum's lemon meringue pie last evening (using the all-butter CI crust that I especially like for its crispness -- did have to add a tb of vodka to get it to come together, however, despite weighing the ingredients and following the recipe slavishly).

The pie filling is stellar, about the best I ever made. You boil up the cornstarch, sugar, and water until thick and translucent, stir some into the egg yolks, then add the lemon juice and rind, butter, and salt. I added the butter before the juice because I had of course forgotten to take it out of the freezer until I was up to my waist in the recipe. She doesn't call for any furher cooking other than to set and brown the meringue, but I put it back on the heat just to come back to just under the boil because of egg safety nervousness.

It's an italian meringue, which means you have to futz around with bringing a sugar syrup to soft ball temp and beating it into beaten egg whites. At least in my hands it made a firmer meringue than usual and I couldn't coax it into dramatic Martha meringue swirls, so ended up with a sort of spackled effect.

Never mind the looks, here's the pie, pussycats -- divine, lemony/creamy, and the meringue marshmallowy and plush. Barely warm, mindbending, fridge cold, killer.

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  1. I love the sound of that lemon meringue pie, and the method is fascinating. I will definitely try it.
    I made a buttermilk batter bread from Quick Breads, and given that the whole shebang only took a little over an hour, it was excellent. Actually, whether it took longer or not, it was excellent. The plan for today is Chocolate Chip cookie bars for my son to take to his first period Chemistry class tomorrow morning as salve for having to be back in class after the 2 week spring break. I also have quite a few over-ripe bananas in the house, and will make the banana chocolate chip bundt from Great Coffee Cakes. It sounds like a nice change from banana bread.

    8 Replies
    1. re: roxlet

      The Banana Chocolate Chip bundt cake from Great Coffee cakes is a nice change from banana bread. The bananas are passed through a sieve, and the recipe uses butter and cake flour giving the finished product a lighter crumb than any banana bread I have made before. It also calls for banana extract, not something I have hanging around the house, so in addition to the vanilla called for, I added a little Fior de Sicilia, an extract sold by King Arthur Flour. Now I remember why I haven't used it in a long time: my son hates the taste of it, and he thought that the cake had a weird flavor. I thought it was pretty good, but since he is the main eater of cakes of this sort in our house, I am packing it up to give to the neighbors. I would make this cake again, but I would just use the vanilla. Off to find another breakfast option to lure my son to eat something before school...

      1. re: roxlet

        Who has banana extract sitting around?? I've considered buying the Fior de Sicilia when King Arthur does their annual cheap shipping to Canada sale.. do you like it?

        1. re: rstuart

          Unlike roxlet's son, I like Fiori di Sicilia. It has a citrus-vanilla flavor, and according to KA, it is the traditional flavoring for panettone. I find it gives a je ne sais quois that people (including me) tend to like. I have used it to flavor cookies and frosting.


          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

            Thanks Caitlin.. I may try it! Love both citrus and vanilla flavours...

            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

              I just looked at the ingredients, and they use citrus oils and vanillin. Isn't that the artificial vanilla flavoring? Hmmm. Not a fan of that!

              1. re: roxlet

                CI did a taste test a few years ago that had CVS brand imitation vanilla at a high ranking. I used it in stuff for the office and whatnot and no one ever said anything.

            2. re: rstuart

              IMO Fior de Sicilia smells lovely and can add a pleasing flavor but is insanely, ridiculously strong. If you use more than a drop it can totally overpower a recipe. I feel like I should invest in a medicine dropper for doling it out.

              1. re: butterfat

                Hmmm... something to think about! Thanks Butterfat...

        2. I am trying salted peanut toffee cookies for the first time today, another recipe from Alice Medrich's Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy. Dough is chilling now. I am opting for the "fat little log" cookie shape that she mentions, and they will be rolled in toffee nuts.

          Last week I tried (and really enjoyed) Martha Stewart's black bottom coconut bars, featuring a slim base layer of bittersweet brownie topped with a generous mound of chewy coconut, so basically a macaroon cookie on top of a brownie. mmmmm. Served for a crowd, and every single one disappeared. Someone assembled leftover goodies for a friend, and I heard her say to the friend, "Oh, I wish I could have brought you these coconut bars she made, but they were all gobbled up... they were sooo good." So, favorable reports!


          6 Replies
          1. re: peppermint_sky

            That's nice when you hear something like that.

            1. re: peppermint_sky

              I'm glad to hear that. I bookmarked the recipe, but I saw that one poster commented that they were "flavorless." Chocolate and coconut are big flavor combinations in our house...

              1. re: roxlet

                They were great, although I wouldn't put in them in my top echelon of cookies. I bake a new recipe each week. I would make these again, and they are definitely not flavorless, although I want to try a similar bar with sweetened condensed milk in the coconut layer. Gooier.... I think I would like that even more.

                1. re: peppermint_sky

                  Oooh.. that sounds great! Let us know how your experimenting turns out!

                  1. re: peppermint_sky

                    one of my favourite bars is like that. Ribbon bars from our cottage community in the 60's. The bottom has graham crackers and marg and melted chocolate, the middle is coconut and sweetened condensed milk ( which we dye pink) and the top is a buttercream dyed green'

                2. re: peppermint_sky

                  Peppermint, glad to hear, I had also printed that recipe off and wondered how it was...

                3. There was a sale on apples at the market yesterday. Average 69 cents per pound, so I grabbed a couple pounds and made a deep dish apple pie last night just before bed.
                  It's been sitting all night, cooling on the counter. Can't wait to get home and break into that thing.

                  I also got a ton of lemons from a neighbor's tree. Thinking lemon bars...or something. Can't decide.

                  1. Almond joy macaroons. Only made 2/3 of a batch, and they're already half gone (not all by me) ... will need to make more soon!

                    1. Egg tarts. I always get them with dim sum but it never occurred to me that I could make them at home before.


                      1. I found this recipe today while I was dithering around on the internet at work. It's a delicious cake called "Salt-kissed Buttermilk Cake" from 101cookbooks.


                        I stopped at the grocery store on my way home from work and picked up some blackberries, and soon as I got home, I made this cake. We ended up having some before dinner, because after it came out of the oven, I went outside to transplant some irises and hostas, and do some weeding, and I was starving when I got back in the house.

                        I am in love with Hodgson's Mill Whole Wheat Pastry Flour. I am not a nut about whole wheat- it usually tastes too brown to me. But in this cake, and in my Kona Inn Banana Bread, it is perfect.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: jmcarthur8

                          Salt-kissed sounds irresistible to me.

                        2. Not for passover but making Caramel Apple Cake with Caramel Frosting from the boys at Baked. For passover, making the Genius This (Tees) chocolate mousse over at Food52, Schaums torte, and probably and angel food cake.. though a Dacquois based dessert would be different.

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                            Recommend you use a high percentage choc for that mousse, it really didn't work very well for me with 62 pct.

                            1. re: buttertart

                              Oh I've done it before using Ghiradelli chips. I whipped it just enough so that when I chilled it it came out like a great pots de creme.

                              1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                I don't know what I did that made it not work.

                                1. re: buttertart

                                  Yeah anything is possible with that recipe. I think it is a matter of whipping it to just the right consistency of what you want it to be and the ratio of course.

                            2. re: burgeoningfoodie

                              go dacquoise! i did, i did! :) ...i just forgot to half the amount i was going to make. so i ended up with too much batter for the pans that would fit in the oven... i had to improvise. i did mini ones that i plan to sandwich with lemon curd and top with the honey pistachio buttercream i threw together this afternoon... i like the idea of minis and not having to cut a large one...

                            3. I bought a couple of new half-sheet pans from Williams-Sonoma to replace my battered old ones, and on the sheet covering each pan was a recipe for chocolate chip cookies, so I made them. Here's a link:

                              I didn't have AP flour, so I used cake flour, and I had only half the light brown sugar required, so I made up the difference with dark Muscovado that I had (finally found a use or it). Mercifully, the recipe I had also specified weights (though the one on the link does not), so substitution was easy.

                              The recipe also specified semi-sweet chocolate chips instead of the "valentine chips" on the link. I like my chocolate in cookies nice and melted, so I quartered Felchlin callets and used them.

                              My cookies did not turn out chewy. Instead, they had a meringue-y texture (probably because I baked them too long), which I enjoyed. I was glad to see that my rounded spoonful was close to that of W-S; I got 38 cookies instead of 36. Worth repeating.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: souschef

                                Very nice! I was wondering where you had gotten to.
                                I bought a perforated half sheet pan in Chinatown a week ago ($8.50) and have been having fun with it. Makes an interesting bottom crust on bread and made brilliant, evenly-golden Melba toast from my bread. Think biscotti would do well on it too. Could also use it to sieve out nut dust from processed nuts...

                                1. re: buttertart

                                  Didn't have anything to post prior to this.

                                  I'm hosting Easter dinner, and am planning to make a chocolate bombe for dessert; it will look like half an Easter egg. I did make it twice before, using a Michel Richard recipe in a Julia Child book. MR bakes a génoise in a metal bowl, then slices it horizontally, fills it with ganache, reassembles it, and puts it back into the bowl, which is now lined with cling film coated with melted chocolate. The first time I made it it turned out fine. The second time it...well...it bombed.

                                  This time I'm planning to cover the darn thing with marzipan and then glaze it with the glaze from the fig cake. I might sneak some gianduja into the filling.

                              2. My SO is obsessed with sticky buns, but I've never made them. I'm whipping up a batch (and by "whipping up" I am referring to what will likely be a 3 day process) of Bon Appetite's Ultimate Sticky Buns for Easter brunch on Friday. Has anyone tried this recipe or do you know of a better one?

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Bananna85

                                  I've never tried the recipe - a little presumptuous of me to respond??? - but , if you haven't already started, the Pioneer Woman's cinnamon rolls are terrific, the process well described and documented and they are well reviewed. A combo of the two recipes might just be great - P.W. dough, B.A. topping? There are recipes on line that scale down the P.W. recipe to less gargantuan proportions!


                                  1. re: Bananna85

                                    I know you meant something traditional, Bananna, but I like these ultra-tasty mini sticky buns. They're quite simple (no-yeast so no-rise and they come together in mini muffin tins in a snap). I chop the pecans up rather than leaving them whole.


                                  2. Buttertart, how long would the lemon meringue pie last in the fridge? I'm afraid of having the meringue go all funny on me. But I'm SO EXCITED that you just made one you love. I'd like to be able to make an outrageous one for my father. He's 88 & that would make his month.

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: THewat

                                      Mmm, love lemon meringue pie. Still haven't decided on an Easter dessert ...

                                      1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                        I love lemon meringue pie too! I might make one for Easter to use part of the bowl of lemons I've got on my counter. I've been too busy to bake recently. Maybe in a couple of weeks things will slow down and straighten out and I'll have a bit more time to get my bake on

                                      2. re: THewat

                                        We're still eating it -- the meringue has sort of subsided but is still tasty. The filling holds up well too. Do you have the book? Need the recipe? I'd love to be able to make my dad happy with something I baked again.

                                        1. re: buttertart

                                          I'd love the recipe. Anything that you feel is "about the best you ever made" is good in my book.

                                          1. re: buttertart

                                            I would also love the recipe! I was so enthralled by your description that I ordered the book, but I would love to make it this weekend and not sure it will arrive by then!

                                            ETA: Oops! I see it's posted below! Thanks!!!

                                        2. I made a double batch of almond joy macaroons today (following a single batch the two days ago, lol.)

                                          I also made some more picadillo empanadas, as the ones I made last week only used about half of the filling (ground turkey, tomatoes, olives, almonds, raisins etc). So I mixed up another batch of the cream cheese dough (so flaky!) and now I have empanadas for dinner -- and a bunch for the freezer. Yum.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                            Where can I find that empanada recipe?!

                                            1. re: chocabot

                                              Here you go! The only thing I did differently was to use ground (dark meat) turkey.


                                          2. Passover baking today, so I made SK's lighter than air chocolate cake. I'll put it all together tomorrow, but it smells delicious.

                                            8 Replies
                                            1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                              Here's the final cake. It was so light ... everyone was happy (esp. me.)

                                                1. re: roxlet

                                                  Indeed it does! Must look at this recipe.

                                                  1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                                    Raspberries and Grand Marnier-spiked whipped cream.

                                                      1. re: kattyeyes

                                                        Yeah, it was hard choking it down ... hehehe. Had to keep testing it ... over and over.

                                              1. Passover baking today!
                                                Meyer lemon raspberry tart
                                                Chocolate Almond Torte (from Alice Medrich's Just Desserts)
                                                Chocolate FeatherBed (from Rose Levy Berenbaum's Rose's Heavenly Cakes)

                                                I have some cookies and matzo crunch planned for later in the week....

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: milklady

                                                  I love that chocolate-almond torte! So simple to make, such great flavor. For readers-along, here's the recipe: http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/20...

                                                2. Easter baking today: Pizza Rustica cooling on the counter; Easter Bread rising right next to it.

                                                  1. I have hot cross roll dough rising, will bake it in the morning. I just have to have a hot cross bun or two this time of year, and the bakery ones here are dismal.

                                                    6 Replies
                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                      Look, everything homemade is better! You know that!

                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                            Those are some bodacious buns, but where's the cross??

                                                            1. re: roxlet

                                                              I was tempted to say "nice buns," as well...frosting melted into them, they were that good. HA HA HA!

                                                              1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                I cut crosses into them but they went pfffft. And i decided I didn't need icing on them. So they're HCB rock cakes, I guess!

                                                    2. Will have to give that lemon meringue pie a try! ;-)

                                                      I'm baking tsoureki aka Greek Easter bread this week. Not sure if I'll attempt anything else this month!

                                                      Maybe some rhubarb upside down cake in the next couple weeks once my rhubarb has grown a little more.

                                                      1. Tonight was Passover dinner -- I served a Flourless Chocolate Cake decorated with hand-pulled Chocolate Flowers with Creme Anglaise. For some reason, I love making creme anglaise.
                                                        Also did mini Pistachio Dacquoise sandwiched with lemon curd and topped with a Honey Pistachio Swiss Meringue Buttercream. less well received... i have to keep reminding myself to save the more "esoteric," less mainstream (ie pie/cake/cookies) for friends and dinner parties where they're appreciated and enjoyed.
                                                        Lastly, did some Almond Cranberry Mandelbred. Well-received, though my mom said she remembers her grandmother's being like rocks... I said, "Is that a good thing??"

                                                        Had some downtime this afternoon, so to use up some almond paste (of which I ended up making more whilst baking the first thing...), I made a Frangipan Tart... So pretty. I'll take it with me to a brunch tomorrow.
                                                        Also made mini Almond Butter Cakes. These took MUCH longer to bake than I expected. Like double the time... which almost made me late for dinner. (...and bought the dog two more walks, to kill time...)

                                                        Planning to make some cookies tomorrow, one batch using almond paste as a base, one batch using pistachio paste as a base. Will let my subconscious work on it while I sleep.

                                                        1. Recipe for the pie, the way I did it:
                                                          1 prebaked flaky pie crust of your choice, (or a graham cracker crust, pressed into the pan ( like it with a gc crust, prefer it with pie pastry).
                                                          8 large eggs, separated and 4 egg whites kept for the meringue
                                                          1/2 c plus 1 1/2 tb cornstarch
                                                          1 1/2 c sugar
                                                          2 1/2 cups water
                                                          1/4 tsp salt (I used 1/2 tsp)
                                                          1 1/2 tb grated lemon zest (I used about 2 tb)
                                                          1/2 c fresh lemon juice
                                                          3 tb unsalted butter, softened
                                                          Whisk egg yolks lightly in small bowl.
                                                          Mix the cornstarch, sugar, and salt in a heavy saucepan.
                                                          Whisk in the water until smooth.
                                                          Cook over low-medium heat until thick and translucent.
                                                          Whisk about 1/2 c of this into the egg yolks, then whisk the egg yolk mix into the cornstartch one. Add the butter, then the lemon juice and zest.
                                                          Put the pan back over heat until it barely simmers again (it should "make eyes" as my family says, a couple of bubbles should rise).
                                                          Pour into the pie crust and cover with plastic wrap to keep the heat in it.
                                                          1/2 c sugar
                                                          2 tb water
                                                          4 egg whites
                                                          1/2 tsp cream of tartar
                                                          Have a heatproof 1 cup measure at hand.
                                                          Heat sugar and water until sugar dissolves and mixture is clear and bubbling. keep over lowest heat.
                                                          Beat egg whites until foamy, add cream of tartar, and beat to just less than firm peaks.
                                                          Turn the burner under the sugar syrup up higher and boil until 236 deg (soft ball stage).
                                                          Pour it into the measure to keep it from cooking further.
                                                          Pour the syrup in small increments over the egg whotes with the beaters off, then beat to incororate.
                                                          Scrape the last of the syrup into the meringue and beat until cool (mine was pretty cool from the get-go).
                                                          Top the pie with the meringue (take off the plastic wrap first, natch), attaching it to the crust all around and swirling it as you like/can.
                                                          Bake at 350 deg F for 5 mins, then put it under the broiler to get the meringue golden brown (or bake it at 425 or so until meringue browns if you don't have a convenient broiler -- I finally do, and an oven door with a window, and a light inside so I could watch the meringue get golden. Fun).
                                                          Cool at room temp for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
                                                          Refrigerate leftovers.

                                                          4 Replies
                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                            I like this method of making lemon curd. I think there's less chance of scrambling the eggs this way.

                                                            1. re: roxlet

                                                              Tastes fab. I thought the butter would dilute the lemon flavor but nosiree!

                                                            2. re: buttertart

                                                              Buttertart - thank you, thank you!

                                                            3. We're having some non-American guests for dinner tonight, and for dessert I made a pecan pie and a coconut custard pie -- both of which I think of as fairly American desserts. I'm pretty behind on my Easter bread, the rising of which I retarded in the refrigerator over night, and it's finally in bread pans and in the warming oven for its final rise. I hope I can get it baked before our guests get here this evening, but it will be a near thing.

                                                              3 Replies
                                                              1. re: roxlet

                                                                The house will smell totally fab!

                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                  Sad to say, my Easter bread is not as good as usual this year. I think it had to do with delaying the rising, and then Robert getting so involved in making his pate that he left the bread to proof for too long, and then I was in such a rush to get them baked before our company, that they didn't really rise enough in the pans. Anyway, how anything with this amount of eggs and butter could be dry is beyond me, but it is. I've got 4 loaves and I'm not sure what I'm going to do with them. Bread pudding made with Easter Bread for our neighbor who loves bread pudding. Maybe...

                                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                                    Oooh.. sounds like a good way to use up dry bread!

                                                              2. Just made blueberry lemon buckle for tomorrow's Easter brunch... it's a recipe I've wanted to make for a while. From "Rustic Fruit Desserts".. looks good! I'll report back on its success tomorrow..

                                                                1. A few days ago I had some bananas that were slightly overripe so made 2 loaves of banana bread - one loaf with mac nuts, the other with pecans. Strawberries were on sale so I got a bunch and made the strawberry pie from Joy of Cooking. We served the strawberry pie with whipped cream and it was quite good. When I got up this morning about half the leftovers had been consumed for breakfast by the early risers.

                                                                  1. I'm making a blackberry pie for Easter because my mom bought a ton of blackberries yesterday. We LOVE pie at our house, and since I'm temporarily unemployed (I hope!) I'll have a lot more time for baking the next week or two.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: sarahjay

                                                                      That sounds great, and like fun, at least for the time being!

                                                                    2. The Easter Bunny didn't stop by (what is WRONG with him?!?) so chocolate is what's for dessert tonight, in the form of RLB's "Brownie Puddle" from "The Pie and Pastry Bible". Supposed to be poked with the end of a wooden spoon after baking and the holes filled in with ganache. Did that, too much ganache, so topped it with the remainder. Doubt anyone will complain. Also leant a bit heavier on the pecans it called for, since I had a 6 oz package and it called for 4. Probably hit around the 5 oz mark with the others going to a good cause (down my gullet).

                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                        I have that cookbook right next to me ... looking up that recipe now. Yum!

                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                          Wow, even if the Easter bunny didn't show up at your house, you still have plenty of chocolate!!

                                                                          1. re: roxlet

                                                                            Maybe Buttertart IS the Easter Bunny?

                                                                        2. Made this olive oil cranberry bundt cake last night: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/olive-oi...

                                                                          I omitted the cinnamon and cloves and added some orange juice and zest, but otherwise followed the recipe. It turned out amazingly well. Super moist with a slightly crunchy-chewy crust. Next time I'll add maybe 1/2 cup more cranberries to counteract the sweetness.

                                                                          1. Nanny's oatmeal cookies with a Mounds twist--that's with chopped dark chocolate and tender flake coconut (1/2 cup of each) instead of the cup of M&Ms Nanny would add.

                                                                            I must package these up now--I've already eaten too many! :)

                                                                            1. Shall I bake buttertart's Lemon Meringue pie with my leftover Swiss Meringue? I have 6 egg yolks, too. I have - at long last - baked Alex Miles' Winter Chestnut Cake. All my anticipated angst was for naught, it's not complicated and it is quite lovely.

                                                                              My photo is not posting but souschef has the elegant one here:

                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                1. re: Cynsa

                                                                                  Cynsa, I'm glad you liked it. And,.....welcome back!

                                                                                2. Today I baked an applesauce oatmeal quick bread for DH and me. He wants to try it with the apple butter I canned last fall.
                                                                                  Then, after talking to #1 son, who is in the Navy, and finding that he has only a couple granola bars left from the ones I mailed him a while back, I found a different granola bar recipe and made those up, too.
                                                                                  So DH gets the ones from the edges that look funny, and sailor boy gets the nice ones.

                                                                                  1. Molten chocolate cakes for two last night, for a delicious catching-up dinner with a friend. Flavored with Grand Marnier, yum. More gooey than molten in the center; I find that it's always a matter of trial and error in any given oven how long to bake them, and now I know they need a couple minutes less in this one.

                                                                                    1. Raspberry shortcakes with lemon curd.

                                                                                      I went in circles about what to make, esp. as I made a big Passover cake the other day. But I ended up with lemon and raspberries and somehow that evolved into this. We all loved it. :)

                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                                                                        Here it is -- flaky biscuits (from Barefoot Contessa Parties), layered with chantilly cream, lemon curd, and resh raspberries.

                                                                                        1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                                                                          recipe, please, for your flaky biscuit?

                                                                                          1. re: Cynsa

                                                                                            The recipe is here: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/in...
                                                                                            (I've always ended up with 8-10 biscuits, vs. her 6-8)

                                                                                      2. More baking today - flourless chocolate hazelnut cookies, and Passover chocolate chip cookies. Delicious. Everyone was (jokingly) accusing me of making "hametz" (not okay for Passover) cookies!

                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: milklady

                                                                                          Yum! Would you mind sharing the recipe?

                                                                                              1. re: milklady

                                                                                                Those chocolate hazelnut cookies are Payard's flourless chocolate walnut cookies (recipe all over the internet), with different nuts + chocolate chips. Great cookie.

                                                                                          1. My gosh, that lemon meringue pie is beautiful, buttertart. I also like what appears to be a high lemon to meringue ratio.

                                                                                            I took the easier route and made two Lazy Mary's Lemon Tarts (from Food52) for a festive dinner on Saturday. I've also baked a couple of batches of (Ottolenghi's) pistachio shortbreads lately, one with cardamom and in the other, I subbed both orange and lemon zest for the cardamom. Much prefer the cardamom version as the citrus flavors seemed to disappear into the buttery shortbreads.

                                                                                            That's it for my baking lately, but you folks have sure been at it--my mouth waters at the amazing-looking and -sounding goodies here.

                                                                                            10 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                              I must make those pistachio cookies.
                                                                                              (Not sure if the meringue was supposed to be as low as it is...)
                                                                                              Chanterelles by the box as an avatar? Mmm mmm mmm.

                                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                If you like pistachio cookies, you should try Nancy Baggett's "gribee" (Lebanese shortbread) from her International Cookie Cookbook.........you DO have it, don't you?

                                                                                                  1. re: souschef

                                                                                                    I made the gribee yesterday. I was looking for a sophisticated cookie to give my son's school librarian, and these caught my eye. I didn't have the energy to do the rolling out between two pieces of waxed paper that the recipe suggested doing in order to facilitate cutting, so I decided to use a cookie press instead. My son loves the cookies, but I'm not turning cartwheels over this one. Plus, with having to shell, toast, then remove the skins from the pistachios, this turned out to be a whole lot more work than I anticipated. Anyway, they are nicely packaged and going to school tomorrow with my son.

                                                                                                    1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                      I'm glad your son likes the cookies even though your feet are firmly planted on terra firma.

                                                                                                      1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                        If you rub handfuls of the shelled pistaschios together gently, as if you're washing your hands, much of the skin will fall off. Not all, but most.

                                                                                                        1. re: foodiemom10583

                                                                                                          Yes, I tried that, but these were persistent buggers!

                                                                                                            1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                              You don't have to get ALL of the skins off.

                                                                                                  2. For our Easter Dinner I made Passionfruit Meringue Tart from Epicurious http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo... and Chocolate Cloud Cake from Leite's Culinaria http://leitesculinaria.com/2838/recip... flavoured with Grand Marnier. Not much left to savour....

                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: foodie_guru

                                                                                                      That chocolate cloud is calling my name! Beautiful!

                                                                                                      1. It's chilly and rainy so I think I might bake some bread. Maybe dutch crunch rolls for sandwiches and soup at dinner? I've got lots of time now that the bakery I worked at is being shut down and I didn't get the job I wanted, so I'm still looking for something.

                                                                                                        9 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: sarahjay

                                                                                                          What are dutch crunch rolls? Are they a sweetbread or what?

                                                                                                          1. re: cstout

                                                                                                            They're a sandwich roll with a crunchy topping that cracks, also known as tiger bread, it looks like this:


                                                                                                            It was really easy to make, so I don't think I need to buy it from a bakery anymore! I did blog the recipe, but of course can't post the link here :)

                                                                                                            1. re: sarahjay

                                                                                                              Ahh! Your Dutch crunch rolls are beautiful, sarahjay!

                                                                                                              I'm still waitin' on my offset spatula to come in. You should loan me one since you have so many (KIDDING!). ;)

                                                                                                              1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                I love a Dutch crunch crust and have always wondered why it wasn't available here commercially. It's common in Ontario and in the Bay Area.

                                                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                  Ah, OK--yes, never heard of it here in the Northeast. We're clearly missing out!

                                                                                                                  1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                    Malgieri has a recipe for it in Bake! I tried the recipe in the Fannie Farmer Baking Book and didn't get the effect i was expecting. Must try again though.

                                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                      the original recipe said to let the topping sit for a while, but I found that I got better results when I put it straight in the oven. So the first batch baked right away cracked really well and ended up in pictures, and the second batch that sat while the first baked didn't crack as well, but was still tasty and crunchy. I made dutch crunch rolls in pastry school once but didn't get as good a result.

                                                                                                              2. re: sarahjay

                                                                                                                Thank you sarajay for posting the link...wonderful sandwich roll, would like to make that.

                                                                                                          2. Going to be baking a lot with Matzo.. Matzo muffins, Green onion matzo pancakes, matzo apple cake.. not sure I'll get to a dacquois this go round.

                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                                                                                              ah the matzo baking... always a challenge... i did make some good dried cherry mandelbred using matzo cake meal, potato starch and almond meal last weekend...

                                                                                                              1. re: Emme

                                                                                                                yeah if top chef just desserts wants a challenge they should definitely do it a Passover or matzo as flour challenge.

                                                                                                                1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                                                                                                  I love that idea! They should also do a full Passover meal team-challenge for regular Top Chef...

                                                                                                                  1. re: milklady

                                                                                                                    Eh that doesn't interest me so much as you can make just about anything so long as it is kosher for passover.. like a chicken with veg.. but yeah that would be interesting. Who is the famous rabbi to the celebs?

                                                                                                                    In any case I made this and it was very tasty..


                                                                                                            2. We have our monthly Master Gardeners potluck on Thursday, and I have some mint chips and some Nestle's semisweet and mint chips I am thinking of using. Most of the recipes I find are for Christmas or St Patrick's day. Is this the wrong time of year for chocolate mint desserts?
                                                                                                              I was trying to find a pie to use them in since I have a Marie Callander pie crust in the freezer, and I have two packs of cream cheese. Anybody have any ideas for me?

                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: jmcarthur8

                                                                                                                Well, not a pie, but I did make these with mint chips, and they were great..

                                                                                                                1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                  rstuart, that's the one I printed up last night!

                                                                                                                  Actually, I made those cookies a couple months ago and loved them, so if I can't figure out anything else, that's what I will be baking this afternoon.

                                                                                                                  Great minds think alike!

                                                                                                                  1. re: jmcarthur8

                                                                                                                    Ha! Well, good luck with your search...

                                                                                                              2. what do I want?
                                                                                                                pavlova with green tea whipped cream and slices of mango:
                                                                                                                1 cup heavy whipping cream
                                                                                                                2 Tablespoons powdered sugar
                                                                                                                1 tsp. matcha powdered Green Tea
                                                                                                                1 tsp. vanilla

                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                1. I made a French yogurt cake with raspberries. This was so simple and quick to make, I was not sure how good it would be. But it was very satisfying! I can see endless variations of this cake in my future!

                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: klynne

                                                                                                                    I'm curious.. what type of yogourt did you use? It generally calls for full-fat, but I always have fat-free plain sitting around my fridge (for eating).. and would rather just use what I have! I wondered how it would work with fat-free...

                                                                                                                    1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                      Well, I did use full-fat yogurt because I had bought it by mistake and wanted to use it up. So I cannot say for sure how it would be with non-fat yogurt. Most of what I read suggested it would be fine; maybe a little drier.

                                                                                                                      Honestly, it took longer to preheat the oven than it did to put together this cake, so I would give it a try. Not too much lost if it is not to your liking.

                                                                                                                      I used Orangette's recipe, minus the lemon zest and glaze, and added raspberries.

                                                                                                                      1. re: klynne

                                                                                                                        Thanks Klynne.. you're right! Might as well give it a try...

                                                                                                                  2. I made mini lemon tarts with sugared blueberries yesterday, and they were a hit. I used Lazy Mary's Lemon Tart recipe, but slashed it down to make two 4 inch tarts


                                                                                                                    I got some culinary lavender at the farmers market last weekend and am planning a crème brûlée with it later on today or tomorrow. :)

                                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: BabsW

                                                                                                                      Aren't those lovely! I like cutting recipes to make smaller batches, too. Nice--his 'n hers tarts! :) And lav crème brûlée is a favorite, too. NOM!

                                                                                                                      1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                        Thanks. :) I'm looking forward to using the lavender.

                                                                                                                        1. re: BabsW

                                                                                                                          For your reading pleasure in case you're looking for other ideas. Thank you for reminding me to find this thread--there were many other lavender treats I had wanted to try!

                                                                                                                          1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                            Ohhhh, excellent. Thanks for the bump!

                                                                                                                    2. I'm about to attempt Smitten Kitchen's "Lighter Than Air Chocolate Cake"(http://smittenkitchen.com/2007/03/the...) for my kid's birthday. She said "surprise me" when I asked what kind of cake she wanted, so hopefully this will go over well.

                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: electricfish

                                                                                                                        I make the roll version about five times a year - it's delicious & easy & gluten free. I serve it, as it was served at my father's house when he was little, with a warm bittersweet chocolate sauce.

                                                                                                                        1. re: electricfish

                                                                                                                          Yum! I just made that last week, and it was a huge hit. Enjoy!

                                                                                                                        2. spent about 5 hours yesterday cooking in a kitchen where kosher is kept... the dairy oven was so small, i thought just maybe i'd be better off in an easy-bake... maybe 10" wide... just enough to fit my 9" springform pan... no room for the water bath.
                                                                                                                          undeterred, i still managed to churn out a luncheon for 14 for friday. everything just took forevvvver. i did a cheesecake, a cauliflower-leek kugel, a spinach mushroom cheese (farmer's, havarti, and mozzarella), salmon croquettes with a creamy lemon dill garlic butter sauce, almond roasted fruit and a ricotta dip... not to mention that my only kitchen tools were 3 plastic bowls, 1 knife, one wooden spoon, a zester, and about halfway in, the gift of a TINY frying pan. it was like playing Macgyver with a blindfold, leg shackles and 1 1/2 hands behind my back...

                                                                                                                          today, i made pop rocks with my friend's kids. i think next time i need to use more baking soda and more citric acid to see if i can get a little bit more foam going. we also made some pizza dough for us to make pizza for lunch tomorrow...

                                                                                                                          on tap tomorrow, i'm gonna made try to replicate See's Bordeaux, Pepperidge Farm Bordeaux, and then also prep some pain d'ancienne and possibly some crispy light almond paste cookies. i also have a challenge over my head to replicate fairytale brownies. i win dinner if i do :)

                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: Emme

                                                                                                                            Woah, you made pop rocks? How?? I'd love to try that with my girls.

                                                                                                                            1. re: modthyrth

                                                                                                                              Very easily...

                                                                                                                              Powdered Sugar
                                                                                                                              1/4 - 1/3 cup Citric Acid, divided for beginning and end use
                                                                                                                              400 g Sugar
                                                                                                                              1 tbsp Corn Syrup
                                                                                                                              1 tsp baking soda

                                                                                                                              Line a baking sheet with foil and parchment (I prefer double for security).
                                                                                                                              Sprinkle with powdered sugar, then liberally with citric acid.

                                                                                                                              Take 2 cups (400 g) of granulated sugar, a splash of water, and 1 tbsp or so of corn syrup. Bring to a boil; stop stirring, then bring temp to 305 F. Take off the heat. Let cool to 275 F.

                                                                                                                              Quickly stir in 1 tsp of baking soda and extract/flavoring of choice (1/4 -1 tsp, depending upon strength of flavor), and any food coloring if desired. (We used lemon extract, and that was enough to turn the stuff yellow.)

                                                                                                                              Pour out onto your sugar/citric acid lined baking sheet. Sprinkle again liberally with citric acid. Let cool and break into pieces.

                                                                                                                              It's not quite the same as Pop Rocks, as we obviously don't have a way to infuse carbon dioxide. You get a fun foamy/poppy reaction from the baking soda and citric acid in your mouth though.

                                                                                                                          2. It's been a busy start to the month so I haven't had a lot of time in the kitchen. Earlier this week I made the Gourmet Raspberry Buttermilk Cake for Easter dinner with family. Today I baked a Flourless Chocolate Decadence Cake and put together a few dozen jello aquariums for a Fun Fair/ Bake Sale & Decadent Dessert Night at the kids' school tonight.

                                                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: maplesugar

                                                                                                                              Jello aquariums? I'm picturing Swedish fish swimming in jello, and a quick google shows me that is indeed what they are. Cute, but I'll take the chocolate decadence if you want to send some my way!

                                                                                                                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                Yep the jello aquariums were very cute-although hard to see the fish once they were submerged. Next time (there's a surplus of swedish fish in the house and three eager kids hehe there *has* to be a next time) I'll have to try making them more shallow so it's easier to see the fishies. I think I might try making some honeydew melon "kelp" too.

                                                                                                                                ETA-I made them using the "quick set" method on the package so I could pour the slightly set jello into plastic sundae cups without the risk of melting the cups and put them in the fridge for 15 minutes, added the first fish, waited another 15 minutes and added two peeking out the top. Once filled, snapped on the sundae lids and used a colored elastic to secure a spoon to each cup. Sold out in short order. :)

                                                                                                                                1. re: maplesugar

                                                                                                                                  I bet... that must have been totally irresistible to kids!! Very creative..

                                                                                                                              2. re: maplesugar

                                                                                                                                I feel guilty just looking at that. Looks very tasty! if only the bake sale was at my school :)

                                                                                                                                1. re: maplesugar

                                                                                                                                  maplesugar, How did the raspberry buttermilk cake go over?

                                                                                                                                2. I just finished making Heath Bar Crunch brickel cookies with the addition of some really excellent mini bittersweet chocolate chips that I got from Kingarthur.com. They are excellent and should definitely be appreciated by our cookie-loving guest who is arriving this afternoon. It's the recipe from the package.

                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                    Roxlet; I'm going to be down in the States next month,and I will definitely be picking up more Health Bar pieces.. and trying that recipe!

                                                                                                                                  2. Blueberry almond cream cake with streusel topping. I think next time, I'll lose the almond cream component. The cake with topping stands on its own. The top was so pretty, all crackly and stuff!

                                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                        katty -- Could you share that cake recipe?

                                                                                                                                        1. re: peppermint_sky

                                                                                                                                          Certainly, it is on my to-do list. I would like to refine the cream part before I share, but I won't forget. And I left a message for you on a different thread about cooking heros. You had asked about Aunt Pegi's tacos. They're ready for you to read about now (did you find?). We had them for Easter b/c we dare to be different. HA HA HA!

                                                                                                                                      2. The other day, I made a sesame halvah "toffee" from Melissa Clark, actually a sesame shortbread topped with bittersweet chocolate and crumbled halvah. It would be just as good without the halvah, making it more of a simple pantry sweet. It comes together quickly in the food pro, is simple to make, and has lots of sesame flavor. Plus chocolate! My sesame-fan sample loves it.

                                                                                                                                        1. I made a blueberry/white chocolate cake from a recipe I found online.

                                                                                                                                          A few problems: my flour was old and it affected the final flavor of the cake, but my friends were nice and said they didn't notice. :o) Next time, I'd reduce the sugar, because the recipe called for melting the white chocolate and stirring it into the batter. It imparts a sweetness of its own.

                                                                                                                                          Also, I usually bookmark the recipe but this time I hand copied it and wouldn't you know it: I forgot to write down the cooking time! I got the most important things: ingredients, and oven temp so it wasn't that bad. Still, I wish I had bookmarked it. I really need to get on Pinterest, I guess.

                                                                                                                                          1. It's too hot to bake today; summer has come early. We're making ICE CREAM! Trying a new coconut gelato recipe from She Simmers:


                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. Decided to try the Black Forest Cookies from the first "Baked" cookbook. The recipe looked more like a cake recipe than cookies; melt the butter and chocolate, and beat 6 (!!) eggs with white and brown sugar ( 2 1/4 C total!!) until thick and glossy. Only 3/4 cup flour in the whole thing. It's sitting in the fridge to bake tomorrow as per the recipe, but I suspect that it will not be a typical "cookie" texture.. batter tasted very very good..

                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                                                Update: so, so good! They reminded me a bit of cookies that my mother made when I was a kid called "Blizzard cookies".. very very rich. But I did wonder in what world that enormous recipe (filled my biggest mixing bowl) only made 24 cookies??

                                                                                                                                                1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                                                  Maybe the law of conservation of matter doesn't hold in your kitchen?

                                                                                                                                              2. I baked the King Arthur Flour recipe ( website) for the apple skillet cake. It was good but not spectacular.

                                                                                                                                                1. After a hiatus from baking when we travelled over Easter, I've happily returned to flour, sugar and butter.

                                                                                                                                                  Last weekend I made a blueberry fruit cake from a recipe published in the British Daily Telegraph newspaper. It was surprisingly good, a simple buttery almond cake base that had blueberries folded into the batter. The berries sunk to the bottom of the cake during baking, and halfway through the top was sprinkled with sliced almonds. After taking the cake out of the oven I dusted the top with confectioner's sugar.

                                                                                                                                                  Like most British desserts it's not overly sweet so the flavors of the blueberries really stood out. The almond batter also kept the cake very moist. It's easily the best of the summer fruit based cakes I've ever made or ate as my experience is that most of these cakes end up being too dry.

                                                                                                                                                  This past weekend I made a simple Victoria sponge. Once again it's British baking at its finest: simple, uncomplicated, not overly sweet and very, very good when perfectly executed. The sponge was made with 5 eggs and their weight in sugar, butter and flour. That's all. The butter was whipped for a solid ten minutes before adding the sugar and eggs. This helped make the cake light and airy despite the absence of any leaveners. The two layers were sandwiched with a generous dose of raspberry perserves and dusted with confectioner's sugar. It had been a long time since I'd last had a proper Victoria sponge and I'd forgotten how marvelously good a simple butter cake is with raspberry jam and a light dusting of confectioner's sugar is.

                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                  1. A cream tart Cockaigne JOC 1975) with sour cherry filling -- it's really a cake, you use the egg yolks in the cake and make the whites into a meringue that you spread on the cake batter and strew with slivered almonds. I've been making it forever, made it for my 23rd bday (filled with sweetened raspberries), for a party. Served it and put the rest in the fridge for later (for ME!!!) and found 2 of my friends had retrieved it and demolished it. waaaah...
                                                                                                                                                    Also have George Lang's Hungarian potato bread dough rising at the mo, something else I've made since forever.

                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                      Sounds like a perfectly wonderful cake! Is the George Lange recipe from his Hungarian Cooking cook book? I have it, but never really saw a bread recipe...

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                        No, it's from Beard on Bread. They seem to have been pals. Must have been some interesting parties in that townhouse!

                                                                                                                                                    2. Today I made a simple crumb cake from Carole Walter's Coffee Cakes book (forget the exact title). I have been struggling to find something that my son will find appealing in the mornings before school. I figured that this will be plain enough to be appealing.

                                                                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                        I started with pizza dough for later in the week (one ball in the fridge, the other in the freezer), went on to Dorie's banana bundt cake and now have grisini/breadsticks from The Italian Baker in the oven!. What a relaxing, lovely Sunday it's been - and the house smells great!

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                          I have Carole Walter's cookie cookbook, which is brilliant. Absolutely wonderful cookies and filled with hints on how to make them better. Oddly enough I do have her cake and pie cookbooks but have never cooked from them as the recipes didn't jump out and grab me the way the cookie recipes did, and they're buried in a box in a basement back in the US for the foreseeable future. Her coffee cake book has received good reviews, is it worth the buy?

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Roland Parker

                                                                                                                                                            Coffee cakes are the most popular kind of cake in my house, so for me, the book is worthwhile. There are several recipes that I make over and over, this being one of them, and there are a bunch more that I am always meaning to try. I think it's a very good book, and the only one of its specific type that I own. I do find that her recipes work very well, however I also find that they can be a bit fussy. "Use only the freshest brown sugar," she continually exhorts, making it seem as if you have to open a new package of brown sugar every time you bake something. She also seems to always want you to sift the flour, and I will confess that this is a step I skip, particularly when I am in a hurry. But the results are consistent and worthwhile, and it's a book I go to frequently. I think it's worth the buy.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Roland Parker

                                                                                                                                                              I love her cookie book, too! I keep looking at her other books but haven't bought any ... yet.

                                                                                                                                                          2. I tried to make caramels and marshmallows and both turned out poorly. The marshmallows created a clump of spun sugar at the base of my KA MIxer's Whisk and didn't set right and the caramels got too dark (though the thermometer wasn't where Ms. Medrich said it needed to be yet). Anyone got good recipes for both that are great and almost fool proof?

                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                                                                                                                                              My suggestion for you is to make sure your thermometer is correct. I used a cheap one from the grocery store for months and after a few recipes turned out poorly I finally checked the temperature with boiling water. Found out that it was off by about 20 degrees!

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: GreenMind

                                                                                                                                                                Thanks Green Mind I redid the caramels and they came out correctly. I think on the Marshmallows I'll just try a different recipe. Given Alice Medrich's success in the realm of sweets I was pretty sure it was on my end or the website had the recipe wrong.

                                                                                                                                                            2. If I can shore up enough will-power, I might make Original Sin bars...which are essentially giant no-bake peanut-butter chocolate bars.. I have made them before.

                                                                                                                                                              11 Replies
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: GraceW

                                                                                                                                                                And you need to share that recipe, stat! :)

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                  I have been making them for years.. but just saw them pop up in a cookbook I acquired from a past landlord.. ooops.. and finally they have a name that seems appropriate. TOO easy, TOO good:

                                                                                                                                                                  ORIGINAL SIN BARS
                                                                                                                                                                  1 c. (2 sticks) butter
                                                                                                                                                                  2 c. chunky peanut butter
                                                                                                                                                                  2 c. graham crumbs
                                                                                                                                                                  4 c. (1 lb.) powdered sugar

                                                                                                                                                                  Melt butter with peanut butter. Blend in graham cracker crumbs (usually I just beat them with a rolling pin.. or double-bag them and dance on-top...) and powdered sugar until thoroughly combined. Pat into ungreased 9 x 13 inch pan. Spread with glaze. Chill before slicing.

                                                                                                                                                                  CHOCOLATE GLAZE:
                                                                                                                                                                  12 oz. chocolate chips
                                                                                                                                                                  1/2 c. (1 stick) butter
                                                                                                                                                                  Melt blend until smooth.

                                                                                                                                                                  **Usually I also add some vanilla extract to the pb base.**

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                                                                        My mom had a recipe for Crispy Crunch bars that was about the same. I've always been afraid to make those. (Non-Canadians: Crispy Crunch bars are chocolate bars similar to but thinner and crisper than Butterfingers.)

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                          Yes, they do have "eat half the pan without realising it and then feel sick the rest of the day" written all over them, don't they! I have poor impulse control over certain things..

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: GraceW

                                                                                                                                                                      Sweet Lady Grace with no face! I am mid-sin right now. I halved the recipe and am getting quite the hand/arm workout stirring the PB/graham/sugar part...did you use a stand mixer? I started with a spatula and graduated to a large wooden spoon. PB part is NOM, NOM, NOM btw! This hits the spot on a day that truly called for a sweet treat. :) Thank you!

                                                                                                                                                                      ETA: Strangely enough, once I got it into the pan, it seemed easier to work with. Now it's time to make the glaze. YAAAY! And I added a teaspoon of vanilla extract, too.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                                                        Um, maybe I usually do--because I usually make them at my parents' home (safer to leave the sin with them...). But I don't have a stand mixer (reference about 10 threads where I discuss REALLY WANTING ONE, but don't have the money for the desired Kitchenaid... and I enter every one of those drawings to win one, but never manage to get one.. whatever: it's a first-world problem).

                                                                                                                                                                        I remember it is hard to cut the bars (after they have been chilled) without the chocolate splitting off from the PB, but I looked up a solution for that.. I just cannot remember what it was. Let me know if you have solutions.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: GraceW

                                                                                                                                                                          Funny re your second paragraph. Of course, I had to break into them today and the chocolate split off the first piece just as you promised. Maybe letting 'em come up to room temp will help? I'll google later on. What's important is they're crazydelicious, so thanks!

                                                                                                                                                                          ETA: YES, that's it! Room temp = no breaky. :)

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                                                            OK, full disclosure, less breaky @ room temp, but not a complete success...much better, though. Only one out of the row had a broken chocolate top. Thing is, once they're at room temp, the PB part softens, then THAT becomes more challenging to get out of the pan. Hey, guess I'll hafta eat all those not-so-perfect pieces, then! ;)

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                                                              Oddly... none of mine broke. It wasn't me--I am sorry yours did. I ended up putting them in the freezer and then cutting them near the dishwasher which was quite warm (?) IDK.. somehow even though I didn't plan it: they didn't break. Let me know if it works for you.

                                                                                                                                                                2. I have been unfortunately eating very healthy and I have therfore been regulating my baking to semi-boring recipes, like protein bars etc., until this wonderful weekend when I had a "cheat meal":) So I made the Inside Out German Chocolate Cake on Epicurious and it was GLORIOUS!! Everything complimented everything else and I almost went into a sugar coma. I made the cake layers in advance, and put them in the fridge to defrost the night before. I also, used a simple syrup to moisten the cake before adding the filling. I would double the filling and ganache recipe for sure and I also recommend serving the cake at room temperature. I then made the "Sweet and Salty Brownie" recipe by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito in their "Baked Explorations" cookbook. And I goofed. I made the caramel layer too thin, because I was worried that it would burn, so I think I will attempt this recipe again and make sure that the caramel layer is thicker. And I made some chocolate chip cookies, with my Martha Stewart Recipe but the piece-de-resistance, came with the addition of Godiva chocolate. HUGE difference in the quality of the cookies! I usually just eat a half of one but oh-no, this time I inhaled three and had to restrain myself from grabbing a fourth. Looking forward to my next "cheat meal", oh so much right now!!

                                                                                                                                                                  1. Just wanted to share that Alice Medrich is going to be in my area (NC) to sign books and maybe share some wisdom.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. I just bought speculoos at Trader Joe's (I didn't know they sold it until yesterday, or I'd have gotten it sooner!) and need to make something with it. I'm thinking about these:

                                                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sarahjay

                                                                                                                                                                        The Biscoff-type spread? Well, I have bookmarked that recipe now.. and have no doubt I will try it!
                                                                                                                                                                        But I can also recommend this:
                                                                                                                                                                        They vanished in a flash from my office when I brought them in...

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                                                                          Next time I would brown the butter and maybe add vanilla to the crust. They're good, but I had hoped for stellar.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: sarahjay

                                                                                                                                                                            Browning butter is always a good idea.. thanks for the tip.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. I was craving a chocolate empanada, but most of the recipes I saw were for chocolate-banana empanadas, and that's not my favorite flavor combo. A friend mentioned a recipe for Nutella coconut cupcakes that she'd found, so I decided to try a Nutella-coconut empanada.


                                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                                                                            Thank you! I made 4 tiny empanadas from the smallest batch of patsry dough I've ever made. lol

                                                                                                                                                                        1. An occasion arose that provided an opportunity to make Crescent Dragonwagon's Rose of Persia

                                                                                                                                                                          cake. The artifice of the moniker with which she renamed herself irritates me no end, but I heard her talk about the cake on NPR a few months ago and then it was pictured in the Sunday mag section of the Boston Globe. I was intrigued by the ingredients, which include chickpea flour (along with regular flour), rose water, lemon, dry cherries, sour cherry juice, and pistachios. Trader Joe's happened to introduce the juice, and I had most of the other ingredients, just needed

                                                                                                                                                                          a stop at the Indian market for the rose water. The cake is a little fussy for ME - a lot of time with the KitchenAid, sifting the flours, zesting lemons. I prefer baking recipes that I can do with melted butter, a bowl, and a wooden spoon. But it is light-textured with a fine, even crumb, and a

                                                                                                                                                                          nice combination of flavors. The chickpea flour is not noticeable in any way but does allow a hypocritical claim to healthfulness. The group gathering to which I brought it appreciated it and polishedit off. I'm thinking of changing my name to Honeysuckle Firemountain. '-)

                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                                                                            The recipe sounds interesting but irritating. The potential name change - brilliant!

                                                                                                                                                                          2. I made the Versatile Cornmeal Crust from my new copy of Handheld Pies, but then I decided on a ramp / feta filling, which sounded downright bad with the sugar in the cornmeal crust. So both filling & crust dough are languishing in the refrigerator until I make some other pairings.

                                                                                                                                                                            Grey, honey - thanks for a chuckle this morning.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. I have been baking up a storm for a fundraiser next weekend and I'm freezing some things to keep fresher.
                                                                                                                                                                              I have made my favorite chococolate chip cookie dough and while I made two small cookie sheets of it their is still a big bag of ore rolled balls of cookie dough, then I made Bakeat350's sugar cookie dough with some flowers, butterfly, cats and dog bones. While the butterfly and flower cookies are colorfully decorated the cat and the dog bone cookies are just white so when kids come to my local humane society's table at a fundtaiser they can buy the cookie and decorate it however they want with edible markers. Then I made dog treats its a simple recipe with flour, oats, banana and shredded carrots, and olive oil. Then just for the family I made a cream cheese banana bread with pecans, I baked them in mini ceramic loaf pans and they are great and very moist. I still have pastel merangue cookies to make the day before the event and let dry in oven overnight, and strawberry and cream rice crispy treats dipped in a white chocolate bath and sprinkles. Whew a lot of work but its to help a great cause.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. I made a fresh strawberry pie from JOY, and added a 1/4" layer under the fruit and glaze layer, of cream cheese mixed with powdered sugar, almond extract and vanilla. DH had never had a strawberry pie before, because it's not his favorite fruit, but he was delirious with this one.

                                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: jmcarthur8

                                                                                                                                                                                  I remember my mother making a strawberry cream cheese pie when I was a kid, and it was a universal favorite! I'll have to ask her where she got the recipe from...

                                                                                                                                                                                2. Earlier in the week, I felt my baking mojo was off - first there was a quick applesauce cake that was slightly dry (remainder in the freezer to one day become bread pudding), then some lemon bars with rosemary that I loved the idea of but were a disappointment (that was down to the recipe, which I followed to a T, but I'll save the idea of fresh rosemary in the crust for another version).

                                                                                                                                                                                  Thankfully, things seem to be righted when it matters, as I wanted to make something to give to someone I worked with who is departing right at her birthday. Knowing the kind of flavors she prefers, I baked coconut-lime mini rose bundts, brushed first with lime syrup while warm, then with coconut milk-vanilla-sugar glaze. I think they came out very well, and the birthday gal loved it.

                                                                                                                                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                                                                      Thanks. That pan is my best-ever TJMaxx find.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                        I love it when you find something like that at TJMaxx. Irresistible at the price they offer it for, right?

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                          Marshalls has good stuff too sometimes, got nice small Bundt pans (different shapes) and a Gugelhupf pan there once. Best ever, at TJMaxx: 3-qt covered Scanpan casserole for $40, retail price around $140. Love love love.

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                      Imagine what sorta movie Citizen Kane would have been if he had uttered "Rose Bundts" instead.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                        I kid you not. I would choose this as my last meal.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Rella

                                                                                                                                                                                          I guess if it's a last meal, one need not worry about its being nutritious!

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Loaf of bread, batch of salty oat cookies with pecans & chocolate, two loaves of Gramercy Tavern Gingerbread (http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...), one batch of granola. Pie dough for hand pies chilling.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: THewat

                                                                                                                                                                                          You've been busy! Which salty oat cookie recipe do you use?

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Gooey butter cake from Smitten Kitchen. The recipe had been in my file for ages, the quantity of butter, sugar and corn syrup put me off for a long time but I decided to buckle down and make it this weekend. I actually made it with Lyle's Golden Syrup as I couldn't find light corn syrup where I live (Dubai).

                                                                                                                                                                                          It's very good but very rich. We all enjoyed it, the boys more so than the adults, but I don't think I'll make it again as it's simply too rich for our tastes.

                                                                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Roland Parker

                                                                                                                                                                                            It sounds like your recipe is from scratch. Kudos! I made the version with a packaged cake mix. It was just too, too sweet for me.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: pdxgastro

                                                                                                                                                                                              It was from scratch. The traditional gooey butter cake is made with a raised yeast base similar to a German kuchen yeast cake. The cake originated in the German bakeries of St. Louis.

                                                                                                                                                                                              However, I have to say that the gooey butter topping is overwhelming enough that it's almost irrelevant what the base is except perhaps that a butter cake base might be even sweeter (not a good idea!).

                                                                                                                                                                                              We finished the cake off yesterday. I have to admit that as much I don't care for intensely sweet desserts, there was something almost addictive about the gooey butter topping, as if it had woken a deeply buried psychological craving for intensely sweet, sugary products. It shocked me. Dangerous and I won't be making the cake again.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Roland Parker

                                                                                                                                                                                                That's interesting. I do mine with a yeast dough as well, but I find there's a good balance between the yeast dough base and the gooey topping. I wonder if your recipe uses a different ratio of base to filling...

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. I have peanut butter s'mores bars in the oven, and the house smells great. They started off as traditional s'mores bars, but somehow some smooth peanut butter got in there ... lol.

                                                                                                                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                                                                                                The orig. was from Lovin' from the Oven, but here's what I did:

                                                                                                                                                                                                Peanut Butter S'mores Bars

                                                                                                                                                                                                1/2 c butter, room temp.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1/4 c brown sugar

                                                                                                                                                                                                1/3 c white sugar

                                                                                                                                                                                                1 egg

                                                                                                                                                                                                1 tsp vanilla

                                                                                                                                                                                                1 1/4 c flour

                                                                                                                                                                                                3/4 c + cracker crumbs (I crushed up one of the three sleeves in package and used all of it)

                                                                                                                                                                                                1 tsp baking powder

                                                                                                                                                                                                4 Hershey bars (milk choc. is trad, but use whatever kind of choc. you like best)

                                                                                                                                                                                                7 oz marshmallow fluff (one container)

                                                                                                                                                                                                2-4 oz peanut butter (optional)

                                                                                                                                                                                                Line an 8x8 pan with foil and grease with butter or cooking spray. Preheat the oven to 350.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Cream together the butter and two sugars. Then add the egg and vanilla.

                                                                                                                                                                                                In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, graham cracker crumbs, and baking power. Then slowly add them to the butter-sugar mixture.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Divide the dough in half and put haf in the bottom of the greased pan. Press down to fill any gaps, but don't pack it in.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Then cover the dough with a single layer of chocolate* (and peanut butter, if using, as below). Four bars should be plenty, though you might have to break them to make them fit.

                                                                                                                                                                                                *If you're using peanut butter, it's easier to spread it on the chocolate bars before you put them in the pan, than to try to spread it on them once they're already in.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Then spread on the marshmallow fluff evenly, and cover with the remaining half of the dough. I crumbled it on so it would be sandier in texture at the end.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Bake for 25-30 min., til lightly brown on top. Cool briefly and enjoy. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ohmygoodness, now we just gotta sit around a fireplace, tell ghost stories and sing kum-ba-yah as we eat them!

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Oh lord... I do think that I copied the recipe from Lovin' in the Oven.. but PB takes it up a whole other level!

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. I decided to try something new for my breakfast muffins, and made peanut butter muffins. But I decided that they needed something different, so sliced up a banana and mixed it in (peanut butter banana sandwiches were a childhood favorite of my brothers). I'm not exactly sure if they worked,but I guess I'll find out tomorrow morning...

                                                                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Love peanut butter and banana sandwiches to this day, also pb on toast makes a lovely bfast!

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I've always liked peanut butter best if chocolate is keeping it company. THink that I made myself too many peanut butter and jam sandwiches for lunches when i was a kid. I probably had one every day for about 4 years straight!

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. I have carmelita bars in the oven for dessert tonight. I made a LARGE batch of caramel sauce to use up some cream that was going to go off soon. The recipe uses a cup of sauce, which is about a quarter of my supply. I'm sure the rest will go soon enough into oatmeal or onto ice cream :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                  recipe is from here: http://luluthebaker.blogspot.ca/2010/...
                                                                                                                                                                                                  found via pinterest

                                                                                                                                                                                                  12 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sarahjay

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Those look irresistible--especially with your own homemade caramel sauce! So glad you shared--these are on my to-make list!

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Another something not to make for fear of scarfing the lot.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I hear you, said the girl with far too many Original Sin bars still residing in the fridge. Gotta do it strategically when you know there are enough people around so you can share and not completely pig out...'cause those carmelitas are straight up THIS kat's alley! ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Peanut butter bars keep really well in the freezer too. I make mine into a pseudo-nanaimo bar (as the filling, instead of the usual buttercream filling) with the base made of peanuts and oatmeal instead of almonds and coconut. They are probably my most popular Christmas candy-tray item.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: sarahjay

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Ah, good to know, as there is such thing as too much of a good thing! I'll appreciate them more when I haven't had them for a bit--thank you. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: sarahjay

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Hmmm... that's interesting. I like nanaimo bars, but never liked the walnuts/almonds usually used for the base. Will have to try peanuts...

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: sarahjay

                                                                                                                                                                                                        They were fabulous. And they're gone. I do live with a teenage boy, which might explain the short stay of any baked goods (or food in general, I suppose). They reminded me of Hudson Bay Bread Bars, but richer and with more chocolate. They will for sure be made again :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sarahjay

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Hudson bay Bread Bars? What pray tell are those??

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                                                                                                            They're like a soft granola bar made with maple syrup (at least that's what we always used, in looking up recipes I saw a lot of honey+corn syrup+ maple flavor) with nuts and chocolate chips in them. We always made and ate them on road trips and when camping (the only thing that made camping worth while. I hate dirt)

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: sarahjay

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Thanks Sarah.. as a Canadian, I found the name intriguing...

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I had never heard of them either. Maybe cream colored and wooly with red and yellow stripes ;-) ?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  My dad got the recipe from a scout lodge on the bay back when we lived in Illinois and we've made them ever since.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. I've been on a chocolate kick lately, earlier last week it was the Nutella-coconut empanadas. Then on

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Friday I made 3 mini chocolate cakes with a pseudo-caramel filling, Nutella-chocolate gananche and hazelnuts.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Today I was trying my take on Billy's (from Masterchef Australia) Deadly Chocolate Delice found here: http://www.atablefortwo.com.au/2011/0...

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I cut it down by a lot and added coconut. It'll be finished tomorrow, but I had extra "chocolate cream" and so baked it in a creme brulee dish as a sort of chocolate-coconut pots de creme.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: BabsW

                                                                                                                                                                                                          The chocolate-coconut delice with a bittersweet chocolate and coconut brownie base, the chocolate cream filling - like a dense mousse or custard, topped with a semi-sweet ganache and garnished with dark chocolate curls and sweetened coconut flakes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: milklady

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Thanks! I was very happy with the result. VERY rich. That small portion was quite sufficient to satisfy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Today I made some delicious homemade Oreos for the soccer team. I had made Whoopie pie cake for my oldests birthday about 5 weeks ago and the boys have been begging for more ever since. The Oreos are similar, and easier to transport. They seemed to help ease the blow of a tough loss. Of course 12 year old boys are the best baking audience ever. Everything is 'awesome.'