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What are you baking these days? January 2014 edition![Through January 31, 2014]

Hi all,
HAPPY NEW YEAR, BONNE ANNEE, BONNE SANTE, GLUECKLICHES NEUES JAHR, FELIZ ANO NUEVO and let's not forget
新年快樂!!!
New year, new recipes...and old favourites.
Here's one I've been meaning to post for the longest time, from Gourmet sometime in the mid-70s, clipped out of the mag at the time, and featuring something I'm not normally crazy about but that is very good in this recipe...nice for brunch or coffee/tea break...
Cinnamon cake
Sift together 2 1/2 c flour, 4 tsp baking powder, 1.2 tsp salt.
Cream 8 oz (2 sticks) butter, 1 1/4 c sugar, 1/2 tsp cinnamon until fluffy. Beat in 2 eggs, one at a time, and beat well.
Add the flour mixture alternately with 1/14 c milk (I do flour/milk/flour/milk/flour) and stir smooth.
Bake in greased and floured (or PAM with flour or other baking spray) 9x9" pan for appx 45 mins at 350 deg F. It should be deep golden brown and a cake tester should come out of the middle clean.
Immediately upon removing from the oven, sprinkle with 1/3 c sugar mixed with 1/2 tsp cinnamon. Serve warm.
I love the grittiness of the sugar against the softness of the cake. Yum. (ooh brainwave, cardamom i/o cinnamon...)
And a spice cookie trouvaille...from BA mag...the Chewy Molasses Cookies from their 2014 holiday cookies article, which I can't find on their website but will post later. Very cardamom-y and superb.
So...what are you baking these days?

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  1. Buttertart.. thanks for ringing in the new year by sharing a great recipe! Printing this one out for sure..
    Is this the chewy molasses cookie that you were referring to?
    http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/chew...
    I think that I read about it on the dish of the month Cookies thread for December, and printed it out... good to know that it's BT tested..

    2 Replies
    1. re: rstuart

      Yes it is...the cardamom makes them really special. They are darker than most when baked, the photo is a good guide -- I think it's the cardamom. Instead of the other spices I used 1 1/2 tsp of Lebkuchen spices, sold in packets in Germany...they may have them in European stores too? Listed on the label as cinnamon, clove, cardamom, coriander, nutmeg, anise, hot pepper, ginger, star anise -- if labelling there is like it is here, this is in declining order of the amounts in the mix. Mine are in clear plastic 10 gm sachets, Alba brand.

      1. re: buttertart

        I love cardamom in both sweet and savory dishes.

    2. Happy New Year All!

      bt, thanks for inspiring us with that recipe!

      I just couldn't resist making the Cranberry Orange Cornmeal Cake recipe that a CH had recently posted a thread about here:

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/929203

      The ricotta ensures the crumb is tender and moist and everyone is raving about this cake. Here's a link to the original recipe in the LA Times:

      http://www.latimes.com/features/la-fo...

      I reduced the salt to 1 tsp but otherwise made as set out in the recipe.

       
       
      2 Replies
      1. re: Breadcrumbs

        Looks excellent. I think I mentioned the cinnamon cake a while back and you expressed an interest in it, BC!

        1. re: Breadcrumbs

          That looks incredible! Thanks for linking the recipe.

        2. I made that large génoise I mentioned in the last thread, though it was 11 inches rather than 12. I decided that I was brave enough to be foolish, and did not look up any RLB instructions.

          I doubled the recipe for an 8-inch cake (11 squared is just slightly less than twice 8 squared), and the cake turned out great; the crumb looked really good when sliced into three.

          The cake was my Chocolate Chestnut Cake. I had forgotten that with some chestnut purées you have to give them a whirl in the food processor before use. When I added it to the butter I got lumps, so had to strain it through a fine sieve; talk about laborious!

          I made an interesting discovery recently: I always used a thin paring knife between the cake and the side of the springform pan to release the cake. The last couple of times I used a small, very thin spatula instead (this was for a chocolate cake and the génoise), and the side of the cake was smoother. I used to get a few crumbs breaking off; not this time.

          1. We had a brunch yesterday for New Years, so I whipped up some cinnamon rolls (Pastry Queen recipe with mashed potatoes) and biscuits for breakfast sandwiches.

            Other than some snafus about how much butter was included in the cinnamon rolls (I did not have that noted so a pound of butter total came as a shock) I thought they turned out well. Nice and light. Good caramelization. I froze and baked 2 pans later and they survived the process well. They did need an extra 5-15m in my oven though. The first batch was brown but the middle was dough, so I decreased the temperature to 325 and the next batch was on time.

            1. I just made a batch of Thomas Keller Bouchon Bakery and Alice Medrich oatmeal raisin cookies to compare. They're completely different technique and composition. The Bouchon one blew me away... I never liked oatmeal cookies till today

              12 Replies
              1. re: Nevy

                Hi Nevy,
                I saw your post on the New Years thread and mentioned there that I made these recently too (the Bouchon ones). They are really good, aren't they?
                I tripled the recipe to give out cookies to friends and neighbors, but so far we've just kept the dough in the fridge, baking off a tray for the two of us almost every night. -Dangerous, but I'm trying to get oats in me as much as possible (nursing mom) and the nightly ritual has been fun!
                We added chocolate chips to the scooped batter before baking for my husband, and I think next time ill chop up some good chocolate and just add them as part of the recipe.
                Very salty and cinnamony, but in a good way.

                Wish I could remember who mentioned this recipe last month. I owe them a thank you. Haven't had a miss in this book yet.

                1. re: rabaja

                  Hi Rajaba - if someone told I'd love oatmeal raisin cookies, I'd laugh at them but the Bouchon Bakery book made me a believer. I am just in awe of the deep butterscotch notes with the sweet raisin flavour. Sadly the Alice Medrich ones paled in comparison, they melted into puddles, were too crispy in comparison, and didn't have the same depth. Both rested for 24 hours and baked within an hour of each other.

                  You're completely right about this recipe book. So far I'm 4 for 4 from this book. The chocolate chip cookie (amazing), oatmeal raisin (wow), Pullman loaf (it steals the word wonder from Wonderbread), and Bouchons (the best brownies ever... Even if they're not brownies). I'm getting ready to do the better nutter butters and possibly croissant.

                  I just also did 2 sets of Kouign Amann (Flour Too by Joanne Chang and David Lebovitz). They're proofing right now so I haven't tried them yet but so far, I like the David Lebovitz more because the dough composition is easier to handle. We'll see how the taste is!

                  I'm also planning my Chinese New Year baking. I have the dough for the pineapple tarts made already and frozen. I'm also planning a coconut mochi tartlet (nian gao variation) and I just settled on my kabocha squash fat gao recipe. To top it off, I think I discovered my Hokkaido Milk Toast recipe that doesn't use whipping cream or milk powder!

                  1. re: Nevy

                    Nevy,
                    Pls let us know how the better nutter butters turn out. I LOVE peanut butter desserts, and I've had that recipe on my mind for quite a while.
                    Thanks!

                    1. re: Nevy

                      Hi Nevy, What is Hokkaido Milk Toast? Can you share the recipe?

                      1. re: smfan

                        Hokkaido Milk Toast is my first bread discovery in Hong Kong. It's an enriched bread that is can only be explained as being a cross between a poor mans brioche, a touch of Finnish Pulla, and the innards of a croissant. It's actually fluffy and stays that way because of a technique called tangzhong or water roux.

                        You make the roux ahead of time, chill overnight for flavour development, and use it in the bread next day. The most popular Hokkaido milk recipe is by Christine Chinese Recipes but her instructions uses whipping cream, milk powder, and a bread maker. The one I adapted uses a greater amount of tangzhong, butter instead of whipping cream, a bit of whole wheat for an extra nuttier note, no milk powder (real milk only), and good old elbow grease (or a stand mixer). I have the recipe on my laptop so I'll post the recipe when I'm back home. Check out the freshloaf link below to see some good pictures of it in the mean time.

                        http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/3299...

                        1. re: Nevy

                          Here's the recipe I'm using... I think the amount of flour really depends on your weather. For me, it's a very cool dry winter so I don't need extra flour but if I'm in a warm humid environment, you probably need to add more flour.

                          Hokkaido Milk Bread/Toast

                          675 g bread flour 5 2/5 cups
                          Note: depending on your weather, you may need to add more
                          85 g sugar 1/3 cup plus 4 teaspoons
                          12 g salt 1 teaspoon
                          2 large eggs
                          250 g milk 1 cup
                          8 g yeast 4 teaspoons
                          85 g butter, room temp 6 tbsp
                          1 serving of tangzhong: this is a separate recipe and you will use all the tangzhong made with the recipe
                          For the tangzhong:
                          50 g Whole Wheat flour 1/3 cup
                          250 g water 1 cup

                          Create Tangzhong by adding water and flour together in a small sauce pan. Over low heat, gently stir the mixture till the roux thickens (occurs at 65 C). It’s best when you can use your spoon/spatula can make a temporary line in the roux for at least a few seconds before it merges on itself. Place in a container when cooled and put a cling wrap to prevent a skin from forming. Place in fridge for a few hours (best overnight).

                          Combine the flour, salt, sugar and instant yeast in a bowl. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Add in all wet ingredients (milk, eggs and the tangzhong).

                          Use the dough hook attachment on your stand mixer. Begin mixing on medium speed until the dough comes together. Then add in the butter and continue mixing/kneading.

                          Keep kneading until it is a smooth dough. It shouldn't be too sticky (it should be tacky) and have some elasticity. It took me around 30 minutes to mix the dough in the mixture. I would also knead for a little bit by hand. I added some more flour to keep the dough from being too sticky.

                          Knead the dough into a ball shape. Take a large bowl and grease with oil. Place dough into the greased bowl and cover with a wet towel. Let it proof until it’s doubled in size, about 40 minutes.

                          After proofing, move the dough to a clean surface and split up the dough into four equal portions. Knead and form this dough into balls. Cover the book with the wet towel again and let it rest for 15 minutes.

                          Finally, bake the bread at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 30 minutes.

                          1. re: Nevy

                            That should be 65C for the tangzhong to be ready, yes?

                            1. re: buttertart

                              Yes you're right... my autocorrect went straight for US temperature instead of Celcius. :)

                              1. re: Nevy

                                Thanks Nevy for the recipe. I mixed it up with the 8 inch "sacuer/UFO" bread with a thin crust.

                                1. re: smfan

                                  I just finished baking up the Hokkaido milk toast/bread and my house smells divine. I'm not sure if you can see the individual fluffy pulled strands between the bread, but is shows how soft the texture is. I'm really happy with this recipe as I don't have to stock milk powder or whipping cream in addition to all my regular pantry items.

                                  Once the bread cools down, I'll post another picture of the inside.

                                   
                                   
                                   
                                  1. re: Nevy

                                    That looks fabulous! Lovely bread!

                                    1. re: roxlet

                                      Here's a picture of the crumb. The best part is the roux makes the bread stay soft for close to 4 days.

                                       
                                       
                2. Baked rice pudding. Comfort food for the -26C weather today. It was a 'watch world junior hockey and turn the oven on' kind of day.

                  1. With the tragic news of the untimely and unexpected death of a friend's 17 year-old daughter, I have made a lemon cake to bring to their house later. I can't imagine their pain. I have also mixed up a batch of donuts, which my son has been begging me to make for weeks. I am about to get frying as my cake finishes cooling.

                    10 Replies
                        1. re: rstuart

                          You cannot imagine how sad. The mother apparently loves peanut butter cookies, and I will make some of those to take to her tomorrow. She is so thin I feel she will disappear.

                          1. re: roxlet

                            I cannot think of losing a child... It's so sad.

                            If she likes peanuts, perhaps Thomas Keller better butter butter might be an item she can eat.

                            1. re: Nevy

                              Is that a cookie? It was very sweet that after the service last night, her husband, sister and nephew all remarked on how much she appreciated the cookies, and that they were something she did eat.

                              1. re: roxlet

                                It is a cookie... It's a peanut butter cookie with an peanut butter buttercream sandwiched inside. Online pictures show the cookie to be at least 3 inches wide. It's possibly my next project from the Bouchon book.

                          1. re: roxlet

                            I'm so sorry, roxlet. That is just so sad.

                            1. re: roxlet

                              I'm so sorry. I can't even imagine. I'm sure the cake came out wonderful.

                            2. I have 2 kinds of bread to work on in January.

                              I want to learn how to get the big irregular holes I'm looking for in my sourdough. I think I need to do less actual kneading. At least that will be my first experiment. I'm also experimenting with baking in a cloche.

                              And I need to figure out how to get reliable results with ATK's Cinnamon Swirl bread. It has great flavor and can be completey gorgeous but I keep over proofing it so it collapses. I finally adjusted the yeast and the time and got nice fully-inflated dough but when Santa brought me a proofing box -- which I wanted specifically for this dough -- it collapsed again. So the work goes on.

                              http://www.americastestkitchen.com/re...

                              Hope my family doesn't tire of these two before I nail them!

                              16 Replies
                              1. re: rainey

                                The dough needs to be very wet to make those holes, as I understand it.

                                1. re: buttertart

                                  Yes, that's certainly a factor. I just don't want ciabatta all the time. I'd like a nice sourdough boule so I'm trying to manage a sufficiently wet dough that still has enough structure to spring up.

                                  1. re: rainey

                                    Gotcha. But don't know how to help.

                                    1. re: rainey

                                      How large of holes are you expecting?

                                      1. re: sandylc

                                        I'd like at least some large enough or nearly large enough to put a pencil through. Somewhere on either side of 3/8"diameter.

                                        1. re: rainey

                                          My sourdough boule has some about that size - not all over, but quite a few.

                                          1. re: sandylc

                                            Could you attribute it to anything in particular?

                                            My starters have large holes. Not that large but certainly larger than 1/8" (I keep my starters about ciabatta consistency). But once I work the dough it gets tight and I get sandwich bread size holes.

                                            Do you think using a folding technique rather than kneading could make a dif? How do you handle and shape your sourdoughs?

                                            And thanks so much for your help!

                                            1. re: rainey

                                              I just barely mix mine, then do three stretch-and-folds with an hour between each. I don't do any kneading. After the third SAF, I let it rest for a few minutes while I flour up a towel and line a bowl with it (fake banneton). Next I form the dough into a boule and put it upside down in the bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. When it has risen, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, I turn it over onto a parchment-lined peel, slash it, and transfer it (and the parchment) to my preheated stone in the oven. Done.

                                              1. re: sandylc

                                                Thanks! That's the sort of approach I thought I'd experiment with but that gives me a lot of specifics to work on.

                                                I had been kneading until I had a window and I think I have just made the dough too tight. It works for some breads but now I want something different.

                                                I do the homemade banneton thing too. I find all kinds of things useful from the oval plastic baskets that restaurants line with paper and serve food in (great for smaller loaves) to metal fruit baskets with open weaves (the can transfer interesting patterns in the flour that sticks to the dough surface).

                                                I find flour sacking has a nice relaxed weave that fits baskets without too much in the way of folds. For my go-to baskets I roughly cut the flour sacking about an inch above the top, roll a hem to the outside and stitch the edge to the top of the basket. Then I take a few stitches from the outside, through the fabric on the inside around the bottom of the basket. It's great to be able to just grab-and-go.

                                                I've been using some of these for years and I rarely even have to flour them anymore. I also keep floured towels in the drawer in my baking cabinet.

                                                1. re: sandylc

                                                  I've been doing the stretch-and-fold thing lately too, on Sandy's advice - LOVE it. IMO, it's the easiest way to work with dough at 70%+ hydration, and it has been producing great results - my last several sourdough boules have risen high, even without using a banneton for the final rise (I just shape into a tight ball and allow to rise on a flat surface. I also get nice irregular holes, especially if I use starter as my only leavening (sometimes I add a touch of regular yeast if I need to speed things along).

                                                  1. re: biondanonima

                                                    I can't take credit - my method is a mash-up of Bouchon Bakery and Bakewise. I'm just excited that it works so well. I'm doing the SAF with some pizza dough right now...!

                                                    1. re: sandylc

                                                      Is that Bakewise as in Shirley O Corriher?

                                                      I've got that and I could dig it out.

                                                      1. re: rainey

                                                        Yes. I learned from her to skip the long mixing in the Bouchon Bakery recipe - she says that it oxidizes the dough and makes it less flavorful.

                                                        I love how baking turns its followers into detectives of sorts. A bit of information here, a bit there, et voila! a baker is born...

                                                        1. re: sandylc

                                                          Thanks again!

                                                          You have just been a fount of information!

                                                          I've been a bread baker for a long time but only recently took sourdough baking seriously. Previously, I used a starter but expected that the use of supplemental yeast was inevitable. Since I've learned to get a complete rise exclusively from starter I want to go on to master the next challenge.

                                                          You've moved me well along the way and I'm grateful. ;>

                                                          ::she said, not having opened the flour sack and baked anything since the New Year and still having one wad of sourdough still in the freezer from the last batch:: …but I know this has been wonderfully helpful.

                                                          1. re: sandylc

                                                            OK. I'm back again to say thank you. I hope that's not getting tedious but my sourdough is already so much better. Not yet a tight boule. Somewhere between a boule and a ciabatta but much, much better crumb.

                                                            I'm trying to adapt the Ed Wood recipe I was using that leavens exclusively with starter to the technique of stretch & fold. And I'm trying to do it from the perspective of 40-some years of the old rise-punch-rise habit.

                                                            Wood's method is one 12hr proof, an 8hr proof, shaping followed by another proof. I added a S&F when I added the last flour before shaping but I got nervous about over proofing before I baked. Next time I'm adding a couple S&Fs at maybe 20 min intervals before I shape.

                                                            It's actually pretty exciting to approach what I've done for so long with a new insecure method even without the improved result. You really did me a solid, sandylc, and I deeply appreciate it.

                                                            PS I barely mixed at all when I added the final flour. I'll have to give it a bit more knead at that stage next time but it was just a fork though until I didn't see anything watery.

                                      2. re: rainey

                                        Congrats on the proofing box I love mine. I just wish it was bigger.

                                      3. I'm having an excellent time with the CI Baking Book -- the snickerdoodles and pecan cookies were a hit with the crew at work and the double chocolate cookies were a hit with both a tough audience and a friend at work. It's well worth getting even for those of us who have a ridiculous number of baking books...

                                        8 Replies
                                        1. re: buttertart

                                          I have to agree. I have made some wonderful things from this book. And I just tasted a bit of the lemon bundt cake, and it's fabulous. It's a little too large for my blossom bundt pan, so I also made two little loaves. Super good, and supposedly it will be more pound cake-like the next day.

                                          1. re: roxlet

                                            I will have to get this from the library..

                                            1. re: Njchicaa

                                              I truly feel it's worth owning.

                                            2. re: buttertart

                                              I made the buttermilk drop biscuits from it last night (the trick to them is that you melt butter and stir it into cold buttermilk, the small clumps that form serve as the bits you get when you cut the butter into the dry ingredients in the usual way). Really super.

                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                I really need to get baking from that book, I've had it for awhile.

                                              2. I did loads of baking over the holidays, but was away at my mother's and not on the computer. I've included a picture of the cookie plates that went to the family friends/neighbors.

                                                So far this year I've got birthday cookies cooling that I will decorate to send to my sister in Hawaii. My baking goals for the year include getting a sourdough starter going and then using it.

                                                 
                                                3 Replies
                                                    1. Cranberry oat muffins. Came across this recipe last month and it is by far the best thing I've baked in 2013. Have made them at least 4x. Just pulled another batch out of the oven. OMG, so good. Taking this batch to my best friend who had a bilateral mastectomy for breast cancer yesterday. She LOVES them,

                                                      http://bostonchefs.com/recipe/brown-s...

                                                      1. Baked some focaccia tonight. I was in the midst of a true dish-washing marathon and just dumped the wet risen dough into a disposable pan. Worked out great!

                                                        This stuff is so tasty. I found a quick 40 minute rise, no-knead recipe on a blog recently and have made it twice since then. It actually tastes amazingly good, much better than the old recipe I used (which required full kneading and 2 long rises) from one of my bread cookbooks (Jim Lahey?).

                                                        Topped this one with grated parmesan and Romano, rosemary, and a tiny bit of garlic.

                                                         
                                                        1. I made the gingerbread loaf from Warm Bread and Honey Cake. It's quite lean, with less than 2 oz butter, 1 egg and yogurt, but spicy and delicious. I used honey instead of molasses, halved the cinnamon, doubled the ginger and cardamom and kept the cloves, mace and nutmeg as per the recipe. Easy and very tasty.

                                                          1. I made the Momofuku Milk Bar Compost Cookies and brought them to work on Jan 2. My coworkers went NUTS for them so they were a big hit. Next time I will make them smaller than what the recipe called for because they were ginormous.

                                                            I'm in the process of making the Candy Bar Pie from the same cookbook. This one requires that you make like 6 different things: chocolate crumb, chocolate crust, peanut brittle, salty caramel, peanut butter nougat, and the chocolate glaze. The crust needs to be chilled before you add the caramel. The caramel needs to be chilled for at least 4 hours before you can add the nougat. The nougat needs to chill for at least an hour before you can add the glaze. This is a recipe that takes at least 2 days or possibly even 3.

                                                            The caramel didn't firm up as much as it should have. Tosi does make mention that if you don't bloom the gelatin correctly you will have to do it again. I didn't feel like doing it again so stuck with my slightly runny caramel. Not an issue.

                                                            Making the nougat was a bit more difficult. You need to have 2 "tiny" pots of sugar and water heating to 2 different temperatures while having an egg white whipping to medium-soft peaks in the mixer. I have a 6 Quart KitchenAid Pro mixer so 1 egg white was too small a quantity for it to deal with. I had to use the whisk attachment for my immersion blender to whip the egg white. By the time that was done and I added the 1st batch of sugar syrup, the other batch had been cooking for too long. When I turned up the heat (as directed) to get it to 245 degrees it burned. I quick rinsed out the first pot that I used and re-made the syrup while crossing my fingers that I wasn't totally ruining the nougat. I didn't and it worked. Oh my point was that I don't have 2 tiny pots. I have 1 that is on the small side and then I had to use a medium-sized one as well. I'm sure that was part of what caused it to reduce too quickly and burn. Lesson learned. Next time I will just use my 1 small pot and make one syrup after the other.

                                                            I will probably save the chocolate glaze for tomorrow.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: Njchicaa

                                                              What a labor of love! I hope it's as great as all the time and effort you've put into it indicates it would be!

                                                            2. I made the peanut butter cookies from the CI Baking Book. My son wanted to know why I never made them before. Even my husband, who said he is not a fan of PB cookies because he feels they're too heavy, loved these.

                                                              1. It's a cold, wet day here, and I'm making more cookies to send out with some belated holiday packages. Cranberry-pistachio biscotti, gluten-free and regular ginger cookies, and chocolate chip cookies. And maybe some biscuits to go with the chicken stew I'm making for dinner.

                                                                1. I finally finished the Momofuku Milk Bar Candy Bar Pie today. Took 3 days total to get it done. It isn't perfect but I'm happy with it for a first attempt.

                                                                   
                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: Njchicaa

                                                                    Wow, wow, wow, wow! Well done, Njchicaa!

                                                                  2. Swedish Dream Cookies from Maida Heatter's Book of Great Desserts. Never made them before, and planned on including them in my holiday cookie baking but I ran out of time. They call for ammonium carbonate, which results in a cookie with a wonderfully light, crispy crunch.

                                                                     
                                                                    1. South of the Border Chocolate Cookies:
                                                                      http://food52.com/recipes/15402-south...

                                                                      Really wonderful. I love the almond extract with the chocolate. Skipped the cinnamon and cayenne.

                                                                      1. Birthday cookies are done and on their way to Hawaii! The designs are based on a collection of quilting fabrics by Kate Spain that my sister and I both love.

                                                                         
                                                                         
                                                                         
                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                        1. re: sarahjay

                                                                          Wow, those are gorgeous. I am very interested in the colored icing in the third picture. Obviously, it's what you use to draw the designs on the cookies, but I'm surprised that it looks so thick. It doesn't look as if you could pipe it, but obviously you can! I've never done decorated cookies, so I'd love to know what recipes you use for both the icing and the cookies.

                                                                          1. re: roxlet

                                                                            The icing isn't very thick, but isn't really runny either. The aqua color I used to write with was thicker than the others, but still not stiff. I usually use 20-second icing (which is explained really well here: http://www.sweetsugarbelle.com/2011/0...
                                                                            )The recipe I use (and go bigger or smaller depending on how many cookies I have to ice) is:

                                                                            6T meringue powder
                                                                            2/3 to 3/4 cup warm water
                                                                            2 lb (one bag) confectioner’s sugar
                                                                            2-3 T corn syrup (unless you live in a humid climate)
                                                                            2-4 tbsp. extract or flavoring (not oil-based)
                                                                            (I usually use half vanilla half almond, but sometimes do lemon and throw poppy seeds and lemon zest in the cookie dough)

                                                                            Instructions

                                                                            1. Whisk together meringue powder and water. Beat for 5-7 minutes, or until stiff peaks form
                                                                            2. Add half the sugar, mix until combined. Scrape and add remaining sugar. Mix until combined, scrape, add corn syrup and extract and beat until smooth.
                                                                            3. Over mixing and oil-containing extracts can keep the icing from setting up, so keep this in mind as you work.

                                                                            The cookie recipe I use is from bakeat350.blogspot.com ( http://bakeat350.blogspot.com/2008/04...

                                                                            )

                                                                            It always works, doesn't spread, and they taste great.

                                                                            I put the icing in plastic wrap so I don't have to wash the bags. It's also easier to refill a bag with a icing "pod" than to fill it the standard way, especially with a runny icing. I learned to do this when I worked at a wedding cake shop.

                                                                            (explanation here: http://www.sweetsugarbelle.com/2013/1... )

                                                                            1. re: sarahjay

                                                                              That icing pod trick is the greatest thing I've ever seen. Beautiful cookies, too!

                                                                            1. re: sarahjay

                                                                              How lovely, they are simply beautiful. If only I had the patience to decorate like that.

                                                                            2. Bread, lots of bread.
                                                                              Kaiser rolls, Cuban bread, and oatmeal bread. It's cold, so I am using the oven a Lot more.

                                                                              I may make some carrot cupcakes later this week as something different.

                                                                              1. My son has been asking for his favorite bread -- cracked wheat made from an ancient Fleishmann's Yeast booklet. This time, I made it with bread flour as well as a cup of white whole wheat with a little bit of vital wheat gluten thrown in for good measure, and boy, did these loaves rise! Next up, Kaiser Rolls!

                                                                                 
                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. Sultana butter squares. They're somewhat like a butter tart but less sweet. One of hubby's childhood comfort treats.

                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: jammy

                                                                                    Recipe please? I'd never thought of using sultanas in that sort of thing. (For you non-Canadian or British types, those are golden raisins).

                                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                                      You're living up to your name :)

                                                                                      Sultana Butter Squares

                                                                                      Pastry:

                                                                                      14 oz flour
                                                                                      3 1/2 oz cold lard
                                                                                      3 1/2 oz cold butter
                                                                                      pinch of salt
                                                                                      enough cold water to form a rollable dough (One day I have measure how much water gets used. Sorry for the lack of measure here. The original recipe is an old one and just assumes the reader knows how to make pastry)

                                                                                      Filling:

                                                                                      3 oz butter
                                                                                      2 1/2 oz brown sugar
                                                                                      12 oz sultanas
                                                                                      1 level tbsp of all purpose flour
                                                                                      1/4 tsp cinnamon
                                                                                      1 tbsp golden syrup

                                                                                      Glaze:

                                                                                      One egg white
                                                                                      A sprinkling of sugar

                                                                                      Preheat oven to 425 F

                                                                                      Combine flour and salt. Either with your hands or a food processor, incorporate butter and lard until the mixture looks like a very coarse meal. Add enough water to form a dough that won't crumble when rolled. Divide into 2: one larger piece for the bottom of the squares and a smaller for the top layer. Let rest in a cold place for 1/2 hour.

                                                                                      Mix filling ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, turn heat to low and simmer 5 minutes. Leave to cool off a bit - about 20 minutes.

                                                                                      Line the bottom and a scant 1/2 inch up the sides of a 12 x 8 dish with rolled out pastry. Top with cooled sultana mixture. Cover with second lot of pastry.

                                                                                      Glaze with egg white and sprinkle with sugar. Pierce top all over with knife or fork.

                                                                                      Bake at 425 for about 20 minutes until top is golden and bottom is cooked.

                                                                                      Let cool in pan.

                                                                                      Makes about 18

                                                                                      1. re: jammy

                                                                                        Those sound nice and very oldfashioned.

                                                                                  2. I made raisin pecan bread from RLB's The Bread Bible, except I substituted craisins for raisins (husband hates raisins with a passion) It's very tasty, and I don't know if you can tell from the pictures, but it does have a nice rosy color to it from the water I soaked the craisins in.

                                                                                     
                                                                                     
                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: zitronenmadchen

                                                                                      You can see the colour.. very pretty!

                                                                                      1. re: zitronenmadchen

                                                                                        That's beautiful! There's a bakery in Palo Alto, CA that makes a cranberry sourdough. It's one of my all-time favorite breads. I have my copy of the Bread Bible sitting on my coffee table to remind me to bake fun bread this year.

                                                                                      2. Yesterday, I made a double recipe of blondies from the CI Baking Book -- one batch for my son's team after their matches (first loss of the season), and the other for a bake sale to raise money for my son and other members of the opera club to attend the Met.

                                                                                        There are more matches tomorrow, so I am going to make oatmeal cookies, which my son thinks no one will eat, but I am going to give it a whirl anyway. I'll just bring them over to the club if the team doesn't eat them. I am also going to use the CI recipe since I've had great success with everything I've made from the book.

                                                                                        1. Walnut and poppy seed buns, using a basic yeast based sweet bread. The filling contained chopped walnuts, poppy seeds, butter, honey, milk, sugar and flour that is cooked until boiling. Rolled out the sweet bread dough after the first rising, spread on the cooled filling, rolled it up like a jellyroll. Cut into 12 thick slices and put in a muffin pan. Let rise again and bake.

                                                                                          There are only two of us living here, made a dozen two days ago and there are only two left. And we are not particularly big eaters.

                                                                                          1. Another Pound Cake from Bon Appetit Y'All.

                                                                                            Next up is Ina Garten's chocolate cake.

                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: emily

                                                                                              Chocolate frosting was delicious, but I prefer the chocolate cake from CI's Best Recipes.

                                                                                              1. re: emily

                                                                                                Her chocolate buttercream? I love that recipe!

                                                                                            2. As I type, the amazing smells of focaccia are wafting through my kitchen. I used a version of the no-knead bread and topped the focaccia loaf with sliced onions, rosemary and sea salt/ smoked salt. As per the recipe, the pan is coated with a generous amount of really good olive oil before adding the dough. The aromas are out of control. I hope the flavor lives up to them.

                                                                                              This is the recipe I used.

                                                                                              http://www.simplysogood.com/2013/08/f...

                                                                                              1. Baking frenzy at my mother-in-law's...2 Japanese cheesecakes, 3 pans of rolls, and a big bowl of bread dough rising. More to follow.
                                                                                                And she's made a chicken pot pie and rolled-out sugar cookies, among a bunch of other cooking. I'm in bed pooped and she's still up chatting with my husband...she's 31 years older than I am...

                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                  Sounds like Buttertart has not been eating her Wheaties! :)

                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                    I'm exhausted just thinking about making all of that

                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                      Tomorrow more rolls and a birthday cake (belated) for my SIL.

                                                                                                    2. Simple fudge brownies from KAF. I overcooked them ever so slightly (getting used to a new oven), but they seem to be disappearing.

                                                                                                      1. I made cookies for a baby shower the other day. They were in the shape of doggy and dinosaur pull toys. Here's a picture of the Dino.

                                                                                                         
                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                            1. More peanut butter cookies for my bereaved friend, and chocolate chip cookies for her boys.

                                                                                                              14 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                Very kind of you roxlet. btw, what's your favourite pb cookie recipe?

                                                                                                                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                  Not to temp you, bc, but I seem to be using The Baking Book from Cook's Illustrated for everything lately. Buttertart has also spoken of how much she loves it. Everything I've made from it has been great -- Daccquoise, chocolate angel food cake, Boston Cream Pie, peanut butter cookies, blondies and oatmeal cookies. I have loved everything I've made from the book.

                                                                                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                    Ok, before I hit "Add to Cart" I took a look on my bookshelf and it seems I have it's predecessor, Baking Illustrated. I'll have a look in there first. How's that for restraint!!! ; )

                                                                                                                    1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                      You're a reformed addict. I got mine at Costco.

                                                                                                                      1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                        That made me laugh out loud!! Funny though, I'll be at Costco next weekend....

                                                                                                                        1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                          This was a while back (maybe early-mid November), so if you're lucky, they'll be out. I would say that it's a baking book for all the regular things you bake, which is why I have used it as much as I have. They're not reinventing the wheel, but that being said, the dacquoise was very creative and different.

                                                                                                                      2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                        There are new recipes and techniques in the new book :)
                                                                                                                        I have both...

                                                                                                                      3. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                        Oh gosh my husband just watched ATK make the dacquoise cake yesterday and was drooling. I'm a little intimidated by all the steps though.

                                                                                                                        1. re: rasputina

                                                                                                                          Do it over the course of a couple of days.

                                                                                                                          1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                            Oh that's a good idea. The pastry cream shouldn't be a problem making the day before.

                                                                                                                    2. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                      Speaking of PB (so glad that your friend is still eating them, people often stop eating in these circumstances) I just made flourless peanut butter cookies with PF and chocolate chips for my book club. One of the other members is now gluten free, so I thought that I should make something that she could eat..

                                                                                                                      1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                        Did you like the cookies, Rstuart? My SIL is gluten intolerent and I am always on a look out for tasty GF treats. If you liked them could you share the recipe?

                                                                                                                          1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                            Thank you so much! I saved the two peanutbutter ones in my Pepperplate - will make one ot both when I am visiting next.

                                                                                                                    3. In the middle of baking pastries... it all started with a "need" for chocolate croissants but after putting all that effort into the dough, I decided to try a few other mini Danish type things out as well.

                                                                                                                      The fruity ones were supposed to just be filled with jam, but to my horror, the jam I just bought last week was taken by my boyfriend to work. So I used "Jammy Bits" from KAF and am praying they melt like they usually do in scones.

                                                                                                                      The spirals are filled with a mixture of chopped pecans, brown sugar, cinnamon, and maple syrup. The filling recipe I took this from also called for some butter to make a paste, but I couldn't possibly justify adding any more butter to these things. Fingers crossed it stays where it's supposed to.

                                                                                                                      Will report back after baking.

                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                      7 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                        Choco croissants out of the oven. They look glorious (except for that one guy on the top right I somehow placed wrong side-up), almost too flaky and delicate to pick up off the sheets:

                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                        1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                          Oh, wow! That's something I've long wanted to try!

                                                                                                                          1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                            That puff pastry looks great. Do you know the % of butterfat in the butter? I recently came across a locally-made butter consisting of 84% bf, and am looking forward to using it to make puff pastry. Only problem is that it's twice the price of regular butter.

                                                                                                                            1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                              It's around 81% BF.

                                                                                                                              And honestly I'd never tried this specific recipe before but didn't want to open another stick to add what I imagine would have been another 1 1/2 tablespoons (the recipe went by weight, so I'm not sure) so I actually omitted it and proceeded anyway.

                                                                                                                              Pastry dough might not be the place to experiment with butter omissions, but they turned out beautifully IMO.

                                                                                                                              This morning I purposely ate around the chocolate to get a good taste of the dough and it is very flavorful, though not quite as buttery maybe as pastries I've had at amazing bakeries. I didn't use expensive butter, just the Land O Lakes I keep on hand. For me, it is perfect. There is a 1 hour starter made with bread flour, yeast, and water, then a slow ferment in the fridge in between folds.

                                                                                                                              I should mention this particular recipe jumped out at me because it DID NOT use a butter block. It also did not need any overnight rise or resting, and used instant yeast and a couple tablespoons of cream.

                                                                                                                              I was very curious about it and am really glad I tried it. The pastry itself is super flaky and flavorful. The differences between these and pastries I've had with expensive European butters are negligible, and my taste testers last night agreed.

                                                                                                                              I will post a cross-section slice of the dough later. There really are lots of layers of pastry in there, with huge air pockets. Impressive for such an easy recipe.

                                                                                                                              Start to finish:

                                                                                                                              -1 hour ferment
                                                                                                                              -Mix in remaining ingredients
                                                                                                                              -Knead into a dough and do first turn x3
                                                                                                                              -Chill 30 mins
                                                                                                                              -Fold
                                                                                                                              -Chill 30 mins
                                                                                                                              -Fold
                                                                                                                              -Chill 30 mins
                                                                                                                              -Shape and fill
                                                                                                                              -Proof (mine took about 45 mins)
                                                                                                                              -Bake (20ish minutes)

                                                                                                                              1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                Okay, here is a cross-section of one of the croissants.

                                                                                                                                I wish I'd taken the photo prior to today (day 3) because the heat in my home has caused the butter/fat in the chocolate to melt and make the dough look a bit gummy in the center. They were not like this when fresh! But anyway I think you can still see how puffy these things got, and all the layers. Pretty impressive for such an easy dough!

                                                                                                                                The recipe I used was from here: http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandsty...

                                                                                                                                Again, I'm still really impressed with this recipe. Will definitely make these again.

                                                                                                                                Also, I use KAF's chocolate batons: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipe...

                                                                                                                                They make things easy, no leaking of melted chocolate.

                                                                                                                                I stuck a few in the freezer luckily, so I will surely be snacking on them in the future.

                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                          2. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                            And the others are out now too.

                                                                                                                            The jammy bits didn't melt fully, but oh well. The pastries kept their shapes nicely. I call this style of Danish "The Georgia O'Keefe."

                                                                                                                            The pecan rolls totally unraveled in the oven. I pinched my seam very tightly but I guess all the puffy flaking going on during baking just ripped them apart. They smell so f-ing good. Wish I could eat one of everything right now.

                                                                                                                            Sampled a piece of a chocolate croissant and it's really delicious! Very tender and lots of layers going on.

                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                            1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                              oh yum I love pain au chocolat, yours look delicious.

                                                                                                                            2. More baking for the team -- this time, Nick Malgieri's Supernatural Brownies, deemed the best brownies that anyone had ever had.

                                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                  I think I had them at "brownies." These are kids who have probably only ever had brownies from a box mix.

                                                                                                                              1. I am going to master macarons.

                                                                                                                                1. Baked some bread last night.

                                                                                                                                  Tried a new recipe and wasn't particularly impressed with the actual bread, but liked the technique and shaping, learned something new.

                                                                                                                                  My boyfriend swooped in and took the whole loaf and ate a huge hunk while it was still warm. He said he's going to make it into a sandwich or grilled cheese today.

                                                                                                                                  The bread was very soft and moist, almost like brioche or hamburger buns??? I can't figure out why, given the ingredients (water, yeast, small amount of sugar, flour, and the one that sketched me out--canola oil).

                                                                                                                                  Anyway, I filled the dough with shredded mozzarella cheese and parmesan (hard to see in the cross-section, but it's swirled in there), basil, oregano, thyme, parsley, black pepper, and some chopped rosemary on top.

                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                    Oh yeah, it also had a tablespoon or so of vinegar. I'd never seen that in a bread dough before, so maybe that's what caused the soft texture. It didn't have much canola oil in it given the rest of the proportions; I *almost* subbed in EVOO but figured I'd try it as written first.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                      Interesting, I will have to try that with shredded cheese and herbs!

                                                                                                                                    2. Chocolate cinnamon cake for a tea at work tomorrow. Very unusual recipe... you bring water, oil, butter and cocoa to a boil, then mix it with the dry ingredients, so then mix in buttermilk, and an egg/vanilla mixture. Very easy, no mixer required.. we'll see how it goes over tomorrow!

                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: Tam38

                                                                                                                                          I didn't think that it was anything special, but my colleagues liked it! It's funny that I am lousy at predicting what what everyone else will like!

                                                                                                                                      1. Not "from scratch" but it did warm the kitchen. I got disappointing muffin results today from a boxed TJ Pumpkin Bread/Muffin mix. Following their directions for the "holiday" version, I stirred in cranberries (I used dried) & sliced almonds. About half the muffins fell apart as I removed them from the pan, despite the oil & eggs which in other recipes makes for a moist/heavy bread. Ah, well, the crumbs are good with whipped cream. My theory is the dried cranberries soaked up all the moisture. They probably expected folks to use fresh/frozen.

                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: MidwesternerTT

                                                                                                                                          The Cooks Illustrated pumpkin bread recipe is very good, I've made it many times. If you are looking for a recipe. Sorry the mix didn't work out as you hoped.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: MidwesternerTT

                                                                                                                                            Good to know- I have a box of that mix and have been planning to make some muffins now that xmas is over.

                                                                                                                                          2. I'm planning on attempting to make some popovers--not much of a baker, so this sounded like a fun place to start. Then I might make some carrot cupcakes--if I can get some coconut, and some cheesecake cupcakes for a bridal shower.

                                                                                                                                            I am still trying to decide what recipe to use for a cornbread and chili muffin I promised to make someone at work. It has been a while since I made cornbread.

                                                                                                                                            1. This weekend I am attempting the Grasshopper Pie in the Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook.

                                                                                                                                              8 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: Njchicaa

                                                                                                                                                I'd love to hear how it turns out!

                                                                                                                                                I finally remembered to buy white chocolate so that I can make the milk crumb, which is an essential ingredient of the blueberry cookies. My son tells me that all the girls in his school are mad for any baked goods from Momofuku Milk Bar, and that if I made cookies from their recipes, they could charge $3 a cookie for their next bake sale. I will definitely make these for the next one!

                                                                                                                                                1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                  I need to get down on my hands and knees and root through one of my cabinets to try to find the dry milk powder packets that I am SURE are in there. I am finally finishing up the one that I've been using for the past couple of months and I just couldn't bring myself to pay $10 for another box when I know that they are buried in there somewhere.

                                                                                                                                                  It is funny because I was kind of horrified when I first received this book and looked through it. It has grown on me, though, and is the only thing I've baked from for almost 2 months now. Still need to buy the supplies to try that cake though!

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                    There were four separate recipes to make before I could finish the pie: graham crust, brownie pie, mint cheesecake filling, and mint glaze. None of them were particularly difficult and there were no obscure ingredients to buy. The only things I needed to get (extra bittersweet chocolate, mint extract, and green food coloring) were things easily found at the local grocery store.

                                                                                                                                                    My only mistake was not seeing the note in the side column that said that you wouldn't need to use the full amount of brownie pie batter. Other recipes I've made have specified 1/2 or 3/4 of a recipe, so I just assumed that you would use it all on top of the mint cheesecake stuff. It didn't say in the actual instructions not to use it all... so the pie was taller than it was supposed to be and took longer to bake than the recipe called for. This led to the mini marshmallows getting a bit darker than I wanted and some of them started to kind of disintegrate. Still, I was happy with the final result for a first attempt. As for how it tastes, we will have to wait until tomorrow when I bring it in to work for my coworkers to sample.

                                                                                                                                                    The only other slight challenge was with the mixer bowl and beater. You need to make the mint cheesecake filling right before you put it into the crust but the brownie pie batter has to go on top of that. I had to make the brownie batter, transfer it to a different bowl, hand wash the stand mixer bowl and paddle, and then make the cheesecake filling in the mixer. Not difficult but worth noting.

                                                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Njchicaa

                                                                                                                                                      Looks great!

                                                                                                                                                      ETA: Oops, just noticed you said you're waiting til tomorrow to dive in.

                                                                                                                                                      Report back!

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Njchicaa

                                                                                                                                                        Wow, that looks terrific! Please report!

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                          Everyone loved it! There are only like 2 pieces left for whoever gets to them first tomorrow. They loved the mintiness and the moist brownie part and, well, all of it. One of my coworkers said it was absolutely the best thing that I've made for them so far. I will definitely be making it again.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Njchicaa

                                                                                                                                                            That's great! And what a wonderful co-worker you are to make such a complicated and time-intensive pie for them! Brava!

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Njchicaa

                                                                                                                                                          That's gorgeous! I've been tempted by that recipe. Your coworkers are lucky.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: jammy

                                                                                                                                                        I bought a bunch of bananas yesterday, because I think I'll be feeling like that next week (it's report card season).

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: pavlova

                                                                                                                                                          Ha, are you on the creating side or the receiving end of these report cards?

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                            Creating. :(
                                                                                                                                                            I'd better get more bananas to deal with the parent-teacher interviews. Or maybe just wine…

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: pavlova

                                                                                                                                                              So, exactly how do you tell clueless parents that little Johnny is an asshole?

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: jammy

                                                                                                                                                          I have a literal bunch of brown bananas on my counter that I'm planning to use in peanut butter banana bread with chocolate chips.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: rasputina

                                                                                                                                                            Ok I ended up making the peanut butter banana bread tonight. It came out great but I should have followed the recipes suggestion of using parchment paper because it did want to stick to the bottom of the loaf pan.

                                                                                                                                                        3. On Martha Bakes, Martha Stewart just put A QUARTER CUP OF CANOLA OIL into her croissant dough - !!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                                                                                                                          How can I ever respect her again? The agony of disillusionment.......;-/

                                                                                                                                                          9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                            I'm often disillusioned by Martha. But, like a boyfriend you know isn't good for you, I seek her out again.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: rabaja

                                                                                                                                                              I know what you mean - she is truly excellent at ideas and presentation...the recipes just aren't always good enough.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                I do like that show, though (and am glad I missed the canola oil moment.) When she made a pithivier she was practically giddy.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                                                                                                                                                  Pithivier making is enough to make one giddy.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                      Really? You just slap some frangipane between two puff pastry rounds and bung it into the oven.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                                        And if you make the puff pastry a la Canadian Living, you have a really nice thing...I made one once using the Julia Child recipe for classic puff pastry. Could not believe how much it puffed (1/2 in to about 3).

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                          And that is a good thing, à la Martha Stewart! :)

                                                                                                                                                              2. Feel like making a small batch of some lemon cookies.. going to check out EYB for ideas (unless anyone here has some recommendations?)

                                                                                                                                                                19 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                                                                  What kind of lemon cookies? Soft and chewy, like a sugar cookie, or crisp?

                                                                                                                                                                  I made these over Christmas and thought they were wonderful: http://www.marthastewart.com/318042/c...

                                                                                                                                                                  Though maybe more work than you're wanting to spend on a Saturday afternoon.

                                                                                                                                                                  The lemon glaze is necessary. The cookies themselves are just shy of crisp with a lovely butter flavor.

                                                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                                    Those look great nothingswrong, but I was thinking more soft and crispy.. leaning towards these..
                                                                                                                                                                    http://www.letsdishrecipes.com/2012/0...

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                                                                      Lol, the only other recipe I was going to suggest was this:

                                                                                                                                                                      http://traceysculinaryadventures.com/...

                                                                                                                                                                      I've been wanting to make them; they look and sound amazing. I just didn't want to suggest one I hadn't tried. Please report back if you make them!

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                          Agree! Now I am not sure which to make ;) Turns out that I don't have either lemons or limes, so I will pick them both up this afternoon..

                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                                          I made them! didn't have any meyer lemons, so used the zest from 2 regular lemons. I found that the recipe made more than the stated yield.. I wasn't sure if they were "lemony" enough.. but I ate 3 while trying to make that call! And they were very popular at work... a colleague asked for the recipe. So I'd say that they are keepers..

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                                                                            Great, thanks for reporting back! I kept opening up the recipe on my computer to make them last night, but couldn't justify it with all the other cookies I'd made in recent days (the last few of each still lingering on the counter).

                                                                                                                                                                            Instead I made some cornbread (the justification being it could be eaten sweet or savory...?) and have been enjoying it slathered with butter and maple syrup.

                                                                                                                                                                            Will be trying the lemon cookies soon; I may up the lemon zest per your review. Although I wonder if they will become more lemony the longer they sit.

                                                                                                                                                                        3. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                                                                          Funnily enough, rstuart made the Meyer lemon crinkles nothingswrong linked, only with regular Eureka lemons, and I went and made the lemon crinkles rstuart linked to, and used Meyer lemons! I just liked the way the balance of ingredients looked better in these and that they included lemon juice, and they came out well. I reduced the sugar by 25% in the dough, and rolled them in granulated sugar (the organic stuff that's a bit coarser than standard) instead of powdered, for that bit of crunch.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                            Very funny! Glad to know those were good as well.. nice idea to roll in granulated sugar..

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                                                                        Do you have Flour? The lime cornmeal cookies are my favorites, and there's no reason they couldn't be made with lemon.
                                                                                                                                                                        http://www.cookingbythebook.com/cooki...

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                          Those look great Roxlet.. how many does it make (the stated yield is 1.5 cups which must be an error!)

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                                                                            I don't remember off hand, but quite a bit. I'd say 3-4 dozen maybe.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                              OK.. actually, recipe looks like it's possible to cut in half.. looks really tasty!

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                  I made them and cut the recipe in half.. and ended up with only 10 or 12 (I used my big cookie scoop), so I didn't taste any. The ones that I brought in to work were scooped right up though! Thanks Roxlet!

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                                                                                    you're welcome! It's a shame you didn't taste them. I rarely make large cookies. In fact, I frequently make them as small as possible!

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                      There's a few in the freezer... my mother is visiting soon, so I"ll bring them out then!

                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                                                                          I really like Dorie's lemon sables and Carole Walter's frosted lemon cookies from "Great Cookies."

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                                                                                                                                                            Yes, I love the lemon sables too, but was thinking of trying something new..

                                                                                                                                                                        3. Today I'm making brownies, and since I have half a jar of salted caramel from Stonewall Kitchen, that's going to end up in or on those somehow. I'm also going to make some banana bread with some fading bananas I have. And maybe some cinnamon buns.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. I've been wrestling with a lemon tart recipe in The Italian Baker. The filling has white wine in it (I used some Riesling we had kicking around that was too sweet to accompany food). It tastes great, but there's only about 2 c of it and it's supposed to fill a 9" tart shell...no way is it going to, unless it's EXTREMELY shallow. The recipe on the facing page calls for a lemon filling that you fold meringue into. I think I may do that with this one.
                                                                                                                                                                            The pastry is a pasta frolla with potato starch in it -- the recipe left out the egg and egg yolk in the other 2 variations, without which it would not possibly have worked. Vexing.
                                                                                                                                                                            I had about 1/3 of the pastry left after pressing the tart shell into the pan (memo to self: this is NOT EASIER than rolling pastry out...) and I had some of the flour/potato starch/sugar mix from the pastry left over, owing to a weighing error (my scale apparently does not like a food processor bowl as a vessel in which to weigh ingredients), so I bunged that with about 1/2 stick butter and a cup of roasted hazelnuts back into the FP and let her rip. Patted that into a 9x9, docked it, and baked it for about 40 mins at 325. Took it out, cut it into fingers in the pan, and am letting it sit in the turned-off oven. Dough tasted good...the cookies smell good.

                                                                                                                                                                            6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                              Wow, sounds like you had quite a time with that tart today.

                                                                                                                                                                              How did it turn out? Photo?

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                  Looks like the filling turned out great!

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                                                    It is really a very good tart. The filling is a tad too thick, I'd up the wine a bit and use less flour in it. The crust (which uses potato flour) is great, even with all the handling it went through.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                But Buttertart has ALWAYS maintained that pressing the tart shell into the pan was easier! Have you now dusted off your rolling pin?

                                                                                                                                                                                RLB has a great trick: roll out the pastry, drape it over an upended cake pan, invert tart pan over, and flip. That's the only method I use.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. Been baking all day!

                                                                                                                                                                                First, I had seen some cocoa-swirled Martha Stewart cookies on Instagram before Christmas and became obsessed with them.

                                                                                                                                                                                Unfortunately every single review for them online was utter crap. So I used my own buttery sugar cookie dough I know and love, and adapted the filling/shaping technique to make them. I LOVE how they turned out.

                                                                                                                                                                                Second, my recently low-carb friend (mentioned in other threads) has been hinting she'd love something homemade to eat for dessert. So I searched and searched the web for something not involving artificial sweeteners. So far, every one she's tried has caused tremendous gastric upset, so I had to find something low in "real" sugar and flour.

                                                                                                                                                                                I finally scored with this super chocolatey recipe, calling for almond flour and powdered sugar (which I reduced by half), egg whites, salt, and vanilla. The result is amazingly chocolatey and delicious; tastes JUST like a brownie. My boyfriend ate 2 straight out of the oven, and I know she's going to adore them.

                                                                                                                                                                                Last, made a giant batch of sugar-coated slow-roasted nuts. I portioned them out into small containers for the low-carber, again reducing the sugar from my normal recipe quite a bit. Gave a bag to the boyfriend to snack on and kept the rest for me (yay!).

                                                                                                                                                                                In the freezer I also have some mocha pudding pops for the low-carber, and I will be making meringues tomorrow for her as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                I somehow managed to also sleep in til 11 AM, do tons of laundry, clean the house, roast off a bunch of veggies for upcoming lunches, cook dinner, and play with the puppies outside for an hour. I'm pooped!

                                                                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                                                                8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                                                  OMG wow! You clearly don't have little monsters...er... I mean young children. I can't wait to spend a day baking like you! Maybe 6 years from now. Lol.
                                                                                                                                                                                  Have a recipe for the nuts? They look nice

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Siegal

                                                                                                                                                                                    Nope, no kiddos, just the dogs.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Not sure how old your kids are, but maybe they can help you do some baking? Helping my mom in the kitchen was maybe one of the only things that could hold my attention for more than 15 minutes growing up. She used to make me chop all the garlic every night before dinner (we are Greek; lots and LOTS of garlic). I thought it was to get me involved in the nightly dinner prep, but she told me later it was just so she wouldn't smell like garlic all the time. Thanks mom.

                                                                                                                                                                                    CANDIED NUTS

                                                                                                                                                                                    -1 large egg white
                                                                                                                                                                                    -1 tablespoon vanilla
                                                                                                                                                                                    -1 lb. pecans or mixed nuts (roughly 4 cups)
                                                                                                                                                                                    -1/2 cup white sugar
                                                                                                                                                                                    -1/2 cup brown sugar
                                                                                                                                                                                    -1/2 teaspoon salt
                                                                                                                                                                                    -1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

                                                                                                                                                                                    Beat the egg white and vanilla until foamy in a large bowl. Add nuts and stir well to coat evenly.
                                                                                                                                                                                    Add sugars, salt, and cinnamon, and mix well.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Spread on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake at 250 degrees for about 1 hour, stirring nuts every 15 minutes (mine took 1 hour 15 mins tonight for some reason).

                                                                                                                                                                                    These are really tasty! I gave some out at Christmas and had several requests for the recipe. They're really great chopped and added to granola, on top of a salad, and I've added them to cookies too. Hope you like them!

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                                                      Thanks for the recipe! Not ready to help quite yet they are 4 months and almost 3. I remember helping my mom too. Can't wait to include my child in it so she hopefully grows up to love cooking like us

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Siegal

                                                                                                                                                                                        Oh, yes, you have your hands full!

                                                                                                                                                                                        My mother purposely had 4 kids 1.5 years apart (she is very type A) while simultaneously finishing med school and her residency. As a kid, I thought it was awesome having 3 similarly-aged playmates, but now that I'm an adult, I'm just like "What were you thinking?" Obviously she had help from a nanny, but I secretly think the plot was to have unlimited free child labor at home.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Hope your kiddos turn out to be foodies :)

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                                                    You slept until 11? Sob, I kind of hate you right now.

                                                                                                                                                                                    :) not really, but I'm incredibly envious. I remember those days. Luckily I had 40 years of them before having a kid.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: rabaja

                                                                                                                                                                                      My boyfriend and I will take one weekend a month and just stay in bed most of the day. It's become a tradition. We'll get up and eat breakfast, put the dogs out, and then get back under the covers.

                                                                                                                                                                                      He made it 'til almost 4 PM in there!!! He's got a very active and stressful more-than-full-time job and started his own business on the side last March, so he usually works 7 days a week from 8 AM to 10 PM. He deserves some relaxation time (and cookies) IMO.

                                                                                                                                                                                      As much as I think I'd love to have kids, I obviously don't have the sleep schedule for them yet :/

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                                                      Wow, you've been productive and have goodies to show for it too!

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                                                        Did some dipping today. Ate 4 for breakfast. Feel slightly ill.

                                                                                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                                                                      2. I made the peanut butter blondies with chocolate chips from the Ultimate Brownie Cookbook by Bruce Weinstein

                                                                                                                                                                                        They were basically the standard chocolate chip cookie dough proportions with 1/2 cup peanut butter. They were supposed to have peanut butter chips and a small amount of chocolate chips but I didn't have any peanut butter chips on hand so I went with 1 cup chocolate chips.

                                                                                                                                                                                        The pan was gone the next day and requests to please make again were heard.

                                                                                                                                                                                        yummy.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Made a chocolate "cake" using this train car mold: http://www.amazon.com/Nordic-Ware-Pla...

                                                                                                                                                                                          It's for a VERY belated Christmas celebration with my dad next weekend. Froze the cars, and will "decorate" (not quite sure how yet) before he comes. I'm thinking something simple (powdered sugar? sprinkles?) so that the train car shapes are still visible.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Next Saturday my dinner club is having Greek dinner and I am making baklava. Haven's settled on a recipe yet. If anyone has a favourite Greek recipe, please share.

                                                                                                                                                                                            The following Saturday I was asked to bring dessert for lunch - probably six people. I have lovely lemon curd in the fridge and wonder what to make with it. A tart with berries on top or lemon squares or a sponge roll kind of thing? Any ideas?

                                                                                                                                                                                            TIA!

                                                                                                                                                                                            17 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                              Yum! Baklava is the best.

                                                                                                                                                                                              I'm Greek but we never had baklava in the house because of a severe nut allergy. Wish I'd learned my yiayia's recipe, as it was truly the best baklava I've ever had, still to this day.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                                A tart or the sponge roll (I'd like the sponge roll, myself). I don't think I've ever made baklava...lots of things with phyllo, but not that. My favourite Greek dessert is galaktoboureko.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Thank you, Buttertart! I am liking lemon sponge roll more and more. There is a recipe in the Dessert Lovers books that is good and I have not made it in a long time. Time to re-visit:)

                                                                                                                                                                                                  What is galaktoboureko? I am not wedded to baklava and game to try something defferent.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  The lemon tart that you made up-thread with potato flour crust - does the crust have any wheat flour in it or just potato flour?

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Galaktoboureko is a phyllo dessert filled with semolina custard and soaked with syrup. I've never made it, but it's a specialty of a friend of mine. He doesn't make it often because it's rather a production. Delicious, however.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Buttertart, you are such a trouble maker! Really! :) I got very intrigued by galaktoboureko and now instead of just baklava going to make 1/2 recipe of it as well. And lemony potatoes to go with lamb mousaka (not making mousaka).

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Went to the Middle Eastern grocery and bought fresh phyllo - they are the only people that sell fresh phyllo - and Greek honey for baklava, and semolina for GB... Plan to make baklava on Friday evening as it benefits from sitting and GB on Saturday afternoon so that it will be fresh and fluffy for dinner.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'm very impressed (and envious) that you can buy fresh phyllo, herby. No place around here makes/sells it retail, anymore.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Now that all the phyllo experts are gathered here, I have a question: I only get frozen phyllo. Is it okay to re-freeze unused phyllo for later use?

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I made the Baklava recipe in the New Cook's Illustrated Baking Book back in October and it was a great success. I did the traditional version with Walnuts and cinnamon.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: nadiam1000

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Nadiam, could you paraphrase the recipe? I have a couple and leaning towards one but haven't made it before and would love to at least compare my recipe to the one you had success with. I am definitely looking for traditional :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I've had great success with Alton Brown's baklava recipe (I omit the rosewater, don't really care for it) I often use just walnuts (pistachios are expensive)

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Not too much of a production, and they're delicious!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sarahjay

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Sounds great and I love rosewater but it is not a Greek flavour, rather Middle Eastern.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Food & wine magazine has a wonderful chocolate hazelnut baklava recipe (you can get it on line) that is easy and delicious.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sgschef

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Interesting. Somehow for me chocolate and baklava do not go together but maybe they do :) As I said, I really want to be traditional Greek recipe.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. Muffins - Raisin Bran Applesauce Spice - based on the recipe from Post, with butter in place of margarine and with the addition of spices: 1/2 t. cinnamon, 1/8 t. allspice, 1/16 t. ground clove, 1/16 t. nutmeg. Today I made the muffins extra-sweet, using an extra 3 T. (1/2 C total) brown sugar. I need more coffee before reading recipes in the morning. I also made a very thin spice glaze using powder sugar, pinch of cinnamon and (too much) milk.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        http://www.postfoods.com/recipes/appl...

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. We had 2 birthdays here last week, but none of my children are deeply interested in cake. One of my sons requested a simple cheesecake with an Oreo base and the other wanted homemade potato doughnuts for his class at school and then more for after dinner. Since he'd had doughnuts twice that day already I rolled out half of the dinner doughnuts with 1/4" chunks of green apple which made more of a puffy apple fritter. I rolled those in cinnamon sugar, the others had vanilla or sour lemon glaze. Leftovers were taken by my 15 year old for his Spanish fiesta. Not culturally correct but at least the leftovers were out of the house!

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Tam38

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Yum - homemade donuts. I enjoy hearing that the birthday "kid" gets to choose desserts in other families, too. Our family had 3 birthdays in one August week. My Mom with, in later years, some help from us, usually made angelfood cake for me, cream puffs for my brother and Boston cream pie for my Dad.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. We're having people over for doughnuts tonight, so I've got dough in the fridge, apples chopped and glazed for apple fritters, and a chocolate glaze ready to reheat for dipping.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'm also trying to get a sourdough starter going, but my house is too cold to get much rise.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: sarahjay

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Do you have a gas oven? I know people who keep their sourdough over the pilot light in the winter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I don't know what people with electric would do. Best of luck.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Tam38

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Thanks! I don't have a gas oven, but your post started me thinking about unusual places to store a starter, so I found it a home in the water-heater closet and it's come right back to life. I might have to proof all my bread in there ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Last week for the first time I baked Kringle, a Wisconsin yeast pastry, and could not believe how much quicker it was to make than coffee cake or Danish pastry. Proof 1 envelope dry yeast in 1/ 4 cup warm water with a teaspoon each of flour and sugar. Meanwhile, in the food processor process 3 1/2 cups flour with 2 sticks butter and 1 tsp salt until it looks like cornmeal. Beat 3 egg yolks with 1 cup sour cream and 1/4 cup sugar. Combine everything. Do not knead. Do not let rise. Refrigerate 24 hours. Divide into thirds. Roll out each third, spread with any filling, and fold sides over middle. Let rise 2 hours. Bake 30 minutes at 350*. Drizzle with powdered sugar icing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Querencia

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I was looking at kringle recipes around Christmas. Very interesting!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Beatrice Ojakangas is a great Kringle recipe source....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Querencia

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Love kringles! They're generally made in the SE of the state but we have them in groceries everywhere.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The closest I've ever come is making Danish pastry wrapped around some pecan filling I threw together. Where did you get your recipe?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                3. BANANA BREAD - with chocolate chips and chopped walnuts. It's dangerous on the counter. I can't help saying, "just one more slice!"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  http://karyosmond.com/make-banana-bread/

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Spent all day yesterday baking my favorite yeast-risen coffee cake. It's a recipe I worked on for quite some time, trying to recreate a coffee cake my grandmother used to feed me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I was able to pile it into a loaf pan higher than I've ever dared before, and was rewarded with the fluffiest batch of it I've ever made. It's super soft and pillowy--not sure what to compare it to...? Amazingly tender and moist. Perfect for breakfast and snacking.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Usually I bake it into rolls, which make for a gorgeous presentation, but the loaf is much better in terms of appreciating the texture.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    *And I don't have to share*

                                                                                                                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      You don't have to share the coffee cake, but what about the recipe?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Ha! I'm glad nobody is here right now to have to share it with. My family pesters me to stop by whenever they find out I've made it, but they're all out of the country. And the boyfriend's away housesitting, woohoo!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Full recipe here: http://thecarboholic.com/2014/01/21/m...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Condensed version:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        YEASTED COFFEE CAKE
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        (Recipe by me!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        )

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        DOUGH:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -1 (.25 oz) packet active dry yeast
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -pinch sugar
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -1/4 cup warm milk

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        (proof 5 minutes)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -5 1/2 tbspns unsalted butter
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -6 tbspns sugar
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -1/2 tspn salt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        (Cream in stand mixer)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -1 egg
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -2 tspns vanilla
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -1/2 tspn lemon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        (Add)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -3 cups AP flour
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -1 cup warm milk

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        (Add with yeast mixture. Mix until dough comes together. Switch to dough hook--or knead by hand--10 minutes. Cover and let rise in oiled bowl until doubled, 60-90 mins).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        TOPPING:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -2/3 cup brown sugar
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -2 tbspns white sugar
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -1 cup AP flour
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -1 tspn cinnamon
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -1/2 tspn salt
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -10 tbspns cold butter

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        (Mix dry. Cut in butter to form pea-sized crumbs. Set aside).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Shape dough (I prefer to do them in 9" x 5" loaf pans for a nice high rise and tender crumb, but Danishes or cinnamon rolls are good for sharing). Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Let rise again until doubled, 60 mins.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Before baking, coat liberally with streusel topping.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Bake @ 350 F (20-25 mins. for loaves, 8-10 for Danishes, 15-20 for rolls). Loaves may require you to lower oven temp to 325 to cook through without drying on the outside.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Cool slightly; remove from pans and cool completely on wire racks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Glaze: Whisk powdered sugar and water until thick but pourable and drizzle over cake.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Oh, and sorry, no weight measurements. It's just been me making this recipe for years, and I know when the dough feels "right." I generally stick with the fluid measurements, then add flour until it looks and feels right, depending on the weather.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I guess if I'm sharing it, I should get some weights written down...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Yay, please let me know if you do!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I gave one loaf of this to my husband's partner, and cut the rest of the one we kept into slices and put it in the freezer. My son ate the last slice this afternoon, and he wants me to make it again. It looks like it was a success!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Awesome! Thanks for letting me know :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            You can try putting it in a larger baking dish this time, to increase the bread to topping ratio if you'd like. That's how I always made it until recently. It's much sweeter this way, so use your discretion regarding the streusel and glaze.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I do them like this at Christmas in disposable fudge pans to hand out to family (they eat it for Christmas breakfast) and several close friends.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The texture is more akin to an Entenmann's coffee cake, in those long white boxes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I made it again, and turned on the proof setting of my warming oven for a bit, and the breads rose much higher. I baked one in a 10" loaf and the other in a 9". I'm curious to see what the flavor is like.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            BTW, I'm using a slightly different method. I have instant yeast, so I don't proof it, just add it right into the flour with all the other dry ingredients, I mix the egg with the milk and flavorings, and add that to the dry ingredients. Then I put the butter in. I use an Electrolux Assistent for bread making, and there is no paddle attachment, so I've adapted over the years. I also do my crumbs differently following a method I've used for years. I mix all the dry ingredients, then add the butter, melted, to the dry. I think it yields just as nice a crumb, and it's much less of a PITA.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Roxlet, glad to see you tried it again!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I've never thought to make it with instant yeast for some reason. Let me know how the flavor is. I use instant and active dry interchangeably in breads (with modified rise times) but never in enriched doughs for some reason.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The recipes I'd tried when making this bread called for a similar method as you described: Add a-d yeast with dry ingredients, then add directly to the wet. Definitely faster but I'd had a few failed loaves where the yeast was dead so now I proof it and add it separately.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Also with the crumb, I do that often too! I never see recipes online call for the melted butter. I have a recipe for banana crumb muffins, where the melted butter in the streusel gets all crunchy and coats the tops of the muffins. People go crazy for them!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The flavor is terrific. I cut some for my son when he came home from school, and he really loved it. I gave the second loaf to my neighbor, who was so excited when she saw a photo of the first iteration. Very nice recipe. Now, I'm thinking that I might try it as a ring next time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. The snow day drove me to make jam muffins, using a recipe I'd never tried. Turned out to be just perfect, IMO. Not too sweet, hint of fruit from the jam, cinnamon sugar on top.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            And, I used up a mystery jar of apple and something jelly that had been lurking in the pantry for a while!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: tcamp

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I remember making jam muffins in my Junior High School cooking class. I thought they were so cool.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. I made pita bread for the first time today. They were really fun to make. I used the recipe by Nick Malgieri in his Bread book.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  It's a magical thing, isn't it? I'm always so surprised (and relieved) when they puff up!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      They were excellent. Much, much better than purchased commercially-made pita.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I remember the first time we were in Egypt, we were in a big food market in a mall, and they had a conveyer belt with pita on it. It struck me as hysterically funny at the time, but when we lived there, I got used to the ubiquitousness and importance of pita to the populace. You would see young men on bicycles with huge trays of pitas on their heads navigating their way through the horrendous Cairo traffic. And every once in a while, you'd see some poor kid who zigged when he should have zagged, and he'd be on the ground with the pitas arrayed around him on the ground. You'd see them getting picked up, and you just knew that despite their trip to the ground, they'd be on someone's dinner table that night!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm sure they're better than store-bought pita. TBH, I've been kind of turned off of pita bread in general after having one too many dried up flavorless ones from a bag.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Freshly made pita in a good middle-eastern restaurant is so delicious though. Soft, chewy. There's no other bread quite like it. My first pita breads were from a restaurant down the street from where I grew up. There were two older women who would stand behind this glass window peering into the restaurant's kitchen and they just churned out pita bread all through dinner service.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        That's funny about the poor guys on bicycles in Cairo. My dad took a trip through Egypt some years ago and I remember his stories about the crazy traffic!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Glad to know that pita recipe is a winner. I'd like to give it a try soon. I already know I'll be on the floor in front of the oven the whole time, watching them puff up (or at least hoping they puff up) through the little window.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. I made a gingerbread and a German Chocolate cake from scratch on Sunday ...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Cherylptw

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Oh, my, I want that cake - !

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Time to go to bed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Sigh.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. So far this month I have made the banana bread recipe off of this site - super moist and always pleases.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Next was brown butter bourbon Choc chip cookies from bakergirl. I'm not a bourbon drinker so instead I was generous with my homemade vanilla, I due brandy as the base. They were very good. I used a combo of milk and semi sweet chocolate and everyone who tried them loved them.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I was gifted some unflavoured popping candy and am trying to figure out hoe to use it so that it doesn't pop in the recipe. I melted some chocolate and stirred in lightly crushed corn flakes and some of the popping candy - that worked. Kids and adults thought it was fun. Next I'm going to try marshmallows and sprinkle a thin layer in the middle. I'm hoping a lack of stirring will let it keep it's pop. I'm open to other ideas if anyone has any!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. I finally made the Chocolate Almond Lace Cookies (Florentines) using the recipe created and posted by TrishUntrapped a few months ago...ran out of time to include them in this year's holiday baking but I'll absolutely have them on my schedule this December. I followed her instructions to the letter and they came out perfectly!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Today I made Kaiser rolls again, and I made them larger this time, which is better for egg sandwiches. I also made the coffee cake recipe which was posted by nothingiswrong, and which also appears on her blog. Very good, indeed!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            http://thecarboholic.com/2014/01/21/m...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Oh yay! I recognized them immediately!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              How did they turn out for you? Please be honest, no hurt feelings here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Your Kaiser rolls look wonderful btw.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I really love it, as in I could sit down and eat an entire loaf. It's not terribly sweet, and for me, more of a bread with a sweet topping than a coffee cake. My son loved it too -- walked in and scarfed down a big piece standing over the sink. I'll make it again, hopefully on a warmer day when it gets a bit more spring.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Great to hear, glad your son liked it too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  So what would you call it? Coffee... bread?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I definitely think of it more as a yeast-raised sweet bread than an actual coffee cake, but the original one I was trying to replicate was in fact called "Butter Coffee Cake" or something like that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Maybe it has to do with the fact that this is baked in a loaf pan. If the dough were stretched into a ring, for example, and then covered with the streusel, I think it would feel more like a yeasted coffee cake. It's the proportion of dough to topping that makes it seem more like a bread.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I made that coffee cake today, and it was SO good! Thank you for posting a link to the recipe (and thank you, Nothingswrong)! It's really cold around here, and things took a little longer to rise, but we all loved the final product. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yay, I'm so glad to hear it!!! Thanks for letting me know!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Hungry for some good basic baking, I've made Pain de Campagne, Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies, Crispy Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies, and I've planned to do bagels, sandwich bread, a birthday cake, struan, and croissants/momos in the near future.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ooh, my kinda baking week.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    What bagel recipe do you use? I've tried 2 and wasn't happy with them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Peter Reinhart's, with changes. I sub in a bit of rye and a bit of whole wheat, and I don't retard them overnight. I make them a different size than he does, too - I don't remember his, but I do 90 or 100 grams per bagel.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Oh, and I put toppings on the bottoms, too!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Interesting. That's the last recipe I tried. The bagels looked great (maybe my shaping skills are "inexperienced," but they browned and had a nice sheen) and the texture and chew was perfect (IMHO) AND I had a great time making them. But something was lacking in flavor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I followed the recipe to the letter, except I didn't have the barley malt what-have-you, and subbed in brown sugar (as I'd read you could do so in a pinch).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Everything I've read says the barley malt is added for color, not flavor, so I'm confused a little. Is that the "missing link?" It's been driving me nuts.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Even my boyfriend said they just weren't that "bagel-y" and he is the least picky man I've ever fed. He scarfed 2 fresh out of the oven but said they mostly just tasted like bread.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Anyone?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I used to make bagels fairly often and used a recipe out of The Cheeseboard Collective Cookbook to good effect.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I definitely felt the barley malt contributed to the flavor, although I think I subbed an apple reduction which worked quite well also.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I can dig out the recipe if you like.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          These proofed over night and were boiled for just seconds before being dipped in toppings and baked.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: rabaja

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            That is very kind of you to offer! If it's not too much trouble, I'd certainly bookmark it and give it a go sometime.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            TBH I'd be very happy with the Reinhart recipe if it tasted like a bagel. If I need to just buy some barley malt, I will bite the bullet and do so.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              YES barley malt is very necessary for great bagels! The diastatic powder, preferably, as I've read the liquid isn't as appealing to the yeast....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              EDIT: I've learned that it isn't a bagel without barley malt, and it isn't a cake donut without nutmeg...!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Awesome, thank you! Just needed someone to confirm this for me. I know it's not tremendously expensive; I've added it to my online and in-store shopping carts probably 6 times, but always put it back thinking "Do I really need this sitting in my cupboard for the 2 x a year I make bagels?!"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                But I guess if I made great tasting bagels, I'd make them much more.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Thanks Sandylc for the enthusiastic prodding. I will pick up some diastatic malt powder. And agree with you 100% on the nutmeg :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Hi! I keep the powder in a jar in the freezer - it can be used in others breads, too. Soft pretzels need it, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I keep a bag of bagels in my freezer to eat as we please...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Oh yes, pretzels! I made some last year and actually thought they tasted great without the powder, but will add it next time I make them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Going to order a jar and keep it in the freezer. Thanks for the tip!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I also keep bagels in the freezer. That's one of the greatest life tips I've ever gotten. Just stick 'em in the toaster and they're good as new.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Coconut pound cake baked today

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. I made the batter for Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins from Bouchon Bakery this afternoon. I did add more poppy seeds than the recipe called for, and I didn't have vanilla paste, so since it was already citrus recipe, I subbed fiori di sicilia from King Arthur Flour. The batter is resting over night like the recipe says, and I will bake the muffins tomorrow morning while my husband is out for a run. Nothing quite like coming in from the freezing cold to a warm house, that also smells like fresh baked goods.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I'm excited, the batter tasted wonderful, I know, I know, but I have the luxury of knowing where my eggs come from, and knowing the chickens, so I'm not worried about salmonella.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: zitronenmadchen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Be sure to report back! That is an interesting book that I need to delve into more deeply.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: zitronenmadchen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Yes, I'd love to hear about that too!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Will do! I think my next project from the book will be honey cinnamon scones, I'm not that big a fan of scones, but that picture!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: zitronenmadchen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The muffins were really good, just the right amount of lemon flavor and not too sweet. They had a very nice texture too, nice and tender, and light.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. I made the Orange Allspice Cake from David Liebovitz via Pastry Studio. Terrific. It is one of those cakes with a boiled orange. With a previous marmalade cake I had a bitterness problem, but not here (maybe better oranges). I added zest and added raisins to the processor with the cooked orange.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: mscoffee1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              That sounds so good that I went and looked it up right away. I have made the clementine almond one from Nigella and loved it, so I'll have to try this one next--thanks!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              http://pastrystudio.blogspot.ca/2008/...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: mscoffee1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                This looks delicious. I'm putting it on my list To Make Very Soon.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                It seems like one of those cakes that's even better the next day.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: mscoffee1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  There's a very interesting whole uncooked orange cake in the most recent Cook's Country.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Orange Kiss Me Cake? I have been thinking of making it. That is why I "ground" the raisins.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: mscoffee1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      So have I wanted to. Must get golden raisins.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Some old favorites: World Peace Cookies, Nancy Silverton's Creme Fraiche Coffee Cake and Essential NY Times Brownies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. I made a Meyer lemon tart for a friend who's having guests this weekend. I made one for her and prepped one for my niece, as she's a fan of this dessert.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    As I was boxing it up I was sad to see it go. Luckily, I could console myself with more Bouchon oatmeal raisin (and chocolate chip!) cookies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: rabaja

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Aren't you a nice friend! And isn't that an amazing-looking tart! Meyer lemon meringue, it looks like. What recipe did you use?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yes, I forgot the meringue part, whoops.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        It's just a basic sucre dough, filled with a curd recipe I've been using for years, and topped with an incredibly easy boiled icing.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The meringue is really versatile and the same one I use in baked Alaska or to top any ice cream tart. Happy to give specifics.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: rabaja

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Please do, and that is a gorgeous tart -- is it oven- or torch-browned?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I used my blowtorch.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I do like the way the oven changes the interior of the meringue, but I generally do that when I'm serving something right away. This time it was quick n easy=blowtorch.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Thanks. Felt good to make something at home again. Besides cookies and banana muffins.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Made a chocolate oreo cheesecake with my daughter and decorated the train car cake that I was working on last weekend.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. After reading the 'Why does it always have to be chocolate?' thread and posting there, as I'm not a chocolate lover, I made Nigella's Dense Chocolate Cake. Not sure why, but it's cold and windy and every once in a while a slice of chocolate cake is just the thing.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: pavlova

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              That has long been on my "to make" list.. how is it?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                It's good--damp and dense and squidgy. Very chocolaty but not too much so. It's just a tiny bit 'flat' tasting. I added some salt, but maybe a pinch more, or cut back on the sugar a bit. That said, it'll get eaten...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: pavlova

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Ooh,, sounds good.. and great advice about the salt. I love a squidgy cake!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. New blondie recipe on Joy the Baker blog. Just fell in love w marcona almonds.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Today is the mighty Liam's 5th birthday, so I'm making him a cake to match his fur and his father's tastes...a walnut variation on the hazelnut cake in Kate Zuckerman's "The Sweet Life: Desserts from Chanterelle". The book has been highly recommended by a friend, and I've never baked from it before. Recipe called for hazelnut paste, so I caramelized some walnuts and ground them up -- will use the leftovers in the frosting. Also did not have crème frâiche or sour cream so used 2% Cabot Greek yogurt. The batter is mighty tasty...in the oven now. (He's 11 months old in my avatar and here is a recent photo.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Liam is such a handsome prince buttertart...and what a lucky boy. Sound's like your cake will be spectacular. Do take another pic if the birthday boy cooperates for another photo w his cake!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yes, he is a very fine looking cat!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Did you by chance crochet that blanket as well?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        No, I crochet, but that is a shawl I got in Corfu a million years ago. He loves it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. I made ham and cheese filled pretzels for a pot-luck style snack party. They were popular and I only had one left at the end of the party!

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sarahjay

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        That's interesting. How do you fill them? roll the dough out, and then form it around the ham and cheese? Do you have a photo. I'd love to see what these look like. My son wants me to bake for a favorite teacher who doesn't like sweet things, and this would fit the bill.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I don't have a picture, but they just look like a pretzel roll. I scaled out the dough like normal, pressed it into rounds, added cubed ham and shredded cheese (I usually use gruyere, but I had some aged red leicester in the fridge, so I used that) I fold the dough around and form it like a roll, making sure the bottom is secure, let rise, boil, egg wash, slash, salt, bake, just like a pretzel roll. I served them with mustard for dipping.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I always use Alton Brown's recipe, and they're always popular, especially for group things where most people bring sweets.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Watched Melissa Clark make some oatmeal cookies last week on the NYT web site and I had to make them. They were fun to bake but got a bit harder than I would have liked after they cooled. In all fairness the recipe was for oatmeal cookie sandwiches with a marscapone filling but I just wanted the plain sugary cookie. Brought them to a gathering and there were no complaints. They are good dunked in a cup of coffee.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Been avoiding baking, in aid of recovering from holiday excess, but refreshments for a meeting were called for.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I'd seen a recipe for Turkish coffee brownies from the Balaboosta cookbook, with espresso powder and cardamom, on Serious Eats but I could tell it'd make cakier brownies than I'd prefer so decided to use the flavors in a different version. I went with the New Classic Chocolate Brownies from Alice Medrich's new book, Seriously Bitter Sweet (though I first read this recipe/method in another book of hers years ago). The recipe's pretty standard, but the method not. You bake the brownies for a short time in a hot oven, then immediately plunk the pan in an ice water bath to cool, which is meant to give them a super-fudgy texture. I always have a hard time timing brownies in my oven, and they tend toward overdone. When I tested these, several minutes ahead of the recommended baking time, sure enough, they were past her recommended toothpick test...but post-ice bath, they're dense and perfectly fudgy. Oh, and the addition of 2 tsp. instant espresso and 1 tsp. ground cardamom to an 8-in pan (I also added chopped pecans) is wonderful. Highly recommended!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Here are details about the recipe and ice bath: http://www.purplehousedirt.com/conten...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I also made lemon crinkle cookies from a recipe rstuart linked above. Details here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9297...

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Yes, very interesting. I've been known to stick ice packs under certain baked goods to cool them quickly but haven't noticed any discernible difference in texture afterward.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I've done that with Supernaturals -- even just really cold water like we have now works well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I was reading about that last night! Isn't that the 'Steve Method?'

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I now desperately want Turkish espresso brownies. Thank you so much! I was looking for a recipe to use the espresso my brother gave me for Christmas.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Tam38

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yes, she calls it the Steve Ritual, after the guy who came up with the idea. She says it will make virtually any brownie fudgier. The Turkish coffee brownies were very popular.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3. YAAAAY!!!!!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                More baking this week/end.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Made some quick focaccia--I love this recipe, done in an hour. Topped with garlic, chopped herbs from my (new) garden, parmesan, sliced tomatoes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Low-Carb cheesecake for my best friend's bday last night. Kind of a challenge, but got it down to just 9ish grams of carbs per slice. It was devoured.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Also made some mini cupcakes for said party. Chocolate, fresh strawberry, peanut butter. Also devoured.