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What are you baking these days? April 2014 edition! [Through April 30, 2014]

April flours bring...
good food from our ovens for family and friends.

What are you baking this month?

My own list, inspired by recent CH threads, includes an orange cake and orange bread.

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  1. I made a "surprise inside cake." Perhaps that was too ambitious. It was supposed to be an elephant

    10 Replies
    1. re: Siegal

      Well now that you've told me, of COURSE it's an elephant. The texture on the cake looks terrific.

      1. re: MidwesternerTT

        Haha! Thanks. Maybe next time I'll try something simpler like a heart!

        1. re: Siegal

          I see elephant! That's adorable.

          1. re: rabaja

            Yes , adorable!

            I'd like to try for a pink elephant. Where did you find the instructions for this?

            1. re: BangorDin

              I used my standard pound cake recipe (Paul dean sour cream pound cake) and kind of followed instructions here : http://hellolittlewren.com/2013/02/14...

              The only thing I did different is instead of baking a colored cake in loaf form I baked it in a sheet pan so there would be a lot less waste
              Post pictures!

          2. re: Siegal

            Okay then, it's not an attempt to age pound cake into blue cheese, which was my first reaction. ;-)

            1. re: Siegal

              I'm still trying to figure out how they got the caramel into the Caramilk bar, but you got an elephant into a cake! How did you do it?

              1. re: Siegal

                I was so inspired by this that I made a surprise cheese quickbread. I just cut the surprise one (coloured with tomato paste) into squares as this was just really intended as a proof of concept.

              2. I'm happy to report that my last two bread attempts were successful--the Dill Rye from Kneadlessly Simple is amazing--very dill heavy with dill seed, and pickling liquid from some dill pickles. The King Arthur's Flour kneadless bread also turned out well--though a little crumbly.

                My next project is the roasted pear and dark chocolate scones from smittenkitchen and a lemon strawberry muffin--though I'm still looking for a recipe for that. Any suggestions? I have a lemon blueberry recipe I like, I could just substitute strawberries?

                7 Replies
                1. re: SarahCW

                  Yay, glad your bread turned out well!

                  As for the lemon strawberry muffin, I would probably just use your good blueberry muffin recipe. "If it ain't broke..."

                  Speaking of which, I made the Bouchon Bakery cookbook's blueberry muffins last month and they were THE BEST blueberry muffins I've ever had. I literally could not stop eating them. Served them to my extremely picky and critical mother and even she said they were to die for.

                  So... if you want a 2 day muffin project, maybe you could try it out with strawberries for the sake of this thread :)


                  1. re: nothingswrong

                    That looks good! I actually don't have a problem with two day projects, I'm just not sure how the strawberries will work. I'm thinking of roasting them off to get some of the liquid off and intensify the flavor, and then reducing some of the other liquid. Otherwise I've heard that strawberries can make baked goods mushy!

                    1. re: SarahCW

                      They can sometimes. I've made strawberry muffins before and just chopped them to about 1/4" and let them sit on paper towels until stirring them in.

                      One of my favorite ways to use fresh strawberries in baked goods is to puree them, strain out the seeds, then bring to a simmer in a small pot. Cook until thick and reduced by about half and let cool slightly.

                      This concentrated puree is SUPER flavorful. I use it to beat into frostings, layer into cheesecake or coffee cake (like a strawberry streusel), or use in place of jam like on shortbread or bars.

                      It adds a serious punch of fresh strawberry flavor without all the mushiness.

                      1. re: nothingswrong

                        TJ's freeze-dried berries work really well in baking. No bleeding, and they taste pretty fresh. You need to press the ones on the surface down into the batter so they're not exposed to direct heat. They rehydrate during baking but don't take up so much liquid that the batter needs adjusting.

                        1. re: greygarious

                          Agreed on TJ's freeze-dried berries! I had excellent experiences using their freeze-dried strawberries in home made ice cream, too.

                        2. re: nothingswrong

                          This is actually what I did--I roasted the strawberries and then pureed them and then found a recipe that called for the puree. The batter was super dry, because I didn't use pastry flour, so I added some yogurt to thin it a tiny bit. They have kind of an odd texture on the top, but taste good. I'm sure my nieces will like them--they're 4-5 yrs old! I did make the scones and freeze the dough for cooking first thing tomorrow. The roasted pears tasted AMAZING, I now want to just roast them and eat them for everyday treats.

                          1. re: SarahCW

                            Ooh! How did you roast the pears?? I have one sitting on the counter right now and wanted to do something with it.

                  2. Thanks for starting the new thread...I was just about to!

                    1. Yesterday I baked 3 loaves of whole wheat bread.

                      1. I took my Vienna bread baguettes recipe and added a Dutch crunch topping to it. Wow! One of the best bread recipes that I have made. Home made Dutch crunch bread is so much better than what I've been able to buy.

                        12 Replies
                        1. re: Antilope

                          What do you enjoy about the Dutch crunch topping? Does it taste like anything? Or is it all textural?

                          I remember seeing this bread for the first time in a cookbook (I believe in The Bread Baker's Apprentice) and marveling over it. I've never had a Dutch crunch bread.

                          You're making me wonder if it would be good atop my next batch of baguettes.

                          1. re: nothingswrong

                            It's the texture and the flavor. I grind the rice flour in my Vitamix blender. The Dutch crunch has a slightly sweet, yeasty flavor along with the crunch.

                            1. re: Antilope

                              Thanks. I may give it a try next time!

                              1. re: Antilope

                                What kind of rice do you use? It's weird, but I've only ever seen Dutch crunch bread sold commercially in Ontario and in northern California. I love it.

                                1. re: buttertart

                                  Dutch Crunch Topping

                                  Makes enough for 3 regular size (350g ea - 12 oz ea) baguettes

                                  Ingredients adapted from Peter Reinhart's Bread Baker's Apprentice - Dutch Crunch Topping, instructions are my own.

                                  1 Tbsp (7.5g) bread flour
                                  3/4 cup (150g) white rice flour - I grind my own from Calrose medium grain rice
                                  3/4 tsp (2.3g) instant yeast
                                  2 tsp (8.3g) white granulated sugar
                                  1/4 tsp (1.5g) table salt
                                  2 tsp (9.3g) vegetable oil
                                  6 to 8 Tbsp (100g) of water

                                  If you can buy white rice flour, use that, or grind your own rice flour.

                                  I use Calrose type medium grained rice. I live in Sacramento, CA and they grow a lot of this type of rice in the area. It's my favorite rice for most uses. Any raw white grain rice (except Minute Rice) will work.

                                  Grind 3/4 cup (150g) of raw white rice in a Vitamix blender (a coffee/spice grinder also works) on high speed until it turns to a smooth flour.

                                  Mix ingredients together in small mixing bowl. You want a paste-like consistency that will stick to the bread and not run off. I add the water, last, a tablespoon at a time. If you get it too thin, add another tablespoon or two of bread flour. It should be like a cake frosting, though not as smooth.

                                  Cover Dutch crunch topping paste and allow to rest 30 minutes.

                                  Allow formed loaves of bread to rise 25 minutes.

                                  Apply rice paste topping to bread. I use a teaspoon or frosting spatula. The top of the bread should be covered in a smooth and even layer about 1/8 inch thick.

                                  Allow bread to rise another 30 minutes.

                                  Bake at 375-F for 35 to 45 minutes, until bread is done (195-F center temperature) and desired crust color is achieved.

                                  As the Dutch crunch bread rises and bakes, cracks will form on the Dutch crunch topping surface.

                                  1. re: Antilope

                                    Here's a picture of my Dutch crunch baguettes prepared from the above Dutch crunch topping recipe. Also known as Alligator bread or Tiger bread.

                                    1. re: Antilope

                                      I am trying this this weekend! I have Calrose rice. I also have rice flour but am not sure if it's the right kind.

                                      1. re: buttertart

                                        Peter Reinhart's book (The Bread Baker's Apprentice) just mentions "rice flour", not any particular kind of white rice.

                                        You can view his recipe in this book preview at Amazon. Look at the bottom of page 264 (click on picture of book to start preview):

                                        1. re: Antilope

                                          I have that book. No surprise, right? Thanks!

                                          1. re: Antilope

                                            ...just don't use sweet (sushi) rice flour as it has completely different properties- fantastic for some things though!

                                          2. re: buttertart

                                            I love dutch crunch, but no longer live in CA so I make my own. I've used loads of different rice flour, white and brown, with success. The least successful crunch was with the "glutinous" rice flour I use for making butter mochi (Mochiko)

                              2. I didn't bake it myself, but a friend brought Ina Garten's Brownie Pudding to a gathering. The texture was nice but it was WAY too sweet - two cups of sugar to just 3/4c. of cocoa and no actual chocolate at all. I would make it again for the texture, but I would probably reduce the sugar by half.

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: biondanonima

                                  I made one of the Brown Puddings last month and thought it was just about one of the best desserts I had ever had. I added 1/2 C of peanut butter to it and didn't find it too sweet at all (but not much is too sweet in my world). Maybe it was because the saltiness of the PB balanced out some of the sugar?

                                  Anyway, I was wondering if it would be possible to make a yellow cake/pound cake/cookie dough version of it. So...I tried today, replacing the cocoa powder with flour. I also replaced 1/2 of the sugar with brown sugar to give it a little more cookie-like flavor and added some salt. I haven't tried it yet, though, but it seems a little underdone. I know it's supposed to be underdone, but this seems particularly underdone. Maybe the added moisture from the brown sugar? Anyway, fingers crossed for later!

                                  1. re: jbsiegel

                                    As it turns out, I found out after I posted this that the person who made the recipe made ALL sorts of substitutions, including brown sugar for white, whole wheat flour for white, etc. Given that, I have NO idea what the actual recipe should taste like, and I rescind my comments (although I still think 2 cups of sugar sounds like too much for only 3/4 cup of cocoa, and I would adjust it if I made it myself). That will teach me to post about something I didn't actually make!

                                    1. re: biondanonima

                                      Oh lordy! No wonder it didn't taste right. It really is crazy good when made as written.

                                      Next time I try the "non-brownie" version, though, I'm going with less brown sugar and maybe a little more flour.

                                    2. re: jbsiegel

                                      I've made the brownie pudding many many times. It's fabulous!

                                  2. Blackberry pie with a lattice top crust for my husbands birthday. Used my moms vinegar pie crust recipe as usual and 8 cups of fresh blackberries ( thank you Costco), thickened with instant clearjel.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: rasputina

                                      The pie was a huge hit. The hubby said it was perfect and the last piece is packed up for him to take for lunch tomorrow.

                                      1. re: rasputina

                                        Always nice to have your SO say something like that!

                                    2. Laurie Colwin Nutmeg Cake - interesting method. You cut butter into flour and dark brown sugar and press a portion of this into the bottom of a cake pan. Then add yogurt and egg and spices to the rest of the mixture and pour on top of the crust. Add chopped walnuts and bake. The recipe calls for 4 t. nutmeg (along with cinnamon and mace) - unique and delicious.

                                      Ad Hoc Brownies - very good, but we much preferred the NY Times Essential Cookbook brownies, which taste more chocolatey and sweeter.

                                      6 Replies
                                      1. re: emily

                                        That is an interesting method for the nutmeg cake. Was it like a custard?

                                        1. re: nothingswrong

                                          No, it's like a soft cake on top of a thin crust.

                                        2. re: emily

                                          I love her, so sad she died so young. She had the gift of writing sensuously and joyously about food without being the least bit twee.

                                          1. I made banana muffins and carrot muffins from Bouchon Bakery. I made half today and I'll make half tomorrow (instructions ask you to wait 24 hours and make them the next day).

                                            According to the young men of my house (11,13,15), the banana muffins are good but more like a good banana cake. Opinions are split, but most still think my recipe is better...for muffins. Thanks guys. They wouldn't mind if I added streusel *and* chocolate chips though. I had a bite of someone's muffin and I thought there was good banana flavor, and it was indeed very light. It reminded me more of Carole Walter's banana cake which I made a month or two ago (although this seemed to have better banana flavor).

                                            No one wants a carrot muffin after the giant banana muffin so I got half of one of those to myself. Very moist. The flavor is a generic cinnamon muffin flavor, no carrot taste there at all, but I wasn't expecting much. Next time I'll try it with it's own streusel (oat/wheat germ instead of the walnut streusel for both the banana and the carrot). Tomorrow I'll toss in a little nutmeg with the streusel and see if that helps.

                                            Tomorrow we'll see how much an overnight refrigeration makes a difference.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: Tam38

                                              Didn't have time the next day so made them the day after. Also made average sized muffins, not giant as suggested in the book.

                                              Muffins were more dense, less fluffy. I did get more than a mouthful of the banana and they were more like my own muffins, not particularly cakey.

                                              Good but not better than anything I have now. I did like the streusel, not too sweet but great crunch. I've never put streusel on a banana muffin. That's a keeper.

                                              1. re: Tam38

                                                Streusel on banana muffins is the best. I started using a recipe with a crunchy buttery streusel years ago and can't have them any other way now :)

                                            2. For a bake sale and a returning houseguest, I made a double recipe of chocolate chip cookies. There was so much cookie dough that I wound up making them a little larger than usual so that the baking would go faster. The eating of them is going pretty fast too!

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: roxlet

                                                I'll make ginormous CCCs on occasion and I have to say, there's something strangely naughty about them. Even though I will normally eat 2 or 3 regular sized ones, having a fistful of solid cookie excites me like it would have when I was a little kid.

                                                Enjoy your cookies, bake sale, and houseguest!

                                              2. Baked my weekly French bread (tonight in boule form) which we had fresh from the oven with butter alongside dinner.

                                                Also went freezer diving for 2 varieties of chocolate chip cookie dough balls I'd frozen a couple weeks ago. Baked off a few of each and it was fun eating them side by side for comparison.

                                                One dough included ground oats and 3 kinds of chocolate, the other had lightly browned butter and more brown sugar. It really is interesting how all the same basic ingredients can create two such different tasting/looking cookies. It never gets old.

                                                1. The weather here is miserable today, pouring rain, windy and cold. I decided I needed to bake. I didn't have much time between dropping the kids at school and heading to work so I settled on chocolate chip bars topped with a brown sugar meringue. Half were gratefully devoured at work and the other half fed my after school crew of kids.

                                                  A couple of weeks ago I took some brownies to work, they were made from the Ghiradelli mix sold at Costco with some espresso powder and kaluha added to the batter. A chef I work with, who has a Pastry Arts degree, asked me for the recipe. He was pretty darn surprised when I told him it was a mix! Sometimes I feel like I am cheating when I use a mix, but this made me feel better about my cheating.

                                                  5 Replies
                                                  1. re: cheesymama

                                                    Ah, but it was a greatly enhanced mix with your creative additions. Smart baker!

                                                    1. re: cheesymama

                                                      I love Ghirardelli brownie mix. I'll bake all sorts of things from scratch that take much more work than brownies, but I think those particular boxed ones are perfect.

                                                      1. re: nothingswrong

                                                        No shame in using Ghiradelli, they make really good brownies. I have brought to work and coworkers ask me to pick up a box for them, now that spells success.

                                                      2. re: cheesymama

                                                        Love that brownie mix. It blows away the homemade brownies we always had as a family that I thought were awesome until I tried these!

                                                        I also use it in brownie batter ice cream.

                                                      3. Remember those brownies with the walnut crunch topping? At least 3/4 left and dried out. I'd hate to pitch them, any brilliant repurposing ideas out there?

                                                        18 Replies
                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                            Pulsed into crumbs, could be turned into a crumb crust for something. You could also freeze the crumbs to use at a later date.

                                                            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                              The crumbs (or large chunks) could also be folded into ice cream.

                                                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                +1 for this idea. I worked at a bakery where we made a cheesecake crust from toasted/blitzed chocolate cake crumbs (from leveling chocolate cakes) that was fab

                                                                1. re: sarahjay

                                                                  All good ideas, thanks. I was also thinking of a "brownie-mi-su" trifle-y thing, but that would require an army to eat it.

                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                    I ended up grinding them up in the fp and adding 3 eggs to make a semi-sticky dough -- will make them into crackle cookies. The nuts added quite a bit of oil. The dough is chilling now, I will probably work in a tsp of baking soda for the puff -- good idea?

                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                      Sounds good! I admire your frugality in repurposing them. I our house, they would have gotten the boot. No one really eats any sweets up here.

                                                                      1. re: roxlet

                                                                        Unless they go to hungry hordes at school, right?

                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                          Absolutely, and the report is that the CCC always sell out.

                                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                                    Pretty dang tasty. better than as brownies. Depression-era mom would be proud of me.

                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                      I was thinking that the whole process had a slight tinge of the depression to it in its thriftiness! Good for you for making something so good!

                                                                      1. re: souschef

                                                                        Well...it's a repurposed brownie thing I made that Certain People decided he Didn't Like All That Much, plus he's watching his weight prior to a doctor's visit.

                                                                1. Made soft baked funfetti cookies from Sally's baking addiction blog. Success!

                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Siegal

                                                                    I have those bookmarked because I'm a sucker for Funfetti. I'll eat the cake once or twice a year (my mother has baked me one for my birthday since I was 4 years old).

                                                                    Are they sickeningly sweet?? I have a feeling they are and have avoided making them for this reason.

                                                                    1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                      They are pretty sweet as they are sugar cookies. But I wouldn't say cloying

                                                                    2. re: Siegal

                                                                      These look very much like Momofuku confetti cookies. I baked two of the last three in the freezer this last weekend and they were as good as freshly made.

                                                                    3. With spring here I decided to go citrusy and made a Lemon Roulade with Lemon Cream Filling for a special dinner. Served with fresh raspberries. Was such a hit, I think I might make it for Easter.

                                                                      One problem I have is making fresh lemon curd. It always comes out "eggy" tasting so I made the lemon cream filling with a good jarred brand of lemon curd, fresh whipped cream, plus grated lemon zest.

                                                                      I appreciate any recipes you have for fresh, vibrant lemon curd.

                                                                      Thanks, Trish
                                                                      Recipe and slideshow: http://patriciagay.wordpress.com/2014...

                                                                      Lemon Roulade

                                                                      6 eggs, separated
                                                                      1/4 cup water
                                                                      1-1/2 cups sugar, divided
                                                                      1 teaspoon vanilla extract
                                                                      1-1/4 cups cake flour
                                                                      1/2 teaspoon baking powder
                                                                      1/2 teaspoon salt
                                                                      1 teaspoon cream of tartar

                                                                      1. Place egg whites in large bowl; let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350°.
                                                                      2. Line a 15x10x1-inch baking pan with parchment paper; grease the paper (I use non-stick spray), dust with flour, and set aside.
                                                                      3. Sift flour, baking powder and salt together in a medium bowl and set aside.
                                                                      4. In a large mixing bowl, beat egg yolks and water on high speed 5 minutes or until thick and lemon-colored. Gradually beat in 1 cup sugar. Stir in vanilla.
                                                                      5. Gradually add the sifted dry ingredients to the yolk mixture and mix well (batter will be very thick). Pour and scrape yolk mixture into a large bowl. Clean mixing bowl and beaters thoroughly to use for the egg whites.
                                                                      6. In the mixing bowl, add cream of tartar to the egg whites; beat on medium until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining ½ cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating on high after each addition until sugar is dissolved. Continue beating until soft glossy peaks form.
                                                                      7. Mix one large spoon of the egg whites into the yolk batter, to loosen. Then fold in the remaining whites.
                                                                      8. Spread batter evenly into prepared pan. Bake 15-18 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched.
                                                                      9. Cool 5 minutes in the pan. Invert cake onto a kitchen towel dusted with confectioners’ sugar. Roll up cake in the towel, starting with a short side. Cool completely on a wire rack.
                                                                      10. Make Lemon Cream Filling.
                                                                      11. Gently peel parchment paper off cake. Unroll cake, and trim the dry outside edges from it with a sharp knife These edges are for the cook to eat!
                                                                      12. Spread lemon cream filling evenly on top of cake. Roll it up starting with the short side. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
                                                                      13. When ready to serve, dust top of the cake with confectioners’ sugar. Cut a small slice from the end before serving to reveal good-looking roulade. Optional: Garnish with fresh raspberries. Yield: 8-10 servings.

                                                                      Lemon Cream Filling
                                                                      1-1/2 cups heavy cream
                                                                      1 cup lemon curd
                                                                      1 teaspoon grated lemon rind, or to taste

                                                                      1. Place lemon curd in a large bowl. (I unabashedly use a good quality jarred lemon curd.) Stir in as much grated lemon rind as necessary to give a pronounced lemon flavor.
                                                                      2. In a mixing bowl, whip the cream until stiff.
                                                                      3. Fold JUST as much whipped cream as necessary into the lemon curd to make enough filling for the cake. To keep filling firm, don’t use too much whipped cream. May only need about half the whipped cream, depending on the texture of the curd. Refrigerate remaining whipped cream.

                                                                      17 Replies
                                                                      1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                                        Trish, I love Alice Medrich's lemon curd. It is definitely vibrant, doesn't taste eggy, and is truly easy to make. Scroll down to the bottom of this page for the recipe: http://butteredup.blogspot.com/2012/0...

                                                                        Don't let the sugar-to-lemon ratio give you pause; it's got a perfect sweet-tart balance. If you ever want to do a lemon tart, I highly recommend the whole recipe there, including the brilliant crust. It is now my go-to lemon tart.

                                                                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                          Cailtin, thanks for that recipe for lemon curd, it uses whole eggs instead of just yolks so that may help with the flavor. I'm going to try it!

                                                                          1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                                            Yolks are actually the less eggy-tasting part of the egg. The whites have the sulfur compounds.

                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                              May be, but the yolk-based curds I've made taste very eggy.

                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                Hmm.. when I say "eggy", I mean yolky, not sulphury. I wonder what others say about this? Maybe I just haven't sorted it out, and I'm mixed up about what is causing the egg flavor.

                                                                                1. re: BangorDin

                                                                                  Same here. I'm going to try Alice Medrich's and see if that works for me.

                                                                              2. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                                                For another non-eggy alternative, I can HIGHLY recommend the lemon "cream" from Dorie Greenspan and Pierre Herme's "Extraordinary French Lemon Cream Tart." http://doriegreenspan.com/2011/08/fir...

                                                                                It has all the same ingredients as a curd, and a similar texture when complete, but it's smoother and richer, super silky from all that butter. I've made it several times (tried it with rhubarb once as well, which was also delicious) and it's a hit with everyone I've served it to.

                                                                                  1. re: biondanonima

                                                                                    Like the look of that one too. Some great tips here!!! While everyone loved that Lemon Roulade, I think it will be so much better with fresh lemon curd!

                                                                                  1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                    Thanks NW, it's nice and soft because of the cake flour and the egg whites as the leavening agent.

                                                                                    1. re: emily

                                                                                      Thanks Emily, there's a good tip in that recipe about making the curd so you don't get egg particles.

                                                                                    2. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                                                      Beautiful log, Trish! I love lemon curd and like you do not like when it tastes eggy. My favourite is from Fancy Pantry - I found an adapted recipe here (Version III) - http://catsfork.com/CatsKitchen/lemon.... The recipe in the book does not mention stevia and is not difficult to make at all. It keeps very well in the fridge and could be frozen with good results.

                                                                                    3. Just made Bakewell tart from Smitten Kitchen.

                                                                                      I love Bakewell tart and have had it many times in the UK but this recipe was perhaps too sweet. I will try a different tart recipe next time. Oh, don't get me wrong, we were still happy to eat this one!

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: Roland Parker

                                                                                        I was just thinking fondly of a Bakewell Tart I had at Hibiscus in London a few years ago. Very nice dessert.

                                                                                      2. So my pear scones were a flop--I think I needed to incorporate the butter more. The smitten kitchen recipe called for using a stand mixer and I did it by hand--the butter was cold enough because I froze the dough before baking. They tasted ok, but greasy. My brother in law liked them, though. My sister didn't like the triple berry whole wheat muffins, and my nieces were skeptical of the color. I really liked them, lots of flavor!

                                                                                        I am trying to figure out what bread to make tomorrow, something kneadless for the next week, possibly something from King Arthur's website--I liked the bread I made last week from their website. Usually I make a bread that goes with the week's menu, but this upcoming week is a cochinita pibl and various salads and sides--and I'm not making tortillas.

                                                                                        Along with what ever bread I make, I'm going to make a batch of Mexican Chocolate cookies--a little cayenne, a little black pepper, some dark chocolate, and yum!

                                                                                        1. Chocolate Chip / Rainbow Bit Cookies, Funfetti Coconut Cupcakes / Mini-Cupcakes, GF/Vegan Triple Chocolate Cupcakes, Pineapple Cranberry Cookies, Granola Bars and GF Chocolate Chip Cookies so far this month - was my birthday yesterday so did a lot of it!

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: jo_jo_ba

                                                                                            That cookie looks yum! I have to say I love cookies a lot!

                                                                                          2. I am going to make Dorothy Greenspan's Orange Berry Muffins. The first recipe in the baking book. I have little wild blueberries on hand. They are the best. These muffins are some of the best citrusy and buttery. A real treat.

                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: Candy

                                                                                              Good to know, i just bought some TJ's dried ones.

                                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                I use frozen wild blueberries, I don't know how it would to use dried,

                                                                                                They are in the oven now. I'm going to take some over to Pikawicca if she is home in a bit.

                                                                                                1. re: Candy

                                                                                                  Please say hello from me when you see her next.

                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                    I'll see her tomorrow, we are both working at the early voting site. She came by to pick them up and stayed for a cocktail and got the muffins. Gosh those are darn good muffins.

                                                                                            2. In the middle of putting the Citrus Berry Muffins together and was grating orange rind and cut open an orange to squeeze out the juice. I did not realize I had bought Cara Caras. Oh my!!! These are so good I could forget the muffins and just eat the oranges.

                                                                                              1. For an event this weekend, I made brown-butter raspberry-swirl almond squares drizzled with chocolate. Turned out very well, with a rich almond flavor, and the raspberry (just jam swirled into the batter pre-baking) and chocolate complement it (and each other) nicely. Second photo is before the chocolate went on and they were cut.

                                                                                                7 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                    Are you threatening me? Guess I'd better get on it or go to bed afraid!

                                                                                                    You could easily halve this for an 8x8-in pan.

                                                                                                    8 oz/2 sticks unsalted butter
                                                                                                    1 cup AP flour
                                                                                                    1 cup almond meal/flour
                                                                                                    1 tsp baking powder
                                                                                                    1/2 tsp salt
                                                                                                    1 1/2 cups sugar
                                                                                                    4 large eggs
                                                                                                    scant T. almond extract
                                                                                                    1/2 cup raspberry jam
                                                                                                    ounce or two semisweet or bittersweet chocolate

                                                                                                    Heat oven to 350F. Line a 9x13 metal pan with parchment (I like to make a sling) and grease (I use baking spray). Melt butter, cook to a nutty brown, pour into a mixing bowl, and set aside for a few minutes. Stir dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Whisk sugar into butter, then eggs. Stir in dry ingredients. Scrape into pan, then dollop spoonfuls of jam on top and use a table knife to swirl it through the batter. Bake 25-30 minutes, until tester comes out clean. When cool, melt chocolate and drizzle.

                                                                                                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                      Thank you, dollink!!! Sounds wonderful.

                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                        I'm glad they were going away, so I couldn't eat more than a couple, because they're so very good. Went over very well with the crowd.

                                                                                                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                          Caitlin, do you thing apricot jam will work instead of raspberry? I also have fig and peach, I think.

                                                                                                          1. re: herby

                                                                                                            Absolutely! Apricot and peach (and all the stone fruits, really), complement almonds extremely well. Most fruits do, in fact, and I'm sure fig would be delicious with these, too.

                                                                                                            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                              Thank you! I was thinking that it should work well but needed re-enforcement :) Also, would be nice to use up some leftovers.

                                                                                                1. Baked the King Arthur Flour Apple Cider pie. Used my regular crust recipe though and used 2T of instant clearjel instead of the pie filling enhancer. The pie came out perfect. This was the first time I'd used the boiled apple cider in a pie.

                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: rasputina

                                                                                                    I love that boiled apple cider. It gives everything a really deep apple taste. My apple pies were particularly delicious with it.

                                                                                                    1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                      The boiled cider lasts forever too. I also have their cherry concentrate, I should add that to the next berry pie I make.

                                                                                                      1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                        Yes, I always add either boiled cider or apple juice concentrate to my apple pies these days, as well as a touch of apple cider vinegar (instead of lemon juice, usually). I love the added depth of flavor and of course the extra delicious apple goo in the finished product!

                                                                                                    2. My Mexican Chocolate cookies turned out delicious--though more brownie like than crispy. They didn't spread as much as the picture showed, but turned out very good, just the right amount of spice!

                                                                                                      I just took out a loaf of whole wheat bread out of the oven--smells fragrant and delicious. I'll have to see how it turns out once I cut it--it is a lean dough, but baked in the loaf pan.

                                                                                                      1. Made some great chocolate chip cookies for the boys lunch treats this week. Been tweaking a recipe since I was as old as my youngest chow pup. Crispy outside, soft centers, and overloaded with chocolate chips. They were such a big hit, that there are only a few left, so looks like I'll be baking another batch tomorrow.

                                                                                                        1. Made Rick Bayless' Rustic Apple Tarts, and made extra tart dough to make mini-mincemeat tartlets for a foodie birthday party. The dough is great; it includes a lot of butter and cream cheese and is made in the food processor because it is VERY sticky. It bakes up flaky and wonderful.

                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                          1. re: JuliaTheJeweler

                                                                                                            I make my favorite dough in the FP too, with sour cream in place of your cream cheese. It yields the flakiest, most tender, and deliciously flavored dough I've ever had.

                                                                                                            I should take your cue and always make extra for another dessert.

                                                                                                          2. I am not much of a baker but recently made a loaf of spinach, roasted garlic and feta cheese bread. Also made a version of Alain Ducasse's Gougeres.

                                                                                                            This is a great thread and I am hoping to have more time to bake soon.

                                                                                                            1. I am making some extra cakes for the freezer this week and next. We're having a nice, early spring here in the PNW and I know as the weather gets nicer I'll spend less time baking. It's nice to have a few goodies stashed in the freezer for the nights when we get a sweet tooth but I don't want to be in a hot kitchen.

                                                                                                              SO and I are big fans of Ina Garten's coconut cake. I make it without the frosting and we eat it as you would a pound cake. It should be stunning with fresh berries as they get in season. Freezes really well, too. I plan to do this cake tomorrow and freeze both layers separately--I'll probably bake it in two 8" or 9" square pans.

                                                                                                              I do substitute 1/2 (TJ's) virgin coconut oil for 1/2 the butter. It adds even more delicate coconut taste, and is (arguably) healthier. I also like TJ's shredded coconut for this because although it's sweetened, it isn't screaming with sugar like some other brands.


                                                                                                              1. Made a full recipe of Carole Walter's Rich Sour Cream Dough, using half to make her Cheese Kuchen, and the other half for her Sticky Bun Cake. The Kuchen has a creamy and citrusy cream cheese filling, studded with golden raisins which have been soaked in o.j. (which I enhanced with Grand Marnier). The Sticky Bun Cake actually turns out to be pull-apart rolls, as the unbaked dough pieces can be baked individually in muffin tins or together in a cake pan, as I did. Fantastic glaze and filling - golden raisins appear again but can easily be omitted.

                                                                                                                9 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: lesliej

                                                                                                                    Wow, those sticky buns look great! And today is Coffee Cake Day, looks like you have that covered.

                                                                                                                  2. re: lesliej

                                                                                                                    Carole Walter's recipes are great. These look terrific!

                                                                                                                    1. re: lesliej

                                                                                                                      Thanks, roxlet & cheesymama... Coffee Cake Day, how about that! I can celebrate with some sticky buns leftover from yesterday.

                                                                                                                      1. re: lesliej

                                                                                                                        Oh that sounds wonderful, are these recipes from her Coffee Cakes cookbook?

                                                                                                                        1. re: rasputina

                                                                                                                          They are - I had to wait seemingly forever to get the book through the interlibrary system, and when it finally arrived I copied so many recipes I probably could have gone ahead and bought the book (which I will, eventually!).

                                                                                                                            1. re: lesliej

                                                                                                                              I have the cookbook, thanks I'll add the to my to do list, ok well to eat list.

                                                                                                                        2. I made rosemary and sea salt focaccia yesterday for dinner with some friends we haven't seen in a few years. I took some left overs to work today, and people went a bit over board with the compliments. Especially the people who are a few years younger than me, still in their mid twenties, and they probably don't eat anything but crummy mac n cheez, they were practically rhapsodizing. It was tasty bread, but it wasn't that good.

                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: zitronenmadchen

                                                                                                                            You may have opened someone's eyes to the possibilities of real food today. Good job.

                                                                                                                            1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                              That's true. I'll chalk it up as a win for real bread.

                                                                                                                          2. Once again I am debating what to bake for our staff meeting on Wed morning. We lost two colleague (transferred to another groups) and the team is in mourning :(

                                                                                                                            My first thought was to make this yogurt cake from Orangette - http://orangette.blogspot.ca/2004/08/... - since I am reading her Homemade Life and it is through this cake that she met her husband. Very romantic :) Has anyone made it?

                                                                                                                            My second option is the raspberry squares that Caitlin made bellow - very yummy sounding and looking and not too time consuming to bake on a work night.

                                                                                                                            So? What do you say?

                                                                                                                            18 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: herby

                                                                                                                              Oh, that's a tough decision. My vote is for the cake, but do you perhaps have time and inclination to make both since you have 2 folks leaving the team?

                                                                                                                              1. re: MidwesternerTT

                                                                                                                                Thank you for the vote! I think just one will be fine - we meet every week and I try to bake something once a month. Sometime someone else will bring a treat and other time we have nothing, so, there is no expectations and I like it this way :)

                                                                                                                                I am a bit afraid to make the cake. What if turns out not as good as I think? But Caitlin I trust :)

                                                                                                                                1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                  You should especially try the cake, then (and I've had only good results from orangette recipes, although I've not made this one). The nice thing about baking for a crowd at work is the results (good or not-so) are gone in a day. And most of the time folks are so grateful to get a home-made treat they're unlikely to refuse to eat it.
                                                                                                                                  There was quite a discussion about the cake last year here

                                                                                                                                  1. re: MidwesternerTT

                                                                                                                                    Just checked ingredients and I have everything for the squares but no yogurt for the cake since I made what I had into a spiced cheese of sorts - hung over night, mixed with garlic, chili, etc. and hung again.

                                                                                                                                    So "yes" to squares :) Jam-wise I'll use apricot with peach and passion - how yummy is that!

                                                                                                                                  2. re: herby

                                                                                                                                    Those almond squares are very quick to make, as well. They were served at a post-performance reception where I didn't really know people, and all I heard was how good they are. You know, just to make your decision easier...

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                      Somehow I think those almond squares are on this week's work menu. ;)

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                        Caitlin, how did you serve the squares? At a meeting you do not want people to have sticky fingers... Put into muffin cups? Or just lots of napkins?

                                                                                                                                        1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                          I just put them in a waxed paper-lined tin, and people took them, but there were plates. You could certainly put them in muffin cups to make them easy to grab, because they are quite moist.

                                                                                                                                        2. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                          Baked the slices and they were quick to make and taste delicious. Maybe a touch too sweet for me, wonder if 1C of sugar instead 1.5C would work. I did not have any good chocolate left and used baking chocolate without thinking until I dolloped it on the slices - it won't drizzle of course and taste is not what I wanted :( The slices are still very good and hopefully no one will be wiser tomorrow. Thank you for the recipe, Caitlin!

                                                                                                                                          Now we have another (!) person leaving and a small bye-bye party is on Friday afternoon. I think everyone would prefer something savoury in the afternoon or is it just me? I do not want to bake again for the office and thought maybe make a pate and serve with fresh baguette. Too much?

                                                                                                                                          1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                            Back to report that people loved the slices never mind the not-the-best chocolate and some asked for the recipe:) I put them into parchment lined tupperware container and had a stack of napkins - worked well.

                                                                                                                                            Highly recommend to anyone who is considering making them!

                                                                                                                                            1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                              Glad to hear it, herby! I agree that they're rather sweet, and I might cut the sugar a wee bit next time.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                I am also wondering how would they turn out with all almond flour for a GF version. I might try 1/2 recipe with almond flour, 2/3 sugar and raspberry jam. Will report back if I do.

                                                                                                                                    2. re: herby

                                                                                                                                      That recipe makes a delicious cake! I realize you didn't ask this, but if you enjoy banana bread, her recipe that includes crystallized ginger and chocolate is also fabulous.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: adirunner

                                                                                                                                        Thank you for the endorsement! I'll make the cake next time. I can't remember if the banana bread is in her book... I remember cranberry chutney with crystalized ginger and thought that was worth a try.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                          Page 26! It truly is a delicious banana bread. My 11 year old stepson took a slice and exclaimed, "this is better than my mom's!" I thanked him and asked him never to tell his mom that. ;) That chutney sounds fabulous, too.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: adirunner

                                                                                                                                            I have Homemade Life on kindle - just checked EYB and the list of ingredients is pretty short which I like. There is also a note from our DK saying that she made GF version with a few tweaks and it was very good. Love to hear that because I could make for my SIN who eats GF.

                                                                                                                                            Have you made banana bread from Flour? Just wonder how the two compare.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                              I have not, but I have two boys at home that would willingly participate in that experiment. :) Can I find the recipe online or should I trek to the library?

                                                                                                                                              1. re: adirunner

                                                                                                                                                Thank you and your boys! Here is a link to Flour's recipe:
                                                                                                                                                I have the book and happy to clarify if you have questions.

                                                                                                                                      1. Durango Cookies from Sweet: chocolate chip cookies with roasted almonds, cocoa nibs and smoked salt.

                                                                                                                                        1. How long could you keep croissant dough in the refrigerator? (Up at the top where it's the coldest..if that matters.)

                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: Tam38

                                                                                                                                            I wouldn't keep it more than a few days. Not sure why, not sure it would be at all unsafe if kept longer, but I always see recipes say to use it within 2-3 days.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                              I'd freeze it if I wasn't going to use it for more than 3 days.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                I'll third no more than 3 days, the yeast will start to die off after that.

                                                                                                                                          2. Joy the Baker's carrot cake cupcakes w pinapple cream cheese frosting. She rocks! Her recipes NEVER disappoint.


                                                                                                                                            1. I was given an interesting yeast bread recipe that claimed the softness and tender crumb of a biscuit, a high rise of a yeast bread, and sweetness of a Portuguese bread. The recipe resembles an enriched bread with a touch butter and sugar but an unusual technique of making a water roux and incorporating pineapple juice.

                                                                                                                                              The dough was very unusual and quite tacky but very supple. After a good first rise, I place one loaf in the fridge for longer fermentation and the second near the sunny window.

                                                                                                                                              After baking, I was impressed with the visuals. Nice craggy nooks, fantastic butter scents wafting from my oven, and dark edges. The recipe description was dead on... Superb with butter and jam!

                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: Nevy

                                                                                                                                                Sounds very interesting, and looks great. What's in it? Cranberries and raisins?

                                                                                                                                                1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                  I'm so used to baking yeast lean breads and the texture of this just made me question everything !

                                                                                                                                                  I put craisins in it to bring a tart element into it to counter the sweet pineapple flavour

                                                                                                                                              2. Gina de Palma's Ricotta Poundcake which is overflowing its loaf pan as I write. Ugh.

                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                1. re: emily

                                                                                                                                                  I had that happen to a Maida Heatter brownstone chocolate loaf cake -- turns out I has reversed the amounts of baking soda and baking powder. WHAT a mess. I salvaged it by icing it with a whole bunch of whipped cream. Looked rather glamorous. I thought it tasted a little soapy but it didn't seem to bother anyone else. (I have also had it happen when I've misjudged pan size...so annoying.)

                                                                                                                                                2. Molasses Ginger 'thank you' cookies for finding my lost cellphone

                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Cynsa

                                                                                                                                                    whoa those look killer! Any chance at sharing the recipe!?

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: daislander

                                                                                                                                                      sorry this recipe comes so late!
                                                                                                                                                      Molasses Ginger Cookies
                                                                                                                                                      Cream 3/4 cup room temperature unsalted butter with 2 cups of granulated sugar until pale and fluffy.
                                                                                                                                                      Add 2 large eggs, one at a time, beating until combined with 1/2 cup molasses and 2 teaspoons of white vinegar.
                                                                                                                                                      In a separate bowl: sift 3-3/4 cups all purpose flour with 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda, 2-1/2 teaspoons ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves. Stir dry ingredients into wet mixture.
                                                                                                                                                      Shape balls of dough (walnut size). Roll in granulated sugar. Place on parchment paper lined baking sheet or use silpat.
                                                                                                                                                      Bake at 325°F for 10 -12 minutes. The recipe says 350°F but my oven is baking hot so I've reduced the temperature ... and I bake these cookies for 10 minutes, no longer, for a chewy cookie.
                                                                                                                                                      Another option: stir in 1/2 cup of chopped bittersweet chocolate.

                                                                                                                                                  2. Coconut Flour
                                                                                                                                                    Have any of you baked with coconut flour? Any good recipes to suggest? There are many that show up in searches but which ones are really good?

                                                                                                                                                    TIA! Any and all suggestions are welcome and appreciated :)

                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                      I have a similar curiosity. I spoke with a guy at a store who said that coconut flour was much better to bake with than gluten-free combination flours - ?

                                                                                                                                                    2. Breads today!

                                                                                                                                                      A funny looking loaf of French. Sliced and frozen for quick sandwiches/toast.

                                                                                                                                                      Also a funny looking garlic/rosemary/black pepper focaccia. It's been a month or so since I last made this recipe and I still adore it. Between the bf and I, we ate half the pan today. No kneading, and done in an hour and a half. Super easy, tasty, and look at those holes!

                                                                                                                                                      7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                        No knead focaccia, that's very interesting. The focaccia I made earlier this week, you beat the dough in the stand mixer for twenty minutes. How much water is in your recipe?

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: zitronenmadchen

                                                                                                                                                          1 cup water to 2 cups bread flour.

                                                                                                                                                          I stumbled on the recipe on a food blog a while back and it sounded too good to be true. I've made it probably 30+ times since then with consistently good results, and a few others on Chow have tried it and reported back that they loved it too. It's a very nice, soft bread with a good crust from the olive oil and great bread flavor. I used to use another recipe that was kneaded in the stand mixer from Reinhart I believe, and I like this one far more.

                                                                                                                                                          Recipe originally from here: http://theviewfromgreatisland.com/201...

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                            I am actually making this right now on your recommendation. I had planned on making focaccia this weekend, so thanks for the recipe! It is finishing out the rest and will go in the oven! I added rosemary to the dough and a little garlic and some lemon zest.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: SarahCW

                                                                                                                                                              Yay, let us know how you like it! The last batch I made was especially fluffy. I think I let it rise an extra 10-15 minutes since the loaf I was making simultaneously took that long.

                                                                                                                                                              My bf has officially finished off our focaccia. I intended to freeze slices for future eating, but never got the chance.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                                It turned out really good! i also have eaten an unhealthy amount of it since it got out of the oven. I was babysitting last night and brought it over to finish cooling for my dinner and before my sister and her husband left, they'd eaten a quarter of it.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: SarahCW

                                                                                                                                                                  Glad you guys liked it!

                                                                                                                                                                  It's very tasty with sliced fresh tomatoes added on top before baking. I'll make it into a grilled cheese that way (slice in half, melt white cheese on it under the broiler, drizzle with balsamic reduction, sprinkle with fresh basil--sooo good).

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                                    I am going to try it again--the tomatoes sound good. I was thinking of different things to put on top, but I had just enough time to make this, to the second, so not a second to spare chopping anything else. That is why I had to take the pan with me, it didn't even have enough time to cool before I had to be there. My short time frame was really what made this so appealing--I could get it done before I had to babysit.

                                                                                                                                                      2. Oh, also some cookies for a dinner party tonight.

                                                                                                                                                        This is just chocolate porn.

                                                                                                                                                        1. I just finished making rice krispie treats for an after school snack. And a batch of sugar cookies, cut out as trefoils and topped with blue sugar for a Girl Guide bake sale this week-end. That bake sale will also get some banana chocolate chip muffins that I made a couple of days ago and stuck in the freezer and cupcakes that I will make tomorrow with girl guide cookies in the base of the muffin liner before the batter goes in.
                                                                                                                                                          And since I had all of the stuff out anyway I decided to make corn cookies from the Milk Bar cookbook. Those will probably get baked up next week and taken to work.

                                                                                                                                                          1. Lime-Blackberry Tarts and Lime-Chocolate tarts. Never made a curd before and decided to jump in- would have made lemon, but had a bag of limes, so..!! The first time made them half plain, half with some chocolate ganache, and the second time with a single bodacious blackberry on top. Oh, and homemade Gluten Free pastry...so gooood.
                                                                                                                                                            And bread. Always bread.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: amsuka

                                                                                                                                                                Is this GF bread?! Recipe, please!

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                  Yes it is GF bread! Here is the link to my recipe. (One note: for a simple loaf just use 1/2 rice flour and 1/2 tapioca starch)

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: amsuka

                                                                                                                                                                    Thank you so much! I need to have it dairy free as well as GF so that everyone can enjoy. I do not have bread machine. Do you make it without the machine? Have you tried water instead of milk?

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                      herby - there are times when not everything can be enjoyed by everybody. Bread baking is probably one of them, in my opinion. You need to put * something * in each loaf for tenderness and flavor and rise, or you may as well just make flat crackers.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: MidwesternerTT

                                                                                                                                                                        Very true... but since it is my grandchild who can't have both, gluten and diary, it is important to me to find a recipe that tastes good but does not have these ingredients.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                        I would just try substituting a non dairy milk, I haven't had to do much allergy friendly baking, but so far soy milk has always been an acceptable substitute whn I've needed one.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: mightypizzaoven

                                                                                                                                                                      So how does it work for pizza? This is very intriguing!

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                        Thanks. The oven has two stones one sits on the grill grates to bake the pizza on and another stone that hangs on a shelf inside a box with a vent to cook and brown pizza top. Using bread flour dough, on my grill with two burners on high to heat my oven, I can bake pizza in about 3 minutes

                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: mightypizzaoven

                                                                                                                                                                        That is a very cool looking contraption...now if only I had a grill. Or an outdoor space to put one!

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: biondanonima

                                                                                                                                                                          It worked with chafing fuel cans. I used 12 can one time, it was just for fun not sure if it is healthy or not using chaffing fuel to cook.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mightypizzaoven

                                                                                                                                                                            Yeah, since I live in NYC, that would probably be a good way to get myself arrested. Still, I'll keep it in mind in case I ever get an actual house somewhere!

                                                                                                                                                                      3. Wanted to try something new today that wasn't too time consuming.

                                                                                                                                                                        Settled on these "Cappuccino Muffins" which I'd jotted down in an old ratty notebook: http://www.food.com/recipe/cappuccino...

                                                                                                                                                                        I omitted the cream cheese frosting (it seemed really unnecessary when copying down the recipe, and even more so now that I've tasted them) and used real butter.

                                                                                                                                                                        These were quite tasty! Definitely different from anything else I have in my recipe binder. They are very tender, with a nice soft coffee flavor and the chocolate is great.

                                                                                                                                                                        Oh, and I got a chance to use my REAL CHOCOLATE sprinkles (jimmies) from KAF. They are so freaking good.

                                                                                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                                          After seeing your post I decided to try these. They are terrific. I didn't bother making the "frosting", but just sprinkled with some turbinado sugar before baking.

                                                                                                                                                                          Thanks for the inspiration!

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Springhaze2

                                                                                                                                                                            Glad you liked them! They definitely grew on me and I found myself craving them once they were gone. Maybe I'll make another batch this weekend.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                                            Thanks for posting this -- I made these today, also leaving off the frosting, and got good reviews from the muffin-eaters of the house. It's nice to have something different in the rotation.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: P_penelope

                                                                                                                                                                              I agree, glad you guys liked them too!

                                                                                                                                                                          3. I've got a levain dough rising in the fridge for pizza, which we'll have on Saturday or Sunday night. 150g 100% hydration starter, 475g flour, 325g water and some salt for a 72%ish hydration dough. I've got enough for three 12" thin crust pizzas - photos to come!

                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: biondanonima

                                                                                                                                                                              The pizzas were SPECTACULAR - my best crust yet, I think. I will probably reduce hydration to 68-70% for my next effort, because I can't keep my oven quite hot enough to cook the super-wet dough the way I want, but that's a minor quibble. Three days in the fridge made for an extremely flavorful dough.

                                                                                                                                                                              The uncooked one below is pepperoni, green olives and caramelized red onions with mozzarella and fontina cheeses and a tomato-fennel sauce underneath (leftovers from last night's dinner). The cooked one is a roasted garlic/onion puree with fresh ricotta and chile braised short ribs on top - it was also excellent, and I think I need to experiment more with braised meats on pizza!

                                                                                                                                                                            2. Not much savory going on in this thread. Here's a beef bourguignon I did in a vol-a-vent recently.

                                                                                                                                                                              9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Cynic2701

                                                                                                                                                                                  You could serve me anything in a little pastry parcel and I'd eat it. Looks very good!

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Cynic2701

                                                                                                                                                                                    Very nice! Good looking beef bourguignon- which recipe did you use?

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                      I made my own recipe based upon the general idea of the dish. Roasted beef bones and vegetables, then simmered for 10 hours to get stock. Reduced for another 4 hours afterwards, then added in a bouquet garni of thyme and rosemary after deglazing the pan I seared the beef in with a bottle of wine. While waiting I made the puff pastry.

                                                                                                                                                                                      A few more hours of reduction - during which I made the mushrooms and pearl onions with lardons and deglazed back into the sauce - and I strained it a few times. Then used a the beurre manie technique to thicken it up.

                                                                                                                                                                                      I've found I learn better by learning techniques and "ideas" of food rather than recipes.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Cynic2701

                                                                                                                                                                                        Great job. It must have been fabulous. This sounds exactly like something my husband would do -- with the exception of the puff pastry part.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                          But you would do the puff pastry part. Division of labour would work :)

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Cynic2701

                                                                                                                                                                                          Incredible, so much work and patience but the result was over the top, no doubt :) Thank you for sharing!

                                                                                                                                                                                        3. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                          Oh, and here are the vol-au-vents before hitting the oven:

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Cynic2701

                                                                                                                                                                                            Great job on the puff pastry. I wouldn't have thought they were homemade!

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. It's "only" going to be 90 degrees today. SO has requested oatmeal cookies. I'm using the recipe from the Quaker Oats box and dried cranberries ilo raisins.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: JerryMe

                                                                                                                                                                                          Despite trying probably 40+ other oatmeal cookie recipes, that one remains one of the best IMO.

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Tomorrow I am going to make a simnel cake, traditionally eaten at Easter. It involves dried fruit and marzipan, so naturally it's one of my favourite things!

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Mom's coming over tomorrow, and requested some apple hand pies. These remain almost everyone I know's favorite thing I make. The bf told me for the third time in a row that these are the best thing in the world. He asked me to hide them tonight after he goes to sleep, since he's been prone to sleep-eating lately for some reason.

                                                                                                                                                                                            I also got the strangest overwhelming craving for gingerbread this afternoon. So I simultaneously made an old-fashioned gingerbread in a cake pan, sprinkled with a thick coat of powdered sugar. I pieced a recipe together from various ones found online. It is very moist and tender. I'm not sure how I feel about the flavors though. I think it needs some tweaking, but I can't put my finger on it quite yet. Am waiting for tomorrow for the flavors to meld, and will ask mom's opinion too, as she's a ginger-dessert expert.

                                                                                                                                                                                            18 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                                                              The hand pies look lovely. Please share your recipe.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                *The recipe might look long, but it's straightforward. The dough is mostly made in the food processor, and then is rolled and folded a few times to make the most flaky, tender laminated pie dough. I once gave one of these pies to a pastry chef from a renowned L.A. restaurant and he insisted I give him the dough recipe.*

                                                                                                                                                                                                Tutorial with (bad) photos here: http://thecarboholic.com/2013/11/27/t...

                                                                                                                                                                                                APPLE HAND PIES

                                                                                                                                                                                                For the dough:
                                                                                                                                                                                                -2 cups AP flour
                                                                                                                                                                                                -1/2 teaspoon salt
                                                                                                                                                                                                -1/2 teaspoon baking powder
                                                                                                                                                                                                -1 cup butter, cold, cut into 1/2" pieces
                                                                                                                                                                                                -1/2 cup sour cream

                                                                                                                                                                                                For the filling:
                                                                                                                                                                                                -2 large apples (to yield 2 cups grated/finely chopped
                                                                                                                                                                                                )-2 teaspoons lemon juice
                                                                                                                                                                                                -1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
                                                                                                                                                                                                -1/4 cup sugar
                                                                                                                                                                                                -2 teaspoons flour

                                                                                                                                                                                                For the icing:
                                                                                                                                                                                                -2 cups powdered sugar
                                                                                                                                                                                                -a few teaspoons of water

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Make the dough: Pulse flour, salt, and baking powder in a food processor. Add butter, and pulse lightly until pea-sized chunks form. Transfer to a bowl, and stir in sour cream.

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Gather dough on a lightly floured surface and roll into an 8"x10" rectangle. Fold into thirds, like a letter. Roll again out to 8"x10", and fold into thirds again. Repeat once more. Fold in half, wrap in plastic, and chill at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.

                                                                                                                                                                                                3. When ready to bake, divide dough in two, and working with one half at a time, roll dough out to 1/8" thick on a floured surface. Cut out circles with a 3" biscuit/cookie cutter. Re-roll scraps once or twice. Repeat with remaining dough. Chill dough circles until ready to bake.

                                                                                                                                                                                                4. Make the filling: Grate or finely chop the peeled, cored apples. If grating (my preference), wring the shreds dry in paper towels or cheesecloth to remove most of the moisture (they will still bake up super tender, and you'll have some fresh apple juice for other purposes!). Stir together the apples, lemon juice, cinnamon, sugar, and flour in a bowl and set aside.

                                                                                                                                                                                                5. Preheat oven to 425 F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Spread your dough circles evenly on each sheet. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of filling into the center of each; fold seam over, and use fork tines to crimp the edges shut.

                                                                                                                                                                                                6. Brush each pie with a bit of egg wash (optional--1 egg beaten with a tablespoon of water) and poke holes in the top with a fork or knife.

                                                                                                                                                                                                7. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges. Let cool on wire racks for 15-20 minutes before glazing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                8. Make glaze: Drizzle water into powdered sugar in a small bowl, and whisk until it is thick but pourable. Spread liberally over pies.
                                                                                                                                                                                                Glaze will set at room temp, but if you chill the pies briefly, they are stackable for easy transport.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I like the idea of grating the apples, and then drying the apples. It's probably a really good way to pack lots of apples into the small package of a hand pie.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                    It does work well in this application. The apples cook thoroughly in the 15 minutes, and you can definitely squeeze a bunch of them into the crust. Plus, when you're eating something in 2-3 bites, it's nice not to have to fight with slices of apple hanging out of your mouth :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                                                                    These sound (and look) marvelous. I wonder if substituting the apple juice (obtained from squeezing the grated apples) for the water in the glaze would work? Seems like another way to get apple flavor in every bit of the pies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: mcsheridan

                                                                                                                                                                                                      That's a great idea. I usually just do a glaze of powdered sugar/water and sip the juice--nothing like fresh-squeezed fruit juice! But that is certainly worth a try :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                                                                      My boyfriend will love you. Because I'm going to make this recipe for him and he loves apple pie. :) Thank you!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      BTW, your photos turned out so cute!

                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Very nice hand pies and I would like your recipe too :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Do you have Alice Medrich "Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy"? She has the best (imho) ginger cookie recipe. Perhaps looking at her flavour combination will help you tweak your gingerbread.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Yes, that ginger cookie is the best ever!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                                        No, I don't have it, but I see people baking from it a lot here. I have two cookbooks I'd REALLY like--that one, and the Bouchon Bakery Cookbook. I have both in my cart on Amazon, but haven't bit the bullet. Amazon gets me every time, and I keep finding other things I "need" first :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I have a ginger cookie I adore and think tastes perfect. I'll look at the Medrich one today. I might just toss the gingerbread and put out a plate of the cookies instead.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Life's too short for mediocre food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                                                                          The cookie recipe is on her web site: http://alicemedrich.com/recipe/my-gin... in case you are curious.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Thank you for your apple hand pies recipe! I will probably make them next weekend. My theatre group is coming over for tea next Monday and I think that hand pies and raspberry jam slices that Caitlin posted will be a nice treat. BTW, the jam slices became even tastier and somehow less sweet as the week progressed but remained deliciously tender and moist.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Yes, I googled them earlier. I was going to make them for my mother's visit, since ginger cookies are her favorite, but I don't have any candied ginger on hand. I wrote the recipe down and will try it as soon as I can.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Let us know if you make the pies. Your tea sounds like it will be lovely!

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Candied ginger is easy to find. I usually buy in in the bulk store. She says you can make them without one or two gingers but I think that using all three is what makes these cookies extra special - your mother would love them (I hope!).

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Will post about the pies - love the idea of shredding and squeezing the apples. I'll make 1/2 recipe unless you tell me that I can freeze half of the dough - does it freeze well?

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I read that she says you can omit, but I figure if I'm going to try the recipe, I might as well really go for it. I just picked up the hugest knob of fresh ginger, and went so far as to Google for a recipe for homemade candied ginger, then just got lazy :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                As for the pies--a half recipe yields me about 12 small pies. Usually people will eat 2 in one sitting. A few male friends will eat 4 or more (shh!). I usually spring for the whole batch, or save half the dough for another use.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I have never tried freezing the dough, but I imagine it would freeze fine just like any other pie crust. I HAVE assembled the pies and frozen them, then baked from frozen. This worked just fine, adding a few minutes onto baking.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I don't know if you ran across Maida Heatter's Moosehead Gingerbread recipe while looking online, but it's the one I use from her Book of Great Desserts and is very good. I found a link here:

                                                                                                                                                                                                        The only difference I see is that her recipe in the book specifies dark brown sugar.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: lesliej

                                                                                                                                                                                                          No, I didn't see that one. I will bookmark it and try it next time I get a hankering for gingerbread. Thanks!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. Lately I'm messing around with macarons. My sister's friend is getting married and would like us to bake some sweets, and macarons are my nightmare. I tried one recipe which was extremely popular, highly rated, and was only successful twice out of like 7 times. Some time ago I bought Will Torrent's book, Patisserie at Home, and it's one of the best pastry recipe books I ever bought, so I decided to try his macaron recipe instead of the one I've been using (and failing).

                                                                                                                                                                                                        The first time they had feet but I overmixed and overcooked it. The second time it was a little better. The third time was almost perfect (pictured above)! Will's recipe is really great, but because macarons are such finicky little things, in order to recreate it successfully in your own kitchen you just have to practice!

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Also used Will Torrent's choux pastry recipe for a variety of desserts. Even my mother who was adamant in using her own choux recipe agreed that his is better! ILY Will Torrent!

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Also I tried Laughing Lemon's Quick Puff Pastry recipe made with pure butter(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_tgP6...). I live in a really hot climate so I was so happy that it worked. Pictured is simply slices of puff pastry sprinkled with sugar and baked. Really tasty. If you're daunted by puff pastry I recommend that you try that recipe.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: jacqve

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Wow, that's dedication to keep trying to make those macarons. The photo of them looks gorgeous.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Haha to be honest, it was driven by envy as novice bakers around me could produce lovely macarons and I (some sort of pastry magician in my family's pastry business) couldn't! I had to know why!

                                                                                                                                                                                                            That aside learning how to make French sweets have imparted a profound patience to my usual "quick results or nothing" stance. A very valuable life lesson. Thank you France.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: jacqve

                                                                                                                                                                                                              You should try some of that patience by participating in the baking in this (canelé) thread:

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Dayum, those are some tasty-looking canelés. It's gonna be a big challenge alright.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: jacqve

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  souschef and Cynsa know their way around an oven.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: jacqve

                                                                                                                                                                                                            That puff pastry AND the macarons look delicious :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Thank you! French sweets and pastries are quite nightmarish for me so I'm very happy to know that they look decent enough!

                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. More CCC. Our Egyptian house guest adores them, and they go fast. I discovered that he likes nuts, so for a change, I added in some chopped pecans. I love pecans in CCC because I think they add some caramel notes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                              That is very nice of you! I usually add walnuts for some reason, it seems more "classic CCC" but I prefer pecans. I'm going to try it your way next time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              How long is this house guest staying with you?

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I have no idea how long Ahmed will be here, but we have the perfect set-up for long-term guests: two back "maid's" rooms and a bath that are reached from stairs in the kitchen. The second of the rooms is my sewing/craft room. He finished university, did his compulsory military service, and is looking for a job. He has an interview in a week or so in Pittsburgh, and an offer for a job locally starting in September, so I'm not certain what he'll do. He's easy to have around, and my son thinks of him as an older brother, so it's all good. If only he had a more adventurous palate!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Oh that sounds like a wonderful setup for guests. My (rental) house is so compact, one bathroom right off the main bedroom, and a houseguest here would be a PITA to be honest.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  That's nice that your son enjoys Ahmed's company, and it sounds like you've been able to expand his palate a bit in the WFD thread.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Roxlet, the layout of your house sounds similar to my daughter's in NY which started as a hunting cabin back when and was built in 1930s into a house that is still standing and rather proud, I must say :) My space is the former cabin and there is a stairway off the kitchen that leads to two maid rooms and a bathroom. I considered putting my sewing room into one of the rooms as they are not used but it is not very convenient since I am only there occasionally.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  +1,000,000 on toasted pecans in CCCs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                3. Just made the Bon Appetit Raspberry Buttermilk Cake that made the rounds online about 5 years back. Been making it with seasonal fruit a few times a year since.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  For a recent office potluck I made this Starbucks Cinnamon Coffee Cake knock off. http://starbucksrestaurantathome.blog... - The recipe left me with too much streusel and too much filling. Otherwise I'd make it again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. I made mocha log cookies. I posted about them before in one of the Christmas cookie threads. They're a cookie press cookie using the star disk and about 3 inches long with one end dipped in bittersweet chocolate and rolled in chopped walnuts. The dough has instant coffee in it. I usually make them every Christmas but didn't this year. Oh and I made them with home milled soft wheat flour.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Plus I got to use the cookie press attachment for my Ankarsrum mixer for the first time. So much more convenient to be able to be hands free and have the dough come out on it's own.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I cooked another Apple Cider pie a few days ago and another loaf of home milled wheat bread today. I can't wait until summer fruits are here for some great fruit pies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: rasputina

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Those cookies sound delicious. Are they crunchy? Do you mind sharing the recipe?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I just made some muffins the other day calling for instant coffee and it worked wonderfully. I've only ever baked with espresso powder and was pleased with the flavor this time. I can't stand the taste of brewed instant coffee, but am going to keep a jar on hand now.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yes, they're crunchy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Here is the recipe

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1 cup butter
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        ¾ cup sugar
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1 egg
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2 1/4 cups flour ( usually use AP flour but I've also used home milled soft white wheat flour)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1 teaspoon vanilla extract
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2 tablespoons instant coffee powder
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        ½ teaspoon salt
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        ¼ teaspoon baking powder

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Cream butter and sugar, add vanilla and eggs. Mix dry ingredients together and add to the butter and sugar mixture. Put in cookie press with star disk. Press out long logs 3" on pan.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Bake 325 until light brown. Cool and then dip end in bittersweet chocolate and roll in walnuts.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: rasputina

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Thank you! Will report back if I make them soon. Do you think it would be possible to roll them into logs? I don't have a cookie press.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'd probably just roll them into a log like refrigerator cookies, chill them and slice. Less work.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: rasputina

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Awesome, thanks. That's what I was thinking. Will definitely make these.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. I was away and now I have a nasty cold, so no baking for me waaah. Next weekend!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Colds are no fun! I've got one too--my nose is so runny and nothing tastes right! Hopefully we will both be better before next weekend!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Still under the weather (and under the doctor, as the English say). Sinus and upper respiratory tract infection, antibiotics, nose sprays, the whole nine. Don't expect to be baking anything much. Waaaah again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Poor baby! Get hubby to make you a sabayon. Makes the chest feel good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Yes. The meds seem to be helping now.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I hope you feel better. Have a happy Easter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. So I made the foccacia again, this time with zucchini and peppers on top. It tastes a little flat this time, but i have a bad cold, so that might be it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              i also made some coconut macaroons--my first time making them. i drizzled some chocolate on top and have eaten a lot of them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: SarahCW

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Interesting Sarah; my focaccia was not as good second time around either; and I didn't have a cold! I am planning to make it again. I think I get over confident at times and need to slow down and pay more attention to the recipe. I do not care for veg toppings but like rosemary and/or oregano and coarse salt; maybe garlic slices.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  "I think I get over confident at times and need to slow down and pay more attention to the recipe."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  That happens to me too. In fact, I was just talking about it today with someone!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Today I made orange bread with a whole orange, pureed in the blender with some fresh oj -- we have a surfeit of oranges here. I used this recipe:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                and subbed whole wheat flour for white, cut the sugar in half (and it was still plenty sweet -- the oranges were incredibly flavorful), and used just one egg and squeezed in a little extra orange juice. I also omitted the pumpkin pie spice and put in half a teaspoon of cinnamon instead. Baked it for 40 minutes and it came out beautifully.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Also made what we call breakfast cookies, which are basically very low sugar oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. My thinking is that they're better than Quaker chewy granola bars. Please don't disillusion me :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: P_penelope

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  My grandma's orange bread recipe uses a whole pureed orange..make it every year for Christmas. Fabulous toasted in thin slices with a little butter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: girlwonder88

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yes, warmed with butter is definitely the way to go! I made this again and doubled the recipe so I could freeze one loaf. Friends came over yesterday for lunch and had some and also gave it the thumbs-up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Was invited last-minute for some very casual dinner/hot tub shenanigans this evening. Not wanting to show up empty-handed, I jumped in the kitchen and made some blondies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  5 minutes prep, 20 minutes baking, and I carried the blondies to my car atop a beach towel and headed up into the Hollywood Hills.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  We had the most glorious panoramic views of L.A. from the heated salt water pool. Grateful for the invitation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I packed a blondie to go and am hoping against hope that it's finally "the one." Every blondie recipe I've tried thus far is either bland, cakey, or dry, or greasy as hell and doughy. These ones filled my car with the most amazing smell and were nearly completely devoured between 3 guests.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Soooo LA. I miss it! I used to travel there on business a couple of times a month, but I haven't been in years.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I was born and raised here, but still appreciate L.A. on a daily basis! I know people like to hate on it for a loooong list of reasons, but there is just a vibe in this city that I never want to be away from. The palm trees lining the streets, the sunshine, and access to nearly anything at any time of day or night...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        You should come for a visit; it's prime L.A. weather right now!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Verdict on the blondies: these were very good. Nice and chewy, but not at all greasy. The photos look like they're kind of dry, but they weren't. My only complaint is that they aren't super thick in the centers; I actually enjoyed the thick, better-done edge pieces.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Not sure how I'll tweak them next time. Maybe I'll bake them in a 6" pan instead of 8", or will multiply the recipe by 1.5 and bake in the 8".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The flavor on these was also interesting. Not what I was expecting... Kind of caramel-y in a good way, but I can't figure out why. The ingredients and method are straightforward for a CCC.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I loved these, and they are contenders for my go-to blondie recipe. I will try Smitten Kitchen's one next, and if those don't beat them, I'll give up my search for now and just make these ones.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        BLONDIES (from Allrecipes):

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -1 cup sifted AP flour
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -1/2 teaspoon baking powder
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -1/8 teaspoon baking soda
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -1/2 teaspoon salt
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -1/2 cup chopped walnuts (I omitted)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -1/3 cup butter, melted
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -1 cup brown sugar (I used 3/4 cup brown, 1/4 cup white)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -1 egg, beaten
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -1 tablespoon vanilla
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Cream butter and sugar. Add egg and vanilla.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Sift (I didn't do this). Stir in nuts, if using. Add to wet ingredients slowly, do not overmix.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Pour into greased 8"x8" pan. Sprinkle 1/2 to 1 cup chocolate chips over top.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Bake in a 350 F oven until toothpick comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Have you tried the blondies with Marcona almonds from Food and Wine? I discovered them last month on Joy the Baker's site and they have since become my go-to blondie recipe. Incredibly caramelly, rich and crunchy....swoon.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: FlyerFan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            No, I have not tried them. Good excuse for me to pick up some marconas too. Thanks!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. Weekend baking was experimenting with durum flour. I made the Pugliese bread from Bread Bakers Apprentice and wow, it's so flavourful. The durum flour adds a nutty note and a very fragrant scent. It also makes the bread have a gorgeous honey hue. It also has big holes and a nice chew.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm definitely trying this recipe again! Next time I'm going to go for a slow rise in the fridge to bring out more flavour.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Nevy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          They look fantastic and I love your description of the taste and scent.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Fowler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            If you're a bread baker, this recipe is totally worth a try and sourcing out durum flour is pretty easy at ethnic grocery stores. I bought 10 kg for $7 only!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The taste is unlike most breads I've tried, it really does taste like nuts placed right into the bread. Who needs peanut butter when you have durum flour!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Nevy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            That is gorgeous. Have you ever made the Pane Pugliese from Carole Fields' Italian Bread. It uses a biga, but I don't remember using duram wheat. I'll have to check my BBA.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The BBA uses a biga as well. I'm tempted to have the bulk fermentation done for the entire dough in the fridge. I bought the follow up to BBA and it talks about not using a biga and using less yeast and slower rise to get the max flavour. The durum wheat blew my socks off... so I'm seeing how it'd be with an overnight rise instead of a few hours.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Looking at the net, it seems Carol Fields' Pane Tipo Altamura uses the biga and durum (semolina) wheat. Supposedly they're from the same region. I don't have the Carol Fields book but I love comparing recipes... perhaps I'll give that book a look later!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Nevy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I love that book. I believe buttertart does as well. They recently issued an updated version of the book, which I did not find it necessary to purchase, so I'll bet there are a lot of used books out there for pennies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. Black pepper popovers with chives and parmesan (http://food52.com/blog/6760-black-pep...) and Dark Chocolate-Olive oil cake (http://www.finecooking.com/recipes/da...). I wasn't super impressed with either.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Tonight I made Rose Levy Beranbaum's Cinnamon Cloud Nine Crunchies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I believe Roxlet (??) or someone posted the recipe last year, and I eagerly jotted it down. I was initially attracted because it was a yeasted cookie dough--an idea appealing but perplexing to me. I just couldn't fathom the taste/texture.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              They are fabulous! Basically they taste like butter. Like a fabulous buttery sugary slightly cinnamony cookie. Just lovely.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Recipe can be found here: http://dinnr.tumblr.com/post/73842646...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              12 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                These sound right up my alley, but I've never made them, so the inspiration came from elsewhere!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Oh. Well, thanks to whomever it was!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The bf and I cannot stop eating these. First one he tried, he just turned to me and said "These are dangerous."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  They are growing on me more and more. They're like a cross between a Danish butter cookie and very caramelized buttery tasting palmiers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    It was me! I made those for Christmas! I am glad that someone else made them and them to be equally great. We had to put the recipe away because I was so tempted to make another batch

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Nevy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Oh, thank you! I'm going to add the recipe to my "permanent" folder. These would be great on a cookie tray. I'm also envisioning them going well with coffee for a light dessert, served with ice cream, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I had a few this morning with my espresso, and yum!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  These look awesome! Are they soft? My husband is anal about cookies and only eats soft ones!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Siegal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    They aren't soft... My first tray weren't crunchy though... somewhere in between. Kind of like a thick pie crust--very flaky and tender.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        No idea. I Googled the recipe after reading about them in the thread. Nevy might know.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: emily

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I have that book; I'll check it out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Siegal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I just had a few more for dessert and maybe I underbaked but they are not crunchy at all. They really are like a thick pie crust. Bf had a few for dessert and said that these are now contenders for his favorite cookies ever. May be worth giving them a shot!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. So I am just about to embark on my Easter baking. I have ordered the ingredients for the Pizza Rustica, and I am heading off to the market to pick up a couple of additional sacks of flour. At this time of year, I always wish there was a place to buy fresh yeast for the Easter Bread that I make. I know it doesn't really matter, but I think the taste is slightly different...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Could you ask a bakery to sell you some fresh yeast? I agree, the taste is different and better.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. I'm baking three different kinds of cookies because our freezer has stopped working, and everything is unfreezing. When I make cookies I usually roll about half the dough into a log, wrap it up, and throw it in the freezer. I think I'm saddest about losing the cranberries that I bought back in November.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: zitronenmadchen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          How about baking cranberry bread or muffins? I always have a stash of frozen berries, so great to have on hand.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: cheesymama

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I think I will make muffins, but I had 2.5 bags of cranberries in there. Hopefully I can use them all, one thing my father instilled in me was a horror of wasting food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: zitronenmadchen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              They keep fairly well in the fridge. Not as long as frozen, of course, but long enough so you needn't be resigned to using them all ASAP.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Cranberries also make a great jam with vanilla and orange. It's one of my favorite fillings for linzer cookies!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: zitronenmadchen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            What a bummer! At least you'll get some treats out of this, and hopefully a new freezer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. Yesterday I made Alice Medrich's Tiger Cake that I saw on food52.com. It's not too sweet - in fact, it calls for white pepper which, along with the cocoa, are the predominant flavors (although the heat of the pepper is subtle!) It's also one of those cakes that improve with age (it's made with olive oil) as it definitely tastes better today.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            4 Replies