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What are you baking these days? August 2014 Edition, Part 2

The baking thread is chug, chugging along, despite the fact that many bakers (myself included) tend to be less inclined to bake during the summer months. I am about to start baking a ton of cookies and brownies to send to college with my son, who leaves a week from today -- the 22nd of August. Between his roommate and his teammates, I figure that I will have a lot of baking to do in the next several months. I will be experiencing the shipping of baked goods for the first time ever.

Fresh fruit desserts? Berry pies? Peach crisps and crumbles? How is summer's bounty (and heat) influencing your baking this month?

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  1. I'm looking forward to doing some baking in the latter part of the month (how can we be half-way through August already??). I was away at music festivals/ a family wedding in my hometown, so there was no baking beyond muffins and scones for breakfast.
    I've got my book club and a work potluck coming up.. the peaches here are beautiful, so I was considering a peach bundt cake? And I ran across a blueberry cream cheese type bar early in the summer, printed out the recipe.. and now can't find it (!!).

    1 Reply
    1. re: rstuart

      Despite all of my rhapsodizing about fruit.. I made brewers blondies from the first Baked cookbook! I wanted to make it to "use up" some malt balls I had: of course, the Ovaltine that I had to buy to make the blondies cost more than the chocolate hadd.. I am sure that you will all understand this "baker's logic".
      Very yummy..

    2. OMG yesterday I baked Christina Tosi's lemon pistachio pie and it was The Best Pie. Ever. I served it to some people and it made everyone happy. "Wow", "OMG" "outstanding" were comments, and one woman broke out in joyful laughter. It's that good.

      Pistachio crunch crust, thin layer of white chocolate, lemon curd (thickened with gelatin) and on top of that meringue mixed with some curd.

      Anyone else bake from Momofuko Milk Bar cookbook? I don't like her famous cereal milk ice cream, but Tosi is a brilliant, playfully creative pastry chef.

      14 Replies
      1. re: NYchowcook

        I have a few of their recipes bookmarked but have yet to get to them. I agree they are extremely creative and exciting.

        Glad your pie turned out so well!

        1. re: NYchowcook

          I baked her chocolate chip cake a couple of times. Widely loved and wildly appreciated. It's a lot of work, and I baked it over a couple of days. The good part is that you have to freeze it, so it can easily be made ahead.

          1. re: roxlet

            That cake looks insane roxlet. I fell in love at first glance here: http://www.hummingbirdhigh.com/2013/0... and instantly decided it was going to get baked this weekend.

            But as I read through ingredients and method, I have a few questions.

            First, I cannot fathom passionfruit curd with a chocolate chip/buttermilk/coffee flavor profile?? How did this taste to you, and would it be worth making it without it? I'm really not a fan of fruit and chocolate with the exception of strawberries, raspberries, and banana. HATE anything citrusy with chocolate, though I know most don't feel that way.

            Second, how was the coffee frosting? It calls for only 1/4 cup powdered sugar per stick of butter which seems like it would just be like eating mildly sweetened butter on top of your cake.

            I know I'm now completely changing the recipe, but would a coffee buttercream in more traditional proportions work on this thing, or no?

            1. re: nothingswrong

              It was fabulous, but since I couldn't find passion fruit puree, I made a strawberry puree and used that. The coffee frosting was extremely challenging, and the second time I made the cake, I think I doubled the amount. There wasn't enough, and what was there was very stiff. I think I wound up only using it on the top the first time I made the cake. Man, was it good though! Trouble is, you need all kinds of special equipment like a half sheet pan, 6" cake ring, and acetate sheets. I got them all, so am good to go on her other cakes. Maybe in the fall I'll try the pistachio one.

              1. re: roxlet

                Thanks for answering... Definitely sounds interesting. I see nothing but good reviews so the flavors must meld even if I can't picture it. I see people have a lot of trouble with the cakes/pans and the frosting, so I will keep that in mind.

                I don't see why you couldn't just bake the individual layers in round pans instead of the sheet pan?? I have 6" pans I bought recently with the idea of being able to make tiny cakes for just me and the bf.

                1. re: nothingswrong

                  No reason you couldn't bake them in 6" pans, but you do need the ring and the acetate sheets (2 for each cake) to properly build the cake. Also, the way Tosi does the cakes, she seems to like to have the edges of the layers exposed, as they are when you punch them out of the sheet pan. When you use the 6" cake ring, you kind of push the cake out from the bottom after it has set in the freezer. I think you need it whether or not you bake 6" layers in separate pans.

                  1. re: roxlet

                    I am a rebel and I will be constructing my own chocolate chip/coffee buttercream cake then.

                    No but maybe one day I will purchase all of that special equipment, but not today. I do loathe when people totally change up a recipe and try to pass it off as the original. I can totally respect bakers spending oodles of time and special tools to create exactly what they were going for, even if it seems silly. Kind of like a lot of the ATK recipes, or Thomas Keller's. I know from experience though that even skipping out on minor details can be the difference between an okay cake and a spectacular one.

                    Thanks for all the info though rox!

                2. re: roxlet

                  I found passion fruit purée in the supermarket freezer --Goya brand. Don't know how it is though because despite numerous thawings and tossing and re-purchasing, I've yet to make the curd I've intended.

                  1. re: NYchowcook

                    I used the Goya brand when I made Tartine's Passion Fruit & Lime Bavarian, and it worked just fine. It was more tart than I imagined it would be, but I've never tasted fresh passion fruit. I was about to drive out of my way to purchase the much more expensive Boiron brand puree, but then I found Goya's in my local Latin grocery.

            2. re: NYchowcook

              I would love this recipe if you're willing to paraphrase it here for us - lemon meringue is one of my favorites!

                1. re: roxlet

                  Thanks roxlet - I saw this recipe when I googled for a link but this is a cake, not a pie, and the meringue and white chocolate are not part of it (there's a pistachio frosting). Still looks good, though...

                2. re: biondanonima

                  Sorry for the delay -- I've been in the kitchen ... Baking!
                  I found the recipe on google books. It may take more than one search to locate the various recipes -- pistachio crunch, curd (if you're using hers -- don't forget gelatin!) and meringue mixed in with reserved curd.


                  It's cumbersome to find. I have since checked the book out of the library again.

                  I used a lemon curd recipe I got from the CIA with egg yolks and I used gelatin sheets (for the first time!)

                  1. re: NYchowcook

                    Tosi's pie -- showing lemon curd and then top (too goopy!) layer of meringue mixed with curd

              1. My daughter was home last week before heading back off to college and we made Flour's Cornmeal Lime Cookies. She was so impressed she took the recipe with her so she could make them for her BF. We also made the delicious Plum Torte from Marian Burros.

                1 Reply
                1. re: lesliej

                  I adore those cookies! They are fabulous.

                2. I have a loaf of sourdough with many seeds (4 different kinds of seeds is many in my book) that I'm going to use for tomato sandwiches.

                  1. Maybe it's the NYer in me but no matter how many times I try I can't make biscuits

                    38 Replies
                      1. re: nothingswrong

                        Nope. Lol. Out of desperation I thought I would try lard. They taste piggy

                        1. re: Siegal

                          Ha! Last night the bf asked me if I would make him tamales today. I have nothing better to spend hours and hours on, so I said okay. I start looking at recipes and jotting down what I'll need. He says "Give me a list and I'll run to the store in the morning."

                          I hand him a list which features prominently: LARD. He immediately changed his mind about the tamales. I told him probably every tamale he's ever had contained lard and he refuses to believe it's true.

                          Anyway as to the biscuits, I just tried a recipe that called for shortening but used all butter (because that's what I was after) and they tasted absolutely delicious. Texture and rise were not so great, but they were tasty, which is most important in my book. Hope your subsequent attempts turn out better.

                          1. re: nothingswrong

                            Yea... Even though it's healthier then shortening and now some studies say better than butter it still has a reputation

                            1. re: Siegal

                              Right, it's the reputation. I grew up with a nanny from Mexico who took care of me 24/7 (parents were absent). She basically raised me speaking Spanish, wearing handmade Mexican clothing, etc. Part of that was eating all of my meals and snacks with her and her friends. I adored every single thing she fed me and my previously picky self could eat authentic Mexican all day long.

                              It wasn't until I got older and started helping her in the kitchen that I saw the lard and asked what it was. I was horrified and went vegetarian. Needless to say, most of the Mexican eating stopped too.

                              The bf has traveled a ton around the US, as he used to be a race car driver. So he has tried so many foods I've never even seen. But the lard thing really threw him for a loop with the tamales.

                              1. re: nothingswrong

                                Sounds like my husband. He learned to cook from his tía that lived with his family growing up. Most of the Mexican dishes he cooks are ones he learned from her. Although he learned Spanish and a couple other languages because his parents would speak them so he couldn't listen in lol. That backfired.

                                1. re: rasputina

                                  Ha, smart husband of yours! I can't say I remember much Spanish. Enough to understand, but not to speak myself.

                                  My sister is one of those language people; she started studying them in college and now at 23 speaks 4 (or 5?) fluently. It's a cool thing to be good at... she is always accidentally eavesdropping on people.

                                  1. re: nothingswrong

                                    Ha. There were two very handsome French guys picking blueberries near me several weeks ago. I finally told them to slow down and enunciate better because my high school French was only picking up every 20th word.

                                    They realized I was joking and laughed, thank goodness.

                                    One advantage of getting (slightly) older, you can pseudo-flirt with handsome young men.

                            2. re: nothingswrong

                              I have a tamale cookbook (Tamales 101 http://www.amazon.com/Tamales-101-Beg...


                              and it calls for butter; I've only made them a few times since it's a lot of work making the sauces, etc. etc. and so far haven't been able to talk my daughter in to helping (she has no trouble with the eating part).

                              Anyway, make them with butter. (I've made some with roasted poblano chili diced, goat cheese and artichoke hearts with tomatillo salsa.) Easy to freeze them.

                              1. re: walker

                                Awesome, thanks. I will look into it. All of the recipes I saw online called for lard, but what started his craving was seeing some tamales made on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives on TV. The guy was making fusion Central American and didn't use any lard, so I know it's possible. The bf will love butter of course so I will give it a try soon.

                                1. re: nothingswrong

                                  In the book she tells you what kind of masa to buy; there are 4 kinds. You don't buy the "preparada" if you're going to use butter because that one already has the lard mixed in. There's another way of making them with the bag of ground corn but I've gotten the fresh ground corn one from a really good Mexican market in San Francisco, La Palma. Do you have access to such a place?

                                  In the book she explains how to mix up with the butter .. in your electric mixer. Later you drop a bit of it in a glass of water in order to tell if you've mixed it enough time.

                                  A good homemade tamale is a work of art.

                                  1. re: walker

                                    Interesting! Yes, I do have access to good Mexican markets. I live in L.A. and there's a Mexican grocery 2 blocks down from me.

                                    I agree a good tamale is a work of art. I recall my nanny from Juarez saying if you weren't going to get GOOD tamales, don't bother eating them. I'd like to say I'm intimidated, but I feel like having access to good authentic ingredients and all the time in the world right now will churn out something decent. I doubt they'll be like the ones we had when I was a kid, but I'm sure the bf will love them.

                                2. re: walker

                                  Yup, I've made many tamales with butter. It works just fine. It's particularly good with fresh corn in the masa and a filling of roasted poblano strips and Monterey Jack cheese.

                                3. re: nothingswrong

                                  I always use butter in biscuits. I would use lard sometimes if I had a great source for good, non-hydrogenated lard. They're both good. Shortening biscuits, not so much.

                                  1. re: sandylc

                                    Thanks for the tips about the tamales. I'm getting excited to make them! I had no idea butter could be used so successfully. Poblano + cheese sounds great.

                                    And I agree about butter biscuits. I've had lard but prefer the butter flavor. Shortening, no thanks.

                                    1. re: nothingswrong

                                      A Mexican lady told me that the keys to great tamales are to use plenty of fat and to really whip the dough up good and light.

                                      I use masa harina because I've never managed to buy fresh masa that wasn't soured :-(

                                      1. re: sandylc

                                        I have used masa harina for empanadas and other corn dishes. I've actually never looked for fresh masa but I am positive I could find it here no problem.

                                        I am jotting all these tips down for the tamales. Maybe this week I can try making them. Thanks sandy!

                                  2. re: nothingswrong

                                    Oh, he's funny. I've never made tamales but I use lard in my pie crust and biscuits.

                                    1. re: rasputina

                                      I'm sure if I used lard without telling my boyfriend, he would adore the final product. He is one of the least picky eaters I've ever encountered and will pop things in his mouth without asking what it is. But recently discovered I put *gasp* zucchini in my zucchini muffins and he won't touch them anymore. He thought they were carrot muffins. Obviously doesn't inspect his food closely before eating, or he would have noticed all the little green shavings.

                                      According to him, green veggies have no place in baked goods. He had somehow never even heard of zucchini bread before now...??

                                      1. re: nothingswrong

                                        Weird how our ideas effect what we eat.

                                        1. re: sandylc

                                          It is. Zucchini in quick breads seems so normal and harmless to me, but I am guilty of it myself... Whenever I see those black bean brownies or mayonnaise/tomato soup cakes, I seriously gag.

                              2. re: Siegal

                                NYer here married to a southerner -- I think biscuits rise better when they are punched out of the dough. The cutter cannot be twisted -- just straight down with it, and the sides will rise.

                                1. re: roxlet

                                  Did that. Are they supposed to rise? Or do u just cut out 2 inch high biscuits ? Maybe I'm expecting them to rise and that's wrong?

                                  1. re: Siegal

                                    I'm no biscuit expert but I believe you should roll (or even just pat) them fairly thick, and the rest of the rising will happen in the oven. But I've never heard of or seen a biscuit rolled to, say, 1/2" magically puff up to 2" in the oven.

                                    As when I make scones, I pat the dough gently up to 1" thick and then punch out rounds and bake immediately.

                                    I'd be interested to hear how roxlet does them.

                                    1. re: nothingswrong

                                      nothingswrong is right. You need to handle the dough as little as possible, and cut them out at about 1" thick. From the look of your photo, I suspect that the dough might have been a bit wet, since it looks as if the sides spread, which they definitely should not do.

                                    2. re: Siegal

                                      Possibilities are:

                                      Dough too wet.
                                      Baking powder dead.
                                      Dough overhandled.

                                      1. re: Siegal

                                        Yes, they're supposed to rise. Straight down cutting helps but so does using lard. Personally I don't like the texture or flavor of all butter biscuits and IME they don't rise as high, probably due to the water content in the butter. Also the fat being very cold assists with flakiness. I've gotten the best rise when I put the flour and fat mixture in the freezer before mixing in the liquid.

                                    3. re: Siegal

                                      My brother makes amazing biscuits, light fluffy and big. Mine=lumps of dough, awful What is the secret to good biscuit making?

                                      1. re: Ruthie789

                                        I think some people just have "the touch."

                                        But other than that, I think they're the same rules as with pie crusts and scones:

                                        -Cut in butter/fat quickly and keep it cold
                                        -Don't handle dough too much (stir just until flour's moistened)
                                        -Pat into shape instead of rolling
                                        -Use as little flour as possible to keep the dough from sticking to the counter when rolling (which is why half the time I just do drop biscuits/scones)
                                        -As roxlet said, cut straight down with the biscuit cutters to get a clean edge/cut
                                        -Make sure everything's still cold before sticking it in the oven
                                        -Make sure baking powder is good
                                        -Don't overbake

                                        Anything I'm missing?

                                        1. re: Ruthie789

                                          I have made these Bakewell Cream biscuits several times (using the baking powder version), and they are excellent. Plus, they have the advantage of being able to be made ahead of time, frozen, and then baked to order. It's really a useful recipe since we rarely will consume an entire batch of biscuits, and freezing cooked biscuits is never as good.

                                            1. re: nothingswrong

                                              Ooops, sorry! Yes, that is it. It's a great recipe!

                                        2. re: Siegal

                                          Here is a wonderful blog post on biscuits from PJ Hamel, the King Arthur flour blogger. She compares a recipe for super simple biscuits (two ingredients -- self rising flour and heavy cream) to more traditional biscuits. It's pretty much a draw:


                                          1. re: roxlet

                                            Wow - this is an interesting (and timely) post for me because I recently tried making Marion Cunningham's cream biscuits. They are pretty much the same as the super simple but she uses regular flour & baking powder vs. the self-rising. I thought I would have more biscuit success by not having to deal with butter, but I wasn't impressed by how they turned out. Reading through these comments, however, has pretty much convinced me that my problem is not having a light enough touch when mixing and forming.

                                            1. re: lesliej

                                              I find her posts very interesting, as are the comments from bakers, who seem to be a fairly knowledgable bunch.

                                              1. re: lesliej

                                                I use a very similar all-cream recipe for scones. I use a fork to mix the cream into the flour mixture, then knead two or three turns to bring the dough together, very, very gently, being sure not to compact the dough, and then gently pat it out, again being sure not to compact it. They come out very light. It should be noted that, used for biscuits, this style won't please everyone because while they're light and tender, they're not flaky.

                                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                  Thanks for these tips, Caitlin - I really need focus on my technique next time. I think since I always wait till the last minute to make biscuits (to make sure they're hot out of the oven) I wind up feeling rushed and lose some concentration.

                                          2. Very productive night and morning for me as I am having friends over today to help with wedding craft projects...Apple Crisp with apples from my future mother-in-law's farm, Lemon Meltaways, Chocolate Whiskey bundt cake, and pita! Oh, also french bread since I was not sure if my pita experiment would turn out. Pita turned out great though and it was really fun to make!

                                            Recipe if you are interested: http://www.fashionedible.com/2013/01/...

                                            3 Replies
                                                1. I am not a baker (or much of a cook) but a couple of weeks ago I got hankering for blueberry muffins. Went up on SkinnyTaste and found a recipe for "Insanely Good Oatmeal Blueberry Muffins". Now I make them once a week (from scratch no mixes). DH loves them!

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: Linda VH

                                                    I love that site, and will have to check out that recipe!

                                                  2. I adapted one of my straight dough wheat bread recipes to use the sponge method. Here is the recipe that I used this morning to bake a fragrant loaf of wheat bread.

                                                    Molasses Honey Wheat Bread using sponge method

                                                    Makes one 2 lb loaf

                                                    Time about 10 hours (9 hours total proofing & rising, 1 hour baking, 15 minutes kneading & forming loaf)

                                                    Prepare by hand, in a stand mixer or a bread machine dough cycle. Bake in a regular oven.

                                                    This loaf will make a wonderful smell while baking because the long period of sponge proofing develops a lot of fragrance. It has a fragrance that the single dough process just doesn't produce, especially from the whole wheat flour.


                                                    2 cups (240g) whole wheat flour
                                                    1/4 cup (20g) raw wheat germ (I used Bob's Red Mill )
                                                    2 Tbsp (15g) vital wheat gluten (optional)
                                                    2 Tbsp (15g) malted milk powder (Ovaltine original - don't use chocolate flavored)
                                                    2 Tbsp (15g) non-fat dry milk or powdered coffee creamer
                                                    2 tsp (5g) diastatic malt flour (optional)
                                                    1/2 tsp (3g) table salt
                                                    1 1/4 cups (300g) room temperature water
                                                    1/4 tsp (1g) instant dry yeast**
                                                    2 Tbsp (40g) molasses
                                                    1 Tbsp (20g) honey

                                                    Remainder of dough:

                                                    2 cups (240g) bread flour
                                                    1 tsp (6g) table salt
                                                    2 tsp (5g) instant dry yeast**
                                                    1/4 cup (60g) room temperature water
                                                    2 Tbsp (30g) softened butter

                                                    1/4 cup (20g) rolled oats, quick or regular


                                                    In a mixing bowl, stir together the dry sponge ingredients mixing well (except for the yeast).
                                                    Mix the sponge water, yeast, molasses and honey together in a cup, mixing well.
                                                    Stir the water mixture into the dry ingredients with a fork.
                                                    Stir until all the sponge dry ingredients are moistened and there are no dry spots.
                                                    Cover the sponge bowl loosely and place on the kitchen counter at room temperature for 8 hours.

                                                    In another mixing bowl, stir together the bread flour, 1 tsp table salt and 2 tsp instant dry yeast. Set aside until required.

                                                    In a mixing bowl by hand, or using a stand mixer bowl or bread machine mixing pan, add the sponge that has risen for 8 hours.

                                                    Add the bread flour mixture to the sponge.

                                                    Mix the sponge and bread flour mixture, adding more water as required to form a moist, kneadable dough.

                                                    Mix in the softened butter.

                                                    Knead the dough by hand 10 to 12 minutes, or knead in a Kitchenaid stand mixer on Speed 2 for 6 to 8 minutes with a dough hook, or run the dough through a bread machine Dough cycle.

                                                    Allow kneaded dough to rest 15 minutes.

                                                    Form a loaf from the kneaded dough and place in a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.

                                                    Sprinkle rolled oats on top of the dough and press lightly to make the oats stick on the dough.

                                                    Allow to loaf rise in a warm place for 30 to 45 minutes until doubled. It should have risen about 1/2 inch above the edge of the loaf pan.

                                                    Bake for 45 to 60 minutes in a 350-F (177C) pre-heated oven.

                                                    The bread is done the when the crust is a golden brown color and when a digital probe thermometer, inserted into the center of the loaf, reaches 195-F (90.5C).

                                                    Or test for doneness by the old fashioned method. The bread is done when the crust is a golden brown and there is a hollow sound when the loaf (out of the pan) is thumped on the bottom.

                                                    Allow to cool to room temperature before slicing. If you can't wait, that's okay, but the loaf may be a little gummy until fully cooled.

                                                    ** This equals 1 packet of Instant Dry Yeast - 2 1/4 tsp. Active Dry Yeast can be substituted.


                                                    For those interested, here is the...

                                                    Baker's Percentage

                                                    Molasses Honey Wheat Bread

                                                    50% whole wheat flour
                                                    4% Bob's Red Mill raw wheat germ
                                                    3% vital wheat gluten (optional)
                                                    3% malted milk powder (Ovaltine original)
                                                    3% non-fat dry milk or powdered coffee creamer
                                                    1% diastatic malt flour (optional)
                                                    0.6% table salt
                                                    0.2% instant dry yeast
                                                    8% molasses
                                                    4% honey
                                                    62% room temperature water

                                                    Remainder of dough:
                                                    50% bread flour
                                                    1.25% table salt
                                                    1% instant dry yeast
                                                    12% room temperature water
                                                    6% softened butter

                                                    4% rolled oats, quick or regular


                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: Antilope

                                                      Thank you! You add a lot of great baking info to Chowhound.

                                                      I have one question here - isn't it unusual to put salt in a sponge?

                                                      OK, second question: How did it taste?

                                                      1. re: sandylc

                                                        Worked okay with a small amount of salt. Didn't hold back the sponge at all. I got the idea from some recipes on The Fresh Loaf. I wasn't using the method for any autolyse, more to get more flavor and tenderize the whole wheat by soaking.

                                                        The bread had more flavor than a straight dough.

                                                    2. I finally made the quick puff pastry from Cook's Illustrated; well actually, CI needs you to sign up, which I didn't want to do, but Malgieri has a recipe that sounds the same. Malgieri states that you need to still go the classic route when making "grand desserts" like pithiviers.

                                                      I used the pastry for two things.

                                                      The first was the base for a Tarte Tatin, where it was perfect. The second was rolled, cut into triangles, and baked (used as a garnish for braised sweetbreads). The pastry did not rise very much, so it was not so successful there.

                                                      So, I agree with Malgieri.

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: souschef

                                                        I agree that quick puff just isn't the same as the real thing. Quick puff to me is more of an ultimate pie pastry!

                                                        1. re: sandylc

                                                          Yes, there is no way you can get even close to 729 layers with quick puff.

                                                      2. I made drop biscuits!

                                                        I used my Lodge biscuit pan for these. Have not eaten them yet (they're for breakfast tomorrow unfortunately), but they did rise about 50-75% in the oven, so I have high hopes.

                                                        1. I cleaned out the fridge and freezer and made a strata and a set of bread puddings with peaches and blueberries. I used a bunch of baked goods from the freezer--a blueberry swirl bread, blueberry muffins, some cookies, some other bread. It turned out very yummy--though it tastes a lot like the blueberry muffins.

                                                          1. I baked a few things of note over the weekend.

                                                            We had a big family dinner last night. The bf and I joined my parents, sister, aunt, uncle, and a few cousins at my mom's house for a feast. It was lovely. Mom requested her favorite apple hand pies. I also made several with a blueberry/brown sugar/lemon filling for the bf.

                                                            Second was a sweet corn "cake" my bf was craving. It was something made by the chain El Pollo Loco for years but they stopped carrying it. I'd never eaten it before but I've seen him have it a few times; it was one of his favorite snacks.

                                                            I found a few recipes online and combined them. The result was a sweet corn bread-like spoon bread. Really, really tasty. He said it was far better than the one from the restaurant and he was happy to hear it's easy to make. This goes in the "keeper" file for sure. I can see it being great as a side dish for dinner (standing in for cornbread) or a great snack, dessert, or even breakfast.

                                                            SWEET CORN CAKE

                                                            -1/4 cup butter
                                                            -1/3 cup flour
                                                            -1/4 cup water
                                                            -1 1/2 cups creamed corn
                                                            -1/4 cup cornmeal
                                                            -1/3 cup sugar
                                                            -1/4 teaspoon salt
                                                            -1/2 teaspoon baking powder

                                                            Cream butter. Add flour and water and beat until combined. Process creamed corn in food processor for a few seconds, then stir into butter mixture. Add cornmeal, sugar, salt, and baking powder and beat until combined.

                                                            Spread in a greased 8"x8" pan. Place in a water bath and cover with foil.

                                                            Bake at 350 F for 50-60 minutes.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. I have this halfway done:


                                                              We picked 14 pounds of HUGE raspberries yesterday.

                                                              8 Replies
                                                              1. re: sandylc

                                                                Looks delicious sandy! Pray tell, where did you pick these raspberries?

                                                                Please report back on the tart too!

                                                                1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                  Hi! Minnesota berries, here.

                                                                  The tart was easy to make and very good, but the crust STUCK to the bottom of the tart pan - odd! So, next time a parchment round...

                                                                  1. re: sandylc

                                                                    Smitten Kitchen has a variation of this recipe that I love.. made with cherries instead. She used parchment paper to line the pan!

                                                                2. re: sandylc

                                                                  Just here to say I made this tart yesterday - thanks for the link. It was divine!

                                                                  1. re: sandylc

                                                                    I'll trade you some of the apples from my tree for your raspberries lol.

                                                                  2. I have a fougasse with lardons and red onion in the oven right now, smells divine. Will post a pic when it comes out!

                                                                    Edit: it's here :)

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                      1. Amaretti based on Ottolenghi's: http://alpineberry.blogspot.com/2010_... I did not add the fruit & I wished I had cooked them a little longer and / or used a darker cookie sheet. I thought the flavor was great. Gluten-free, too. Souschef, I want to try yours next.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: THewat

                                                                          Funny that you posted that right now as I'm going to be making some (my recipe) in the next few days. I'd like to hear your comparison.

                                                                        2. I baked a pizza with roasted red peppers and tomatoes from our garden.

                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                          1. re: zitronenmadchen

                                                                            Just wanted to add, I think this may have been the best pizza I've ever made. The roasted san marzanos made a really delicious sauce and the roasted peppers were a delicious topping. The dough was pretty good, it's Reinhardt's recipe that's supposed to be just like Pepe's, but it was a little sweeter than the real article. Nice color and large holes though.

                                                                            1. I haven't tried this yet, but it appears to be very interesting. It involves making cake flour from unbleached all purpose flour.

                                                                              For those that are concerned about bleached cake flour and the chemicals used to create it, there appears to be an alternative.

                                                                              Dry, unbleached all purpose flour is heated to 266-F (130C) in a microwave, cooled to room temperature and mixed 1/8 by weight with cornstarch making a homemade unbleached cake flour with the characteristics of bleached cake flour.

                                                                              In Europe and Australia bleached flour was banned in 2007. People there missed bleached cake flour.

                                                                              Someone developed a homemade replacement for bleached cake flour by heating unbleached all purpose flour in a microwave to 266-F (130C) and allowing it to cool to room temperature. It is then mixed 1/8 by weight with cornstarch to lower the gluten content.

                                                                              Heating dries out the flour and ruptures the surface of the flour starch molecules, changing its characteristics to that more like bleached cake flour. In cooling, the flour re-absorbs its moisture content from the air, but retains good cake baking qualities it obtained from heating in the microwave. Adding the cornstarch lowers the gluten content of the all purpose flour to that more like a cake flour.

                                                                              This homemade cake flour is called "Kate Flour", named for the person that developed it. Here is a link to the blog of the person that created it and also the recipe for making the homemade cake flour from unbleached all purpose flour:


                                                                              10 Replies
                                                                              1. re: Antilope

                                                                                That's interesting. I've heard of the flour + cornstarch = cake flour thing many times, but never about the microwaving part.

                                                                                1. re: Antilope

                                                                                  What would be the difference between unbleached cake flour and bleached cake flour? We don't get bleached flour here so I have no idea. I thought it was only to make the flour look whiter?

                                                                                  1. re: Sirrith

                                                                                    Bleaching cake flour changes how it absorbs fats and liquids, affecting the crumb of the cake for the better. Bleaching also weakens the flour gluten and lower gluten makes better cakes.

                                                                                    In all types of wheat flour, freshly ground flour has to be aged for a time or it will have poor baking characteristics. Instead of waiting, mills can bleach the white flour, which accelerates the aging process and it can be sent to market sooner. Also, it does whiten the flour.

                                                                                    But some people say they can taste the bleaching chemicals in the baked cake.

                                                                                    According to Wikipedia, these chemicals are used as flour bleaching agents: benzoyl peroxide, Calcium peroxide, Nitrogen dioxide, Chlorine, Chlorine dioxide, Azodicarbonamide, Atmospheric oxygen.

                                                                                    Using chlorine, bromates, and peroxides to bleach flour is banned in the EU. The bleaching of flour is also banned in Australia.

                                                                                      1. re: Antilope

                                                                                        I differ with the statement, "In all types of wheat flour, freshly ground flour has to be aged for a time...".

                                                                                        Whole wheat flour is better used fresher. The minimal gluten advantage with aging it does not cancel out the less-than-fresh taste when aged.

                                                                                        1. re: sandylc

                                                                                          People that grind their own whole wheat at home have trouble if they try to use it immediately. The is a short aging period to get the best performance from the home ground wheat.

                                                                                          1. re: Antilope

                                                                                            So, I've been having trouble with my whole wheat flour for the last twenty years or so?

                                                                                            Good to know.

                                                                                            1. re: sandylc

                                                                                              I don't see a reason for snarky attitude. I'm done here. Sorry I wasted my time.

                                                                                              1. re: Antilope

                                                                                                Not trying to be snarky. You know a lot about baking and ingredients.

                                                                                                So do others, however; can you acknowledge this?

                                                                                                Also, our knowledge and opinions might differ at times - there needs to be room for that give-and-take.

                                                                                                1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                  Also, Chowhound is a discussion, not a monologue, and discussions naturally (hopefully) have all different sorts of ideas and opinions.

                                                                                  2. Rosemary-Parmesan Coins. Very fragrant and flavourful. Great served as an hors d'oeuvre .


                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: souschef

                                                                                      Those sound fantastic, how did they come out?

                                                                                      1. re: zitronenmadchen

                                                                                        Very nice; I've made them a few times before. The place smelled wonderful!

                                                                                        1. re: souschef

                                                                                          I can imagine, the recipe sounds like it could have been custom made for me, it has all the flavors I love. I may have to brave the heat and try the recipe out.

                                                                                    2. I had the pleasure of making a (surprise!) birthday cake for our baking pal buttertart, who is visiting her old haunts here on the left coast this week. She was kind enough to include me in her blowout birthday feast for nine at a renowned local Chinese restaurant, where we had a parade of 27 unique and wonderful dishes, followed by cake.

                                                                                      I made two Golden Almond cakes from RLB's Cake Bible (recipe slightly tweaked), and split them to make four layers, which I brushed with amaretto. Between the layers, raspberry-rose jam, fresh raspberries, and raspberry-rose-flavored cooked flour frosting, with more of that covering the cake. Definitely a more-than-the-sum-of-its-parts flavor combination (if I do say so).

                                                                                      10 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                        This looks so amazing, Caitlin! And what a wonderful surprise for our beloved fellow baker. I am quite certain that she was thrilled -- as were the rest of the guests at the dinner.

                                                                                        So raspberry-rose jam is made with the flower, not the wine I take it? Must have been a really interesting and unique flavor.

                                                                                        1. re: roxlet

                                                                                          Yes, rose as in the flower, not rosé wine. I did a bit of a cheat (but an effective one), and just stirred rose water into raspberry jam, to taste, for spreading on the cake. And I also used raspberry jam and rose water to flavor the icing, adding and tasting until it seemed right. The raspberry-rose combo really works well, and I knew that it's one that buttertart especially loves.

                                                                                        2. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                          visiting the baking thread (i'm no baker) just to sing the praises of Caitlin's creation - it was DIVINE. besides being a stunner, the almond, rose and raspberry flavors paired so wonderfully, and each flavor was distinct yet delicate. It was subtly sweet - which I really appreciated. I am not a sweets person, and if I hadn't been so full of the 27 dishes, I would have had a third piece. Thanks so much for sharing this with us, Caitlin!

                                                                                          1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                            Fancy seeing YOU here ;)

                                                                                            Sounds like a lovely evening!

                                                                                          2. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                            Looks absolutely delicious Caitlin!

                                                                                            And happy bday buttertart!

                                                                                            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                              A fabulous-looking cake for a fabulous dame! The dinner sounds great too...

                                                                                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                We had the pleasure of devouring Caitlin's masterpiece celebrating our buttertart's birthday... and we all went for 'seconds' leaving just enough for the birthday gal to have a slice with her morning coffee the next day.
                                                                                                This cake is perfection! Kudos to Caitlin!

                                                                                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                  It was the perfect birthday cake. I was beyond thrilled. So nice of Caitlin to make it! We all loved it, glorious flavors. True perfection.

                                                                                                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                    It looks lovely and sounds delicious. I've been on a raspberry kick this summer.

                                                                                                  2. We are taking my son to college tomorrow, and he asked me to bake some CCC and brownies for him to share with his new friends and teammates.

                                                                                                    20 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                      An exciting and emotional time. I remember the drive back home after taking ours to college - I distinctly remember the sort of stunned feeling that came with leaving him behind!

                                                                                                      Is this your first to leave the nest?

                                                                                                        1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                          Same here - we put everything we had into just one!

                                                                                                          He turned out great, I'm happy and relieved to say.

                                                                                                          1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                            That is so sweet of you to bake for his new friends and roommates! I remember when I went to university in another province (where I knew no-one), my mother came with me to help me settle in, take me shopping for hangers and shampoo and that kind of thing. The first day, she took me grocery shopping and to Wal-Mart, and when I asked where she wanted to go to dinner, she rather abruptly told me that she had decided to go home ( 2 days early), and she was gone! I was dumb-founded (and annoyed that I'd have to buy my own dinner ;). She later admitted that she was so upset about having to say good-bye, she just bolted!
                                                                                                            And she never did send me any baking!

                                                                                                              1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                Aww that is so sad!

                                                                                                                Roxlet, how far away will your son be? My mom used to send my older brother a package once a month from L.A. to Chicago with shortbread bars and loaded brownies. They must've taken a few days to get there, and then it would take him a few days to eat them, but seemed to work out.

                                                                                                                1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                  He'll be in New Haven, which is less than 90 minutes from our house. Much less if rjbh20 is driving! Also, he can get home very easily via MetroNorth train.

                                                                                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                    Our offspring was 8 1/2 hours away, drive or fly only. We thought it was best so that we weren't tempted to visit TOO often!

                                                                                                                    1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                      That's not too bad! He can do weekend visits when he inevitably gets homesick, and he'll have NO EXCUSE not to come back for holidays.

                                                                                                                      I foresee him calling you up at 5 PM on a Tuesday and saying he wants a chicken wing dinner with CCCs for dessert :)

                                                                                                                      1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                        He will not get homesick, I guarantee it. When he went to sleep away camp as an 8 year old, there were other kids wailing, and he was waving bye, and heading down the path to the cabins. He's very good at separation, and this is something he's been looking forward to forever. He spent 4 years of HS with his nose to the grindstone just anticipating this. He is beyond thrilled, and I am so happy for him.

                                                                                                                        And so here's the weird part: We meet his roommates parents, and I offer them some ccc and brownies. The dad takes a brownie, and immediately starts talking about Nick Malgieri and his Supernatural Brownies, which these are. Turns out, he's is in the NYC culinary world and happens to know Nick Malgieri!

                                                                                                                          1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                            How funny! I wonder if the two of them will get into cooking... at least they will probably enjoy some good dinners. Any access to a kitchen or are they in dorms?

                                                                                                                            From everything you've written about your son, he seems like a very nice and well-rounded young man.

                                                                                                                            1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                              Ha, my kid didn't want to learn anything about cooking. Then he came home after his first semester freshman year and was suddenly VERY serious about it. He took back a plastic bin of supplies that he thereafter toted up and down several flights to the one kitchen in his dorm.

                                                                                                                              He's a great cook now at age 25.

                                                                                                                              1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                My youngest brother was the same exact way. He'd never so much as boiled water prior to leaving and my mom spent a few months pestering him to learn the basics. He wouldn't have it.

                                                                                                                                Then he came back after freshman year and spent all summer "studying," reading cookbooks, watching cooking shows, and buying supplies.

                                                                                                                                He's 25 now too and I've never had his food, but he's cooked my parents multicourse French meals several times when they've gone to visit.

                                                                                                                                He's coming home for Christmas this year and has challenged me to a scone bake-off. I am SO looking forward to this! The family has put money down, winner takes all.

                                                                                                                                1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                  So excellent!!!!!

                                                                                                                                  Necessity is the mother of...learning to cook!

                                                                                                                            2. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                              That is hilarious and awesome. What are the chances?!?

                                                                                                                  2. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                    I love that he's asking for the same ol', same ol'... obviously wanting to fill up on his mama's baked goods before he goes. You must make the best CCCs!

                                                                                                                    I'm not a mother, but when my youngest brother left for college, I literally sobbed for 20 minutes in the driveway when we got back to my parents' house. I hadn't lived there in a decade but it still killed me.

                                                                                                                    You will be okay roxlet! Time to start adopting puppies.

                                                                                                                    1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                      Aww, my mom sent my her famous* oatmeal raisin cookies when I was in college, and they always arrived in perfect shape, they only took about a day or two to make it through the mail since it wasn't that far, Connecticut to New York. Hopefully you handle parting better than me, mom, and my sister, we were all bawling, while my father and brother were stoic.

                                                                                                                      *It was just the recipe from the Quaker oats container, but everyone always says these are the best oatmeal cookies ever! Maybe she has a secret ingredient that she's never told anyone about.

                                                                                                                      1. Tried making Peter Reinhart's brioche recipe today. Result is far too oily/rich for my liking. I'm going back to my regular 50% butter recipe instead of this 75%.

                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: Sirrith

                                                                                                                          Did you make the rich man's brioche variety? I've only ever tried the middle class variety because I worried about how successful I would be at trying to incorporate all that butter in the rich man's version.

                                                                                                                          1. re: zitronenmadchen

                                                                                                                            I'm not sure! I found the recipe on a blog somewhere, it didn't specify which version. It must have been the rich man, it called for 340g butter for 390g flour (excluding the 64g flour in the sponge).

                                                                                                                            1. re: zitronenmadchen

                                                                                                                              I have to partly take back what I said about the recipe. The brioche is noticeably better today, I guess it was a bit too fresh when I tried it after baking. However, it is still incredibly (a bit too much for me) rich.

                                                                                                                              As far as incorporating all the butter, it isn't too difficult; I just mixed with my danish dough whisk. The end result was closer to a thick batter than a dough, so you can't really shape it until you've chilled it overnight, then you just squish it into a roughly rectangular shape and plop it into the loaf pan to rise, which it does surprisingly well considering how enriched it is.

                                                                                                                          2. I haven't done much baking this month. The cool summer has been conducive to turning on the oven, but DH, the kids and myself have all been out of town at various times leaving almost no one to consume home baking!
                                                                                                                            My MIL came in for a quick visit so I finally got to scratch that itch. I made a pan of brownies, from the Ghiradelli mix with espresso powder and caramel added.
                                                                                                                            Also made a batch of these breadsticks to have with dinner last night. http://carmelmoments.com/easy-bread-s... It was the type of breadstick I have been craving lately. I plan on using this recipe to make a type of savoury monkey bread in the future.
                                                                                                                            And today I have a few girls around the house for lunch so I have made up some dough for pitas and will get them to roll them out. I think they will be impressed when they watch the puffing in the oven. Here's the recipe I used, but am extremely low on flour, so I halved the recipe and used 1/2 c whole wheat flour in place of some of the white. http://www.thefreshloaf.com/recipes/p...

                                                                                                                            1. Made a snickerdoodle Bundt cake last night per this recipe: http://dozenflours.com/2009/03/snicke...

                                                                                                                              I believe someone else posted it a while back.

                                                                                                                              It is REALLY good and tastes just like a snickerdoodle. You coat the pan in cinnamon sugar before filling, so the cake has this lovely sweet cinnamon crust.

                                                                                                                              I did a half recipe in a 6" Bundt and it was perfect. The bf and I have somehow eaten half of it since last night. I see he had a huge serving for breakfast.

                                                                                                                              It is kind of rich though. I can't eat more than 1/2 of the size slice I would normally eat. Glad I baked it small, though a full size would be great for a party or to take to the office.

                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                Thanks for the link! We're going away for Labor Day weekend, and this looks perfect to travel with. On the list for tonight!

                                                                                                                                1. re: Torina

                                                                                                                                  It was really tasty, and very easy to put together. Would definitely travel well.

                                                                                                                                  Hope you guys like it! Have fun on your trip.

                                                                                                                              2. Peach cheesecake squares, from this recipe..
                                                                                                                                pretty darn good.. I'd make them again (but reserve more of the crust mixture for the top).

                                                                                                                                1. I've been on a baking frenzy!

                                                                                                                                  Baked: RLB's white chocolate cheesecake with graham cracker crust and added pistachio (on white choc & sour cream) on top. Fabulous! if you're a white choc lover like moi! Though I couldn't get it to bake through.

                                                                                                                                  Bouchon chocolate chunk cookies. Meh. I like vanilla more than molasses and there's no vanilla in this recipe. Chunks were good idea 'cause they melt.

                                                                                                                                  RLB's Peaches and cream tart. Yum! I had some fragrant ripe white peaches which I baked in her almond crust. It stuck to the tart pan but was decadently yummy. I think next time I will go back to my standard Standard Baking Co. cookbook almond meal tart dough recipe.

                                                                                                                                  Cardamom whipped cream bundt cake -- RLB's Whipped Cream Cake from Rose's Heavenly Cakes, to which I added 1/2 t. Cardamom because I love it. Nice plain (tho rich!) cake -- I love a plain dry cake, odd as that might sound to some.

                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                  1. I'm making a peach cobbler tomorrow. I got some gorgeous S. Carolina peaches on Friday at our local Co-Op. Then grape pie. My husband found Concord grapes at our farmer's mkt on Sat. I don't know why the grocery stores around here don't stock them. It is frustrating and you cannot freeze grapes to use later. Grape Pie is a once a year treat when I can get them.

                                                                                                                                    11 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: Candy

                                                                                                                                      Do you cook the inner parts of the grapes to get the seeds out? It hardly seems possible that it's Concord grape season already, this summer has gone very fast.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                        >>> It hardly seems possible that it's Concord grape season already <<<

                                                                                                                                        It is in North America. Where do you live that "It hardly seems possible"?

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Fowler

                                                                                                                                          Summer has crept by on us Fowler. It has not been the hottest summer, we have had quite a bit of intermittent cold weather and it feels too soon for the grapes to be is season. I am from Montreal and already the trees are turning yellow a little and starting to loose their leaves.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Ruthie789

                                                                                                                                            Hi Ruthie, that is interesting because I thought one of the reasons why Concord grapes were grown was because they do well in colder climates like Canada. I have a friend that lives in Chicago, Illinois which is pretty far north in the USA and he has already made his Concord juice for this season. That would probably not be possible with say a warmer climate grape like Chardonnay but it is possible with Concord.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Fowler

                                                                                                                                              Concord grapes are the only variety that I have seen at farmer's markets in Toronto. That said, Toronto/ southern Ontario is much warmer than Montreal...

                                                                                                                                              1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                                                I remember a golden-coloured grape with a somewhat similar flavor to Concords when I was living there, do they not grow it? May be called Niagara grapes? Slipskins like Concords.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                  My cousin's husband grows Concord grapes for Welch's. They live in the Erie Pa. area.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                    Could be.. saw something similar at a farmer's market today, but didn't ask what it was called..

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                                                      My husband got more Concord grapes at the market this AM. The farmer said that they'll be around for another 2-3 weeks. I just put the pie dough together and it is chilling. I'll put the filling together after awhile.

                                                                                                                                                2. re: Fowler

                                                                                                                                                  Other varieties of grapes grow as well in this cold climate. Across Canada vineyards are thriving, making wine, ciders and ice wines. I make grape jelly with the concord grapes, it is quite delicious.

                                                                                                                                            2. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                              There are several recipes on line. You slip the skins off and reserve and then cook the grapes and pass them through a food mill to extract the seeds.

                                                                                                                                          2. roxlet, regarding your mailed cookies -- I can't vouch for this myself because I've never done it, but I remember this opinion:

                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                            1. Not really baking, more or less constructing a peach melba dessert because peaches and raspberries are in season.

                                                                                                                                              1. An old family friend's recipe for a very short and sandy cookie, each of which I topped with a walnut half --
                                                                                                                                                1 c Crisco (I used 1/4 c lard because was running short of Crisco)
                                                                                                                                                1 1/2 c white sugar
                                                                                                                                                Cream together
                                                                                                                                                Add 3 egg yolks, 1 tsp vanilla, beat well
                                                                                                                                                Stir in 2 c unsifted flour, 1 tsp cream of tartar, 1 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp salt
                                                                                                                                                Chill a couple of hours
                                                                                                                                                Roll into small balls (OCD me weighs them, 15 gm each)
                                                                                                                                                Place on parchment-lined half sheet pans (5 rows of 4 -- you will have around 50 cookies total) and top with nut (can also roll in sugar, spiced or not, or chopped nuts)
                                                                                                                                                Bake 20-25 mins at 350, until lightly golden and firm.
                                                                                                                                                I know, I know, Crisco (and lard!). You only live once, and these are not the same made with butter.

                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                  buttertart, do these keep well? Freeze?
                                                                                                                                                  They seem holiday worthy for sure.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: blue room

                                                                                                                                                    They keep for at least a week and I'm sure freeze well. They really are very good.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Sirrith

                                                                                                                                                      Those look fabulous. I really need to get to baking some rye bread I have 25lbs of rye berries just sitting here waiting.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: rasputina

                                                                                                                                                        I like rye, but I don't have the equipment to mill my own grains. If only I had the space!

                                                                                                                                                    2. I just made these for the second time and I think they are the best muffins I've made to date. Thanks Foodie2x plus another who recommended this recipe. This time I had the cocoanut oil but I'm thinking I like the unsalted butter version better.

                                                                                                                                                      1. Made an oldie but goodie last night for the boyfriend to take with him for breakfast on his early flight this morning. Banana muffins following this recipe: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/banana-c... but subbing in 1/2 brown sugar for all white, and oil for the butter in the batter (which for some reason is much much better). I've made these millions of times for years and years but this was the first time he'd ever had them. He ate 2 while hot and took a few more this morning.

                                                                                                                                                        Also baked some brownies two nights ago and they are already gone.

                                                                                                                                                        And some CCCs with half milk and half dark chocolate for him to take on his trip and share with his family tonight.

                                                                                                                                                        1. I'm cooking for a crowd this weekend so I've decided to make two breakfasty cakes - the first being a maple apple ginger cake http://bakingbites.com/2010/09/maple-.... I'm planning to reduce the ginger a bit and add cinnamon, and frost it with an experimental maple cooked flour frosting (I will let all you cooked flour frosting fans know how this turns out!).

                                                                                                                                                          Cake #2 is this brown butter coffee cake from Epicurious: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo... Again, I'll be switching out ginger, this time for cardamom and dried cherries. I think I'll use pecans instead of almonds in the streusel, too. Photos coming soon!

                                                                                                                                                          8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: biondanonima

                                                                                                                                                            So, MAJOR WIN with maple cooked flour frosting. Maple frosting never really tastes like maple to me, because you generally have to use a ton of powdered sugar to get it to a spreadable consistency so it just tastes like sugar. With the cooked flour, you can pack it FULL of mapley goodness! I used a generous cup of Grade B maple syrup, 1/2 cup of milk and 5 T. flour, plus a pinch of salt and two sticks of butter. I was worried at first that the flour wouldn't dissolve evenly into the syrup, since it is somewhat more viscous than milk, but a good whisking brought it all together. The result is basically a fluffy version of the goo left on your plate after you've melted butter and syrup all over your pancakes, and it is AMAZING. I urge anyone who loves maple to try it!!!!!!!!!!

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: biondanonima

                                                                                                                                                              Thanks so much for posting this. I love maple and this frosting looks great.

                                                                                                                                                              What did you frost with it? (I am assuming you did not eat it all straight out of the bowl with a spoon as I might have done ;0)

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: soccermom13

                                                                                                                                                                Oh, I would have if I could! I used it to frost an apple cinnamon cake that I linked in the post above - it looks good but I haven't cut into it yet to taste. I baked it in a 9x13 and just slopped the frosting on it in the pan - since it has to be transported, looks fell to the wayside. There was probably more frosting than I really needed for one 9x13 but I doubt there will be any complaints once people taste it. I think this frosting would be AMAZING on pancakes/waffles/french toast in addition to being great for cakes.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: biondanonima

                                                                                                                                                                  Thanks, and so sorry that I missed your earlier post about the cakes. Pls report back on how you liked them.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: biondanonima

                                                                                                                                                                    "I think this frosting would be AMAZING on pancakes/waffles/French toast..."


                                                                                                                                                                2. re: biondanonima

                                                                                                                                                                  Wow! I have just bookmarked this! I wonder how it would work with maple sugar instead of sugar?

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                    I think maple sugar would work well! It's just SO expensive, it seems a travesty to add liquid to it just for this purpose. Of course, you could add something interesting, like coffee...maple mocha frosting?

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                      I have some maple sugar I have been saving for just the right use (because, as biondanonima says, it's so damn expensive), and I decided a while ago that flour frosting might be it, when the right cake occasion comes along. At the same time, I bet making it as she did with grade B syrup gives the frosting more maple flavor than the sugar would.

                                                                                                                                                                3. I found beautiful dates at the local farmer's market, and couldn't resist making sticky toffee pudding, despite the fact that it was all wrong for the season.

                                                                                                                                                                  Used David Lebovitz's version of his friend's recipe (posted to the DL blog), including lots of candied ginger.

                                                                                                                                                                  The British boyf insists that this be made next time his family visits.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. This recipe was linked on another thread, and I wanted to make sure all the bakers here have seen it. It looks amazing.


                                                                                                                                                                    8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                      wow, despite my usual nut hatred, that looks good to me roxlet.. thanks for sharing!!

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                                                                        Ack! You hate nuts? I have always loved them. In fact, I loved them so much as a child that my mother called me The Squirrel!

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                          Yes, it's a strong taste preference. I now don't mind almond in some things (like the recipe that you shared), or peanuts in some things.. but I don't like nuts on their own, and there are certain nuts that I loathe (WALNUTS! Also macadamia nuts.. cashews.. I'll stop now). When I bit into a brownie or cookie and realise that it has nuts, it is so profoundly disappointing..

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                            Here's a cookie for a nut-lover:

                                                                                                                                                                            Not sure if the dough is the best ever, but you could use whatever dough (and nuts) you like. They are darling, aren't they?

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: soccermom13

                                                                                                                                                                              Ha! I already had this recipe book-marked! Too adorable!

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: soccermom13

                                                                                                                                                                                Those might be the cutest cookies I've ever seen.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. Had a bunch of bananas getting really ripe, so some baking needed to be done! I have a loaf of banana choc chip bread cooling on the counter, either for breakfasts this week, or sliced and into the freezer for back to school snacks next week.
                                                                                                                                                                          In the oven now is this recipe, I baked a bit of the batter in a small dish so I could do a taste test. http://www.crazyforcrust.com/2014/08/...
                                                                                                                                                                          It will likely get frozen until family visits in the near future, I will frost it once it has thawed.

                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: cheesymama

                                                                                                                                                                            I just had two bananas that needed to be used up, so I made oatmeal CC banana cookies with them. The recipe called for nutmeg and cinnamon, and they are very banana bread - like.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. Picked up a basket of lovely Ontario Red Haven peaches today at the farmer's market, and a peach spice bundt cake is in the oven (it reads like a pound cake with peaches to me, so that's good...)

                                                                                                                                                                            9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                                                                              So how was the cake?? I adore peaches but have never been able to bake a cake with them where I felt the flavor came through as strongly as I wanted. It is always disappointing somehow. But "peach spice bundt cake" sounds so perfect to me.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                                                I really liked it. It's not super-peachy (I would do a peach cobbler if I wanted that.. but that is much harder to transport on a streetcar to work!), but the peach flavour does come through. I will be making it again..

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                                                                                  I love Red Havens, you don't see them here though. Should be just about Elberta season too, eh?

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                    Our Red Havens were wiped out by a late freeze. Not many to be had this summer.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                      I'll ask next week at the farmer's market!

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                                                                                        My mom loved peaches and knew when each variety came into season. Elbertas are big yellow peaches, the type that are canned. Wonderful fresh too.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                          So I asked my peach guy about Elbertas, and he got a faraway look in his eyes, and said "geez, I haven't heard about those since i was a kid". He said that they were grown when he was young, but that he doesn't know anyone in the Niagara region that still grows them. Apparently peach orchards only last about 20 years, so farmers will just replant with something new.. and it seems to be mostly Red Havens there..

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                                                                                            Son of a gun. I thought they'd still be grown. They're a little tarter than Red Havens but intensely peachy.
                                                                                                                                                                                            Speaking of varieties, I bought an "Angel face" peach at our greenmarket yesterday. It's enormous (like about 6 inch dia). Looking forward to tasting it. The other peaches they had were all quite large.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                              Yowza: that's a big peach! tell us how it is!

                                                                                                                                                                              2. Blueberry-Lemon Galette. A friend from Boston sent me this recipe by Joanne Chang because she knows I have enjoyed baking from Flour. I used our local blueberries and had a couple of peaches from our area too, so I threw them in. The pastry is a dream to work with.


                                                                                                                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: lesliej

                                                                                                                                                                                  This looks terrific; I want to make it .. any helpful tips for me?

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: walker

                                                                                                                                                                                    Thanks - and honestly, I just followed the recipe directions exactly: weighing the flour & butter, using my KA mixer for the crust, turning it out directly on the counter with no extra flour to work it (I used a large spatula rather than a bench scraper),etc., and was so relieved when it handled like a champ. I did need to add a bit more sugar to the fruit, and my quarter cup flour to thicken was "heaping", just in case. And thankfully the dough didn't tear at all when folding it up around the fruit (just leave it out of the fridge for a few to let it become pliable). Because the juice may leak out, go with her recommendation of baking on parchment.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. I made hot water pastry, and then made lamb meat pies. They were awesome! (why don't we eat more meat pies here in the U.S?) Anyway, piecrust is always the bane of my existence but I'm trying to work on it more. I watched a Jas Townsend video of a guy making meat pies. It was an eye opener for me. Not just the hot water pastry part, but the rolling, shaping & trimming. I always get so tense when trying to roll out crust in a circle with neat edges, etc. To just roll out a shape, drape it on a glass and then cut away any parts that didn't look right, and not worry about if it was perfect was amazingly freeing. And the pies weren't all the same size, and it didn't matter. (perfectionist much?) Anyway, they're not seasonal at all, and I didn't follow the rest of the directions, I pre-cooked the lamb (it was pretty fatty ground lamb) and added some carrots and potatoes to it. I made a sauce and poured it in after baking (another revelation for me - no soggy crust). Anyway, that's my big baking achievement for the month.

                                                                                                                                                                                    10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: joycebre

                                                                                                                                                                                      Awesome! Nothing like being able to make a pie crust you are happy with. The meat pies sound fun too. I have wondered why we don't eat those here more; I'm sure people would adore them. Your "sauce trick" is interesting and would never have occurred to me. Did the meat dry out without it, and did the sauce set up without baking??

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                                                        I used ground lamb with potatoes & carrots - it didn't seem dry to me. I didn't cook it all the way on the stove top, just enough to render out a lot of the fat. I poured the sauce in while it and the pie were still pretty warm. It's not as much gravy as a regular pot pie - you don't need very much, but it seemed to keep it moist.

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: joycebre

                                                                                                                                                                                        I totally agree -- meat pies are awesome and there aren't enough of them in the US.

                                                                                                                                                                                        One of my favorite secret tricks ... instead of using puff pastry for a chicken pot pie, I will use a pate brisee type crust and sub in chicken fat for some of the butter or lard. Bake it apart from the fricasee on a cookie sheet (cut to size), deposit on top of the stew just before serving. I have yet to do this in a full crust pie, but the chicken fat (typically rendered fat I've saved from from a roast chicken) adds a wonderful savory flavor to the pastry.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Torina

                                                                                                                                                                                          I adore meat pies too - tourtiere especially. I usually use half bacon grease, half butter for meat pies, which makes the crust super flaky and savory.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: biondanonima

                                                                                                                                                                                            LOVE toutiere. And I want to make some little British pork pies soon.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                              Yum.. we have tourtiere every Christmas Eve (even though we're not French-Canadian). But the good thing about Canada is that you can also always buy a good tourtiere..

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                                                                                                I have yet to come across a tourtière that I like, despite having French-Canadian in-laws. Every one that I've had has been bland, and I'm not one who likes spicy-hot food (don't like the heat in the mouth, and can't digest it).

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                                                                  This one from Epi is really great - I did add some additional herbs and spices, nothing major, though. A bit of sage, nutmeg and mace in addition to what's called for really made it sing. Http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                                                                    To me, the cinnamon and cloves really make the tourtiere yummy. If they're missing, it will be bland.

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: biondanonima

                                                                                                                                                                                                You should try it with duck fat instead of bacon grease.

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Riffing on this: http://www.gourmet.com/recipes/2000s/... to try to use a slightly fibrous rhubarb paste (the leftover from rhubarb simple syrup.) It's really a riff: I cut the sugar dramatically because the rhubarb was sweetened, and used lemon instead of vanilla / all spices except ginger (which I used.) I ended up with a batter that was a little too stiff, I think, but it's in the oven now...

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Smitten Kitchen's Browned Butter Rice Krispy Treats - wow! Truly delicious though I think the salt is the key ingredient.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                              1. In Indiana the grocery stores do not stock Concord Grapes,and I wonder why. Last Sat. at the local farmer's market my husband found locally grown Concords. I'm hoping there will be more tomorrow AM so I can buy some more. If I can I'll be making grape pie. I've got my fingers crossed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. I've made the Purple Plum Torte from the Essential NYT Cookbook twice in two weeks. So delicious. Here's a photo of one, pre cinnamon and lemon juice, and pre-baking:

                                                                                                                                                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: pistachio peas

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Is this the Marian Burros recipe? I've seen it in a few blogs (including smitten kitchen).. and have been meaning to try it for years! Maybe this will be the year..

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I was dying to make this last year and then found out the Italian plums were out of season. I just made it a couple of weeks ago and it was easy and so delicious. As she says in the blog, it gets even better after a day or two as the plums release their juices into the cake part.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm sure it'd be good subbing other stone fruit or berries, just not citrus.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: walker

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I just bought some prune plums on impulse today: will make the cake tomorrow...

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I've made the smitten kitchen recipe as well as a recipe from another link which calls for less sugar (3/4 c.vs 1 cup...SK does note the fact there are different versions out there), which I liked a bit better. Have also used regular black plums, cutting them into large crescents and arranging them in a spiral pattern on the batter. Any which way, it's a fabulous cake!

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: lesliej

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Sorry for the delay, yes, that's the one!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Homemade donuts are something that he may find fun to eat, and a change from all of the cookies and pies that you may have sent him; potato donuts (they can be fried or baked) are particularly delicious, and a bit healthy as well. The potato dough creates an especially chewy and earthy tasting donut that soaks up the flavor of the glaze much better than a wheat flour based donut. This recipe adds thyme and a lemon citrusy glaze on top; it is divine! See the full ingredients and instructions on my blog at http://thymetobake.com/?p=32

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. We're having the chocolate fanciers over for Labor Day (our town has an antiques fair every Labor Day that we all like to go to) and so I'm making the RLB chocolate Valentine heart cake. It's a great cake, very tender, and not so chocolaty that it knocks you sidewise. pic will be posted upon completion. May make some bread too...

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                            It's nice that the weather is cooperating!

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. I baked a German Apple cake using this recipe from Epicurious. I picked nearly 10 pounds of apples off our tree yesterday so I needed to do something with them


                                                                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: rasputina

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I love apple cakes, and that one looks really good..

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Oh my gosh, it tastes great. I'm going to have to make it again sometime. The apples were perfect for it too. And of course my husband picked more off the tree because he had to do some pruning after a branch fell during a recent storm.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. I was going to make the purple plum cake (below) but got a call from a friend at 4 inviting me to dinner at 6, so there wasn't time for that. Instead made peach shortbread from smitten kitchen: much faster!
                                                                                                                                                                                                              No time to brown the butter and then let it solidify, unfortunately..

                                                                                                                                                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                These sound great. I should make them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Have had those bookmarked for literally years... report back, will ya?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    They are good: I've made them quite a few times. Even better with browned butter, but still good without.. very quick too!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I am jealous of people who live in a peachy place. A tree-ripened peach is heaven.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      It is wonderful. They don't grow here in Toronto, but just south of here in the Niagara region.. and they don't have to travel far to farmers' markets.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. Made these tonight, and I have no idea why: http://www.bakerella.com/mini-maple-p... Actually, I do know why. They looked cute and low in fat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    They are just so-so, unsurprisingly. They will probably get eaten, but don't think I'll make them again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    When I want something maple-flavored, it will forever be these delectable and fat-filled bombs of amazingness: http://cassiecraves.blogspot.com/2011...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The maple brown sugar muffins? They ARE amazing. Definitely one of my favorites I found this year. Very tender with a great maple flavor. They don't last a day around here :/

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I second these, they are fabulous. A new staple in my baking repertoire and will be a favourite with my kids in their lunch boxes this school year.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. I can't figure out how to link it, but the first September thread is now up. Go get 'em while they're hot!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies