First of all I will start out saying I have become obsessed with two things. #1. Reading food blogs. I could seriously sit all day at the computer hopping from one food/baking blog to another...and before I know it, it is 5 pm and dinner is due and the kids have been sitting in front of the tv all day! I need to limit myself!! I am out of control! #2. Twilight! HELP ME! I just can't get enough. I am on my second reading through the books and I have seen the movie 3 times. I just need to stop! Between Twilight and the computer it's a wonder anything gets done at all around here!
On to another subject which I did find time to do...Tall and Creamy Cheesecake from this week's TWD. We have Anne Strawberry to thank for this week's pick. I have to tell you...I guess I am not a cheesecake girl. I didn't really like it very much, though other people did. I can't believe there is a dessert out there that I wouldn't eat in place of a meal! But I have found it...
After checking out some of the comments on the TWD site I decided to make an eggnog flavored cheesecake. I prepared the recipe just as the book says but in place of the cream/sour cream I used eggnog. Now, I know I should have added some rum...should have added some cinnamon..maybe some fresh nutmeg. Those things did not occur to me until AFTER I had the cake in the oven. Oh well. Oh, and another thing...I don't have a roasting pan! What? You heard me right...I had to use my big 12" skillet for the water bath. It worked out fine just a little tight! I double wrapped my springform pan, but the crust still got a little water logged. No cracks on the top, not too brown on the top and no sinkage. It sure looked pretty.
I left it in the pan for the hour and then cooled it on a rack. The outside rim came off no problem. I didn't even have to use a hair dryer as suggested by Dorie. Grated some fresh nutmeg on the top and there you have it....it is still in my fridge. See, maybe that's a good thing. I am forced to eat a healthy breakfast instead of my current baked goods. I think I will chop it up into little squares and dip them in chocolate. Chocolate eggnog cheesecake bites for New Years!!!
Check out the blogroll here to see what the other bakers came up with for their cheesecakes.
No TWD today...wasn't too interested in the butterscotch pudding...actually that's not totally true. I did want to make it, but just plain ran out of time. I will be back next week with the Tall and Creamy Cheesecake (with eggnog subbed in for the cream!) So I will show you a few things I've made.
This was my very first time making caramels. I am more of a baker than a candy maker. I enjoyed the process and the taste however..I got tired of cutting and wrapping themall individually. They were a big hit in the cookie tins though. I will definitely make them again. The flavor was so nice. Bitter dark chocolate with a hint of saltiness and the chewiness of caramels.
These turned out a little softer than the chocolate caramels with a subtle apple cider flavor. I dipped some in dark tempered chocolate and sprinkled the tops of some with pink Himalayan Sea Salt and the others with some chopped pecans. The dipped ones tasted like a chocolate dipped caramel apple! I attempted Dark Chocolate Pistachio Brittle but cooked it too long and ended up throwing it all in the garbage. Luckily I hadn't used any chocolate yet...I hate throwing away chocolate!
The rest of my baking adventures for Christmas gifts: Spoon Cookies
Cookies..cookies..everywhere. I have been baking like a mad woman to get teacher gifts completed before Christmas break. Class party snacks completed in time for the Christmas party. As well as goodies to take to friends. Don't get me wrong, I love to bake...but I get a little frazzled at this time of the year!
Susan from She's Becoming DoughMessTic has a great recipe for soft sugar cookies. These are so very yummy. I prefer the soft to the crispy and I like frosting on my sugar cookies....here's where it gets a little sketchy. I had some royal icing left over from some cake decorations I did a couple of weeks ago. Mind you, I have never decorated cookies with royal icing before. I don't know that I will ever again! I tried to get it thin enough to paint on...but never got the consistency I wanted. The piping was too thin...then too thick...then I just gave up and started dunking the whole cookie in the icing and sprinkling it with sparkling sugar. That seemed to work the best. I tend to get a little impatient when thinks don't go how I want them to!!!
I would like to try the icing listed at Our Best Bites and see how that goes. For the time being...these cookies are going to my son's 2nd grade Christmas party and I am sure the kids won't mind the wonky icing one bit!
I have also been making, cutting, dipping and wrapping caramels. That post will be coming up...just as soon as my carpal tunnel simmers down!
Today's TWD offering was chosen by Heather at Randomosity and the Girl. She chose the straightforward and fairly simple Buttery Jam Cookies.
They came out of the oven looking the same as they went in...no spreading, no pufffing and hardly any color change. So after just plopping down the dough onto the cookie sheet in the first batch, I rolled the dough into little balls and pressed them down a bit to get a prettier shaped cookie. I used apricot jam but I must say, I would have liked a little more of the jam flavor. The hint of ginger is nice too.
These will be sent away as Christmas gifts along with the sugar cookies from last week and the many, many other cookies I have been baking this week. Check out the other bakers on the blogroll to see how they fared.
TWD this week was Grandma's All-Occasion Cookies chosen by Ulrike of Kutchenlaten. I have begun my Christmas baking and wanted to make some roll and cut sugar cookies but for some reason this week became too busy. I took the easy way out. Slice and bake baby!
I made the dough (very soft) and didn't add any extras. I had planned on adding something...but then I forgot and never went back to correct my error. Oh well. I rolled the two halves into logs and left them in the fridge for the day. Last night, I sliced the cookies into rounds, rolled the edges in green and red sparkling sugar and baked them for 10 minutes...
Then, the kids got into the act and well, I had to pour out more sugar....
And still more sugar...
Their teachers will LOVE these!
I didn't frost any. I am going to make the cream cheese sugar cookies from the lovely Susan. I will roll and cut and frost for Christmas gifts. (I like the softer cookies)
Don't forget to check out the other bakers and their cookies here.
My namesake cookie...well my nicknamesake cookie. My name is Lindsay and for as long as I can remember...my family has called me Linzer. Not too shabby of a cookie to be named after!
This week's TWD was chosen by Dennis from Living the Life. A very holiday-ish cookie for a very holiday-ish time! Last year during my holiday baking, I made Linzer cookies with hazelnuts. This year I could not find hazelnuts at Trader Joe's for the life of me! I did have ground almonds in the freezer so I used that in place of the ground hazelnuts. Other than that, I pretty much stuck to the recipe as written. After reading all of the comments, I rolled my dough out a little thinner than Dorie recommended. That worked fine and the combination of cookie, raspberry jam and powdered sugar was tasty. I did dip some of mine in chocolate before sprinkling on the powdered sugar. I haven't tried those yet, but I am sure they are good too!
The remaining cookies I froze...unfilled...to be given away as Christmas gifts in a couple of weeks. WOOHOO, one gift down...many more to go!
Check out all the other lovely bakers here to see their treats!
This week we have Vibi from La Casserole Carrée to thank for the TWD pick. She chose the Thanksgiving Twofer Pie. A pie with an identity complex...but oh so yummy. Half pumpkin and half pecan, the perfect ending to a Thanksgiving dinner. I didn't change anything in the recipe except to use regular rum because I didn't have any of the dark stuff...oh and I used about 1/3 cup light molasses and the rest honey because I ran out of the molasses. It still made for a tasty pie. Dorie's crust was easy to make and roll out. I made 2 double batches because I also made her All American Apple Pie. Like the other bakers said..it's not the prettiest pie..but who cares? It sure tasted good, though I also baked it a little longer than called for in the book. Considering this was my first attempt at pie making, I think I did pretty well. Check out how the others did..you can find them here!
I love rice pudding...with lots of whipped cream on the top..however, it was not meant to be this week. My oldest son has a week a minimum days along with a parent teacher conference Tuesday afternoon and some babysitting for other some moms thrown in, it just didn't happen.
So I leave you with this..my French Yogurt Cake with Marmalade Glaze. This was so freakin' good! I actually made three loaves. The first was the recipe in the book...except in place of lemon marmalade (which I couldn't find to save my life) I used orange marmalade. The second loaf was made with whole wheat flour, omitting the ground almonds. The third loaf was made with olive oil in place of the flavorless oil and plain Greek yogurt. The second and third loaves are wrapped up tight in the freezer so I can't tell you how they taste. The first loaf was devoured in a day....so good. I'll let you know how the others taste once they have been eaten!
Wow...baking with yeast....not something I have ever tackled before. It wasn't that bad! This week with TWD, Yolanda from The All-Purpose Girl chose Kugelhopf for us to make. I read all the comments before starting this one and was a little apprehensive and not quite sure what to expect. Some had sticky dough, some not. Some got the dough to rise, others had flat dough. Some had the pan...most didn't. Well, I had nothing to lose. I started the dough Monday morning and thought I killed the yeast right away with milk that was a little too hot. I kept going and got really wet and sticky dough. After mixing with the dough hook, I took the others' advice and switched to the paddle when I added the butter. I switched back to the hook to finish mixing. It looked ok to me, but then again...I wasn't quite sure what it was supposed to look like. I followed the recipe exactly except for the raisins, I added dried cherries. I scraped it into a bowl and set it in my oven to rise...or not. Having never baked with yeast before, I guess I expected the dough to rise a lot more. I slapped it down a couple of times and then put it in the fridge overnight.
The next morning it went into my bundt pan and into the oven (not on) for the final rise. After 2 hours I took it out and the dough was almost to the top of the pan but not quite. I had also put the dough into the pan unevenly so it was a little lopsided. Oh well.
While it was baking my house smelled so good...like sweet bread..mmmmm. That smell was nice on a cold, overcast morning like today.
When it came out of the oven it was nice and golden brown. I put it on a rack and poured the melted butter over the top. ( I didn't have time to brush it on, we were on our way to see Madagascar 2!) My oldest son quickly sprinkled the sugar over the top and we hopped into the car with our bread. We were heading to some friends house after the movie and wanted to share the goodness. Let me tell you, the inside of the car smelled of warm, just-baked bread...soooo good.
I had to hurry and take photographs before everyone dug in. Everybody liked the taste, not too sweet. The kids preferred the top with the sugar crust of course. It reminded me of brioche..with some dried cherries in it. Not very exciting. I think I will try it tomorrow morning, toasted with some butter...we'll see how that goes.
One of my first memories of rugelach is my grandma Anderson rolling up the bits of her pie crust after making a pie. She would spread the bits with some butter and sprinkle them with cinnamon and sugar and roll them up crescent style. Now, technically that wasn't really rugelach...but it was the same idea. Fast forward 15 years later to Santa Barbara, CA and my college days. Downtown there was a gourmet deli, Pierre LaFond, that had jars and jars of different flavored Rugelach on their counter. The real deal. The hardest part was choosing which flavor to try..but hey, there was always tomorrow and another flavor. For this TWD recipe, we have Grace to thank for choosing Rugelach. Click on over to her site for a complete recipe and don't forget to check out the TWD site for all the other bakers. This recipe was fairly easy...and not too complicated...and I am not one to roll things out. The only hard part was waiting for the dough to chill and then waiting again for the little crescents to chill before going into the oven. I did change some things in the recipe. For one half of the dough, I spread some homemade fig jam that I had lingering in the fridge along with the cinnamon and sugar mixture and some chopped pecans. On the second half, I used orange marmalade and mini chocolate chips. I didn't use the cinnamon sugar mixture because I thought it might taste weird with the marmalade. I did sprinkle the tops of both with sugar. The results...I preferred the orange marmalade/chocolate mixture. The sour slightly bitter flavor along with the chocolate was great. The fig/cinnamon/pecan mixture was pretty sweet though that is the one the kids prefer....which is fine with me...I'll just eat the other!
On another subject: How exciting is that? I actually took that picture a couple of days ago...Whole Foods opens tomorrow at 10:00am!!!
My good friend, Michele, has a persimmon tree in her front yard. I can drive by anytime and pick a few persimmons...come home and bake something yummy. The other day I dropped by her house and she happened to be home. When I left she handed me a bag of persimmons...not a couple...27 to be exact! I lined them up on my kitchen windowsill to ripen and thankfully they are all ripening at different times.
To use up some of the lovely orange persimmons, I found this recipe here. It makes a lot..2 loaf pans and 8 mini loaves for gifting. I did alter the recipe some. After reading the reviews on the site, I used 1 1/2 cups of brown sugar and 1 cup of organic cane sugar from Trader Joe's instead of 3 cups of white sugar. I used 1/2 cup of applesauce and 1/2 cup of canola oil. I added about 1/2 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice and about 3/4 cup dried cranberries. The result was tasty. Not too sweet...very fall tasting. It helped that it was warm out of the oven and today happens to be the first day of no sunshine.
On another note..I made it into TWD! Very Exciting...check back next week for Rugelach!!
Hey...I've wanted a blog for a while...a place to keep track of my failures and successes in the baking world along with the photographic evidence. Well, here it is...and just in time for Tuesdays with Dorie! Join me and enjoy the ride!