Tuesday, March 31, 2009

TWD: Coconut Butter Thins

Shoulda' been called Coconut Butter Butter Butter thins!

Jayne from The Barefoot Kitchen Witch chose this weeks TWD recipe from the book: Baking From my home to yours by Dorie Greenspan.

Let me start out by saying I enjoyed making these cookies. Everything came together easily. I made my dough and put it into the gallon Ziploc the night before. Took it out of the fridge the next day, peeled off the plastic, got out my handy ruler and cut away. I did like the fact that the dough was rolled into a perfect square and all the same thickness. No mess, no muss, no extra flour on my floor...or in my hair...or on my black Twilight t-shirt. :)

My substitutions were: Used grazted zest of a lemon in place of a lime and chopped pecans in place of the macadamias...because I had pecans in the pantry. I do believe I chopped them too fine.....need to leave them a little chunkier next time.

I cut the dough up into 1 1/2 inch squares and baked them on a Silpat. I only have one Silpat so I kept the other squares in the freezer while one sheet baked at a time. My life would be a whole lot easier if I had another!
Baked them for 18 minutes exactly and got the lacy look around the edges...which I guess is what they're supposed to look like. Dorie does mention lacy but a lot of other bakers got the shortbread square. Just so you know, the shape doesn't affect the taste at all!! :)

I do believe I will crumble some over my ice cream tonight....just a thought....

Check out the other bakers here to see what they have come up with.

Friday, March 27, 2009

This cookbook will be the death of me....

Baked again! What can I say...the recipes, the photographs....they grab me and suck me in...and then I just want to stay in...never leave...maybe eat my way out!

I needed to make a birthday cake and had my heart set on the Milk Chocolate Malt Ball Cake. Then I stupidly (or not) took to the internet to see if anyone else had made it. And yes, of course they had...and most (not all) had a little bad luck with the cake itself. Well, being as this was going to be given to someone else, I decided not to chance it. I will try it when it is being consumed solely by family.

Soooo, I ended up making a recipe from Dorie's book for the birthday cake and made the Brewer's Blondies instead. But I had good reason, my oldest son doesn't like brownies and was begging me to make blondies...there you go. For him...not for me!

Some changes I made:

Chocolate Ovaltine in place of the malted milk powder.
Butterscotch chips in place of the chocolate chips.
Plain M&Ms in place of the whoppers.

I don't think I baked them long enough either, but dang are they good!

Let's see how long they hang around....

Look here what I found....Nichi over at Bakeologie wants people to bake with her...using Baked! This is just calling my name...

Thursday, March 26, 2009

BB: Cramming it all in...

My Barefoot Bloggers post is a full meal! Chicken Piccata served with Sauteed Broccolini and Tomato and Goat Cheese Tarts...whew! (The picture was taken the next morning with leftovers so sorry if things look a little wilty)

We loved the whole thing!

Lindsey from Noodle Nights and Muffin Mornings chose Ina's Chicken Piccata. Perfect since I STILL have lemons...not that I'm complaining! Both the husband and the kids liked this tasty dish. I didn't use capers (I love 'em but no one else in the family does) or parsley as I didn't have any. :)

Anne over at Anne Strawberry chose the Tomato and Goat Cheese Tarts. These were delicious! My husband ate 3! and they are pretty big!! The only problem I had was my basil burning on the top. Might have been because I didn't have any shaved parmesan to put on top of it. Oh well. Oh yeah...and I got to use the puff pastry from TJ's...I like this one because I can read all of the ingredients on the back of the box...flour, butter, salt..etc....no multi syllable words to decipher!

Oh yeah...and with my leftover puff pastry scraps...I made little jam foldovers. Just brushed the little squares with a little beaten egg, plopped a tablespoon of jam in the middle and folded into a triangle. Brushed the top with more egg and sliced a vent in the top. Baked @ 400 for 15 minutes.

And finally...Mary from Meet me in the Kitchen chose Sauteed Broccolini. This was a nice change eating broccolini cooked this way. Perfect for spring..lemony and light. I was worried about too much lemon what with the chicken and this dish, but it was fine. I did end up browning the garlic a little too much but it still was mighty tasty.

You can find the recipes here:

Chicken Piccata
Tomato and Goat Cheese Tarts
Sauteed Broccolini

Be sure to check out what all the other barefoot blogger cooked up here.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

TWD: Blueberry Crumb Cake

This week Sihan over at Befuddlement chose the easy and delicious Blueberry Crumb Cake for all of us bakers to try out and report about. Let me tell you something, I really really love crumb cakes...or coffee cakes...or anything I can justify eating for breakfast with my morning coffee. (See previous post :) ). I am a sweets kind of person. This is my greatest downfall...but I now accept it and embrace it with my curvy self! To be honest, I have not eaten the whole cake as of yet, though I did have a really big piece after it came out of the oven...warm and soft and cinnamony...mmmm.
(Jeez, I had to cut a piece for my photograph!)

When I first read the recipe my heart fell...after I read the words "food processor". I just hate using it and cleaning it for something so small. Thinking swiftly...I got out my mini processor that attaches to my Bosch hand blender! Perfect! I used the mini processor for the crumb topping and left out the walnuts. (Neither husband nor kids will eat anything with nuts)

Everything else came together beautifully. I used fresh blueberries and actual buttermilk as opposed to my usual stand-in of milk and lemon juice. (I happened to have actual buttermilk in the fridge...imagine that!) Baked the cake for 60 minutes....and my top got a little too brown I think. Well, darker than Dorie's picture but tasted fine....No sinkage of the berries to report, they all stayed where they were supposed to stay. Now if someone would just eat the rest of the cake...and get it away from me...please! No. control.

Be sure to have a look at what the other bakers baked up over here...

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Today's the day....

Excuse me for a moment while I step out and purchase my new DVD.....

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

TWD: French Yogurt Cake With Marmalade Glaze

I had previously made this cake and talked about it here, so when Liliana of My Cookbook Addiction revealed her choice for this week's Tuesdays with Dorie, I was excited to write a little more and have it count for something other than what I've been eating lately. This recipe can be found on pages 224-225 in Dorie's book.

This cake is more like a sweet bread or pound cake if you will...but without the all the butter. It has been lightened up with yogurt and a little oil making me think I could actually be eating something healthy. My reasoning goes something like this: I eat yogurt for breakfast...there is yogurt in the cake. I eat marmalade for breakfast...there is marmalade on this cake. I eat bread for breakfast...this is baked in a bread pan. Hence, this must be good for breakfast! My reasoning makes for one tasty breakfast!!

I had 2 different types of yogurt in my fridge...nonfat plain yogurt and a thick Greek yogurt from TJ's. Why not make 2 loaves and use the playing around method too!

My first loaf was made according to the recipe in the book. I used the almond meal, plain yogurt and orange marmalade. I couldn't find lemon marmalade anywhere and hadn't made my Meyer Lemon Marmalade yet so I just went with the orange. Dorie says to strain the marmalade but I like the bits of orange so I skipped that part. I love how you can see the flecks of almond meal in the cake. This was so good I had to drop half a loaf at a friend's house to get it away from me.

My second loaf was made substituting the all-purpose flour for the almond meal, olive oil for the canola oil and thick Greek yogurt for the regular plain yogurt. This loaf was a little higher than the first loaf and looks more like a bread. I didn't glaze this one as it is still in my freezer!

My third loaf was made substituting whole wheat flour for the all-purpose flour and then back to the regular plain yogurt and canola oil. This one turned out a little more dense and flatter than I would have liked...it's in the freezer too. (No picture of this one)

When I defrost these, I will have a chance to use the lemon marmalade I made a few weeks back...I think that will be mighty tasty on the olive oil/Greek yogurt loaf.

Check over here to see what the rest of the bakers created.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, March 13, 2009

A BIG Thank you!

So here's how it happened...I have been adding photographs of my cupcakes to the Cupcakes Take the Cake pool on Flickr every so often...when I bake them, remember to photograph them, and then remember to take them off my camera, put them on the computer and upload to Flickr... :)

I was so so excited when the Cupcakes Take The Cake blog featured a photograph of my Valentine's themed cupcakes. I even wrote about it here! Wow...they're over in New York and they liked my photographs from all the way over here in Northern California! Life is good!

Then...I got some Flickr mail from Rachel who helps run the CTTC blog. She said she loved my photographs and was wondering if she could use 5-6 of them to feature on the blog with a credit and a link! I almost started hyperventilating! So very cool...me...on that blog! Of course I said yes and here it is!

I owe a big thank you to all the girls at CTTC! You guys made my week!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Getting Baked!

I have a new cookbook! I'm sure you've seen it around...

Baked: New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. You know...they own that little bakery up in Red Hook, Brooklyn.

The first thing I made were these yummy Peanut Butter Crispy Bars. Let me just say "Oh my!"

These bars were a little bit of heaven in each bite...chocolate, peanut butter, crunchy, soft...wow.

The notes on the page in the cookbook mention that these are extremely rich and should be served in small portions...and they aren't joking. The only drawback is that these morsels need to stay refrigerated so they are hard to bring...to say...a girls' night out at a bar someone owns...they got a little soft an mushy. Still ate 'em though!

I am going to make every single recipe in this book....is there a group I can join? :) I'll keep you posted.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Still with the lemons.....

No TWD for me this week...I guess I would rather not have custard than have it...that's my theory anyway. Bridget of The Way The Cookie Crumbles chose the beautiful looking Lemon Cup Custard. I have to admit, I wasn't really looking forward to making this and then I went and checked out all the comments on the TWD site and I guess that kicked me into "not gonna make it" mode. Maybe I should have asked my husband first, he might have liked it...but I just couldn't do it. I don't like eggy...my kids don't like eggy and if my husband ended up not liking it...well I would have felt guilty pouring it down the drain.

Sorry TWD'ers....I promise to be back next Tuesday!

At any rate, I did do something with lemons. Of course I did...I have them coming out my ears!

I made Giada's Lemon Ricotta Cookies with Lemon Glaze! Yummy, cakey and very, very lemony. I ate them, my kids ate them and my husband ate them. And then I finished them off. These little bundles of sunshine were very easy to make. The recipe calls for whole milk ricotta but I used the part skim I always find in my grocery store. The ricotta cut the sweetness a bit so the lemony flavor stood out. These are not crispy and not chewy...they are cakey with a nice lemony glaze on top. Like eating your own mini lemon cake! I read in the reviews that some used cream cheese with good results. I like using ingredients that I wouldn't normally use in baking so I will stick with the ricotta...I will definitely be making these again.

I think he would agree....

Check over here to see what the other bakers came up with...

I have a PTC meeting tonight...I need to go make a bundt cake.. :)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Now that's what I'm talking about....

Let me tell you a little story....

I have a friend who is planning a quick trip to Vegas with her husband along with her aunt and uncle who are flying out from New Jersey. The uncle, who has a terminal illness, wanted a last hurrah in Las Vegas with his favorite niece. One of the days they are going to be in Vegas also happens to be the uncle's birthday. What a party!!

My friend thought it would be a nice idea to have a spectacular birthday cake ordered for the occasion and they would bring it to the restaurant to enjoy after the birthday dinner...Friend called up a well known bakery in Las Vegas and ordered a birthday cake in her uncle's favorite flavor...Carrot Cake...to be picked up prior to dinner.

When my friend called to tell me the plans...I said "Oh, too bad you didn't use RETRO BAKERY in Las Vegas." They are locally owned and operated by a couple with 2 young daughters and though I have met neither Kari nor Brian, they seem like the nicest couple. (I read Kari's blog!)

My friend proceeded to cancel the order at said well known bakery and called up Retro to see what they could do for her. She spoke with Brian and he said he would make her a spectacular birthday cake for more within her budget! Success!

What type of cake did my friend want? Carrot Cake of course....Brian said they didn't make it :(

My friend said that was all right...Vanilla loves Vanilla would be fine and that her uncle would enjoy his day to the fullest as it would more than likely be his last birthday....

Do you know what Brian said after he heard that?

He would make the carrot cake and it would be spectacular! Did you read that??? HE WOULD MAKE THE CARROT CAKE...even though that is not a flavor they make at Retro...he would do it...and they would DELIVER the CARROT CAKE to the restaurant for them!

I cried when my friend told me and nearly cried as I typed this...Great Customer Service is what will keep you going..I believe...Now that's what I'm talking about...

Thank you Kari, Brian and Retro Bakery!

(Please note, the cupcake picture is not Retro's but mine. I made them for above friend's daughter's birthday...I just didn't want a pictureless entry!:) )

Monday, March 2, 2009

TWD: Chocolate Armagnac Cake...the one that got Dorie fired!

Well...if I had to go...I would want it to be over a delicious cake more than any other reason..

Thanks to LyB from And then I do the dishes for choosing this weeks beautiful baked good for TWD! Let me say, after last weeks Caramel Crunch Bars I didn't really want to make another yummy, chocolatey, dessert that I would most likely end up eating myself. I was going to skip it but at the last minute we decided to have some friends over for a BBQ Saturday night. Perfect opportunity to make a cake!

I didn't have pecans, prunes or Armagnac in the house so substituted almonds, raisins and Scotch. It seemed to work out fine. I followed Dorie's instructions for subbing the raisins and Scotch and let them steep in a jar for about 4 hours. I wasn't quite sure what to do with them as the playing around bit is a little vague. I dumped them into a saucepan with the extra water...boiled them, then tried to flame them. Nothing doing. I ended up just dumping the mixture into the batter.

I baked my cake for exactly minutes. My knife was a little bit streaky...so I pulled it and let it cool for 10 minutes in the pan. After releasing the sides and turning the cake over to pull off the paper...I put a cooling rack on the bottom to turn it back over and smooshed half the cake into oblivion! Since the cake was still warm, I just kind of molded it back together like play-doh and hoped that the glaze would cover...and it did. I spread my glaze with a spatula and did not have to wait for it to become spreadable.

After dinner I served wedges with a scoop of vanilla ice cream...though now that I think about it, I should have served a big 'ol glass of milk too! This cake was moist, chocolatey and not too boozy...or maybe we didn't taste the booze because we had already drunk too much wine! Who knows...My husband had seconds (with a glass of milk). This from someone who claims to not eat desserts!!

I had a piece for breakfast this morning...straight out of the fridge with my am coffee...wow, I think I like it better cold and fudgey. I have to get the rest of this cake out of the house now!

Head on over here to see what the others baked up.... now I gotta get off this computer!