danish braid with apricot and cream filling

I signed up to bring pastries for Teacher Appreciation Breakfast this week.  Having loved danishes since very little (Entenmann's Cheese Danish Twist being my earliest danish memory,) yet never having made one, I figured this would be a great time to try it.  And if the pastry failed, Entenmann's could be always be Plan B.

The dough and fillings were prepped the night before. Can you see the huge butter chunks?  MMM. Both fillings were conveniently made in the microwave.

I particularly loved the process of rolling the dough.  Roll, fold into thirds, roll, fold, roll, fold; it's very therapeutic.  And the smells.  Yeast and butter.  You can't beat it.


banana cream pie- {bwd}

With most sweet foods falling in his "take it or leave it" category, The Husband has a short list of desserts that he actually looks forward to eating. Banana Cream Pie is one of them. So when my turn came around to choose the Baking with Dorie recipe, I knew exactly which one to pick.

As usual, the pie crust presented issues for me. That said, I liked the texture (more short than flaky, and it remained crispy after two days in the refrigerator) and will definitely use it again.


{sms} jumbleberry jam

The thought of making preserves is a daunting one.  The problem of canning is what comes to mind immediately.  So with fear and trepidation, I tried this recipe, but with a caveat: make a small batch and skip the canning. That can wait for another day, week, year...

I jumbled blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries,

added a bit of Royal Gala apples for pectin,
(along with sugar, lemon juice and zest)

and boiled it all down for 15 minutes.

Voila!  Jumbleberry Jam!

Spread on La Brea bread with a layer of Nutella-

I cannot believe how simple it was to make and am so glad I tried this one out. Margot of Effort to Deliciousness chose this week's recipe.  Thank you Margot!  You can find the recipe on her site here and see all the other bakers' jams here.


nanaimo bars

I know, I know, the name throws you off.  Well, at least it did to me. That's cause I'm from New Jersey.  If you're a Canadian, you know better.

Pronounced na-NEYE-mo (emphasis on the second syllable, which rhymes with eye,) the apparently famous and well-loved cookie is named after the city in British Columbia, Canada. While I've never seen or heard of them before this week, a Google search will turn up over 17,000 Nanaimo Bar recipes.

Nanaimo Bars are a three-layer bar: a chocolate, graham cracker, coconut and walnut base, a buttercream custardy middle, and a chocolate top.

And they are simply scrumptious. And they are no bake.  And why didn't I know about these this past sweltering summer?


caramel crumb bars

"If I had to choose one cookie above all others, it would be this one. The buttery dough and creamy caramel filling complement each other perfectly." ~ Nick Malgieri

Looking through my cookbooks for a new cookie to bake, I was sold with this comment. The Master Pastry Chef's favorite. It's got to be good.


chocolate chunkers~ baking with dorie

Don't you just love this name? It conjures up a cookie chock full of GOOD STUFF. What Dorie Greenspan includes are chocolate chunks, white chocolate chunks, nuts and dried fruit, all enveloped in a chocolate cookie dough. If you don't like any of the above, then by all means, omit and replace as you wish. I happen to want all of the above, but knowing The Less-is-More Family aesthetic, had to do half as I wished and half as they wished.

My half: assorted chocolate chunks, walnuts, and dried Turkish apricots.

Their half: chocolate chunks.
Doesn't that sound lonely?

The recipe not only calls for two chocolate mix-ins, but also unsweetened cocoa powder, unsweetened chocolate and bittersweet chocolate. Chocolate heaven. The ratio of batter to mix-ins is seemingly 1:1, which had me a bit worried, but it all worked out in the end.

These cookies are amazing. Chocolatey, gooey, delicious. If you want to try them out, you can find the recipe on Laurie's blog, cookin' up north. The other Baking with Dorie members have posted their fantastic results here.


savory muffins with caramelized onion and gruyère~ sort of {sms}

I LOVE MUFFINS.  Always have, always will.  They are comfort food and were one of my first steps into the wonderful world of "dessert for breakfast."

Which is why I have never made a savory muffin.  Muffins to me should always be sweet.  Savory?  Save that for later in the day... and never in muffin form.

Baking with Sweet Melissa Sundays is all about expanding one's horizons, so it's about time I try out a savory muffin recipe.  After reading the issues several bakers had with Sweet Melissa's recipe, I did a little finagling, because dry muffins are the bane of my existence.  Less flour and shorter baking time cures the moisture problem.

This is a great recipe on which to riff.  Substitute your veggie and cheese of choice for my decidedly french-influenced muffin, and the results will still be fabulous.

Take a look at what Andrea at Nummy Kitchen did, as well as all the other lovely ladies at Sweet Melissa Sundays.

Savory Muffins with Caramelized Onion and Gruyère
adapted from Sweet Melissa Baking Book by Melissa Murphy

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
pinch of cayenne pepper
pinch of salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs, room temperature
¾ whole milk, room temperature
⅔ cup caramelized onions
⅔ cup shredded gruyère cheese, plus more for topping
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with muffin papers.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, pepper, cayenne, and sugar.

In a small bowl, whisk together the melted butter and eggs. Whisk in the milk until combined.

Add the onions, cheese and thyme to the flour mixture and gently toss with your fingers to coat.  Make a well in the center.  Pour the butter mixture into the center of the well, and, using a rubber spatula, gently pull the flour mixture into the center of the well until just combined.  Do not over mix.

Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, filling each cup full.  Sprinkle additional cheese atop each cup.  Bake for 20 minutes, or until lightly golden and a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.  Remove to a wire rack to cool.


grilled beef satay with spicy peanut dipping sauce

The Kids love foods cooked on a skewer. Whenever we go to Penang, we always order beef satay- $7.50/5 sticks, so make that two orders.  After seeing this recipe, I was curious if we could have the same dish for a fraction of the price.

It calls for two items that might not be in everyone's pantry.  The first is fish sauce, which I had bought many years ago, and which until now had remained unopened.  The smell is pungent and an integral part of Southeast Asian cuisine.  I thought I bought the bottle with three crabs on it, and I now see it's got two crabs and one shrimp.  I was duped!

Another ingredient is Sriracha, which we use more often.  The Husband enjoys putting this condiment on anything from beans and rice to a fried egg.


out-of-this-world cupcakes


The Daughter always gets gyped.  Her birthday inevitably falls on the first or second day of school, right after Labor Day.  We have been perennially poor planners, and as a result the parties have been few and far between.  This summer, we got our act together and gathered a few kids to go rock climbing and to sleepover. For her birthday cake, she wanted some Alien Invasion Cupcakes.

I, riddled with Terrible Mom guilt, would definitely execute that request.  With a little help from Hello Cupcake!, we were able to pull off some cute ones. (As an aside, have you ever thumbed through that cookbook? I never imagined one could do so much with Sunkist fruit gems.)

Who knew that just a few ingredients:

cupcakes, frosting, food coloring, doughnut holes, marshmallows, tic tacs, and Twizzlers

could produce such delightful creatures!

After applying a thin layer of frosting to the cake, I stacked a doughnut hole atop a halved marshmallow, applying a little frosting in between the two.  After adding frosting to the cracks,which smoothed out the surfaces, they were put into the freezer for 15 minutes.  Then, I dunked them upside down in frosting that had been heated up for 10 seconds (and was therefore a bit more runny. A one-cup pyrex is perfect for that job.)


coffee and a coffee toffee chocolate cookie

The Sister brought home a bag of excellent Blue Bottle Coffee, chosen solely because of this description:

As a brewed coffee, the Amaro Gayo is a remarkable sonata of baking spices and aromatic woods. Imagine a grand piano. Now imagine playing a descending F major arpeggio over several octaves.  Now imagine that, instead of sounds, the piano produces alternating aromas of cinnamon, nutmeg, cedar, and maple. Now imagine buying a bag, going home, and making a careful pourover of the Amaro Gayo.  Optional: imagining slippers, the Times’ Style section, grapefruit macarons, and napping Irish Setters.  

Sonata? Arpeggios? Piano? How could I not enjoy this coffee? If only my piano would emanate lovely scents...

She also brought a bag of cookie mix.  Generally, I shy away from cookie mixes, but this was not just any cookie mix.  Behold, The Sister's favorite cookie in the Bay Area: 
The Coffee Toffee Chocolate Cookie

Our mission: dissect the mix, determine the amount of each ingredient and create a copycat cookie.

Fortunately, the ingredients were relatively easy to separate and break-down.  The mix was a close relative of the chocolate chip cookie, with a few oats thrown in.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...