Tuesday, July 28, 2009

TWD: Vanilla Ice Cream

I can't believe it's been over a month since I last posted. Time flies! I can't believe that summer is already half over. I've been baking and cooking but posting seems to have taken a back seat to being outside and enjoying the sun. So most likely I will continue to be mia during the rest of the summer and posting sporadically. I couldn't pass up this weeks vanilla ice cream though. It's been hot here and it sounded like the perfect thing. Man am I glad that I didn't miss out this week. This pick was great timing by Lynne of Cafe LynnyLu.

I loved the flavor of the ice cream but the texture wasn't what I was hoping. So I will have to experiment a little more. The texture was much better than my last attempt though, it wasn't as hard either since I added a tablespoon of vanilla vodka. I've read that some people use some xanthan gum to make the ice cream smoother so I may try that next time. I used a whole vanilla bean and I think that's what makes this ice cream so good.

Go check out what other bakers have done this week!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

TWD: Honey Mango Ice Cream

This weeks pick was made by Tommi of Brown Interior. I just happened to pick up a new ice cream maker so I was excited to make this! I've never made ice cream before so this was a learning experience. I decided to use mango's instead of the peaches because I saw some frozen mango at Trader Joe's that I wanted to try. I thought that the ice cream turned out ok. It didn't have the mango flavor I was hoping for. Next time I will definitely use fresh fruit instead of frozen stuff. I was trying to be good and use only whole milk so I left out the heavy cream and I think that was a mistake as well. It wasn't as creamy as ice cream normally should be. My ice cream had a strong vanilla flavor so next time I would add less vanilla.

There were a couple of tips that I read that I wish I had known about before making the ice cream. I read somewhere that it's better to have the machine running before pouring in the ice cream mixture. I also was reading that adding a little bit of alcohol prevents the ice cream from getting rock hard, which mine did. So both are good things to know for next time. I will definitely be making more ice cream and maybe even frozen yogurt this summer. I can't wait to try all the possibilities!

Go check out what other bakers have done this week.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

TWD: Parisian Apple Tartlet

This week's pick was made by Jessica of My Baking Heart. This has to be the easiest recipe yet! There were only 4 ingredients and it was really good. I mean it was really really good. It's times like these that make me glad I decided to join the group. I probably would have never made this otherwise. It's SO simple to put together and I must say that it makes a great breakfast. Even two days later....I mean I couldn't let it go to waste!

I ended up making 4 of these tartlets with Jazz apples. They took a little longer to get soft so my puff pastry ended up a little more brown than I would have liked even though I put on a foil tent for the last 5 minutes or so. So next time I'll make sure to watch them more closely and put foil on sooner. I think next time I might try sprinkling some turbinado sugar on the edges of the pastry. That would make it just that much better.

Go check out what other bakers have done this week.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

TWD: Fresh Mango Bread

Let me start off by saying that I am so glad I didn't miss this week! This week's pick was made by Kelly of Baking with the Boys. It was a great pick by Kelly, everyone seemed to love it! I made lots of changes and I'm glad I did because it turned out really well.

I wasn't too wild about adding raisins so instead I added coconut. I also decided to add a cup of macadamia nuts because I thought that the crunch of the nuts would be a nice contrast to the soft mango. I left out the ginger and only used half the amount of cinnamon. I ended up with two loaves because I was afraid that the batter would be too much for one pan. It works out better this way anyways because now I can give one away and so that means less for me to eat! Which is a good thing since summer is right around the corner.

Go check out Kelly's site for the yummy recipe and check out what other bakers have done this week.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

TWD: Tartest Lemon Tart

This week's pick was made by Babette of Babette Feasts. I was a little hesitant to make the tart this week but since I skipped last week I decided that I would make it anyways. I should have listened to myself. I wasn't a fan of the tart although my friend liked it so he got to eat it all by himself. It was super simple to make the filling and a little challenging to make the tart dough in my mini food chopper. One day maybe I will get a real one!

I had read that lots of people thought that the tart was too bitter. I did cut off the ends of the lemons so that would reduce the amount of pith and hopefully make the tart less bitter. I also added more sugar but it didn't help the bitterness enough for me. I'm glad I only made half the recipe. I used my mini spring form pans, but it seemed to take forever to bake so please excuse the dark crust! Hopefully I will have better luck with next weeks recipe!

Go check out what other bakers have done this week.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

TWD: Chocolate Cream Tart

This week's pick was made by Kim of Scrumptious Photography. I've been a little overloaded with chocolate this month but I knew I had to give this a try. Luckily next month there is only one recipe with chocolate. I love chocolate but I need some variety sometimes!

This was very chocolaty. The filling reminded me of chocolate pudding. I only thought that the crust was ok. Might have to do with the fact that I used my last eggs up and didn't have one left for it. So instead I just added enough whole milk for it to come together. I really need to get a food processor some day. Then I wouldn't mind making crusts as much.

I bet the tart would be really good with the whipped cream topping but I forgot to get some at the store so I just left it off. I'm sure I would have liked the tart a little more if I didn't leave it off. I would have help cut some of the chocolate. This will just be a lesson learned. Don't wait until the last minute and make sure I have everything I need!

Anyways go check out what other bakers have done this week.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

TWD: Four Star Chocolate Bread Pudding

I love bread pudding so I was really excited to make this week's recipe. Lauren of Upper east side chronicle made this delicious pick. I don't think that I've ever made bread pudding before but it was so easy that I don't know why I haven't tried making it before! I really liked this bread pudding. It was chocolaty but not too chocolaty and I liked that there was some extra custard on the bottom of the large dish I had made.

I used all whole milk and left out the heavy cream because I didn't have any and I thought that it would be rich enough without it. I used more raisins than called for and also sprinkled some dried cranberries on top. I really liked the dried cranberries in this. I think next time I will just add dried cranberries and leave out the raisins.

This was really good right out of the oven and even better cold. I hate to admit it but I had some for breakfast. Please don't judge unless you've tried this. It's good, it was really good. Anyways go check out what other bakers have done this week.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

TWD: 15 Minute Magic: Chocolate Amaretti Torte

This week's pick was made by Holly of Phe/MOM/enon. Another great pick this week that I would not have tried otherwise if it were not for this great group! The torte is very rich and would definitely remedy a chocolate craving. I thought it was really good warm. I smelled so good out of the oven that I couldn't wait for it to cool or for the glaze to cool. I think this would be really good with some vanilla ice cream or a tall glass of ice cold milk. YUM!

Of course I didn't follow the recipe exactly because I rarely do. I don't have a food processor so I think that my almonds were in larger pieces than they were supposed to be. I didn't have any Amaretti so I used some glutten free pecan shortbread cookies so that my friend could have some too. For the glaze I didn't want to use the heavy cream called for so I just used whole milk. I think that could explain why my glaze was more like chocolate milk. My torte ended up sitting in a pool of glaze. Not very attractive but so good when I spooned the glaze over slices of the torte.

Go check out what other bakers have done this week.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

World Peace Cookies

I decided to skip this week's TWD because I've made the banana cream pie before and didn't really feel like having it again. Don't get me wrong it's really good, really really good but I wanted something different. I had skipped the world peace cookies before and regretted it because everyone was saying how good they were. So on the weekend I decided to whip up a batch.

For some reason my cookies came out a little flat. I'm not sure why but they were still good! They were really good warm out of the oven with a glass of cold milk. They were still really good today a few days later. I'm glad I made these. They are probably not something that I would make all the time but they would fix a chocolate craving in a hurry! I won't post the recipe since you can easily find it all over the web. You can find it here if you don't feel like searching for it.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

TWD: Coconut Butter Thins

This week's pick was made by Jayne of The Barefoot Kitchen Witch. Go over and visit her for the recipe and check out her great blog! I was a little afraid that I wouldn't like the end result as I was making these. I thought that the lime zest would be a little over powering of the other flavors. But happily I was wrong! These turned out really good! I've gotten rave reviews from everyone.

I basically followed the recipe but I didn't have any coriander so I left that out. For one batch of cookies I sprinkled them with turbinado sugar. I liked the extra sweetness on the cookies but I liked the plain ones as well. I think this would be good with lemon zest as well so I may have to experiment with this recipe. I will definitely be making these again.

Another great pick this week! Go check out what other bakers have done this week.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

TWD: Blueberry Crumb Cake

This weeks pick was made by Sihan of Befuddlement so head over there to see what she's done this week and to get the recipe. I wasn't too motivated to bake this week and that's why I procrastinated so long. I was going to skip this week totally but felt like I needed to get my butt back into baking. So after work today I just sucked it up and started baking.

I didn't change that much in the recipe. I used milk instead of buttermilk because that's what I had. Also I only had 1 cup of frozen blueberries so I added a cup of frozen mixed berries as well. I really liked how the topping became really crunchy. I'm looking forward to having this for breakfast with a cup of tea.

Go check out what other bakers have done this week!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

TWD: French Yogurt Mini Cakes

I know it's been a little while since I last posted but I'm back and hopefully will be posting somewhat regularly again. One can hope! I missed that last two TWD so I knew I had to bake this week. These little cakes came out really good! I didn't have marmalade so I made some glaze using powdered sugar and lemon juice. I liked the tartness the glaze gave the little cakes.

I left out the ground almonds and used all flour instead. I'm sure it would be good with the nutty flavor as well but I wasn't really feeling like nuts. I also added the juice of half a lemon to the batter and used the other half for the glaze.

This week's pick was made by Liliana of My Cookbook Addiction. Go over and check out the recipe there and go check out what other bakers have done this week!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

TWD: Caramel Crunch Bars

This week's pick was made by Whitney of What's left on the table?. Go check out her site if you'd like the recipe. I highly recommend it because it was another great pick this week. These little things are addictive. I cut mine into little triangles and I just kept going back for more. It's so bad but so good at the same time. Good thing I am taking the rest to work because they need to get out of the house!

I only made a few slight changes to the recipe. I left out the coffee because I didn't have any and instead of toffee bits on top I put some sprinkles. I'm sure it would be equally as good with the toffee bits but I didn't have any on had. I thought these bars were sweet enough with just the chocolate and sprinkles so it might have been too sweet for me with the toffee bits so I'm glad I didn't have any.

These were really easy to put together. I will definitely make these again. I like the hint of cinnamon in the base of the bars. They almost remind me of shortbread cookies but better. I mean can it get better than chocolate in the base and more chocolate on top?

My chocolate on the top of the bars wasn't getting hard so I did have to stick it in the fridge for a little bit. In the recipe Dorie suggests that you put the chocolate on top of the bars and then put it back in the oven after you shut it off for a few minutes but I was baking something else so that wasn't really an option so instead I just covered my baking pan with a metal sheet pan. It melted the chips just fine and then I just spread them out with an offset spatula.

Anyways go check out what other bakers have done this week!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Chocolate Cupcakes with Nutella Butter Cream

So this is the other chocolate cake recipe that I tested out for my friends wedding cake. This is just a basic chocolate cake with sour cream. The sour cream is a nice addition because it keeps the cake moist. I froze a couple of these to see if they would work well for her cake. I hope so because I really like this recipe and it's pretty simple to put together. I was able to get 12 cupcakes out of this recipe.

Anyways I'm sure you all want me to get onto the frosting recipe. That's the best part anyways so I'll start with that recipe. This was a pretty simple butter cream to put together. The only thing that I don't like a Nutella is that the jars are so small! I had to use almost one full jar for just the one recipe of butter cream. I'm sure I'll have to go through lots of jars for the wedding cake! That's ok though because it is so worth it. I know I said before that this was really good, but I just have to mention it again because it was that good! It might be my favorite frosting now.

Nutella Butter Cream

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 cups sifted powdered sugar (I sifted the sugar and then measured it)
2 tablespoons milk (I used 1%)
1 cup Nutella

Mix butter until smooth and creamy. Add in Nutella and mix until nice and fluffy.

Add sugar 1 cup at a time until smooth. This will take about 3 to 5 minutes to get the desired consistency. Spread on cupcakes, a cake or just use your finger. I won't tell if you won't!

Basic Chocolate Sour Cream Cake

3/4 cup AP flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
In a bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In your mixing bowl beat the butter until it's smooth and creamy. Then add the sugar and beat until smooth and fluffy. Add the eggs in one at a time until fully incorporated. Then add in your vanilla extract.

Mix in sour cream and flour mixture. Scoop into muffin cups and bake 15 to 20 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out clean.

Cool on a rack and then frost with your frosting. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

TWD: Devils Food White Out Cake

This weeks pick was made by Stephanie of Confessions of a City Eater. This was one good chocolate cake. I was ever better with the Nutella butter cream that I made. That frosting was so good. I don't usually make frosting but this is one that I will be making again and again and again. It was that good.
I made this with Nutella butter cream because my friend wants her wedding cake to be chocolate with a hazelnut butter cream so I wanted to try out different chocolate cake recipes with different hazelnut butter creams. I ended up only making the one batch of butter cream and I think we found a winner! Did I mention how good it was? Anyways back to the cake. It was good and had a nice chocolate flavor. I'll post the recipe for the other chocolate cake that I made and the Nutella butter cream later this week. I think I liked the other cake recipe a little better because it had sour cream in it and it was a little more moist and a little less dense. But both were good cakes in my opinion!

I made my cake into mini cakes. I used my mini spring form pans and came out with 4 fairly tall cakes. I froze two of the cakes for later to see how well they freeze. I'm planning on make the wedding cake in stages so I don't feel so rushed and so I will need to freeze the cakes for at least a few weeks. Hopefully it will come out just as good from the freezer!

Anyways go check out what other bakers have done this week!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

TWD: Floating Islands..........wasn't in the cards for me

This week's pick was made by Shari of Whisk: a food blog. Go check out her site I'm sure she had better luck than I did. I tried this week, I really did. But my creme anglaise just wasn't having any of it. It tasted really good but it looked like the eggs had curdled so the texture was slightly off. I even strained it but that didn't help.

I suppose that letting it boil didn't really help......I was in a rush and had it at a higher temperature than I probably should have. Live and learn! Since this was such a failure for me I'm not going to post any pictures. But go check out what other bakers have done this week.

I will definitely be back next week. I would never pass up devils food cake!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Triple Berry Coffee Cake

I was craving some coffee cake but I've never really made one so I started searching around and came across this one and knew I had to make it. Mine didn't come out looking as pretty but it was still really good. I used a frozen triple berry mix that I had but you could use whatever fresh or frozen berries you like. I plan on trying this recipe again when berries are in season because I think it might be even better with fresh berries.

I wanted to make the coffee cake into cupcakes but I wasn't too sure how well they would turn out so I decided to do a few test ones in my mini bundt pan. They turned out pretty cute but I wasn't able to put as much fruit or topping as I would have liked to. So I decided to just make the rest into a regular square pan. I may try again next time with my jumbo muffin pan and see how those turn out.

Triple Berry Coffee Cake
Adapted from Burghilicious

1 cup sour cream (I used low fat)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 baking powder
2 cups flour
10 ounces frozen unsweetened berries or 2 cups fresh berries

3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
3/4 cups chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a 9"x9" square metal pan.

In a small bowl, combine sour cream and baking soda. Set aside to react.

Beat the butter in a mixer until light and fluffy. Add sugar and beat until well combined. Add eggs one at a time, beating between each addition, then add vanilla extract. Add baking powder and one cup of flour, mixing until just combined. Add the sour cream mixture and mix until combined then add the remaining cup of flour and mix until fully incorporated.

In a separate bowl, mix together the topping ingredients.

Spread half the batter into the prepared baking pan. Sprinkle the berries evenly over the batter followed but 1/3 of the topping. Spread the other half of the batter, taking care to not smear the filling. Sprinkle the remaining topping over the cake. Bake for 60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Allow to cool slightly and enjoy!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Snickerdoodles with Cinnamon Chips

As you may recall snickerdoodles are one of my favorite cookies. So I knew that when I saw these cookies I would be making them. I am so glad that I did! These are really good, I think even better than the ones that I made before. These were soft and chewy and I loved the extra cinnamon flavor they got from the cinnamon chips. If you have never tried cinnamon chips before I highly recommend them. They are SO good! I finally found them so I was excited to use them in this recipe.

Everyone loved these cookies so I'm glad I doubled the recipe. I only made a few changes. I used half regular sugar and half vanilla sugar because I ran out of regular sugar. I'm not sure if it really made a difference in how they came out but I'm sure it didn't hurt the flavor.

Snickerdoodles with Cinnamon Chips

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 1/2 cup AP flour
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup cinnamon flavored baking chips

2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Cream butter and sugar. Add vanilla extract and eggs and mix until creamy.

Stir in flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Mix until combined then stir in the cinnamon chips. Mix the cinnamon and sugar together.

Shape the dough into balls and roll in cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place the balls 3 inches apart on a silpat lined baking sheet. Don't flatten the balls.

Bake for 10 minutes or until set and lightly brown. Cool on a wire rack. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

TWD: Berry Surprise Cupcakes

This week's pick was made by Mary Ann of Meet Me in the Kitchen. I was worried that I was going to have a hard time this week with the cake batter since it seems like everyone else had problems with it. So I put it off until about an hour and a half ago. I don't know why I put if off for so long because I didn't really have any of the problems that other bakers faced. Maybe it was because I made mine into cupcake or because I used extra large eggs instead of the recommended large eggs? Could be that I don't follow directions and kinda did my own thing when beating the eggs.........I beat my eggs for about 5 minutes then heat it over a water bath for a few minutes and then beat in a few more minutes before adding the dry ingredients.

My cupcakes did rise nicely and I didn't have any problems with sinking. The cupcakes are nice and light because of all the air that was in the batter. The cake was eggy and reminded me of something that I've had before. I like the flavor and texture of these cupcakes even though I didn't do the filling and frosting from the recipe. I simply added a teaspoon of jam to each cupcake before baking which promptly sank to the bottom. So next time I may try to fill them with jam when they come out of the oven instead. I will definitely be making these cupcakes again.

Go check out what other bakers have done this week.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

TWD: Savory Corn & Pepper Muffins.........minus the savory and pepper part

This week's pick was made by Rebecca of Ezra Pound Cake. I was tempted to not make this until I saw the playing around section. It suggested leaving out the savory ingredients and increasing the amount of sugar. So you basically come out with regular corn muffins. These muffins are so much better than the boxed stuff and so easy too!

I made a few changes to the recipe. I decided to use one whole egg instead of just the yolk. I didn't have any buttermilk and forgot to pick some up when I was at the store so I just used nonfat milk instead. I also left out the corn kernels.

Did I mention how easy and good these are??? They are so good! I love the crunchy texture the corn meal adds to the muffins. I also like how they are sweet but not too sweet. Anyways go check out what other bakers have done this week.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

TWD: French White Peach Tart

This week I was tempted to slack off and not participate. The recipe looked kinda long and I didn't think I had everything that I would need. But I decided that I need to make the tart because that was the whole point of joining the group. Baking outside of what I would normally do. Boy am I glad I did. The tart is good, I mean it's really good. It's sweet but not too sweet. I really like the crust, especially the crunchy edges.
This weeks host is Dorie Greenspan herself! If you'd like the recipe go check out her site. I only made a few minor changes to the recipe. I don't have a normal food processor, I just have one of the mini ones which is not even close to being big enough to make the crust in. So I had to do it by hand which was bad but my dough seemed really dry and I was afraid that it wouldn't hold together right so I changed it slightly. Instead of just the egg yolk for liquid I also added in the egg white and enough water to help the dough form into a ball. I still think my dough came out really good so I will do it this way again.
I didn't have any fresh or canned pears that was called for but I did happen to have a jar of white peaches in the fridge. I love white peaches so I thought that this would be a good substitution and I was right! Did I mention that I really liked this tart?? Oh yeah I also used vanilla sugar in place of regular sugar just because I had some on hand.

Go check out what other bakers have done this week.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Cranberry Nut Bread

I had gotten a bag of fresh cranberries at the store but didn't know what to do with them. I was thinking about some cranberry sauce but thought that cranberry bread sounded better. I used the recipe on the back of the package and followed it for the most part.

I doubled the recipe so that I would have enough batter to fill my bundt pan. I also added dried cranberries for some added sweetness because I was afraid that the fresh cranberries alone would be too tart. I'm glad I did because the bread was tart enough for me.

Cranberry Nut Bread

4 cups AP flour
1 3/4 cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups orange juice (I used 5 juice oranges then added enough water to make enough liquid)
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons orange zest
2 eggs, well beaten
2 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries, halved
1 cup chopped nuts (I used walnuts)
1 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 10-inch bundt pan.

Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a large mixing bowl. Stir in orange juice, oil, orange zest and eggs. Mix until well blended. Stir in fresh and dried cranberries and nuts. Spread evenly in bundt pan.

Bake for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely.


Thursday, January 1, 2009

Chocolate Banana Cake

I had some ripe bananas that needed to be used up. Generally I can eat them all before they get too ripe but since I was stuck home because of the snow I forget to eat them. I usually like to take them to work with me. Anyways I was looking for a banana bread recipe but I stumbled across this recipe at Dragon's Kitchen. I knew I had to give it a try and am I glad I did. I didn't make the glaze for the cake but I'm sure it would be a good with it as well.

Chocolate Banana Cake
Adapted from Dragon's Kitchen

2 1/4 cup AP flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoons baking soda
Pinch of salt
1/4 cocoa powder
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter, melted
1 tablespoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup sour cream
4 medium ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup chocolate chips, melted and cooled slightly

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Generously grease and flour a 10-inch bundt pan.

In a bowl, sift the flour with baking powder, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder; set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs until they are light in color and fluffy. Gradually add the sugar. Add butter and vanilla extract and mix well.

With the mixer on low speed, beat in the sifted dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with the sour cream. Fold in bananas and melted chocolate into the cake batter until completely combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out clean. Invert the cake onto a cooling rack and allow the cake to cool completely.