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  1. I haven't posted on this thread in forever! I'm currently living in a co-op and one person has a peanut allergy, so I decided to experiment making the oatmeal peanut-butter chocolate chipsters with almond butter instead. I used chunky natural almond butter (don't think there's any non-natural almond butter), and they came out fabulously! I think the texture was actually about the same, and the roasted almond flavor was subtle and really went well with the oatmeal. I may experiment with other nut butters now...
  2. Underfoot, I adore your gingerbread house! I really need to make the time to do more cookie cutouts next year-you've given me so many ideas! I think we both share an affinity for rather "special" gingerbread houses...
  3. Here is my first ever gingerbread house! It's not much, and also the back looks better than the front (but unfortunately I can't find a picture of it), but I had a lot of fun putting it together. It's supposed to be a model of the co-op I live in at school-it was the head of the table at this big wine and cheese feast we had. Note the igloo and the pond (and the huuuuge wheel of blue cheese just behind it)! After attempting this, I have a new respect for those of you who make such intricate and professional-looking houses. It's so difficult!
  4. Am I the only one who's been making ice cream??? I made the chocolate-peanut butter ice cream a week or two ago, and while it is very tasty, I realized while churning it that it's really more of a winter ice cream. It's been hovering in the 110's here, temperature-wise, and so I can only handle this ice cream's richness when it's paired with a vanilla or some fruit. Also it froze rock hard, much harder than the other ice creams I've made from the book. I also made the French-style vanilla and the olive oil. The vanilla was very good, of course, but almost a bit tooo rich. I think I might go for Philadelphia-style next time. I decided to try the olive oil on a whim and because it sounded sort of refreshing. While cooking the custard, I used a whisk instead of a spatula, because the spatula hadn't worked that effectively for me with the vanilla. Even then, I had a few cooked egg pieces that I had to be careful to not push through the strainer-the same happened with the vanilla. I'm keeping it on just below medium heat and stirring constantly, but I think next time I'm just going to cook it on a double boiler. It'll take longer, but I have an egg phobia! Anyway, the olive oil ice cream tastes undeniably of olive oil. The first spoonful is a bit of a shock, but after that I thought it was very good. It's much better paired with some peaches than it is by itself, I think, just like how you wouldn't eat olive oil on its own. I gave some to my mother to try, and she described it as "too avant-garde", but I think I would make it again, as long as I had some good summer fruit to pair it with.
  5. Speaking of the library, that's where I just got my copy! Although I'm sure, after looking through it, that it's going on my birthday list. So many exciting flavors, and I love the mix-in suggestions and recipes, because I am a big big fan of chunky ice cream. So far I have tried the strawberry sour cream and the milk chocolate. I very much liked the strawberry sour cream, and found that it actually firmed up really fast. I don't usually even like strawberry ice cream, but this one really tasted like strawberries. I didn't think it was extremely sour, but it was enough to cut the sweetness. And I think the brand of sour cream I used-organic, without any thickeners-was particularly sour, so that may have helped. I added brownie (the chewy brownies from the back) and cocoa nibs to the milk chocolate ice cream. I think the brownies do, as promised, keep their chewiness and flavor in the ice cream, which was a pleasant surprise. However, two cups might have been a little too much for some people-I sort of taste the brownie more than the ice cream. It is a nice background for the brownie though! And the cocoa nibs were a welcome crunch. I did have a little trouble getting this one to firm up-but I think that might have been because I have a cheapo Donvier ice cream machine, the kind where you freeze the canister, and I only let it freeze for six hours in between the strawberry and milk chocolate ice creams.
  6. Actually, when I make mini-tarts, I freeze the tarts in the tart rings for about a half hour before baking, and then they generally keep their shape pretty nicely without using any weights at all. I'm not sure if that's an option for you, as I'm a home baker, but it works for me!
  7. I have a quick question as well. I'm currently attempting to cook various desserts for a 100+ people (out of a dorm kitchen, no less). So, I'm trying to make stuff ahead of time. But I've never before frozen already-baked goods-I know everyone says you can, but I've always been afraid they'll come out tasting odd. The only stuff I've frozen is cookie dough, lemon curd, etc. Any tips? But more specifically to this book, I'm making a cookie platter. Two of the cookies are going to be the espresso chocolate shortbreads and the pecan brown sugar shortbreads. It says in the book that they can be baked and then frozen, but I'm trying to maximize baking the day of, so things taste fresher. Would it be okay to just freeze the dough and then bake it? I can't think why not, but I just wanted to be sure. I'm also going to be making the mini milk-chocolate bundt cakes tonight, and then freezing them. I assume it would be best to defrost them and then glaze, but it seems to imply in the recipe that you can freeze them with the glaze already on. Any ideas?
  8. The only food that I really just can't stand (although I'm a vegetarian, so I suppose there are a lot of disgusting foods out there that I've never even tried) is eggs. Any form-scrambled, hardboiled, omelettes. Even things that taste eggy, like custards, flans, meringues...no good. Everything else (that's not meat) I'll eat, and even mostly like. I'm glad that I'm not alone in my egg-phobia! Although you guys are surprisingly picky for a bunch of foodies...which I guess is why we all feel sort of guilty about confessing these things!
  9. Yes, please do tell. I'm curious because I went there last night for the first time. I have no prior experience to judge from, but I had the cinque formaggio pizza and thought it was delicious, as was the salad with pine nuts and red peppers. I must admit that the service was pretty terrible, however. I waited five minutes for a hostess to appear, to be seated. Once seated and with menus, I think we sat around for a good ten minutes before anyone noticed us-and even then, we had to flag a waitress down as she was walking on her way to another table. And we didn't get waters for a few minutes after that. Later, after our plates had been cleared, we wanted to order dessert but once again had to wave at our waitress as she was repeatedly walking by our table without noticing us-and we were then informed that it would take a half-hour for our dessert to be ready, something it would have been nice to know much earlier in the meal (we ended up not ordering the dessert-a shame, as the picture of it in this thread looks delicious). Regardless, I still enjoyed our meal. I suppose the service didn't bother me as much because we were sitting outside at a pizza place, in no particular rush. But I wonder if molto e has perhaps had a similar experience with service?
  10. As for Roaring Fork, check out this tidbit. Apparently McGrath has taken over at Pischke's Paradise in Scottsdale.
  11. Personally, I looooove string cheese. I should be too old for that sort of thing, but I still get a kick out of peeling it apart. And that stuff is pretty cheap. I also am fine with a cheapish cheddar or monterey jack for melting, sandwiches, quesadillas, that sort of thing. The only cheap stuff I won't do is cheap "mozzarella". For some reason, I can really taste the difference much there than with cheddar.
  12. juliachildish

    Toast toppings

    Ooh, last night I had some extremely delicious toast. I had been intending to slow roast some plum tomatoes for a pasta sauce, but I got started much later than expected, and so once I was done I didn't even want to bother with pasta. Instead I grabbed some sourdough toast, spread it with butter, and simply stuck the roasted tomato halves on top. Heaven!
  13. doughgirl-the only springform I have is 10 inch, so I just made mine in a regular 8-inch cake pan. I just unmolded it and then topped it with the caramel goo. I had a little issue with the topping spilling over, but I put wax paper underneath and scooped some back on afterwards, and it turned out fine and still looked lovely.
  14. Just in case anyone's interested, the NYTimes had an article on Red Velvet cake today: article here Doesn't really talk about anything we haven't already discussed here, but it does give a new recipe for anyone who's curious!
  15. I believe in Alice Meidrich's Bittersweet (and probably her other books too), she goes into her belief that it does make quite a difference. However, I pretty much ignore it when a recipe specifies, unless I'm totally out of cocoa and have to go to the store just to buy some. I have easy access to both, so if I'm buying it just for a recipe, then I'll usually buy what's specified (if I remember). Back on topic, I made the molten chocolate cakes the other day. They were quite delicious, and easy to make, but I felt like the centers were a little...gummy? Tasted undercooked rather than gooey. Maybe I really just didn't bake it long enough. Or maybe I just prefer souffles to molten cakes. I also made the bittersweet brownies, just as is. They were quite delicious, a sort of quintessential basic brownie, but very good. And even though I think the recipe says they only stay fresh for 2 days, we had them around for around 4, I think, and they were still moist and delicious by then.
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