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"Baking: From My Home to Yours" (Part 1)


rjwong
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Two more recipes tried: Brown Sugar-Apple Cheesecake, plain pound cake.

I loved the cheesecake. It's not too sweet and is like an apple tarte tatin smushed into a cheesecake. I sometimes find that flavoured or non-plain cheesecakes end up tasting like regular cheesecake with a small bits that taste different, or a flavour that I would refer to as "muddy." The apple cheesecake definitely tasted of apples with a creamy background. I brought it to a 2 yr-old's birthday party and both adults and children enjoyed this cheesecake. It was the birthday cake, so I frosted it with a thin layer of vanilla mousseline buttercream. There were several dissapointed people when they found out that this wasn't a cake they could buy at a bakery. However, I did tell them where to find the recipe and recommended this book.

The plain pound cake was not as much of a success. It came out very dense and dry. I suspect that it was baked too long. I mixed up the batter, but I had to go out and left it for my mom to take out of the oven. I'll reserve my final judgment on this recipe until I make it entirely on my own.

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Pumpkin Muffins... 'm'm'm. The only thing I did differently was to sprinkle the muffin tops with [more] pecans instead of sunflower seeds. Oh, and I also sprinkled 'em with sugar (for crunch) too before putting them into the oven. :wub:

gallery_17596_384_5369.jpg

Nice, thick batter... terrific rise... gorgeous, perfect domes!

Di

Edited by DiH (log)
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Pumpkin  Muffins... 'm'm'm.  The only thing I did differently was to sprinkle the muffin tops with [more] pecans instead of sunflower seeds.  Oh, and I also sprinkled 'em with sugar (for crunch) too before putting them into the oven.  :wub:

gallery_17596_384_5369.jpg

Nice, thick batter... terrific rise... gorgeous, perfect domes!

Di

These look great! I made these a few weeks ago and they came out great too. I didn't use sunflower seeds either (used pumpkin seeds instead, which were delish), but pecans and sugar sound like a great idea! I'll definitely be making them again, so maybe I will try that next time :smile:

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I made the chocolate and fresh ginger gingerbread today. On the whole I'd say it worked fairly well but I do have a couple of queries that I hope some of you with more baking experience than me might be able to answer.

My cake looked much denser than the photo in the book. I am not familiar with the US cup-measuring system and method of measuring butter by sticks and tablespoons, so it's possible that my measuring of ingredients caused a problem. Too much flour, perhaps? Any thoughts?

Also, I made some kind of mistake when I was making the icing. It was fine until I got to the gradual whisking in of the butter. At this point the oil separated from the butter and sat on top of the chocolate. Should I have allowed more cooling time for the chocolate before I added the butter? I didn't have enough chocolate in the house to re-do the icing so in the end I drained off the oil and put what was left of the chocolate on top of the cake.

Despite the problems I had, though, it does taste great. Here's a photo so you can see the texture. Any suggestions on how I could improve it are welcome.

gallery_49006_3891_12383.jpg

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I finally tried the coconut tea cake (p. 194-195) tonight. I made the lime version. Midway through baking, I cracked the oven and a waft of pina colada came bellowing out. It smells delicious! The recipe produced a wonderfully light, moist cake after only about ~50 mins in my oven.

After reading the "Holiday Baking" issue by Cook's Illustrated, I decided to try the cake with coconut cream instead of the suggested coconut milk. CI reported the cream to provide a more intense flavour of coconut than the milk. Next week, I'll try it again with the milk and see if there is a difference. I also want to try toasting the coconut next go around.

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Earlier this week, I whipped up a batch of the great grains muffins (mine had dried figs and cranberries instead of the prunes) and chocolate chunkers (p. 70). A few of my cookies tended to fall apart during the baking process. Luckily, as they cooled, the cookies that "exploded" seemed to meld together. They didn't look pretty but tasted yummy nonetheless.

gallery_29268_3740_116057.jpg

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I bought cranberries from the Farmer's Maret about two weeks ago and left them sitting on my countertop until I could figure out what to do with them.

Well, I decided to have a look at them yesterday. I shouldn't have waited so long. I was able to salvage about 2 cups worth and started looking for recipes.

I found Cranberry Upside-Downer and decided to try it. I didn't have high expectations because my cranberries weren't in the best of shape. But I figured I could always scrape off the cranberries and eat the cake part.

What an awesome cake. I love the tartness of the cranberries. I cannot imagine this cake tasting better than this but I'm looking forward to making it again with fresh cranberries.

- Kim

If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe. - Carl Sagan

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I bought cranberries from the Farmer's Maret about two weeks ago and left them sitting on my countertop until I could figure out what to do with them.

Well, I decided to have a look at them yesterday. I shouldn't have waited so long. I was able to salvage about 2 cups worth and started looking for recipes.

I found Cranberry Upside-Downer and decided to try it. I didn't have high expectations because my cranberries weren't in the best of shape. But I figured I could always scrape off the cranberries and eat the cake part.

What an awesome cake. I love the tartness of the cranberries. I cannot imagine this cake tasting better than this but I'm looking forward to making it again with fresh cranberries.

- Kim

I just made this last night for the second time (fresh cranberries). The first time I misread the directions and added BOTH the vanilla and almond extract, the second time, just the vanilla. I recommend using both. More is More. Both times I used a bit more fruit and nuts than called for. I'm especially fond of cakes that use fruit, and I agree that this is a real keeper. I would imagine it's translatable into other fruits in other seasons, adding some lemon zest with those that lack the needed tartness.

"Half of cooking is thinking about cooking." ---Michael Roberts

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The first time I misread the directions and added BOTH the vanilla and almond extract, the second time, just the vanilla. I recommend using both.

I almost used both. Next time I will.

I had to stop cooking from this book because the recipes are too good.

The Cranberry Upside-Downer lasted less than one day.

The Classic Banana Bundt cake lasted three days but it was torture not to finish it off sooner. I was hoping that it would taste stale or something so I could throw it away. But it was good to the last crumb.

Darn you Dorie Greenspan!

:raz:

If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe. - Carl Sagan

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The first time I misread the directions and added BOTH the vanilla and almond extract, the second time, just the vanilla. I recommend using both.

I almost used both. Next time I will.

I had to stop cooking from this book because the recipes are too good.

The Cranberry Upside-Downer lasted less than one day.

The Classic Banana Bundt cake lasted three days but it was torture not to finish it off sooner. I was hoping that it would taste stale or something so I could throw it away. But it was good to the last crumb.

Darn you Dorie Greenspan!

:raz:

I have the advantage of being a grannie with two families to divide the spoils. And if they can't make it over to pick it up (I don't delivery. :wink:) I can always give some to my neighbor. Otherwise, I'd be soooooo biggggg.

"Half of cooking is thinking about cooking." ---Michael Roberts

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We had unexpected guests last night and we were out of dessert. :shock:

Made a quick trip to Whole Foods. Cranberries were on sale and I couldn't resist.

What a quick and easy recipe! The best part is that you don't have to wait for it to cool. It's best when it's warm. My husband said that even he could make it and I don't think he's ever made a dessert in his life.

This is my favorite recipe from the book so far. I especially like the crunchiness of the walnuts.

- Kim

If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe. - Carl Sagan

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We had unexpected guests last night and we were out of dessert.  :shock:

Made a quick trip to Whole Foods. Cranberries were on sale and I couldn't resist.

What a quick and easy recipe! The best part is that you don't have to wait for it to cool. It's best when it's warm. My husband said that even he could make it and I don't think he's ever made a dessert in his life.

This is my favorite recipe from the book so far. I especially like the crunchiness of the walnuts.

- Kim

Did you toast the nuts before using them? There was nothing explicit in the recipe, but my rule of thumb is that if a nut isn't exposed directly to the heat during the baking process, I toast it.

"Half of cooking is thinking about cooking." ---Michael Roberts

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I am planning on making the 2 for 1 pie this week for Thanksgiving. It's pumpkin and pecan pie all in one. I do the same type of thing with sweet potatoes but since I'm having them as a side, I'm doing Dorie's version. Today I'm making the crusts and partially baking per her instructions and freezing. Wed. I'll make the fillings, and Thurs. I'll put the thing together. In between I'll read the picture posting tutorial and try to be ready to post.

I've also decided to make the cranberry upsidedown cake this week thanks to you guys..how can I pass on a dessert that's seasonal, easy and delicious????

edit:

I have never buttered my pie pans before. Is this something I've just missed in other recipes, or just my own stupidity? I did not grow up baking at mom/grandma's knee so it's quite possible that it's one of those things that other people just knew from watching...

Edited by highchef (log)
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Did you toast the nuts before using them? There was nothing explicit in the recipe, but my rule of thumb is that if a nut isn't exposed directly to the heat during the baking process, I toast it.

I did not toast the nuts. I thought about it, but I hate to change more than one thing at a time.

The change I made was adding both vanilla and almond extract. It was good, but it masked the cinnamon taste. Not that anyone complained.

The cake is gone and I'm out of dessert.

Again.

- Kim

edit: Fixed typo.

Edited by Kim D (log)

If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe. - Carl Sagan

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I've also decided to make the cranberry upsidedown cake this week thanks to you guys..how can I pass on a dessert that's seasonal, easy and delicious????

How indeed. If only I could.

I bought a deep freezer earlier this year. I can see throwing a few bags of cranberries in there so I'll have them on hand when I need to make a last minute dessert.

- Kim

If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe. - Carl Sagan

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Did you toast the nuts before using them? There was nothing explicit in the recipe, but my rule of thumb is that if a nut isn't exposed directly to the heat during the baking process, I toast it.

I did not toast the nuts. I thought about it, but I hate to change more than one thing at a time.

The change I made was adding both vanilla and almond extract. It was good, but it masked the cinnamon taste. Not that anyone complained.

The cake is gone and I'm out of dessert.

Again.

- Kim

edit: Fixed typo.

Odd, mine certainly had a cinnamon taste, too. Perhaps because I use that Vietnamese cinnamon which is pretty strong.

highchef, I never butter my pans. I usually make all butter crusts. The only time I have a probem with sticking is when some fruit juices bubble over the top and stick to a fluted tart pan. I don't think buttering the pan would stop that.

"Half of cooking is thinking about cooking." ---Michael Roberts

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Have any of you tried the Katherine Hepburn brownies yet? They are absolutely fantastic--I love the bit of coffee and cinnamon in there. I would post a picture but I couldn't restrain myself from eating too much batter, and consequently the bit of batter I had left resulted in a very thin pan of brownies. :raz:

I can see myself making these reguarly, after I try out the other brownie recipes. If they are as good as the Katherine Hepburn ones, I might need to buy elastic-waist pants...

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Have any of you tried the Katherine Hepburn brownies yet? They are absolutely fantastic--I love the bit of coffee and cinnamon in there. I would post a picture but I couldn't restrain myself from eating too much batter, and consequently the bit of batter I had left resulted in a very thin pan of brownies.  :raz:

I can see myself making these reguarly, after I try out the other brownie recipes. If they are as good as the Katherine Hepburn ones, I might need to buy elastic-waist pants...

I made the KH brownies too -- loved the cinnamon and coffee flavor! Both were subtle, but they made the taste more complex. I actually was able to hold back and not scarf too much batter, but my brownies were still on the thinner side. I usually like thicker brownies. However, that said, the taste was so good I will definitely make these again....

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^I think thicker brownies as well. I think next time I'll make 1.5 times the recipe and bake it in the same 8x8 pan. I forgot to note that I used 5 oz. of chopped bittersweet instead of 4, and reduced the sugar by 2 tbsp. Also, I didn't have enough nuts, so I only used about 1/2 cup. :smile:

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You guys, I think I need an intervention. I've made the peanut butter chocolate chip cookies four times so far (once for me, once for work, and twice for different friends). It's time to move on! Especially since you all keep posting new items that I'm dying to try. I've got the ingredients for both the thumbprint cookies and the ccoconut tea cake, and now I want to go out and get some cranberries, but the cookie recipe is such a big hit with everyone I keep coming back to it.

Emmalish, I'm not sure about the problem with your cookies.  When I make them, they are not particularly puffy, so it's hard for me to know what "kinda flat and spread out" is for you.  I would have blamed your insulated baking sheet, but you said they were pretty much the same with a regular baking sheet.

Dorie, thanks for responding. I guess I was comparing my results to Patrick's photo upthread. And to clarify, I only tried the insulated sheet (which I usually only use for cookies that I don't want to have a lot of browning, like shortbread and biscotti) after I'd read in one of Patrick's posts that he always uses them. So I thought I'd give it a shot. What I've found though, is that I get the best results when I use a regular cookie sheet, refrigerate the dough, roll it in balls, and then don't flatten them as the recipe instructs...

pb_o_cc.jpg

Edited to note that the cookies in the background aren't burnt – it's just a shadow – I swear!

Edited by emmalish (log)

I'm gonna go bake something…

wanna come with?

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The change I made was adding both vanilla and almond extract. It was good, but it masked the cinnamon taste. Not that anyone complained.

Odd, mine certainly had a cinnamon taste, too. Perhaps because I use that Vietnamese cinnamon which is pretty strong.

I used "Vietnamese Cassia Cinnamon" from The Spice House and I agree that it is pretty strong. At least it was when I used vanilla extract without the almond extract.

Maybe it's the Green Mountain Flavors Pure Almond Extract combination with Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract that masked the cinnamon taste. I remember the almond extract smelling very strong. Which is interesting because I don't remember a pronounced almond taste in the finished product.

I've made a note of it in my recipe database. Next time I'll try just the almond extract and see what happens.

If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe. - Carl Sagan

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I made cream scones this morning. The recipe calls for currants, which I'd be shot for with my kids, so I used cinnamon chips instead. Note that there is an omission in the directions as to when to add the currents (cinnamon chips), so go to the next recipe and follow directions for adding the nuts. That is after dough comes together and before kneading. I'm not exactly a scone novice, so it didn't faze me, actually I kneaded a couple of times and then added the chips, then finished. I wanted to put in finely cut up candied ginger, one of my favorite additions to scones but again the kids are out of school and I needed to feed them. (they don't like ginger...yet.)

Dorie is so right about the technique with the bisquits. Cold and a light hand make a light bisquit/scone. This is the perfect all around classic scone recipe, and it loves additions. I've made the pie crust (good for everything) for thurs. as well. the recipe says it can stay in the fridge for a few days (5) so this is the beginning of my Thanksgiving baking. The crust will be for the twofor pies. I can't make the fillings until wed. but this part will be out of the way. The cranberry cake also has to wait until thurs. a.m. but I have all the things I need. I've been so focused on desserts though, that I've totally forgotton to buy my turkey, make cornbread, or basically buy any ingredients for dinner itself!

oh well. There's time yet.

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I realized after I posted about the coconut cream substitution in my coconut tea cake that I made a mistake. I wanted to clarify that I made the cake with cream of coconut not coconut cream.

In Dorie's glossary at the end of the book, she actually suggests not to use the coconut cream. Cook's Illustrated "Holiday Baking" recommends cream of coconut over coconut milk when baking. Interestingly enough, when I compared the nutritional analysis (including sugar and fat content) of my coconut milk and my cream of coconut there wasn't much of a difference. I wonder if I'll notice a difference when I make it with the coconut milk this week? The version I made of the tea cake with the cream of coconut was very flavourful.

I'm learning so much from baking my way through this book so this is the latest. There is a difference between coconut milk, coconut cream and cream of coconut!

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The change I made was adding both vanilla and almond extract. It was good, but it masked the cinnamon taste. Not that anyone complained.

Odd, mine certainly had a cinnamon taste, too. Perhaps because I use that Vietnamese cinnamon which is pretty strong.

I used "Vietnamese Cassia Cinnamon" from The Spice House and I agree that it is pretty strong. At least it was when I used vanilla extract without the almond extract.

Maybe it's the Green Mountain Flavors Pure Almond Extract combination with Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract that masked the cinnamon taste. I remember the almond extract smelling very strong. Which is interesting because I don't remember a pronounced almond taste in the finished product.

I've made a note of it in my recipe database. Next time I'll try just the almond extract and see what happens.

Have you tried the Ceylon cinnamon yet? (I get it at Penzey's which now has a store in Philadelphia - yea, no more mail order!) It has a lovely delicate floral quality. I didn't use the Ceylon in this recipe because I thought it might not stand up to the cranberries. I mostly use the Vietnamese in savory dishes.

Also, I forgot to mention that I slightly increased the amount of both the cranberries and the nuts both times. As ithey go under the cake rather than in it, this made no difference to the taste or texture of the cake itself.

"Half of cooking is thinking about cooking." ---Michael Roberts

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I ordered the ceylon cinnamon from Penzey's while cooking through Rick Bayless's cookbooks. I quickly realized that I really do not like it. I love cassia cinnamon, but just cannot stand ceylon. I was hoping I would develope a taste for it, but so far it is not happening. Disappointing.

-Becca

www.porterhouse.typepad.com

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