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


rjwong
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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.

Maybe it's a little like wine. One variety won't do everything.

I don't think Ceylon would ever be the only cinnamon in my cupboard, but I like it as a delicate dessert flavor. I wouldn't want Tahitian vanilla as the only vanilla in my cupboard either. And if I could only use one of either spice, I would doubtless fall back on the ones I grew up with - cassia and madagascar.

"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.

Maybe it's a little like wine. One variety won't do everything.

I don't think Ceylon would ever be the only cinnamon in my cupboard, but I like it as a delicate dessert flavor. I wouldn't want Tahitian vanilla as the only vanilla in my cupboard either. And if I could only use one of either spice, I would doubtless fall back on the ones I grew up with - cassia and madagascar.

I grew up with McCormick's and Imitation. :rolleyes:

So much to discover. I look forward to the day when Tahitian and Madagascar mean more to me than words on a label. :cool:

I made Katharine Hepburn's Brownies this morning. I think I've only made brownies a handful of times in my life. And I'm sure that at least one of those times was with the Jiffy mix twenty years ago. While I can't see making anything out of a box when I can make it from scratch, my expectation of how a brownie should taste is the way I remember the Jiffy mix tasting.

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

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I made Katharine Hepburn's Brownies this morning. I think I've only made brownies a handful of times in my life. And I'm sure that at least one of those times was with the Jiffy mix twenty years ago. While I can't see making anything out of a box when I can make it from scratch, my expectation of how a brownie should taste is the way I remember the Jiffy mix tasting.

You need to expand your horizons. Try the Jiffy cornmuffins. They were always a favorite in my family. :biggrin:

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

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I was looking for something quick to make the other night, so I made the "French" brownies. These are very buttery, have rummy raisins and just a little cinnamon. Everyone liked them.

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"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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So far I've made the Cardamom-Orange Coffee Cake and the Applesauce Spice Bars, and both received rave reviews from my co-workers (and from me)!

Yesterday I made the Caramel Peanut-Topped Brownie Cake. I know the recipe indicates that there may be some settling of the cake as it cools, but the center of my cake totally collapsed. :angry: I'd checked it after 40 minutes of baking at 350 degrees, and it tested clean with just some crumbs on the toothpick.

So, I made a second cake and baked it for approximately 49 minutes. Again, it tested clean, but upon cooling it again developed a significant crater in the center. I plan to top the cake with the caramel peanuts, and I'm confident it will be devoured at work, too. However, for the future I'd like to know whether I should be doing something differently? Perhaps I'm incorporating too much air into the egg/sugar mixture?

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I've been continuing to bake recipes from this book any chance I get. I recently made Dorie's favourite chocolate chip cookies, the oatmeal breakfast loaf and the rum soaked vanilla cakes. I had a similar problem to others with the chocolate chip cookies spreading too much. I tried chilling the rest of my dough to see if that would remedy the problem, but it didn't. I don't have this problem with other cookie recipes. They were quite tasty, despite their thin, buttery crispy edges, but I think I'll stick with my regular recipe. I really enjoyed the oatmeal breakfast loaf. I made it yesterday to have with breakfast, and everyone (picky husband who usually only likes chocolate baked good and two kids who don't usually like things with nuts) gobbled the whole thing up. It had just the right level of sweetness, and thanks to the apple sauce and oil was very mosit. I just finished the vanilla cakes. I substituted some of the vanilla for lemon zest and substituted the rum for lemon juice in the cake, I also used lemon juice in the syrup. This is the best lemon loaf that I've every made (and apart from chocolate chip cookies, lemon loaf is probably the baked good that I make most). It has a nice fine crumb, the syrup makes it moist and extra lemony. Delicious. I love this book!!!!

Andrea

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I was looking for something quick to make the other night, so I made the "French" brownies. These are very buttery, have rummy raisins and just a little cinnamon. Everyone liked them.

. . .

Oh Patrick - you make EVERYTHING look so good! Those French brownies practically jump out of the monitor. Thanks for sharing.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Finally! I have my copy of Dorie’s book and set to work on two recipes: the Applesauce Spice Bars which were very well received and the Thumbprints for Us Big Guys which were not so well received but it’s not Dorie’s fault! Dorie said nothing about toasting the hazelnuts but it just seemed natural to me to do so and get some of the skins off! I think that is what caused the dough to be very dry and crumbly and the baked cookies to be just too dry to be enjoyed. I will repeat the recipe without toasting the hazelnuts before passing a final judgement on them. I will also "sift" the icing sugar over them instead of shaking it. :biggrin:

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Applesauce Spice Bars

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Thumbprints.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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I've been on a baking spree lately. I just...can't....stop. For me, it's a stress reliever. I come home from a difficult day at work and bake a bundt cake. Suddenly, all is good again.

On Saturday night, I made the Lots-of-Ways Banana cake (p.204). I topped it with Martha Stewart Baking Handbook's dark chocolate frosting as I didn't have the ingredients for Dorie's suggestions. That and I'm a little scared of the marshmallow frosting recipe. I'm a novice baker and anything to do with a candy thermometer is way beyond my abilities! The banana cake was very moist and baked in only about 35 minutes.

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Today, I made the now infamous chocolate chip cookies and the cocoa-nana bread (p.46). With the cookies, I didn't have the spreading problem but I did what I usually do with all my cookie dough. I make the dough, wrap it in saran wrap and leave it in the fridge to rest for a few hours. Then I bake the cookies off from the chilled dough. Always guaranteed to give me nicely formed cookies.

The cocoa-nana bread took a very long time to finally set in the middle. I tented with foil as directed but it still got quite dark on the top. Haven't tasted it yet but it smells delicious.

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Yesterday, my husband and I were on our way to a meeting, listening to All Things Considered on the car radio. Along the way, we heard a teaser with a woman talking about making pumpkin marshmallows. I had a suspicion who it probably was, but unfortunately we got where we were going and I couldn't very well bring a radio with me. So this morning I checked NPR's Web site to see what I'd missed, and found this: Dorie Greenspan talking about her new book and some of the goodies within.

If you can spare eight minutes or so, it's worth a listen.

MelissaH

MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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I caught only the last part it; somehow can't get the NPR file to open up for me. But Dorie sounded like the generous gracious person we know here, a natural teacher.

And for the record, the holiday bundt featured in the article is a wonderful cake, dynamite flavor. It would be easy to dress it up for the holiday: a touch of a complementary ice cream, a few touches of fruit, nuts, etc; on its own or used in a parfait or some other complex of sweetness.

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

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Had a day off work yesterday so I had a Star Wars/cookie baking marathon. Make a batch, watch a movie, make a batch...made four different cookies, two of which were the sables and of course, a must, the world peace cookies. Brought in a big bowl full and went back for a cookie for myself maybe 15 minutes later and my coworkers had devoured them. The sables were really cute with the multicolored sanding sugar from Williams Sonoma. (Didn't get pics. Should have. Sorry.) Planning on the vanilla rum cake soon. Pound cake marathon will be next.

Pamela Wilkinson

www.portlandfood.org

Life is a rush into the unknown. You can duck down and hope nothing hits you, or you can stand tall, show it your teeth and say "Dish it up, Baby, and don't skimp on the jalapeños."

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Carrot Spice Muffins... 'm'm'm delicious. Hubby sez "excellent"... bummer, I'll have to share!

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I followed the recipe exactly... well except for sugaring the tops before baking. :wub:

Di

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To those with flat cookies... (there are worse things that could be called flat!!! :wink:) Anyway, I am a total novice baker, but I do a Cookie of the Month Club for my husband's grandma and subsequently, have baked a lot of cookies in the last few years! One thing that helps is to roll the cookie dough into balls, freeze the balls, and then bake from frozen... I find that even a cookie that is supposed to be flat and crisp will puff up more with this method. Just a thought!

"Many people believe the names of In 'n Out and Steak 'n Shake perfectly describe the contrast in bedroom techniques between the coast and the heartland." ~Roger Ebert

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This traveling has put a real cramp in my posting -- sorry!, but it has been such fun to meet some of you "on the road".

As always, I get so excited when I hear what you've been baking and how happy you've been with the sweets. And, the pictures, again, as always, make everything look so good. Seeing the carrot muffins made me decide to add them to the breadbasket for this weekend -- thank you.

I'll also be making the Caramel Pumpkin Pie and the Far Breton. Elie, who made such a great-looking Far,will be happy to know that I made the Far with Martha Stewart for her show, to air next Monday, and his Far and Martha's looked like identical twins.

I'll be traveling again, but I wish everyone a very happy, delicious and sweet Thanksgiving.

Dorie

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Seeing the carrot muffins made me decide to add them to the breadbasket for this weekend -- thank you. 

... and thank you to you too; so glad I could be of help! :rolleyes:

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Di

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I have made 2 crusts, the one for everything and the sweet tart. I'm making the fillings for the pumpkin/pecan pie now, and I have an almond 'thing' I put together to put in the tart. I'll take pic's and let you know how the tart/almond/honey thingy I put together comes out. the only part of the latter from the book was the pastry shell, but hey..we have to improvise now and then, especially when the 'pumpkin paste' that sis got me from Williams Sonoma had mold on top...now I know why she got such a good deal on it. I made the tart shell and pre-baked, then had to devise a new filling for it. It's basically eggs, almond filling and bourbon. I was sooo p.o''d I poured a shot for myself.

I have high hope for the recipe straight from the book, though I know I over rolled it. It was not as evenly dispensed with butter as I would have like. Well, Happy Thanksgiving everyone, and thanks Mrs. Greenspan, for a really great book! I am still cooking..have 2 cranberry upsidedown cakes for tomorrow to get together and the rest of the meal. Cheers!

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I just wanted to mention that I noticed today our local library has Dorie's book on order. So for those of you waiting to take it out, check your local library to get it on reserve.

Don't wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great. Orison Swett Marden

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I baked the double apple bundt cake (p. 184-185) earlier this week. In Canada, I find it difficult to find apple butter. I ended up buying some organic stuff at our local, overpriced natural foods store. A 17oz jar cost $5.99 (and that's on sale)! I should just make my own. Anybody know of a good recipe?

I made my bundt with pecans and without the icing. I froze half of it to nibble on this weekend. It went over very well at work with my collegues. Usually, it takes all morning for my baking to be polished off but I think this went in just over an hour!

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I've been meaning to make the Caramel Peanut Topped Brownie Cake since I first got the book. Finally made it last night, to bring to a Thankksgiving today, so I haven't tasted it yet. It looks gorgeous.

I did not have the cratering problem that someone upthread experienced. Dorie's instructions guide you to mix only lightly, making me wonder if the cratering was caused by overmixing (i.e. too much air puffed the batter up, and then it deflated because there is no structure).

My caramel took a long time to color--and I learned that one should use a shallow pan instead of a saucepan for it. My peanuts had skins, which I thought would be ugly, so I removed the skins, and, just tobe sure there would be enough salt, I sprinkled the top of the frosted cake with a little fleur de sel.

I am expecting a hero's welcome at the holiday dinner.

Oil and potatoes both grow underground so french fries may have eventually invented themselves had they not been invented -- J. Esther
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I had some really ripe bananas, so I thought I'd give the Black-And-White Banana Loaf a shot.

There were problems - but all of them were mine. I baked it at work today (I figure if I bake it at work, I can have a slice or two and share the rest with customers). But at work I don't have the called-for loaf pan. I did have a couple of much smaller loaf pans, so I divided the batter between the two. I baked it in the convection oven so I put it in at 300 (rather than 325) - and just kept my eye on it.

About 2 hours after I mixed and baked, we discovered that the new dry-measuring cup I used for the sugar was way-off. Instead of 1 cup of sugar there was probably 1 1/2.

Having said ALL of that, it was still extremely good. I need to try it again, to see if the moisture level, sweetness, etc. changes drastically. But it's all gone - so everybody else thought it was great too!

I can't imagine how good it will be when I actually follow the directions :laugh:

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I don't know if I'll be able to get a picture worth posting, but the caramelized apple bread pudding was really delicious. I used 4 Galas (instead of 3 -- the ones I had were kinda small) and when it was done I glazed it with apple jelly.

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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I've been meaning to make the Caramel Peanut Topped Brownie Cake since I first got the book.  Finally made it last night, to bring to a Thankksgiving today, so I  haven't tasted it yet.  It looks gorgeous.

I did not have the cratering problem that someone upthread experienced.  Dorie's instructions guide you to mix only lightly, making me wonder if the cratering was caused by overmixing (i.e. too much air puffed the batter up, and then it deflated because there is no structure).

My caramel took a long time to color--and I learned that one should use a shallow pan instead of a saucepan for it.  My peanuts had skins, which I thought would be ugly, so I removed the skins, and, just tobe sure there would be enough salt, I sprinkled the top of the frosted cake with a little fleur de sel.

I am expecting a hero's welcome at the holiday dinner.

tamiam--how did your cake turn out? I made that, too, hoping for a big hit. The caramel and peanut topping was delicious (my caramel also took longer to darken). My cake turned out too dry, though.

I couldn't find an 8" springform pan. I thought a 9" springform would be OK if I shortened the cooking time from the 40-45 min called for. I checked it at 30 min and it was still gooey. At 36 min, I took the cake out. The knife came out clean, but showed some moisture.

I want to try again with the proper 8" pan, but am wondering if I am expecting something too "fudgy". Done right, will this be more cake-like than brownie-ish?

I hope you got your hero's welcome!

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