Tuesday, January 22, 2019
I knew I was going to have a busy day, so availed myself of a cookie dough I'd made for the holidays but never got around to baking. Actually, when I made the dough for these Cashew Cookies from Cookies and Brownies by the great Alice Medrich, I thought for sure that I'd screwed them up. The dough is made in a food processor, and by the time I got done processing, a lot of the cashew oil was seeping from the dough. I pressed ahead, shaping the dough into my lazy-guy rectangular logs, and then popped them into the freezer. Apparently, there was no problem with the dough as the cookies sliced and baked just fine. Go figure!
Halfway through National Baking Month!
I can't believe it took me til halfway to finally crack open my much-used and loved copy of Cake Keeper Cakes by Lauren Chattman. Again, motivated by the desire to use things in the pantry, I was looking for a recipe that would allow me to get rid of some almond paste, and I remembered the Cherry-Almond Crumb Cake from this book. Then I saw a container with maybe a tablespoon of dried cranberries left in it, and I opted to tweak this recipe from cherry to cranberry. (Of course, I also had an unopened bag of dried cranberries to fill out what I needed to make this cake.) Not a big stretch -- dried cranberries are a good flavor match for almond. This cake also has a great proportion of crumb topping to cake (meaning lots of streusel).
Having made a few too many big-batch items for National Baking Month, I decided I needed to make something with a smaller yield, so I turned to One Bowl Baking by Yvonne Ruperti, which has a nice selection of reasonably portioned recipes (like a dozen cupcakes rather than 24 or 30). Since I had ripe bananas, as usual, I went for the Banana Cupcakes with Malted Milk Chocolate Ganache. Pretty straightforward, and one of the great things about cupcakes (as opposed to layer cakes) is that they cool down fairly quickly and can be frosted not too long after they're out of the oven. Nice flavors, and a solid recipe.
I love the chocolate-glazed, mint-frosted version of the Classic Brownies from Cook's Illustrated. Since I was really craving something with orange and chocolate (it's a winter thing, right?), I tweaked their recipe a bit to create a brownie that pushed that citrus button for me. I added orange zest and chunks of an orange-flavored Lindt bar to the brownie batter, orange zest to the frosting, and then more of the orange Lindt bar to the glaze. Totally hit the spot!
Wednesday, January 16, 2019
On Saturday, I ponied up for two entries for National Baking Month. The first was this Sweet Potato Bread from The Everyday Baker by Abigail Johnson Dodge. Aside from making an awesome loaf of bread, I also count this as a win for the ongoing bake-the-book project I've undertaken with TEB, as I shorthand it. Gorgeous loaf of bread, for sure, and a success also because I finally talked myself into discarding some yeast that really was long past its lifespan, which meant that I got a loaf that rose beautifully.
Second, I made White Chocolate Mousse, a recipe featured in the new issue of Fine Cooking. It's from Stella Parks, so it's a total win right there. I tweaked and used caramelized white chocolate in the recipe rather than regular white chocolate, which gave the mousse a really nice flavor nuance.
Saturday, January 12, 2019
During the holidays, I made the Cornmeal Thumbprint Cookies from Emily Luchetti’s Fearless Baker and loved them. Since I love the flavor combo of cornmeal, lime, and blueberry, I decided to return to the recipe and tweak it by adding lime zest to the dough. A bit of blueberry preserve tops each cookie. Definitely a keeper combo!
Thursday, January 10, 2019
My first cookbook double dip for National Baking Month as I returned to Julie Anne Hession’s Beautiful Bundts for this cake. I was motivated to try the recipe after I found two half-consumed packages of Oreos sitting around, because we apparently are the sort of household that doesn’t finish a package of Oreos in one or two sessions ... and by that, I mean that we are weirdos. The Oreos are taken care of now, and I expect that most of this cake will be dealt with in short order, too.