Thursday, September 24, 2009

Banana Rescue

This year for Reach the Beach, we atypically undershopped for food to have in the van during the race. Nevertheless, there were some bananas left over. I think they were left over pretty much because they somehow became packed in between bottles of water and everybody's luggage. They ended up being great for banana-chocolate chip bread, though. I tried a new recipe from 250 Treasured Country Desserts: Mouthwatering, Time-honored, Handed-down, Soul-satisfying Sweet Comforts by Andrea Chesman and Fran Raboff.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

RTB Cookies

This year for the annual trek to New Hampshire for the Reach the Beach relay race, I made three kinds of cookies: oatmeal-dried cherry, chocolate chunk, and chocolate peanut butter cookies. All were recipes from Mom's Big Book of Cookies by Lauren Chattman. I know that the cookies were enjoyed by at least 1.5 teams at RTB this year, so that is good.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

A Cake for Blaise

Last June, our friend Blaise died about nine months after he was diagnosed with colon cancer. We learned of his diagnosis through an email with the subject line "annoying news" -- typically understated and dismissive, as if the cancer were a pesky mosquito that he was trying to brush away.

I've actually been struggling with what to write in this blog entry. In the end, all I can say is that Blaise was a terrific guy: funny, big-hearted, an athlete (but not a jock). I wish we'd had more time to hang out and laugh with him.

Anyway, after his memorial service a couple of weeks ago, there was a potluck. I brought along a Milky Way Cake. I like to think he would have found a cake made with four melted Milky Way bars to be both amusing and absurd.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Board Meeting

For today's skating-club board meeting, I made a couple of things. First, I made Crumb-Topped Coffee Cake from Abby Johnson Dodge's The Weekend Baker. It is brilliant, especially on those pieces where the crumb:cake ratio works in favor of the crumbs.

The scones are from Elinor Klivan's Fearless Baking. I'm not sure if it was the recipe or the weather (it has been pretty damp here), the scones had a relatively cakey texture, not very sconelike at all. However, everybody seemed to like them, so what do I know?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Tomorrow afternoon, the girls from the skating team are getting together to take a look at a memory DVD that one of the parents has put together. I'm looking forward to seeing it because I'm sure it's going to be as entertaining as the one that was done for the season that concluded a year ago. Since I know the girls (and, um, the parents) like cupcakes, I made a batch for everyone to enjoy during the screening. The vanilla buttermilk cupcakes are from Cupcakes Year-Round by Sara Neumeier; the chocolate buttercream is from More From Magnolia by Allysa Torey.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

New Haven

Ready for the New Haven 20K tomorrow. I'm participating in this year's event instead of just spectating. (I am not sure why. Oh well.) I'll be bringing along a couple of things: Ina Garten's Outrageous Brownies and, in honor of the late Sheila Lukins, Applesauce Raisin Cake from The Silver Palate Cookbook.

Instead of using the 3 cups of walnuts the brownie recipe called for, I used 1.5 cups and then 1.5 cups of a dried-fruit mix (cranberries, cherries, blueberries). I love the Chunky bar quality that the dried fruit gives the brownie. My gripe about the recipe is the 3 tablespoons of instant coffee powder it calls for. I think that rather than working with the chocolate, the coffee starts to override.

The cake is very good. I don't like the glaze so much, and will probably not make it again. However, I can see revisiting this cake as the fall weather sets in. I think it would be awesome with dried cranberries instead of raisins, too.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Chocolate-Cinnamon Bundt Cake

After spending much of the summer away from the oven (largely due to summer weather and/or travel), I am happy both for cooler fall weather and for being at home on a regular basis.

This cake is a little overdue, but it's for a colleague's birthday, which was last week. While browsing through the new issue of Bon Appetit, I was inspired by the recipe for Chocolate-Cinnamon Bundt Cake with Mocha Icing. I was a little concerned that the recipe called for a large Bundt pan but seemed to have too little potential volume, but the cake ended up having a satisfying height. Still, I think that if I make this again, I might try it in a slightly smaller pan.

Otherwise, while the taste testing remains, the cake seems like a winner. The aroma is amazing (predominantly cinnamon but with hints of coffee).