Saturday, November 22, 2014

Mini Challahs

(drafted 9/25/2014--and now I'm remembering one reason for blog neglect.  The program I use to write my posts started losing them--when I told it to post my finished blog, the file disappeared from drafts and never reappeared as a post. I've got a little backlog of drafts that were waiting for me to solve this issue....for now, I'll have to use the Blogger interface.)

Mini ChallahsI have a sort of a new baking project, which as it has an external driver may be more successful than the last one (to cook everything in The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook). Though really, the SKC project has floundered far more on the blogging than on the cooking. This one is in aid of a project of my sister-in-law's, who's the media specialist/librarian at a middle school.  She's trying to get the teachers to stop by the library on Friday mornings before classes start for a mini class in some media-related tool, like using Google Docs to make a quiz, or how to tweet, or the use of some of the library equipment.  To get the teachers to come by she offers food bribes--generally a good strategy, at least for me. I view this as an opportunity to work through some of the many recipes I amass either in cookbooks I've bought or from blogs (and even the old paper clippings file) without keeping the calories around where I'll consume them.

So I've baked cinnamony muffin tin doughnuts, and a crumb-topped coffeecake with a chocolate cinnamon swirl, and a mini version of the orange swirl buns  (close to this) I've been making for decades now. I'm doing most of this on Thursday nights so the results are pretty fresh for Friday morning, which does limit some options. Also limiting is "what's good at room temperature" since re-heating isn't an option. That's had me avoiding things like bacon-cheddar biscuits and other savory biscuit-y things--they'd be edible, sure, but not at their best.

Mini ChallahsThis week's idea was to celebrate Rosh Hashanah (s-i-l is Jewish) and maybe let her share a little Jewish culture. I made my standard whole-wheat challah with dried cherries, and we divided it into 2-2.5 ounce pieces, rolled each into a rope, and made mini spiral/round challahs. There was some dried-cherry loss--they are a little big for the size of dough ropes we made.

I brushed the rolls with an egg wash as usual just before baking, but then brushed them with a little diluted honey about halfway through the baking ("for a sweet New Year"). The nephew wanted some of the haul to take to his school for 'nosh' and wanted apples added as well, so for one batch we chopped a honey crisp apple finely, sprinkled the bits with cinnamon sugar, and rolled those into the spiral of dough.

We'll see how these go over. So far the most reaction I've heard about was for the orange swirl buns, a classic gooey variation on a cinnamon roll.  I suspect the teachers run to a very sweet tooth, so the less sweet options may not be as popular.

BB: The Baking Bible master list

I'll link my blog posts to this list as an index. Some items are components of another recipe, some are variations of a base...I've got most of those on separate lines, though I may edit it later to have a more compact list.


 Butter And Oil Cakes
  •  Blueberry Buckle 
  •  var: Black and Blueberry Spoon Cake 
  •  Cran-Raspberry Upside-Down Cake (with Raspberry Italian Meringue) 
  •  component: Raspberry Italian Meringue 
  •  var: Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake with Strawberry Meringue 
  •  component: Caramelized Rhubarb Topping 
  •  Cream Cheese Butter Cake (with Light Lemon Curd Buttercream) 
  •  component: Light Lemon Curd Buttercream 
  •  Blueberry Crumb Party Coffee Cake 
  •  English Dried Fruit Cake 
  •  Honey Cake For A Sweet New Year 
  • White Christmas Peppermint Cake (with White White Chocolate Buttercream)
  • The Red Velvet Rose (with Raspberry Sauce) 
  •  Pink Pearl Lady Cake (with White Chocolate Fondant and Strawberry Mousseline) 
  •  component: Strawberry Mousseline 
  •  Marble in Reverse With Custom Rose Blend Ganache Glaze 
  •  The Chocolate FloRo Elegance With Caramel Buttercream 
  •  Chocolate Pavarotti With Wicked Good Ganache 
  • Double Damage Oblivion 
  •  White Chocolate Cupcakes With Raspberry Mousseline 
  •  component: Raspberry Mousseline 
  •  Coconut Cupcakes With Milk Chocolate Ganache 
  •  var: Coconut Silk Meringue Buttercream 
  •  Coffee Crumb Cake Muffins 
  •  Molasses Crumb Cakelets 

 Sponge Cakes

  •  The Renee Fleming Golden Chiffon (with Lemon Curd Whipped Cream and Powdered Lemon Zest)
  • Banana Split Chiffon Cake 
  •  Lemon Icebox Cake 
  •  Light Sponge Cake (Biscuit) 
  •  var: Light Almond Sponge Cake 
  •  Prune Preserves and Caramel Cream Cake Roll 
  •  Lemon Posset Shortcakes 
  •  Var: Lemon Posset Alma 
  •  Strawberry Shortcake Génoise 
  •  var: Mini Strawberry Shortcakes 
  •  The Polish Princess Heavenly Chocolate Mousse Cake 
  •  component: pastry buttercream base 
  •  component: filling 
  •  Chocolate Cuddle Cake 
  •  ChocolaTea Cake 


  •  Mango Bango Cheesecake 
  •  Fourth Of July Cheesecake 
  •  Lemon Almond Cheesecake 
  •  Marble White And Dark Chocolate Cheesecake 
  •  Stilton Baby Blue Cheesecakes 
  •  var: Savory Stilton Cheesecakes 

Pies, Tarts, And Other Pastries


  •  Irish Cream Scones 
  •  Flaky Cream Cheese Scones 
  •  Var: Rose's Scone Toppers Raspberry 
  • Butterscotch Lace Topping For Scones 

 Flaky Pastry Basic Recipe

  •  Perfect Flaky and Tender Cream Cheese Pie Crust 

 Fruit Pies And Tarts

  •  Luscious Apple Pie 
  •  Perfect Peach Galette 
  •  Sour Cherry Pie 
  •  var: "Churrant" Pie 
  •  Var: Fruit Perfect Cherry Pie 
  •  Cherry Sweetie Pie 
  •  Black And Blueberry Pie 
  •  ElderBlueberry Pie 
  •  BlueRhu Pie 
  •  Gooseberry Crisp 
  •  Lemon and Cranberry Tart Tart 
  •  component: Lemon Curd Filling 
  •  Lemon Curd and Raspberry Pielets 
  •  component: Lemon Curd Filling 
  •  The Araxi Lemon Cream Tart 
  •  Frozen Lime Meringue Pie 
  •  component: Meringue Topping 
  •  French Orange Cream Tart 
  •  Pomegranate Winter Chiffon Meringue Pie 
  •  var: Lemon Cookie Crust 

 Nut And Chocolate Pies And Tarts

  •  Hungarian Raisin Walnut Tartlets 
  •  Pumpkin Pecan Pie 
  •  Mud Turtle Pie 
  •  Frozen Pecan Tart 
  •  Fudgy Pudgy Brownie Tart 
  •  Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse Tart 
  •  Posh Pie 
  •  Chocolate Ganache Tartlets 
  •  var: Dairy-Free Ganache Tartlets 

Savory Pastries

  •  Perfect Savory Cream Puffs 
  •  var: Deluxe Puffs 
  •  Michel Richard's Chicken Faux Gras 
  •  Pizza Rustica 

Cookies And Candy

 Cookies Dropped Or Shaped By Hand

  •  Spritz Butter Cookies 
  •  Almond Coffee Crisps 
  •  Kourambiethes 
  •  Pepparkakors 
  •  var: Hot Nick Pepparkakors 
  •  Luxury Oatmeal Cookies 
  •  Gingersnaps 
  •  Molasses Sugar Butter Cookies 
  •  var: Molasses Sugar Butter Cookies made with shortening 
  •  Hazelnut Praline Cookies 
  •  My Chocolate Chip Cookies 
  •  var: Melt-in-the-Mouth Chocolate Chip Cookies 
  •  Double Chocolate Oriolos 

 Rolled And Pastry Type Cookies

  •  The Dutch Pecan Sandies 
  •  The Ischler 
  •  Lemon Jammies 
  •  component: Lemon Neoclassic Buttercream 
  •  Coconut Crisps 
  •  New Spin On Rollie Pollies 
  •  Giant Jam Cookie 
  •  Cookie Strudel 
  •  Rugelach 
  •  var: Schnecken 
  •  var: Chocolate Raspberry Rugelach 
  •  var: Cran-Raspberry Rugelach 
  •  Hamantaschen 

Cake Type Cookies

  •  Mini Gateaux Breton 
  •  Chocolate Sweetheart Madeleines 
  •  Woody's Black And White Brownies 

 Candy, Meringue, And Ice Cream Cookies

  •  Luxury Chocolate Buttercrunch Toffee 
  •  Pecan Praline Scheherazades 
  •  var: Yum Rolls 
  •  Bourbon Pecan Butter Balls 
  •  Brandy Snap Cannoli 
  •  Dattelkonfekt (Date Confections) 
  •  Meringue Birch Twigs 
  •  Praline Pecan Meringue Ice Cream Sandwiches 
  •  var: Praline Pecan Meringue Cookies 
  •  Fudgy Chocolate Ice Cream Sandwiches 

 Breads And Yeast Pastries 

Sweet Yeast Pastries And Breads

  •  Crumpets 
  •  Cadillac Café Milk Chocolate Bread Pudding 
  •  var: Sliced Bread Pudding 
  •  Rum Raisin French Toast Royale 
  •  component: Cinnamon-raisin bread 
  •  White Chocolate Club Med Bread 
  •  Golden Orange Panettone with Chocolate Sauce 
  •  Babka 
  •  var: Chocolate Almond Schmear Filling 
  •  var: Apricot and Cream Cheese Schmear Filling 
  •  Classic Brioche 
  •  var: Classic Brioche Loaf 
  •  Monkey Dunkey Bread 
  •  var: Bourbon Butterscotch Caramel 
  •  Caramel Buns 
  •  Sugar Rose Brioche 
  •  Kouigns Amann 
    • var: Souffléed French Toast 

 For The Cheese Course

  •  Swedish Apricot Walnut Bread 
  •  Cranberry Christmas Bread 
  •  100% Whole Wheat Walnut Loaf 

 Favorite Homemade Preserves

  •  True Orange Marmalade 
  •  Sour Cherry And Currant Jam 
  •  Concord Grape Jelly

The Baking Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum

The Baking Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum Poor neglected food blog--I'm going to try to revive it by participating in another cookbook bake-through, this one for The Baking Bible. The project is led by Marie, who organized the first bake-through I participated in for Rose's Heavenly Cakes, and the home blog is Rose's Alpha Bakers. It's the Alpha Bakers because many in the group were beta testers during cookbook development. Contrary to software development usage, they've moved from beta testing to alpha testing. I had to give the beta baking a pass because, Life, so the recipes will all be new to me.

I'm still trying to complete my solo Smitten Kitchen Cookbook project. I've cooked even more than when I last updated the master page--I almost never stop cooking and baking, but the blogging part, especially with pictures, falls by the wayside when life gets busy. Weekly assignments for The Baking Bible with a due date (blog posts go up on Mondays!) will hopefully get me back in the blogging habit. Younger niece is now off at college and isn't nudging me to try new recipes, so the Alpha Bakers may fill that gap.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Pi Day post, try 3

My blogging software, MarsEdit, seems to have eaten 2 attempts at this post--eaten without leaving any remnants in the drafts folder, to boot. I'm trying one more time, with intermediate publishing to make sure it's working. I think each version is getting more succinct.

Gotta make pie on Pi Day...

Not quite Beatrice's Chicken PieFirst up: Variations on family favorite Beatrice's Chicken Pie. Beatrice made it with a double crust in a 2 quart casserole dish, using your basic Crisco pie crust. I made individual pot pies in ramekins with a top crust only, using the crust recipe from Smitten Kitchen's pancetta, white bean and chard pot pies. Worked quite well, except for the pie whose crust melted and sagged to the baking sheet before it set. Why only one of six did that, I have no idea.

Chocolate Midnight PieDessert: Chocolate Midnight Pie from the King Arthur Flour web site, a half recipe. Used Dave's Vanilla Coffee Syrup instead of the Kahlua I didn't have, including a little bit in the crust instead of using espresso powder. (Some espresso powder did go in the filling.) Speed-cooled it on the countertop and then the fridge instead of the overnight chill the recipe called for, and it set up fine. Good pie, lovely and fudgey.

Chocolate Midnight Pie

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Help-clean-out-the-fridge supper

cheddar, beer, and mustard pull-apart breadThe menu:

vegetable-beef soup, a re-incarnation of leftover beef stew with a can of fire-roasted tomatoes and some stock providing the new life

cheddar, beer, and mustard pull-apart bread from Smitten Kitchen (blog, not the cookbook this time), made with a bottle of Guinness that has been in the back of the fridge for rather a long time and the ends of fontina and Gruyere from Christmas cooking, filled out with some good sharp cheddar.

I drank the rest of the Guinness as an accompaniment, of course.

The bread was very good. I've been clipping recipes using this type of pull-apart bread, where you basically stack up sheets of dough like a deck of cards in a loaf pan. All of those clippings were for sweet breads until I saw the SK variation. Tonight was a perfect night for it, being chilly and rainy and perfect for soup and fresh-baked bread.

cheddar, beer, and mustard pull-apart breadNo real notes on the recipe: except for using the odd bits of cheese as part of the mix, I made it as written. One note for future baking is to make sure the loaf is done in the middle, maybe by checking the temperature--my loaf was done but almost on the edge of doughy due to the cheese level.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

SKC: Butternut squash and caramelized onion galette

SKC: Butternut squash galetteWriteup on the same day as the baking, for once! (I've still got a backlog of 17 or so SKC posts from late summer/early I have no notes on most of those, you'd think they'd be quick to do.)

A little cold snap (well, cooler, anyway--most of my basil is still alive so we haven't gotten to freezing yet) has me overdosing on winter vegetables and comfort-type food. I've bought the parsnips and carrots for a third making of the SKC Honey and harissa farro salad, picked up lots of kale some of which ended up in the wild rice gratin, some sort of different winter squash I didn't note the name of that got simply baked and eaten with salt and pepper, and a butternut squash. This recipe turns out to be a great vehicle for butternut squash, though it does take a while to put all the pieces together. I decided on a half recipe, knowing that at most 4 of us would eat it (me, sister-in-law, younger niece, and perhaps the nephew). The full-sized version is supposed to serve 8.

Here's the process: the squash itself is cubed and oven-roasted. Thinly sliced sweet onion is caramelized on the stove. Squash and onion get mixed together and cooled (and in my case, refrigerated for a day and a half), then mixed with grated fontina and some fresh thyme. The crust uses sour cream and a little white wine vinegar for tenderness, and a little whole wheat flour is suggested as an option. I forgot to do that (shouldn't try to make pastry in the morning before having all my coffee), so I used whole-wheat flour to roll it out to try to imbue a little virtue. The crust seemed quite soft even after being refrigerated for most of the day, but it rolled out easily.

For the half recipe I rolled the dough to about 12 inches, piled the squash mixture in the middle, then folded up and pleated the sides. It baked for 35 minutes (same time as the full-size recipe calls for, as really it's about baking the pastry) and came out golden brown and beautiful, if leaking a little liquid. Maybe the squash suffered a little from the almost 2-day hold in the fridge?

Results: it's lovely. The crust was flakey and tasty (and no soggy bottom despite the liquid that baked out), and the squash-onion-cheese filling is a great combination. Nephew even ate most of a piece, though he removed some of the squash, preferring the onion, cheese, and crust. We may repeat this one over Thanksgiving or Christmas as an entree or a side. The half recipe was a good decision when using this as a side dish--there's almost half of it left over.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

SKC: Plum poppy seed muffins

Plum poppyseed muffinsYet another from back in June (hey, we made a NYC Broadway trip in July, and I don't deal well with interruptions...): June 24.

I didn't make any notes on these, and the memory isn't strong. Vaguely I recall that the chunks of plum were too moist, making little wet pockets (and not jammy ones), and the poppyseeds were a nice crunch but annoyed when they got in your teeth. I'd say I must have cut the plum pieces too large...but looking at the picture, I don't think so.

Put this one down as not bad, but not a high priority for a repeat.