A Pastry Book In Demand

If you’re in desperate need of money, and have a copy of The Last Course, you should consider selling it – it’s going for quite a bit of money on Amazon.

Make money from your cookbook shelf – Eatocracy – CNN.com Blogs.

New Trick to Try

I’ll be trying this with my KitchenAid soon…

Tip: Blender and Mason Jar | Simply Recipes.

Tomato Basil Feta Galette

My husband and I like to cook – a lot.  We’ve learned enough in the last couple of years that we can confidently cook most recipes that we see.  It has made for some very yummy dinners.  Last night we made dinner for Andy’s family (we’re currently living with them).  It’s a weekly ritual that gives us the opportunity to try out an interesting recipe or two from our (ever-growing) stash of cookbooks, or one of the cooking magazines.

Tomatoes - how can you resist?

Last night we made a fantastic tagliatelle pasta with orange and prosciutto.  It sounds a little strange, but it was really good.  It’s in this month’s Bon Appetit if you’d like to try it out.  We needed something to go along with our pasta though, and we found this Tomato Basil Feta Galette in Cooking Light.  I made it fairly quickly – the hands-on time is maybe 20 minutes.  You need to allow time for the dough to chill and the galette to bake though, so start it a couple of hours before dinner will be served.

Cutting board with tomatoes.

You’ll notice below that there are a few notes on how I might change the recipe.  Next time, I’m going to try adding another 1/2 tablespoon of ice water, because I found the galette dough to be really hard to work with.  There were not good thoughts going through my head as I was trying to fold the edges over the tomatoes and had to pinch the dough back together for the eighth time because it was so crumbly.

Galette before edges were rolled.

Also, my tomatoes never got all roasty and beautiful like the tomatoes in the magazine picture, and my crust never got quite as brown.  I’m not sure why…I even let it bake an extra 10 minutes in the first bake, and an extra 5 minutes in the second bake.  Next time I’m going to let it go a little longer, or maybe turn up the oven.

Edges rolled.

Even though my galette did not come out perfectly, it was still really tasty.  It is definitely a recipe I’ll be doing again.  Everyone else agreed – there were no leftovers.

Finished galette.

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Grown Up Caramel Cremes

It’s been way too long since I’ve posted, mostly due to the lack of my own kitchen and giving up sweets for Lent.  Yes, I gave up sweets for Lent…or did my best, anyway.

Lots of Good Eats

So I’ve decided in the last few months that I’d like to learn how to make candy.  This, of course, necessitated perusing Amazon and then Barnes and Noble to find the perfect book on making candy.  The first book that caught my eye was SugarBaby by Gesine Bullock-Prado (yes, sister to Sandra).  Unfortunately, the book hadn’t actually come out yet, which made paging through it a bit difficult.  I moved on to Chocolates and Confections: At Home with the Culinary Institute of America next, which is what I ultimately purchased.  Candy, here I come!  Except, it was still Lent, so instead I made plans to make candy (ie. tortured myself by looking at really pretty pictures of the candy I would soon make).

Caramel Logs of Fondant Goodness

A few weeks later, Andy and I were moving out of our New York apartment.  We were wandering around the city on our “day off” and walked through The Strand (If you’re in NYC, go.  Seriously.) and came across a single copy of SugarBaby – 1/2 off!  Score!  That’s how I came to make these Fleur de Sel Spirals – because even though SugarBaby isn’t as technical, I couldn’t resist the pull of caramel and cream.  This recipe is a bit complicated, but totally doable, even for candy virgins.  As long as you’re a precise candy virgin.  Go buy a candy thermometer – now!  The link is to the thermometer that I own, but if you want one less…digital, try this one.

Slicing

These caramels are absolutely fantastic.  They’re along the same lines as a Cow Tail or a caramel creme, which I ate a lot of growing up.  This version is definitely a little more grown up – there’s salted caramel involved, as well as some really excellent vanilla fondant.  Although they’re a little complicated, I did the entire recipe in about 2 hours, start to finish…that’s not bad for a recipe I had never done before, with techniques I was unfamiliar with.  An excellent start to my candymaking journey, for sure.

Yummy Spiral

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Make Your Own Pumpkin Spice Lattes?

Have you ever made your own Pumpkin Spice Latte?  I love getting them from Starbucks, but it’s so expensive to support a Starbucks habit.  This is a recipe I found at The Kitchn.  I think I’m going to try it the next time I open a can of pumpkin to make cookies.

DIY Recipe: Pumpkin Spice Latte (Just Like Starbucks!) | Apartment Therapy The Kitchn.

P.S.  I’ve figured out how to make my own chai latte, complete with foam!  A bonus for DIY – you can use any chai you want, you’re not limited to Tazo.

Banana Muffins – and Good Ones, At That!

When a lazy Sunday comes around where you wake up and life is good, when you’re relaxed and you know that the day is going to be relatively low stress, making muffins for brunch (or, er, lunch, if you happen to roll out of bed around 11:30am) is the way to go.
Mix & measure in one cup.
These banana muffins are super simple, taste good, and take one bowl and one measuring cup to put together.  They take maybe 15-20 minutes to mix up and another 20 to bake.  Don’t use the paper liners like I did…they stuck to the muffins.  Get out your trusty cooking spray and spray your muffin tins – life will be much easier.

Wet ingredients in the well.
A hint so that you have fewer dishes to clean:  When measuring the liquid ingredients, measure the 1/2 c. of milk into a Pyrex glass measuring cup, then add the 1/4 c. oil (so the liquid should be at the 3/4 c. mark).  Crack the egg into the Pyrex, then whisk it all together.  You’ll save a couple dishes that way, which is good, because who really wants to be doing dishes on a lazy Sunday?

Muffins in a pan.
So.  Make the muffins.  You’ll be glad you did.  Then, try to keep from eating all of them in one day…because, well, the husband and I ate way too many of them today.  It’s the lazy Sunday curse…when you don’t want to cook, you grab whatever’s handy – bonus points if it’s freshly baked.  Bake on!

Banana muffin! Read more

It Was Too Hot To Bake In July Anyway…

It’s been a bit since I’ve written – sorry about that.  I took a part time job at a bakery in Manhattan and it took all of my energy.  Now that I’ve left, I have plenty of time to post!  At least until classes start.  I’ve been stocking up on things to post though, so there will be more coming!

Cream soda bubbles

Let’s get started with something really…interesting.  Cream Soda Toffee Cupcakes.  Yes, cream soda.  Grab your favorite can and use it here.  I wouldn’t suggest using diet (and the recipe specifically says not to).  I used Mug Cream Soda – I’ve only ever seen it in NYC and it’s wonderful.

In the oven

The frosting on these cupcakes is browned butter – one of my favorite foods ever.  Ever.  Browned butter makes anything it’s in taste absolutely amazing.  The recipe also calls for toffee pieces.  I couldn’t find any (I checked about 5 stores), so I bought a couple small boxes of Nips.  They worked ok but stuck to my teeth.  If you can find the toffee, I highly recommend using that instead.  Enjoy the cupcakes – bake on!

Finished goodness

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A Fondant Recipe and Some Butterflies

In the previous post I posted some baseballs that I had made for my Dad (happy birthday and happy Father’s Day, Dad!) but I didn’t post the recipe for the frosting I used.  I used a poured fondant for the white on the baseballs and then tinted royal icing red (using Wilton paste food colors, although I think I’m going to switch to Americolor or Ateco because they come in squeeze bottles) for the stitches and the writing.  You can find the recipe for the poured fondant here (take a few minutes to read through the blog, it’s great if you like baking and science).  While reheating the fondant base, I only used enough of the sugar syrup to make the fondant a bit more liquid (instead of really runny) because I didn’t want it to run over the sides of the cookies…so don’t use the amount he uses, just use enough that you can dip the top of your cookie in and it won’t run over the side.  It takes some practice, but it’s worth it to get a perfect finish on the cookies.

The royal icing I used for the stitches is from Peggy Porschen’s Pretty Party Cakes.  I seriously want to make all the cakes and cookies in this book, so if you need a custom cake or cookies for an event (or just for the fun of it), let me know.  I thinned the royal icing out with a touch of water just until it was thin enough to use with a parchment paper triangle (or a decorating bag with a small round tip).  You want to thin it out enough that it will pass through the tip, but you don’t want it to be runny.  Here’s something else I did with that royal icing recipe:

Butterflies, step 1 (we can have lots of fun).Butterflies, step 2 (there's so much we can do).Butterflies, step 3 (it's just you and me).Butterflies, step 4 (uh...I can give you more?)Pretty, right?  I outlined the butterflies with stiff royal icing, then flooded them with runny royal icing.  Click “read more” for the icing recipe!

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A Break From Your Regularly Scheduled Posts…

…To show you what I sent my dad for his birthday and Father’s Day.

Father's Day CookieLots of baseballs.Baseball closeup.Packaged baseballs.

Pink Sorbet – So Pretty

My husband and I are trying to eat a little healthier this summer.  We joined a CSA to get fresh fruit and veggies (you can read more about that here), I’m trying to eat less meat (which is helped along by the increase in veggies), and we’re moving more – we’ve started rollerblading through Central Park a few times a week.  All great things, but I will always have a downfall: ice cream.  I love the stuff.  I told my husband tonight that we can’t buy it because if it’s in the house, I’ll eat it.

Strawberries on the scale

Enter, the ice cream maker.  It’s a beautiful invention and I like taking advantage of it, but my focus has been on full-fat ice cream because I like flavors like Cookies n Cream, and Mint Chocolate.  That’s not going to help much with the goal of being more healthy.  So this week I compromised – I made strawberry sorbet instead of a normal ice cream.  There’s still a lot of sugar in it, but at least it’s not made with heavy cream!

Pureed strawberries (sort of)

This is a great sorbet, if a little oversweet.  I think next time I’ll try to cut down on the sugar a little bit.  It has a wonderful strawberry flavor, and I’m sure we’ll make it again this summer.  Maybe a few times, depending on what the CSA brings us this year. :)   As always, let me know what you think, how you change it, and Bake on!

Strawberry sorbet Read more