Friday, July 3, 2015

Peach + Gingersnap Crostata

I made this a few nights ago.

It was a variation of this recipe of an apple crostata.  Since it's summer, I couldn't resist making it with peaches.  I wanted to change the topping too.  We were having diner with friends.  I know pie is a favorite for one of them, but, like me, cookies and cake are the favorites for the other.  So, I decided to sneak some cookies in to the topping.  I turned some gingersnaps to dust, and used them inside to soak up some juices and also in the topping.

Assembly is pretty simple...dough, cookie crumbs, peaches with a pinch of sugar, and the crumbly topping.  The topping was just cookies, butter, flour, ginger, and another pinch of sugar.  Easy as pie! ;)

As you can see, I had a bit of a juice situation.  I don't mind the mess.  Actually, I like it, but, if you want to be more tidy, you can let the sliced peaches sit in the sugar for a while before cooking and drain the juice.

I was really happy with the end result.  It was just right with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream.  

Tuesday, June 23, 2015


We have a thing for pâte à choux around here. Eclairs and eclair cake are the go-to, but we shook things up recently.  Our latest delight was a batch of profiteroles.  I piped small, cream-puff shapes, filled them with whipped cream and vanilla ice cream, and topped them with chocolate ganache.  They were messy to eat, but that didn't stop anyone.

These were simple to make.  I made each part separately, and we assembled them as we ate them.  If I was trying to impress someone, I would dust them with powdered sugar pre-ganache.  Of course, you could also go wild with flavor combos.  If they were only for me, I would use hazelnut gelato in place of the vanilla ice cream. Oh me, oh my! 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Peanut Butter & Banana

Every morning I start my day with a banana and some peanut butter. No real reason, I just like to start my day that way. Most days my family joins me, which means we go through a lot of bananas. Because of this, I hardly ever have ripe bananas sitting around. This is a problem because my friend over at Hazel Haven posted this recipe for banana bread last October. I've been waiting ever since for some bananas to linger long enough to be full flavored. 

This morning, I had some spotty bananas in the fruit bowl. That meant I just had to make the long awaited banana bread. I didn't have any pecans, so I made up for it with a peanut butter frosting. ;) You can find the recipe for the banana bread on Hazel Haven. While you're over there, check out her pizza dough. It looks just right. 

The frosting...please do not add up the calories. I prefer to live in denial. Mix one cup powdered sugar, 1/3 cup peanut butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and a few tablespoons heavy cream. Stir until smooth. Then, add heavy cream one tablespoon at a time until it's the thickness you desire. 

Also, you may have noticed that my "bread" is in the shape of a Bundt cake.  I only have one loaf pan, but the recipe calls for two. So, I improvised. I cooked it for the same time and temperature without any troubles. 

The bread is tender, moist, and slightly tangy, thanks to the buttermilk. This is definitely going to stay in the rotation. I may even break routine and have a slice to start my day off tomorrow. Thanks, Hazel Haven for sharing this keeper recipe with us!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Tiramisu Cake

I made this cake with my in-laws in mind.  They love coffee as much as anyone I know.  Unfortunately, their travel was delayed, so we ate most of it before they arrived.  Don't worry, I had plenty of other treats for them to enjoy.  No sweet tooth suffers around here!

I used this recipe for the cake, and this recipe for the filling and syrup.  Then, I topped it with chocolate espresso ganache, and a simple garnish of chocolate covered espresso beans.

Three cake posts in a row! After this chocolate, coffee, and malt cake, this raspberry, chocolate, and cheesecake cake, and, finally, the tiramisu cake, I am going to shake things up with my next post.  Hmm...time to brainstorm!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

This Cake

I made this cake for one of the loveliest people I know.  I could not make a cake tall enough to express how much I appreciate her.  

After much brainstorming, I decided on a chocolate, cheesecake, and raspberry treat.  The layers are chocolate cake (recipe from Add a Pinch), cheesecake (recipe from Milk Bar), raspberry jam buttercream (recipe from my brain), chocolate ganache, and fresh raspberries. It was quite a hit, and I can't wait to make this again. First, let me go run 100 miles to undo the damage. ;)

Friday, May 22, 2015

Naked Chocolate Cake

I've been wanting to make a "naked cake" for quite a while.  I finally purchased a cake ring and cake bands so that I could do it the way I wanted.  I know you could build it without any special equipment, but I wanted a 6" inch cake.

The layers include chocolate cake, chocolate and coffee buttercream frostings, and chocolate candies. It was surprisingly easy to build.  I baked one chocolate 9" cake round, and, after a short time in the freezer, I cut it with a 6" cake ring.  I split those two rings in to two rounds, and I used the scraps to create the middle cake layer.  This was not my creativity at work, I adapted the Milk Bar method I had read about.

The cake was for a friend's birthday.  So, after it was assembled I had to wait for the guest of honor to dive in.  The waiting was the hardest part.  I'll definitely be making more of these cakes in the future.  I like the different look, and I enjoy the process very much.

Happy Friday!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Bready McBread Bread

Making bread at home can be hit or miss to say the least. The good news is that it almost always smells amazing, and even "bad" bread is kind of delicious. 

Mark Bittman's famous No Knead Bread is the best recipe I've tried. I say "famous" because it is super popular. Google it, and you'll see what I mean. 

Of course, not everyone loves it, but I've made it several times now, and I'm a major fan.  I've tried different flours and slightly varied my technique. If you want to make it, just follow the recipe.  

I don't have any recipe changes, but I do have some bakers notes...

*I made it once with half whole wheat and half all-purpose flour. As you might guess, it was a little tough. 

*Sometimes, before the rise, it is a bit more wet than the "shaggy" dough it should be. The first time, this stressed me out. I spent a lot of energy thinking about adding flour. In the end, it doesn't seem to cause any problems. 

*I screwed up my timing once, and I had to let it sit for longer than planned before baking. It was sitting for about 20 hours. It was amazing. Now, I do that every time. 

*If you can possibly have the self control, let it cool before you cut in to it. The crust is so much better if you can wait. 

Grab your yeast, salt, and flour. Get started now, and you'll have bread tomorrow!