Sunday, July 31, 2011

Baked Sunday Mornings: Mom's Olive Oil Orange Bundt Cake

I know what your're thinking.  Olive Oil in a cake...for dessert...ewww!  Don't worry, I was thinking that too.  I had no idea what this cake would be like, and I was a little worried that it would be gross.  However, I read some good reviews of this cake on other blogs, so I decided to take a chance.

I'm really glad I made this cake for Baked Sunday Mornings.  The olive oil gave it a complex flavor, but you did not really know there was olive oil in it unless I told you about it.  We have a parve orange cake that we usually make, but I think this one might replace it.  It is not too sweet and the orange flavor really comes through.  I imagine you could make it with other citrus fruit as well.

The recipe gave you an option to glaze or not to glaze.  I made the glaze because I had delicious oranges from the farmer's market and because I enjoy glaze.  I just combined fresh squeezed orange juice and confectioners sugar until it looked right.  It was a really pretty pale orange color from the intense juice.  

You can see that I had a little trouble getting it out of the pan, but other than that it was super simple to throw together.  I substituted tofutti sour cream for the yogurt to make the cake parve, but otherwise made it as written.

You can view the recipe and the creations of the other bakers at Baked Sunday Mornings.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Ethnic Flavor: Ramah Mandelbrot Revisited

When we went to camp, the best elective you could hope for was cooking. Two or three days a week, you got to visit the (air conditioned!) mini-kitchen and cook delicious and entirely unhealthy foods. When you left cooking with freshly baked challah, everyone wanted to be your best friend.

Although it's been 11 years since my last summer at camp, I still think especially fondly of one recipe: the one for mandelbrot. Rebecca has blogged about this treat before (see here), but when my mom was cleaning out the kitchen and wanted to get rid of all of the old camp cookbooks, I rescued one mostly with the intention of rescuing this recipe.

Mandelbrot are a magic thing-- part cookie, part biscotti, all delicious. They freeze very well and are fairly adaptable, meaning that they can be made with chocolate chips, raisins, cherries, nuts or whatever else you want. Personally, I'm partial to the chocolate chips. The recipe is below!

Camp Ramah Mandelbrot:
3 eggs
1 cup of sugar
6 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 3/4 cups of flour
1 bag chocolate chips
cinnamon sugar

Beat the eggs together with sugar and oil. Add other ingredients except chocolate chips and mix well. Add the chocolate. Create two-three logs and put them on a greased cookie sheet. Sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar.

Bake at 350 for 25 minutes. Cut the loaves on the diagonal immediately upon removing from the oven. Turn off the oven and return them to the oven for a few minutes.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Hat's Off to Sugar Cookies

I am a delinquent. Sad but true. Many apologies-- apparently working three jobs is not conducive to much baking. But here I am, catching up and hoping to depart shortly from my delinquent ways.

ANYWAY... My very dear friend Ruth is getting married in November, interestingly enough to a guy she met here at school. (Who knew that such things happened in a women's program?) Some Jewish women have the practice of covering part or all of her hair when they get married (for more on that click here), so we decided to through Ruth a party where she could get hats and scarves galore. So what better way to celebrate... than with hat cookies!

Props to Sarah, who found me the hat cookie cutter. These were both adorable and delicious. You can find the recipe here. Enjoy and l'chaim!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Vive Le Crepe!

Happy Bastille Day! For those of you who fell asleep during 10th grade history, Bastille Day celebrates the storming of the Bastille, a notorious Parisian prison, on July 14th, 1789. I've never celebrated Bastille Day before, but for whatever reason I've been celebrating it all week this year. On Sunday, my friend Maya and I went to Fiaf's annual Bastille Day street fair. I can't believe I've never been before! Soooo much amazing French food from vendors from all over the city. In addition to a wine and cheese tasting (three glasses of wine, one beer or cocktail, and all the bread and cheese you wanted for just 15 dollars!), I also bought a caramel macaron and a chocolate eclair. And then later I had a little stomach ache. Worth it.

Maya also got a goat cheese and spinach crepe at the festival. It's so fun to watch crepes being made - there's a lot of artistry in spreading the batter into a paper-thin layer, cooking it to just the right shade of brownness, flipping it over and finally folding the finished pancake around the filling. So yesterday, when another friend and I decided to have a French-themed lunch in honor of Bastille Day, I was a little apprehensive that we had what it took to make thin, delicious, well-cooked crepes. But these couldn't have been simpler! Even my friend, who is a super-novice cook, could make them with relative ease. We quartered the recipe and had just the right amount for two medium-sized crepes. You can find the recipe here. Bon appetit!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Trying a New Chocolate Chip Cookie

Sometimes it is fun to bake fancy things (cakes in the shape of Churches, Sarah?), but sometimes the fun comes in baking something simple and quick, that you know will be tasty, like a chocolate chip cookie.  Yes, there are many bad chocolate chip cookies out there, but most of the ones you bake yourself will be good no matter what.

These chocolate chip cookies come from David Lebovitz (you know him as our ice cream guru) in his newest book, Ready for Dessert.  Unlike most chocolate chip cookies that I have baked, these are slice and bake cookies, not drop cookies.  You form the dough into a log, let it rest in the fridge for 24 hours and then slice and bake.  I actually sliced the dough and then froze the slices, which worked really well, since this recipe made a lot of cookies and there are just two of us in the house right now.

I enjoyed this recipe, although I thought the dough needed more salt, so I will add that next time.  I used a combination of chocolate chips and chopped chocolate, since that is what I had in the house, and I omitted the nuts, since you know how we feel about nuts in baked goods.  It is really important to use good chocolate in these (chocolate that you like) because there is a lot of chocolate in here.  Overall, I enjoyed these cookies.  They are not my favorite, but I think with the addition of more salt, they could be a contender.

The recipe is after the jump.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

BAKED Sunday Mornings: Blackberry Pie

This week's sweet from Baked Sunday Mornings was Blackberry pie.  Unlike some of the other things that we have made from Baked Explorations, this pie was a true classic -- some berries tossed with sugar, flour and some lemon juice and zest baked inside a double crust pie.  I didn't make my own crust (no time), so this pie was super easy to throw together.  I used blackberries that I bought at Trader Joe's because the recipe called for 7 cups and I could not spend that kind of money on farmer's market berries.  However, you could not tell at all.  The pie was delicious -- a great balance of tart and sweet.  The only problem I had with it is that the juice dripped out everywhere as it was baking (yes, I had a baking sheet under it) and while I was carrying it.  Any suggestions to make that not happen to pies?  Even with that, this pie was enjoyed by all.  I brought it to a picnic and it was gobbled up.

Friday, July 1, 2011

MSC Club July Bonus: Red, White and Blue Cupcakes

This month's bonus assignment for the Martha Stewart Cupcake Club was to do 4th of July cupcakes, either just like the ones in the cookbook or inspired by them.  I decided to go the "inspired" route and create red, white and blue cupcakes.  The beauty of these cupcakes is that on the outside they look normal, but on the, white and blue surprise!

I know these look complicated, but they are actually pretty easy to make.  I made one recipe of Dorie's Perfect Party Cake (sorry Martha) and then divided it into three bowls.  I tinted one bowl red, one bowl blue and left the other one white.  You really need a white cake as a base, not yellow.  Then you spoon in some of the red batter, until the bottom is covered.  Then, put some white batter right on top of that and some blue batter after that.  It should form concentric circles, not layers.  Then, bake away and frost as you wish.  These baked for 20 minutes, but you should keep checking on them to make sure they don't burn.  I got 19 cupcakes out of a recipe for a 2 layer cake.  

I used cream cheese frosting and colored sugar to decorate these, but you could use berries, food coloring, flags or whatever you would like.  I think they look very cute and very patriotic.  Happy 4th of July!
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