Friday, April 27, 2012

Orange You Glad? A Hole in One

I love a good bundt cake, especially if it's glazed. MMMMM... So when I had people over for Shabbat lunch a while ago and decided to do some real cooking, I had bundts on my mind. As I have mentioned before, I had much less equipment than my sisters, so my baking is not always a high-tech, although I like to think it's just as delicious. So imagine my delight that, when I googled citrus bundt cake one day, the one I found with the best reviews was one made of a doctored cake mix. Hurrah! I really liked this recipe, although I ended up adjusting it slightly by using both lemon and orange extract in the batter. I especially liked the glaze, which was thick enough from the butter and the heat that it was not fully absorbed into the cake, but instead remained on the outside. It also freezes well. You can find the recipe here.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Cranberry Chocolate Chip Muffins

I have been getting really into my iphone camera lately, especially all the cool things you can do with effects.  This photo was taken with the Vintage Camera app, which I love.  It is just fun to change your photos a little bit and I wanted to see how it would do with food.  I really like the way these muffins came out. I think you can see all the parts of the topping, cranberries and chocolate chips.  What are some other cool iphone camera apps that you would recommend?

Anyway, on to the important part...the muffins.  I have had these marked in my reader for a while and I never got around to making them.  However, since Passover has been over, I really wanted muffins and these seemed like a good choice.  And they were!  They had a fantastic combination of a delicious batter, tart cranberry, crunchy topping and sweet chocolate.  These are good special occasion muffins, but since they are pretty easy, you could whip up a batch any time.  I have been sitting with a bag of cranberries in my freezer since Thanksgiving, so these were a great way to use some of them up.

The only difficult part about them was that the strussel topping made the muffins stick to the pan around the edges, so they were a challenge to get out, especially when hot.  I would recommend being really careful not to overfill these so that you get maximum topping without messing up your muffins.  Although the recipe says it makes 15 muffins, I got more like 19 and I think I filled them too full, so you could probably get more.  The recipe is here, on the Baking Bites website.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Birthday (Key) Lime Pie

As I may have mentioned before, we have a tradition of celebrating birthdays in our office with yummy treats.  Usually a few days before, I ask the birthday person what they would like, and then I make it.  No problem.  However, one of my office-mates had a birthday last week (during Passover) and I was away.  Upon my return, I agreed to make this pie, but I was a little nervous about pulling it off because I knew there were a number of late evenings in front of me.

I should not have worried.  This pie was a snap to make.  Crush some graham crackers, mix with a little bit of sugar and butter (or buy a pre-made graham cracker crust -- I won't tell) and bake for about 15 minutes.  Then, juice some key limes (or limes in this case, because I could not find key times) and mix them with a can of sweetened condensed milk, lime zest and egg yolks, pour into the crust and bake.  Easy as pie (sorry).

I topped this pie with some very lightly sweetened whipped cream, which I think is necessary to cut the tartness a little bit.  It was delicious.  Everyone in the office raved about it and it was hard to keep them away from the last slice so I could bring some home to my husband.

You can find the recipe here, on Martha Stewart's website.  I made it just as it was.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Red Velvet, For Those With a Sense of Humor

Woohoo! No more passover! Back to delicious, flour filled goodness...

Speaking of strange, Jewish-law based restrictions, I've been spending this year in school learning the laws of menstrual purity. Yes, this is about as exciting as it sounds. After spending many months talking about counting, checking, and colors, with my classmates, my friend Aaron and I planned an inter-seminary day for three schools who have been studying the laws of niddah this year, to get together and talk about some of the extra-legal issues we were thinking about. It was a great day-- very thought-provoking and a bit intense-- which I thought called for some baked goods.

And really, what better way is there to celebrate menstrual laws than with red velvet? (Because I assure you that one does not survive a year of niddah without a sense of humor.) So I went looking for a recipe and I found this one. Sometimes it nice to just doctor a mix, and this recipe did not disappoint. They actually reminded me more of cupcake tops than cookies in their texture, but either way, they were delicious and devoured by many a hungry Jewish seminarian. Purity and cookies for all!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Caramel Cupcakes, Now with Extra Narcotics!

Hey everyone, hope you’re eating lots of bready goodness tonight, because tomorrow is the dreaded PASSOVER! (DUM DUM DUM!) The great thing about Passover this year, however, is that it means all three Baking Sisters are finally reunited in New York City! The less great thing about Passover is that we have to go eight days without eating bread or really anything remotely delicious, except chicken and potato chips and leaf cookies which are always delicious. Anyway, thought we’d get in one last entry before we have to resign ourselves to a week of flourless cake.

Last week was my 23rd birthday. Typically my birthday goes un-celebrated because it’s always over spring break. This year, however, spring break ceased to exist for me, and my birthday was on a normal Wednesday. Lots of people would probably like the day off on their birthday, but I found it to be a nice refreshing change to actually be around other people who aren’t my parents on my birthday. This year has had a lot of challenges for me and I decided to send it off in style with a ragin’ party. And by ragin’, I mean ragin’ amount of baked goods. With the help of my friend Lara, who was staying over for the weekend, I made some great standbys like Dorie’s lemon cream tart, the King Arthur Flour chocolate cake, and the always-appreciated chocolate covered strawberries (my concession to healthiness). But no birthday of mine would be complete without cupcakes, and I thought for many a day about which cupcake to make, to no avail. Then, Lara arrived from D.C. on Friday, and gave me my birthday present – the Georgetown Cupcake cookbook! Frequent readers of the blog will know how impressed I was with Georgetown Cupcakes, and this was the perfect gift. Our friend Anjali came for dinner that night, and, having recently visited Lara and tried a Georgetown Cupcake, immediately demanded that I make the caramel sea salt cupcakes.

Now I know why! These were AMAZING! The cakes were good but the frosting was mind-blowing, and so easy to make. You literally just dump the ingredients in a bowl and turn on your mixer. It couldn’t be easier. The only thing is the caramel sauce, which is called for in both the cake and the frosting. I don’t know where I messed up – maybe I didn’t cook the sugar for long enough – but my caramel came out very much the wrong color and texture; it was kind of thin and grayish, not that appealing. Luckily Lara was able to dash out and buy some caramel sauce, so that was fine. Everyone loved them but there were a few left over, so my friend Brianna (who, by the way, doesn’t like cakes or sweet desserts but ate three of these cupcakes and said they were the best sweet desserts she’s ever had) took them back to her dorm. While she was talking with a friend about a party she had attended the night before that was broken up by the cops, the friend took a bite of the cupcake and exclaimed, “Someone needs to call the cops about these cupcakes, because they definitely have cocaine in them!” So there you have it.

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