Sunday, July 14, 2013

Making the Bitter Sweet

Hi there! Rebecca is right, my absence from blogging has been inexcusable (although not as inexcusable as her failure to take a picture of our lovely lime meringue pie before it was gobbled up, ahem). I had such a wonderful time with her, Adam, Simon, and Leo in Los Angeles last month, but since then it's been back to real life, and back to baking.

Right now we're in a period of the Jewish calendar known as the Nine Days. This appropriately named period is the nine days leading up to the fast day of Tisha B'Av, a very sad holiday that commemorates the destruction of both temples in Jerusalem some two millennia ago. Among other restrictions, we don't eat meat during this time, because meat is considered a luxury that brings us happiness. The only time you can eat meat is if you've had a siyyum (i.e. if someone has finished a piece of learning), or on Shabbat. I promise, this random lesson in Jewish history and tradition gets relevant. 

So I decided to take advantage of it being Shabbat and made steak for some friends who were coming over for dinner, which meant I had to find a parve dessert, which could only mean one thing - Couldn't Be Parve! I was in luck because I found not one, but two recipes! One was for rhubarb sorbet; the other, for sugar cookies that Shoshana suggests you serve with it. The sugar cookies were good - they mostly tasted like sugar cookies, which is all you can ask for from a parve cookie. What I liked about them is that, unlike most butter-based sugar cookies, you don't have to chill the dough at all to get them to maintain their shape while they bake, so they're great if you're in a hurry, since the dough takes all of three minutes to throw together.

The rhubarb sorbet was fantastic. It was also very easy to make, as most sorbets are, but it was a lot creamier than I expected, almost more like ice cream. Rhubarb is one of those super-summery foods, and I've been making a lot of stuff with it this summer, I thought it was very appropriate for the occasion, because it's quite bitter, but dump a ton of sugar on it and it becomes sweet and delicious. The Nine Days are also bitter, but if you dump Shabbat on it...whatever, you know what I'm getting at. You can find the sorbet recipe here and the cookie recipe here

Sunday, July 7, 2013

BAKED Sunday Mornings: Malted Vanilla (and Chocolate) Milkshakes

An easy Baked Sunday Mornings recipe!  It has been super hot around LA this past week and so a recipe which requires no oven and results in a delicious milkshake makes it a prefect recipe for a hot summer day.  I promised my son a milkshake and he was holding out for chocolate, so I adapted this recipe a little bit, using chocolate ice cream instead of vanilla.  I still used the vanilla bean, so it had a nice vanilla, chocolate and malted flavor all mixed together.  If you are looking for a great milkshake recipe, I recommend this one.  It got the seal of approval from my five year old and from me!

You can find the recipe here and check out what all the other bakers did.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Happy Happy Lemon Cake

I can't believe we haven't posted since May.   My life has gotten so crazy, and this is supposed to be a quiet season.  Oh well.  Can't say what Sarah's excuse is.  She came to visit us recently, and while we did bake a key lime pie, it got eaten so fast I didn't even get a picture.  I assume Sarah will chime in with a cupcake review at some point.

Anyway, enough excuses and on to this amazing lemon cake.  This is a cake that I made at the end of May for a co-worker's birthday.  Like most cakes from BAKED, it had about a zillion steps but it was so worth it.  Every single part of the cake was amazing and when they came together it was awesome.  One of the best lemon cakes I have ever had, let alone baked.  I did not have three 8-inch pans, as the recipe calls for, so I used two nine inch pans and cut the layers in half for four layers and it was great.

I highly recommend this cake, but only make it if you have time (you can make it over two days or so).  You will be rewarded for your hard work with total deliciousness.  You can find the recipe here.

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