Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Daring Dobos Torte.....

The August 2009 Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Angela of A Spoonfulof Sugar and Lorraine of Not Quite Nigella. They chose the spectacular DobosTorte based on a recipe from Rick Rodgers' cookbook Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Caff├ęs of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague.

I decided to make a half recipe, which I am very happy I did, it was wonderful and so rich!!! I just made one large layer in my sheet pan and used a 4 1/2" cutter to cut out the six layers. The chocolate buttercream icing was to die for; this was the first "true" buttercream I have made. The icing was so easy to make and turned out like silk, just melted on the tongue, yummy! The caramel was another easy recipe, just sugar, water and some lemon juice. The tricky part was pouring the caramel on one of the layers for the decorations on top of the cake, but with great instructions it wasn't all that hard! Cake was delicious and is all gone!!!

Monday, August 24, 2009

SMS Mom's Banana Apple Bread.....

Our SMS recipe of the week was Mom's Banana Apple Bread and I had actually bought bananas several days before, so they were really black, yummy! This bread had an apple twist to the recipe; you saute apples, in brown sugar and butter, until they are soft, let them cool and then add them to the batter. The apples made the bread very moist and, for me, almost over powered the banana flavor, not in a bad way, just different. My DH preferred Dorie's banana cake, that we made a few weeks ago, because of a more pronounced banana flavor.
This week's recipe was chosen by Joy of Hot Oven Warm Heart. Check out Joy's blog for the recipe.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

TWD Applesauce Spice Bars...

The TWD recipe of the week was chosen by Karen of Something Sweet. These bars were very easy to put together, no mixer, everything is a sauce pan, how easy was that? My bars were extremely moist and lacked the spiciness I was looking for; next time I would at least double the spices. My glaze was just enough for the 9 x 13 pan. I baked the bars for 27 minutes and think they could have used a few more minutes. Not my favorite from Dorie, but fun to make. My posts may be a bit short for the next few weeks; I am required to recertify every 2 years to keep my personal training certificate current.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

SMS Snickerdoodles.....

Our Sweet Melissa Sundays recipe for this week were Snickerdoodles, chosen by Spike of Spike Bakes , check out her blog, she also made white chocolate cinnamon ice cream to go with her cookies!!!
These were very easy to make; I made the dough the day before and baked them this morning, the house smelled so good!!! They tasted great, just like a snickerdoodle should; I got 18 cookies, I ate 1, DH had 1 (so far) and the rest go to work with him tomorrow. Get them out of the house, away from me, LOL.

I have always heard about White Lily Flour and how soft it is and how it makes the best biscuits; just one problem, can't find it here on the West coast. But when one of my clients said her husband was in Kentucky on business, (well why not), I asked, if he could find the time, could he please, please, bring me back some flour. I'm sure he really needed to hear about finding flour on a business trip; but Saturday morning there it was on the desk, one 5 pound bag of White Lily flour, oh thank you, thank you. Who knew flour could be so exciting, I did try to find some, when I was in Pennsylvania, but no luck. I think it's only East of the Mississippi and mainly in the South.

I made the recipe on the back of the flour bag for biscuits, I had one, and DH ate the rest with some of the preserves we made a few weeks ago. The biscuits were very good!!! The flour really is soft and has a different texture than regular flour; will hoard this flour as long as possible!!!

Another client asked if would make the desserts for a party she is having next week, of course I said yes!!! She wanted mini pineapple upside down cakes, lemon mini cheese cakes and mini cupcakes for the children. I did a test for the pineapple upside down cakes and they turned out GREAT!!! They are a perfect two bite dessert, not too much and there is always room for more.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Eco-Friendly Give A Way.....

Here is a cool give a way I just entered!!! The company is the Marx Food Company and they sell the top of the line, unusual or hard to find gourmet items that can make or break that special meal. They also carry eco-friendly disposable plates made from palm leaves. Here is their description of the product:

These elegant and durable disposable party plates are an eco-friendly alternative to conventional disposable plates. These biodegradable plates are a natural and renewable resource. Naturally discarded sheaths of the leaves of the Adaka palm tree are collected from the forest floor. No trees are cut down. The plates and the disposable cutlery are even compostable!

I hate throwing away paper or plastic plates, so I usually don't use them and just do a ton of dishes after a casual party or BBQ; this is an alternative I can live with. You have until August 17 to enter, nothing to buy! The prize is 25 of the palm leaf plate sets, just in time for the end of summer!!! Just click the link above and enter.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Classic Banana Bundt Cake.....

Mary of The Food Librarian chose Classic Banana Bundt Cake on page 190, from the book Banking from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan. This was so good, no beyond good, it was GREAT!!! Moist, pronounced banana flavor and just a perfect bundt cake. I made a half recipe with my mini bundt pan, it holds 6 cups, and I had no overflow problems. The cake released perfectly, something I have always worried about with bundt pans until I found the "end all" pan release recipe. I have used this release for about 9 months and it has yet to fail me, if you would like to try it out here it is; you can make as much as you like, just keep the proportions the same.

1 part canola oil
1 part flour
1 part vegetable shortening

Mix together and store in your pantry, if it separates, just remix. For dark cakes you can use cocoa powder instead of flour. I find combining the flour with the shortening first then adding the oil makes mixing much easier.

I suppose I could have cleaned the crumbs off the cake plate for the picture, but why wast such yummy crumbs? After I packed the cake for DH to take to work (seriously, I could have eaten the whole cake myself), I licked the plate clean!!! This is a definite keeper, and I still have 3 ripe bananas; I think I will try some mini loaf pans next. Thanks to Mary for picking such a great recipe!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Back from Pennsylvania.....

Wow I've been back for over two weeks and have not had time to post about my competition/vacation. I am finally caught up with my food posts and baking for the weekend so now a bit about my trip. DH and I went to Pittsburgh for my first masters figure competition; figure is between bodybuilding and fitness. This is the first competition I have competed in that has an age class for 55 and over, I'm 58. The oldest age class out here on the West coast is 45 and over; I really wanted to compete in a class that was more even in age and I had a blast. I enter these events hoping to place but never expect to place, this sport is like other subjectively judged sports, you have to pay your dues and there are some politics involved. But, that said, I won't give up!!! Yes, I work out all year, eat clean all year, have a nutritionist/coach all year; all this for one or two competitions a year. No, I'm not crazy, I enjoy pushing my body to the max and I didn't start working out until I was 52; so I'm a late starter. Anyway, to make a long story short, I didn't place but learned what I need to work on for next year and next year will be here before I know what hit me. I have had two weeks off and tomorrow it all starts over!!!

Pennsylvania is beautiful, I'm ready to move there, LOL. Ya, ya, ya....wait for winter; is it really that bad? I mean, I get tired of no seasons except, well I guess we have them, Hot, Warm, Cool and Warm, maybe those don't qualify. We stayed a few days in Lancaster County and drove all over the Amish areas, I actually saw a covered bridge.

I loved the farms, fresh eggs and homemade root beer. Very simple and clean; I fell in love with a small town called Lititz. Went to the chocolate museum and pretzel museum, what fun!!!

Saw many horse and buggies; finally got to see fire flies and ate shoo fly pie; I'll give the pie an OK, maybe homemade is better. Then on to Philadelphia for just a day, not enough time, but I saw the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. Basically I ate my way through Pennsylvania and it was so nice to just eat what I wanted.
It's always good to get home, but in the back of my mind I see a home somewhere East of the Mississippi with my name on it.

SMS Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies.....

This weeks pick, Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies, was by Stephanie of Ice Cream BeforeDinner, check out her blog, she made several versions of this recipe. I love peanut butter cookies, especially chewy ones, these were chewy but a bit flat for me. Flat in flavor and physical stature, LOL. What I look for in a peanut butter cookie is a strong peanut butter taste, these were mild; I also like a thicker cookie, mine spread and cracked more than I expected, the out of focus picture showes how thin mine turned out.

So I made my favorite PB cookie, Thick, Moist & Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies, adapted from The Dessert Bible by Christopher Kimball. This recipe uses roasted salted peanuts that you process with the flour in a food processor, and a cup of peanut butter.

These are thick and chewy with a pronounced peanut flavor; a definate thumbs up from DH. I always enjoy trying out new recipes, even if I have a tried and true, never fail recipe that I have used for years; you just never know when you will find an even better recipe.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Blogaversary Winners!!!

In honor of my first blogaversary I had a give a way and today I get to announce who won! One of the questions I had the participants answer was, "What do like about your kitchen?" I really enjoyed what everyone had to say about their kitchens, so I decided to share with you what I like about my kitchen.

There were several good reasons to buy our home, good neighborhood, great schools and all the rest; but the single thing that stood out was in the kitchen, not the kitchen itself. That one thing that sold me was a walk in pantry, god bless the builder in 1963 who thought a pantry might be nice; I could kiss him!!!
My DH totally gutted the pantry and put up new shelves, book case and wine racks, I just love this space. Several times during the year the pantry takes on a life form of it's own; somehow my baking pans are not put away, ingredients are on the floor, my step stool keeps inching closer and closer to the door because too much stuff is in front of it. I have learned the fine art of standing on the step stool and reaching for something without loosing my balance; if I can't find something I figure I must be out so I purchase more. I keep the monster hidden by closing the door, until I just can't stand it any more and actually clean it out!!! You would be surprised how many open bags, containers and jars of things were in there. I have now made my August 1 resolution, put things back (really, who knew) and use ingredients up, what a concept.

Here are the winners of my first blogaversary, I had 19 participant and used a random number generator to pick the winners.

18 5
Random numbers generated Aug 1 2009 at 17:8:58 by educational resources for parapsychology, psychical research & mind magic.

#18 is Nancy of The Dogs Eat the Crumbs, she won the book, Enlightened Cakes.

#5 is Tracy of Tracey's Culinary Adventures, she gets the Ice Cream Sandwich maker.

Thanks to all who participated, I had fun and am looking forward to another year of baking AND a neat pantry.