Butterscotch Blondies

I made these blondies for a potluck/housewarming/birthday party that I am going to later today. The recipe is simple, and except for the butterscotch chips, (unless you are like me) involves ingredients that you have on hand. If you’ve baked brownies before, (or any other cookie) then this recipe will come really easily to you. I got it from the Hershey’s website, and it is listed as beginner. It also lists the butterscotch chips as Hershey’s brand, but I used Nestle. (Is that wrong? to use one brand and then follow another brand’s recipe?) I will be tasting them later, since they just came out of the oven, but I am sure they will be tasty, since the batter was good. :) Continue reading

Hamentashen

As promised from my last dessert post, this next post is about Hamentashen!

Sure, Purim was a week ago, but Hamentashen could really be eaten year-round. I made these little goodies for the Oscar-watching event that took place last night. They are basically little pies/turnovers that are triangular in shape. The process is quite simple, that you make the dough, let it chill, cut out circles, add filling, and place on the cookie sheet. Then the forming of triangles and egg washing the outsides. I found the recipe in what has now become one of my favorite cookbooks, The Field Guide To Cookies.

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Almond Brown Sugar Cookies

I already made these brown sugar cookies for the Hanukkah party (Dec. 2009), but I decided to make them again for two reasons:
1) I wanted something simple, and I had all of the ingredients already
2) I had almonds leftover that I wanted to use up.
These are the two main reasons I find myself in the kitchen. The only other time I am baking something, it is for a special occasion, and now, since January, the Daring Bakers’ Challenge every month.
Anyway, if you want to know more about the cookies, you can check out the original post. If you want to check out the recipe, click here. Sorry for the short and lazy post. I promise the next one will be better. I am going to be making Hamentashen, which are cookies usually served for Purim, but I am a week late. But better late than never, right? :)

I promise it is worth the wait…

I’m sorry for the lack of posting lately. But I have been baking. This post features dessert that I made for the dinner Benjie hosted on Saturday (I’m always there to help and semi co-host.) Anyway, I made vanilla souffles with chocolate sauce. Also, in case those didn’t work out, I made a brown butter pound cake.

The souffles turned out okay, and for those of you who were at the dinner, and didn’t get a chance to try the pound cake the next day, I am sorry you missed out, because that was also good. I promise I will make it for you some time! :)

I had not made a souffle since my second year of pastry school, so I was tempted to try them, especially since I got the ramekins to make them in for my birthday. (Thanks, Mom!) I am so happy they turned out tasting okay, even if they were a little bit crooked (they didn’t rise straight).

The pound cake was a little bit dry, but I’ll admit to over baking them slightly, because I was distracted while they were in the oven, because I was watching Dexter, which, is a really addicting show. I almost went straight to watching it instead of posting this, but I figured you’ve waited long enough for a new post… ;)

Click on the link for the recipes and more pictures.

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Merry Mirepoix: Ten Tips for Better Holiday Cooking

I was featured in an article on Divine Caroline, which was written by my friend, Allison Ford. It is all about baking and cooking during the holidays, but is a good list of tips for any baker or cook anytime of the year! Enjoy!

sugar cookies

Yesterday, I made sugar cookies for the last day of Hanukkah party I helped Benjie host. I made two different recipes, one was (I think) the recipe from the back of the Domino’s sugar bag, and is a regular sugar cookie recipe, which used only white granulated sugar. The other one I have saved from Gourmet magazine, and it is a brown sugar cookie recipe. The first one can be rolled and shaped and cut out and decorated. The other can be scooped, and is more like a chocolate chip cookie dough recipe without the chocolate chips. I decorated with sprinkles and blue icing. Many people like to use royal icing for decorating cookies, but with everything else going on for the party (we made latkes, too) I didn’t want to make royal icing. However, I will include the recipe just in case you want it for your sugar cookies. The royal icing is from A Field Guide To Cookies, which is written by another food blogger; her site is called Dessert First.

So, here are the recipes, in order they were mentioned:

1 tsp. baking soda

2 cups sifted flour

1/2 tsp. salt

2/3 cup butter

1 tsp. vanilla

3/4 cup sugar or 1- 1/2 cups sugar

1 egg

Heat oven to 375ยบ. Sift together the dry ingredients; set aside. Cream together butter and vanilla. Add either 3/4 cup sugar or 1-1/2 cups for chewy cookies. Beat in the egg. Gradually stir in the dry ingredients. Chill thoroughly in the refrigerator. Lightly grease cookie sheet. Roll out and cut to desired shapes. You can add sprinkles right into the dough, and/or you can add sprinkles to the top of the cookies. The colder the dough, the easier it is to handle. Bake 10-12 minutes. Cool on rack. Makes 1-1/2 dozen large cookies.

(Almond) Brown sugar cookies (from Gourmet magazine)

1-1/2 cups flour

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1 stick butter, softened

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 large egg

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

(1/2 cup whole blanched almonds = 2-1/2 oz)

Whisk together dry ingredients. Beat butter and brown sugar in a large bowl. Add in egg and vanilla. Mix in flour mixture. (Stir in almonds) Roll into logs and chill or freeze dough or scoop onto baking sheets. If you rolled the dough into logs, you will slice the dough less than 1/8 inch thick. If you scooped them, use the back of a wet spoon or wet the palm of your hand, and press down. Bake cookies 12-15 minutes. Cool on racks. Makes 100 to 120 sliced cookies. I think I made about 12-18 3 inch scooped cookies.

Royal Icing

2 egg whites

1 Tbs. lemon juice

3 cups powdered sugar

food coloring

Whisk all ingredients except for the coloring in a clean bowl on high speed. They should be shiny and an opaque white. It should be a glue-like consistency. Divide into bowls and mix in the coloring as desired. Keep covered with a damp towel so it does not dry out.

So, those are the recipes for sugar cookies and royal icing for decorating. I really liked the brown sugar cookies, and I think that was everyone’s favorite as well.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year! (though I am sure I’ll bake something else before New Year’s.)

Four weddings and…a birthday!

This year was full of weddings (and one “wedding”) and of course, my birthday!
First up was Jenessa and Mike’s on July 4th weekend:

lovely summery cake with all of those sunflowers!
After that, in the middle of August was my sister and (now) “sister-in-law” ‘s “wedding” celebration. They didn’t have cake, just some refreshing mint ice cream. I heard it was very minty, and therefore, I did not try any, as I don’t like mint. However, it was a nice party, and it was nice to see my whole family together.
Next was Gur and Hilary’s small wedding, in the middle of October:

a very elegant cake-I just noticed how it matches the decor in the place that the reception was held-nice!

Fourth was recent, in the beginning of November, Adina and Ned’s very Jewish wedding:

they had a lovely wedding (bride’s?) cake and a lovely groom’s cake
and, lastly, my birthday. no big cake, but there was a tasty dessert with my name on it:
the chocolate bites at Farallon. yum!
and I took a picture of what Benjie had, the “caramel apple sundae”:
I had the last bite-it was pretty good!
overall, a great year full of celebrations! next year will also be full of weddings. crazy how life changes from going to all of your friends’/family’s birthday/bar/bat mitzvah parties to all of your friends’ weddings. just shows that we are all growing up!