March 2011 Daring Bakers’ Challenge: Yeasted Merigue Coffee Cake

The March 2011 Daring Baker’s Challenge was hosted by Ria of Ria’s Collection and Jamie of Life’s a Feast. Ria and Jamie challenged The Daring Bakers to bake a yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake.

This was my first time baking a cake like this. I have made cinnamon buns, which are similar in that they are yeasted, and have the same cinnamon-sugar-chocolate chip (and nut) filling, but what makes this different is the meringue and the shape.

I think it came out well and since I am typing this while they bake, I can only tell that they smell delicious already! The Daring Bakers also offered a different filling, one that used saffron and other spices. I stuck to the typical filling since this was my first time to make it, and those ingredients are just a bit cheaper.

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Chocolate Chip Cookies with a Twist

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, then you know that I like using ingredients that I’ve had leftover. I was also in the mood to make cookies with all of the talk about them on other blogs for the holidays. Therefore, I made whole wheat chocolate chip cookies. The twist in these cookies is the whole wheat flour, along with cinnamon-sugar and semi-sweet baker’s chocolate—all ingredients I had leftover from previous baking adventures. (Including, but not limited to, doughnuts and corn-stalk rolls.)

All week long, I’ve been eating the dough out of the fridge, and just baked off a few today. Both ways of consuming the dough are really great, but of course you have to wait longer for the baked ones. :)

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Time To Make The Doughnuts!

The October 2010 Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Lori of Butter Me Up. Lori chose to challenge DBers to make doughnuts. She used several sources for her recipes including Alton Brown, Nancy Silverton, Kate Neumann and Epicurious.

The yeast doughnut is from Alton Brown:
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/yeast-doughnuts-recipe/in…

The cake doughnut is a Nancy Silverton recipe:
http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2007/06/cook-the-book-oldfashioned-bu…

The raspberry jam bomboloni recipe is a Kate Neumann recipe:
http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/raspberry-jam-bomboloni

The pumpkin doughnuts are from Bon Appétit: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Pumpkin-Doughnuts-with-Powd…

I made the Yeast Doughnuts from Alton Brown since I have made cake doughnuts before and I also did not want to make the jam filled or the pumpkin flavored. The recipe is quite simple, and the mixing method is like any other yeast dough recipe.

I think the most challenging part of this recipe is the frying of the doughnuts. I have a candy thermometer, so it is easy for me to read the temperature of the oil. This is important because if the temperature is too cold, they will be oily. If it is too hot they will just burn on the outside and be raw in the middle. The recipe I followed said around 363ºF is ideal. I have a gas range and it is hard to keep a consistent temperature. Also, the temperature drops after each batch, so you need to watch it carefully.

I kept it simple and covered the doughnuts in cinnamon-sugar. Some people might want to make a glaze, while others might like powdered sugar. What ever you desire, I hope you have plenty of friends and family to share these doughnuts with!

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What September Means To Me…

…was the theme of this month’s Daring Bakers’ Challenge.

The September 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Mandy of “What the Fruitcake?!” Mandy challenged everyone to make Decorated Sugar Cookies based on recipes from Peggy Porschen and The Joy of Baking.

Since sugar cookies should not really be a challenge for anyone to make, the challenger set it up so that we had to bake/decorate the cookies with the theme of what September means to us.

The Jewish High Holy Days (Rosh Hashanah, the New Year, and Yom Kippor, the day of atonement) both fall in September, so I made shofar, torah, and Jewish star (star of David) shaped cookies. I made them with just white royal icing because:

1) I did not have time to go out and buy food coloring

2) It was Yom Kippor when I made them, so I thought that white was appropriate, since it is the color that you wear to show your respect for the day of reflection…or something like that.

Anyway, I brought the cookies to the Break-the-fast dinner I went to and they seemed to be well-received since they were gone by the end of the night. (Not sure if they were all eaten that night, or someone took them home.)

Although they were simple, and easy to make, I enjoyed this challenge. It was a nice way to celebrate the holidays. Continue reading

August Daring Baker’s Challenge

I think the most challenging thing for me this month was finding time to complete it! Otherwise, the pound cake and  ice cream were pretty simple. It is just a basic recipe for each. The only different (challenging) parts were browning the butter (since I’ve only done it a few times), and freezing the ice cream, since I do not have an ice cream machine (yet!).

Since I made the ice cream (custard) and just let it freeze over night (no stirring involved) and I took it out the next morning and paddled it on the electric mixer for a few minutes to aerate it and help to somewhat melt out the ice crystals that formed. This help make it look more like vanilla ice cream. Before it “churned” it was just yellow and the vanilla bean had all sunk to the bottom of the container. Literally, just frozen custard. After, it was white and the little “dots” of vanilla were disbursed throughout. It was more creamy, and less icy, but still not perfect. I think the smooth, non-icy texture can only be achieved with a real way of churning it while it freezes. Not bad though, for homemade ice cream without any sort of ice cream machine.

The August 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Elissa of 17 and Baking. For the first time, The Daring Bakers partnered with Sugar High Fridays for a co-event and Elissa was the gracious hostess of both. Using the theme of beurre noisette, or browned butter, Elissa chose to challenge Daring Bakers to make a pound cake to be used in either a Baked Alaska or in Ice Cream Petit Fours. The sources for Elissa’s challenge were Gourmet magazine and David Lebovitz’s “The Perfect Scoop”.

I made the petit fours (but did not make/use the chocolate glaze). I think they’re good just as they are!

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Holla! I made Challah!

I wanted to make bread because I haven’t in a long while, and what better bread to start with than Challah?

I thought it would be appropriate to make it on Friday, since it is traditionally eaten on Shabbat. But I think the best is making Challah-French toast, with cinnamon sugar on top. Some people make Challah with poppy seeds on top, but with the inspiration from the blog I got the recipe from, Baking and Books, I put some sugar on top of mine. This recipe is shaped in a springform pan, in little balls of dough, to be broken apart and eaten, rather than the traditional braided style. Here is the original recipe, more of a traditional Challah. I put the two recipes together, and made a braided Challah with sugar on top. Continue reading

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? :)