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!

Continue reading

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? :)

…and now we bring you back to our (regularly scheduled) blogging.

Okay, so I hope you like the changes I’ve made so far. If you are new here, take a look around. I just started filing away the recipes I’ve used and featured on this site in a neat page I like to call the “recipes” page. It can be found at the top of this one. I have just slightly changed the look or “theme” of the pages to be more readable. I am also going to have shorter posts, and the recipes will be after the “jump” (just click on the little ” read more” link.) As previously mentioned, you’ll also be able to find the recipes on the new page.

So here is today’s post: peanut butter-peanut brittle and chocolate pudding


I wanted to try out (or really, use) the Silpat (a silicone non-stick mat used on cookie sheets or jelly-roll pans or any other flat surface to create a non-stick surface that is reusable and easy to clean) and the ramekins I/my mother bought me for my birthday. What better way to try these new kitchen items than to make brittle and chocolate pudding? I couldn’t think of anything either. (Yet.)

Both recipes were actually quite similar in method, and both things are easy to make. Quite simply, add things to a heavy-bottomed pot, wait a bit, add some more things, stir them around, and pour them out. Almost sounds like the hokey-pokey. (Just put your right hand in, etc. You don’t hear the similarities? Hmm…maybe that’s just my inner child poking it’s way out. Get it? POKING? Hokey-POKEy? Huh?) Anyway, if you are still interested in finding out about how to make brittle and/or chocolate pudding, just click away, and I’ll see you after the jump. (Just put your whole-self in…)

Continue reading