Lime Angel Food Cake with Lime Glaze

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I’ve never made an angel food cake before, though it is one of my favorite desserts.  Generally cakes are my some least favorite things to make. I find them to be really fussy to get right, and I have too often been left with dense, dry textures or frosting that won’t set right. Though angel food cake may require a ridiculous amount of egg whites, a specific pan, and the strange instruction to invert the whole thing immediately after removing from the oven, I found it to be surprisingly easy to make.

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It mainly involves whipping egg whites with superfine sugar and flavoring until they form stiff peaks, and then gently folding in flour. It reminded me of making marshmallow fluff, and come to think of it, angel food cake does have a light, fluffy, sticky quality akin to marshmallows. And, it is wonderfully, delicious.  I substituted almonds for the pistachios called for, and thought it was an excellent topping with the lime glaze. The cake was supremely moist, and lightly sweet. I used barely any of the lime syrup, since I didn’t really care for it when I tried it, but I do think they small amount that I used was plenty to add a refreshing sweet tartness.

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I look forward to making more angel food cakes in the future, though I would recommend skipping that flavor combination unless you are crazy about limes.

I was a bit flummoxed by the superfluous egg yolks. I decided to try my hand a vanilla frozen custard, as I don’t use my ice cream maker nearly enough. I used Alton Brown’s recipe, if anyone else needs ideas on what to do with ten extra egg yolks.  It is very tasty!
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Baked Sunday Mornings

Bale Bars

Bale Bars-you can’t go wrong with peanut butter and pretzels generally, and combining them with some sugar, butter and white chocolate to form a bar cookie is just genius.

IMG_2837 1These were delicious and very quickly devoured. I really should have cut this recipe in half and made it in an 8 inch pan.

IMG_2832I did find them a bit difficult to cut. I ended up with many delicious crumbly bits left over, which I was thinking would have made a great ice cream topping, but in the end we just scooped them up and ate them plain.

IMG_2839 1I don’t know if I can ever make these again because they were too dangerous to have around our house!

Next week:Lime Angel Food Cake

Baked Sunday Mornings

Simple Chocolate Whiskey Tart

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I think this Chocolate Whiskey Tart may be one of my favorite recipes from Baked (the Whiskey Pear Tart is my absolute favorite, clearly I have a thing for boozy tarts). It is really easy to make, and is seriously delicious if you like chocolate.

IMG_2823I did skip the whipped cream, since I was bringing this to a friend’s house and didn’t think that it would travel well. I think it would be delicious with a whipped topping, but it is really great with just the chocolate filled tart as well. The whiskey flavor was not overpowering, and mostly added  depth to the chocolate. I would recommend omitting the salt from the crust, but other than that this was spectacular. 

Did I mention that it’s really really tasty?

Next: Bale Bars

Baked Sunday Mornings

Lemon Lime Champagne Granita

Eh…I was not crazy about this recipe. I omitted the lime completely and cut the recipe in half, which neatly used up a single miniature bottle of champagne. Considering how much I love champagne, it was a relief to not have to waste much of it. If you like sorbet, snow cones or slushies, you will probably like granita.  Unfortunatley for me, most frozen desserts that aren’t ice cream just make me wish that I was eating ice cream.

LemonPros-this is really easy to make if you’re planning on being near your freezer for a six hour block of time, and lemon and sugar are always delicious together. Negatives-this tastes very strongly of wine, and well, it’s just ice.

LemonI had absolutely no desire to eat more than a spoonful. It would have been better without the champagne, or with vodka instead perhaps! Like a limoncello. Come to think of it, I just wish I had made limoncello.

Next week:Whiskey Chocolate Tart
Baked Sunday Mornings

Chocolate-Chip Orange Panettone

cake2I adore panettone, it’s one of those things that pops up every Christmas, just like how suddenly everything is pumpkin flavored in October, and then peppermint flavored in December.  I’ve never had homemade panettone, in fact I don’t know anyone who’s ever even attempted it.  My experience is limited to a co-worker who brings the boxed version into work every year around the holidays. This Chocolate-Chip Orange version is glorious, and such a wonderful variation on the traditional flavors. I had most of the ingredients on hand, except for the iconic panettone wrapper. Baked Elements mentioned a few alternatives, such as a metal coffee can (now that is an experiment for another day), but I found my local Sur La Table selling the wrappers for only a dollar. dough
Rising dough. photo 5 (1)
This recipe called for homemade candied orange peel, something that I have never eaten, much less made. Luckily they were very easy, basically just boiling orange peels, and then boiling them again in sugar syrup. They turned into something similar to gummy candy, and the leftover syrup was really nice in tea. I used clementines because I had some on hand in my fridge  and figured this would be a great recipe to use them up.
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The texture didn’t turn out quite like I expected, a bit more like a cake than bread. I may have over baked it a touch. I waited until the thermometer reached the specified temperature, but I think it would have been better to take it out earlier. Luckily it was still really delicious, and a great combination of flavors, I love citrus anyway, and the orangey flavor of the cake combined with the sweetness from the chocolate chips is supremely tasty. Happy holidays! cake1cake3

Happy holidays!

Baked Sunday Mornings

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Next week: Lemon Lime Champagne Granita

Velvet Chocolate Walnut Fudge with Olive Oil and Fleur de Sel

My mom is a master fudge maker. She has a much requested peanut butter fudge recipe that she has adapted from the standard Marshmallow Fluff fare. Last Christmas, I tried to help out in the kitchen by taking over her fudge making duties while she whipped up a pie. It seemed straight forward enough. My mom walked me through what I needed to do and then handed me printed directions. Which I then decided to ignore completely.  What I ended up with wasn’t quite a disaster, as any combination of melted peanut butter and sugar is bound to be delicious, but it also wasn’t exactly fudge either, and certainly wasn’t something that we could take to our family gathering. I think I decided on a whim that I could just dump all of the ingredients into the pot together and bring it to a boil, and to this day I have no idea why I decided to do that. I am usually scrupulous about reading through a recipe several times, and following the directions.  My mom pitched my attempt and made the recipe again from scratch, while I tried not to look too chagrined. So I was a little wary about this week’s delicious sounding recipe, Velvet Chocolate Walnut Fudge with Olive Oil and Fleur de Sel.

FudgeI learned my lesson this time around, and even took the extra step of measuring out all of the ingredients before starting. This recipe is a lot easier than it sounds, considering that the second ingredient is homemade marshmallow cream. I think I overcooked my sugar a tiny bit, it reached the correct temperature much faster than I thought that it would, and before I knew it my thermometer was reading 260 instead of 245. Oops. When I tried pouring it into the whipped egg whites I ended up with marshmallow cream with some glassy shards of hardened sugar. It worried me a bit, but I figure since I was going to be boiling everything again in the sugar and butter mixture, it might work out alright. I also had a bit of trouble getting the fudge mixture to reach 230, it seemed to hang around the 220 mark for a very long time. At the ten minute mark I just decided to go with it and add the chocolate. Thankfully, everything workout out ok. The texture is a bit soft, but a bit of time in the fridge seems to have helped a bit. I don’t think that they are sturdy enough to ship as a holiday gift, but I think that my co-workers will enjoy them tomorrow.

The taste is very sweet, and reminded me a lot of eating cake frosting. I cut my pieces extra small, so I ended up with 24 servings instead of the 16, and the smaller bit is plenty considering how sweet and rich these are. If I made them again, I might add a touch of espresso, and use only dark chocolate, but otherwise they are quite tasty if you are a fan of fudge.

Next week:Chocolate Chip Orange Panettone 

Baked Sunday Mornings

Good Morning Sunshine Bars

Well these are Good Morning Sunshine Bars just delightful. I actually doubled the recipe, since a box of Chex cereal is enough to make two batches, and I’m pretty sure my co-workers are going to go crazy for these.

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These are really easy, quick to make, and delicious, meeting all of my criteria for a great recipe.

IMG_2796I don’t really think I would change a thing about it. I considered not melting the chocolate chips, and just mixing them in with the peanuts…but the melted chocolate on top just looks so pretty.

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Seriously, the picture practically took itself, these look so good.  I would definitely make these again. IMG_2793

Next week:Velvet Chocolate Walnut Fudge with Olive Oil and Fleur de SelBaked Sunday Mornings

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

Pie BarSo I got Trader Joe’s latest flyer in the the mail this week, and I laughed because every page was devoted to pumpkin products. (The rest was for alcohol mainly, I’m surprised someone hasn’t made a pumpkin flavored chardonnay.)  (Also, I think it’s very important to inform you all that they have a pumpkin coconut body butter this year, run, don’t walk, to the nearest Trader Joes. I have quietly been enjoying smelling like pie all day.)  Given the festive time of year, it was no surprise that the schedule for this week is for Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars. Baked Elements has an entire chapter devoted to this beloved American squash, and that right there is one of the main reasons I bought the book. While I fully support pumpkin recipes and their ubiquitous arrival at the start of fall, I’m unfortunately just not into cheesecake, even when it is hidden behind layers of cinnamon and toasted pecans.  IMG_2775This recipe is kind of intense. You know those recipes, where you start to get your ingredients together, and your heart kind of skips a beat? More of an “Oh my God I am going to have a coronary if I eat this,” and not the sort of heart skipping I get when a recipe has enough chocolate to buy a small Aztec city?

Because wow this is a lot of cream cheese and butter. (Serendipitously, my local grocer had cream cheese on a two for one special.)  Nothing about it is terribly difficult, it is a sort of hurry up and wait kind of recipe. My husband was really excited about it, and kept asking all day if he could eat a cheesecake bar yet. Telling him he had to wait about another three hours did not improve his mood. Cue pout face.

Basically, I started making these at 8:30 this morning, and  finished putting the topping and pecans on at 6. And even at that point the recipe said to refrigerate for another half hour.

IMG_2783It’s not a lot of active time, but it still took up a small part of the back of my mind all day. Definitely take advantage of the parts of this that you can make ahead, like the dough base and the topping.

And now, at the end of the day, as I suspected, I really don’t like this dessert. This recipe was definitely more for the husband to try and for my co-workers to enjoy tomorrow.  It came out fine, and I can appreciate that it’s probably actually a fantastic recipe, because the texture and flavor is spot on, I just don’t happen to like that particular flavor. (I’m actually a little relieved.) I kind of wish the filling was just regular pumpkin pie! That, I would probably polish off in no time.

 

Brown Butter Snickerdoodles

These Brown Butter Snickerdoodles are so good, I had to immediately pack them up and put them in my car, so that I would actually have a few left to take to the party that I made them for.  Seriously, I have not crushed so hard on a cookie in a long time. This cookie is cool fall breezes, hot apple cider after apple picking, it is the first pumpkin carved for Halloween. It is delicious. These cookies are so good I want to write oodles of bad poetry to the hallowed combination of butter, cinnamon and sugar.  These cookies are so good they make me sound like an overwrought Hallmark greeting card.

IMG_2772 1Slightly crunchy exterior, beautiful cinnamon sweetness, and big, wonderful, mouth filling butteriness. And if I could distill the intoxicating smell of these baking into a perfume, I would wear nothing else.

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Did I even like snickerdoodles before today? Have I ever had one like this? I thought that snickerdoodles were dry, crumbly, flavorless, bland biscuits, so far below chocolate chip on my list of acceptable cookies that I usually skip them if offered one.  But these though, are a revelation of all of the goodness that comes from a well made snickerdoodle.

IMG_2770This has been fun, but please excuse me while I go grab a cookie out of the trunk of my car. I may have to have my husband hide these someplace where I won’t find them. Like the next state over.

Next up: Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

Orange Almond Ricotta Cheesecake

These little Orange Almond Ricotta Cheesecakes were extraordinary. Amazing recipe, and quite unlike anything I’ve had before. I normally loathe cheesecake, much to my husband’s puzzlement (and probably most of America, considering the popularity of dessert at the Cheesecake Factory). Something about cream cheese used in a sweet context throws me off. But ricotta…just wow, it makes for a light and custardy cheese cake. Combined with the amaretto and orange, it is a winning combination.IMG_3011I haven’t made a crust with graham crackers in a very long time. I usually try to find something suitable to substitute, vanilla wafers or chocolate cookies coming in handy for such purposes. But I saw these Almond Thins at Trader Joes and thought they could not be more perfect. I highly recommend them just to snack on really, they are crisp, buttery and with slices of almonds studded throughout.

IMG_2729I cut my recipe in half, and made them cupcake size. I actually do make a lot of cheesecake, since it is my husband’s favorite dessert. I almost alway cut the recipe in half and make single size portions, as I never plan on eating any.  It’s really easy to do, the only essential is to use foil cupcake wrappers instead of paper, and bake for around 20 minutes.

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These were perfect, easy to make a delicious.

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Next up: Brown Butter SnickerdoodlesBaked Sunday Mornings