Friday, November 28, 2008

Happy Day after Thanksgiving!

So, I know it's the day after Thanksgiving, and the last thing on everyones mind is MORE food. BUTTTT, although our stomachs are screaming "no more!", our minds are still hungry to see what everybody else was eating.

Hence, I give you this cheesecake...
When I first got the November issue of Bon Appetit, I was soo intrigued to see the different dishes they featured for Thanksgiving. 
Since I was of course in charge of dessert, I wanted to do something big, but different.
Every year we always pick up a HUGE apple, AND pumpkin pie from Urth Cafe, in Beverly Hills, and let me just tell you, their pumpkin pie is one of the most amazing things i've ever had, no joke!

Anyways, we got those...but I still wanted to make something great.
Thats why when I found this Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap crust and a marshmellow sour cream topping, I knew I HAD to make it.

This cheesecake came out SO good. It was so creamy and dense, just the way a good cheesecake should taste.
My whole family said they absolutely loved it, and there's barely any leftover right now!

I hope everyone had a great thanksgiving!!
You can find the recipe HERE.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

No TWD this week...

Sorry guys, I know I havn't been the best with keeping up with TWD lately.
I've just A LOT of stuff on my plate right pun intended. Haha.

But I am happy to say that I will be back posting more frequently after thanksgiving, and i'll be sharing ALL my wonderful goodies that I making for the big thanksgiving feast this year!

Cant wait!


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Chocolate Chip Toffee Coconut Cookies

I was craving cookies, but I didnt want to make A LOT. So I started searching for a small batch recipe, when I found this recipe from Cookie Madness. 
The original recipe had pecans in it, but since I wasn't really feeling in the whole nut mood, I substituted toffee bits instead.

She also said to make these tablespoon sized, and get 12 large cookies. I scooped mine teaspoonfuls at a time, and got smaller cookies. Soo whatever floats your boat, it's up to you.
These cookies definitely satisfied my cookie craving, and I will be making these again for sure.

Small batch Chocolate chip Toffee Coconut Cookies
Adapted from Cookie Madness

1 cup AP flour
1/4 t plus 1/8 t baking soda
1/4 scant t salt
5 T plus 1 t unsalted butter
6 T brown sugar
6 T granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 t vanilla
1 1/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup coconut
2/3 cups toffee bits

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheet w/ parchment paper.

Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
Cream butter and both sugars in mixing bowl; add egg and vanilla, beat until well blended. 
With a mixing spoon, stir in flour mixture, followed by chocolate, coconut, and toffee.

Drop dough by generously rounded teaspoons onto cookie sheets. Press rounds into circles using your palms.

Bake cookies for 15 minutes or until they appear set and brown around the edges.

**Mine only needed 13-14 minutes cause I like my cookies soft, and chewy.

Enjoy !

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Oatmeal Banana Cake

Every single time I have ripe bananas I always somehow find myself making either banana bread, or banana muffins. Nothing else.
Well today I decided to change some things around...after all, now having a new president who is advertising the whole "change" idea, why not apply that to our every day lives??
That's when this "cake" comes in.

I was looking for something new to make when I found this recipe from a great blog, the pastry studio that has some wonderful recipes.
This cake combines 2 big ingredients that I LOVE to bake with. Bananas, AND oatmeal. YUM!
And it seemed simple enough.

This cake had a great, dense texture with a sweet chewy bite. And it's perfect with a cup of coffee, or tea. Or even just by itself! 
Make this cake, you will not regret it!

Oatmeal Banana Cake

8 T butter room temp.
3/4 C brown sugar
2 eggs @ room temp
2 large very ripe bananas, mashed
1 t vanilla
zest of 1/2 lemon
3/4 C flour
1 1/4 C oats
heaping 1/4 t salt
1 t baking soda

3/4 C oats 
1/3 C brown sugar
zest of 1/2 lemon
1/2 t cinnamon
1 T flour
4 T butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
line a 9" springform cake pan w/ butter and parchment

Wisk together dry ingredients for the topping. Add melted butter and stir with fork till crumbly. Set aside.

Whisk together flour, salt, baking soda, and oats.
Cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy. Scrape down sides of the bowl.
Add eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition.
Add mashed banana and vanilla. Mix thoroughly.
Stir in dry ingredients until just combined. Pour into prepared pan and smooth evenly.

Sprinkle topping over cake batter, press down lightly.
Bake 30-35 min. until toothpick comes out moist but clean. Cool on wire rack. Remove cake pan ring.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

TWD:Rugelach "Bars"

So this week's TWD was chosen by Piggy of Piggy's cooking journal and I wanted to thank her for choosing this scrumptious recipe.
As you can probably see from the pictures, I(with help from the lovely Martha Stewart) decided to turn the traditional Rugelach "cresent"s into Rugelach BARS, or "fingers."

I followed Dories recipe ingredients, but slightly adapted them to fit Martha's directions for the bars. They were SO incredibly easy to make! The only long-ish part was that the dough had to be chilled for a little, but besides that, not time-consuming and VERY easy.

Sadly, we didn't have currants in my house, soo I substituted raisins instead, and they still turned out amazingg. I highly recommend trying this recipe, as I do with EVERY other Dorie recipe, if you're looking for great Rugelach.

Be sure to check out all the other TWD bakers for their lovely Rugelach(es)...?!

Monday, October 20, 2008

TWD: Pumpkin Muffins

Sorry!! I know, I havn't been doing many TWD's lately.
It's just been SO hectic, I havnt had time to do much "planned" baking.
But, i'm back now! And soo happy that I am!

**This weeks TWD was chosen by Kelly of Sounding my Barbaric Gulp
And let me just say, this was the best recipe to come back on.
Pumpkin Muffins are my FAVORITE type of muffin. Sure I love blueberry, and banana and all that jazz, but there's something about the spicy, yumminess of a nice, hot pumpkin muffin, especially in the fall. 

This recipe was verrrry good!
Ive never been let down by any of her recipes, and ive tried 5 million different pumpkin muffin recipes!...although, im still on the lookout for that one AMAZINGLY spicy recipe, Dorie's really did NOT dissapoint.

If you want the recipe go check it out on Gretchens blog, and go look at all the other wonderful Dorie bakers!!

**Correction: These were picked by Kelly from Sounding my Barbaric Gulp!!
Sorry guys!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Choco-Nilla Cake!!, For a Sweet New Year.

The other day was Rosh Hashuna, and being the great jew that I am, I decided to bake this lovely, and hugggge cake and bring it to my aunts house for dinner tonight.

I asked her what sort of cake she wanted me to bake, and she suggested either a carrot cake, vanilla cake, or a chocolate cake. While searching for the perfect one to make, I stumbled upon this recipe from the wonderful Bakers Banter blog.

Perfect!! I could give my family the best of both worlds by combining both a chocolate cake, AND a vanilla cake! I was excited. 

This cake looks like a lot of work, but is really not much at all. I was surprised at how easy it was to put together! I seriously do recommend trying this recipe for the next time your on the fence between chocolate or vanilla cake.

My dad eating his he devoured it, I managed to hear him say he absolutely loved it. So that was a good sign! Go check out the recipe, and I guarantee you, this a great cake to have on hand!!

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Best Lemon Squares!!!

These really are the BEST lemon squares i've made so far.
Like everyone with the chocolate chip cookie recipe, i've been searching for that one, great lemon square recipe. And I THINK, i may have found far!
They're just the PERFECT texture, and perfect amount of lemon flavor. Soo creamy, and just greattt.
Possibly the best ever Lemon Squares
3/4 plus 2 tblsp. all purpose flour
1/3 cup powdered sugar-plus extra for garnishing
2 tblsp. cornstarch
3/8 tblsp. salt(use 1/4 tsp. plus extra pinch)
6 tblsp. unsalted butter, cut into pieces 

2 large eggs
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tblsp. all purpose flour
1 tsp. lemon zest
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
3 tblsp. half and half
1/8 tsp. salt

Don't preheat oven quite yet. Line an 8 inch square pan with foil. Spray the foil with cooking spray.
Pulse flour, powdered sugar, cornstarch, and salt in food processor. Add butter and process to blend, 8-10 seconds, then pulse until coarse. Pour what will seem like a very *dry* mixture into the lined pan and press over the pan bottom. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. While it chills, you can make the filling.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. When oven is preheated, bake pre-chilled crust for 18-20 minutes or until edges are very lightly browned.
Filling: Lightly beat the eggs, sugar, flour together in a bowl. I used a fork. Add lemon juice, lemon zest, half and half, and salt and mix well.

Reduce oven temp. to 325 degrees. Stir filling again, then pour over **warm** crust. Bake for 20 minutes or until filing no longer appears wet and shaky. 

Set on wire rack to cool to room temp. Lift from pan, place on cutting board, dust with powdered sugar and cut into bars.

***I put mine in the fridge, and chilled the bars.
Chilled overnight makes them even better if u ask me!!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

TWD: Chocolate Chunkers

It's tuesday, and you know what that means...another fabulous recipe from Dorie.
Claudia of Fool For Food suggested these addicting chocolate cookies this week, and I am SO glad she did.

I kind of have a bad addiction to ANY type of chocolate cookie, I dont know why, but something about that dark, rich, dense, chocolaty flavor just makes my mouth water! And you'll ALWAYS find me first in that cookie jar whenever they're around.

These cookies were absolutely amazing! And they weren't hard to make at all. Just throw in a bunch of chocolate, some nuts, and raisins, and your done!...they're also very versatile so you can basically put any type of mix in, in them.

All in all, I very much enjoyed these cookies, and so did my family, and friends who I shared them with as well! 
Dorie's done it once again!

Mmm, chocolaty goodness =]]

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Happy Birthday to me!

Well, happy belated birthday. it was really on Sep. 4th. but I was just WAY too busy to do a post that day. 
A bunch of my girlfriends, plus my parents took me to the Hotel Bel Air sunday, for the loveliest brunch i've ever had in my life.
Not only was the food absolutely amazing, but just the whole entire atmosphere was so beautiful and elegant, I could honestly live there.
I, of course took some pictures of just some of the food we had.

Maple-Bourbon creme brulee French Toast
This, we thought, out of ALL the food on the table, was the best BY FAR. Think of the best french toast you've ever had in your life, then times that by 1 million, and that's how amazing this was!

Lobster Ravioli with Spinach and Mushrooms
This is what I ordered, and it was, no surprise, the best ravioli ever!

Strawberry Melba on a belgian waffle with vanilla ice cream
Now dessert, we of course had more food, but I was too busy eating to take pictures :P
This dessert was verrry good. Fresh, but still decadent.

Warm Chocolate cake

Homemade cookies and chocolates
Mmm...fresh, hot cookies

Then, just when I thought dessert was over, the waiter brings us this beautiful tray of cupcakes! From the picture, i'm sure you can guess that their vanilla cupcakes, with chocolate, and vanilla frosting. And of course, the ones with the carrots on them, are carrot cake!...these were absolutely amazing!...and on the top of the tray, it said "Happy birthday bronte" on a thin, big piece of white chocolate...yummmm.
Andddd, one of the coolest parts about it all, the Hotel Bel Air pastry chef himself!, came out to personally wish me a happy birthday, and I of course bombarded him with questions and what not. He was so nice, he didn't even charge us for those wonderful cupcakes!

All in all, this was really one birthday I will never forget!

Monday, September 1, 2008

TWD: Chunky Peanut Butter and Oatmeal Chocolate Chipsters

I'm back!...after a 2 week vacation to NYC, and another short break, it's finally time to get back to baking.
I was very excited when I saw that this weeks TWD, chosen by Stefany of Proceed with caution, was cookies. A nice, easy way to ease back into things. 

These cookies were SO extremely easy, and required a lot of ingredients you'd have on hand.
I really liked the peanut butter combo with the oatmeal, and chocolate chunks, and these made my house smell absolutely delish!

Make sure to check out the other cookies, and see what all the other 200+ bakers did!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

I'm back!

Back from NYC!
It was such an amazing trip, and I had a great time.

But i'm SO ready to get back in the kitchen!
I'll be posting new stuff soon!


Monday, August 11, 2008

New York Citayyyy!

I won't be able to do any TWD posts..even bake for that matter, cause I'm in New York City!!
Vacationnnn baby.
I'm really SO excited to be here though...(it's my first time...i know, crazy, right?!)

Soo i'll be back in a couple weeks, and until then, I wish all you guys Happy Baking!


Sunday, August 10, 2008

Blueberry Cream Mini Scones

Another blueberry recipe...I just can't get enough blueberries, there's just SO many different things to bake with them!

I bought a mini scone pan at William Sonoma a little while ago, and wanted to use it. And when I saw this recipe at the pastry studio I of course was already in my kitchen getting it out.

The original recipe is just a plain scone, is not made into mini scones, and of course, I added blueberries to it. They came out very very good. Everything you'd expect in a great quality, bakery-type scone.
The recipe also has other additions you could add to the batter such as raisins, or currants etc., but I chose blueberries!

I highly recommend trying these,(even if you dont have a mini scone pan), if you're a scone lover. A really great way to start off your day!

Blueberry Cream Mini Scones
adapted from Pastry Studio

2 cups flour
1 tblsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries 
1 1/4 cup heavy cream

1 tblsp. melted butter for brushing tops
sugar for sprinkling tops

Preheat oven to 425F. Grease mini scone pan.

Sift or whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a mixing bowl. Stir in blueberries if using. Add cream, and gently stir with a fork. Stop mixing when it starts to come together and the cream seems fairly absorbed. Be careful not to overmix. The dough will look loose and lumpy and not like a finished dough.

Pour the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Flour your hands a bit, and using a very light touch begin to gather into a 9'' circle. It will come together just enough to look like it might work. Do not handle very much to achieve maximum tenderness!

Carefully place the dough into each scone mold, and gently press down, so it fits evenly. 
Brush the tops with a little melted butter, and a light sprinkle of sugar.

Bake for 15 minutes or until they are golden. Serve immediately with your choice of jam, coffee, or whatever you love to eat your scones with!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Blueberry Crumb Bars

We had bought SO many blueberries from the grocery store, and since it's summer, blueberries of course, are at their ripest.

I was looking for a recipe that would use up all these blueberries, when I found this one on Smitten Kitchen. Maybe it was just the beautiful pictures that caught my eye, but something just popped in my head that said "MAKE THESE NOW!"...So of course, I did!

They turned out very, verrrrry yummy!
The short-bread-like layers, sandwiches that sweet, fruity taste of the blueberries, and after it's all baked up, some of those juices from the blueberries start to bubble up, and the end result is just absolutely DELISHHH!
Sooo...Make these now!

Blueberry Crumb Bars
from Smitten Kitchen

1 cup white sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup cold butter(2 sticks)
1 egg
1/4 tsp. salt
zest and juice of one lemon
4 cups fresh blueberries
1/2 cup white sugar
4 tsp. cornstarch 

1. preheat oven to 375F. Grease a 9x13 inch pan.

2. In a medium bowl, stir together 1 cup of sugar, 3 cups flour, and baking powder. Mix in salt and lemon zest. Use a fork or pastry cutter to blend in the butter and egg. Dough will be crumbly. Pat half of dough into the prepared pan.

3. In another bowl, stir together the sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice. Gently mix in the blueberries. Sprinkle the blueberry mixture evenly over the crust. Crumble the remaining dough over the berry layer. 

4. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes until top is slightly brown. Cool completely before cutting into squares.**

**these are easiest to cut once chilled, so I stuck them in the fridge after they cooled, then cut them. So much easier. They tasted VERY good cold.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

TWD: Black and White Banana Loaf

Coincidentally, I've already made this!
Soo please refer here to see how it came out!!


Sunday, August 3, 2008

Chewy White Chocolate, Chocolate Cookies

I LOVE chocolate cookies...something about a chewy, rich, ultra-chocolate-y cookie just makes my mouth waterrrrr.
Another big obsession of mine, is white chocolate. 

So when I saw these cookies from Picky Palate I knew I HAD to try them.
They really remind me of an oreo cookie-like flavor, and are a HUGE crowd pleaser, if you ask me.

If you're a chocolate cookie, and white chocolate fan, I strongly recommend trying these out!
Chewy White Chocolate, Chocolate Cookies
from Picky Palate
1 3/4 cup flour
1 1/4 cup cocoa powder( Hershey's dark chocolate cocoa powder)
1 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. baking soda
1 cup butter
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt
2 cups white chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350F and grease cookie sheet(I used a silpat liner)
2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar and white sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well with each addition. Add the salt and vanilla.
3. In another bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, and baking soda and gradually add to the creamed mixture. Fold in chocolate chips. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheet.
4. Bake for 8-10 minutes until fluffy, but still soft. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Brown Sugar Streusel Baked French Toast

I absolutely LOVE french toast. When I think of the weekends, one thing is always on my mind...a nice big breakfast of either waffles, pancakes, or french toast. And i'm sure you all agree with me!
My mom used to make(and still does) the BEST french toast, usually out of challah...the perfect bread to use for french toast, if you ask me. But she hasn't made some in a very long time.

I, of course was craving french toast this weekend, and just happened to find this recipe from one of my favorite sites, Baking Bites, for make-ahead, BAKED, french toast. BINGO!

It was perfect, the simplest thing to make...all you have to do is put it together the night before, refrigerate it, then when your ready to eat the next morning, pop it in the oven, and your done!

It came out SO good...the streusel topping adds such a great cinnamon-y flavor, and it smells amazing while it bakes! Another thing, Nicole says, is that it bakes up to be slightly crispy, which was a great contrast to the custardy and soft french toast.
I strongly recommend making this sometime, and it's a great dish to have on hand for breakfast or brunch, if you're having company over.

Brown Sugar Streusel Baked French Toast
From Nicole of Baking Bites
12 Slices White bread (approx)
2 cups milk
4 large eggs
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tblsp. all purpose flour
pinch salt
2 tblsp. butter, melted

Cut crusts off bread, and each piece into triangles. Arrange bread into 3 even layers, (the exact number of slices will vary, depending on the size of bread you start out with) in a lightly greased 8-inch baking dish.
In a large bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, brown sugar, salt, vanilla and cinnamon until smooth. Pour over bread, press down to ensure all pieces are thoroughly soaked. Custard should just come to the top of the bread layer. If it covers it more deeply, add additional bread.
In a small bowl, make the streusel. Stir together brown sugar, flour and salt. Pour in butter, and stir with a fork until mixture has the consistency of wet sand. Sprinkle evenly over bread and custard.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate over night. 
Preheat oven to 350F and bake for about 30-35 minutes, until french toast is a golden brown on top. Let the dish stand for a few minutes. The dish will be very soft and  souffle-like, but should not be too runny. The french toast will continue to set and soak up the custard as it cools. Slice and serve warm, with maple syrup.
Serves 6-8

Monday, July 28, 2008

TWD: Summer Fruit Galette

This weeks TWD couldn't be more perfect for summer.
I've never made a fruit galette before, and from the picture of Dories other Galette, the dough looked pretty hard to do...but I was determined to do it!

Thank you SO much Michelle from Michelle in Colorado , this was such a great pick!
In the recipe, Dorie says you can add any assortment of fruit to this, and since it's summer, there are sooo many great fruits in season, so choosing some was not hard at all.

I chose an assortment of peaches, plums, pears, apricots and blueberries.
All those different flavors turned out great!
We had all my grandparents, plus a bunch of family friends over for dinner, so I was happy I had another excuse to bake this!

What I served this with was a no brainer...VANILLA ICE CREAM!
If you make this, I HIGHLY suggest serving it with ice really does make it 100 times better!
And now, for the after picture...

...can you guess if they liked it or not?

There was a fight for the last little sliver... ;D
Be sure to head over to the Tuesdays With Dorie site to check out more Galettes!