June 8, 2009

BBA Challenge: Artos and Bagels

I’m still chugging along with the Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge. So far I’m (mostly) having fun and learning a lot.


Christopsomos The second week bread was Artos or Greek Celebration bread. I really didn’t have any trouble at all with this bread because it was really similar to my King Cake except that Artos has a lot more spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and cloves. The only trouble I had was the shaping, of course. I can tell it’s going to take a lot of practice to get good at shaping things because I’m just not good at that at all. The version of artos I did was called Christopsomos (though I made it plain, it’s technically supposed to have nuts and dried fruit in it), which is shaped into a boule (an oval, the only shape beside a loaf that I can do without much trouble), but then you roll out two strips of dough and lay them on top of the boule in a cross and then you split the ends and roll them …

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December 27, 2010

Holiday Cheesecake Sampler

Mini Holiday Cheesecakes

I hope everyone had a nice weekend! Brandon and I had a pretty laid back Christmas, we stayed in and watched movies and played video games all weekend. It even snowed a little bit on Saturday so we got the proverbial white Christmas. After going all out for Thanksgiving last month, I really wasn’t in the mood to kill myself making a big dinner again so instead we had a small ham and I made my favorite Pineapple Stuff to go with it. But it is Christmas, so I couldn’t resist having fun with dessert.

One of my presents this year was a set of mini springform pans. Cheesecake is most definitely our favorite dessert, and we agree that the recipe I use is the best cheesecake we’ve ever had (two years later I still get regular comments from people who love the recipe) but I only make it on special occasions for two reasons: 1) a 10″ cheesecake is A LOT for two people to eat and 2) we never ever agree on which flavor …

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April 9, 2013

Crispy Cheese Crackers – 3 ways

Crispy Cheese Crackers

I was recently given my grandmother’s box of recipes, most of them handwritten, probably many, many years ago and it’s been really fun going through it and seeing what her favorite recipes were. My mother also had a similar recipe box filled with cards and magazine clippings that I look through periodically. Cookbooks are great, but I love taking one of those meticulously written recipe cards out the box and trying to decipher the tiny, perfect cursive handwriting; trying to follow the sometimes very opaque directions; chuckling at old-fashioned ingredients like “oleo.”

Sometimes I think there is too much importance placed on “original” recipes. I love finding a recipe and knowing that it was made the same way for years and years by my grandmother or my mother or hundreds of people’s grandmothers and mothers. I love having a whole boxes of recipes that have been passed down over and over. Maybe my mom got that recipe from her sister. Or maybe my grandmother got that recipe from a friend. Maybe they never even got a chance to make it, but they still …

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November 16, 2010

Double Chocolate Cranberry Gingerbread Muffins

Double Chocolate Cranberry Gingerbread Muffins

In my attempt to eat less processed food during the day, I have been making a lot of muffins lately. They fit my criteria for easy food and as I mentioned in my last post, I love any kind of bread. The problem is they can get pretty unhealthy, so all the muffins I’ve been eating have been whole wheat, low-fat, filled with things like oats and applesauce and bananas. All of those muffins have been good, but when I was thinking about what kind of muffins I wanted to make this week, I was not in the mood for “healthy”. In fact, I had some very specific cravings: I wanted something similar to my favorite gingerbread muffins. I also knew I wanted to use the cranberries that I recently bought. And finally, I was craving chocolate because, well, it was a day of the week. (What can I say, I guess I’m a stereotypical female.)

May 5, 2010

Chocolate Angel Food Cake with Strawberries

Chocolate Angel Food Cake

I have an excuse for not posting in a while: finding a good recipe is hard! This is my third attempt at a cake in as many weeks and I finally have a winner to show you guys. I could have posted a couple weeks ago when I made that spongecake that turned out to be the blandest of bland, but I just couldn’t get myself to be excited about it. (It was so bland, it wasn’t even worth the calories to me and I wound up throwing most of it away. I’ve never thrown a cake away before!) So then I found a chocolate angel food cake recipe that sounded like it would be anything but bland, but I failed. Oh, I failed hard. The cake tasted ok, but I believe the word “brick” was used by my boyfriend when he saw said cake. As in “That’s supposed be an angel food cake? It looks like a brick.” So then I went online searching for why my cake turned out to be a brick instead of a cake and I found …

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August 4, 2011

Lemon-glazed Blueberry Donut Muffins

Lemon-glazed Blueberry Donut Muffins

I go back and forth a lot on what my favorite food is, but donuts are definitely in the top five and likely to be in the top spot most days. Despite that, I don’t buy them very much. I’m just not the kind of person who can eat one donut and be satisfied. And ultimately, I don’t mind staying away from donuts because then when I do eat them they taste pretty magical.

But sometimes you just get a craving that won’t go away. I’ve made homemade donuts before but was not in the mood for the hassle of cutting and frying dough and I don’t have one of those donut pans to make cake donuts in. Then I remembered this recipe for donut muffins that I printed out ages ago and decided it was finally time to give it a try. Cut to this week, now the second time I’ve made them in the past month and I think I have a problem. I can’t stop making them! No, they aren’t quite as good as real fried donuts, but they do have the exact same taste and texture …

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November 21, 2012

Spiced Caramel Apple Cider

Caramel Apple Cider

November has passed in a flash and here we are, it’s almost Thanksgiving! I’m freaking out about this because I just got back from vacation and I’m having a hard time adjusting to normal life again. We spent half the week in a secluded cabin in the Smokey mountains and the other half in Asheville, NC, which is a pretty little town with lots of wonderful restaurants. I had such a good time that I’m already mentally planning a trip back to the same area next year!

I didn’t mean to take such a long break from posting but between work deadlines and vacation it didn’t leave much time for cooking this month. But thanks to how easy this recipe is, I did have a chance to whip up this delicious drink in my spare time. I wanted to post it before Thanksgiving because it’s easy to make ahead of time and would be an excellent addition to any holiday get-together, particularly if you serve a nice piece of pie along with it.

October 19, 2011

Apple Pie Cream Cheese Muffins

Apple Pie Cream Cheese Muffins

Recipe inspiration can come from some funny places. I decided to make these muffins after buying some cute red cupcake liners from Target. I just knew I had to put something with apple in them (and it helped that I had basket full of apples waiting for me at home). I promise I’ll move on to something else besides apples after this, but I had to share this recipe because I was so happy with how these muffins turned out.

It’s a little hard to tell from the pictures what exactly these muffins are since many of the components are a similar color, so let me just describe it for you: it all starts with a graham cracker crust on the bottom (like a little pie!), the muffin is a spiced applesauce cake with a cinnamon cream cheese center and it’s all topped with caramelized apples. Basically, I was torn between making a pie or cake, so I decided to combine them!