Monday, October 31, 2005 

Hope You Can "Bear"

a cool Halloween!

Sunday, October 30, 2005 

Greetings to our reader in NAPLES, ITALY!


Naples is the birthplace of the pizza, or more specifically, Pizza Margherita, which traditionally is made with mozzarella cheese, pomodoro (tomato) and basil - each representing the red, white, and green of the Italian flag. The pizza was created as homage to Queen Margherita when she visited the city.

In about 1889, Queen Margherita, accompanied by her husband, Umberto I, took an inspection tour of her Italian Kingdom. During her travels around Italy she saw many people, especially the peasants, eating this large, flat bread. Curious, the queen ordered her guards to bring her one of these Pizza breads. The Queen loved the bread and would eat it every time she was out amongst the people, which caused some consternation in Court circles. It was not seemly for a Queen to dine on peasant's food.

Never the less, the queen loved the bread and decided to take matters into her own hands. Summoning Chef Rafaelle Esposito from his pizzeria to the royal palace, the queen ordered him to bake a selection of pizzas for her pleasure.

To honor the queen who was so beloved by her subjects, Rafaelle decided to make a very special pizza just for her. He baked a Pizza topped with tomatoes, Mozarella Cheese, and fresh Basil (to represent the colors of the Italian flag: Red, white, and green).

This became Queen Margherita's favorite pizza and when word got out that this was one of the queen's favorite foods, she became even more popular with the Italian people. She also started a culinary tradition, the Pizza Margherita, which lasts to this very day in Naples and has now spread throughout the world. - In Mamas Kitchen

Naples is also famous for its pasta dishes, where spaghetti is often served with sugo di pomodoro, (witness the problem of "web translations" of an authentic italian based website!) a tomato sauce which gets its full flavour from sun-ripe Campanian tomatoes.

Naples offers several kinds of unique pastry, the most famous of which is perhaps the babà, and the Pastiera, a cake prepared for Easter. The babà (also known as savarin) is a mushroom-shaped piece of leavend sweet paste, soaked with an orange flavoured mixture of ronruhm and water. The Pastiera is a cake with a complicated recipe, varying by the county in which it is prepared. The ingrediants are typically annealed grain, eggs, and sometimes cream. It is always combined with boiled rice.

Naples is also known for its gelato.

(From Wikipedia)

I'm wondering when I can come visit! ;-)

Chocolate Cookie Pizza

"A favorite with children of all ages. Use your imagination with the toppings!"

Original recipe yield: 12 to 16 slices.

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons milk
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup pecan halves
1/2 cup candy-coated milk chocolate pieces
1/4 cup flaked coconut
2 ounces white chocolate, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Combine butter, brown sugar, white sugar, vanilla, and egg until well combined. Stir in the flour and the baking soda (dough will be stiff). Pat dough onto an ungreased 12 inch pizza pan or on a cookie sheet.

Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove cookie from oven and let it cool.

In a saucepan heat the chocolate chips, remaining butter or margarine, and milk over very low heat. Stir until chocolate is melted. Remove the chocolate mixture from the heat and stir in the confectioners' sugar. Beat until smooth, glossy, and of spreading consistency. If frosting is not glossy, stir in a few drops of hot water. Spread over the top of the baked and cooled cookie.
Immediately sprinkle with pecan halves, M&M candies, and coconut. Press lightly into frosting. Drizzle top with the melted white chocolate. Let stand until set. Remove from pan if desired. Cut into wedges.

AND.....Where are YOU from? Add your location on our cookie map!


Literally...By Word of Mouth

Fort Lauderdale got pummeled by Hurricane Wilma...I'm hoping this little gem of a restaurant survived.

A well-known caterer owns By Word of Mouth, a popular and unique restaurant in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Unassuming but outstanding, it is small and intimate with lace curtains and simple decor and this restaurant never advertises, hence its name. But word has sufficed for nearly a quarter century because locals consistently put this tiny restaurant along the railroad tracks at the top of "reader's choice" restaurant polls. There's no menu. Patrons are shown the day's specials to make their choice and all selections are brought to the table in refrigerated units. An excellent staff helps you navigate the offerings at this off-the-wall cafe. Desserts are an absolute must.

"Desserts that should be illegal" - Zagat

By Word of Mouth's Chocolate Cookies

• 8 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
• 6 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
• 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, cut into bits
• 1 cup all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 8 large eggs
• 3 cups sugar
• 3 tablespoons instant coffee granules
• 4 teaspoons coffee-flavor liqueur such as Kahlua

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a metal bowl set over simmering water, melt the unsweetened chocolate, 3 cups of the chocolate chips and the butter, stirring until smooth. Set aside to cool.

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until thick and pale. Beat in the instant coffee and coffee liqueur.

Fold the cooled chocolate mixture into the egg mixture. Fold in the flour mixture, then the remaining 3 cups chocolate chips. Let the batter stand for 30 minutes.

Working in batches, drop the batter by the teaspoonful onto the prepared pan. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, until the cookies are puffed and shiny on top. Cool completely on pan before before removing. Makes about 8 dozen cookies.

Per cookie: 113 calories (44 percent from fat), 6 g fat, 23 mg cholesterol, 1 g protein, 15 g carbohydrate, trace of fiber, 58 mg sodium.


When it says Libby's Libby's Libby's

on the label label will like it like like it on your table table table...when it says libby's libby's libby's on the label label label.

And there's a reason why...they don't use just any ol' pumpie...

Over the years, Libby's used agricultural research and selective systems to develop a special variety of pumpkin (a type of squash) ideal for canning and consistent quality. That would be the Dickinson squash with rich, golden-orange color and creamy texture.

These are very different from Halloween field pumpkins; the Dickinsons are smaller, squat, meatier, heavier, sweeter and more dense.

About 5,000 acres of the sweet Dickinson vegetables are grown on their vines annually, exclusively for Libby's, in the rich farmlands around Morton, Ill. And nothing is added to the pumpkin during the cooking and canning process. No salt, no sugar, no flavorings or colorings. It's all pure pumpkin. - Cincinnati Post

Pumpkin Spice Ghost Cake

1 pkg. (18 oz.) spice or carrot cake mix
1 cup
LIBBY'S 100% Pure Pumpkin
3 large eggs
1/3 cup water
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2 pkgs. (3 oz. each) cream cheeese, softened
2 tablespoons margarine or butter, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups powdered sugar

*Black string licorice, NESTLÉ RAISINETS Milk Chocolate-Covered Raisins and Halloween candy corn (optional)

FOR CAKE: PREHEAT oven to 350º F. Grease and flour two 8- or 9-inch-round cake pans.COMBINE cake mix, pumpkin, eggs, water, vegetable oil and pumpkin pie spice in large mixer bowl until moistened. Beat for 2 minutes or until thoroughly mixed. Pour batter into prepared pans.BAKE for 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Frost with Cream Cheese Frosting.

FOR CREAM CHEESE CROSTING: BEAT cream cheese, margarine and vanilla extract in small mixer bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in sugar. Spread between layers and on top and side of cake.

TO GARNISH: FORM licorice strings into ghost shapes; press into side of frosted cake. Use Raisinets for eyes. Arrange candy corn between ghosts on side and around top edge of frosted cake.

Saturday, October 29, 2005 

Gentlereaders...Start your pumpkins.....

or, rather, start your Halloween pumpkin carving!

Pam's Pumpkin Patch certainly has.....)

The History of Halloween....

Celebrated for centuries by the Celts of old, Witches and many other nature based religions, it is the most magical night of the year. It is the Witches' New Year, and the Last Harvest. Although the religious significance of it has passed for the general public, Halloween is a "magical" night for all!

On this magical night, glowing jack-o-lanterns, carved from turnips or gourds, were set on porches and in windows to welcome deceased loved ones, but also to act as protection against malevolent spirits. Burning lumps of coal were used inside as a source of light, later to be replaced by candles.

When European settlers, particularly the Irish, arrived in American they found the native pumpkin to be larger, easier to carve and seemed the perfect choice for jack-o-lanterns. Halloween didn't really catch on big in this country until the late 1800's and has been celebrated in so many ways ever since! -
Pumpkin Carving 101

Pumpkin Masters has some handy carving hints...they also have some fun templates to download and send in a photo of your pumpkin to their carving contest!

andd then you gotta roast up some seeds....

Martha's Sweet and Spicy Pumpkin Seeds

Makes 1 cup

Pumpkin seeds must be completely dried out in the oven before combining with spices. Whether for cooking or carving, choose an unblemished pumpkin that feels heavy for its size; it will store well, uncarved, at room temperature, for up to a month.

1 medium pumpkin
5 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Pinch cayenne pepper to taste
1 1/2 tablespoons peanut oil

Preheat oven to 250°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut pumpkin open from the bottom, removing seeds with a long-handled spoon. Separate flesh from seeds, and reserve the flesh for another use (see
Pumpkin Pie). Pumpkin should yield 1 cup seeds. Spread seeds on parchment in an even layer. Bake until dry, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour. Let cool.

In a medium bowl combine 3 tablespoons sugar, salt, cumin, cinnamon, ginger, and cayenne. Heat peanut oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add pumpkin seeds and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Cook until sugar melts and pumpkin seeds begin to caramelize, about 45 to 60 seconds. Transfer to bowl with spices, and stir well to coat. Let cool. These may be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Friday, October 28, 2005 

Happy Chef Blogging Friday!

Meet Pastry Chef Sue McCown of Earth & Ocean at The W Hotel – Seattle, WA

Sue McCown was both raised and trained in the culinary arts in San Francisco. Sue attended the California Culinary Academy where she trained to become a professional chef and graduated with honors.

In 1990, Sue left San Francisco for the Pacific Northwest, taking a position at Campagne. After a few short months, Sue left line cooking and took over the restaurant’s baking operations. She enjoyed the energy level provided by working for a modern day French restaurant in the heart of the Pike Place Market, next to Chef Tamara Murphy. Her experience at Campagne molded her style, character and love affair with desserts.

In 1993, Sue moved to The Alexis Hotel, working side by side with Executive Chef Emily Moore. The Painted Table was one of Seattle’s first four-star restaurants, and Sue had the ultimate challenge and pleasure of catering to such guests as Ivana Trump, the Sultan of Brunei, as well as to locals. Sue received several awards in her two years at the Alexis: Chocolate for Choice, the Peter Rabbit Carrot Cake Contest.

Sue moved to the Sorrento Hotel in 1995, where she produced interesting desserts for this world-class, nineteenth century Seattle landmark. One year later, Sue worked with Wolfgang Puck to open ObaChine, where she fashioned such whimsical items as Sweet Dim Sum for Two.

Sue oversees the on-sight creation and baking of all pastry products for W Seattle’s hotel catering and banquet functions and for Earth & Ocean. The opportunity to work for this contemporary hotel and restaurant is the culmination of eleven years of self-training in the pastry industry. Sue participates in numerous charity events and competitions, while continually tantalizing Seattle with her creative seasonal dishes utilizing products from the Pacific Northwest.

Her favorite ingredients:
Vanilla bean, Brown sugar, Powdered sugar

Her three tips for dessert success: 1. Read your recipe. 2. Get all your mise en place together beforehand. 3. Plan your timing correctly.

Triple Chocolate-Peppermint Cookie Sandwich

Adapted by StarChefs
Yield: 30 Servings

Chocolate-Peppermint Ganache:
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup heavy cream
¾ teaspoon peppermint extract

Triple Chocolate Shortbread Cookies:
¼ pound unsalted butter, softened
½ cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
5 ounces white chocolate, chopped
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

White Modeling Chocolate:
9 ounces white chocolate
5 ounces light corn syrup
A few drops red food coloring
A few drops green food coloring
Powdered sugar, for dusting

For Chocolate-Peppermint Ganache:
Place chocolate in medium-sized bowl. Bring heavy cream just to boil and pour over chocolate. Let sit for two minutes, then stir to combine. Stir in peppermint extract. Refrigerate until firm, about 4 hours.

For Triple Chocolate Shortbread Cookies:
In bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and beat until combined. In separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Add to mixer and mix until just combined. Scrape sides of bowl at least once. Add white and bittersweet chocolates and mix until chocolates are evenly distributed.

Between layers of plastic wrap, roll dough out to 1/8 inch thick. Peel off top layer of plastic and place back on dough. Flip dough, peel plastic off what is now top. Cut cookies with 2 inch fluted cookie cutter. Place about ½ inch apart on 2 or 3 cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. Re-roll scraps and repeat. There should be at least 60 cookies. Refrigerate at least 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 325°F. Bake cookies, one sheet at a time, 6 minutes each. Cookies will seem underdone, with no crunch. Let sit 10 minutes, then transfer to a rack to finish cooling. Let firm up for at least 1 hour.

For White Modeling Chocolate:
In double boiler or bowl set over simmering water, melt white chocolate. Remove from heat and stir in corn syrup. Continue stirring until chocolate thickens and becomes sticky. Wrap tightly in plastic and let rest two hours at room temperature.

Pull off two 1 ounce chunks (about 1 Tablespoon each) of modeling chocolate. Using gloves, massage a few drops red food coloring into one chunk. Repeat with other chunk, using green food coloring. Divide remaining plain modeling chocolate into quarters. Flatten two quarters into rough squares about sandwich bread thickness. Flatten red chocolate into a square the same size. Sandwich the red square between the two plain squares. Make five equal length strips. Turn on their sides to expose colored stripes and gather all strips together. Gently work together into a lump. Repeat with green chocolate and remaining quarters.

Sprinkle small amount of powdered sugar onto pastry mat or silpat and gently roll red lump to 1/8 inch thickness. Using a 2 – 3/8 inch size round fluted cookie cutter, cut as many circles of dough as you can. Pull up scraps and gently reroll and cut until you’ve used up all the chocolate. Be careful not to overwork the chocolate or it will lose its marbled pattern. Repeat with green lump.

To Assemble:
Spread scant Tablespoon of Chocolate-Peppermint Ganache on underside of Triple Chocolate Shortbread Cookie, leaving small amount of ganache on spreader. Place another cookie on top of ganache, and dab rest of ganache on top. Gently place a circle of red or white chocolate on ganache and press so that chocolate adheres. Repeat with remaining cookies, ganache & modeling chocolate.

Thursday, October 27, 2005 

Where y'all coming from?

Stop by our "Frappr!" map and let us know where you are visiting from! Click HERE.


Gingerbread isn't just for Christmas anymore....

From The Secret Life of Food
Photo: Eric Staudenmaier
Recipe at Epicurious

NIC over at The Baking Sheet made some and boy are they adorable! Almost too cute to eat!

I like her version including a skeleton unicorn, because, really is there anything scarier than that?

Wednesday, October 26, 2005 

Another American Baking Icon

Betty Crocker. (Who really never existed....)
The Washburn Crosby Company of Minneapolis, one of the six big milling companies that merged into General Mills in 1928, received thousands of requests each year in the late 1910s and early 1920s for answers to baking questions. In 1921, managers decided that it would be more intimate to sign the responses personally; they combined the last name of a retired company executive, William Crocker, with the first name “Betty,” which was thought of as “warm and friendly.” The signature came from a secretary, who won a contest among female employees. (The same signature still appears on Betty Crocker products.)In 1924, Betty Crocker acquired a voice with the radio debut of the nation’s first cooking show, which featured thirteen different actresses working from radio stations across the country. Later it became a national broadcast, The Betty Crocker School of the Air, which ran for twenty-four years.

is ready for Halloween, too!

Halloween Goodies.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005 


...the power of a cookie....

a San Diego International Airport terminal was evacuated Tuesday morning after luggage screeners mistook a child's toy and a cookie for bomb-making materials. - SFGate

for cookies with explosively good taste....cookiesinheaven


Who doesn't love this chubby little guy?

And, it being the beginning of Holiday baking season, the Pillsbury Doughboy (aka Poppin' Fresh) is being spotted everywhere. On TV commercials, in magazine articles and advertisements, and of course, Pillsbury has those ubiquitous special edition cooking booklets you can view (and purchase) when standing in line at the grocery store. Of course, they are ready for Halloween on their web page, too. Check them out...some of their ideas are just wild! (Gotta love the Chocolate Chip Werewolf cookies....)

Poppin' has been "poppin'" for awhile. He was originally created by the famous Advertising Agency, Leo Burnett, in 1965. That's right....he turned the "big 4-0" this year! (he's still looking poppin' fresh! dang him! I want to know his secret....) One of the things he wanted to do for his birthday was to travel around to various parts of our country....and even go shopping on Rodeo Drive!

He's just too cute!

Whooooo Hoooooooo!

Giant Glowing Pumpkin Cookies
Prep Time: 1 hr
Makes: 8 cookies

Success Tip Get cracking! To crush, place the unwrapped candies in a resealable freezer plastic bag. Set the bag on a towel to protect the work surface underneath. Strike the bag repeatedly with a hammer, rolling pin, meat mallet or heavy can of food until the candy is broken into small pieces.

1 (18-oz.) roll Pillsbury® Refrigerated Sugar Cookies
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
6 butterscotch hard disk candies, crushed
6 cinnamon hard disk candies, crushed

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper or foil. (If using foil, smooth out all wrinkles.)

2. Break up cookie dough into large bowl. Add flour and pumpkin pie spice; mix well. On lightly floured surface, roll out half of dough at a time to 1/8-inch thickness. Refrigerate remaining half of dough.

3. With small sharp knife or cookie cutter, cut out 4-inch pumpkin shapes; place 2 inches apart on 1 paper-lined cookie sheet. Cut out facial features from pumpkins. Continue with remaining dough.

4. Meanwhile, combine crushed candies. Place 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed candy in center of each cut-out area in each cookie, making sure candy touches edges of cookie. (Do not mound candy in centers of cutouts.)

5. Bake at 350°F. for 12 to 18 minutes or until edges of cookies are light golden brown, and candy is melted and fills cut-out areas of cookies. Cool 2 to 5 minutes on cookie sheets or until candy is hardened. Carefully remove cookies from cookie sheets; place on wire racks. Cool 15 minutes or until completely cooled. Repeat with remaining half of dough and candy.

Monday, October 24, 2005 

I'm an Apprentice "Sucker"

Martha Stewart Halloween has some great ideas for spooky entertaining and trick or treating. (It is getting near that time, you know....) From recipes to makeup tricks, she and her "Omnimedia" crew have certainly gathered up quite a collection to share.

Oh, and, "The Donald"...I hear that you're picking on Martha saying that her "Apprentice Show" is bringing down the ratings of yours. I will disagree, my dear. I'm quite addicted to both shows and I have to say the contestants on your show aren't of the same calibur or "likeability" of past seasons. I have talked with others who feel the same. So, don't point your finger at "M Diddy" or you'll have to deal with me!

Martha's Halloween Lollipops
Makes 10

2 cups sugar
2/3 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
10 drops orange food coloring
8 drops pure orange oil
10 lollipop sticks

Assorted candies, for decorating

1. Line three baking sheets with Silpats (nonstick baking mats), or grease them generously with vegetable oil. Prepare an ice-water bath. Combine sugar, corn syrup, and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan, and place over medium-high heat. Stir continuously to dissolve sugar. When the syrup comes to a boil, stop stirring and clip on a candy thermometer. Continue to cook, without stirring, until the mixture turns golden and reaches 300° to 310° (hard-crack stage) on the thermometer, 5 to 7 minutes. Occasionally wash the sides of the pan using a clean brush dipped in cold water to prevent crystals from forming.

2. Remove the pot from the heat. Transfer the syrup to a 2-cup heatproof measuring cup. Using a heatproof rubber spatula, stir in the food coloring and orange oil until completely combined.

3. Working quickly, pour ten 3-inch circles of syrup onto prepared baking sheets. Press in lollipop sticks. With your fingertips or a toothpick, lightly press candies into the syrup. Set aside until completely cooled and hardened.

Sunday, October 23, 2005 

When you go shopping for ingredients...

to bake your holiday just might get a sticker shock.
your holiday cookies could cost you this year with post-hurricane sugar prices surging to nearly double what they were a year ago.

sugar is now selling at 42 cents per pound on the wholesale market compared to 24.5 cents per pound a year ago, according to stats compiled by miller and baking news, which tracks sugar prices for manufacturers.

...prices were on their way up this summer because of a poor sugar beet crop in the midwest. damage to sugar processing plants and sugarcane fields in louisiana caused by hurricanes Katrina and rita compounded the problem, creating shortages and sending prices skyward. -
knight ridder via billings gazette

Saturday, October 22, 2005 

Fresh Baked from the Postal Service....

Cookies Stamps! Whoo hooo!

The Postal Service delivered the first taste of the holidays today by dedicating the Holiday Cookies commemorative postage stamps outside the world-famous Pillsbury Kitchens at General Mills Headquarters in Minneapolis. A dedication ceremony also took place in New York City's Madison Square Garden at one of the nation's largest stamp shows, the Postage Stamp Mega-Event.

...The Holiday Cookies stamps celebrate the child in all of us, evoking favorite memories from the simple pleasure of decorating cookies. When it is time to celebrate during the holiday season, sweets are always in demand. Cookies and other edible treats were used to decorate Christmas trees long before glass ornaments were used. Today, cookies are still used for that purpose. You may find cookies beautifully gift-wrapped under the tree -- on a feast-laden table, as perennial favorites of holiday guests.

"Although we decorated nearly 1,000 cookies to get the stamp designs just right," said stamp photographer Sally-Andersen Bruce of New Milford, CT, "it's really fulfilling to know that 200 million are reproduced on stamps." - USPS Press Release

Friday, October 21, 2005 

Happy Chef Blogging Friday!

Meet Nancy Silverton..... former co-owner of Campanile and La Brea Bakery with her husband, Mark Peel. She is currently partnering up with Mario Batali for a highly anticipated restaurant in the Los Angeles area. They've cause quite a stir in the "investment" crowd.
Prospective investors were stunned Oct. 5 when the private placement offering for the much anticipated Nancy Silverton-Mario Batali restaurant hit their desks. Shares in the Italian kitchen are being offered at a record $100,000 each, a startlingly large sum in Los Angeles, where buying into a top restaurant rarely costs more than $25,000 a share, and never more than $50,000. - LATimes

Born in Los Angeles, Nancy was 18 years old and studying liberal arts at Cal State University Sonoma when she "tasted her cooking future". She began working as a vegetarian cook in her dormitory kitchen. She apprenticed at a small Northern California restaurant and then attended the Cordon Bleu in London. She returned to Los Angeles where she was employed as an assistant pastry chef at Michael's restaurant in Santa Monica where she met her husband, Mark, who was the sous chef.

She is primarily known for her breads, but she does amazing cookies and other pastries. She's also a big fan of sandwiches done right...on Thursday Nights, especially.

Anzac Cookies

Makes about 20 2 1/2 inch cookies.

In Australia this light and crunchy cookie is equal in popularity to our chocolate chip cookie. Traditionally, it was a homemade cookie they baked for soldiers (ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Corps) as well as for children coming home from school. This recipe was given to Nancy Silvertaon by her former assistant pastry chef, Australian Kerry Caloyannidis.

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut* (see Note)
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
5 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda dissolved in 1 tablespoon boiling water
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest

Preheat the oven to 350F

In a medium saucepan over medium heat melt two tablespoons of butter and stir in the oats. Cook, stirring often, until the oats are lightly browned. Cut the remaining butter into small pieces and add to the pan. Remove from the heat and stir until the butter is melted.

Spread out the coconut on a baking sheet and bake for 5 to 7 minutes, until lightly toasted. Add the flour, sugar, dissolved baking soda, zest and coconut to the oats and butter. Stir together and let cool to room temperature.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Shape the dough into 1 inch balls ( you should have about 20) and place on the baking sheet. Press down on each ball to flatten. Bake for 15 minutes, until lightly golden. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from the pan. Store in an airtight tin rather than a cookie jar.

NOTE: Unsweetened coconut is available in health-food stores.

Thursday, October 20, 2005 

First There Was Citizen Cake....

Now...Citizen Cupcake!

and look at some of their lineup....oh...yummmmmm....

Rocky Road Cupcake: We take chocolate chiffon cake and top it with chocolate frosting folded with chunks of Citizen Cake marshmallow and walnuts then dip it in chocolate. Yum!

Candy Bar #1 Cupcake: Devil’s food cake filled with caramel and covered with peanut butter frosting and salted Spanish peanuts.

Lem-ania: A Citizen Cupcake favorite! Lemon buttermilk cake, key lime curd injection, lemon zest frosting finished with vanilla bean meringue sticks.

Joe Cool Chocolate Mint: Fresh mint frosting and a chocolate cream injection makes this cupcake a unique and tasty experience.

Pineapple Upside-down Cupcake: A tropical treat: lots o’ pineapple chunks underneath moist buttermilk cake topped with a passion fruit frosting & coconut

Persian Love cupcake: Chiffon cake with a rose buttercream filling, saffron punch, rose confectioner’s glaze, pistachios and candied rose petals.

oh..yeah...they do
make other things...but you'll only attack those after you've gone for the good fluffy cuppycakey stuff!

sfstation has a writeup. Becks and Posh have some visuals from c.c. And the Arizona Daily Star got a recipe from them!

Boston cream cupcakes
Makes 20-24 cupcakes

For cupcakes:
● 1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter
● 1 1/2 cups sugar
● 1 teaspoon vanilla
● 3 eggs
● 2 cups all-purpose flour
● 1 tablespoon cornstarch
● 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
● 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
● 1/4 teaspoon salt
● 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature

For pastry cream filling:
● 1 cup milk
● 3 egg yolks
● 1/3 cup sugar
● 2 tablespoons cornstarch
● 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
● 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter
● 1 cup heavy cream, whipped
For chocolate glaze:
● 1 cup heavy cream
● 1 tablespoon corn syrup
● 8 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate
● 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) unsalted butter

To make cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and sugar together with an electric mixer; add vanilla and eggs. Sift dry ingredients together and add in 3 stages, alternating with the buttermilk. Line muffin pans with paper liners. Fill each about fl full with batter. Bake 15-20 minutes.

To make pastry cream: Bring milk just to boil in medium saucepan. Whisk egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch together in a bowl. Stir just a little of the hot milk into the egg mixture to equalize the temperatures. Add a little more hot milk to the egg mixture and stir well again. Then add all of the hot milk, and stir. Return mixture to saucepan; whisk over low heat constantly until mixture becomes thick. Pour pastry cream into clean bowl and whisk in vanilla. Whisk in butter 1 ounce at a time until smooth. Cover surface with plastic wrap and chill until cool. Fold whipped cream into chilled pastry cream.

To make chocolate glaze: Bring cream and corn syrup to boil. Pour hot cream over chopped chocolate in a medium bowl. Let hot cream sit on the chocolate for about 5 minutes. Stir until chocolate is dissolved and smooth. Stir in butter.

To assemble: Fill pastry bag with pastry cream; poke tip of pastry bag into top of each cupcake and inject each with some pastry cream. Or slice each cupcake in half horizontally and spread some pastry cream in between layers.
Drizzle chocolate glaze over top of each cupcake.
Nutritional data per serving: 339 calories, 4 g protein, 23 g fat (14g saturated), 32 g carbohydrate, 115 mg sodium, 111 mg cholesterol, trace dietary fiber.

● From Elizabeth Falkner, pastry chef/owner of Citizen Cake and Citizen Cupcake, both in San Francisco

Wednesday, October 19, 2005 

Food Section Wednesday

Well...we usually "travel" on Food Section Wednesday...let's just forget the papers this week...let's think scrumptious literature. Let's think Savannah, Georgia.

I'm rereading Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. I've always had a fascination with Savannah. Even as a little girl, there was something about the city that just seemed, southernly delicious. Of course, the book sheds a different light on the historic city, but I still hold a candle in my heart of Savannah. Of course, a Yankee girl such as myself would never give away that I loved Southern food and ambience..... But I do! (shhh...don't tell anyone)

Surfing through the Savannah links, this Bed and Breakfast looked fascinating...and they even had a signature recipe!

The Foley House
Savannah's native son and lyricist, Johnny Mercer penned, "I will remember you." What was old Savannah is newly chic, abundantly classic, sophisticated and en vogue again. Weave yourself into the tapestry of this southern international city. In genteel Savannah enjoy the Foley House Inn's premier romantic bedding, handsomely decorated guest room lodging, gourmet breakfast dining, fine wines, private chef's hors d'oeuvres and appetizers, and the parkside hotel's intimate private hidden courtyard gardens.

Orange and Cranberry Baked Croissant Soufflé
Serves 10

1 cup (250 ml) cream cheese, softened ½ cup (125 ml) butter, softened
½ cup (125 ml) maple syrup
¼ cup (50 ml) orange juice
Zest of 1 large orange
8 large baked croissants
8 eggs
2 cups (500 ml) half and half cream
¾ cup (175 ml) dried cranberries
1 tsp (5 ml) cinnamon

Combine the cream cheese, butter, maple syrup, orange juice and zest in a mixer or food processor until well mixed Using your hands, break up the croissants into large pieces. Scatter the chunky pieces of croissants into a 9 inch by 13 inch (3 liter) baking dish and spread the cream cheese mixture over the croissants using a spatula.In a large bowl, beat the eggs, cream, cranberries and cinnamon. Pour the egg mixture over the croissants and cover and refrigerate overnight.In the morning, preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C), remove the soufflé from the fridge, uncover and allow to rise to room temperature, about 10 minutes. Bake for 45 minutes or until golden. Serve dusted with icing sugar and extra dried cranberries, if you wish.

Ahhhhh....Savannah...take me away!

(and for the the commenter who asked for the recipe for the chocolate chip cookie...leave me your email!)

Tuesday, October 18, 2005 

You ready for Halloween?

Martha is.



Running a taste test

of a new layout...whatcha think?

Is this "layout recipe" a "keeper?"

Monday, October 17, 2005 

Sorry haven't posted....

I'm wondering what I want the blog to look like and have been working up some ideas.

And, of course, that little think called life that occassionally pops and interferes with baking and blogging pleasure....

Tuesday, October 04, 2005 

Forget the Stock Exchange....


AllRecipes has some tips.

Do you love setting the table with a huge assortment of cookies but can't stand the thought of spending several days baking? Then a cookie exchange party is the perfect party for you! It makes it possible for everyone who participates to take home a gigantic assortment of homemade cookies without putting a lot of work into it. Interested? It's simple to organize and throw your own party -- we'll walk you through the basics by giving you a handy party-planning checklist and sample invitation, by doling out advice on ways to make the party extra-special, and by loading you up with plenty of Christmas cookie recipes.

The Basics:
Invite a group of your favorite cookie-loving friends over and ask them each to bring a big batch of cookies (estimate 1 dozen multiplied by the total number of guests), a stack of recipe cards for the cookies they'll bring and containers to take cookies home with them. After a period of chatting and snacking, the cookie exchange can commence with all of the cookies organized buffet-style on a table and with everyone gathered around, merrily swapping cookies into their containers. To learn exactly how to throw a Cookie Exchange Party, read our How To Host A Cookie Exchange Party timeline.

Invitation Tip:
Make sure that your guests understand that the cookies they'll bring must be homemade and easily transportable, as the cookies will most likely be combined with a lot of other cookies and will need to hold their form well. Take a look at our Sample Cookie Exchange Party Invitation (or evite is always fun!) for suggestions on the best ways to explain the rules of the cookie exchange party.

Butter Pecan Cookies (from Martha Stewart)

Makes 12; Prep time: 15 minutes; Total time: 30 minutes

3/4 cup pecans
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar, plus more for coating
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour

1. Preheat oven to 350°. On a baking sheet, toast pecans until fragrant, about 6 minutes. Let cool completely; finely chop.

2. With an electric mixer, cream butter and 1/3 cup sugar until light, about 1 minute. Beat in vanilla, salt, and flour, scraping down sides of bowl, just until dough comes together. Fold in pecans.

3. Separate dough into 12 pieces; squeeze dough to shape into balls. Roll in sugar. Place, 3 inches apart, on a baking sheet. Gently flatten with the bottom of a glass (reshape sides if necessary). Sprinkle with sugar.

4. Bake until golden brown, rotating sheet halfway through, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle with more sugar. Cool cookies on a wire rack.

These delicate, buttery cookies, which get their crunchy texture from toasted pecans and a sugar coating, practically melt in you mouth.

Sunday, October 02, 2005 

Fun With Fondant

Fun With Fondant
Fun With Fondant,
originally uploaded by santa barbarian.
at Jane's Cakes in Montrose


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