August 31, 2014

Bee Sting Cake | Bienenstich


Bee Sting Cake.  The name of this dessert intrigued me when I saw it in the Oct/Nov 2014 issue of Cook's Country.  And where there is intrigue there is inevitably a strong inclination to action so I had to make it.  It's German in origin, Bienenstich, and is basically a honey and almond coated brioche cake filled with vanilla pastry cream.   

My family prefers desserts that aren't too sweet so this cake fit the bill perfectly.  They're favorite part, and mine, was the delicious and crunchy honey almond topping.  I could just eat that alone.   Oktoberfest is just around the corner and if you need a cake to accompany your beer and pretzel why not give this bee sting a try?

July 29, 2014

Baguettes


Call me crazy, it certainly wouldn't be the first time.  My sister says I'm the only one she knows who would even attempt to make baguettes.  But I ask myself, why should that be?  Yeah, ok, chalk them up as one of those things that you leave to the experts.  I get it.  However, I'm a home baker who is constantly looking to grow and challenge my skills so I say bring it on. 


Don't mistake my confidence for arrogance.  My self-assurance can solely be attributed to the fact that I was using a Cook's Illustrated recipe.   They've tested it countless times and I knew I was going to get fantastic results.  I was lucky enough to get a preview copy of the recipe which is now available in the Sep/Oct 2014 issue of the magazine.  Ok, I admit it, basically I begged them relentlessly until they gave up.   Tenacity has its benefits..hehehe.  

The ingredients are few and the instructions are long but don't be scared!  Just read through it several times and pay close attention to the accompanying pictures.  I found they help a lot.    If you have access to the online recipe you definitely need to watch the video! 

I've never made baguettes before and I have to say I was really impressed with how they turned out.   Although next time I'll be a bit more assertive when I use the lame to slash the formed dough so that the openings on the top of the baked baguette are more pronounced.  My skeptical sister even said they looked like they were from a bakery!  


I've eaten my fair share of baguette, especially after having lived in a France in my youth, and I can honestly say the bread was absolutely delicious.  Will my baguette be gracing the presidential table at the Elysées Palace any time soon?  Ummm, highly unlikely, but they'll definitely be most welcome at my table anytime.   

June 22, 2014

Icebox Oreo Cheesecake


I'm such a huge fan of Instagram.  Ever since I signed up for my account I check it daily, most times hourly!, for ideas and inspiration.   That's where I saw this Icebox Oreo Cheesecake from meringuedesigns, using a Cook's Country recipe.  The cookies and cream cake looked so good I had to make it for myself.   Another big plus was that it required absolutely no baking, not even for the crust, which is ideal for summer.  Love that!


 

I've made a few no-bake cheesecakes on this blog before but they all used gelatin to get their firmness.  This recipe uses a homemade pudding and white chocolate to mimic the velvety texture of a baked cheesecake.    It really couldn't have been easier to make so I highly recommend you give it a try.

June 12, 2014

Ultimate Banana Bread


In my experience bananas can be somewhat of a controversial ingredient in the baking realm.  I've found  that people are very divided: either they love it or absolutely hate it.   I myself fall in to the latter group, although strangely enough I don't like fresh bananas in baked goods, e.g., banana cream pie.   Maybe it's because the fresh fruit tends to turn brown, but I digress.

Here's the ne plus ultra banana bread from America's Test Kitchen.   Admittedly you will need to exert a bit more effort than in other recipes, but I guarantee you that the extra work is definitely worth it.  This quick bread has a deep, intense banana flavor while retaining a moist and tender crumb.   It's a winner!

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