July 31, 2012

TWD Blueberry Nectarine Pie

I would have never thought to combine blueberries and nectarines but for this week's Tuesdays With Dorie recipe they worked so well together.  It's not often I'm pleasantly surprised.

Good thing this pie was a snap to make because I've been engrossed in the Summer Olympics on tv as I'm sure the rest of you are.  I used blueberries I froze a few months ago and also white nectarines.  To ensure that the filling thickened and set properly I added a tablespoon of finely ground minute tapioca.  It did the trick beautifully and my pie sliced like a dream.    

Everyone knows the best part of a pie is going to be the crust and this version was flaky and buttery.  My only issue was that it was almost too tender to roll out, but I could think of worse things to happen.

Head on over to Manchego’s Kitchen or That Skinny Chick Can Bake for this delicious recipe.  It's definitely Olympic medal worthy!

July 21, 2012

Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies

I've spoken before of my particular penchant for store-bought treats, especially the ones sold in the supermarket bakeries.  I know, I know - as a devout home baker that's tantamount to blasphemy, but what can I say I can't help it!  

Lofthouse is famous for their soft frosted sugar cookies and when I saw a homemade on Annie's Eats I knew I wanted to make them.  Now it was a question of waiting for the right occasion.  My niece's tenth birthday party seemed especially appropriate.  

I warn you that these cookies are sweet so extreme moderation is almost a requirement, but boy are they good!  The fun frosting colors and sprinkles entice the kid, or kid-at-heart, in all of us. 

July 17, 2012

TWD Semolina Bread

This week's Tuesdays With Dorie recipe, Semolina Bread, was unsuccessful and quite disappointing for me.   I should have predicted failure when the dough was still really wet even after I used the entire amount of flour the recipe called for.  On top of that, during it's final proof before going in the oven the dough flattened out like a pancake.

The baked loaf looked more like a squat ciabatta and was a bit too salty.  Unfortunately Baking With Julia didn't include a picture of what the finished bread was supposed to look like.  At least then I could tell if my version was way off base.   Oh well, they all can't be winners I guess.  On to the next challenge!

Renee of The Way to my Family’s Heart and Anna of Keep it Luce are this week's recipe hosts.

July 8, 2012

Game, Set, Match Cupcakes

Tennis is one of my all-time favorite sports and I've been fortunate enough to attend three of the four Grand Slams.  (The last one, the Australian Open, is on my bucket list.) Of the three, Wimbledon is definitely my absolute hands-down favorite.  

I love everything about it: the tradition, the beautiful grounds of the All-England Club, the public queue for tickets, Henman Hill, strawberries and cream...I could go on and on.   If you're ever in London at the end of June I highly recommend you make the trip to SW19 - you won't regret it.

In honor of today's Mens Singles Championship between Andy Murray and Roger Federer I made these tennis ball cupcakes.  I got the idea from Martha Stewart.  You'd be surprised at how easy they are to make.  Just use your favorite cupcake and frosting recipes.  The decoration is as simple as dipping the frosted cupcakes in yellow dots or sprinkles then piping the "seams."

Game, Set, Match...these cupcakes are a winner! 

Congratulations to Jordan and Robyn who are the giveaway winners of the two-month enrollment to America's Test Kitchen's Cooking School!

Jordan's entry:
I'd like to win the cooking school enrollment so I can stop drooling on my computer screen and learn to cook that delicious-looking chicken noodle soup!

Robyn's entry:
We eat through the best of times, we eat through the worst of times, and unless I want to turn the former into the latter, I need to cook all those celebratory or comfort-providing foods with an understanding of solid ATK-supplied culinary foundations. 

You'll receive an email directly from ATK with more information about your prize.   Go forth and cook!!!

July 7, 2012

Chocolate Peanut Butter Patti Cakes

Here's a new flavor of Patti Cakes, one of my all time favorite quick cookies.  This time in the much beloved combination of chocolate and peanut butter.  In less than twenty minutes (prep and baking time) you'll have the most delicious, moist brownie-like cookies.  Instant gratification!

I'm gifting these "biscuits" across the pond to my friend Marina who is celebrating her birthday today.  Happy Happy Birthday M!  

July 4, 2012

Best Chicken Soups from ATK Online Cooking School and a Giveaway

A few months ago I mentioned that I was one of five lucky bloggers to win a year-long scholarship to America's Test Kitchen's Online Cooking School.  So far I've had the chance to try out a few of their courses and I have to say they're pretty fantastic.  But that's no surprise to me since I'm one of America's Test Kitchen's biggest fans.

The courses are easy to follow with guaranteed amazing results.  You can find my guest blog post about the Best Chicken Soups course here.  The homemade chicken stock and soups were some of the most delicious I've ever tasted.

In addition to winning a scholarship, ATK was generous enough to provide me with two 2-month enrollments to give away to my readers.   I hope you get as much out of the courses as I have.

Here's how to enter:

In one sentence, leave a comment telling me why you want to win the cooking school enrollment.  Conciseness counts here!  Any entries more than one sentence will be disqualified.  The two entries I find to be the most genuine, creative or funny will win.  You must leave your email address in the comment as this is the only way I can contact you if you're a winner. 

Giveaway ends on Friday July 6, Noon PST and winners will be announced by Sunday July 8.

Only one entry per person.  

Good luck and happy cooking!

July 3, 2012

TWD Hazelnut Biscotti

I discovered Nutella when I was living in France as an exchange student and subsequently proceeded to overdose on the chocolate-hazelnut spread.  Until recently my aversion of the hazelnut had reached a point where I couldn't even stand their smell anymore.   So you can understand my misgivings when this week's Tuesdays With Dorie recipe was Hazelnut Biscotti.   

Admittedly I was predisposed to dislike the recipe from the outset, but was pleasantly surprised to find that I was premature in my assessment.  The biscotti were crispy and crunchy with a hazelnut aroma that wasn't too overpowering.   They're perfect plain with a cup of coffee but if you really want to gild the lily try dipping them in melted chocolate. 

Head on over to Baking and Boys or Homemade and Wholesome for the recipe.   One thing I found helpful - skip the part in the recipe where it says to remove the hazelnut skins by boiling the nuts in baking soda water.  This caused a huge mess for me.  Instead, toast the nuts in a 350F oven for about 15-20 minutes.   Let them cool and then rub the hazelnuts in a clean kitchen towel; the skins should come off pretty easily after that.
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