Sunday, July 6, 2014

Easy Candy Bar Tart

Weight Watchers always says "keep enemies out of the house". This is DEFINITELY  an enemy, but to keep it out of the house would be a crime! The recipe calls for making it into a regular round tart, but it really is a candy bar so I decided to wrap each little piece individually and keep them in the freezer. Anything frozen is better!

The process is very easy- 15 minutes and the whole thing was ready to go. I just chilled it in the fridge, cut it into bars, then in half and wrapped each little gem.

 Freeze 'em, eat 'em and ask for more.

 Instead of a chocolate cookie base, I used Biscoff cookies-I'm hooked on those little things!
 I also substituted pecans and pistachios( that's what I had) and the taste is just great.

 You can find the recipe at Baked Sunday Mornings.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Banana Whoopie Pies

"Whoopie Pie"- strange name for a dessert- or anything for that matter. The word whoopie reminds me of either:
Whoopie Goldberg  

                                     or the "whoopie cushion" 

But whoopie, in this case, means pies(or cookies or cakes or cookie cakes- whichever suits your description). The official definition of a whoopie pie according to Wikipedia:

The whoopie pie (alternatively called a black moon, gob (term indigenous to the Pittsburgh region), black-and-white, bob, or "BFO" for Big Fat Oreo. (Also recorded as "Devel Dogs," and "Twins" in 1835[1]) is a US baked good that may be considered either a cookie, pie, or cake. It is made of two round mound-shaped pieces of chocolate cake, or sometimes pumpkin or gingerbread cake, with a sweet, creamy filling or frosting sandwiched between them.[2]

There is a lot of controversy as to the true origin and history of the whoopie pie, but whatever the case is, the basic whoopie pie has been developed into a variety of flavors and combinations. 
I love the texture of the soft cake but in a cookie form. 
The recipe here calls for a swiss meringue chocolate filling, which I'm sure is delicious. I had so many fillings and frosting leftover from previous projects that I decided to combine a few and use that instead. I ended up with a vanilla-cinnamon filling that worked beautifully with the lightly banana flavored cake. I also reduced the amount of bananas in the recipe since I didn't want an overwhelming banana bread taste. It all worked really well.

Nice and puffy like they should be
not the epitome of elegance- but damn good!
the lone leftovers (consumed shortly after this was taken!)

I loved the fact that these were easy to make, quick and didn't even need a mixer! Yay, less to wash!
Give these a try- you can find the recipe at Baked Sunday Mornings.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Turtle Thumbprint Cookies

"Potchky" is a Yiddish word I heard as a kid. I don't know if this is the correct meaning, but in my house, it referred to something that required a lot of small steps and fussing around to make. These cookies were a lot of  "potchkying" but worth every little second.
I made them for one of the many desserts for my granddaughter's 4th birthday and they went over really big! More with adults than children( this is the cake i made for the kiddies), but well received with the young ones as well.
The "potchkying" steps were making the dough, chilling, rolling into balls, dipping in egg whites, rolling in chopped pecans (had to toast them too, so that's another step), making a thumbprint indentation, after 8 minutes in the oven, making the indentation again, baking another 4 minutes, removing from the oven and making the last thumbprint impression to hold the filling. More "potchkying"- make the caramel filling, fill the thumbprint and top with a whole, roasted (another step!) pecan on each.
It may sound like I'm complaining, but understand- I'm not. I love the whole process. It's just not the same as mixing a batter, pouring into a pan and shoving in the oven. These babies require a bit extra attention and TLC, but are exquisite when done. Worth every second of effort!
You can find the recipe here, at Baked Sunday Mornings! Enjoy!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Poppy Seed Pound Cake with Brown Butter Glaze

 I made this cake ahead of time since I knew I would be very busy for the few days before it was to be posted. Froze it; took it out this afternoon to thaw and make the glaze fresh tomorrow morning and shoot the pictures. Sitting out on the porch, surfing the net and suddenly I see him with a piece of cake in his hand ( a piece? more like half the frickin cake!) and mouth stuffed with his first bite. SCREAM!!!! What are you doing, who told you you could eat that? It's not ready, I haven't taken any photos yet.....scream again ( mainly out of complete and utter frustration). 
Calm down, relax, keep your cool ( after I screamed of course). At least he gave me something to write about.  Look at the glass half full- not half empty. There is always a positive side to things. Not the end of the world , I know, but frustrated and amazed at how something like that can go over someone's head; or through it; or around it- whatever.
the evidence- at least you can see the beautiful poppy seed filling lacing through the cake!
Anyhoo- on with the task. This cake is wonderful for afternoon tea (coffee) or a light after dinner dessert. I love the fragrant hint of orange , both in the cake and glaze. Worth the effort for sure!

You can find the recipe here, at Baked Sunday Mornings.
Some exciting news for Baked fans- Matt and Renato are coming out with their fourth book!
It promises to be as amazing as the previous three. I already have it on pre-order from Amazon and can't wait!
Baked Occasions: Desserts for Leisure Activities, Holidays, and Informal Celebrations
Baked Occasions: Desserts for Leisure Activities, Holidays, and Informal Celebrations

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Bananas Cake


The name of this cake definitely does not do it justice. It is so much more than a banana cake. A beautiful 3 layer cake that, although it has numerous steps, is well worth the effort. Filled with a creamy peanut butter filling and milk chocolate ganache, then covered with ganache and finally drenched in a chocolate glaze. Who could ask for more?

layer # 1 covered in peanut butter filling

layer # 2 with peanut butter filling and milk chocolate ganache

all three layers with the crumb coat

final frosting
roasted salted peanuts for that little extra crunch

This is a perfect cake for a special occasion and if you're willing to give yourself a little challenge, then go for it! If not- just give me a call- I love a challenge!!!

You can find the recipe at Baked Sunday Mornings.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Classic Carrot Cake- and we're back!


It's been a while, but I'm back!  Sometimes things get so busy that I find myself passing on the things that are most important to me- and that's not good. Like writing , photographing, baking, decorating-I'll have to work on that. If we give up on the things that make us feel good, then what's it all for?

 This week's selection on Bake Sunday Mornings is a classic carrot cake with a cinnamon cream cheese frosting. Instead of one round cake, I made three little loaf cakes. I found these adorable little disposable pans just recently and bought a few to see how they acted in baking. I love the idea of baking and serving in the same container. I got three of these loaf cakes from the recipe but as usual, they disappeared before I had a chance to go click click. They come in a variety of colors, and I also made three mini challahs in them. So adorable and easy to give as gifts!
 Carrot cake is really a classic and there are hundreds of recipes out there. This one, for me, is the best I have tasted. Soft , but doesn't fall apart (contrary to what you see in the photo- really!), moist but not gooey and just the right amount and combination of spices. The frosting is- well let's just say that more than a spoonful was ingested before the cake was even frosted. The addition of the cinnamon is heavenly, not too strong and gives a perfect balance to the spices in the cake- or like I said, straight up!
 Moist and full of flavor
The recipe can be found at Baked Sunday Mornings. Give it a try!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Baked Sunday Mornings-Bananas in a Blanket

I'm a morning person; early morning I would say. Even on that coveted Saturday morning, where sleeping in is the prize after a long work week, I'm awake and busy very early. I do my best work in the morning- no matter what it is I'm doing, I do it best in the morning. What I don't accomplish by, let's say noon at the latest, usually doesn't get done that day. 
So on Saturday mornings, while the rest of the house is still snoring, I bake. I usually bake a bread or two and then something sweet. It's become my special time and I love it!

This morning I made a bread that has become a household favorite and the reason you will no longer see a store-bought package of bread in my house--ever. But that is for another post, sometime soon I hope.
The sweet on the list this Saturday morning was the designated recipe from "Baked Sunday Mornings" from Baked Elements by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. They call it "Bananas in a Blanket".......reminds me of "pigs in a blanket"- just the name I guess, but the title had me thinking something else entirely, before I read the recipe.  Basically, it's a chocolate jelly roll sponge cake filled with a chocolate banana cream, rolled around some bananas.
Some members of the group mentioned that this cake was a bit scary looking (the directions, that is) but I decided to take it on anyway. The cake base is the tricky part, but if you follow their instructions to a tee, then there should be no problem. The cream itself was easy to make and tasted yummy all on it's own. I spread the entire amount on the cake roll which in retrospect, was too much. After I placed the bananas, (which I sliced in half lengthwise) and started to roll, I could see that less would have been better. The cream and a few banana pieces oozed out the end, but that was fixable. 
Conclusions- less cream on the cake, delicious taste and nice presentation.

So that was my Saturday morning and by the time I knew it, the clock struck noon and it was time for a bit of a "late" Saturday morning sleep!
You can find the recipe here . Enjoy!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels (salty ones too)

Theory and reality are two different things. One presents the best laid plans and if all steps are followed correctly, the end result should be as the hypothesis predicted. Then, of course, there is reality. The unexpected factors that were not taken into account in the original theory.
There are at least two possible outcomes- one, the end result remains the same, or two, more likely, the end result will change. Such is the case with these soft pretzels. 

I made the dough and put is aside to rise. So far , so good. As time went on I noticed it was rising, but not to my expectations. Telephone rings- daughter arrives at airport from week long snowboarding trip. Last day of trip, last run, a fall on the ice- ouch! Knee swells up to the size of a very large grapefruit. Leave the house at 6:45 in the evening to pick her up. Go straight to the emergency room from the airport and wait in the emergency room until 1:00 a.m. ( I remembered at the last second before running out the door, to put the questionable dough in the refrigerator-what will be , will be.)

Enter the house at 1:15 a.m. and straight to bed. Next morning, I take the injured to work-can't push on the clutch with her leg- too painful. Finally arrive back home after a few errands and take the dough out of the fridge. 
Now the question is, work it or throw it? I decide to give it a try- no big loss if it flops. And..... it works! The pretzels come out just beautiful, with a  warm golden color. Half get the cinnamon sugar coating and half get the salt ( which is my favorite). 
Moral? Not sure, but sometimes reality and theory come together and produce a favorable result. Worth a try!

Next time, I 'll experiment without the reality (hopefully) as a factor and see what , if any, difference it makes.
You can find the recipe here, at Baked Sunday Mornings. Enjoy!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Bale Bars

The winter in Israel continues- that is, continues to look like spring. I've said many times before that I miss the four seasons I grew up with in Upstate New York. A distinct change from summer to fall to winter , then spring. Rain here is a scarcity and when it does rain, it's at the top of the news.

Certain kinds of food go with certain seasons- and then there is food that you can eat no matter what the weather outside. These Bale Bars are one of those. They remind me of compost type cookies where you put in anything and everything you may have in the house.  Now I know that is not what the original recipe calls for but sometimes you just have to go with your gut. This calls for a cooked mixture of sugar, cream white chocolate and peanut butter which you pour over and mix with peanuts and pretzels. No baking, just refrigeration and you've got a delicious sweet and salty snack (that is a bit difficult to stop eating, I might add!).

I 'm not a big fan of white chocolate, so I substituted dark instead. I also did not have enough pretzels, so this is where the compost cookie idea comes in. I took some Biscoff cookies and crushed them to small bits, not crumbs, and added them to the nuts and pretzels. Since the recipe calls for fleur de sel and the pretzels are salted, I decided to add raw peanuts instead of salted. Wise choice- the bars are plenty salty without the added salt from the peanuts. The result is a crunchy, salty, sweet snack that tastes  best (in my opinion) straight from the freezer, which is where I store them. Add a nice hot cup of coffee and snack away!
You can find the recipe at Baked Sunday Mornings.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Chocolate Whiskey Tart

Sometimes you come across a recipe that becomes one of your "go to" recipes. One that you know is successful, easy to make in a short period of time and is also adaptable to different flavors. I made this tart the first time a few weeks ago and since then I have come back to it at least 3 times. 
Now, I am not a whiskey lover by any means (more of a white wine person myself) but I always like to make a recipe , at least the first time, according to the original directions and ingredients. I served it at a family Friday night dinner and everyone really went crazy over it. I actually did make one change and used crushed Biscoff cookies for the base. They really deepened the flavor of the whole tart. The whiskey was very evident but in a positive way and gave the tart a wonderful flavor. The options are open as far as different liquor flavors- off the top of my head , I can see trying either Kahlua, Irish Cream or even an orange liqueur. Orange and chocolate go together like peas in a pod (least in my taste opinion!)

Pictures were taken at the very (and I mean very) last minute before the family dove into, and finished off I may add, the tart. I had every intention of sprinkling a pretty design of cocoa powder on top of the whipped cream.....never quite made it that far!Photo quality is not great,(no lighting etc. ,etc.) but you get an idea of what it looked like before barely a crumb was left on the plate (and those were gone in a second after that as well!)

You can find the recipe at Baked Sunday Mornings. Enjoy!