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13 hours ago, MargeGunderson said:

There were some tense moments involving Swiss buttercream but I persevered:

 

995BA305-C212-4882-AF20-E792076E85BB.jpeg

 

I have so so much frosting left over. I cobbled this together from a few different recipes so it’s not surprising. I guess New Years cupcakes are in my future.

Looks good. My husband was afraid of the sugared rosemary accidentally flavoring the cake, but I see it is on the side. I wasn't sure if it would anyway since it is sugared.

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I wanted to make sugar cookie cutouts and chocolate ones too but they kept sticking to the cookie cutters. I was halfway to the trash barrel with the doughs when I was inspired to roll them out, stack them and roll them up: pinwheels.

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On 12/25/2017 at 8:26 AM, auntlada said:

Looks good. My husband was afraid of the sugared rosemary accidentally flavoring the cake, but I see it is on the side. I wasn't sure if it would anyway since it is sugared.

I was a little concerned about that too, even with the rosemary not touching the cake, as apparently Swiss buttercream can pick up odors (at least when frozen, or so I read). Happy to report no taste of rosemary in the cake, which is now just a stump.

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6 hours ago, Qoass said:

I wanted to make sugar cookie cutouts and chocolate ones too but they kept sticking to the cookie cutters. I was halfway to the trash barrel with the doughs when I was inspired to roll them out, stack them and roll them up: pinwheels.

That was a brilliant idea! Did you put the cutters in flour regularly while attempting to cut the dough? I saw that technique several times during the holiday baking shows. But I don't make dough that needs to be cut, so I don't know if it works every time .

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My goal for the holidays was to bake a lot. So far, I've done a cranberry pitivier, sourdough bread, sausage rolls, and for Boxing Day, I made an apple crisp. I totally winged the apple crisp using ideas from about four recipes. I do not usually improvise baking recipes that much, but I think I've made enough apple desserts for it. For the filling, I used cinnamon, a bit of cornstarch, a pinch of kosher salt, I used turbindo/raw sugar and a bit of bourbon. For the topping, I used oats, butter, brown sugar, light rye flour, whole wheat flour, lemon extract (lemon zest sub), kosher salt, and heavy grating of nutmeg.

The use of the alternative flours worked really well and I'll stick to them rather than AP in the future.

May be too busy to bake the next couple of days, but I'd like to do another sourdough loaf this weekend and I do have some meyer lemons and a couple of apples left.

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Did you put the cutters in flour regularly while attempting to cut the dough?

I did not flour the cutters because I feel extra flour can make cookie dough tough and I didn't want it to show up against the chocolate dough. I have this really cute cutter of a reindeer head and antlers but it's just too small to cooperate with me. Maybe I'll just loop some ribbon through it and hang it on my Christmas tree to save myself aggravation next year.

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I could not resist the last slice of rum cake.

I could not resist the last slice of 7Up cake. For the seven up cake glaze I just made up my own with sugar, lemon peal, water, lemon juice and lemon extract. This is a fantastic cake. My mom made them and people would often request them instead of actual payment for work they'd done for her. I didn't like the cake until just this past holiday. I guess I was so used to them. But the family requested it and I am glad I made it.

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/234867/7-up-cake/

For the rum cake I used my Aunt Joyce's recipe with a rum glaze. I used to bake the cake mix version for rum cake, which was okay, but now I am totally into flavor and real food, no chemicals or highly processed products.

INGREDIENTS for Rum Cake:

1 pound butter, room temperature

20 oz sugar (sugar weighs 7 oz per cup, subratct one ounce)

6 large eggs

6 oz milk, room temperature

2 tsp vanilla

20 oz plain white flour (plain flour scooped into cup weight 5 oz per cup)

1/2 tsp nutmeg

Heat oven to 325∘

Spray or coat a bundt pan to keep cake from sticking while baking. Set aside.
In the mixer bowl, beat/whip butter until it is fluffy.

While mixer is running sprinkle in the sugar until all is added. Beat until fluffy again.

Put flour into a separate mixing bowl. Add nutmeg to the flour mixture and blend well with a whisk.

In a measuring cup, add 6 ounces of milk. If the milk is not room temperature, heat very briefly in a microwave to make it warmer. Add the vanilla flavoring to the milk and stir. Set aside.

Turn the mixer back on. Crack one egg at a time into a cup, small bowl or measuring cup and add one at a time to the butter mixture and beat. When all eggs have been added, make sure they are mixed well into the butter.

With the mixer on lowest setting, add 1/3 of the milk; blend; add 1/3 of the flour; blend. Repeat until all is incorporated well and do not overbeat.

Add batter to sprayed bundt pan. Mixture should fill most of the cake pan. Bake for 1 1/2 hours, checking after 60 minutes to test doneness. Cake should be firm in the middle and spring back after touching. Or do the toothpick test… stick a wooden toothpick in the middle and if it comes out clean the cake is done. If dough clings to it continue baking.

Rum Glaze

1/2 cup dark rum

1/2 cup butter

1/4 cup water

1 cup white sugar

1/2 cup dark rum

Directions Brush glaze over top and sides. Allow cake to absorb glaze and repeat until all glaze is used.

To make the glaze: in a saucepan, combine butter, 1/4 cup water and 1 cup sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat and continue to boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 cup rum.

Edited by ethalfrida · Reason: clarifying ingredient measurements
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10 hours ago, Qoass said:

I did not flour the cutters because I feel extra flour can make cookie dough tough and I didn't want it to show up against the chocolate dough. I have this really cute cutter of a reindeer head and antlers but it's just too small to cooperate with me. Maybe I'll just loop some ribbon through it and hang it on my Christmas tree to save myself aggravation next year.

If a cutter tends to stick, I dip it in sugar.  That's easily brushed off of the finished cookie & it doesn't toughen the dough. 

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I did not flour the cutters because I feel extra flour can make cookie dough tough and I didn't want it to show up against the chocolate dough. I have this really cute cutter of a reindeer head and antlers but it's just too small to cooperate with me. Maybe I'll just loop some ribbon through it and hang it on my Christmas tree to save myself aggravation next year.

I actually roll my sugar cookies out with a light dusting of powdered sugar. I put it down like I would bench flour, I even run some powdered sugar over my rolling pin. Powdered sugar melts right into the cookie and doesn't make them super sweet. If I got heavy handed I just brush it off before baking.

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On 12/27/2017 at 6:41 AM, Qoass said:

I did not flour the cutters because I feel extra flour can make cookie dough tough and I didn't want it to show up against the chocolate dough.

This reminds me of making rolled out cookies with my grandma. We were allowed to roll the scraps up only once; because any more would make the cookies tough. She was super frugal about everything else, but didn't want to ruin her reputation as a baker. : )

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On 12/26/2017 at 10:33 AM, Qoass said:

I wanted to make sugar cookie cutouts and chocolate ones too but they kept sticking to the cookie cutters. I was halfway to the trash barrel with the doughs when I was inspired to roll them out, stack them and roll them up: pinwheels.

I would have been inspired to scrap the whole operation, roll the dough into little balls, and put them directly in my mouth.  

On 12/27/2017 at 2:43 PM, ethalfrida said:

For the rum cake I used my Aunt Joyce's recipe with a rum glaze. I used to bake the cake mix version for rum cake, which was okay, but now I am totally into flavor and real food, no chemicals or highly processed products.

I still make the cake mix version, chemicals and preservatives be damned!  My FIL practically demands it as an entry fee on Christmas Day, and if I changed the recipe now, I'd risk being banned from the house ;)

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3 minutes ago, Lovecat said:

 

I still make the cake mix version, chemicals and preservatives be damned!  My FIL practically demands it as an entry fee on Christmas Day, and if I changed the recipe now, I'd risk being banned from the house ;)

Lol, then you are wise to keep the tradition.

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Grisgris posted this blueberry peach bread recipe in the Pioneer Woman forum & I tried it today with mangoes instead of peaches, which turned out very well.  I did some tests in mini loaf pans & cupcake cups (full size & mini), all of which worked fine (reduced cooking time, of course).  It doesn't rise a lot, so the pans should be filled at least 2/3 or 3/4 full.  I followed the advice in one comment & sprinkled the unbaked loaves lightly with a mixture of brown sugar & turbinado sugar, which produced nice crispy tops -- the finished cupcakes were good with a small blob of cream cheese icing on top.  The recipe calls for more sugar than I like, so I'll probably reduce that from 1 cup to 3/4 or 2/3 next time (1/2 cup might be enough to bring out the flavors of the fruits without making the bread too sweet).  The result really is beautiful, as shown in the pictures on the website -- mangoes are as pretty as peaches, & apricots should work too -- someone suggested pineapple, which sounds great.  What a nice, flexible recipe!

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DeLurker, mine were medium, ripe but not squishy -- firm enough to dice into small pieces roughly the size of my large blueberries, about the way peaches should be if those were being used.  Really soft or really firm might not work well (for peaches either), since you don't want either mush or tough chunks.   But this recipe seems pretty adaptable & the results look so beautiful, I hope you try it.

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I want to make something to take to work next week for Valentine's Day, but I frankly don't have the time (or motivation) right now to do something complicated (although I know I have recipes stashed away for holiday foods such as fancy cupcakes, candies, etc.   I'm in the mood for something chocolate and cherry-flavored.  I found a recipe for a Black Forest Poke Cake (chocolate cake with hot fudge poured over, then a layer of cherry filling and whipped cream on top).  But, I've found that any time I take something to work that requires refrigeration it gets overlooked (even when I put a sign on the fridge and send out an e-mail).  So, I've settled on a Chocolate Cherry Bundt Cake recipe that I found online (from 'The Chew', I think).  It looks easy, so that's what I'll make unless I found something else before the weekend.  (My other choice was some type of chocolate-cherry brownie, and I might still decide on that.)  I'll post the results early next week!

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My other choice was some type of chocolate-cherry brownie, and I might still decide on that

I make a chocolate cake with cherries in it (in an 8 x 8 pan, so kind of like brownies).  It's on Epicurious, I believe simple called Chocolate Cherry Cake.  Yum.

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I consider myself a good cook when it comes to main meals, but for whatever reason I can't bake! Even following recipes my end results are either flat and dry; or overflowing and hard!

But those chocolate cherry cakes have got me wanting to try again

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I made brown butter and toffee chocolate chip cookies (minus the sea salt, per request of Mr Gunderson who does not likethe sweet/salty combo). Very very good! I let the dough rest in the fridge for 2 days because I ran out of time/forgot to bake them. I used Guittard semi-sweet chocolate wafers, which seem to melt a bit more than chocolate chips. I noticed that my local Target now carries Guittard wafers; I'm getting more and more of my baking supplies there now that the selection has improved. 

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On 3/13/2018 at 8:29 AM, MargeGunderson said:

I made brown butter and toffee chocolate chip cookies (minus the sea salt, per request of Mr Gunderson who does not likethe sweet/salty combo). Very very good! I let the dough rest in the fridge for 2 days because I ran out of time/forgot to bake them. I used Guittard semi-sweet chocolate wafers, which seem to melt a bit more than chocolate chips. I noticed that my local Target now carries Guittard wafers; I'm getting more and more of my baking supplies there now that the selection has improved. 

Chocolate chip cookies really benefit from a long rest in the fridge before baking, anywhere from overnight to even better, 3 days. The dough changes subtly, resulting in improved texture and deeper flavor. This article from King Arthur Flour explains why. And regarding the wafers, yeah, the melting's due to their being baking chocolate (designed to melt), whereas chocolate chips are formulated to not melt so easily. I like Guittard chocolate, so thanks for the Target tip!

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@caitmcg, I started resting my cookie dough several years ago when I found my go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe, which is from Joanne Chang's Flour cookbook. It really does make a difference in the flavor, and I think the texture as well. This was my first time using the Guittard wafers and I really liked them. 

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On 3/14/2018 at 7:04 PM, caitmcg said:

Chocolate chip cookies really benefit from a long rest in the fridge before baking, anywhere from overnight to even better, 3 days. The dough changes subtly, resulting in improved texture and deeper flavor. This article from King Arthur Flour explains why. And regarding the wafers, yeah, the melting's due to their being baking chocolate (designed to melt), whereas chocolate chips are formulated to not melt so easily. I like Guittard chocolate, so thanks for the Target tip!

On 3/15/2018 at 6:25 AM, MargeGunderson said:

@caitmcg, I started resting my cookie dough several years ago when I found my go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe, which is from Joanne Chang's Flour cookbook. It really does make a difference in the flavor, and I think the texture as well. This was my first time using the Guittard wafers and I really liked them. 

 

That Jacques Torres "perfect chocolate chip cookie" 2008 recipe in the New York Times really clued a lot of people in on the benefits of resting a chocolate chip cookie dough. It transformed my cookies. You may also want to substitute plain white sugar for toasted sugar. It deepens the flavor.

https://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2016/05/dry-toasted-sugar-granulated-caramel-recipe.html

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What is everyone's favourite chocolate chip cookie recipe?

I haven't made them in awhile and i have to use up some chocolate chips. I've used the classic Tollhouse one and other variations in the past, and they all have been good. I would make the ones with chocolate discs except I am unavailable to get them easily locally.

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As HunterHunted mentioned, I've tried the Jacques Torres chocolate chip cookie and it was FANTASTIC.  I believe it also suggests a light sprinkling of sea salt when they are still hot out of the oven?  Probably my favorite traditional cookie recipe.

For a funkier, interesting take on chocolate chip cookies, try these:

Momofuku Milk Bar Chocolate Chip Cornflake Cookies

I normally don't even like marshmallows in my desserts, but they melt and almost create little caramel pockets in some places, while doing the marshmallow stretch in others.  There are a few extra steps, like making the cornflake crunch, but it's pretty simple and easy and you can make it and freeze it for later, too.

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Spoiler

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/10785/robbis-mms-cookies/

Hint:  Use butter instead of shortening, and half m&m's and half chocolate chips.

1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
 1 cup shortening
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
 1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups candy-coated milk chocolate pieces (such as M&M's®)

In a large bowl, mix sugar, eggs, shortening, and vanilla thoroughly. Add flour, salt, and baking soda to creamed mixture. Blend well. Add 3/4 cup candies.
Drop dough by teaspoonful onto baking sheet. Slightly push a few candies on top of each dough ball with remaining candies.
Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 9 to 11 minutes.


These are good!

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I like chewy chocolate chip cookies, and have gotten a lot of positive feed back for my recipe. It's basically the Nestle recipe with some changes. I replaced the all purpose flour with 5 oz of cake flour and 5 oz of bread flour. I also brown the butter, then let it cool for about 5 minutes since I don't like cooked egg in my cookie dough. The rest of the dough is made the way nestle says, then I rest it in the fridge for 36 hours. I then bake them for 10 minutes at 325, let the cookies rest on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer them to the cooling rack.

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I also like my chocolate chip cookies soft (to the extent I hate them crispy), and I, too, rest my dough - made from the Nestle Toll House recipe - in the fridge (for about 24 hours in my case).  I might try the flour substitution and see if I like it even better.  (Well, I might do that at someone else's house, since I don't have cake or bread flour as I rarely bake.  But I'm going to file that in a corner of my mind.)

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I go back and forth between Jacques Torres, with the combination of bread flour and cake flour, and America's Test Kitchen browned butter chocolate chip cookies.   If I have a lot of time, or it's a special occasion, I make Momofuku's compost cookie. 

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21 hours ago, larapu2000 said:

As HunterHunted mentioned, I've tried the Jacques Torres chocolate chip cookie and it was FANTASTIC.  I believe it also suggests a light sprinkling of sea salt when they are still hot out of the oven?  Probably my favorite traditional cookie recipe.

For a funkier, interesting take on chocolate chip cookies, try these:

Momofuku Milk Bar Chocolate Chip Cornflake Cookies

I normally don't even like marshmallows in my desserts, but they melt and almost create little caramel pockets in some places, while doing the marshmallow stretch in others.  There are a few extra steps, like making the cornflake crunch, but it's pretty simple and easy and you can make it and freeze it for later, too.

Question: I don't have cornflakes in the pantry now, but I do have Frosted Flakes. Do you think they would work in the cornflake crunch recipe if I leave out the sugar?

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1 hour ago, Quof said:

I go back and forth between Jacques Torres, with the combination of bread flour and cake flour, and America's Test Kitchen browned butter chocolate chip cookies. 

I actually got a lot of my ideas from Test Kitchen and the flour from Alton Brown. 

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3 hours ago, GreekGeek said:

Question: I don't have cornflakes in the pantry now, but I do have Frosted Flakes. Do you think they would work in the cornflake crunch recipe if I leave out the sugar?

Worth a try.  It just needs to end up crunchy, so I don't see why not!

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I baked a birthday cake for my friend's daughter, vanilla sponge layers with sliced strawberries between them, frosted with strawberry whipped cream. For the frosting, I used Stella Parks's super-thick and fruity food processor whipped cream recipe made with freeze-dried strawberries. First time I've done it, and I have to say it's a great idea — it tastes strongly of real strawberries, is very easy to work with, and she claims it will last up to a week in the fridge without weeping thanks to using the freeze-dried fruit. My one piece of advice is to really scrape the ground fruit/sugar mixture out of the edges of the processor before adding the cream because it wanted to stick there.

butterfly cake small.jpg

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1 hour ago, caitmcg said:

I baked a birthday cake for my friend's daughter, vanilla sponge layers with sliced strawberries between them, frosted with strawberry whipped cream. For the frosting, I used Stella Parks's super-thick and fruity food processor whipped cream recipe made with freeze-dried strawberries. First time I've done it, and I have to say it's a great idea — it tastes strongly of real strawberries, is very easy to work with, and she claims it will last up to a week in the fridge without weeping thanks to using the freeze-dried fruit. My one piece of advice is to really scrape the ground fruit/sugar mixture out of the edges of the processor before adding the cream because it wanted to stick there.

butterfly cake small.jpg

Gorgeous! Great job.

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I have taken up baking bread now that I've discovered the best no knead loaf that you really can't mess up.  Good for my taste buds and budget, bad for my carb intake.  

20180617_193435.jpg

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17 hours ago, caitmcg said:

I baked a birthday cake for my friend's daughter, vanilla sponge layers with sliced strawberries between them, frosted with strawberry whipped cream. For the frosting, I used Stella Parks's super-thick and fruity food processor whipped cream recipe made with freeze-dried strawberries. First time I've done it, and I have to say it's a great idea — it tastes strongly of real strawberries, is very easy to work with, and she claims it will last up to a week in the fridge without weeping thanks to using the freeze-dried fruit. My one piece of advice is to really scrape the ground fruit/sugar mixture out of the edges of the processor before adding the cream because it wanted to stick there.

butterfly cake small.jpg

I don't own a food processor, but since that cake looks so lovely and the recipe is too, I'll probably borrow my SIL's to give this a go.

Your cake is gorgeous!

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10 hours ago, mansonlamps said:

I have taken up baking bread now that I've discovered the best no knead loaf that you really can't mess up.  Good for my taste buds and budget, bad for my carb intake.  

20180617_193435.jpg

Seriously. Recipe please.

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1 hour ago, HunterHunted said:

Seriously. Recipe please.

 

9 hours ago, larapu2000 said:

AHEM.  Recipe link, please.

Here you go.  And, trust me, I am no baker, but this is idiot proof and very delicious.

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27 minutes ago, mansonlamps said:

 

Here you go.  And, trust me, I am no baker, but this is idiot proof and very delicious.

I don't have a cast iron Dutch oven but have a heavy Magnalite Dutch oven. I wonder if that would work as well? 

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I don't know what that is, but I would risk my 50 cents of ingredients to give it a shot.  I think any heavy Dutch oven would work.

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That No Knead Bread Recipe was developed by Jim Lahey and made popular by him and Mark Bittman of the New York Times. The dutch oven is a real game changer for making bread. You can use any oven proof cover and container (some people have used bowls) to cover the bread. Once you master the standard recipe, there are many variations of it on the internet. 

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