Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Bake 52 Week 23: Coconut Macaroons

I have never had these before.  I have to say, I'm not the biggest fan of coconut so I wan't thrilled about making the coconut macaroons.  I was completely surprised with the outcome because they taste amazing.  I love it when that happens!  My husband LOVES them too.  Another great feature about this recipe is that it's gluten free!  I come from family of sensitive stomachs.  There are tons of food allergies between us.  My 3 year old niece just found out that she is allergic to gluten.  It's always nice to find a good gluten free recipe.  Here's the link to the entire recipe:  I highly recommend this recipe to anyone.  There is also a hint of almond flavor in it, which I love.



Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Bake 52 Week 22: Rustic Caramelized Onion Tart with Blue Cheese and walnuts

It's basically just a unique pizza.  I used store bought pizza dough.  It was really easy to make.  Just caramelize some onions and top the pizza with them, followed by blue cheese crumbles, walnuts and some green onions.  It's a very tongue sensitive pizza.  The flavors were just too strong for me.  My husband felt the same way, so I gave the leftovers away to a friend.  She loved it.  This "tart" isn't for everyone, but if you like really strong flavors, you will like it.  If you want the full recipe, here's the link to Michelle's Blog.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Bake 52 Week 21: Multi-grain Bread

I wasn't super excited about this week, because for some reason the bread looked gross to me.  I don't really like seedy bread.  So I decided to omit the sunflower seeds. Anyways, it turns out that my bread rose way faster than the directions said, and so my loaf was really big!  Like way too big!!!  I don't have a lot of experience with bread making, so I'm not sure what to think!  However, it did taste good!  So good!  It actually reminds me of the 9 grain bread at Great Harvest, which I love!  Also, this recipe is eggless!  That is a great perk for me, because I am allergic to eggs.  Don't get me wrong, I will still eat them baked into things, but I usually suffer the consequences afterwards.  So Jen, thanks for picking a great recipe, and I'm sorry that I was dubious of it!

Oh yeah, I didn't have any whole wheat flour, so I just used all white flour.  You can see the original recipe on Jen's blog.



Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Bake 52 Week 20: French Macaroons

This week for Bake 52, we made French Macaroons!  I never thought that I would ever make those in a million years.  They are always fabulous looking, but I always thought they were way out of my league to make.  It's possible that they are, as you will see further below.  It wasn't my most impressive day in the kitchen.  

Before I go any further telling you about the Macaroons, I want to say a word about the host, Betsy.  She happens to be one of my very best friends.  I met her 7 years ago at the Rivera, in Provo Utah.  From there, we became roommates.  You can see from the pictures that we were a little crazy.  After we both got married, we were next door neighbors!  We got together and played games almost every single night. That's when we really discovered that our friendship was one of a kind.  Our husbands are great friends as well, which made everything more fun. Being neighbors with them was one of my favorite phases of life (so far).  Now we live thousands of miles apart, and I miss her like crazy!  
This was at a "Buttrock" party that we threw as roommates.  Betsy, don't kill me for posting this pic.
Love dressing up for any occasion! (We also painted that wall in our apartment)
We were bridesmaids at each other's weddings. 
She even threw me a lovely baby shower, with food, a diaper cake, presents, games and all (with the help of my two other favorite roommates, Kristi and Dede).
The Macaroons weren't as cute of a story, and do NOT resemble out friendship in any way.  I knew something was wrong when I pipped them onto the pan, and I didn't have to smooth the tops with my finger.  Then I looked at them a few minutes later, and they were running together!  I'm still not sure what I did wrong.  I halved the recipe, but I read the ingredients several times, and I'm pretty sure that I used the right amounts.  I made the almond flour in my food processor, and it was a little more grainy than regular flour.  That may be a reason.  I ended up scraping the runny batter off of the pan, and back into the bowl.  I added some extra powdered sugar.  That didn't do much, so I went out on a limb and added some cake flour.  But even after all that, when I pipped them out for the second time they were still running together a little.  My husband mentioned that maybe it's because we are at sea level here in Boston.  Is anyone else is Bake 52 baking from sea level?  I don't really think that's the excuse, but it sounded like a good one at the time.  

Coming out of the oven, they looked even worse than I expected them to turn out.  I didn't mean to cook them that much either.
I knew that it wouldn't be worth making the frosting, because most of the macaroons weren't usable.  I did taste one.  It was super chewy, and just wasn't the right consistency, but I did like the flavor.  I will definitely be trying this recipe again.  I think it could be a very impressive dessert for guests.  If any of you have suggestions as to what I did wrong, I would love to hear your feed back.
I am sad, I was excited for this week.  I love a good French Macaroon.  For any of you in Utah (Salt Lake City to be exact), Les Madeleines has an awesome vanilla bean macaroon.  They also have the most amazing pastry called a Kouing-Aman.  Please try it someday.  It's 5 bucks a pop, but it's heavenly none the less.  

And finally, if you want to see the original recipe, here's the link to Betsy's Blog. That picture on the side is not actually her and her husband, so don't be frightened.  You will find her blog to be full of funny and random thoughts.  Betsy is one of a kind.  I wish that all of you could know her personally.  Her macaroons look absolutely perfect.  Great Job Bets!  



Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Bake 52 Week 19: New York Crumb Cake

This cake literally just popped out of the oven. I honestly won't try it until tomorrow (i'm on Eastern time, 10:30 here). I'm off to bed. I will update this post tomorrow with a better recap of the recipe, and how I liked it. For now, here's the proof that I made it! And just in the nick of time! I think I may have over cooked it slightly.



Ok, Here's the update.  It's a great cake!  The bottom is super light and fluffy.  I'm not quite as crazy about the topping, but it's still good.  The cake was really easy to make.  The most tedious part was putting the crumb topping on.  I do taste a slightly strange flavor in the after taste.  Did anyone else notice that?  Also, did anyone try not use cake flour?  I used it, but I wonder if it really made a difference.  Here's one more picture that I took this morning.



Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Bake 52 Week 18: Classic Pancakes and flavored syrup

Hello everyone!  This week I am hosting bake 52!  A few days ago I told my husband that I was hosting.  He was really excited to hear what recipe I had decided on.  When I told him that I had picked pancakes, he thought I was joking.  What can I say, I love a good pancake!  I am actually obsessed with pancakes.  In fact, having pancakes for dinner is a common occurrence in my house.  Plus, I think I must have been overwhelmed with life when I picked the recipe.  I found the easiest thing in the book and went with it.  But hey, it was kinda refreshing to have an easy week where I could have a finished product in just 20 minutes!  Don't get me wrong, I love a good baking challenge.  

So what did I think of the pancakes?  Well, I liked them.  A lot.  But not quite enough to beat my good ol' Betty Crocker recipe.  I LOVE Betty Crocker's buttermilk pancake recipe.  That's the recipe that I make over and over again, and I have to say, it's not going to be replaced this time.  Non the less, I still thoroughly enjoyed these pancakes.  I'm also a sucker for blueberry pancakes, so that's what I made.  I complimented them with the flavored berry syrup.  It was pretty good but once again, not my fav. Here are the pictures: (the recipe is at the bottom).  

Classic Pancakes

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups buttermilk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 large egg

1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 200 degrees.  Set a wire rack over a baking sheet and set aside.  
2.  Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder and soda, and salt together in a large bowl.  In a medium bowl, whisk the buttermilk, melted butter, and egg together.  Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, pour the buttermilk mixture into the well, and gently whisk together until just incorporated with a few lumps remaining (do not overmix).  
3.  Heat a 12 inch nonstick skillet over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes.  Brush the pan bottom with a thin layer of the oil.  Using 1/4 cup of batter per pancake, add the batter to the skillet (2 or 3 pancakes will fit at a time) and cook until large bubbles begin to appear, about 2 minutes.
4.  Flip the pancakes and continue to cook until golden brown, about 1 1/2 minutes.  Transfer the pancakes to the wire rack (don't overlap) and deep warm in the oven.  Repeat with the remaining batter, brushing the skillet with oil as needed.  Serve.


Blueberry pancakes (the directions are a no-brainer)

Cornmeal pancakes (Substitute 1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal for 1 cup of the flour and add 1/4 tsp vanilla extract to the buttermilk mixture.

Whole wheat pancakes (Substitute one cup while wheat flour for 1 cup of the all purpose flour.)

Grahamcakes (Replace 1 cup of the all-purpose flour with 1 cup graham cracker crumbs mixed with 2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal.)

Flavored Maple Syrups:

Apple cinnamon maple syrup (1 1/2 cups maple syrup, 1/3 cup apple jelly, 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon, pinch salt.  Simmer all the ingredients together i a small saucepan over medium-low heat until slightly thickened, 5 to 7 minutes)

Butter pecan maple syrup (1 1/2 cups maple syrup, 1/2 cup pecans, toasted, 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, 1/4 tsp vanilla, pinch salt.   Simmer all the ingredients together i a small saucepan over medium-low heat until slightly thickened, 5 minutes)

Berry maple syrup (1/2 cup frozen blueberries, strawberries or raspberries, 1 1/2 cups maple syrup, 1/4 tsp grated fresh lemon zest, pinch salt.  Cook the berries in a small saucepan over medium heat, mashing them constantly, until the moisture has evaporated, about 5 minutes.  Whisk in the remaining ingredients, reduce the heat to medium low, and cook until slightly thickened, 5 to 7 minutes.)

Thanks for baking with me!  



p.s. I absolutely despise pre-made pancake mixes!!!!!!  Just thought I'd add that in.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Bake 52 Week 17: Baklava

This week we made Baklava!  It was a bit time consuming and challenging, but so worth it!  It tastes amazing!  I ended up needing more butter than the recipe called for.  I also took it out of the oven 20 minutes early.  It was looking done to me.  The baklava had only been out of the oven for two hours when the picture was taken, and you can see in the second photo that it is a little runny.  Hopefully it will set up better after sitting for 8 more hours, like it's supposed to.  The Baklava was definitely a hit!  Here's the link to the recipe.



Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Bake 52 Week 16: Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Ok, don't get excited,  because I did NOT make the pie.  This can count as one of my missed weeks (we get three right?!?).  Sorry to let everyone down.  I had intentions to make it, I even hunted everywhere for Rhubarb.  My last resort was Trader Joe's (love that place, but it's expensive).  The worker helping me finally told me that Rhubarb isn't in season yet, but it should be soon.   So I bought strawberries, but It turns out that I didn't have enough strawberries to fill the pie.   That's when I decided to cut my loses.  And just to make my excuse even lamer, I should admit the biggest reason.   After reading the different comments on FB, I was so intimidated to make this pie that I let it get the best of me. If anyone wants to see the recipe to the pie that I did not make, here it is.

However, I did make a different treat today for a friend's birthday.  I found it on Pinterest yesterday.  It seemed like everyone was pinning it. Here is the pin.

It looks yummy huh!?!  It's store bought cookie dough on the bottom, a Reese's peanut butter cup, and then box brownie mix on the top.  I was super excited to make it.  How can you go wrong with those ingredients? Unfortunately, you can go wrong with them.  Don't be deceived like I was.  It's not that great.  First off, it didn't cook up right.  The brownie mix was gooey on the inside, and hard on the outside.  Second, it didn't come out of the pan in one piece (no wonder why the person who posted it didn't have any after pictures!)  Third, I think less is more.  All of the components should have made a tasty treat, but I think they are better separately.  They didn't mesh well for me.  Anyways, just thought I would save you the trouble, in case you wanted to make this.  But there is always a chance that you will have better luck than I did!

I have actually been finding a lot of recipes on Pinterest, only to be disappointed.  I don't think that Pinterest is the best place to find recipes.  It's just deceiving because the same things get pinned over and over again, so I trust them.  Well, enough of my silly thoughts.

Looking forward to Baklava next week!


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Bake 52 Week 15: Chocolate Blackout Cake

Chocolate Blackout Cake is just a chocolate cake with pudding as the frosting, and then more cake crumbles on top.  I had never seen or heard of a Chocolate Blackout Cake before I saw this one in the cookbook.  It's a lot o' chocolate, and it's good!  The recipe called for Coffee, but I just substituted that for water and it turned out normal.  The chocolate pudding was a homemade recipe from the cookbook.  I loved it.  I would make that one again for sure.  As for the rest of the cake, I'm not sure that I would make it again.  It was just a bit more work than I like.  It really did take about 6 hours from start to finish. It's also not a photogenic cake!  I could not get a good shot of it.  Here is the link to the recipe!

I've always wanted to use that thing!  I don't think that it's technically meant for halving a cake, but it worked!



Saturday, April 7, 2012

Springtime Dirt Cakes

Every time Spring rolls around I get the urge to make dirt cups (or cakes, whatever you like).  Probably because I love any excuse I can find to eat Oreo's.  

I got this recipe from  I had to revise the directions quite a bit, because it was not self explanatory.  It left a lot up to the imagination.  I found that this recipe is better than most that I've had, because it's not as rich (though it's still plenty rich!).

Dirt Cups/Cakes
2 (20 oz.) pkgs. Oreo cookies

1/2 stick butter

1 (8 oz.) cream cheese

1 c. powdered sugar
3 1/2 c. milk
2 sm. French vanilla instant pudding boxes
1 (12 oz.) Cool Whip

Cream the butter, cream cheese and powdered sugar together. In another bowl, mix pudding together with the milk.  Add the Cool Whip to pudding mixture. Then blend in with the cream cheese mixture.
Crumble the Oreo's in a blender or food processor, and leave the cream in the Oreo's. Add some of the Oreo's into the pudding mixture.  Then start the layering.  You can do this however you like.  I started with a layer of Oreo's, then the pudding mixture, then more Oreo, topped with gummy worms.  Here's a good tip.  Pipe in the pudding mixture.  It is so much easier, and way less messy.  If you only want to make a few cups, halve this recipe.



Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Bake 52 Week 14: Tres Leches

I adore Tres Leches.  I am obsessed with the one at Cafe Rio.  I really miss that place.  One of my new favorite meals is re-making the Cafe Rio pork salads. A few weeks ago I made Cafe Rio salads, and this Tres Leches recipe to go along with it.  It is so good!  I would only change one thing.  I was not keen on the cinnamon that was in the cake.  I will omit that next time.  This week Amanda hosted, and here's the link to the recipe:

I will most definitely be making this recipe again.



Sunday, April 1, 2012

Homemade Easter Decoration

I am not a super crafty person, though I wish I was.  So, I feel like I should show off the one thing that I have made.  Since I don't have a crafting blog, this post gets to go on my food blog.  Sorry foodies, It's craft time!  

My friend, Annie, found the cutest Easter decoration on Pinterest.  The only problem was that there were no directions on how to make it!  Just a really cute picture of a finished product.  So we figured out how to make it on our own (when I say we, I mean Annie).  

Here is what we made:

Here is what you need to make it (please excuse my crafting terminology. I don't know what most of this stuff is called in the crafting world):

Ingredients (hehe):

Small pots
Foam balls (whatever size you want, but we did smaller ones.  I think they were 2 1/2 to 3 inches)
pink paint
white paint
paint brush
wooden sticks, probably 12 inches tall
the green foam stuff to put the stick in
pastel colored jelly beans (one bag will cover two balls)
a small piece of ribbon

And here are the directions on how to make them:

1.  Paint the sticks white.  Paint the balls pink.

2.  Put the green foam into the pots.

3.  Put the sticks into the foam  (that is my friend with the brains behind the project).

4. Paint the pots.

5.  Put the balls on the sticks.

6. Now take the ball off of the stick, so that it's easier to handle. Glue the jelly beans to the ball with a hot glue gun.


Now that I've written out the directions, it seems pretty self explanatory.  Maybe that is why there were no directions on the original picture that we found.  Well anyhow, It's hard for me to see something and then just make it happen without some guidance.  Hope this helps someone who thinks like me (and if so, you have my sympathy).

Happy Easter!


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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Bake 52 Week 12: Palmiers

Something went terribly wrong for me. I don't know what exactly, but as soon as I started making the pastry dough I had a feeling that this wasn't going to end well. And it didn't. Prepare yourselves...


(I'm preparing you)

Yup.  To see how they should really look, go to Bekah's blog.

This is my first time attempting to make a pastry dough.  In fact, I've never even made pie crust!  I've always counted on my Mom and sisters to do that kind of stuff.  I literally spent all day making these cookies.  I am feeling a bit discouraged after all that work.  Anyone want to tell me what I did wrong?  Here is what they looked like before I baked them:

Nothing about this recipe looked right, even from the beginning.  Oh well.  You win some, you lose some.



Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Bake 52 Week 10: Lunchbox Brownies

Lunchbox brownies.  The book says that these brownies should be sturdy enough to pack in a lunch.  That they were.  They were not too soft, or too hard.  They would be perfect for travel.  I have to admit that I am a Ghirardelli brownie mix junkie.  I love those things.  These brownies didn't beat that, but I still liked them.  I added a cream cheese mixture to give them more diversity.  That was a good choice. Here is the link to the recipe: (to come later today)