Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Coconut Cream Pie (almost!)

So, attempt #2 was a taste success. I just have a little work to do on the texture. But never fear! I'll get there, and I'll share the recipe with you. There are a lot of elements, BUT they all work together so well, I really think it's worth the effort. Even people who don't generally like coconut seem to like this pie, so that's something, right?!

I will give you this one little hint: there's a surprise at the bottom.

Next up: A couple of things. I might cobble together a couple of recipes to make cherry chocolate chip cookies. And I think I'm going to try these. And I might make another attempt at Coconut Cream Pie. All depends on how much time I have.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Soft Gingersnap Cookies with White Chocolate Chunks

I have some really vague memories from childhood of perfect ginger cookies. Or molasses cookies. Or ginger snaps. I don't remember what they were called. I just remember two different but perfect ginger-y molasses-y cookies. One was so thin and crisp we would put them in the palm of our hands and push down with one finger to see how many pieces it would break into. The other was a little crisp and sugary on the outside, but perfectly soft and chewy on the inside. I have had a difficult time finding a recipe that matched the second (and frankly, more important to me) of these. I think partially because I'm a victim of my altitude. This recipe comes very close. The people responsible for it live in Salt Lake, so I think part of the magic is that they've already done the altitude work for me (you). The cookies didn't deflate and flatten like a lot of cookie recipes tend to do here. So, that was a happy surprise.

The recipe could not be easier. I whipped them up in less than half an hour. Add in cooking time for 3 batches--total time was just over an hour. The texture is perfect. A little crisp with the sugar on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside. The good. For me, they could use more ginger. I like my ginger cookies to have a little kick. Just a little one. But the white chocolate chunks just don't do it for me. They add a flavor that I don't even know how to describe, but for my taste, it doesn't work with ginger. And...confession...I figured that would be the case with these, which was why I made I WOULDN'T eat them. But my kids will! They love them.

TGIP Rating--Soft Gingersnap Cookies with White Chocolate Chunks--KEEPER. If I wanted to make a batch that I would eat, I'd just leave the white chocolate out. And add a bit more ginger. And maybe some black pepper.

Next up: Remember when I made my first attempt at Coconut Cream Pie? I'm determined to come up with a delicious recipe for this, so I'll be making another attempt. With a surprise ingredient!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Burnt Sugar Bundt Cake

Before we go any further, I neglected some important shout-outs in my 2011 Year in Review post:
  • My friend Jonny McBride for insisting that we make this cake together. It was a brilliant evening.
  • Teresa Sanderson, Melody Downey, and Alton Brown for each contributing some aspect of what ultimately became this cake.
  • My niece Amber for actually believing that I could make her wedding cake. I didn't end up doing it because we both realized it would be a terrible idea. But having somebody believe in my baking skills that much is...amazing.

Now, on to the business at hand...You are going to be surprised when I tell you...I didn't really love this recipe. I liked the cake itself. I added a little rum and made some adjustments for high altitude (which, apparently didn't really work all that well):

And I liked the burnt sugar liquid that's used in the cake and the frosting (although, I think maybe I didn't get mine quite dark/burnt enough):

And the caramel shard topping was certainly beautiful (although, since I didn't get the liquid dark enough, I accidentally compensated by TRULY burning the caramel for the shards). Still pretty:

But the frosting. It was just too sweet. As it was, I messed up the texture by beating it in the mixer instead of pulsing it in the food processor (I was distracted because I was making this at the same time):

So, it was WAYY too liquidy:

And if I had added less powdered sugar and made it less sweet, it would have been nothing more than a glaze. Which we all kind of decided is exactly what this cake should have. The cake itself is so flavorful, and has such a lovely, rich texture, I honestly don't think it needs a heavy frosting on top. In fact, it might not even need the glaze. Maybe just a dusting of powdered sugar.

TGIP Rating--Burnt Sugar Bundt Cake--KEEPER, with alterations. I need to go back to the drawing board on the high altitude adjustments, for one thing. And the frosting situation needs to be changed. Then it will be perfect.

Next up: I have to keep my kids in cookies for bag lunches. And I'm sick of buying crappy cookies filled with shortening or whatever horrifying thing. So, I'm going to give these a try.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

2011 Year in Review

That year went past fast! I feel like 2011 was less impressive in the baking department than I wanted it to be. Maybe if I review I can prove myself wrong. Here are some things I baked (and liked):





Other (it was the year of the whoopie pie):

Most epic failure:

Shout-outs/thanks for sharing/inspiring me:
  • The BAKED boys--always and forever. Is it too much to say that my life would be empty without you?!
  • All of my amazing friends who oooh and aaah over even the most minor of my baking successes. And challenge me to try things I haven't considered. Now, please come over more often and eat all of these extra baked goods.

Okay, so not as pathetic of a year as I thought it was. But still, lots to get on to in 2012. Namely:
  • Bread. No, really this year. I am armed with a book I trust. I will learn.
  • Figure out that Sarno's Italian Rum Cake I've been meaning to work on for YEARS. I have all the pieces (I think), I need to put them together. In time for my birthday. I'll make my own cake this year.

First up: Burnt Sugar Bundt Cake. Meant to do it before 2011 ended, but illness prevented me from even thinking about eating, let alone baking. This Sunday is the day.