Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee - TwD

No matter where, no matter when, créme brulée has always been one of my absolute favorite desserts. I think it always will be :) It's Tuesday... we're baking with Dorie... and the recipe is créme brulée. It does not get better than this!!!

This week's host of Tuesdays with Dorie was Mari at Mevrouw Cupcake and I'm so glad she chose this specific recipe. I'll admit I've made créme brulée countless times but I could make it countless more and still never get enough. Many people think of this as being a rather high end dessert and feel too intimidated to even consider making créme brulée. If you're one of them, I encourage you to shake off your inhibitions and give it a try because it's a lot easier than you think. The basic ingredients are heavy cream, milk, egg yolks, sugar and vanilla extract. Not low in calories but it's a special treat for a special occasion (like, uhm, the last Monday of the month? yeah, that's the ticket!!) so let yourself indulge just a little :)

Traditionally, créme brulée is a baked egg custard with a caramelized (burnt) sugar "shell" that, if you ask me, is the best part. Breaking thru that crunchy brulée to the silky custard below is just heaven on a spoon :) I've previously posted a recipe for Lavender Créme Brulée using a method that differs from Dorie's. I'm used to baking these in a water bath that keeps the custard from scorching. Not so in Dorie's recipe as she does not use the water bath. But it's all good, she bakes them at an extremely low temperature (200 F) so the custard doesn't burn. The recipe says to bake for 50-60 minutes but realistically it takes more like 90 minutes to reach the correct consistency to remove them from the oven. There are so many variations and flavors that can be created but I chose to go the classic route and use vanilla bean - it just gives such a tremendous flavor.

After the custards are baked and refrigerated it's time to create the brulée... sprinkle a tablespoon of sugar over the top and hit it with a blowtorch. As the sugar heats it will liquify, change to a gorgeous golden color and then harden as it cools. If you don't have a blowtorch, in the recipe Dorie gives instruction for creating the brulée under the broiler. And speaking of the recipe, it can be found at our host's blog Mevrouw Cupcake. Also check out the other TwD bakers to see their creations as well.

Have a delicious day!
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Lavash Crackers - Daring Bakers September Challenge

It's nearing the end of the month which means it's time to reveal the Daring Bakers Challenge. This month I stepped completely outside of my usual world of cookies, cakes and all things sweet and back into the realm of breads and yeast. The challenge for September was to make these crispy, crunchy, tasty Armenian-style crackers. Savory or sweet, these crackers are quite the versatile treat!

The hosts for September were Natalie and Shel and they chose a gluten-free recipe... with options for non gluten-free. I chose to go the gluten route :) Making the dough is not difficult at all... flour, salt, yeast, sugar, vegetable oil and water - mix it up, roll it out and let it bake. You can make these in the afternoon to go with your favorite dip or spread that night.

The trick to getting crackers instead of flatbread is to roll out the dough thin... very thin... very very *very* thin... to the point where you can almost read the newspaper through it ;-) Without a doubt the hardest part for me was getting the toppings to stick. The recipe instructed us to mist the rolled-out dough with a bit of water before applying the spices/seeds/etc... and advised that a little seasoning goes a long way. I regret that I didn't use more because I would have liked a more intense flavor. No problem, it's a lesson-learned for next time :)

I made a single sheet-pan and used four different kinds of flavorings...
garlic, sesame -&-poppy seed
rosemary, paprika, black pepper, oregano
cinnamon sugar

As for toppings... to be honest, dips and spreads don't go over well in our household but I still came up with something extremely tasty...

Yup... that's right... peanut butter and jelly... cranberry-spice jelly to be more precise :)

Say whatcha want, but pb&j on these crackers is M'mmm M'mmm Good!!

Please drop by and visit the other daring bakers and see how they did with this month's challenge as well. I'm sure they made some fabulous combinations!!! If you'd like the recipe, visit the site of either of our hosts Natalie and Shel

Have a delicious day :)

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Wild Blueberry Cake

Until recently, wild blueberries weren't even on my radar. I thought there was only one kind of blueberry - silly me. A few months ago I made my first blueberry pie and just to be different I decided to make it with wild blueberries. Completely different experience - different size and different taste. The other day I promised my coworkers something with lemon since I've been baking a lot of chocolate things lately. I decided on a lemon blueberry cake... but... along the way something happened... things just didn't turn out as planned... and I ended up with a Wild Blueberry Cake (albeit with a Lemon Glaze!).

I wanted something lemony.... really, reeeeeeeeeeally lemony. I've had a certain recipe saved for quite a while now but just haven't made it. I tend to shy away from new recipes that gobble up a lot of ingredients - - - say 4 sticks of butter... 6 eggs.... 4 cups of flour... 3 cups of sugar. Whew, that is a significant quantity of staples if you ask me! LOL! And what if the recipe stinks, even though it's well rated? I'd be really unhappy to "waste" ingredients that way. But I decided to take a chance and make the recipe.... and....

... and I was not pleased. The original recipe is for a Blueberry-Lemon Pound Cake and I followed the recipe exactly as written with the exception of adding more lemon extract, more lemon zest and fresh lemon juice. Remember I wanted something really lemony :)

The cake took about 30 minutes longer to bake than the recipe indicated - that's 50% longer and to me a substantial difference in time! I used the precise type and size of pan indicated - but it overflowed :( It's called a "pound cake" but the texture was off for me... definitely heavier than a regular cake but not dense enough for what I expect in a true Pound Cake. And the lemon taste I so wanted was definitely present in the batter but pretty much missing altogether once baked. I ended up making almost a full cup of lemon glaze to give it something of a lemon flavor. I was completely and totally 100% underwhelmed. I was ready to toss the cake in the bin... but...

... but I had promised my co-workers and I did not want to disappoint. So I took it to work... and it was devoured with high praises and many many thanks. Go figure! Maybe it was the awesome lemon glaze I added that saved it because without that, the cake definitely underwhelmed me. But since it was such a big hit at work, I'm sharing the recipe here... with the modifications that I made. Maybe my expectations were too high, after all, my co-workers really liked it :)

Wild Blueberry Cake with Lemon Glaze

4 sticks of butter (2 cups) at room temperature
3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup milk at room tempterature
6 eggs
1 tablespoon lemon extract
1 tablespoon baking powder
4 cups all purpose flour
zest of one whole lemon
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice - divided use
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 cups wild blueberries - fresh or frozen

Preheat oven to 350F

Prepare a 10" Bundt pan with baking spray.

In a large bowl, combine flour and baking powder - set aside.

Using a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and granulated sugar for about 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, making sure each one is fully incorporated before adding the next. After all the eggs are in, add the lemon extract, lemon zest and 1/4c of lemon juice and combine well. Add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the milk in two parts - begin and end with the flour mixture. Don't overmix, just ensure all ingredients are well incorporated. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the blueberries. The batter will be quite thick, spoon into the prepared pan.

Bake for 1 hour then check for doneness - you will probably need an additional 30 minutes of baking time (at least I sure did). Bake until a cake tester or long thin knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 15 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely.

For the glaze, mix the remaining 1/4 cup lemon juice and the powdered sugar and drizzle over warm cake for maximum flavor.

Have a delicious day!!
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Dimply Apple Cake - TwD

Oh yay! Another Tuesday... another Dorie Greenspan recipe :) How awesome is that! This week it's a cake that's a great way to use up some of your end-of-summer fruits. While the original recipe is made with plums, I happened to have a few Braeburn apples on hand. And that's the way this week's "Dimply Plum Cake" became a "Dimply Apple Cake" :)

Michelle of Bake-En was the host of this week's TwD. She chose Dorie's Dimply Plum Cake. Graciously Dorie included several variations so using plums wasn't required - a very good thing since that's a fruit which doesn't go over all that well in our household. I wanted to use fruit I already had and my choices were grapes, raspberries, peaches and the final winner.... apples :)

The cake is named "dimply plum" because laying halved plums on top of the batter gives the baked cake the appearance of "dimples" as the batter bakes up around the plums which sink just a tiny bit. Essentially, the cake bakes up around the plum halves. Well, since I didn't use halved apples, my "dimples" aren't round... my apples are sliced in crescent shapes so what should I really cake this cake? "Sunken Apple Slices" cake? "Sinking Slices Apple Cake"? Hmmm... I'm not sure but "Dimply Apple Cake" is just out :) To keep it from looking too boring, and to give the cake a bit more visual interest, I added a handful of drunken dried cranberries in the center. I soaked them in AppleJack for added flavor. As for the apple slices I tossed them in a mixture of cinnamon, freshly grated nutmeg, a touch of vanilla sugar, a sprinkling of cardamom and a little lemon juice. The result was fantastic!

The cake itself came together quickly and baked up nicely. Dorie's recipe says to bake for about 45 minutes and this might be right for plums but I baked for a grand total of 1 hour and I'm still not convinced it was done enough but didn't want it to be dry in parts so I stopped there. Turned out just fine. It's definitely not an overtly sweet cake but a slice (or two?) is perfect with a cup of tea... or coffee if you prefer. A nice treat anytime of day or night. I'm glad I chose the Braeburn apples (they retain their shape nicely when cooked as opposed to other varieties which have a higher water content and cook down) and left them a little bit thicker. This gave not only great flavor BUT great texture as well.

I would certainly make this cake again! For the recipe, please check Michelle's blog - and check out the other members of the TwD group by clicking here.

Have a delicious day!
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The Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie

Chocolate chip cookies come in three basic styles... "The Thin"... "The Puffy"... and "The Chewy".  And it's a very personal thing when it comes to what you like.  Unless I'm on a deserted island , I'll not fight you for "the thin"... you can have all of those you want :) While I realize that more than once I've said I'm done with testing out chocolate chip cookie recipes but.. but... but... in my own defense, these are from my boyfriend, Alton. I know... I know... {heavy sigh}... the very last thing I need is another batch of chocolate chip cookies in my house. But ya gotta understand.... these are from Alton Brown... and I just can't resist his recipes. So, purely in the name of research of course, I made them.... and... today, dear readers, I present... "The Chewy"...

One night last week I was catching up on some very old episodes of Alton's show "Good Eats". The particular one I was watching involved different kinds of substitutions and in passing he mentioned his "award winning" episode about the three kinds of chocolate chip cookies. I searched the net and found "Three Chips For Sister Marsha" which I highly recommend to anyone  interested in the rationale behind what makes thin vs. puffy vs. chewy chocolate chip cookies. I decided to test out "The Chewy" and I'm glad I did. They certainly didn't last long because they flew off the platter as if they had wings! I loved them - the hubs loved them - the kids loved them - the neighbors loved them.... I had to set aside and save some for the photos and to do that I almost had to resort to *hiding* them! LOL! I didn't store them any fancy way, in fact, I purposely let them sit on the counter... uncovered... for three days to see how that would effect them. I'm happy to report they were still chewy and delicious :)  I followed the recipe to the letter, making absolutely no additions nor modifications whatsoever.  Three days later they were still chewy and delicious - I'm not talking "dried out" chewy, I'm talkin "moist-flavorful-delicious" chewy.  Depending on what kind of cookie you like, these might be worth making.  I know they were to me :)

The Chewy
Alton Brown

2 sticks unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Ice cream scooper (#20 disher, to be exact)
Parchment paper
Baking sheets

Heat oven to 375 degrees F.
Melt the butter in a heavy-bottom medium saucepan over low heat. Sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda and set aside.
Pour the melted butter in the mixer's work bowl. Add the sugar and brown sugar. Cream the butter and sugars on medium speed. Add the egg, yolk, 2 tablespoons milk and vanilla extract and mix until well combined. Slowly incorporate the flour mixture until thoroughly combined. Stir in the chocolate chips. Chill the dough, then scoop onto parchment-lined baking sheets, 6 cookies per sheet. Bake for 14 minutes or until golden brown, checking the cookies after 5 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet for even browning. Cool completely and store in an airtight container.

Have a delicious day!

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Honey Yeast Rolls

These are pretty much your basic dinner rolls... but the addition of honey in the dough and a brush of warm honey butter on top turns these into something that's absatively irresistable!!! My family devoured them in record time... and I bet yours will too :)

I found the recipe on the blog ...a cookie a day and it has instructions for either hand kneading or using a bread machine. I haven't seen my bread machine since I moved back to SoCal from the Washington DC area... and I'm far too lazy to made bread by hand so I let my dear Lola do all the work. She's always happy to do the heavy lifting... and I'm always happy to let her. Lola and I have a great relationship that way - she never lets me down :)

Until recently I had a real fear of yeast. I was afraid I would do something wrong and it just wouldn't work out right. I'll admit, yeast can be tricky... but I've gotten over my fear in part thanks to my boyfriend Alton Brown (back away, ladies, he's mine!!! bwaaaaaaahahahaha). In his "Flat is Beautiful" episode of Good Eats, Alton explains it this way:
Alton Brown: dough gets its rise from the gas produced by billions and billions of unicellular fungi called ' yeast' that chomp down on the sugar in flour-based doughs. Have a look. They are real pigs. And once their little feeding frenzy is over ...
Yeast: [belching sounds]
Alton Brown:... that's right. Yeast belch makes bread rise.

I just love that nerd-man :) So there you have it, a deconstructed explanation of the role yeast plays in making bread :)

This recipe uses honey as the "food" for the yeast but it doesn't get added right away so contrary to following the recipe to the exact letter, I added about 1/8t sugar to the warm water for the yeast. This gives the lil fun-guys (get it.. fungi... fun-guy... I love that one! hahahahaha) something to start munching on right away so they can start burping quickly. In my experience, and this only goes for me, I've found that when I add even a tiny amount of sugar to the water, the yeast develop better than when I add none. That's my little trick, not saying it's anything scientific or special.

Once you're done with all the mixing and needing and letting it rise, separate out your dough by weight, roll into balls and let them rise again before baking in the oven. Only take a quick peek at the above photo... okay....?.... cuz the rolls are nekkid ;-) But they're in the oven and making your house smell M'mmm M'mmm Good. There's just something about the smell of baking bread that is so warm and inviting. Very comforting to me :)

After about 5 minutes in the oven, brush with some honey butter and they'll be beautifully browned with a touch of sweetness. I think that's the part that makes them even more irresistible than your average dinner rolls. But you could certainly omit the honey on top if that's more to your liking.

The full recipe can be found on ...a cookie a day. If you visit and make these heavenly rolls (which I certainly hope you do), please tell her Em sent you!

Have a delicious day!
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Over The Top Brownies

Some people like their brownies fluffy... and cake-like. But not me :) if I'm going to lust after a brownie it's gotta be rich and dense and fudgy. These brownies certainly hit the mark on that point... and topped with caramel and chopped peanuts and ribbons of melted chocolate? That just takes them completely over the top!!!

When I made these, I didn't use enough caramel topping or peanuts. I've adjusted the amounts according to how much I'll use next time since I'd like more of the caramel and nuts. But feel free to adjust and use more or less according to your liking. And yes, I definitely think you'll like these!

Over The Top Brownies

for the brownies
1 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup Hershey's Special Dark cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate (chunks, disks, chips or mini chips)
for the topping
1/4 cup melted semi-sweet chocolate
18 Kraft Caramels
2 tablespoons heavy cream
chopped/crushed nuts

Preheat oven to 350 F
Prepare a 9x13 baking dish as follows: lightly spray the insides with cooking spray then with the dish horizontally in front of you lay in one sheet of aluminum foil across the length (left-to-right) leaving enough overhang on the sides so that you can use the excess foil as handles and on top of that lay in one sheet of aluminum foil across the width (top-to-bottom). Spray the foil with cooking spray. You want to be sure the insides of the pan are completely covered and you have foil "handles" which you'll use to lift the slab of brownies from the pan after baking :)

In a large bowl, combine the melted butter, both sugars and the vanilla extract in a large bowl. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition until the liquid mixture is completely blended.

In a separate bowl, sift the flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Gradually add this into the liquid mixture until it is fully incorporated. Add in the chocolate pieces (chunks, disks, chips or mini chips) and stir to combine. It will resemble fudge frosting at this point... and it will taste delicious!! Spread evenly into the prepared baking dish.

Bake about 40-45 minutes until a few moist crumbs cling to a toothpick inserted in the center. Don't bake to the point of the toothpick coming out clean or the brownies will be dry. Remove the baking dish from the oven and cool on wire rack for 10 minutes... then... using the foil handles remove the brownie slab from the dish and cool completely on wire rack.

Put the caramels in a microwave-safe bowl and add the heavy cream. Microwave in 30-second increments until the caramels begin to melt and stir to incorporate the cream. Do not over-cook this!

After the brownies have cooled a bit but are not yet at room temperature, pour the melted caramel/cream mixture over the top and let it set up for a little while. Then drizzle on the melted chocolate and top with crushed nuts. Once everything has cooled and set, but the brownies and enjoy... preferably with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

Have a delicious day :)

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Chocolate Chunkers

Yes it's Tuesday and time again for another Dorie Greenspan recipe. This week it's "Chocolate Chunkers"... and if you ever thought there's no such thing as "too much chocolate", well, check it out cuz **this** is a cookie for you!

This week's host of TwD is Claudia over at Fool for Food and she chose Dorie's Chocolate Chunkers. Dorie may call these cookies but there's more "stuff" than "dough". The hubs said these had more of a uber-fudgy brownie texture than anything... and seeing as how they're totally packed with an assortment of chocolates, that makes absolute sense. Let's see... it's got bittersweet chocolate... semisweet chocolate... white chocolate... unsweetened chocolate... cocoa powder. Holy chocolate overload Batman - - - this is a true chocoholic's cookie-dream come true!

The recipe also calls for raisins (which I left out) and nuts (I used almonds). I made a half batch and still got 19 cookies about 2 1/2" in diameter and they're so rich that one or two is more than enough. Hey, what am I saying... if you're a serious chocoholic, one or two would never be enough! LOL. Unbaked, the cookies are Ah-MAYYYYY-Zing - that's for sure. And while they will come in dead last when competing for the title "Most Photogenic Cookie", you should definitely make them if you're looking for something that is sinfully, richly, decadently chocolate.

Chocolate Chunkers
from Dorie Greenspan's book Baking From My Home To Yours

1/3 cup all purpose flour
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. baking powder
3 tablespoon unsalted butter – cut into three pieces
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
6 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped into chunks or 1 cup chocolate chips
6 oz. milk or white chocolate, chopped or 1 cup chocolate chips
1 ½ coarsely chopped nuts ( I used pecans)
1 cup moist, plump raisins (dark or golden) or finely chopped, moist, plump dried apricots

Center a rack in the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicon mats.

Sift together flour, cocoa, salt and baking powder.

Set a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Add the butter, bittersweet chocolate and unsweetened chocolate and heat stirring occasionally, just until melted-the chocolate and butter should be smooth and shiny, but not so hot that the butter separates. Remove the bowl from the heat and set on the counter to cool.

Beat eggs and sugar on medium high speed for about two minutes until they are pale and foamy. Add vanilla and scrape down bowl. Reduce mixer to low speed and add melted chocolate, mixing only until incorporated. Add dry ingredients until they disappear into the dough, which will be thick, smooth and shiny.

Scrape down the bowl and mix in the semisweet and white or milk chocolate chunks (or chips), nuts, and raisins. Drop dough by heaping tablespoons leaving about an inch of space between mounds of dough. Bake one sheet at a time for 10-12 minutes. The tops of the cookies will look a little dry, but the interiors should still be soft

You can check out the rest of the TwD members by clicking here.

Have a delicious day :)

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Chocolate Chip Cookies... and the NY Times

Weeks and weeks have gone by since I posted this which I thought would be my final post about chocolate chip cookies. Yeah, riiiiight. No such luck! So many people emailed to tell me I simply had to try the chocolate chip cookie recipe posted in the NY Times. Had to. Just haaaaaaad to, otherwise my life would be incomplete. So, like an awkward pre-teen girl trying desperately to fit in, I caved to peer pressure and did.

This is a recipe that certainly has a lot of ingredients: cake flour, bread flour, baking soda, baking powder, coarse salt, unsalted butter, light brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs, natural vanilla extract, bittersweet chocolate disks...

And it's fussy too... make the dough...

... press plastic wrap against it, refrigerate for 24-36hrs... or up to 72hrs

... and then you're finally allowed to bake it... but only after you roll them into precisely weighed 3 1/2 ounce mounds making sure there are no chocolate pieces are poking up (turn them horizontally as to make for a "more attractive cookie")...

Sprinkle with the sea salt (I only sprinkled a few so that I could try it... the rest were sans salt) and then bake for 18-20 minutes. As you can see from the photos... these things spread... they spread *quite* a bit during baking...

... cool the sheet on a wire rack and then transfer to a different wire rack for cooling. Yes, these are among the fussiest chocolate chip cookies I've ever made. But... I won't lie... these cookies are actually good. I'd go so far as to say they're VERY good!

But I'll also be honest and tell you I am not at all a fan of the salt on top. In fact, when I ate just ONE of the salt-topped cookies, the salt mixed with the sweet left me incredibly nauseated. Incredibly :( But that's okay... there were plenty without the salt and I enjoyed them **thoroughly** :) :) :) I have zero regrets about making these cookies - at least now no one can give me a hard time about liking a chocolate chip cookie so much that I consider it my hands down favorite w/o having tried these famous NY Times Chocolate Chip Cookies. Funny little side story... a girl I know who's made these cookies calls them HER famous chocolate chip cookies. Hmmm... not sure how she can consider them HERS since the NYT put them out there and she made them from the recipe but uhm... okay, whatever works for ya! LOL!

If you still haven't made these NYT Chocolate Chip Cookies, the recipe can be found here.

I've made them... I've tried them... and I still like these chocolate chip cookies better. Different strokes for different folks, right? ;-)

Have a delicious day :)

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Buttermilk Pancakes

Pancakes are among my all-time favorite foods. Morning? Night? Doesn't matter. I just love pancakes. For me it's a real treat going out for breakfast or Sunday brunch and enjoying really good, well made, tasty, flavorful pancakes. But until recently, I didn't enjoy making them because they just never came out "right". Late last month I spent a weekend trying various recipes and finally... FINALLY... I found a clear-cut winner... one that beat the rest and exceeded my high expectations :)

I admit it, I'm a pancake snob. My family doesn't share my devotion... my love... my craving for pancakes. That's okay, I say, more for me!! And OMG when I have pancakes they require a boatload of maple syrup... and preferable a few slices of crispy bacon or a couple of sausage links... or patties. I'm easy ;-) In all honesty, for some reason I'm not a fan of maple flavor... but... when it's on pancakes (or waffles), I'm all over it. Go figure.

In my private "weekend pancake cook-off" I tested recipes from Mark Bitman, CIA, Betty Crocker, various internet sites, family recipes... and found my absolute favorite was from my old standby Joy of Cooking. I want a pancake that has some flavor to it - a pancake that's light and fluffy - one that's simple, basic, not fussy and doesn't require a dozen prep steps and hours of time. Some recipes I tried had no flavor. Some had no rise. But the Joy of Cooking recipe was a clear winner and it's the one I've added to my recipe file.

Buttermilk Pancakes
Joy of Cooking

Dry Ingredients
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

Wet Ingredients
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whisk the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. In another bowl, combine the wet ingredients. Mix the wet ingredients quickly into the dry ingredients. Don't overbeat. Give just enough quick strokes with a whisk to barely moisten the dry ingredients. Ignore small lumps. Cook on hot griddle and serve immediately.

If you're looking for a good, basic, easy to make buttermilk pancake recipe, try this one. I think you'll be glad you did.

Have a delicious day! :)

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Lemon Squares - again

The other day on the way home from work I was thinking of what to make that night. I wanted something sweet... but still light. And I've recently made a lot of chocolate stuff so I decided on Lemon Squares. Oh sure, I've made them before but this was a different recipe so I thought I'd give it a try. In all honesty I was thinking of a completely different title for this post... something along the lines of "anatomy of a bad lemon square" because that's what this really turned out to be.

I searched the internet for something that might rock my world - something that would be the End-all, Do-all, Be-all of lemon squares. I settled on a recipe from CI/ATK since they have such a great reputation. Yeah, well, reputation and a $5 bill will get me a cuppa coffee at Starbucks... that's about it. And I'd love to share the recipe here but after all the grief that this blogger got, hell, I'll just refrain from posting any recipe of theirs... regardless of how crappy I felt this one turned out to be even when I followed said recipe to the T.

Everything seemed fine during the prep... and even during the baking... but they just didn't come together well. After about a day, the lemon filling started separating from the shortbread crust :( I wanted to like these... really... I wanted to. And they weren't horrible... they weren't awful... and they didn't get binned... but they weren't very good. And I definitely won't make them again.

If you're really interested in the recipe, I'm sure you can google search and find it like I did. In the mean time, if you've got a really good recipe for killer, End-all, Do-all and Be-all lemon squares, please, please pretty-please-with-sugar-on-top share it with me :) I would be ever so appreciative if you would!!!

Have a delicious day :)
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Chocolate Whopper Malted Drops - TwD

It's Tuesday and once again I'm baking up a Dorie Greenspan recipe. This week is another cookie - this time it's chocolate-y goodness... with a twist!

This week's TwD host was Rachel of Confessions of a Tangerine Tart and what an interesting cookie she chose. Among the ingredients are malted milk powder and Whoppers Malted Milk Balls.

Several people indicated they had trouble finding the malted milk powder but I found it in the grocery store in the section with hot cocoa and chocolate milk. It comes in both vanilla and chocolate but I bought vanilla figuring the cookie recipe itself had plenty of chocolate from the chocolate chips, cocoa powder and malted milk balls candy. It didn't seem to me I needed to use chocolate malted milk powder for *more* chocolate flavor.

The cookies were not difficult to make at all... the most time consuming part was cutting the whoppers in half. Sure, I coulda just run them thru the food processor or bashed them with a rolling pin but I wanted my cookies to have some height... some texture... so I cut each little malted milk ball in half hoping it would help. Oh, I should mention that once again instead of all butter I used half butter and half butter-flavor-crisco to equal the amount of butter called for in the recipe. Hey, I hate FCS (flat cookie syndrome) so I used my half -n- half method to avoid it and once again it seemed to work beautifully as my cookies weren't flat :) I think they tasted better the second day but I still wouldn't say I'm a "fan" of these. The Hubs liked them but didn't like how the malted milk balls (Whoppers) turned into "toffee" consistency. And I have to agree with that. I don't care for candy that sticks in my teeth and when the Whoppers are baked in this cookie, they turn all sticky chewy (not to be confused with ooey gooey which I don't a'tall ;-) My good friend Rich (aka "Mr. Crankypants") remarked they were "interesting" which, to me, is a very non-committal remark! LOL Overall I don't think this is a cookie I'd make again... unlike last week's Chunky Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chipsters. I'm still getting requests to make those cookies again... soon!!

But if you're looking for a chocolate chip cookie that's just a little bit out of the ordinary but still mainstream, give these a try. And take a moment to check out the other TwD bakers this week and take a look at their Chocolate Whopper Malted Drop cookies. If you're looking for the recipe check Rachel's blog Confessions of a Tangerine Tart.

Have a delicious day!
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