Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Sweet Life

We don't eat actual food around chez phamished.

We subsist only on butter and sugar.

At least this past month has felt a bit that way. Between school and an assortment of parties, I haven't had much time for nutritious cooking.

But baking? I'll always find time for that.

I promised someone (over a week ago) that I would get some photos of my recent baking escapades up. Sorry for the delay, enjoy!

Angel Food Cake (+lemon curd)
My first attempt at angel food cake (made for a super bowl party).

After making the cake batter I didn't have the heart to throw out perfectly
good egg whites, so I turned them into lemon curd. I iced the
cake with a simple powdered sugar/lemon juice frosting.

Chocolate Macadamia Nut Biscotti

Even since baking some decent butter-containing biscotti over Christmas, I have wanted to try a "fat" free version. I used a recipe from David Lebovitz, found here, and swapped out the almonds for crushed mac nuts, and almond extract for vanilla extract. I think this is the first time I have been a little turned off by the chunky sugar crystals on top of something. Here they give the biscotti a sort of moldy look. Nevertheless, these were amazing, and
kept well for a few weeks.

Dessert In Three Movements
My contribution to a close friend's baby shower
(and another close friend's going-away party) was the dessert.

I prefer single serving desserts for parties, so these were all basically cupcakes.

The first photos are mini german chocolate cakes, recipe here. Another
amazing Lebovitz recipe (can you tell I've got a super
baking crush on the Lebo??) These were really
cute and very decadent.

Next up, are lemon shortbread cookies. I used a recipe from Dorie Greenspan's Baking book. I rolled these in turbinado sugar and lemon zest. These were my favorite, simple and elegant.

Last up are the mini-cheesecakes. I can't remember the recipe I used here, but I know it involved sour cream. These came out of their cupcake papers much easier then I thought they would. I thought they looked really cute, and they were the perfect amount of cheesecake - about 3 (my mouth-sized) bites.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Scones: Good to the last bite

Last week we were invited over to a good friend's house for tea. Not wanting to come empty-handed, and having a few extra minutes, I whipped up a simple batche of scones.

Scones are my go-to Rachael Ray style pastry. (does she still cook 30 minute meals? I haven't watched the food network in years...) They are quick, easy, and consistently turn out tasty results.

For these scones I wanted both a "sweet" and a "savory" option. I mixed dried apricots into the entire batch, and the sweet scones were topped with turbinado sugar. For the savory, I used the second half of the apricot batter and added parmesan and cheddar cheese.

The recipe is based on the apple cheddar scone recipe found in the magnificent Baking: from my home to yours, by Dorie Greenspan. I highly recommend this book if you like to bake, or want to encourage that special someONE to bake you someTHING special. Come on, there's an entire blog of bakers that found each other because of their love of this book.

As shown by the photo, this last bite was all that remained the next morning shortly before I remembered to document it with my camera. This bite is from the last savory scone.


1 large egg
3/4 C yogurt***
1 & 3/4 C flour
1/3 C cornmeal
2 TBS sugar
1 TBS baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
6 TBS cold butter
1/2 C dried apricots chopped into bits

Turbinado sugar
1/2 C shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 400 F, line baking sheet with parchment paper for easy removal.

Stir together the wet ingredients (egg, yogurt).

Stir together the dry ingredients (four, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt).

Cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the chunks are pea sized (you can do this in a food processor, just don't get over zealous and grind it to smithereens (did you know this is the name of a band?? Gotta love that phog machine).

Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and stir until JUST combined (don't over do this either - scones are the imperfectionists' friend).

Mix in whatever ingredient you want to title the scones as ("cheddar apricot scone").

Spoon out mounds onto the baking sheet (and top if you want with schmancy sugar). They won't spread too much, but if you cram them in too close they won't bake evenly. I can usually fit nine on a sheet.

Bake 20-25 minutes until lighly browned, then cool on a rack.

These tasted great the night I baked them, and even better the next morning.

***Do you notice a trend in my baking recipes, I never seem to have buttermilk on hand, but I ALWAYS have yogurt! For this recipe, I used mainly the whey (the watery stuff that separates out on top of yogurt that mostly people pour down the drain)