Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Week 52 Triple Chocolate Cookies!

Well, I made it all the way to week 52. There were a few misses in there, its been a crazy year with moving several times, renovations, teaching, etc. However I'm glad to be finishing strong!

This week we made triple chocolate cookies. My fam had a progressive dinner to travel round to see everyone's Christmas decor so I made these for dessert. It was wonderful to be finished before Christmas as I have been sick and slogging around very slowly all day.

Pic is coming soon I hope (it is on my new iphone which is way smarter than me and I need M or O to figure out how to get it into my email)

 I am not a real chocolate fan so I'm not the best one to trust. To me these cookies were too rich-I could only eat 1/2 a cookie over the course of several hours (but maybe that is a good thing...). My reviewers however said they were divine! Everyone loved them. Some even made them into ice cream sandwiches with peppermint ice cream.

Check out the recipe and other reviewers!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Almond Biscotti

This week we made biscotti

here it is!
(I don't know why I even bother with the photos, they don't do me justice...)

I have just pulled it out of the oven so I'll hold off on reviewing it until tomorrow (they are supposed to sit for an hour before eating). However I must say, mine were not getting crispy in the oven (I even cooked them an extra 10 min) and when I ate one it was quite soft and lacking the usual biscotti crunch so hopefully that hour will do wonders for them!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Chocolate Roll

This week we made a chocolate roll up cake with marshmallow cream filling. This was OK but I think I made two crucial errors: 1. I did not use marshmallow cream, instead I just melted marshmallows and made my own cream which then ran all over the place and was a mess. 2. I think I should have read other reviews earlier and used ice cream instead of the cream anyways.

All in all, this would be great if you are making an ice cream roll thing. Otherwise, I'm not so sure, it was a bit like eating very very sugary packing peanuts (the cream part very sugary, the cake part very strange texture, but a texture that would support ice cream nicely).

Here is my photo. My food photographer says she does the best she can with what I give her and her camera phone. (I hope she gets a new and improved camera phone for Chrimbo so that my photos will start looking more like this...)
(perhaps I just need them to be bigger photos for starters)

Also, I suppose I should thank my little baking minion L and my food tasting staff M, L, and K for getting me through this week!

See other reviews and the recipe here:

Friday, December 7, 2012

Large Danish Bread

I'm a little late with this week's post but I'll put some pics up tonight.
We made a large danish bread. I actually made them into little indivual ones and used a lemon curd instead of a cherry filling. They were great!

see the recipe here:

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Best Buttermilk Biscuits

This week was my week to host. I was reading through all the recipes trying to decide which to go for and M said she was just dying for biscuits and gravy (odd as I don't think any of us have ever had them much). I was first leaning towards the ciabatta bread (which I make all the time and it is fabulous!), then I thought about the cheese puffs (which sounded interesting), the chocolate chip cookies are a regular so I almost went with those (such as nice staple), and I could not get the coffee cake muffins off my radar either. In the end, I went with M's choice and chose the best buttermilk biscuits. Biscuits had the advantage of not being sweet and with Thanksgiving just done I thought we might all need a break from desserts this week :)

 The dough was great so right from the beginning I was excited. I like that they use a ton of buttermilk powder to get in the flavoring.  They baked up nice and non-lopsided as I followed the directions to cut them out without wiggling the cutter. I was not convinced about the baking upside down but I did it anyways. They looked pretty good but in the end, my mom's oven (a- she MUST get new ovens ASAP, they are messing up my baked goods, and b-I have to cook at my mom's presently as my house is under massive renovations, some by choice, some not y choice at all!) so back to the ovens-the oven totally burned the bottom of the biscuits!!! That was terrible. However, myself and my panel of 4 reviewers all agreed these are still the best buttermilk biscuits we have had. I will certainly try these again, next I'll double pan them (place two cookie sheets together, a great trick L learned at her Pen Court Class).

Here is the only pic I have courtesy of Mad (I'll get one of just the biscuits tomorrow-it is on M's phone). The pic looks pretty awful (not to offend you M, it is just the gravy did not photograph so well) so check out the wonderful bakers in my club (who also are great food photographers) for better visuals and their reviews! (I don't have the links yet so just look back at my old posts to see their blogs)
(yes, this looks so appetizing. additionally, it sure looks like a biscuit)

3 3/4 c flour
1/2 c powdered buttermilk (this allows lots of buttermilk flavor, as you can only add so much liquid)
2 Tbsp sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
12 Tbsp unsalted butter cut into pieces and chilled (no wonder these are good)
4 Tbsp shortening cut into pieces and chilled
1 1/4 c whole milk (and I actually followed the recipe and did not use skim here as my mom is always getting after me for switching things!)

1. Heat oven to 450 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
2. Pulse dry ingredients with butter and shortening to resemble coarse meal, about 15 pulses
3. Transfer to a large bowl and mix in milk until dough forms using a spatula. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until uniform, about 30 seconds. Roll into a 10-inch round, 1 inch thick.
4. Using a floured 2 1/2 inch biscuit cutter (or top of a cup if you are like me) stamp out 12 biscuits. Arrange the biscuits upside down on the baking sheet (I had to use two baking sheets). Don't wiggle the cutter, just stamp right down, otherwise you will get lopsided biscuits :)
5. Bake 5 min at 450 then turn oven down to 400 and rotate pan. Cook another 12-15 min or until golden. (Again, I would recommend double panning these so the bottoms don't burn)
6. Serve warm!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake

This week we made pumpkin spice cheesecake.

We tried the pumpkin cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory and compared it to this recipe and the results... 6 out of 6 reviewers said this recipe was as good as or better than the Cheesecake Factory!!!!! Very shocking, I must say! They actually tasted really similar and the texture of ours was just as great!

Another shock-O actually tried this baked item (as in he had one tsp full....) he said "I love it, it is the spirit of Halloween on a plate" So, take that how you will. And his review is in addition to the 6 above :)

I myself LOVE cheesecake. This was a little too reminiscent of pumpkin pie for me (which I really don't care for) but it was still pretty decent. I think a plain cheesecake would have been even better.

When I removed this from the oven I thought it was a total flop, the top looked strange and the whole thing looked  a little wobbly. However, the hours and hours and hours it required to sit were apparently important-it came together just fine in the end. I really liked the crust-I used all the spices and it was great. I also loved that the recipe was super easy-it took forever to cook, then sit on the counter, then sit in the fridge, but it was actually a simple recipe and only had a few ingredients which was nice.
My mom loved this so much she wanted to freeze it and take it to Thanksgiving, however, we ate it too fast for that, I guess I'll have to make it again!

TOTAL SUCCESS! You'll want to try this one for sure!
see Amanda's blog for the recipe:

and ps: Amanda said it was even better the next day-I did not try mine until day 2 but maybe it needs time to sit.

check out other reviews here:

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Apple Dumplings

I'm a little late this week due to Halloween but here it is!


This week we made apple dumplings. I am not a fan of cooked fruit so I was not sure about these. However, they were met with rave reviews! I used less apple than called for (2 apples for 6 dumplings, and I think it would be even better with 2 apples for 8 dumplings, or maybe no apples at all...) and they turned out pretty fabulous. I loved that we used refrigerator rolls, they were so fast and easy! My family loved them, several told me they would not have minded a bit more apple. One thing I would change-I should have reduced the apple cider syrup more, mine was still very thin.

This is a recipe to try, perfect for fall!
see the recipe and other reviews here:

inlinkz codes for week 44! Happy Halloween!... Amanda Tatton 1:36am Oct 31 inlinkz codes for week 44! Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Creme Caramel

This week we made Creme Caramel.

(I'll add the photo tonight)

It seemed impressive but was really easy put together-fast too! I must have cooked my caramel too long, most of it stuck to the ramekin. Other than that I had mixed reviews. From the reviewers who like custard: it was fabulous! From the reviewers who do not like custard: it had a weird texture. (I'm in this group, custard is just creepy to me...)
overall: if you like custard this recipe is easy and has a great flavor!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Oatmeal Scones

This week we made oatmeal scones.

I love scones, I make them all the time. I have made a few of the recipes in this book, this was not a keeper for me. It was a little too oaty tasting (we toasted the oats and that certainly enhanced the oat flavor). They were not terrible, I just prefer them without the oatmeal I think. However, I must confess, I did not have whole milk or cream so I used all skim milk, that might have been a problem. All in all, my taste testers said they were fine but not to make them a second time.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Pumpkin Sheet Cake

This week was my week to host and I selected pumpkin sheet cake. Just two weeks ago we made pumpkin bread but I had a request for a pumpkin dessert for a party so I picked a pumpkin recipe again.

Visualize Picture Here (my ipad has the photos, it is dead, we are in the middle of a major move, I will find my charger tomorrow and get the photos uploaded!!!) (and they are really cute, I cut the cake into squares and piped a swirl of the frosting on top of each one)

I was a little skeptical but in the end, I had rave reviews. In fact, everyone asked for the recipe-this was surprising because I have tons of great recipes that no one ever asks for! Based on my experience with the pumpkin bread I went ahead and doubled the spices (so that is the recipe I'm now reporting)
I also had rave rave rave reviews on the cream cheese frosting. In fact, I'm not sure that there was anything special about the cake but everyone loved the frosting. It was less dense than normal cream cheese frosting, not too sweet, and I totally loved it! (Not too surprising as I love most cream cheese frosting.) I would absolutely recommend this frosting recipe to go with the cake!

All in all, I was totally but wonderfully shocked by the reception of the cake. Everyone loved it, it was gone in a few minutes, even my 5 year old niece who only eats cinnamon toast crunch and eggs sunny side up (not exaggerating) asked to save a piece for her lunch the next day. An added bonus, this recipe is super easy and fast! And one last piece of evidence, O ate some and said it was a 7.8 on a scale of 1 to 10 (I don't think he has ever rated anything above a 1.5)

Pumpkin Sheet Cake: 2 c flour
4 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 2/3 c sugar
1 c vegetable oil
4 large eggs
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
4 c cream cheese frosting (I only used 2 cups)

-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish. Whisk dry ingredients together.
-Beat sugar, oil, and eggs together on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 5 min. Reduce speed to low and add pumpkin until combined, then add in flour mixture and mix just until incorporated.
-Scrape into pan and bake 30-35 min or until toothpick comes out with a few crumbs. Let cool in pan for 2 hours.
-Frost and serve

Cream Cheese Frosting
2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese softened
10 Tbsp unsalted butter cut into chunks and softened
2 Tbsp sour cream
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
2 c confectioners' sugar

-beat cream cheese, butter, sour cream, vanilla, and salt on high speed until smooth, 2-3 min.
-Reduce speed to low and slowly beat in sugar, beat until light and fluffy.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Pumpkin Spice Bread

Here it is!
If it had chocolate chips, I think it might be perfect!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

French Toast!

This week we made french toast. The recipe was for a make ahead french toast that sits in the pan for 8 hours than you bake it. I was a wee bit nervous this would make for soggy bread (which is something I direly dislike). When I read a few reviews this morning my fears were all confirmed. I got home from work and stoically mixed up the egg/milk/cinnamon stuff and thought-well perhaps if I don't let it sit (which I did not have time to do anyways) it will be OK. If not-well, I halved the recipe so it was not a terrible waste. L was over (actually she did the mixing whilst I stood around deliberating) and she said-"Just make it like regular french toast". So, I did. We had very low expectations. I love french toast, but restaurant french toast is always better. I started getting into it though and made some white syrup (next time I'll go with buttermilk syrup as this was a bit rich), breakfast potatoes, and O made his microwave bacon. All in all it was.... fabulous! It was as good as if not better than in a restaurant!

L (who ALWAYS orders french toast) confirmed this. O not only ate it, he ate several pieces and said it was "extremely tasty" (I don't think he has ever said that before, but then, he also complimented his bacon a bunch so maybe he was in an ebullient mood).

All in all-with the modifications, which were somewhat extreme, this was an incredible french toast recipe! The secret must lie in both the bread and the batter. The dry french bread (I did not toast it, just used a loaf of french bread that was a few days old) was perfect-not soggy, and the egg mix had a nice amount of sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

I will use this recipe again!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Deep Dish Pizza

This week our recipe was deep dish pizza and it was fabulous!
I am a pizza lover! I make pizza at least once a week, have tried a hundred different recipes. and this is a good one. Its also fast and easy!
(I should have taken it more from the side so you could check out the awesome deep dish crust!)

I have made this recipe a few times before and so I made a few modifications-not as much oil, less cheese. My main recommendation is make their sauce-it is hands down the best sauce I have tried (but I add a few Tbsp of sugar and some red pepper flakes).

My other two tasters loved it. O actually ate it (he generally goes for pizza) and L said, while not as good as the regular pizza recipe in the book, it was great.
Check out the recipe and other reviews!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Crunchy Granola Bars

This week we made crunchy granola bars

The results were mixed.
First off, it was an easy recipe, and I literally made granola bars!
However, I'm not sure Nature Valley should be worried...
I thought they were a little burned (but that might have been my own fault), a little dry (I was 1/4 cup short on the honey), a little boring (I only had half the needed amount of nuts), and a little overly sweet (now that was not my fault). But, they were not terrible, I might try them again with (a) the proper ingredients and (b) some additional things like maybe craisins!
Totally mixed reviews though-my sister said they almost killed there they were so sweet, O thought they were horrid (typical), my cousin was quite interested, and a new taste panel-my two older brothers totally loved them! They might be my new testers, they ate almost the entire pan and thought they were wonderful. Who would have guessed!

check out the recipe and other reviews!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Glazed Lemon Cookies

These were a hit! I liked them, they were super easy and fast. I loved that they were almost as good as my lemon sugar cookies but took way less time. I thought the lemon was a bit strong and I would use a more traditional cream cheese frosting-this glaze was too sweet. All in all though, this was a recipe to keep!

check out what everyone else thought and get the recipe here:

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Raspberry Strudel Bars

This week we made Raspberry Strudel Bars
They were a huge hit, everyone loved them (even me and I normally am not into cooked fruit!)

Success-They were quick, they were easy, they were delish-I would recommend these to everyone.
Check out the other bloggers and the recipe!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Cheddar Cheese Bread

I chose this recipe because it was so fast looking and because we have been eating a lot of (and loving) the Asiago cheese bread from Kneaders. I hoped this would be just as good.