Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Coconut Hot Pepper Jelly Linzer Cookies


Recently I started experimenting with coconut flour. My first attempt was a disaster when I had the crazy idea to try and make matzoh with it.  Big. Fail.



This was my next attempt and they worked out way better than I expected.



Not only did these taste wonderful, I had bought some vintage tupperware cookie cutters at a tag sale for $1 last year and got to finally use them for this recipe. I am not sure this reversible one was made to be a Linzer cutter but I made it work because I loved the unusual star design.



Monday, April 21, 2014

Macaron Monday: Daffodil Flavored French Macarons for Earth Day


Things are blooming on our PA property. The forsythia, tulips, lily of the valley, pussy willow, crocus and hyacinths are all storming our gardens.  It's wonderful to see after this treacherous winter. Although I enjoy all of those beautiful plants, admittedly I squealed like a girl when I saw these eenie weenie daffodils. They also reminded me I had powdered daffodil flavor in my pantry yet to try out. 


In honor of Earth Day tomorrow I am going to make an attempt to plant some seedlings on our NYC terrace. Admittedly, I am a little hesitant as there was snowfall in PA and in NYC less than a week ago. 


To celebrate all the new and repeat visitors in our gardens and because Earth Day is upon us I made these mini daffodil flavored French macarons inspired by tiny daffodils.

What does a daffodil taste like? Hard to describe. It's definitely flowery, a little perfume like. Interestingly pleasant an spring-like is the best I can do.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Ice Cream Easter Eggs


This was one of those crazy ideas that came to me too late to buy a proper egg mold so I used plastic Easter eggs from the dollar store. Yep. The kind you put candy in for an Easter egg hunt. I have no idea if these things are food safe so, if you want to make these, do as I say, not as I did and use a proper candy/cake egg mold.



After wracking my brain trying to come up with an Easter themed ice cream, this idea suddenly  came hopping down the road like an Easter bunny so I decided to run with it, proper equipment be darned. 



Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Kitchen Sink Homemade Matzolah


Whether you are spring cleaning or scrubbing the house for Passover, here is another pantry cleaner recipe. Nothing makes me happier in the kitchen when I can use up all the bits and pieces left over from other recipes all at once.

Matzolah has become super popular. It got me thinking...I've made granola several times in the past so how hard could homemade Matzolah be? 


Answer: Not that hard unless one is making about four other things at once. I burned a few attempts while multitasking (preparing for my baking class, finishing an order of 180 cookies donated  for a good cause, etc.) before I was able to focus and make a successful batch.


Monday, April 14, 2014

Macaroon Monday: Red Velvet Macaroons for Passover



In honor of Passover, French Macaron Monday is replaced by Macaroon Monday. Those two words, macaroon and macaron are often confused in print. Macaroons are the coconut cookies. Macarons contain almond flour and are meringues.



These cookies were  a cinch to make from prep to mix to baking time. No mixer required. The batter does require an hour in the fridge before baking but since I am forever multitasking in my kitchen, it was easy  to whip up some homemade matzolah (recipe will be posted Wednesday) in between. So you can definitely fit another recipe around this one when prepping for your seder.




For the red velvet flavor, I used my favorite red velvet baking emulsion. It did the trick. Love that stuff. 


Friday, April 11, 2014

Easter Fondant Covered Cookies & Some Tips & Tricks from My Cookie Dedorating Class


In the "About Me" section on this blog, it says I have no formal training and I probably have no business having a baking blog. I probably have no business teaching a cookies decorating class either (do as I say, not as I do haha.)  However, this past weekend I taught my second one and so far (knock wood with a rolling pin) it went very well. This was a basic, level one class and everyone seemed to get a lot out of the class. Most importantly, they went home with some new skills and their own beautifully decorated cookies.


I rarely, almost never sell my baked goods but I do donate them and my skills to good causes. I am a board member of the Upper Delaware GLBT and all proceeds from these classes go to this organization. I donated my time, all the materials and each participant walked out with a gift bag full of baking and decorating supplies as well as a printout of all the recipes, instructions and tips and tricks courtesy of moi.


I made these for the participants as a snack to reward all their hard work


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Lemon Sumac Whole Wheat Matzoh


So I finally got around to playing with matzoh recipes. Some came out great. Some were embarrassingly bad.

Take the coconut flour version I tried to invent. That coconut flour was the thirstiest creature in my kitchen, I just kept adding water and more water and it just wouldn't matzoh for me. That sucker is expensive too. Now I have a bag of watered down coconut flour. A google search on what to do with it didn't help.


So I went back to boring old whole wheat and added some lemon juice, zest and my alltime favorite spice sumac to jazz it up a bit.


Using a star of David cutter was a last minute inspired idea. Those big matzoah squares are fun to eat but there is something to be said for this almost bite size portion as well.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Macaron Monday: Speckled Egg French Macarons with Chocolate Ganache Filling for Easter


I've tried to make these several times before over the years but always coming up with a big fail. I don't know if my piping skills have increased or I am just making a better French macaron batter, but these worked. 


Most likely, it's the mysterious macaron convergence that happens once in a while when it all inexplicably goes smoothly. Well not entirely. Most of the yellow shells cracked. No idea why.  I divided the batter into three parts and tinted them all different colors, all in the same way, with the same materials. Go figure.


Macaron baking logic is not logical at all. I am so used to it by now, when things go awry, I just shrug and plod on.

After the batter was colored to my liking, I piped out egg shapes  purposely using almond flour that had the skin left as opposed to the pure creamy almost white variety. My thinking was it would provide enough flecks to look like speckles. However, after checking the first round of photographs, the shells were too subtle for my liking so I went for a more obvious look.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Jasmine Caramels


Even though it was rainy and cold last weekend, there were a few glimmers of Spring around our property in PA. 


The best one was this visit of a deer family of five. The picture is blurry because it was taken at dusk through a screen porch. Didn't want to scare them off by running outside with my camera. I was so happy to see them, I forgave them for munching on my French pink pussy willow bush. 

That isn't as dirty as it sounded.



Anyway speaking of munching. I made these caramels this past weekend and I couldn't stop eating the scraps violating my taste only rule of weekend baking.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Tropical Oatmeal Cookies & A Bahamas View


So this happened last week.



 And it was divine.



What was a failed attempted at a Valentine's Day extended weekend getaway (plane canceled because of snowstorm) was thankfully rebooked and enjoyed six weeks later.