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.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Meringue Mushroom for April Fools' Day!

Today I'm forgoing Macaron Monday in favor of Meringue Mushroom Monday. I get a huge kick out of faux foods and always look forward to creating something fun this time of year for April Fools' Day.  

These cute little meringue mushrooms are easy to make and are a fun addition to any dessert plate. Meringue mushrooms may not be the most original idea for April Fools' as lots of other bloggers have created their own. However, ever since I saw them years ago I've been wanting to make them myself. Now I can take them off the list.

After I finished taking pictures for this post,  my husband (who was greatly amused by these) grabbed a few and headed outside with the camera. That's where the opening and closing shots on this post came from.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Whole Wheat Avocado Banana Sunflower Seed Muffins

Letting perfectly good food rot and having to throw it away always gives me a guilt trip. Before we went the Bahamas last week there were some bananas dying a very painful death in a bowl on my shelf. As any baker knows, this is when bananas are at their most tasty time for baking. So one morning, shortly before we left, I got up extra early to rid my apartment of them by recycling them into a recipe I've always wanted to try.

Luckily, there is never any shortage of ripe avocados at our place. I seriously buy five or six at a time all in varying stages of ripeness. These green globes represent the angels and devils of my daily diet. Every day I can choose to use one in a healthy smoothie or I can opt to make some kick ass guac and bust out the chips. Guess which one wins out most? Hmmm.

So armed with smelly bananas and squishy avocado, I combined flavors and whipped up these lovely muffins. Several were jammed in my carry on luggage to enjoy each morning before boarding the dive boat. One of these sustained me through two dives almost until 2pm each day. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Pistachio White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Dr. B rarely asks me for baked goods. The man has no sweet tooth. Sometimes I catch him stealing broken cookies off the cooling racks, but rarely.

These came out of his request for cookies for an office meeting. I thought two different cookie flavors would be enough for 30 people. After hauling out all my leftover bits and pieces in my kitchen cabinets, this became the first idea.

I didn't want to stray too much into crazy flavor land so I stayed with a chocolate chip cookie base and just switched up the add ins, using an over looked package of raw pistachio meats and some of the umpteen white chocolate chips that seem to be breeding in the pantry.