Thursday, March 31, 2011

Out Like a Demented Goat Lamb & March's LOL Posts

At the beginning of this month I promised myself I was going to practice decorating sugar cookies with royal icing, trying out different methods. What can I say? Life got in the way as well as a two week trip to Munich. I know, the dog ate my homework, blah blah blah.... 

Unfortunately, all I was left to post on the last day of this month are these demented goat lambs, the result of my first attempt at them.

I swear, I used a lamb cookie cutter. Somehow they morphed into goat like creatures. 

My intentions were good. I covered the cookies with royal icing.

This was where I first went wrong but it's hard to do the outline and fill method on those skinny legs.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Chocolate Sauerkraut Spice Cake with Caramel Frosting

Before you say eeeeeeeew, let me assure you of two things. One, this cake tastes nothing like sauerkraut and two, it's one of the best cakes I have ever made. The sauerkraut gives the cake wonderful moisture and texture. 

It's velvety and flavorful.

I topped it with a caramel frosting. 

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Scenes From Munich's Viktualienmarkt and an Avocado Brawl Remembered

When I lived in Munich the Viktualienmarkt was the place to find exotic spices and produce, the biggest array of cheeses, herbs, teas, locally made syrups and spirits, fresh meats, fish, fowl and flowers and lots of little restaurants, wine shops, and food stalls tucked into every corner. 

Cheeses From Britain

From weisswurst to falafel, there is something for everyone's palate here from many corners of the globe. For expats especially, it's a chance to buy a little taste of home. 

Friday, March 25, 2011

Burnt Almond Cream

One of my favorite treats as a child was delivered by the Good Humor Man. When we would hear him cycling down the street pushing the ice cream cart in front, bells ringing, it seems like every kid in the neighborhood would come running. A Toasted Almond bar was my favorite. Smooth vanilla ice cream covered in a crunchy nutty coating. It was heaven on a stick.

Sometimes I would cheat on Toasted Almond with a Chocolate Fudge Cake bar but most of the time I stayed loyal.

The bars used to look like this.

Now they look like this.

Since I have not tasted this new version, I have no idea what that stuff in the middle is.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Basil Orange Cookies

I love basil. 

I love orange. 


These were perfect. The cookie itself is not very sweet but the orange frosting makes up for it. 

Big. Soft. Chewy. A little tangy.

Yeah, that's what I'm talkin' about.

Basil Orange Cookies
by Marcia Adams, Clarkson Potter 1991)

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Best Little Cupcake Shop in Munich

When I saw a post on Cupcakes Take the Cake announcing a cupcake store, Wir Machen Cupcakes (translation: We Make Cupcakes) had opened in Munich, I put it at the top of my list for my next visit there.

Just so happens on the weekend I stopped by, Wir Machen Cupcakes was participating in Cakes for Japan.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Sour Cream Date Pie with Spelt Crust

I travel a lot. When I am home for an extended period of time I welcome the opportunity to dive into my substantial library of cookbooks. Although my collection got seriously culled when I moved to Germany years ago (I only took about 20% with me), they are numerous and I love to visit them when I have the time.

One of the cookbooks that has been hanging out on my shelf for ages is an updated version of Helen Brown's West Coast Cook Book. Ironically, this transplanted East Coaster was considered the "culinary authority of the West coast". More than that, Helen Evans Brown was a pioneer of West Coast cuisine. She was close friends with James Beard. He once called her "One of my favorite great ladies of the American Kitchen."

Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Patrick’s Day - Bailey’s Caramel Irish Cream Mini Cupcakes

I know I know. This is my second post today. I was going to put these together with the last post for St. Patrick's Day but I didn't have time this morning and then I back this afternoon and thought they were too cute to go to waste.

The cupcake itself came out more like a spiked caramel blondie in taste and consistency. I thought they were going to be a fail, but they actually were delicious. Chewy with a great caramel flavor. I kept snacking on the naked ones and I love frosting.

Lucky Mint Marshmallows for St. Patrick's Day

I am on a marshmallow making kick for sure. I already made a set for an Easter post. 

These four leaf clover shaped marshmallows were inspired by a bit of nostalgia from my childhood, Lucky Charms cereal. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Mactweets Challenge: My Turkish Delights - Sumac and Apricot Macarons

On one special trip to Istanbul I discovered sumac. I was trolling the Spice Bazaar saw a mound of it displayed and struck up a conversation with the vendor. 

Because I had never seen this spice before, I asked how to use sumac in food. He was a lovely guy with a gourmet flair who eagerly shared ways to incorporate it into cooking. One of the best tips I got was to toss it on salads. I do that now all the time. Slightly lemony and rich tasting, I also have used it in rubs for chicken.

Monday, March 14, 2011

White Chocolate Wasabi Mint Truffles

This month's Dessert Wars challenge went Green. We were given two lists of green colored ingredients and had to pick at least one from each to create a dessert.

I went with the sharpest ingredients on both lists, wasabi and mint to create a truffle. 

Saturday, March 12, 2011

A Visit To Baked in Brooklyn NY

On my recent trip to NYC I had a list of bakeries to check out . Baked was at the top. Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafit are the founders of Baked bakery in Red Hook, Brooklyn, NY and authors of two cookbooks, Baked Explorations and Baked: New Frontiers in Baking. Love them both. The books I mean, not the authors, but they seem lovable too. Aside from the wonderful recipes, I dig the styling and graphics of the books. Style is over half the reason I choose to buy a cookbook. Don't judge.

So one morning I hopped on a train and then another train and then a bus. Red Hook is a schlep from the Upper East Side where I was staying. Anyway, an hour later I found myself on Baked's doorstep and it was an hour's journey well invested.

Once I walked through the doors the vibe and decor of the place instantly made me feel at home.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Rock the Red Pump Stiletto Cookies

Today is National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.

Anyone who knows me well most likely remembers my AIDS activist days in the 80's (you can read a bit about my experience HERE.) Anyone who knows me from the 80's has also probably seen me spend a significant amount of time running around in red stilettos.  

When I saw an ad for The Red Pump Project, I was in. Shoes and AIDS. Two things I am passionate about. The project has asked bloggers to Rock the Red Pump on their blog today. You can see the banner in my side bar on the right. So I am rocking these red stiletto sugar cookies in honor of the day.

The goal of the project to is raise awareness about the impact of HIV/AIDS among women and girls. HERE is a link to Red Pump events around the country surrounding National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.

From the The Red Pump Project's site:

While progress has definitely been made in the areas of AIDS prevention and treatment, women still represent 27% of all new AIDS diagnoses, with African-American women accounting for 66% of that group.

Even if you are lucky enough to not have AIDS touch your life in any way, consider a donation, encourage someone to get tested, and support all the women in your lives from young ladies to senior citizens to educate themselves.

I still like to run around in high heeled shoes whatever the color but I also can bake a few.

Red Stiletto Sugar Cookies

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Lemon & Lavender Glazed Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Lemon and Lavender. So soft, sexy and spring like. I love the colors and the flavors and used this combination to accentuate one of my favorite old recipes, Quaker's Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin cookies. This is a recipe my mom used to make when I was a kid and one of the first I learned to make myself. 

Over the years I have made many variations of these, switching up the flavor with ingredients like dried cranberries, mangos, white chocolate and a variety of nuts. 

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Mutzen for Karneval

It's that time of year again here in the Rhineland. Karneval. The songs, the costumes, the parades, the floats, the insane traditions...I can't explain it. One has to experience it for oneself. It's crazy. That's for sure.

Here we are one year dressed as a pimp and a ho:

Another year as a pirate and a rapper:

Friday, March 4, 2011

Milky Way Macadamia Pistachio Cream Bars

My love affair with the Milky Way bar goes back to my early childhood. Frozen or melted in my hot little hand, they were always my chocolate bar of choice.

Right up front I have to admit I did not make this recipe with Milky Way bars. They don't exist here in Germany under that name. Since I am sharing, I will also admit that after 10 years here I still struggle with the language but the sad truth is minus 30 seconds after I moved here I figured out the Milky Way bar equivalent was a Mars bar.

Neither language or geography can stand between me and my Milky Way fix.

Priorities people.

I eventually did find Milky Way bars here in Germany but, gasp! they contained NO caramel. Oh the outrage!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

In Like a Lion Cookies

One of my baking resolutions this year is to get much better at decorating cookies with the outline and flood method.  This month, I decided enter March lion hearted and finally face down my woeful lack of cookie decorating skills. I mean who has over 300 cookie cutters and almost zip skill in the cookie decorating department? Me. That's who. 

I am back at home in my own kitchen for a while and looking forward to devoting some time to practicing. And you know what that means. I will be torturing all of you with the results.