Thursday, May 24, 2012

Red White & Blue Zebra Bundt Cake with Cherry Glaze for Memorial Day

There inevitably will be a party or barbecue this weekend so I made this to be armed and ready for an impromptu invite. I've been wanting to make a zebra bundt cake for a while and never made one with three colors so this was my personal Memorial Day weekend baking challenge.

This jewel of a vintage cookbook was given to me by my mother. There are so many cute old fashioned ideas in it. I looked up a white cake recipe that seemed perfect.

To create the zebra effect I am going to point you over to Naomi's blog Baker's Royale. She has a perfect tutorial. She uses two colors in her post but I found adding one more was just as easy. It did not come out so perfectly zebra (due to my sloppiness, not her instructions) but I think it looks festive enough to serve anyway.

The cake recipe itself is quite tasty and the cherry flavor in the icing added a bit of extra flavor.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Chive Blossom Flax Seed Spelt Scones

The previous tenant in our NYC apartment left a huge chive plant behind. When we moved in last August, it was pretty dried out and there were, of course, no flowers. After caring for it all year, ok half caring for it as I admit I basically have a brown thumb, this season it blossomed. Once I saw those pretty purple flowers I knew I had to find some baked good to work them into.

It was time for something a bit more healthy in this space, especially since my last post was so decadent, so I added flax seeds and half the AP flour I substituted with spelt flour.

The result was a strong flavored scone with deeper flavor. These smelled amazing while baking. When I smeared one with butter, right out of the oven even the baked goods non-eater Dr. B couldn't resist biting into one and proclaiming it delicious.

The perfect comfort breakfast for a rainy New York City morning.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

White Chocolate Marzipan Ice Cream

It's almost summer . Time to break out my ice cream maker. Not that I need an excuse to bust that sucker out and make ice cream any time of year but finding these two May challenges back to back motivated me to start churning.

This month's Blogger's Scream for Ice Cream Challenge hosted by Kavey Eats and We Should Cocoa Almond Challenge hosted by How To Cook Good Food. (We Should Cocoa was created by the Chocolate Teapot and the Chocolate Log Blog ) respective chocolate and almonds challenge flavors inspired me to create a new ice cream. 

I've been thinking about adding marzipan to an ice cream flavor for a while. This was my chance. White chocolate marzipan ice cream came to mind. A perfect entry for both challenges.

First I made my own almond paste and then blended it into the white chocolate ice cream. The result was a unique sweet almond flavor. A little of this ice cream goes a long way.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Dress For Success Cookies for an UN Spouse Event

One of the things I enjoy most is my volunteer position of producing events for the United Nations Spouse Association. This group, comprised of the men and women married to people in service to the UN have unique challenges posed by mobility. Being dropped in a new city and a new language every couple of years can be overwhelming, and a city like New York for some can be almost paralyzing to get used to the culture. Most of these spouses are highly skilled, educated people and they want to find employment.

In Germany I belonged to a branch of the same group in Bonn. But I had already been living for years in Germany so I was like the native person in the group to the new arrivals and was happy to provide tips for navigating the German system as well as travel advice.

Here in NYC I am the only the only American in the group and a native New Yorker to boot. So I use my contacts and personal/professional network to produce career evening events for the spouses. In the past I have brought in human resources executives, cross cultural experts and even a professional who spoke about starting a home based business. We've covered revamping resumes, corporate manners and customs to fit the American work style as well as selling and marketing of skills through social media. 

Last night through a good friend I was able to bring in a world class fashion designer, an accomplished, interesting woman who spoke about making an impression in the business world and how to dress for success.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Lilac Vanilla Rollout Sugar Cookies for Mother's Day

A huge bunch of lilacs brought back two weekends ago from the country were repurposed into syrup  before they died completely.

The flowers had lost much of their gorgeous fragrance and the result was a slightly bitter syrup with just a hint of lilac but still flavorful enough to bake with.

Some more of the dried petals were added with the syrup to my favorite sugar cookie dough as well as some vanilla bean paste to smooth out the flavor. I used the sweeter vanilla bean paste instead of vanilla extract to balance out the slight bitterness of the syrup. The result were flavorful cookies that looked pretty enough even before I tricked them out for Mother's Day.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Chili Mango White Chocolate Chip Biscoff Granola Bars

I have been on a granola bar making kick lately using THIS recipe from Honest Cooking. First I started with kitchen sink style granola bars using up all the bits and pieces of leftover dried fruits and chips in my cabinets. I did that twice and between sharing them at work, with friends and family, both batches barely lasted a day.

I thought I had left granola bars in the rear view mirror but then recently while trolling my favorite spice store I spied dried chili mango and immediately knew it was time to go back to granola bar land, create a unique flavor and blog about it.

This mango chili was not super spicy so I recommend adding at least a teaspoon of chili powder if you want a bit more kick in your granola bars. The other major changes I made were swapping out most of the wet ingredients. Instead of peanut butter, I used Biscoff spread. I also substituted agave for maple syrup or honey and grape seed oil instead of vegetable oil or butter. I also used brown sugar instead of white. I would use less sugar next time as the mango was coated in sugar and the Biscoff spread adds even more sweetness but great flavor.

These granola bars are sweet with a slight bite. A bit less healthy than most granola bars but so worth it.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Kola Nut Macarons with Salted Peanut Butter Frosting Filling

Ever since I saw those brilliant Coca-Cola cupcakes with Salted Peanut Butter Frosting over at Sprinkle Bakes, I have been trying to think of a way to recreate those flavors in a French macaron. I didn't actually succeed in the flavor department but did manage another unique macaron combo to add to my growing crazy mac-recipe stable.

I happened upon kola nut powder in my local herb store in here in the East Village. Of course the powder is a bit bitter and is more for medicinal use than baking ones but I was excited to have another unique flavor to mix into a macarons shell.

I paired it with Heather's light and fluffy peanut frosting filling and rolled the edges in course salt. The unique bitterness of the kola powder somewhat tempered the sweetness of the macaron shells and the peanut butter salt combo added sweet salty flavor. An excellent pairing.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Tequila Cilantro Pepita Pesto Salsa for Cinco de Mayo

In honor of Cinco de Mayo I decided to leave poor hummus alone for awhile and take a crack at revamping salsa.

That said, last week I was handed about 20 pounds of tomatoes at work. They were left over props from a fashion photo shoot.  After giving two big bags away and making a huge pot of tomato sauce, many more were still lurking in every corner of my fridge.

I was intrigued with the idea of tequila salsa but a google search turned up a fair amount of recipes. So of course I took things one step further and created a cilantro pepita pesto to mix in with the basic salsa. Pesto is one other dish I can't seem to leave alone.

Ay caramba is this good. The cilantro pesto is terrific by itself and mixed together with the salsa, this is one fun fiesta in a bowl.  Andele!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Lemon Key Lime Rosemary Hummus

Aaaaand my obsession with messing with hummus continues...

We had visitors from Germany stop by recently. I whipped this up in the food processor in the morning before work so we would have a nice appetizer to nosh on at our place before going out to dinner.

I wasn't too sure about adding these flavors to the hummus but the resulting flavors were bright and fresh. Perfect for spring.  It was a hit with both the guests and the hubby.

I am submitting this recipe to One Ingredient Cooking Challenge hosted by Laura over at How to Cook Good Food. May's theme is Lemons.