Monday, September 30, 2013

Rewind: Dirndl/Lederhosen Radler Pretzel Oktoberfest Cookies & September's Funny Food Blog Posts

People I am so excited! After missing the festivities for two years in a row I am off to Germany tomorrow to celebrate the last week of Oktoberfest with my Munich girlfriends. I believe this will be my 12th Oktoberfest. How lucky can a girl get?

A few years ago during this time, I made these dirndle/lederhosen cookies and talked about Oktoberfest fashion and my obsession with dirndls. The previous post is here. You can see some of my dirndls, how even more giant they make my giant boobs look and find out the proper way to tie a schurze (apron) according to your marital. status.

Here's his year's catch. Attending the festival was a surprise present from my beloved Dr. B, best husband in the world. However, all of my dirndls are at our home in Germany, nowhere near Munich. Oh well, I guess I will just have to add  few new ones to my collection when I get off the plane? I'm thinking red. 

Friday, September 27, 2013

Apple Cider French Macarons with Cinnamon Buttercream Filling

Readers of this blog are well aware of my obsession with all powdered forms of food, spices, and herbs to experiment with in making French macarons. I probably would try laundry washing powder if it was edible. However, even I was a bit skeptical when I saw this hot apple cider drink powder. I mean yuck. With all the fresh pressed gorgeousness available at this time of year. Who would resort to that?

It was hard getting over my initial reluctance of trying it in macaron shells. I was almost embarrassed purchasing the box, but my macinstinct said go for it.

Yay for instinct.  This questionable powder produced the most gorgeous flavored French Macarons shells. Tangy, apple taste with a mild hint of spice, just like apple cider. The manufacturer should market it to bakers just for macarons.

Because the spices were mild in the shells, I paired it with a nice cinnamon buttercream and tinted it candy apple red just for the drama. These were simply. Yum. These are now on the short list for my Thanksgiving dessert table this year. They are that good.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Fall Leaf Shaped Allspice Meringue Cookies

This is one of the ideas that looked much better in my head than the final product. Ok so some of these look like Jazz hands not fall leaves.

However, for the most part. I was pleased with them. Especially the taste. The allspice adds  a nice bite to these meringue cookies. 

One element I was also very happy with were the colors. I used gold, burgundy and red powdered food coloring to tint the meringues and was really pleased with the result. Very festive and fall.

Leaf Shapes or Jazz Hands?

Monday, September 23, 2013

Butterscotch Ginger Truffles

Whenever I see butterscotch chips in the market, I think of fall.  It's one of my favorite flavors. However I rarely buy them because  honestly the ingredient list is cringeworthy.  One of these days I want to try to make them myself. 

Another fall ritual  in my house is cleaning out the kitchen cabinets and rearranging everything to prepare for the baking onslaught of the coming holidays. So this past weekend I shouldered the dreaded task of sorting out the baking cabinets. 

The fun part was finding bits and pieces of half used up bags and containers of this and that. I found this candied ginger, still soft and fresh.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Tangerine Sunflower Seed Oatmeal Cookies

Dear Oatmeal Cookies:

You have had me under your spell since I was a little girl. Back then, my mother would let me help make you using the Quaker's Vanishing Oatmeal Cookies recipe. We became fast friends and I have rarely left your side since.

I still find your raw batter the hardest to resist even though I have cheated on you now and then with that slutty chocolate chip variety.

Please forgive me because it's been umpteen years since our affair started and sometimes one just needs to switch things up now and then. Relationships can become stale and everyone could use a makeover once in a while, right?  So when I saw these dried mandarin slices in Trader Joe's recently. You came to mind. See? you are never far from my thoughts.

Perfect orange jewels to adorn your perfect flavor.  I thought about gifting you with macadamia nuts but I didn't want to overwhelm you with anything too fancy. I'm considerate like that. Sunflower seeds are ones you can wear in any season and seemed like the perfect addition.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Anjou Pear Vanilla Bean Custard Tart with Allspice Crust

Have you ever been to a party just relaxing enjoying yourself, talking to the other guests and then a food buzz starts?  This time the buzz came from the dessert table, from this tart. 

I had a lovely invitation this past weekend for  a Yom Kippur break in the fast get together.  Of course I was looking for something special to make. After spying  these beautiful Anjou pears in the market I  knew just what to do with them. There was no question they would  accompany me to the party wrapped in deliciousness.

After briefly playing with the idea of making a gingerbread crust, I decided it's a bit early in the season for that so I went with allspice flavor. Perfect.

I didn't want the filling flavor to overwhelm these delicious pears. A strong flavor crust was already holding the whole thing together so vanilla bean custard seemed like the right choice.

Keeping the pears fresh on top was a bit of a challenge I didn't want their beautiful while flesh turning brown before the party, so I glazed the top, hoping to keep it all together until it was eaten.

Let's face it most of the people at the mparty had been fasting all day, so maybe an old show covered in pears could have hit the spot. However,  one woman said to me something like, "I am a tough critic and I have to say this is absolutely delicious." High praise for my humble rustic tart. Especially because there were desserts present from iconic NYC establishments.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Lemon Rose Jam Thumbprint Cookies

I still have a good deal of that gorgeous rose jam left over I was gifted with a few weeks ago. So I'm looking for creative ways to use it up. Not just creative but the recipe has to be rose jam worthy. 

One of my favorite go-to cookies are these four ingredient thumbprint cookies I posted ages ago. The recipe is from a vintage german baking book from my collection.

Versatility is the star of this basic recipe. Just replace the lemon zest with a tablespoon of anything you like - cinnamon, ginger, lime or grapefruit zest. Name it and you can add it. You can also get creative with the flour and sugar by substituting brown or coconut sugars and experiment with whole grain flours such as spelt if you fancy. Don't get me started with what you can put in the middle (chocolate, marzipan)  or how you can decorate them further (coloring the dough, adding sprinkles, edible glitter, etc.) 

But back to these tasty babies. The addition of lemon extract plus zest gave these a strong flavor punch.  The lovely jam rounds out a great cookie experience with a burst of sweetness. 

A thumbprint that leaves a delicious impression.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Goji Berry Macarons with Mixed Herb Vanilla Buttercream Filling

When I made those pomegranate macarons a couple of days ago, I used pomegranate powder I found in the health food store. At the same time, I purchased goji berry powder as I thought it could provide a unique macflavor.

Continuing on in my frantic quest to use up some of the fresh herbs in my overgrown garden, I dragged out some leftover vanilla buttercream from the freezer and mixed in several varieties to make the filling.

This turned out to be one of my best macaron combos ever. The sweet, tart flavor of the goji shells combined with the medley of herbs wrapped in vanilla flavor was outstanding. The bright colored goji powder also contributed a soft beautiful color to the shells. Bonus!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Whole Wheat, Ginger, Chia Seed, Mixed Herb Scones

Why don't I ever realize when I am in my kitchen sink baking mode that titling these posts will tend toward the ridiculous? Throwing ingredient after ingredient into a batter makes for tedious and long recipes names.

Whatever. As we hurtle towards Autumn, the stronger the urge becomes (read: panic) to use the fresh herbs in my garden. Yeah those same ones I let languish week after week all summer. Trying to make up for lost time,  I included them in some recipes this weekend.

In creating these scones, I could have stopped at whole wheat and fresh herbs, but noooo, my love for spice insisted on adding ginger powder and in an attempt to be healthy and trendy,  a few tablespoons of chia seeds also made it into the batter as well.

Title be damned, the result was a lush full flavor savory scone that could only have been improved if I had the foresight to create some contrasting sweet compound butter to go with them, heaping even more ingredients on this lovely flavor pile.

Plain unsalted butter did the job just fine. Sometimes I just need to quit while I'm ahead.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Sea Creature Themed Pies

Just a quick post today to show some other ocean themed treats I made for the Shipwrecked benefit I described in my last post. In addition to shark fin cupcakes, I made these sea salted caramel peach pies.

The crust and the sea salted  caramel were both made from scratch. I used this amazing recipe from Evil Shenanigans doe Salted Caramel Peach Crumble Pies.. I have made this pie over and over again for the last two peach seasons and it never disappoints. It is delectable. The farmer's market a few minutes walk from my apartment sport sweet juicy peaches the size of cat's heads

for the topping I left off the crumble and made an extra batch of crust dough.  After cooking the pies for about a half an hour I removed them from the oven and arranged the shapes on top. The pies were returned to the oven for another 20-25 minutes .

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Shark Fin Cupcakes

For those of you in the USA I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend. Up in Pennsylvania, we had a benefit pool party with a Shipwrecked theme and raised some money for a good cause, the Upper Delaware GLBT

Dr. B volunteered to give scuba lessons in the pool. I made a few desserts around the theme including these shark fin cupcakes and lots of wonderful people not only paid the entrance fee but donated food as well.

Because I was a co-organize of the benefit, time was short to be creative for dessert making. All those elaborate idea on the list kept getting struck and re-imagined. So I whipped up at batch of Vanilla cupcakes with vanilla butter cream, both recipes from Magnolia Bakery.

I tinted the buttercream blue. To make the shark fins I melted a bag of while candy melts with a third of a cup of black candy melts with roughly a heaping tablespoon of shortening in the micro. Mixing everything together yielded the sharks grey color for the fins.