Sunday, December 28, 2008

TWD- Tall and Creamy Cheesecake

This weeks TWD recipe was chosen by Anne of Anne Strawberry, one of my favorite food bloggers.  She chose tall and creamy cheesecake.  

At the end of most of her recipes, Dorie gives suggestions about altering the recipe.  This cheesecake has a TON of suggestions.  One of my favorite desserts of all time is key lime cheesecake with chocolate crust.  Since I made this for a Christmas party, I made regular cheesecake on a chocolate crust, since I think some people make not like lime....

I really liked this recipe.  It was relatively easy and VERY delicious.  The only not-so-fun part was the long cooking then propping the door open time following by cooling to room temperature and then refrigerating for several hours.  It's not a quick thing to make, but it's very worth the time it takes.

December Catch-up Post

I hope everyone had a great Christmas!!  Recently I've been cooking and baking, but not posting.  So, here is my catch up post, although it is a little hard to remember what all I've made....

First (I think) was CEIMB Curried Butternut Squash Soup.  I don't really love curry, but I LOVED this soup.  It was my first time to use butternut squash and I didn't know it's like a pumpkin inside.

This soup was very easy to make until the puree part.  I don't have an emulsion blender, so I used my normal blender.  When I started blending, the lid (which I was holding onto the base) flew off and the VERY hot liquid exploded everywhere, including on my wrists.  

Even though I probably wouldn't serve this as a main course soup, I really think I will make it many times.

Next was TWD Buttery Jam cookies.  I really liked these cookies.  I ran out of sugar and had to use mostly brown sugar, which my friend Julie liked even better than cookies made with all white sugar per the recipe.   I used raspberry preserves.

I did not make Real Butterscotch pudding, but I hope to make it soon.

Next is CEIMB triple chocolate cookies.  Brandon and I really liked these, but I thought they were best right out of the oven, unlike the buttery jam cookies, which I thought were better the next day.

I've already made the tall and creamy cheesecake and will post on Tuesday.  I am making cherry chocolate biscotti today. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

CEIMB Cornmeal-Crusted Roasted Ratatouille Tart

This weeks recipe was a ratatouille tart in a cornmeal shall.  This will be a boring post, but I really really loved this recipe and I will make it a lot.  I have already started thinking of other things to put in the delicious shells.  I can't wait to make this with fresh tomatoes!!!  Thanks, Wiivers (super cute name!!), for the great pick.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Grandma's All Occasion Sugar Cookies

This weeks recipe was chosen by Ulrike of Kuchenlatein.  This was my first time to make sugar cookies from scratch.  Even though this is the only picture I have, almost all of the cookies were iced stars.  I took the cookies to an ornament swap.  Anna Pike, I am SO sorry you missed it since you are one of my most loyal readers :-)  We missed you!!

I was scared about the dough because it was so crumbly I could barely form two disks, but these cookies are AMAZING!!!!!  And the dough is a 5 on my friend Cathy's lick-o-meter.  I like desserts as sweet as possible and these are pretty much all sugar.  The icing was great, too!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Linzer Sables

This week's recipe was chosen by Noskos of Living the Life.  I LOVED these cookies!!  I was intrigued by the fact that the dough has equal parts crushed almonds and flour.  They were very yummy and the ground cloves made then a great Christmas cookie!!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

CEIMB- Four Cheese Macaroni

This week's recipe was chosen by Beth at Supplicious.  Short post since I'm still very much enjoying the Thanksgiving holiday with my sweet husband and family.  The secret ingredient in this recipe was pureed squash.  Maybe if I hadn't been the one to cook it, I wouldn't have noticed as much, but all I could taste was squash.  I made Ellie's crabcakes with this and they are AMAZING!!!!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

CEIMB- Oven Fried Chicken

This is my first official post for CEIMB! Last week, I joined this club on Thurday, posting day. Last week's recipe- portabella lasagna roll ups- looked so good that I decided to make them Friday night. The roll ups were AMAZING and will definitely be part of my normal recipe rotation!!

This week's recipe was chosen by MacDuff of Lonely Sidecar. One thing I really love about CEIMB is that as of today, there are only 19 members, so I can really read the host's blog and check everyone's site on post day. MacDuff seems like a really cool person- I love people who can write about running 20 miles and enjoying baked good in the same post!! Personally, I have never run 20 consecutive miles, but I have enjoyed several donuts after 5Ks, 10Ks, and one Half Marathon. :-) Oh, and MacDuff enjoys competitive sailing- I don't know anyone who is a competitive sailor (that I know of).

On to the chicken- My husband, Brandon, went to the grocery store for me and bought all the ingredients, including 6 HUGE chicken breasts. They were the biggest breasts I have ever seen. I am seriously worried about all the hormones I have eaten in my lifetime. In Alabama, we have a program called Grow Alabama where you can have locally grown fresh vegetables, fruits and poultry delivered to your house and I am thinking about doing it mainly for the hormone-free chicken.

I thought the chicken was delicious!!! The next time I make it, I will use tenders- hopefully from locally grown chickens.

One other note- along with the chicken, I also made Ellie's Dirty Broccoli. It was okay- not my favorite broccoli recipe, but I ate it- which doesn't really say alot....

Monday, November 17, 2008

Arborio Rice Pudding

This week Isabelle of Les Gourmandises d' Isa chose Arborio Rice Pudding.  I am running so far behind this week, so I made the pudding Monday night and don't get to eat it until tonight, so I don't know whether I like it, but it was very very easy to make- after I finally found Arborio rice at the FOURTH grocery store.  As you see, I made half vanilla and half chocolate.  I used MILK chocolate.  I know this would probably be a sin to Dorie, but I don't like semi-sweet and I want to try this.  It may be way to sweet, but I thought I'd give it a shot.  

I really hope I do like this pudding since it only has four ingredients and I now own enough Arborio rice to make this recipe 16 more times (per the label).

Friday, November 14, 2008


I joined another food blog.  I know- it's crazy and I don't have time, but it is sssoooo much fun!!!  After much consideration, I decided to join Craving Ellie In My Belly (CEIMB).  I made last Thurday's recipe- Portobello lasagna roll-ups tonight, but B left my camera at his office, so no pics yet.  I love love love TWD, but it was a nice change to make a non-sweet for a club.  I am very excited about CEIMB!!!  And, I get to pic the recipe on January 15, 2009!!!  WOO HOO!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Team Kugelhopf

This week Yolanda from All-Purpose Girl chose Kugelhopf, which I again had to Wikipedia (like Rugelach).  This was my FIRST time to use yeast and I was scared, but with a lot of extra love and attention and some sound advise from Cathy, I was able to get the bread to rise.  Well, me and my oven at the lowest temperature possible.  

I was so so so proud of how well this Kugelhoph dough rose on Saturday that I decided to share it with our Sunday School class at First Baptist Church Trussville.  Our Sunday School teacher, Kelly, is an AMAZING baker.  One of her biggest claims to fame is that someone once ate SIXTEEN of her amazing cupcakes in one sitting.  Needless to say, I was intimidated about taking any baked good to class, much less one I had never made and could not even pronounce correctly.  Since Dorie advises that it is best eaten the day it is baked, I decided to bake it on Sunday morning, which sounded at the time like a great idea.  Well, it wasn't.  My sweet husband is the most patient man I know, but he is not patient on Sunday mornings when I am running late for Sunday School (every Sunday).  In anticipation of the extra baking time I may need, I woke up at 5:00 am to put the dough in the pan to let is rise.  Well, at 8:00 am, the dough still had not risen to "almost the top of the pan."  At first I panicked thinking about all the time I wasted on Saturday, but then I remembered Cathy telling me she put hers in the over to help it rise.  So, I put it in the oven on the lowest temperature for 30 minutes and it looked perfect.  Of course, we were still 10 minutes late for Sunday School, but everyone really enjoyed the Kugelhopf.   It seems that my husband is a lot more patient when the delay is due to a delicious Kugelhopf instead of my third outfit change.  :)  It still wasn't Kelly's Cupcakes, but I was pretty proud of it.... 

Thanks, Peggy, for letting me borrow the pan!!  This Kugelhopf was really a team effort

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


This weeks recipe was Rugelach, which I had to Wikipedia since I didn't know what Rugelach is :-) Now, I realize that one my favorite bakeries, Edgars, has these all the time for sale.

I almost didn't make this recipe, but my friends Cathy and Julie talked me into it and I am so glad!! I used strawberry jam, chocolate and pecans- no currants. I liked this recipe, but I made it very last minute and didn't feel like I got to fully enjoy the process. Well, that plus the fact that this election is very stressful :-) I don't think I rolled them tightly enough. My husband loved them!

Thanks, Piggy of Piggy's Cooking Journal for the great pick!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Chocolate Chocolate Cupcakes

This week   chose Chocolate Chocolate Cupcakes.  I am a HUGE fan of cupcakes, so I was pretty pumped about this choice.  If I could do any job and make money, I would open a cupcake bakery.  I was very inspired by a recent trip to Portland, where I discovered Cupcake Jones.  I got SIX cupcakes from there and loved all of them.   They have different choices everyday.  The cupcake that sounded the most interesting to me was the Rice Krispy Cupcake- It was vanilla cake with marshmallow filling, marshmallow butter-cream icing and rice krispies on top. 

I loved Dorie's suggestion to fill the cupcakes with marshmallow fluff, so I filled half of mine and then iced them and realized I couldn't tell which ones were filled. :-)  I have never claimed to be the smartest TWD member....

I LOVED the cupcake, but I didn't put the glaze on the one I ate because I don't like semi-sweet chocolate AT ALL and didn't think I would like it.  The cake was amazing, though- My husband thought it was the best chocolate cake he's ever had!!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Pumpkin Muffins

This week Kelly of Sounding My Barbaric Gulp chose pumpkin muffins.   After reading the TWD comments about this recipe, I chose to substitute the raisins with craisins and the walnuts with chocolate chips.  I made two batches of these since I got enough pumpkins in one can for two batches.  I took the muffins to work and got a lot of compliments about them.  They are really a crowd pleaser and a very appropriate treat for the season!!

I really love this club.  One of my favorite parts is baking things that I would not have chosen to make.  Even though I wouldn't have picked this recipe on my own, I am very glad I made it and I think I will make it again when I need a fallish pumpkin treat.   

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Lenox Almond Biscotti

This weeks recipe was chosen by Gretchen of Canela & Comino.  I wasn't very excited about this challenge at first because: 1)  I don't really love biscotti and will pick pretty much any dessert over it; 2) My husband feels the same way; and, 3) I was VERY confused by the recipe and did not understand how to make it at all.  Boy, was I wrong!!!  This biscotti was sssoooo yummy and is one of my favorite things I've made in the club.  It really wasn't that hard to make, and tasted so good and nutty.  I was so proud of the result.  Some recipes in TWD I just can't believe I made- like la paulette's strawberry tart and creme brulee.  They seems like desserts that are way above my ability, but they are really easy to make.  I really wish I were a pastry chef...... 

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Caramel Peanut Brownie Cake

This week's recipe was chosen by Tammy of Wee Treats by Tammy. My husband thought this was the best thing I've made in the club so far, but I didn't like how the caramel went everywhere when I cut into it. Maybe that was because I only waited the minimum 20 minutes before diving in...
I really love homemade caramel!! Caramel corn is one of my favorite things to make.
I liked it a lot, but it tasted a little semi-sweet to me. I would have loved it if the caramel wouldn't have gone everywhere, which I thought happened because I opened the over in a panic when I realized I hadn't lined the pan with parchment paper or put it on a cookie sheet. However, maybe that wasn't the problem because a lot of other TWDers experiences the same concave brownie cake.
Overall, this was pretty yummy and fun to make. Next time, I will make the caramel thinner, use pecans instead of peanuts, and let it set overnight!!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Creme Brulee

This has been a hard week. After returning from a week in Portland (which was fabulous), I have again been working like a crazy person. Luckily, I have two TWD friends who have also been working like crazy people.   My friend Julie (who worked from 9:00 am on Sunday through at least 11:00 am on Monday) said, "I think our group needs a permanent disclaimer regarding periodic disappearances."  That comment was made in response to the post below entitled, "Please forgive me."

On to the best part of the week- this week's creme brulee recipe chosen by Mari of Mevrouw Cupcake. I was very excited about this recipe- I didn't own a torch, but I have always wanted to make creme brulee, so I bought one.  I also bought one for my friend Cathy, who is a part-time parter at the law firm where I work.  She is also one of the funniest and smartest people I know.  She and I filled her torch at 11:45 p.m. on Sunday night AT WORK.  

I sampled the pre-baked custard and I thought it tasted almost exactly like Dorie's vanilla ice cream base, which I LOVE. I may have cooked the custards incredibly too long- Instead of the 50-60 minutes in the cookbook, I left mine in for about 90 minutes because the middles never looked set to me.  After I chilled the custard, it firmed well.

I LOVED the creme brulee!!!  It was by far the highlight of my week.  I think I will make this many many times.  It was much easier than I thought and it was as good as any I have ever had. 

Friday, September 26, 2008

Dimply Plum Cake

This week Michelle of Bake-en chose Dimply Plum cake.  Her pictures are AMAZING!!!!!!  I made the recipe by the book except that I used cinnamon instead of the cardamom.  See Cathy's blog to find out how expensive cardamom is...

I thought the batter was yummy, but my husband thought it wasn't sweet enough.  My friends at work enjoyed it a lot!!

Please forgive me :-(

I hereby nominate myself for the worst member of TWD.  I have not blogged in four weeks.  I failed to email our fearless leader.  I have not even visited the TWD website, much less any of my co-bakers websites (except for an occasional glancing at Peabody's site).  I am here now to beg for your forgiveness and grovel as much as possible to be allowed back into everyone's good graces.  

I have really only missed one recipe- the chocolate chunkers.  I did make the oatmeal peanut butter cookies (pic above) and the whopper cookies (no pics- I know, I know...).  I made the dimply plum case tonight (Friday) and I am planning to make the creme brulee this weekend, too.  

My only excuse is that I have been working like a crazy person and I have done a poor job of making TWD a top priority.  Making the cake tonight reminded me of how much I love love love TWD.  Something about mixing ingredients and creating a yummy treat completely clears my mind a way that nothing else can.

So, I am so so so sorry and I PROMISE to do better from now on.  Forgive me?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Chocolate Banded Ice Cream Torte

This week's recipe was chosen by Amy of Food, Family and Fun. I made this for one of my co-workers, John. I am trying to bake something for everyone's birthday in my group at work. I am over two weeks late for John's b-day, but I hope he really enjoys the torte. His favorite ice cream is mint, so I used that instead of making the respberry ice cream. Also, I really have to break down and buy a new larger food processor!! Mine wouldn't have been able to handle this ice cream.

I liked the idea of this torte, but I do not like semi-sweet chocolate AT ALL- even the gourmet brands. I don't think I would have liked the ganace. John's pallate is much more distinguished than mine (I really think he had organic buckwheat noodles with edamame, sliced red peppers and fizzy water for lunch in elementary school while I enjoyed my pickle loaf sandwich and fruit roll-up), so I'm sure he will appreciate the ganache more than I would. I will post a picture tonight, but my only picture is from the top since I brought the torte to him still in the springform pan since the recipe says to take it out of the pan 30 minutes to 3 hours before serving it.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Granola Grabbers

First- another recruit- YAY!!!!!   Please visit my friend, Cathy's, new TWD blog The Tortefeasor.  I really enjoy my friends at work being TWD members, too!!!  YAY!!!

This week's recipe was chosen by Michelle of Bad Girl Baking.  I made these last weekend because we were out of town this weekend at one of my husband's triathlons.  I bought Vanilla Almond Granola at Target to use- it was the best granola ever!!!    I was a little concerned about how little liquid held these things together- only one egg??  The batter was VERY thick, but yummy.  
These cookies surprised me- I didn't like them very much warm out-of-the-oven, which is usually how I prefer cookies.  I REALLY liked them the next day, though.  Weird!!!  I really like the raisins and coconut in these.
Also, I LOVED that the recipe gave instructions to cook ALL the cookies at the same time.  So, I only baked for about 10 minutes.  Great choice, Michelle!!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Blueberry Sour Cream Ice Cream

This week's recipe was chosen by Dolores of Chronicles in Culinary Curiosity. I didn't own an ice cream maker, so I bought a small electric one- the kind that has the gel canister you have to freeze. I had to freeze it for 10 hours!!! I thought the ice cream was delightful. The texture wasn't really creamy, but I loved the flavor. I love sour cream, though- Since we only needed 3/4 cup, I ate the rest of my 8 oz container with a spoon :-)

Monday, August 4, 2008

Black and White Banana Loaf

This week's recipe was chosen by Ashlee of A Year In The Kitchen, a food blog that I love and visit often.  This was my first time to make a "loaf."  I had to buy a loaf pan.  I made the recipe exactly the way Dorie says to and I thought it was fabulous.  I was very pleased with the way the marbling worked.  The only thing I would change is the cooking time- I think 1 hour and 20 minutes was probably about 10 minutes too long, resulting in tougher sides.  I thought this was a great pick!!This is my batter in my new loaf pan- pre-marble.
I can't wait to see all the other TWDers swirls!!!!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Summer Fruit Gallettes

Another recruit- YAY!!! Check out my friend, Peggy's, new TWD Blog- Pantry Revisited!!! She should show up on the new member list next week. And, also please visit Julie's blog- Peanut Butter and Julie. I LOVE this club so much and I am so happy to have two friends at work who are in it now, too!!!

This weeks recipe came from Michelle of Michelle in Colorado Springs. I had never even heard of a gallette!! I thought the recipe called for 8-10 peaches, 8-10 nectarines, 8-10 plums AND 8-10 apricots. My husband bought me THIRTY pieces of fruit!!!!! I made mini gallettes and one larger one. I thought these were very good. I've made this pie crust before and it is VERY good- the best pie crust I have ever had. I liked this recipe a lot and will likely make it again. The next time, I will probably make one large gallette. I had a little trouble with the mini ones because the custard spilled out around some of them, making it impossible to get them off of the pan.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Cherry Rhubarb Cobbler

First- I have a recruit!!!  YAY!!  My friend at work is now also known as Julie of Peanut Butter and Julie.  I'm so mad that her blog is already better than mine!!!!  She's not on the TWD site yet, so please check her out!!  She did a fabulous job with her first recipe and it is so much fun having someone to talk about the recipes with in person!!!
This week's recipe came from Amanda of Like Sprinkles on a Cupcake.  She chose Cherry Rhubarb Cobbler.  I grew up in the south and I have never seen or tasted rhubarb, so I was very excited to use it UNTIL I went to FIVE grocery stores before I finally found it.  I LOVED the biscuit topping and the cherries, but I didn't really care for the rhubarb.  I can see how people who grew up eating it love it, though.  

I made mini cobblers and gave one to my friend, Peggy.  Her husband LOVES rhubarb.  Peggy and her husband loved the cobbler.  Peggy is one of my usual testers.  She may be my next recruit- She bought the cookbook today, but I think she is still a little unsure about blogging.

I had some extra time with Dorie this week- On Saturday night I made Peanut Butter Torte.  There really are not words to describe how amazing that recipe is.  It was definitely my favorite thing I've ever made.

I also made a german chocolate cake for my assistant, Marilyn.  Today is her b-day!!!