When David Sterling’s book, Yucatan: Recipes from a Culinary Expedition, arrived at my door, my jaw literally dropped. As I removed the packaging to reveal this 564 page (6-1/2 pound) gem, I could barely believe my eyes. It is absolutely stunningly beautiful!
Sweet Breakfast Breads with Flavored Shell-Shaped Toppings
From Yucatan: A Culinary Expedition by David Sterling
David says, “The Conchas I enjoyed on my first trip to Mexico many years ago still stand out as the benchmarks: gently sweet, yeasty dough–almost creamy–topped with crumbly, sugary caps in different flavors. None that I have tried since come close to that original ecstasy–except for homemade ones. “Conchas” means “shells” and refers to the characteristic pattern traced in the flavored toppings.”
Bananas are a perfect fruit, full of potassium, conveniently packaged, and while sweet actually have a low glycemic index, meaning that the sugars break down slowly and won’t spike your blood sugar.
Did you know that bananas are botanically a berry? Neither did I.
It’s hard to imagine anyone who doesn’t like cheesecake. There are several camps, however, regarding which type of cheesecake is best. Some of us like thick, satiny super creamy cakes; others like drier, fluffier cakes. A third camp loves the savory version — no sugar but lots of delicious cheese — and yet another faction especially likes flavored cheesecakes — pumpkin, chocolate, blueberry — the list is endless. Finally, there’s a really big camp filled with those devotees who love any version. Just bring it on!!
Although cheesecake’s a snap to assemble, things can easily go south during the baking process. Cracked top anyone? Leaks dripped on the oven floor? Lopsided? Oh well…
Courtesy of Alice Medrich, Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-In-your-Mouth Cookies
This is a great lemon bar recipe – bright, tart-sweet and with a buttery crust with nice vanilla notes. Meyer lemons aren’t quite as tart as Eureka and other American lemon varieties. If you’re using Meyer lemons, you might need a little extra lemon juice.
Away from the Kitchen
Untold Stories, Private Menus, and Insider Tips —
Favorite Regional Chefs Reveal, Confess and Speak Out
By Dawn Blume Hawkes; She Writes Press; 2014
Away from the Kitchen by Dawn Blume Hawkes
Recipe by Chef Gail Gand
Much to my surprise and delight, vanilla fan and serious home baker, Sandie Rymal, created a special cake recipe then named it in my honor! I admit, this is a first for me. It’s a beauty and, although I haven’t yet baked it myself (nor even tasted it as Sandie lives in Oregon and I’m in California), it certainly looks luscious!
A great way to use up leftover egg whites, especially during the holiday season. If you have leftover candy canes or peppermint candies, use them. However, if you are making these cookies during the Christmas season, look for the miniature candy canes. They have the most pink surface area. The color contrasts well with the white of the meringues.
I admit I could never imagine Maple Sugar Pie or Maple Syrup Pie. I flat out love pure maple anything, but an entire pie made with maple sugar or syrup and nothing else to offset the sweetness — like pecans for instance — seemed like it would be cloying and a full-out sugar rush. Then a friend and I drove from Vermont to Quebec City in the early autumn of 2012. I knew that this would be my best chance to try Maple Sugar or Maple Syrup Pie. I was ready to convert — or not.
It feels like a cardinal sin to post a decadent chocolate recipe in a blog during the first week of the new year (2013).
While this recipe involves some time and dedication, it isn’t difficult. It was inspired by a recipe in Sunset magazine, which I’ve adapted. For instance, the original recipe called for two tablespoons of hazelnut liquor, such as Frangelico. The local liquor store didn’t have any “shooter” bottles and I didn’t want to invest in a large bottle, so I added some extra vanilla extract.
Recently I had dessert in a lovely café near where I live. One of their signature desserts is a lemon pudding that tastes as if it may have a cream cheese base. It was so good that I decided to go home and experiment.
This recipe is actually a classic recipe that I got off of the Baker’s unsweetened chocolate box. I use 2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract and I under-bake the recipe so that the brownies have a crusty topping but are moist and fudge-like inside.
This outstanding fruit dessert recipe was sent to my mother by my Aunt Maggie at least 45 years ago. For reasons lost on me, they called it “Apple Dumb.” When they used plums, it was “Plum Dumb.” This was standard with them — they loved good food and silliness in equal measure.
Isn’t it fun to look at gorgeous pastries and desserts and fantasize about making (and eating) them? When it comes down to it, though, how often do you do it? Really, except for when I want to dazzle someone with a gift or it’s a holiday, I nearly always opt for simple.
From Desserts in Jars 50 Sweet Treats that Shine by Shaina Olmonson
Courtesy of Rose Levy Beranbaum, Real Baking With Rose
I long resisted the charms of Rose Red Velvet Cake, believing it to be merely a layer cake tinted red with a bottle of food coloring. But when several people on my blog sang its praises, I decided to investigate it more thoroughly. It turns out that there is more to this cake than its shocking color. This beloved southern cake is traditionally prepared with oil, a mere suspicion of cocoa, and a teaspoon of white vinegar, which raises the acidity of the batter and intensifies its color. The liquid component is usually buttermilk, which is thought to raise the acidity as well, although the baking soda normally used neutralizes most of the acidity and makes the crumb more coarse and the color darker. So, when I created my
version of this classic, I used only baking powder to employ the full acidity of the buttermilk, making vinegar unnecessary. I also used half oil and half butter for the flavor-enhancing qualities of butter and the moist, softening quality of the oil. The resulting cake is as flavorful and tender as you can hope for and stays soft enough to eat even straight from the fridge. A heart-shape pan is perfect for Valentine’s Day. And the contrast of the white chocolate cream cheese buttercream against the red cake is alluring.
Whipped Cream Cake Courtesy of Rose Levy Beranbaum, www.realbakingwithrose.com
Rose says: This unusual, old-time recipe was sent to me by chef Anthony Stella, a restaurateur in Delaware, who asked if I could perform a makeover on it.