Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Holiday Winner

This is the Orange Bundt Cake that won the Blue Ribbon at the 2013 Minnesota State Fair. Easy to make it is perfect to have on for unexpected guests.

This is the first time I've made it with just-picked oranges from my son's back yard. We're celebrating the holidays with sunshine not snow this year!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Palets des Dames

These cookies are easy and keep well. It's the first recipe I've tried from Baking Chez Moi by Doris Greenspan.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Start Your Ovens

This is the time of year that almost everyone thinks about baking. Since my last post was in March, I thought I'd start with some tips for successful baking from Baking Basics and Beyond.

     Always read the entire recipe before you begin. Carefully follow the directions. If you want to experiment it is best not to do it the first time you bake the recipe.

     Use an oven thermometer and adjust your oven as needed. This will prevent overbaking or needing lots more time til doneness. Some ovens are 25 degrees off.  (I always take a quick peek a couple of minutes before baking time is up. )

     Use the best ingredients you can afford. I  always use pure vanilla, high quality chocolate and unsalted butter.

The photo above is of Palets de Dames from Dorie Greenspan's Baking Chez Moi. I'll be doing lots of baking and posting often, so leave any questions and I'll respond.


Friday, March 14, 2014

Luck of the Irish

On Sunday March 16, I will be the Chef of the Day on Cookstr. Go to www.Cookstr.com/chefs to see my recipes.  Since it will be only one day early, we're celebrating by having Irish Soda Bread.

I don't have to go back very far to find my Irish heritage as both of my maternal grandparents were Irish. Every year for St. Patrick's Day I bake Irish Soda Bread. Although it is easy to make, it's important not to knead vigorously or the bread will be tough. What is called Irish Soda Bread in the US, is actually Spotted Dog in Ireland.

 Irish Soda Bread
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 cup golden raisins

Heat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Combine the flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Mix well. Cut in butter using a pastry blender or two knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the buttermilk and mix until a sticky dough forms. Mix in raisins.

Place dough on a lightly floured work surface. Knead dough gently 8 to 10 times or until dough comes together and is no longer sticky.

Divide dough in half and shape each half into a round loaf, about 7 inches across. Place on baking sheet. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until deep golden brown and no longer moist on the surface. Cool on wire cooling rack a few minutes before slicing. Makes 2 loaves.

Tip: This year I added sunflower nuts instead of raisins, using 1/3 cup.