Tuesday, March 31, 2009

{twd} coconut butter thins

Each time I direct my family's attention to a new blog posting, I get the same responses: "very cool!" (dad), "love the pictures!" (mom) and "why didn't I get any of that?" (brother). So this week, I decided to make my TWD recipe a little early so that I could share with my brother and his girlfriend when I met them for dinner on Sunday night.

Sure enough, when I showed up at 'inoteca, he nearly pounced on the shopping bag in my hand. "Is that for me?" he cried lunging across the table. "Um not unless you thought I was bringing you some eye cream," I replied tucking the bag under my seat. "But this is." I produced a plastic bag full of the coconut butter thins and passed them across the table.

Approximately forty five seconds after leaving the restaurant, my phone buzzed with a text message. "I've already had four cookies," wrote my brother. "And girlfriend just grabbed three...which is funny because she doesn't even like coconut." I can't say I was surprised--though Dorie named these cookies Coconut Butter Thins, the coconut flavor is really quite subtle. It's actually the lime, macadamia nuts and butter that steal the show flavor-wise. Mine weren't exactly "thins" either, as you can see in the photo above. Even though they spread like crazy in the oven, I ended up with a thick, shortbread-like cookie. Overall, I thought that they were tasty, but not my favorite. Though they sure made my brother happy.

This week's pick comes from Jayne of Barefoot Kitchen Witch, and the recipe can be found here. Be sure to check out the TWD blog roll to see hundreds of other variations!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

{twd} blueberry crumb cake

My love of dessert for breakfast has been well documented, so needless to say, I was excited when I saw that this week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was a Blueberry Crumb Cake.

Something that has also been well documented: my complete inability to exercise any sort of portion control when serving myself slices of cake. So when I heard that this recipe was getting rave reviews from other TWD members, I decided that it would be safer to make it into individually portioned muffins.

And it's a good thing I did, because the raves were well deserved. This is the best breakfast cake I have ever had. The cake is light, sweet, and bursting with flavor, and as for the crumb topping...well I think that I'd be happy living on that alone for the next week. I loved the combination of blueberries and lemon zest, but I'm sure that it would be equally delicious with raspberries, blackberries, peaches, or just about anything else you can come up with.

Thanks to Sihan of Befuddlement for this week's pick. You can find the receipe, which would be fantastic for an Easter brunch, on her blog.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

now that's more like it

Vacation was wonderful. Regular posting to resume shortly.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

banana cupcakes with salted caramel frosting

I'm off on spring break (my last one!) tomorrow morning, but before I go, I though I'd leave you with a little parting gift: Banana Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting. A few weeks ago, my friend Elizabeth brought over some overripe bananas, knowing that Julia and I would put them to good use. A few days later we did--in Elizabeth's birthday cupcakes. That's right--we re-gifted the bananas. But these cupcakes were so good, that Elizabeth didn't seem to mind--and neither did any of her party guests.

The cake has an intense banana flavor, while the frosting--well with a name like salted caramel frosting do you even have to ask? It was sweet, salty, and complex. I could have eaten it by the spoonful (okay...maybe I did...but just a few spoonfuls...and they were tiny ones). The cupcakes come from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking, and the frosting recipe is from Chow, available here.

Monday, March 9, 2009

light wheat bread

Lo and behold, it's my second loaf of yeast bread in the span of a month. It was only four weeks ago that I told you about my new found fixation with No Knead Bread, and now I've moved on to the real thing: a bona fide, kneading required, sandwich loaf. This bread was fabulous. It's soft inside, has a firm crust and toasts up like a dream. But that's not to say that it went off without a hitch. Things started out easily enough. I mixed the ingredients, added some water, and began to knead. After kneading the bread by hand for a few minutes, I decided that the KitchenAid would do a much better job than I ever could (read: my hands were getting tired and I wanted to lay down on the couch) and threw the dough in the mixer. The KitchenAid started working its magic: grabbing the dough, twirling it around in a circle, and turning it over itself, until...it stopped.

The KitchenAid just stopped. And would not turn back on. Did I mention how much I love the KitchenAid? And that it's not even mine?Needless to say, my leisurely morning of bread baking devolved into a complete panic. Not only was my sandwich loaf a failure, but I had broken Julia's KitchenAid, which I was fairly sure was going to explode all over the apartment, given that it was burning hot to the touch. A quick Google search revealed that the culprit was likely 1) an overheated mixer, which would turn itself back on after about 20 minutes 2) a blown fuse or 3) a stripped gear. Slightly calmer, I sat down to distract myself with The Martha Stewart Show while I prayed that it was only option number one.

After exactly 20 minutes of watching Martha teach Kenan Thomas to craft, I nervously walked over to the counter, crossed my fingers, and flipped the switch....and the mixer buzzed back to life! Relieved, I resumed kneading and finished my loaf without any further problems. This bread had better be good, I though as I popped the loaf in the oven.

It was. But I think I'll be kneading by hand next time.

Light Wheat Bread
Recipe from The Bread Baker's Apprentice via Smitten Kitchen