Friday, December 31, 2010

Hungry For More?

On a few occasions I've ventured away from the backbones of this sight: sugar and butter. That's right, sometimes I don't eat cake for dinner. Sometimes I cook real food. So if you're hungry for more than tarts, pies, muffins, cookies and galettes, what are you doing here?

Just kidding - if you are intrigued by things like potato leek soup, quinoa with toasted pine nuts and raisins (pictured), and stuffed acorn squash...then you should check out my new recipe column over at the Jewish Week: Nosh Pit.

Check back in once a week, I may have a few more things up my stuffed shells with homemade tomato sauce, apricot and shallot chicken and boozy sweet potatoes. 

Happy snacking!  

P.S. If you follow me on twitter, I'll let you know when I have a new recipe up!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Melting Snowman Cookies

There was a time in my life, where I looked forward with glee to snow days. Snow days meant sleeping late, missing school, sitting inside in my pajamas, watching bad movies and seeing the snow plows drive by. Unfortunately today I am an adult older, and huge snowfalls means canceled plans, missing work, commuting woes and other unpleasant things. In fact, I think it's safe to say, that I don't really like snow at all anymore. Except, perhaps, when it comes in uber-adorable cookie form. 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Chocolate-Covered Honeycomb Candy

[Updated with new photos]
Newsflash: I'm a foreigner. Don't deport me just yet - I'm bringing you candy! Here in part 2 of candy week at Baking and Mistaking, and I'm recreating one of my favorite childhood candy bars. Technically this is called honeycomb candy. It is sold in England as a "Crunchie" bar, and in Australia as "Violet Crumble" (don't ask me why). But when I moved to the US I realized that no such chocolate bar existed here. Since then I've had to rely on visitors and traveling family members to get my crunchie fix - but no more!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Peppermint Patties

I would like to officially announce this week as candy week here on Baking and Mistaking! For some reason, this season is a prime time for candy making. I'm not quite sure why, since I eat candy year round. No really, I do, promise. But nevertheless - today I present you with homemade peppermint patties. And come back later this week for even more candy!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

After I cracked open, disemboweled, cooked and pureed my 5-pound pumpkin, I made pumpkin muffins, pumpkin soup...and still had pumpkin puree to go.  So I searched high and low, for the perfect recipe to highlight the remainder of my fresh pumpkin puree. And I found it, in these pumpkin cupcakes with cinnamon cream cheese frosting. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Disaster Zone!

You see that big banner up there? It says Baking and Mistaking. But I haven't exactly been living up to that lately. I've been holding back on all the mistaking. I've been mistaking, of course, I just haven't been  blogging about it, mostly because it makes me sad. But I'm over it now, so get ready, for an all out, play-by-play, no-holds barred, tale of disasters.

1. Peanut Butter Pie

The recipe for this peanut butter pie came from a Good Housekeeping cookbook. It wasn't...awful, it was just kind of strange. It is basically a pie shell with a peanut butter custard filling. To start with, there was just way too much filling. Simply cutting the amount in half would have vastly improved this dessert, but it still wouldn't have been great. Obviously some chocolate would be nice, but I'm not sure how I would incorporate it. I think I'd like to try a more mousse-type peanut butter tart in the future. 

2. Lemon Coconut Bars

I like lemon. I like coconut. I should have liked these bars. I think their biggest problem was the vast gap between my expectations and reality. The recipe for these bars came from a blog, which had these beautiful photos of a crisp, coconut layer, then the lemon, and a cookie crust at the bottom. But my coconut and lemon layers completely melded into one, with none of the crispness I was looking for. The flavors were pretty good, so I'll just have to find other coconut lemon things. Although these cookies are kind of the best thing ever.

3. Fruit Pie

This pie is probably the most disastrous thing on this list. The recipe was ripped out of a magazine - which one I can't remember - and it was truly awful. I'm not sure why I even attempted this, since I have such amazing pies in my repertoire, but it looks quick and easy, so I gave it a shot. It is basically a store bought pie crust, filled with peaches and raspberries, with a custard-y mixture poured on top. Well, despite cooking it much longer than the recipe indicated, it was still runny and soggy and truly gross. Refrigerating it to try to get it to firm up just made it cold and soggy, which was not much of an improvement. Blech.

4. Chocolate Filled Scones

I've never made scones before. I've always thought of scones as dry and tasteless - and it turns out I was right! At least for this recipe. Part of the fault lies with me - I definitely didn't use enough chocolate in the middle of the scones, but I still felt like they weren't great. The drop off was also significant on day two, which I guess is par for the course with scones, but not everything in my house is really eaten day 1. I'm not quite giving up on scones in general - I'll have to re-imagine these, and make sure they're all eaten quick!

Anyway, that's what's been going on in my kitchen after hours. None of these really eclipses my top disasters though: for sheer inedibility - babke attempt 1; for biggest mess - exploding ice cream and for sheer frustration: complete meltdown.
Have you had any major disasters lately? Let me know so we can all feel bad together!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Honey Almond Financiers

If you've been around here a few days, you'll know that I don't like nuts. But the truth is - I don't like whole or chopped nuts - it's a texture thing - but I'm perfectly happy to use ground nuts. And I did just that in these financiers. That's a French word that I can't really pronounce correctly. All you need to know is that in this instance, it means small cake. 
These mini tea cakes - which I made in my mini muffin pan - apparently get their name from the fact that they are traditionally baked in small rectangular pans, resembling bars of gold.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Be My Friend?

It's been a long time since I've asked anyone this...but will you be my friend?

That's right...Baking and Mistaking now has it's own fan page on Facebook! Haven't you always wanted to recommend me to all your friends. Of course! Now's your chance!

Click here or check out the widget in the sidebar to "like" the fan page. Thanks!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Hearts, Hearts, Hearts

Tis the season...for engagements apparently. To celebrate the impending nuptials of Deena and David, I returned once more to the cookie decorating table. One hundred cookies, six hours and three batches of royal icing later..I emerged ready to party. 
 So if you are absolutely insane enough to want to know how to do this yourself, keep on reading. Or if you just want more reasons to thank yourself for not doing this, you can also keep reading. 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Doughnuts - Baked and Fried

Happy Chanukah everyone! For those of you not celebrating - today is the first day of Chanukah...but there are seven more to come. Which is seven more days for you to make your own doughnuts at home. Yes, doughnuts! 

Monday, November 29, 2010

Monogrammed Cupcakes

Oh where to start? How about with this: My friend Leora is engaged! And she had a party. And I baked. Of course. Cupcakes! With their initials on them! I cannot speak in full sentences! I don't know why.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pies, Pies, Pies

If you're a last minute-baker like me and you're still looking for dessert inspiration for your Thanksgiving feast - look no further! Here are some tried-and-tested pies, tarts (and one shortbread) that will be happily welcomed to any holiday table. P.S. If you're looking for new reasons to make fun of me, click here.

1. Apple Pie
This is the classic, and this recipe will wow just about everyone. Use pie dough scraps to make decorative cutouts if you're feeling crafty.

2. Quadruple Berry Pie
This juicy dessert is more of a summer staple - but if you use a frozen berry mix - defrosted and patted very dry, it will be a welcome surprise after dinner.

3. Pumpkin Cheesecakes
Ok, not a pie, but still a perfect addition to the banquet - pumpkin and cheesecake are a great combination.

4. Pear-Filled Shortbread
Also not a pie, but a seriously, sweet, seriously delicious, unique dessert. 

5. Snickerdoodle Pie
This is a slightly off-the-beaten-track pie, but delicious nonetheless - and really amazing when served warm.

6. Mini Apple Pies
My last pie suggestion is the ultimate in last-minute desserts - and the quickest option  here. Storebought crusts (and even store bought pie filling - I won't tell) make these a snap to whip up.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

New Things

Hi all -

A couple new things around here at Baking and Mistaking. 
First - The layout! I felt like a little winter cleaning. Things may keep changing if I get bored. Anything could happen!
Second - All blog posts now jump to a new page. This allows for more posts to appear on the home page for easy scrolling around. 
Third - I added an FAQ page - it's on the right here. Feel free to check it out and see if I answered all your questions. Sorry, I'm still unclear on the meaning of life.

Well that was pretty boring. Here's a picture of three doughnut ice cream sandwiches to make it up to you. Yes, doughnut, ice cream, sandwich. Take a doughnut, slice it in half, fill with ice cream. Don't worry, I only ate one of them (obviously the middle one). And it was insane! Jealous?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Honey Granola Bars

This might be the healthiest thing I've ever made. Seriously. If ingredients like wheat germ, and sunflower seeds scare you, then maybe you should skip past this and come back another day. But if you're open to things that don't start with a stick of butter, try these granola bars!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Pear and Bittersweet Chocolate Cake

I feel bad. I feel really awful that I made this cake so long ago, and haven't shared it with you yet. It's that good. It's just the right balance of fluffy and dense, it's sweet, but not too sweet, it uses both fresh fruit and chocolate...basically heaven.

This pear and bittersweet chocolate cake is a way to take some pretty simple ingredients, and turn them into something extraordinary. One of the keys to this recipe is having the eggs and room temperature - since that will help them attain the volume they need.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Pumpkin Muffins....the hard way

I'm not big on free time these days. Or sleep. But somehow, when I managed to have a few hours on a Sunday free of all obligations, I decided to buy a pumpkin. Some people buy pumpkins to carve into scary faces and put on their porches. I bought a pumpkin to eat. And about six hours pumpkin became muffins.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Butternut Squash Bread - Two Ways

I love cooking seasonally. Using what I find on the supermarket shelves, produce that is really at it's peak - nothing frozen or canned. Lately there has been a butternut squash on my dining room table almost constantly - I'll buy a new one as soon as I use the old one. And when I made this recipe for butternut squash bread, I only needed about half the puree. So I made another one - but I changed one key ingredient, to conduct a little experiment.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Lemon Squares

When I realized a couple months back that I had no recipe for lemon squares on this blog, I was shocked. Lemon squares are a dessert classic - a must-have recipe for every serious baker. And now you have one. And these aren't just any lemon squares - with slightly more effort that usual, you can produce a creamy, tangy and sweet confection.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Oatmeal Fudge Sandwich Cookies

As I proved last week, sandwich cookies are awesome. I also proved it a year and a half ago. Either way, sandwich cookies are a little more work than your average cookie - what with all the matching up, spread and sandwiching together. No more! These fudge sandwich cookies are baked up in one pan. Oatmeal, fudge, oatmeal. Done.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Homemade Milano Cookies

If you've ever reached for the iconic, white package of any Pepperidge Farm cookies, you know what a delight they can be. My hands-down favorite has to be Chessmen, but I would never turn down a good Milano. Or one of those rolled wafer things. Or a Tahiti cookie. Ok, I never turn down a cookie. Except if they have nuts. The point is - I made Milanos! At home!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Triumphant Victory: Chocolate Babke

Things don't always go my way - and certainly not always in the kitchen. People ask me often what the biggest disaster I've had in the kitchen is. And while there is that time where I boiled eggs and forgot about them for an hour, leaving pieces of egg and shell in all corners of the kitchen, and the multiple times I've dropped cakes and cookies, I'd still probably say chocolate babke. After being asked by my mother to make chocolate babke for her birthday, I spent hours whipping up a recipe I'd found only to find it...inedible. Hard a rock, dry, tasteless, completely awful. I'm not sure if it was the yeast or the recipe that was at fault, but I'm inclined to believe both.

And then - I returned triumphant, with my crowning glory, a dessert that could only be termed complete bliss - a successful chocolate babke.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Double Apple Bundt Drop

I drop things. I break things. I forget things. I lose things. Sometimes I break things and then lose them. I'm looking at you, one earring.
Anyway, it was just one of those days, and I made a cake. And it smelled delicious. And I was pretty sure it was going to taste delicious. And then I dropped it.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Giant Marble Cookies

Here's a riddle for you. What's better than a cookie? A giant cookie! And this thought pattern was all the logic and incentive behind these giant marble cookies. Welcome inside my head. It's a strange place.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Mini Fruit Tarts

The last time I made a dessert at my brother's request, it was to replace something he'd eaten. (Guard your food!) Well this time, it was another story entirely. See, I have one major fear. Bugs. Flies, ants, spiders, cockroaches, beetles - I am terrified. It has long been established practice in my house that upon sight of an offending creature, I scream for help. In high school, I would offer my brother $1 to kill anything that I spied late at night. These days though, I'll call his name for exterminator duty and he'll ask "What will you make me?"

After a particular insect removal incident, (one lady bug and one spider) the bill was settled with these mini fruit tarts. They're filled with pastry cream and topped with slices of fresh fruit.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Cop Out Cake

I'm not good at decorating cakes. Cookies, I seem to have figured out, but cakes still elude me. Unless they include copious amounts of fondant that is. But since I generally value taste over aesthetic, I opted out. I seem to even be better at shaped cakes, but a frosted-covered canvas is what scares me the most.

But, I think I've discovered something that even I can master, so I'm sharing it with you today.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Peanut Butter, Jelly and Chocolate Bars

Since it's been well-documented here that I like to eat with my hands, it should come as no surprise that I'm a big fan of the sandwich. Endlessly adaptable, the sandwich has an infinite variation - but there is one that has attained almost iconic status. Yes, I'm talking about the peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Monday, October 4, 2010

A Tale of Two Cookies

Google instant search is messing with my head. It tells me what it thinks I should think, but it assumes my mind is wondering - what I should be wondering since everyone else is wondering it. Are you with me? Didn't think so.

Type in "Why do my cookies..." and the four suggestions that come up are "come out flat," "go flat," "spread" and "flatten." Well google, shows how much you know. Turns out, I want to know just the opposite! I love thin, flat, spread out cookies. Always have. But mine always end up lumpy, uneven thick blobs. Sounds appetizing. In truth they usually taste pretty good, but that is not what I'm going for.

So I set out to find the perfect chewy chocolate cookies, with high hopes. They were soon dashed. Many piles of dirty dishes later, I think part of my problem lies in generally using margarine, instead of butter. I'll have to think about that one. I also got to thinking that I should check my own recipe archives first, because now I'm dreaming about these and these.

The first cookies I tried were called Chocolate Brownie Cookies, which sounded pretty good to me.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

I know I'm well behind the red velvet craze, but I never quite saw the appeal. From what I understood, red velvet cake is a chocolate flavored cake that is colored red. (Yes, yes, I know that original red velvet cakes needed no food coloring.) But, since I'm a generally curious person, especially when it comes to things like cupcakes, I thought I would give them a shot.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Coconut Toffee Chew Bars

There are all sorts of bar cookies - ones filled with chocolate, fruit, jams, peanut butter - and they're all delicious. But these bar cookies? These are like candy. Completely addictive. Just try to have only one.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Quadruple Berry Pie

Quick! Make this now! Before berries disappear from the shelves, the weather turns cool, everybody starts wearing boots and you have to work out how to use your iphone/blackberry wearing gloves. Now that you've been sufficiently might have seen some triple berry pies out there. But triple is nothing to me. I see your triple berry pie, and I raise you one quadruple berry pie. Strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Pillow Cookies

MONTHS ago my friend Naomi and I got together to embark on a baking adventure. (And then I got delayed with fruit pies and birthdays - sorry!) And as with most adventures, there was laughter, tears, drama and heartbreak. OK, mostly just laughter. Naomi always makes me laugh. Sometimes unintentionally. There were also cookies! Specifically 'Pillow Cookies.' What are pillow cookies, you may ask? Well take a look.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

My 8th Birthday

Finally, two days past my actual birthday, we have come to the end of the birthday posts - my 8th birthday. No, I didn't stop having birthdays after this, just stopped having homemade cakes. Ah, I remember clearly the Carvel Oreo ice cream cake at age 9.

Anywho..age 8:
Ice cream! I'm pretty sure it wasn't an ice cream cake, but that would have been awesome. And I like any cake that has my name on it.

Anyway let me just preface the following photo by saying that at my 8th birthday party, everyone in attendance had their hair and makeup done to sparkling perfection. So if I look like an 8 year old hooker, that's why.
And so concludes the birthdays of Amy's past. Tomorrow (hopefully, or at least this week) I'll be back to actual baking. With recipes! You don't want to miss it...

Monday, September 13, 2010

My 7th Birthday

Six weeks before my 7th birthday I moved to a whole new country. I started a new school, lived in a new house and had to make new friends.
When I was looking through old photo albums looking for some record of my 7th birthday, I came up empty. I asked my Mom, and her only response was "You probably didn't have one because you didn't have any friends." Thanks Mom.
But then I remembered, that I must have had a 7th birthday party. And I remember this because at my 7th birthday party, I didn't give an invitation to my friend Tali. I didn't invite Tali, because she used to make fun of my accent, and I didn't really like that. Well, she hasn't let me forget since (isn't it nice to have friends from when you were 7?), but I'm hoping that she'll forgive me soon. She's a pretty entertaining friend to have - she always keeps me regaled with great stories, like how her sister Hanna accidentally frosted a batch of cupcakes with frosting made from salmon cream cheese.
So anyway Tali - do you forgive me?
So, for those of you who come here just for the photos (I'm looking at you Alana), I don't want to leave you disappointed.

Here I am on grand moving day:
You can't tell, but I'm missing my two front teeth and growing out my bangs. Can you say awkward stage?
And a few days later we moved in here...
...and then many years later when the house looked like this...but that's clearly a whole other story.
So, back tomorrow with one last birthday post, albeit two days post-birthday, and then on to some actual baking once more!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

My 6th Birthday

OK, so I missed the deadline for finishing these birthday posts (today), but I'm gonna keep going because they make me laugh. This year is about when I start to actually remember my birthday, so here's a story.
Every year I had a birthday party, and every year I knew that in the preceding days to said party, there was a cake somewhere in the house. And, I wanted to find that cake. I'd never managed to find one before this year. But, somehow, the day before my 6th birthday, I opened a cupboard door and spied this cake!
Of course, it so wasn't worth it, because then you miss that element of excitement of seeing it at the party. But then again, I was 6, so long-term thinking was not my strong suit.

Anyway, I'll keep doing these birthday posts even though it will be past my birthday, so come back tomorrow for age 7: no cake, but a story! I might find some pics to go along with it. See ya then!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

My 5th Birthday

This is awesome. I would not turn down a cake like this next week. Hint hint.
And check it out - age 5 and I'm allowed to hold a knife! So advanced.
I'll be offline Thursday and Friday for the Jewish holiday - it might be quiet time and I might have some timed posts go up - only time will tell! Check it to see. More birthday posts on the way!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

My 4th Birthday

Finally, I turn 4 and get a respectable cake. Hello merry go round! Love the painstakingly-created paper top. And the ribbons. And the fact that this photo was taken on the floor because it was the only clean surface. (I have this information from a reliable source).
Well, I have no photo of me on my 4th birthday, because somebody wasn't too camera-happy that day. But here is me a week earlier, on my first day of school.
I think I should try pigtails again....