Archive | November, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving from Denver!

28 Nov

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Solo projects: Fall baking in Portland

9 Nov

Happy Fall, everyone! It’s been a busy October and early November. After taking some time off during the summer (something about using a hot oven when it’s above 80 degrees just doesn’t seem right), I’ve jumped back into the delights of baking. And so far, I’ve made one of the fall baked goods I had on my list.

Here are three highlights from the last few weeks:

I finally tried making Bon Appetit’s butterscotch pie with curry crust. It was surprisingly delicious and well-received at a coworker get-together. (I’ve also come to a realization about my taste for fennel: only in baked goods and only when toasted or crushed to disarm the flavor.) The crust combines vanilla wafers, curry powder and toasted fennel seeds. Its savory taste plays amazingly well off the super-sweet butterscotch filling, which is nothing more than a caramel custard with gelatin. All dressed up with whipped cream and cashews, I couldn’t have hoped for a prettier pie.

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For Halloween, I couldn’t resist reprising the pumpkin gingerbread recipe Hannah and I made a few years ago. This year, my mom sent me a combo cookie cutter-stamp set for making GingerDEAD men, so naturally I had to try these out. My frosting technique could use some practice, but they tasted great and weren’t too crunchy. Just the right amount of cakey texture, which is how I prefer gingerbread cookies. The recipe calls for pumpkin pie spice, and I tried an experimental mixture of my own this year. Basically, I adapted the recipes from The Kitchn, whose baking and cooking tutorials I adore, and My Baking Addiction, while adding some cardamom instead of mace. I’ll always make my own from now on. Couldn’t be simpler.

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Armed with quite a bit of leftover icing from the gingerdead men, I decided that hot cross buns would be the perfect way to use the extra. On Nov. 1, All Saints’ Day, my mother would often make us “saint cakes,” which are actually just hot cross buns. They’re typically more associated with Easter and Lent than All Saint’s Day, but the two baked goods are pretty similar. Plus, these ones are a yeast bread, which makes them extra flavorful. Egg wash always gives these such a lovely sheen.

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With the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap getting underway this month and Thanksgiving quickly approaching, I’m sure to spend more time in the kitchen on everything from cookies to pies. Figuring out which recipes to use will be the hard part, but I’ll keep you posted on all my November baking adventures.