Nanaimo Bars

January 27, 2010

I’ve never been to Canada, but if they make these bars there, maybe it’s worth taking a trip.


The January 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Lauren of Celiac Teen. Lauren chose Gluten-Free Graham Wafers and Nanaimo Bars as the challenge for the month. The sources she based her recipe on are 101 Cookbooks and www.nanaimo.ca.

These were delicious.  True, you have to like coconut, but I hear you can replace that with Rice Crispies if you can’t stand it.  Making the bars themselves was pretty easy.  My only difficulties came in spreading on the chocolate.  The real challenge was the homemade graham crackers.  These were supposed to be gluten free, but as a young, high-school aged kid, I don’t have a ton of money (or time) to spend on finding rare and exotic types of flours.  One day, I’ll have all the time in the world to scour the shelves of whole foods with my inoordinate amounts of money buying chickpea flour and gluten-free mixes, but until then…. I have to stick with whole wheat.  =[ Read the rest of this entry »

Star Bread

December 27, 2009

This beautiful bread is actually from Thanksgiving.  Yes, I am horribly behind on blogging.  What with Nutcracker, Thanksgiving, Nutcracker, homework, make-up work, Christmas shopping, Christmas baking, Christmas, and cleaning my room (hey, that was quite an accomplishment!), I haven’t had time for much else!

I love these pictures, because I didn’t take them!  My mom, realizing how important it is to me to get a nice picture for my blog, sprinkled powdered sugar on this and took it outside in the natural light to photograph it.  She wanted to eat it for breakfast, and was awake long before I was!  I would have to say, she and my grandma did a beautiful job with the photography.

I was excited about this bread because of its unique shape.  The baking pan I used was 50 cents at a Columbus Day yard sale in my town.  I love deals!

And speaking of baking pans, I have a brand new tart pan and six new ramekins from Santa.  Souffles, lemon tarts, and chocolate lava cakes, here I come!

One more note from the past holiday.  For Thanksgiving dinner I made sweet potato pie from Smitten Kitchen and dutch apple pie from Steadfast Cooking.  The sweet potato pie was not very good.  I was surprised, as usually I love Smitten Kitchen’s recipes.  It could have been something I did (I used handmade buttermilk, not storebought), but it wasn’t nearly sweet or flavorful enough for me.  Maybe my sweet potatoes just weren’t that good.  The apple pie, on the other hand, was a gigantic hit.  It was unique enough to separate itself from the other pies on the table, and classic enough to please the crowd.  I strongly, strongly recommend it, and will be making it again and again.

I hope everybody’s holiday baking is going well.  I’m off to bake some goodies for Share Our Strength’s bake sale.  Baked goods for a good cause!

Shoot, I wish I had the recipe for that bread.  It was delicious!  Maybe I’ll find it in one of my cupboards and be able to post it.  Boo!

Cannolis, um, Cannoli!

November 30, 2009

Did you know that to discuss multiple cannoli you just say “cannoli” ?  There’s none of this adding an “s” business.  In fact, when discussing one cannoli, the proper way to mention it is by saying “cannolo.”  Fascinating, I know.  Just how the singular of biscotti (notice, no “s”‘ again) is biscotto. And octopus is not octopusses, it’s octopi, and goose is geese not gooses, and…

I could go on and on with wordplay, but I learned so many other things about making cannolis cannoli that I think it’s much more important to share those.

The November 2009 Daring Bakers Challenge was chosen and hosted by Lisa Michele ofParsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives. She chose the Italian Pastry, Cannolo (Cannoli is plural), using the cookbooks Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and The Sopranos Family Cookbook by Allen Rucker; recipes by Michelle Scicolone, as ingredient/direction guides. She added her own modifications/changes, so the recipe is not 100% verbatim from either book.

Recipe can be found here. Read the rest of this entry »

All Things Fall

November 11, 2009

vibrantcolor

As fall comes around, I start to get really excited about the apples and pumpkin just waiting to be baked.  I dream of pumpkin pies, apple crisps, and other classic desserts.  I also start school, which makes it very difficult to transform any of these dreams into reality.  I went apple picking a total of zero times this fall, and didn’t even have time to carve a pumpkin.

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However, I have diligently squeezed in time to make a few fall-themed goodies.  I am a pumpkin lover (we have about 4 giant cans in our pantry right now), so I will add pumpkin to everything!  My first experiment was chocolate pumpkin cream cheese swirl muffins.  Whew, that’s a mouthful.  I actually made these low-fat, and was not one-hundred percent happy with the texture.  They were a tiny bit dry.  I think adding more pumpkin (or more fat, if you want to) would easily solve this.  The taste, on the other hand, was delicious, and they looked so pretty!

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Belated Birthday

November 1, 2009

Happy birthday to me, happy birthday… Wait, wasn’t that more than a month ago?

Blowing out Candles

I turned seventeen (17!) on September 12th.  I had an amazing birthday party.  A bunch of my friends came over and we had a scavenger hunt.  Some of the items on the list; a teacher’s signature from our high school, an item of baby clothing, something on sale, a toy, and a picture with a sophomore at our school.  “And who won?” you ask.  Well, we tied, but the other team cheated.  We drove to a local restaurant to pick up the sophomore from the place where he works and went inside to search for him where he told us he’d be.  Strangely enough, we learned he had already left.  We returned home sophomoreless, only to find the other team had kidnapped him!  No fair.  We got a picture with a picture of him, which earned us half-credit, and they forgot to get a picture for one of their items, for which they received half-credit.  But really, we should have won.

Regardless, it was a fun activity.  The best part was, all the items like the baby clothes, toys, and articles of winter clothing were donated to a charity afterwards.  What a great use of my birthday!

mintbrownie

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Mess of a Macaron

October 31, 2009

macaronhand

Macarons huh?  I’ve seen these little guys plenty of times while putting off my homework and browsing foodgawker.  I always wondered about them, and lo-and-behold, here they were as our Daring Baker’s Challenge.  After some research I realized just how difficult these can be.  There are infinite methods of making them and billions of recipes.  I stuck with the recipe of Claudia Fleming’s that we were provided with, but made them chocolate (I added about 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder) and filled them with a delicious cookie dough frosting, courtesy of Lovin’ From the Oven.

The 2009 October Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Ami S. She chose macarons from Claudia Fleming’s The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern as the challenge recipe.

THE DARING COOKS OCTOBER 2009 CHALLENGE: MACAROONS

Read the rest of this entry »

Busy

October 25, 2009

I miss my blog!  It’s a good thing I have Daring Bakers challenges that will assure that I complete at least one post per month.  With school, homework, and dance there just is absolutely no extra time for uploading pictures and writing on here.  I have a post from September that I still want to add.  Gosh, I’ll get around to it sometime, I promise!

In the meantime, here’s some of what I’ve been baking in my very limited free time.

Oh, and also, I just used my ice cream maker for the first time.  I didn’t take any pictures, unfortunately, but it was delicious.  I used David Lebovitz’s chocolate ice cream recipe and added cookie dough chunks (homemade!) and chocolate chips.  That definitely required a glass of water to wash it down.  Yummm.

Peach Streusel Muffins

recipe

I just made them low-fat by replacing the vegetable oil with applesauce.

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Hearty Apple Raisin Pecan Fall Bread

My own recipe; whole wheat quick bread, apples, raisins, toasted pecans

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Lower Fat (But Just As Delicious) Chocolate Chip Cookies

recipe

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Actually, I liked these better than some versions that use more butter; they didn’t spread as thin and weren’t greasy.

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