Thursday, May 19, 2011

Pistachio Cake

This recipe for Pistachio Cake comes from The pistachio flavor is faint, but is complemented by cardamom spice. The combo of the two flavors give the cake an Indian flair.

I followed other readers' comments and decreased the sugar to 3/4 cup, only used 1 cup of pistachios, and decreased the butter to 1/2 cup.

The resulting cake is more of a tea cake, and not your typical fatty, rich, layer cake.

It's dainty.

I topped it with fresh whipped cream, flavored with a bit of raspberry extract, and tinted pink with a drop of red food coloring.

Be warned: Shelling all the pistachios is a pain in the butttttttttt!

(Though the original recipe calls for the cake to be baked in a rectangle pan, I baked it in two 9" round pans for 18 min.)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Oreo (noun) Two crisp chocolate wafer cookies sandwiched together by vanilla cream.

Back in January, I visited Flour bakery in Boston where they offered homemade oreo cookies. Intrigued, I had to try one. Their cookies were similar to oreos, but the chocolate wafers tasted extremely buttery and much thicker, more like a shortbread. They were good, but not exact replicas of my favorite cookie. Taking matters into my own hands, I googled Oreo recipes as soon as I got home and decided I must try to make them myself. I've had this recipe sitting around for a few months now and I finally tried it today.

I usually tend to stay away from making complicated cookies, especially the ones calling for multiple steps (aka. make dough, bake cookies, make filling, build cookie, clean up giant mess)...ack. But working the night shift at the paper today left me with plenty of time to kill this morning.

These cookies proved they were worth the effort. The chocolate wafers were thin, but not brittle thin, and the buttercream filling was the perfect consistency. I am happy with the way these turned out! Who needs Nabisco??

Homemade Oreos

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) room- temperature, unsalted butter
1 large egg

Vanilla-Cream Filling
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) room-temperature, unsalted butter
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Set two racks in the middle of the oven. Preheat to 375 degrees.

In a food processor, or bowl of an electric mixer, thoroughly mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda and powder, salt, and sugar. While pulsing, or on low speed, add the butter, and then the egg. Continue processing or mixing until dough comes together in a mass.

Take rounded teaspoons of batter and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet approximately 2 inches apart. With moistened hands, slightly flatten the dough. Bake for 9 minutes, rotating once for even baking. Set baking sheets on a rack to cool.

To make the cream, place butter and shortening in a mixing bowl, and at low speed, gradually beat in the sugar and vanilla. Turn the mixer on high and beat for 2-3 minutes until filling is light and fluffy.

To assemble the cookies, in a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch, round tip, pipe teaspoon-size blobs of cream into the center of one cookie. Place another cookie, equal in size to the first, on top of the cream. Lightly press, to work the filling evenly to the outsides of the cookie. Continue process until all the cookies have been sandwiched with cream.

Makes 30 sandwich cookies.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Bridal shower cookies

With MLF in the UK, I was left on my own to bake and frost a batch of custom bridal shower sugar cookies. After 4+ hours in the kitchen, I emerged with these wedding cake and wedding dress cookies.... and a GIANT mess of a kitchen. With MLF's help, I probably could have finished decorating these cookies in a jiffy AND had a cleaned-up kitchen in no time. I miss him.

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Lemon cupcakes with lemon buttercream frosting. It's a yellow lemon theme, fyi. :)

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Red velvetly goodness

Red velvet cake is one of my favorites. I can't say why. Maybe it's the shocking color. Or maybe it's the hard-to-put-your-finger-on-it flavor. The cake has cocoa powder in it which makes it taste slightly like a chocolate cake, though it don't really taste that chocolatey. It tastes smooth, sweet, and rich. Red velvet cake recipes differ widely in proportions of ingredients and secret ingredients, but they will always call for buttermilk, vinegar and of course, red food coloring!

The bright red batter is quite a fun change from the usual white or chocolate battered cakes.

This pic makes them look browner than they really were. In real life, they were actually pretty red!
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Get Low, low, low, low, low, low, low

It's mid-July and here I am catching up on early month posts. Oops. Anyway...For the Fourth of July, MLF and I, along with a few friends, made trips to Charleston and Asheville. The cuisine of Charleston can be summerized in two words: low country or new South. Menus abounded with oversize biscuits, fancy egg benedicts with crab cake, stuffed french toast, fresh seafood, coconut cake, and the butteriest mac and cheese, all served with a large helping of Southern hospitality. When it comes to eating in the former British colony, it's hard to go wrong. The number of exceptional restaurants to pick from is amazing. The few we ate at were The Peninsula Grill, Poogan's Porch, Cru Cafe and Sermet's. We didn't have one complaint- and that's a big deal for us!

An oversized biscuit at Poogan's Porch.

MLF started off one day with a ridiculously large portion of peaches and cream-stuffed french toast with warm syrup at the Palmetto restaurant in the Charleston Place Hotel.

Beautifully prepared eggs benedict with Canadian ham.

THE best mac and cheese in the world. So rich it could have been dessert. Be sure to get this at the Cru Cafe, located on Motley St.
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Thursday, June 12, 2008

For father's day

For the biggest peanut/peanut brittle/peanut butter - loving person I know, my dad, I made some peanut butter chocolate chip cookies this morning. These cookies are a cross between chocolate chip cookies and classic peanut butter criscross cookies. The peanut butter adds a slightly sandy texture to these crunchy-crispy soft-in-the-middle cookies. A healthy dose of chocolate chips thrown into the batter gives these cookies some gooey goodness. I know they weren't made for me, but I ate some anyway. I love these!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

* 1/2 cup of butter (1 stick), softened
* 1/4 cup of brown sugar
* 1/4 cup of white sugar
* 1/2 cup of peanut butter (I used creamy)
* 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
* 1 egg
* 1 1/4 cup of flour
* 1/2 tsp baking soda
* 1/2 tsp baking powder
* 1/4 tsp salt
* 1 cup of semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. In a large mixer, cream butter, peanut putter, sugars and vanilla. Add the egg and mix until light & fluffy. In another bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt - mix thoroughly. Slowly add the dry ingredients into the butter mixture, stirring continuously. Add chocolate chips and combine. Drop spoonfuls of cookie dough on the baking sheet and press the center of the cookie with a fork. Bake for 10-11 minutes.

For a pic, see "For the Love of Cooking's" post of the same cookies at: