A couple of years ago I had the bright idea to do an issue of The Baking Sheet that baked with beer in as many ways as I could think of. My coup de grace was this Chocolate Stout Cake, the perfect indulgence for a St. Patrick’s Day party. It’s tall and majestic, a veritable Brian Boru of cakes.
archive for February, 2009
February 23rd, 2009 by
Recipe: Classic Pizzelle
I could never figure out why my in-laws wouldn’t try my pizzelle.
I mean, these traditional Italian cookies looked JUST like the ones from Boston’s North End, the sentimental “hometown” of every eastern Massachusetts Italian-American. Super-crisp, buttery, golden rounds, they’re a mainstay at every Italian holiday table, from Thanksgiving (turkey and spaghetti and pizzelle) to Christmas (roast beef and ravioli and pizzelle), to Easter (ham and lasagna and pizzelle).
So why wouldn’t my mother-in-law at least sample mine? read the rest of this entry »
February 22nd, 2009 by
I’ve always believed the two words go together like bacon and eggs, or bread and butter. “Brioche is hard to make, hard to work with, and, well… fussy.”
Or so I thought. Till my Web teammates forced me to make brioche. And now I’m kicking myself for having avoided this simple, lush bread, lo these many years. read the rest of this entry »
February 21st, 2009 by
Recipe: Hot Cross Buns
How do you track the seasons? By the temperature outdoors? The quality of light pouring in the window as you sit at the breakfast table? Or perhaps by which of your favorite professional teams is in action. (Go Sox!)
Me, I track the seasons by what’s for sale just inside the entry doors at Kmart; and what’s featured in the supermarket’s in-store bakery. read the rest of this entry »
February 20th, 2009 by
Recipe: Irish Soda Bread Muffins
Why is it that all of us Irish-Americans seem so nostalgic about the Emerald Isles, yet we seize every opportunity to change its native foods?
Take potatoes, for instance. Back at the turn of the last century, when many of our Irish forebears were fleeing both the aftermath of the Famine, and British rule, a typical treatment of potatoes was boiled. Not diced and boiled and served with butter and fresh parsley. Not whipped and mashed with roasted garlic. Just… boiled. read the rest of this entry »
February 17th, 2009 by
Recipe: No-Knead Pizza Crust
Sure, I have many pairs of shoes. Evenly divided between rubber Crocs (blue, pink, purple), and rubber boots (snow this high, snow THIS high, mud season). I’ve never had any desire to wear high heels. My feet and stilettos? Never the twain shall meet.
So I’m tickled on the rare occasions when chic and I cross paths. Like now, with no-knead pizza dough the hottest thing sweeping NYC since… well, since the last hottest thing to sweep NYC, whatever that was. (Foam? I know, SO ’90s…) read the rest of this entry »
February 15th, 2009 by
Recipe: Homemade Pasta with Sage Butter
Nothing says “comfort” to me like a big plate of pasta with butter, salt, pepper, and a bit of grated Parmesan cheese. Unless it’s pasta with alfredo sauce. Or fresh tomato sauce. Or maybe pasta with fresh spinach and tomatoes, with a few hunks of mozzarella cheese just barely melting on top.
OK, I confess all pasta is comfort food to me and my family. Like most folks, I used to use boxed pasta, and probably overcooked it 90% of the time; but it still tasted good to us. read the rest of this entry »
February 12th, 2009 by
Recipe: Guaranteed Fudge Brownies
Pizza. Spaghetti and meatballs. Cinnamon toast. Fried rice. Brownies.
What do these apparently random dishes all have in common?
They’re on my personal list of Foods I’ll Never Grow Tired Of.
I could eat any of these foods every day, any time of the day. Fried rice for breakfast? Done that. Cinnamon toast with the 11 p.m. news? Comfort, baby. Spaghetti and meatballs (pizza on the side) after church on Sunday? It doesn’t get any better. read the rest of this entry »
February 9th, 2009 by
Recipe: Lemon Love Buns
Valentine’s Day is customarily celebrated with chocolate. In fact, about a billion dollars’ worth of chocolate is sold worldwide, every year, to mark this holiday. Those pastel conversation hearts (“Love You,” “My Baby”) trail chocolate by a mile, while cinnamon “red-hots” and Valentine Marshmallow Peeps, though favored by some, aren’t even in the same league with chocolate.
So, for those who don’t actively love chocolate, what’s a suitably celebratory alternative? After all, a box of artisan chocolates, a chocolate heart-shaped cake, chocolate-dipped strawberries—these all bespeak time spent, caring, the energy of love.
But Marshmallow Peeps? As much as my husband craves them (which is a lot), I don’t feel quite right pledging my everlasting love to him with a 50¢ box of heart-shaped Peeps. read the rest of this entry »
February 8th, 2009 by
Recipe: Easy Strawberry Shortcake Trifle
Oh, no. There’s that word again, that five-letter word that I NEVER want to see linked with my favorite pastime, baking.
Fancy baking. Think shaping perfect roses out of sugar fondant. Applying meringue to the top of a pie in masterful swirls, then creating equidistant, droop-top peaks. Or how about a six-strand challah whose shape leaves ASOLUTELY NOTHING to be desired?
I don’t have the skill, the patience, nor the time for fancy baking. In my book, “How does it look?” is way, WAY down the list from “How does it taste?” read the rest of this entry »