Archive | Baking RSS feed for this section

The 2011 SAVEUR Best Food Blog Awards: The Winners

12 Jun

While I certainly haven’t had time to look through all of these, a few of my favorite blogs did jump out at me while perusing the 2011 Saveur Best Food Blog Awards including Smitten Kitchen (see previous post) and La Tartine Gourmande. yum.


Kentucky Derby Pies

6 May

I agreed to bring dessert for Sunday’s Kentucky Derby Party at a friend’s house. I recalled a Derby Pie made by a Louisville native in an anthropology class a decade ago. The assignment was to bring food from your part of America. Her Derby Pie killed my Pennsylvania Dutch Funny Cake. As I researched Derby Pie, I learned that the original “Derby Pie” recipe  is a closely guarded secret, and the name can only be applied to this specific incarnation. However, there are many variations, and recipes for nut-and-chocolate-Kentucky pie abound. I found my recipe on, which directed me to I picked the recipe that called for the most bourbon.

Kentucky Bourbon-Chocolate-Pecan Pie

And because anything worth doing is worth overdoing, I decided to make a second pie. I got some frozen blueberries at the grocery store and decided to riff on the fresh strawberry pie I made a few weeks ago. While I always prefer fresh, organic fruit from the Farmer’s Market, frozen is actually the next best substitute. Fruit (and vegetables) destined for the freezer section are picked at the peak of their freshness and frozen immediately (unlike “fresh” produce which is picked too early then shipped). This means the produce tastes better and has more vitamins and minerals, because it has had time to properly develop and ripen.

Using a recipe from the Good Food radio show, I simply substituted the blueberries for strawberries. For the strawberry pie, I used a crumb crust, but for this I made a butter-pastry crust, which is the same one I used for the Kentucky pie. The small twist on the blueberry pie was adding a pinch of cinnamon and ancho chili powder to the vanilla bean in the recipe.  The key here is to add subtle complexity without actually tasting the chili or cinnamon.

Laura's Blueberry Pie


white and dark hearted brownies from smitten kitchen

12 Feb

Perfect for Valentine’s Day- whether you give them to someone else or you give them to yourself.  white and dark hearted brownies | smitten kitchen.

And PS, don’t sneer at blond brownies. A good blond brownie is as delicious as a chocolate one. Just think caramel versus chocolate.

Popa’s Scones

12 Jan

My grandfather, bless his heart, true to most men of his generation, would never lift a finger in the kitchen. So the day Gramma came home from work and discovered my retired grandfather making muffins, she nearly fell over. I guess there was only so many days he could play golf. Later in life, and perhaps feeling nostalgic for his Scottish birthplace,  he began making scones as well. Since my Mom is visiting this week, we decided to break out Popa’s Scone recipe and give it a try.

dry ingredients with butter cut in

dry ingredients with butter cut in

After preheating the oven to 375 degrees, I mixed 2.5 cups of flour (a combination of white and whole wheat), 2 teaspoons of baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda. Cut in one stick of butter.

Stir in 1 cup of raisins (or other dried fruit). I used cherry-flavored craisins.

Mix in 1/4 cup of honey, 1/4 cup of yogurt, 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla, and one egg plus one yolk. Reserve the egg white for brushing on top.

dough before kneading

dough before kneading

Turn the dough out onto your countertop and knead the dough a few times to fully incorporate all of the dry ingredients. Shape the dough into a round, approximately one inch thick. Brush the egg white onto the dough, then slice it into six wedges.
raw scones

raw scones

Put the wedges onto a baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes.
I usually don’t bother with egg or milk washes, but in this case I was replicating Popa’s recipe, so I dabbed on the egg wash with my fingers. (I don’t have a kitchen brush.)
The scones turned out buttery and delicious. In fact, they were much more buttery and flaky than Popa’s originals. Mom thinks they may have used margarine rather than real butter. Use whatever you have on hand.
finished scones

toasty scones and steaming coffee

Baking Backup

2 Jan

BakingSOS Answers is a cool resource for all of your baking woes. Cracked pumpkin pies? Broken buttercream? Find your fixes at this wonderful site.

Another of my favorite baking resources is Bakewise by Shirley Corriher. I made her Lava Cookies this weekend. They were so dense and chewy- almost a cross between a cookie and a brownie. Bakewise is a “baking for geeks” ultimate book. Between the recipes, Corriher explains the chemistry behind baking. By knowing the chemistry, you can always make great baked goods.


%d bloggers like this: