Piyaz


Let me eat cake
April 26, 2007, 9:22 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

birthday cake!!!

With a birthday coming up and too much time on my hands, it was quickly decided that I should really make my birthday cake. Let’s not mention that it has been more than five years since I’ve made a layered cake, but this one caught my heart. Three layers of almond cake, chocolate ganache in the middle, almond praline for a little crunch, and creamy dreamy mascarpone cheese frosting. At that point, I knew exactly what cake I wanted and I also knew that I could not buy it from somebody else. Time to get into the kitchen.

Alas, not all was so easy. I quickly realized I lost my cake pan, so a new one was in order. I’ve been considering getting a deeper pan for a while to make upside-down cake that always leak in the springform, so this was as good a time as any. A late evening trip to the local Sur La Table resulted in a 3-inch deep cake pan, 2 cans of almond paste, an offset spatula, a new set of tongs, a large bill, and a big happy smile. Really, it is impossible for me to walk into a grocery store or a cooking supply store without leaving with far more items than I fully intended to purchase.

Over the next couple of days, the cake came together. Decorating was especially fun, and then I stored it under an inverted bowl and peeked to visit the cake once in a while. It must have been all that sugar in the air, because I was giddy the entire cake-making time. It has been said before that I’m easily amused.

And, the flavor, you ask. Well, I liked it and it was very well received at the dinner party. But I did not love it, not the way that I thought I would. The ganache does not provide enough moisture for the almond layers and I found myself reaching for the frosting on the sides. Next time, it will be frosting between the layers, and the ganace poured over the top. Sounds like a good thing to me.

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What’s not to love
April 23, 2007, 3:47 am
Filed under: Cookies

 

 

Essentially trail mix
My sister recently reminded me of cookies that I made a couple of years ago. As soon as she mentioned those oatmeal cookies with flax, nuts, and dried fruit, I had visions of crispy, chewy, yet healthy bytes dancing in my head. Being a complete sucker for requests, especially from dear family members, I set out to find that recipe and make them again. Alas, the cookies were a result of a modification and I could not even find the original. Many pages of Google searches and multiple Epicurious.com recipes later still did not recover the original, but definitely gave us a new favorite. Replacing the all purpose flour with whole wheat gave the cookies more toothsome texture while keeping the butter and the sugar ensured they stayed a treat. The rest was easy with roasted pecans, currants, dried cranberries, and apricots going into the mix. Add to that some chocolate chips, and my friends, what’s not to love. Feel free to mix in your favorite dried fruits, or nuts, or chocolate. The resulting product is essentially trail mix, barely held together by bits of batter, which makes a perfect snack or even breakfast with a coffee and a yogurt.

What’s not to love oatmeal cookies

Adapted from Gourmet, January 1993

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 large egg, beaten lightly
1/2 teaspoon baking soda dissolved in 1 tablespoon warm water
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups of old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup currants
1/2 cup dried cranberries 1 cup chopped roasted pecans 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

In a large bowl cream the butter with the brown sugar and beat in the egg, the baking soda mixture, the flour, the salt, and the vanilla. Stir in the oats, the apricots, the currants, the cranberries, the pecans, the chocolate chips and combine the dough well. Drop rounded tablespoons of the dough about 2 inches apart onto greased baking sheets. Bake the cookies in batches in the middle of a preheated 375°F. oven 8 to 10 minutes, or until they are golden, transfer them with a spatula to racks, and let them cool.