by Samantha Seneviratne in Recipes, November 24th, 2015
by Samantha Seneviratne in Recipes, November 17th, 2015
I can’t close my cupboards. Baking pans and rolling pins stick their sharp edges against the doors and make it impossible for me to tidy up. Metal mixing bowls roll out and topple onto the floor every day. I have stacks of rimmed baking sheets resting precariously against the wall just waiting to topple and crush my toes. I know I have too much baking equipment, and I fantasize about making a change. I plan for one glorious day when I’ll sort through the piles and take stock of what I truly need. I’ll create a clean and clutter-free work environment. Does any baker really need 12 offset spatulas?
When that day finally comes, I know the one pan I will surely keep. It’s not the most functional of the bunch. One might say it should be the first to go. But I will never get rid of it. It’s the one pan that just makes me smile to look at it. It’s my 9-inch fluted tart pan with the removable bottom. Amidst all of my overflowing baking clutter, it’s my favorite.
I love it because it’s the perfect size. Nine inches of tart is plenty to feed a small crowd, but not too big to be portable. I love it because everything made in a fluted tart pan looks pretty. And I love the action of slipping off the sides to reveal a perfect fluted edge. It’s a dainty pan. It’s decorative and frilly. And it is beloved. If I could, I’d make every dessert in a 9-inch fluted tart pan.
by Samantha Seneviratne in Recipes, November 10th, 2015
I used to be afraid of yeasted recipes. When I was kid, I was desperate to bake with yeast. I wanted to enjoy the pillow-soft texture that you can get only from warm-from-the-oven, freshly baked, homemade treats. But I could never make my breads rise. There were a few likely explanations. First of all, since yeasted baking projects were an infrequent occurrence in our house, chances were that the yeast was anywhere from 1 to 21 years old. Secondly, our drafty house could be quite chilly during those long New England winters. I could barely rise out of my own warm bed every morning. How could I expect my doughs to budge? And I probably overcompensated for the temperature with boiling-hot milk, no doubt killing my yeast before things even got rolling.
Thankfully, as an adult, I’ve learned how to keep my yeast happy. I always store it in the freezer. (That keeps it fresh longer.) And if there is any doubt, I proof it before adding it to the dough. This recipe doesn’t call for proofing the yeast, but it’s easy to do. Simply dissolve the yeast in the warm milk and let it stand for 5 minutes. If the yeast gets nice and foamy, add it to the flour mixture and proceed with the recipe as written. If it doesn’t, start over with new yeast.
by Samantha Seneviratne in Recipes, November 3rd, 2015
Up until some years ago, I was a cultivated-blueberry kind of gal. I’m from Connecticut, and those fat, sweet blueberries were ubiquitous. The cultivated blueberries were the ones we picked in the patches on sticky summer days. And they were always the ones we used to dot our pancakes and load our muffins. Until recently I never gave my blueberry choice any thought. Those babies were refreshing and tasty, and I loved them.
Then I met a man from Maine. And I met his mother. I can remember one evening some years ago when said mother, Deborah, served us a rustic blueberry galette for dessert. She told us how she had gone for a hike and come across a patch of ripe wild Maine blueberries. She picked what she could, took them back home and baked them into a simple pastry crust. I was amazed. First of all, the color of those syrupy cooked blueberries was unlike anything I had seen — so deep and purple. The thick, glorious juice had bubbled up and over the edge of the crust and had caramelized seductively underneath. Second, the flavor of those wild blueberries was unique. They tasted of blueberry times 10. They were floral and savory, with the perfect jammy balance of tart and sweet. That galette was simple perfection and changed the way I looked at blueberries forever.
by Amanda Rettke in Recipes, October 28th, 2015
I think a perfect scone straddles the line between biscuit and cake. It should be neither overly sweet nor too dense. And I like it to have a bit of crumble. To me, the perfect scone is the kind of snack that would be better with a cup of tea, but not impossible to eat without it.
by Samantha Seneviratne in Recipes, October 27th, 2015
I’m going to make you a promise: This pumpkin cake will impress everyone who tries it. It will fill your kitchen with the sweet smell of homemade caramel sauce, the gentle and comforting spices of fall, and a warmth that cuts right through a bitterly cold wind. People often ask me for the recipe, and like a good Midwestern girl, I am happy to share!
by Maria Russo in Community, October 25th, 2015
I’m not sure Sylvester Graham would be happy with the addition of chocolate to his namesake cracker, but these chocolate graham crackers are wonderful nevertheless. Graham was a 19th-century Presbyterian minister who believed in vegetarianism, fresh air, fruits, vegetables and whole wheat for a healthy constitution. He was one of the early proponents of health food and invented graham bread. It was made with his special blend of whole-wheat flour and without the chemicals and bleaches that had become popular at the time.
by Samantha Seneviratne in Recipes, October 20th, 2015
On its own banana bread can be a bit of an indulgence, especially when you compare a buttered slice for breakfast against your usual morning bowl of cereal. But this week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week goes even further by introducing chocolate to the classic loaf in two decadent ways. Not only are there semisweet chips baked right into the cinnamon-laced bread, featured in Food Network Magazine, but the finished product is also blanketed in a smooth, silky glaze of cocoa powder and confectioners’ sugar.
For more sweet-tooth-satisfying recipes, check out Food Network’s Let’s Bake! board on Pinterest.
Get the Recipe: Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips and Chocolate Glaze from Food Network Magazine
by Samantha Seneviratne in Recipes, October 13th, 2015
During my junior year of high school I spent my Saturdays behind the counter of a local doughnut shop. It wasn’t a glamorous job, but I was happy surrounded by fried dough. The regulars were kind. The tips were adequate. And I was content with all the iced coffee I could guzzle during my six-hour shift.
While I rarely indulged in a doughnut during work hours, I often brought treats home for my family to share. The apple fritters were our favorites. When most people think of apple fritters, they probably imagine bucolic apple orchards, rustic baskets of overflowing, just-picked fruit and somebody’s beloved grandmother with her secret recipe. Not me. I think of the apple fritters I brought home from the smoky doughnut shop, tucked into a waxy bag and reheated in the microwave. My brother and would share a piping-hot, knobby pastry while standing up at the island in our suburban kitchen. There was nothing charming about the ritual. But the fritters were exceptionally delicious, and that’s all we cared about.
by Foodlets in Family, Recipes, October 9th, 2015
My first encounter with Boston cream pie was in doughnut form when I was in middle school. My best friend Melissa’s family had a standing Saturday doughnut-breakfast policy. It was one of my favorite parts about sleeping over her place on Friday night. Her parents would go out early Saturday morning and bring the treats back for us. While they drank coffee, we ate doughnuts in our pajamas. I always chose Boston cream and I always wished I could eat more than one.
There is something so magical about the Boston cream combination: cool, creamy custard nestled in fluffy cake and topped with bittersweet chocolate. It’s the perfect dessert for the indecisive. Chocolate, vanilla, cake and custard all wrapped up in one. It’s a genius invention.
Bake sales are about appealing to the mini masses, so you want to choose a winning recipe from the start. It should be something simple enough to make without a fuss, familiar-looking (don’t forget that most of your customers are kids) and presented with a little flair. Here’s our best advice for a sold-out sale.
What you’ll need:
- Get a platter or nice basket to display your goods. Both are universally available at every dollar store in town, so buy it there. (That way, if it never makes its way back to you, there’s no harm done.)
- Small cellophane bags with twist ties are a great way to display anything from bar cookies to small treats that might come two or three to a serving.
- Make a sign. Using big, clear letters, write out the name of your dish and, if possible, the main ingredients.