new hardware

I kept my smaller KA 4.5 qt (300 watts) mixer for small, quick mixes. But, there’s new hardware on the kitchen counter for the really big mixes!

I have not yet had the opportunity to take this machine for it’s maden whip, but I hope to make a big batch of something this weekend.

dissecting the ‘parts’

Sweet and Simple Bakes chose Chocolate Orange Drizzle Loaf Cake (recipe here) as the July 1 post recipe. As I read the recipe, the PARTS jumped off the page! Yes, I’ve been reading Michael Ruhlman’s “Ratio,” and I now find myself mathmatically analyzing recipes. (Couldn’t I just leave the math and excel spreadsheets at work!!)
It’s so simple to bake using parts. I’ve baked the ‘Old Fashioned Pound Cake’ from “Ratio” page 61. The cake was delicious, had a great texture, and was moist. This orange pound cake follows the same formula.
1 part sugar (this recipe uses 6 oz)
1 part butter
1 part eggs
1 part flour
Add a few extras, and you have Chocolate Orange Drizzle Loaf Cake.
I don’t bake with self rising flour (I forgot that the salt was included) very often, and I added 1/4 teaspoon salt with the butter sugar mixture. I also added 1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring, because I think everything needs a little vanilla. I believe these two additions enhanced the cake flavor.
I had some candied orange peel tossed in sugar in the pantry; I used this with the orange juice to make the glaze, and then strained the mixture.
There was enough batter to make 3 small cakes (pans are 4″ x 2″). I punched holes in the little cakes, and drizzled the glaze over the tops. It seeped inside the cakes to add flavor and moisture.
This recipe yields a delicious orange, orange, orange cake. I’m not fond of chocolate and orange, so I dusted my little cakes with powdered sugar.
This recipe was quick to mix and bake, yet the flavor is intense and would make one think the recipe was much more complicated.
Since this recipe can be dissected into it’s component parts, it can be scaled up or down, as the need arises.

biscotti – ebony and ivory

I never liked the biscotti for sale packaged in retail stores. But, given the opportunity to bake and taste fresh biscotti, I was an instant convert.

September 2008 I attended a Baking Bootcamp at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY (a dream week for anyone who loves to bake!). We mixed, baked, sliced, and baked again Hazelnut Biscotti (images 66-72, 78-81, 86, 87, & 107 in slideshow). Given my past experience with biscotti, my expectations related to this recipe were quite low. Why did I ever doubt Chef’s recipe? They were delicious! For the past year, I’ve searched for biscotti recipes. My latest find, which I have not yet tested, I found here – Cannoli Biscotti. My brother continually asks me to make cannoli; maybe this will be the TN substitute for the real thing he experienced in Italy.
I converted King Arthur Flour’s Vanilla Biscotti (recipe found here) to Triple Vanilla Biscotti by using vanilla sugar and adding the seeds from one vanilla bean. This is a pure and simple, crumbly, slightly crunchy biscotti. It’s delicious!
Chocolate Lover’s Biscotti is just that. The recipe (found here) is just a link click away, in Sydney, Australia. My only deviation from the printed recipe was the use of 100g Green & Black 70% cocoa, since that’s what was in the pantry. Using really good cocoa gives this biscotti a rich, chocolate goodness. I used Pernigotti Cocoa Powder, found at Williams-Sonoma.
The aroma of rich brownies drifted through the house while the biscotti baked. I did bake them 5 extra minutes on the first bake. The longer they cool, the easier they are to slice for the second bake. I laid them on a cooling rack inside a sheet pan, and baked 20 additional minutes on each side (look closely and you can see the line marks in the photo above). Maybe next time I’ll stand them on the cooling rack, or maybe not. The lines give them ‘character’ or portion control marks if restraint is in your vocabulary.

almost a vanilla wafer – but not

Do you see the sunlight, flowing through the cookie?

My uncle gave me the rolling pin years ago; he said it belonged to my grandmother, who was born in 1891.
A Betty Crocker recipe from the 1940′s – “Caramel Refrigerator Cookies.” (Original recipe from “Betty Crocker’s Cooky Book”.) I found the recipe here, from Laura in Idaho.
As I mixed the dough, the ingredients reminded me of chocolate chip cookies without the chocolate chips. But the flavor of the baked cookies is not that of chocolate chip cookies sans chocolate chips.
Sliced 1/8 inch thick, they are crunchy; sliced 1/4 inch thick, they are chewy. I have decided to describe them as caramelized brown sugar. There’s something about the cookies that makes you want ‘just one more.’
Simple…a connection with the past…


I’ve completed another “Ratio” baking adventure.  These lemon pound cakes follow the parts as listed on page 61 – 62 of M. Ruhlman’s “Ratio;” however, I added the zest, juice, and PULP of 2 large lemons to the batter. 

I doubled the recipe, and I probably should have added more lemon juice/pulp/zest, but the amount I used gave a nice subtle twang of lemon to the cakes.  And, the pulp baked into little brown flecks on the edge of the cakes. 
I don’t own 9″ loaf pans; I used 2 – 8 1/2″ loaf pans, 2 – 3″ round cake pans, and the remaining small portion of batter I baked in a sugar coated ramakin, which became my personal, hot-out-of-the-oven ‘test cake’ as my grandmother called them years ago.  I highly recommend the ‘test cake’ in all baking routines.
I didn’t glaze the pound cakes while they were hot and fresh out of the oven.  Even without the glaze they are not dry.  I think the glaze would be an added plus to the taste, and will probably glaze the next pound cakes I bake.
Here’s a quick list of parts, but I highly recommend you read the book.  The possibilities are endless.
1 part butter  (I used 16 oz)
1 part sugar
1 part eggs*
1 part flour 
2 t. salt 
2 t. vanilla
lemon zest, pulp, and juice
*Here’s a note about the eggs from my market.  Large eggs are weighing under 2 oz and extra large eggs are weighing 2 oz.  That’s about .25 oz less than what I have read is a standard.
Use the scale to weigh the ingredients.  You should be very pleased with the results.   

natural light

Here’s a peak at one corner of my kitchen.  Late in the afternoon, wonderful natural light flows through 4 large windows into this corner.  It’s my own ‘lightbox.’  

foodgawker post #28441

I’m honored to have another entry accepted for posting on one of the ‘foodie’ sites.  Here’s the link to foodgawker’s sight.  If you are looking for anything to cook, check out their site.  The pictures are so inspiring, and you are immediately linked to the blog post.

Be inspired today!

Val’s Summertime Sweet Tea

This recipe rests through the winter months on the inside flap of my KitchenAid Mixer cookbook; but, when summertime arrives, out comes the recipe.

My friend, Valerie, gave me this recipe years ago.  It provides just the right ‘quench’ to that summertime heat – dry, hot, thirst we all have here in the South.
This is a Southern, pass it along, kind of recipe.  So, there will not be precise measurements.  I’m writing this blog post the way I hear her instructing me in my head.
In a gallon jug (glass is prettier, but all I have is plastic – it works just fine), mix 3 quarts of cool tap water and 7 regular size Lipton tea bags.  Sit the jug out in the sun all day and let the tea steep.
Bring the jug inside, and remove the tea bags, squeezing to extract all the tea’s essence. (As hot as it gets here in the South, most of that essence was extracted hours ago.)
To this water/tea steeped mixture, add 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar (the original recipe uses 2 cups granulated sugar here.  The South loves their sweet tea, but that’s just a little too much sweet for me!)  Stir well to dissolve the sugar.
Add 1 cup white grape juice
Add 1 package Kool Aid Lemonade mix.
Stir well to combine all ingredients.
Place in refrigerator to get really cold.

I like this served in a tall glass with very little ice (glass above is from Grandmother Pearl, who was born in 1891).  The ice dilutes the Summertime Sweet Tea too much, in my opinion.
Thanks, Valerie. 

Here’s a glass of tea to you.

let’s compare some ‘sandy’ sables

(the little coffee cup is 2″ tall)

What is a sable?

My CIA notebook has a recipe for Pecan Sables as follows:
cake flour
no egg
3 parts butter
1 part sugar
1 part cream
1.2 parts flour
refrigerate, slice and bake 
(these were very good)
Baking and Pastry from CIA has a recipe for Sand Cookies:
all purpose flour
no egg
2.7 parts butter
1 part powdered sugar
3.8 parts flour
refrigerate, slice and bake
Viking “Around the World Cookie Swap” lists French Sables Korova:
all purpose flour
no egg
.8 part flour
1 part butter
1 part sugar
refrigerate, slice and bake
(I remember these cookies melting/dissolving in my mouth upon the first bite.)
Joy of Baking lists sable ingredients as:
all purpose flour
1 parts butter
.7 part sugar
1 egg
2 parts flour
refrigerate, slice and bake
Then there is the recipe I followed:
bread flour
1 part butter
.4 part powdered sugar
.2 part egg white
1.1 part flour
pipe with large star tip and bake
I chose this recipe ( ”Butter cookies-sables a la poche-sand in your pocket” found at Baked By Me) because the pictures of the sables on the I Bake What I Like blog were beautiful and quite inspiring.  I didn’t compare ingredient parts (I’ve been reading “Ratio” by Michael Ruhlman and now I’m converting everything to …parts!) ;  I just assumed a sable was a sable.  Bread flour is used in this recipe to help the cookies hold their shape when piped with a large star tip.  The cookies did pipe beautifully, and held their shape after baking.  But, the cookies did not dissolve in my mouth as other sables have.  And, the next time I bake these, I would add much more vanilla, or another flavoring. 

As I said, I baked these because they were – pretty.  I have lemon curd in the freezer.  These cookies would be quite tasty sandwiched together with lemon curd. 
(the mini cupcake holder is about 2″ wide)

I still don’t know what a sable should be…but these cookies are so cute!