my clementines – not the song

The recipe uses the entire clementine, including the peel. I had never tasted a clementine, and baking with the entire fruit sounded interesting.

As I read in one of the foodie blogs, “the clementine is this cake.” It’s true. From the aroma to the texture to the taste – it’s all clementine.
The cake is made with almond meal. This meal has a course texture, much unlike our wheat flour. I like the added texture the almond meal provides in this cake.
As the recipe states, let this cake sit for a couple of days. I have tasted the cake directly from the oven and also a couple of days later. It is much better after it rests for a couple of days.
Nigella’s receipe can be found here.

pecan domed rum cake

Real bakers don’t use cake mixes – - silly me for thinking such.

As I reached for the cake mix box on the grocer’s shelf, all I could think about was, ‘what preservatives and words that I cannot pronounce are ingredients in this box?’
I followed the old, traditional Bacardi Rum Cake recipe, which can be found numerous places on the internet. I must confess that, even though this recipe includes a cake mix, the cake is really good. I chose spiced rum, because ‘spiced’ is what fall baking is all about.
I would like to try a different recipe that does not use a cake mix, but I’m baking another rum cake next week, and I’ve already purchased the box mix. It works…what can I say?
These cakes were baked in the William’s Sonoma cranberry molds. They made cute little bundts. A word of caution – don’t overfill the pan. I know this from experience!

Milky Way Madness…

…as in, this has been driving me crazy for years! No one can make the cake like Mama did, and she can no longer offer instructions.

Once again, Nephew only asked for one thing – a Milky Way cake like “Granny’s.” (I can’t make it like Granny did!!! Aunt Gale replies)
This year was about the 4th year to try this beast of a cake. Monday night, I baked the cake in a bundt pan, I think to exert my power. (I’ll show you, you thin, moist cake layers of Granny’s past.) The cake was very firm, actually hard, on the outside. I tasted a pinch of the cake; it tasted like cardboard. It contains a cup of crisco; what can taste good with that much crisco?
I deviated from Mom’s icing recipe slightly, and was pleased with the result. I had great icing on a bundt that I had sliced into three very uneven layers. As an aside, carefully mark the layers if you slice a bundt. Otherwise, the wheel of a bundt becomes a puzzle; needless to say, I didn’t put the puzzle back together correctly.
It’s now Wednesday night before Thanksgiving. Nephew is expecting Milky Way cake (like Granny’s %*$&%#). I have an uneven mound of dark chocolate mass that looks like it has a cyst on the top (thank you, Brother, for pointing that out). Cardboard with good icing in an ugly shape…headed home for Thanksgiving.
Nephew looks at the cake and asks, “What is that?”
By some Miracle!, the warm, moist icing soaked into the cardboard cake layers, and resulted in a heavy, dense, moist Milky Way cake with good (soft on the inside, hard on the outside) icing.
A (freeking) Mazing!!!!
Niece and Nephew think “This is it!”
Brother gave me a 96%; would have given 100% he said, had the cake not had a cyst on the top.
So, after years of trying – - success.

Definitely let the cake sit for a couple of days before cutting. The icing moistens the dull cake layers. (The cake was even better on Friday.)
Even though the (my) cake is not very pretty, it is really delicious. A small piece goes a long way, for it is very rich. Chocolate lovers should try this recipe.
Here’s Mom’s recipe for the cake:
6 Milky Way candy bars
1 stick oleo
Melt and let cool slightly
1 c. Crisco
2 c. sugar
4 whole eggs
Beat well
2 1/2 c. plain flour
pinch salt
1 1/2 c. buttermilk with 1/2 t. soda added
Beat all; add Milky Way mixture
Bake in layers at 350 degrees
Here’s the recipe I used for the icing; it’s Mom’s recipe, with the addition of extra milk and sugar:

2½ cups granulated sugar

1 cup evaporated milk

1 stick butter (1/2 cup)

1 cup marshmallow cream

6 oz chocolate chips

Combine sugar and evaporated milk; cook to soft ball stage. Remove from heat; add butter, marshmallow cream, and chocolate chips. Frost cake.
Work quickly; this icing sets up very fast.
The result will be a Dense, Moist, Rich, Chocolate cake. …and a memory…..
Hugs to Mom…
love Gale

a sweet touch

There’s no question here…
Even though the raw sugar does **sparkle** sitting atop the pumpkin cookies, the white sugar is far superior in eye appeal. We do eat with our eyes first, don’t we.
Recipe adapted from here.

my name ‘up in lights’ ….

…well not exactly – more like on page 216, in the back of the book, in the middle of all the acknowledgments. However, it’s there, and it’s fun to see it there.

I, along with many, many others, tested recipes for cookbook author / Johnson & Wales University instructor, Peter Reinhart’s new book, “artisan breads every day.” He always responded to emails and offered encouragement and/or modifications when a recipe underproduced. I’m still flattered that this book author would take the time to reply to my emails and comment on my food photography.
Of the breads I tested, Chocolate Cinnamon Babka was my favorite (page 153). And, my largest mess was created while testing Best Biscuits Ever on page 175. The test recipe required butter in the size of dimes. I’m glad to see the final recipe requires grating frozen butter. Believe me, butter the size of dimes will melt out of the dough and all over the parchment.
I watched this book’s creation from test recipe #1, through release day on October 27, 2009 via Mr. Reinhart’s blog and emails. This is a great book for bread bakers. Here’s the link; add this one to your library!
* * * * * * * * * *
(Reposting below old blog entries, photos, and emails during the testing process.)
testing recipes for a new book
Tuesday, October 7, 2008

another new adventure…

that’s what life is made of…

I love the adventures!

I’ve been reading Peter Reinhart’s book, “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice” for the past few months. It’s a great book, especially if you are interested in learning baker’s math.


October 6…a post on the “Wild Yeast” blog:

Peter Reinhart, author of several wonderful books including The Bread Baker’s Apprentice and Whole Grain Breads, is looking for recipe testers for his new book. If you’re interested, see Peter’s blog for more information.


October 7…an email from Mr. Reinhart:

Happy to have you aboard. Please forgive this impersonal note, as I am now up to 295 testers and need to write to all with this note. From now on, please check the blog every few days for updates. I will send out the first recipe next week and will then let folks what recipes are available for testing via the blog and you can request whichever one you want when you send back the previous response form. Please keep the attached file to use as your response form each time. … Many thanks in advance for all your help and support.




It looks like I’m going to be testing recipes for his new book…

Stay tuned….


What fun! I tested a few of the recipes for his new book. I would submit my reply form, along with pictures-of course-and Mr. Reinhart would reply to my emails! How exciting to hear directly from the cookbook author. What a wonderful experience. I anxiously await the release of his new book later this year.

fall morning

My baking list is extensive today….

But, for a few moments, I’ll sit and admire God’s handiwork in the pink streaks across the early morning sky…
…and enjoy a few cups of hot tea.
Pottery tea pot is from Peter’s Pottery in Mound Bayou, Mississippi. I purchased this teapot last fall; however, Val and I made the trip to Peter’s Pottery yesterday. Watch for future blog posts displaying my baked goodies on new pieces of Peter’s Pottery.

FALL red & green

Not Christmas red and green. However, as I removed these cranberry pumpkin cakes from the oven and the tops of the cakes burst with red cranberries, green pepita seeds, and glistening raw sugar, I did think – - – Christmas. And, I’m not one to skip Thanksgiving. My sister-in-law makes the best southern style dressing, and her sister makes candied sweet potatoes. So, I’m not skipping any of those treats, but these cakes just have that “Christmas” look. Dress them up with a celophane bag and some ribbon, and you will have created merry, merry, merriment for some lucky people.

The recipe is in a book by Lou Seibert Pappas, “A Harvest of Pump
kins and Squash.” I did handle the batter gently, and the cakes baked with perfect rounded domes and no cracks. Perfecton! They are tender and moist and delicious.
The recipe lists white or yellow cornmeal as one of the ingredients. I chose a medium grind to add a little extra crunch. I also used the puree from well drained pulp of a pink banana squash.
This squash baked to a smooth pulp with bright orange color.

For the details:
9 oz of batter in each of 4 – 3″ x 6″ pans
I didn’t calculate calories…

gingerbread biscotti

easy, easy recipe — ginger ‘bite’ lingers after you consume the biscotti — perfect for fall

“Soft Gingerbread Biscotti,” that is. I don’t like the ‘hard as a brick’ type found in some trendy stores, but freshly baked biscotti is another matter. Even biscotti skeptics would probably enjoy this treat made without preservatives, etc, etc, etc.

My niece and nephew still remember the gingerbread house I made when they were but toddlers (20+ years ago), and I still search for gingerbread recipes to this day. I love the hot bite of the ginger, blended with cinnamon and other spices. I’ve searched for the perfect gingerbread, and finally found one I like (see this post.) However, this book by J. McGlinn holds additional promise of great ginger things to come. I hope to bake from several pages of this book.
This biscotti was a huge hit at work yesterday. The dough mixes easily, although you do have to get your hands into this one. I will omit the additional sprinkling of sugar during the second and third bake; but, otherwise, the recipe is perfect. The baking fragrance is everything fall. Today, on day 2, the biscotti is slightly crunchy on the edge and slightly soft inside – perfect with my morning Tazo ‘Earl Grey.’
I highly recommend the book and the biscotti recipe on page 62.