Archive for September, 2008

Last Minute Lavash

Saturday, September 27th, 2008

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In what is perhaps the quickest turnaround of a Daring Baker’s challenge I’ve done to date, I completed this month’s challenge this morning. I actually did make a batch of lavash crackers earlier this week but wasn’t satisfied with them (pretty, but too thick) so I debated not posting this month. But in the end (the very end), I decided to give this another go. I’m happy with the results! In fact, since they’re so easy to make, these would be great to make for a party.

This month’s challenge of lavash crackers was hosted by Shel from Musings from the Fishbowl and Natalie from Gluten A Go Go. Having a vegan (and gluten-free optional) challenge was a welcome change.

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My first batch were cut into neat little rectangles, but I decided to go for more organic shards the second time around. I think I prefer the shards better. I had some bubbles above because I didn’t always use the rolling pin – I used my hands to stretch out the dough at times. For toppings, I alternated rows of paprika, black sesame seeds, fresh ground pepper, and cumin seeds.

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For the recipe for the lavash crackers, please click on Shelly or Natalie’s sites. For the dip, I improved and made a super easy and quick artichoke chick pea dip, which went really well with the crackers:

Artichoke and Chick Pea Dip

1 14 oz can artichokes, rinsed, drained, chopped into quarters
1 15 oz can garbanzo beans, drained
1-2 cloves of garlic
juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Place artichokes, garbanzo beans, lemon juice, salt, pepper into food processor and process until smooth. Pour in olive oil and process a few seconds more. Super easy. Enjoy!

Thanks to Shelly and Natalie for hosting this month’s challenge! To view more lovely lavash, click here.

Pumpkin Cupcakes for Autumn

Thursday, September 25th, 2008

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This is my first Sugar High Friday event (and boy am I cutting it close to the deadline)! When Fanny from Foodbeam announced this month’s cupcake theme, I couldn’t resist. While I actually don’t make many cupcakes as this blog is mostly about cakes after all (though that doesn’t seem to stop me from collecting cupcake wrappers) – I do enjoy the occasional quaint cupcake. I deliberated for a while, but I knew I wanted to use some toffee I recently acquired. I’m also a huge fan of pumpkin baked goods, thus the combination of pumpkin cupcakes with toffee buttercream was born. In case you’re wondering what that subtle shimmer is, it’s edible gold dust.

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After poring through numerous pumpkin bread/cookie/cake recipes, I decided to use the recipe from Williams Sonoma, and all I can say is yuuuuum……This is a flavorful, moist cupcake recipe with the right blend of spices, raisins, walnuts and crystallized ginger if you like, ideal for Halloween cupcakes, as well. The only difference was that I ran out of canola oil so instead of the full cup I used 1/2 cup of oil plus a stick of melted butter. I also added crystallized ginger chunks.

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Click here for Pumpkin Cupcake Recipe

Toffee Buttercream (infamous buttercream recipe adapted from Nick Malgieri/Doree Greenspan)

1 cup granulated sugar
4 large egg whites (1/2 cup)
pinch of salt
3 sticks of unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup of toffee crumbs
Put the sugar, egg whites and salt in a mixer bowl. Place bowl over a plan of simmering water and stir constantly with a whisk until it feels hot to the touch, or about 3-4 minutes. Remove the bowl from the heat.

Working with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer, beat the meringue on medium speed until it is cool, about 5 minutes. Cut butter into tablespoon size pieces. Switch to the paddle attachment, and add the butter pieces one at a time, beating until smooth. Halfway through adding the butter, let beat for 5 minutes more. The buttercream should come together. Add the remaining half of butter pieces, one at a time. Let beat a few minutes more, then add in toffee crumbs, beating until just evenly incorporated.

Thanks to Fanny for hosting! Look forward to more Sugar High Friday events!

Live from the Martha Stewart Show

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

We’re here! My husband and I are on the set of the Martha Stewart show. The audience members are filing in, and getting seated for this special blogger’s audience show. This show will air live today, Wednesday, September 17 in some parts of the country, and will air on NBC at 11am EST. The laptop brigade is out in full force!

This is a real test of multitasking (blogging, listening and photo-taking/editing at once – phew!) We happen to be sitting next to Rachel and Matt from Coconut and Lime and met Rachel from Cupcakes Take the Cake. Joey’s doing his intro now, so be back soon!

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Martha just came out. She looks great! Other blogs in attendance are Cute Overload and Smitten Kitchen.

Yum. Mattbites is showing us how to make alfajores, South American cookies filled with dulce de leche. I tried these for the first time in Argentina and have always been interested in making them. They are vaguely like macarons in their assemblage process of two cookies sandwiched together with a filling.

We also got to see Martha judge / eat her way through a hot dog contest (to be aired at a later date). Now that was amusing/entertaining, but also somewhat torturous to watch as we approached lunchtime.

That’s all for now! Check out the show!