A Boston-Based Lifestyle Blog
Tag Archives: baking
Do you have one of those family recipes that is a given menu item at every gathering? My husband’s family always makes a special chocolate cake with chocolate sauce, our neighbors growing up always served rice krispy treats at every birthday party, and at our house that dessert item is Chocolate Chip Cake. This cake is the one that gets requested by everyone for their birthdays, and it’s such a crowd-pleaser. I think the sour cream batter is what makes it so addictive. It’s one of the recipes that’s been around forever — so long in fact that I wasn’t even sure where it came from. I had to call my mom, who in turn had to call my grandmother to find out. It turns out it was from a neighbor of my grandparents who made the cake for parties, no frosting meant it was less messy for the kids! And now it’s my turn to pass it along, full recipe below! (PS: see that lovely cake stand pictured? I’m partnering with the fine folks at AHeirloom to give one away on my instagram account this week — be sure to head over to enter to win!)Ingredients:
- 1 stick of butter at room temperature
- 1 cup of sugar, plus 1/4 cup for topping
- 1 cup of sour cream
- 2 tsp of vanilla extract
- 2 cups of flour
- 1.5 tsp of baking powder
- 1 tsp of baking soda
- 1 package of chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Cream together 1 stick of butter, 1 cup of sugar, and 2 eggs with an electric mixer.
- Add in 1 cup of sour cream and 2 tsp of vanilla extract, continue to mix together.
- Sift 2 cups of flour, 1.5 tsp of baking powder, and 1 tsp of baking soda; stir dry mixture into wet ingredients.
- Pour half of the batter into a 9×13 baking dish and then layer half of the chocolate chips on top.
- Add second half of batter and top with the rest of the chocolate chips. Sprinkle the top with 1/4 of sugar.
- Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees, let the cake cool before cutting.
From the time that I first heard about Farm and Fable’s Cookbook Book Club, I was sold — what is better than hanging out with a group of friends and chatting about cookbooks? Oh right, eating the recipes from them! I finally was able to join one of the meet-ups this weekend and it was a ton of fun. This month the book was Huckleberry, the new cookbook from the famed Santa Monica bakery. While I love cooking, I’m actually not the most skilled baker (sticking to proportions and instructions can be tough for me, I always want to add more butter, oops!), so I ended up picking one of the more savory recipes from the book, a tomato goat cheese cobbler. It was really tasty, and so were the 10 other recipes that book club attendees made. My favorite? The chocolate banana bread bundt cake — holy yum. I loved getting to hear their experiences with the recipes and even got a few new tips and tricks to use next time!
This weekend I tackled a fun item on my 30 before 30 list: baking macarons from scratch! I took a class last summer (and marked that off my list too!) which was super helpful background when trying to recreate them on my own. The verdict: I was 50/50 on macaron success. I made a batch of lemon macarons that were a bust, they lost their shape and cooked unevenly. But batch #2 — a raspberry macaron with raspberry champagne butter-cream filling — came out great. They weren’t perfect, but they were tasty and looked pretty good! I filled up a footed bowl with them and brought them off to Easter celebrations.
I mentioned earlier this week that my weekend was a bit of a carb-fest. One of the highlights of my breaded-binge was making homemade popovers and strawberry butter. It’s sort of a family tradition to make these delicious egg-y pastries. When my sister and I were kids, my mom and aunts would take us to have lunch at Neiman Marcus, and the popovers were always a highlight of the meal. So when they visited this weekend I broke out the Neiman Marcus Cookbook and whipped up a batch. The strawberry butter is the best part, it’s just strawberry jam and butter whipped together, but for some reason it tastes absolutely amazing — I want to put it on everything!
I was brainstorming some new appetizer ideas that were easy to make in advance and came up with a simple formula for a snack that has some variety, without requiring tons of grocery shopping or dirty dishes. I purchased some frozen puff pastry dough, thawed, rolled and cut it into 2″ circles. Then I experimented with a few combinations of filling: herb goat cheese and rosemary sea salt, blue cheese crumbles and a drizzle of organic honey, and my favorite combination, slices of heirloom tomatoes sprinkled with fresh parmesan cheese. All three combinations got some fresh cracked black pepper on top as well before I rolled up the sides to resemble bite-sized -tarts. After following the baking directions on the puff pasty box (375 degrees for 10-15 minutes), they came out of the oven golden brown. These lasted about 3 minutes from plate to table at a family party I brought them to, which I think means they were pretty good? I’d love to hear what combinations of fillings you might try!
Last year after my birthday I wrote up a “30 before 30″ list of things I wanted to accomplish and do — and the tastiest of goals on that list was to learn how to bake macarons. This weekend I tackled both by taking a macaron baking class at Sur La Table with sister and our friend! My greatest takeaway from the class was that now I understand why macarons are so expensive — it ain’t easy to make them! But our awesome teacher gave us lots of tips to perfect this tricky baking skill. We made some delicious flavors: mint with chocolate espresso ganache, strawberry with champagne butter cream, and then the wild card… bacon macarons with maple cream filling. I will totally try making them again (on a less humid weekend!) and am already hunting for my next cooking class to take because we had so much fun. And bonus: I now have 2 dozen macarons to snack on this week!
This weekend I decided to make some sweet treats to bring to an Easter celebration. I love any sort of food that can be consumed in bite sized servings (because, let’s be honest, then I have an extra hand to hold my glass of wine). So when I read the name of this recipe “two bite lemon cheesecakes” — I was sold. Plus is there anything prettier than the combination of bright yellow lemons and deep blue blueberries? Yum!
You can find the recipe here.