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Sunday, January 18, 2015

Alpha Bakers: Golden Orange Panettone with Chocolate Sauce


I love panettone. Before I knew how to bake, a long time ago when my oven was used for pots and pans storage, I used to get panettone at Whole Foods. They always have a huge tower of it around the holidays. I thought it was the best thing. It hails from Italy so it must be the best, si? (little that I know that years later I would learn that it is the best when it hails from Rose Levy Beranbaum). Back in 2011 Hanaa and I wanted to do a virtual bake a long and we made a recipe from allrecipes.com (Hanaa, do you remember? :). For comparison, I also made Rose's Panettone recipe from the Bread Bible. The allrecipes version was not good but Rose's was awesome.

The panettone recipe in the Baking Bible is different than the one in the Bread Bible. Both recipes uses golden raisins, but the Bread Bible version used chestnuts vs. this version using candied orange peel. The Baking Bible version uses golden syrup and has an extra step of making a biga 3 days beforehand and also has more steps in the dough preparation. It was too long ago for me to remember which one is better, but I can't imagine anything better than the Baking Bible's version. My husband said it best, "it is perfect." Funnily, he asked why I made the full recipe. I told him it is because I know it is going to be really good so I have to.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Homemade Candied Orange Peel


For the Panettone next week, I decided make my own candied orange peel. I've been curious about it but so far have been too lazy to make it. I figured now is as good a time as any.

There are a lot of recipes out there and most of them have similar instructions. The only big variance is the sugar amount. I finally settled on a recipe from BrightEyedBaker. I'm not familiar with this website but I like that she has the least amount of sugar compared to some others. Even with the smaller sugar amount, I still reduced it by 1/4 cup. I also like that her recipe comes with really good step by step photo instructions.

This turned out pretty easy and now I wondered why it took me this long to try. I'm already planning on making this again and use chocolate next time. Doesn't chocolate-dipped orange peel sound good?

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Alpha Bakers: Black and Blueberry Pie


For Christmas, my husband surprised me with several things from Anthropologie home/kitchen section. One of them was the rolling pin in the above photo. When I opened the nicely wrapped rolling pin on Christmas morning, I hold the handle on each hand and made the motion in the air as if I'm rolling a dough. He looked at me and said in a serious tone "I didn't intend for you to use it for baking. I thought you can use it for pictures." Well, he is right, the pin is made from ceramic so I suppose pressing on it is probably not a good idea, :).

I am not very excited about pie but I love Rose's cream cheese pie crust. I think it's the best pie crust. I have made other pie crust (Rose's flaky pie crust and also recipes from other authors). The cream cheese pie crust wins every time. So even though I am not a huge pie fan, I am looking forward to this because of the pie crust. Also, I get to use my new 4 inch ruffled pie pan and take photos of the new for-photography-only rolling pin.

I made 1/4 recipe of this pie. This time I remembered to measure in volume my 9 inch pie pan vs. the 4 inch pie pan. By volume the 4 inch pie pan is 1/4 the 9 inch. So all set to divide everything by 4.