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Sunday, November 15, 2015

Alpha Bakers: Hazelnut Praline Cookies

Hazelnut is my least favorite nuts, compared to walnuts, almonds, pecans, or cashews. So  when I saw this on the rotation schedule, my reaction should have been: "I'm gonna skip that." But I feel like baking this weekend and I really need to make up for lost time of being absent all summer, so here I am participating (do I get brownie points for this? :)).

This is a really interesting recipe. It's really easy to put together and the bonus is you learn a cool trick from Rose on how to easily peel hazelnuts. When I saw in the recipe that the first step is to peel the hazelnuts, I thought it's only because you don't want the bits of skin in the cookie dough. But then I realized that by peeling the hazelnuts, it allows you to roast them at a good temperature without burning them. I've made roasted mixed nuts before and the hazelnuts burn faster - I have thrown away a batch because I roast them at the same 350 degree temperature as walnuts and they burn and made my kitchen smell horrible. Now I know what to do - peel the skin!

I am also glad I made this recipe as these cookies are sooo good! They don't taste very strong like hazelnuts and more like yummy butter crunchy sweet stuff. I already ate a bunch and I'm gonna have to give the rest away to my friend so I don't eat all of them today.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Alpha Bakers: Sugar Rose Brioche

As I am trying to fit baking back into my weekend life, it occurred to me that I might be out of practice. Rose's recipes, as much as I love them and I love the author herself (she is a sweetheart), does require multiple steps. Knowing that Sugar Rose Brioche, from the name itself, is brioche, which does require extra steps and probably a course of 2 days, I read the recipe ahead of time to make sure that I would not miss anything.

I was so busy concentrating on the steps and the days (i.e. I have to start on Saturday for Sunday baking) that I completely and totally missed one of the first sentences on page 476 that clearly stated to double the recipe.


So again folks, I made 1/2 recipe, albeit unintentionally this time. It seems that 1/2 recipe is maybe my fate? I am okay with that :).

It was Sunday morning when I realized I had made 1/2 recipe, right before I start the Sugar Rose Brioche instructions on page 476. Oh well, damage is done. I went back to the storage room where I kept all my cake pans and took the 8 1/2 inch round spring form that I have.

It was quite fortunate that I have a smaller spring form pan, otherwise there might be more cussing in this blog post.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Alpha Bakers: Banana Split Chiffon Cake

I seem to be on a losing strike lately. When I saw this recipe I thought ah, banana, chiffon, bundt cake = yum. I love bananas and have ripe bananas and this cake seems easy and I have all the ingredients on hand.

Since I made 1/2 a recipe, I used 1 ripe banana and substituted canola oil instead of walnut oil. The rest of the ingredients I stayed with the recipe.

As expected, the cake came together quick and easy, so much so that I wondered why this didn't make it to the Q&E list? Perhaps because it requires separating the egg yolks and whites, whipping the whites to stiff peaks, and folding the batter together? All in all it took me 55 minutes to put this together (I timed it). The batter was beautiful, it almost filled my 1/2 bundt pan and then it baked for an hour. The cake rose an inch over the top of the pan, as Rose said it should.