Jack Frost nipping on your nose,
    Yuletide carols being sung by a choir,
    And folks dressed up like Eskimos.

First of all I bought the Chestnuts already roasted.
Jack Frost won’t be in the Deep South until about mid-January on a regular basis.
And if you dress up like an Eskimo now you will suffer from Heat Stroke.

But we are enjoying Chestnuts In Dorie’s…


    Chocolate Caramel Chestnut Cake

This cake has been described as EPIC by some of my Twitter buddies. Luxurious! Interesting! Expensive! {Chestnuts are not cheap!!} But worth it. Here in Podunk one does not find chestnuts – of any kind – so I had to order. When I ordered, I ordered Chestnut Puree instead of Chestnut spread, but thanks to French Food I was able to make my own. Whew!


The cake is a lovely triple layer cake with milk chocolate/bittersweet chocolate ganache for filling and a bittersweet chocolate glaze. Between the layers are chopped chestnuts. And many bakers followed Dorie’s suggestion and frosted the chestnuts on top with gold dust. I ended up using pecans rather than the Chestnuts I bought. They weren’t good. So I used chopped pecans between the layers.

This cake was wonderful. The chestnut flavor of the cake with the textures of the filling and ganache. The chopped pecans between the layers. KEEPER!!


This cake was chosen by Katya of Second Dinner for the bakers on Tuesday, November 3, 2009. and you can find the recipe on her blog.

NOW I am done with the TWD Catch-up!! Thanks, Dorie!!


    And so I’m offering this simple phrase,
    To kids from one to ninety-two,
    Although its been said many times, many ways,
    Merry Christmas to you

Back in the 80s a favorite cake was a bundt cake called ‘Sock it me Cake’. It was a yellow cake with a nutty cinnamon swirl running through it. When I read the recipe for Nick’s Sour Cream Coffee Cake it reminded me a lot of that cake.

A slightly sweet yellow cake with a cinnamon, brown sugar, nut swirl. Or at least that was Nick’s ingredients. I decided to clear out my collection of streusel, swirl, and cake toppings. So my swirl had Nick’s ingredients plus cardamom, chocolate chips, nutmeg, and granulated sugar. I liked the cardamom and nutmeg in the swirl. I still have of the collection left. Maybe with some muffins?

The recipe can be found on page 232 of Malgieri’s the Modern Baker

And if you would like to bake along with this last section – Cakes – just visit the MB Challenge Website

Have you ever made Baklava? It is a syrupy, sweet mix of honey, spices, nuts, and phylo dough. Layers and layers of it!! It takes a while to make but it is always worth the effort – or so I’ve heard as I have never stepped up the the plate to make it. I want to! In the mean time try out this ice cream for Nuts Day for Phyl’s Ice Cream Week

I had first run across the idea when looking for a way to poach figs. When I found this page I started thinking about Baklava Ice Cream. As I researched I found lots of recipes so using one as a foundation I made it how I wanted it.

Baklava Ice Cream {adapted from Desert Candy}

    2 cups milk
    2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half (or 1 heaping tsp cinnamon)
    3 whole cloves (or 1/3 tsp ground cloves)
    1 cup heavy cream
    2 egg yolks
    2/3 cup sugar
    2/3 cup (2 oz) almonds, medium chop
    2/3 cup (2oz) pistachios, medium chop
    2/3 cup (2 oz) walnuts, medium chop
    2 tbl brown sugar
    1 tsp cinnamon
    1/4 cup honey
    3-4 sheets Phylo dough

Bring milk, sugar, whole cloves, and cinnamon sticks to a boil in a 2-quart heavy saucepan, then remove from heat and let steep, covered, 30 minutes.
Strain the milk and discard the cloves cinnamon sticks.
Whisk egg yolks and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Return milk to a simmer, then add half of the milk to yolk mixture in a slow stream, whisking until combined well.
Add yolk mixture in a slow stream back to milk in saucepan, whisking, then cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and immediately stir in cream, then pour custard through fine-mesh sieve into a metal bowl. Quick-chill custard by setting bowl into a larger bowl of ice and cold water and stirring occasionally until cold, about 15 minutes. Chill thoroughly in the refrigerator.
Freeze custard in ice cream maker until almost firm. At the last minute of churning, add the NUT MIXTURE {recipe below} into ice cream.
Chill in a container until firm.

Place the walnuts, cinnamon, and brown sugar in a bowl and toss together, drizzle in 2 tbl of melted butter and toss to coat. Working quickly, brush each sheet of fillo with some of the remaining melted butter and stack the fillo sheets on top of one another, fold the stack in half long-ways and brush again with melted butter. Cut the fillo sheets into small strips, match-stick size. Toss the fillo strips with the walnut mixture and spread on a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake the mixture until the walnuts are toasted and the fillo pieces are crisp but not burned, about 10-15 minutes. Put the nut mixture in a bowl. Set aside.

While the recipe I was adapting from added the honey to the nut/phylo mixture I did not add the honey to the mix because I wanted the honey to be a stronger flavor. I drizzled the honey over the top before serving.

Check out:

WHEW!! I really didn’t think I would get a post up today. Halfway through the morning I realized it was Tuesday and I had not baked in almost a week!! What IS my problem?? So on went the oven, out came the measuring cups.

I have been trying to do all the catch-ups in month and date order – not year – but it looks like it isn’t going to happen this time. I just didn’t have the ingredients or wasn’t in the mood for something – like making brioche dough – so these are July recipes just not by date – sorta kinda!

Scones are always welcome. I had missed these…

Chestnut Pecan Scones from July 19, 2011 and the only reason I had not made them on a rewind was because of the chestnut flour. Not available unless I wanted to purchase at least 3 pounds and all I needed was 3/4 cup. Following the lead of other bakers I used another nut – pecans – and made some flour/meal.

OH! MY! GOODNESS! These were so sweet and delicious and nutty and…Shucks! They were just good!! They didn’t need any butter or jam. They were perfect alone. And crunchy! And sweet. Wait!! I said that already…..

There was only one problem when I decided to make these. I gave up sugar about a month ago. I love scones. I would eat them all the time, but the sugar….. So I made them with Splenda and they came out just fine!!

This was chosen by Andrea of Andrea in the Kitchen. Andrea lives in Australia and while it was hot and NOT chestnut season here it was cold and wintery in Australia. Maybe some day I will find chestnut flour and make these the right way. Until then they are tasty made with pecans.


I was on a roll so after making (and devouring several) scones I went for the

    Cherry Rhubarb Cobbler

picked by Amanda of Like Sprinkles on a Cupcake July 22, 2008.

I got smart back in April during Rhubarb season and bought enough rhubarb for this cobbler and the Strawberry-Rhubarb Double Crisp. And I had bought a pound of cherries only a week ago so I was ready. Until I looked in the fridge and found all I had left was about 1/4 pound of cherries. HMMmm!! Wonder who ate those…..

Anyway, it was enough to make a single serving cobbler (1/4 recipe) in 4 inch bowl. Which B ate after lunch today. I get ONE bite and it was quite good. NOT real sweet but not real tart with the rhubarb. The topping is made with AP and whole wheat flour which gave it a nutty flavor. both the filling and the topping contained ginger and that added a real kick to the treat. The whole cobbler fits in an 8″ x 8″ pan and is topped with several balls of dough. Yes, balls. After putting all the ingredients together it is formed into loose balls and placed on top of the cherry/rhubarb filling. 1/4 of the topping mixture was more than enough to make 3 small balls and have some left over. I will have to make this again. Next year. When rhubarb comes back into season.

The recipes for these two delightful treats can be found on Amanda’s and Andrea’s blogs. If you have Dorie’s book – Baking from My Home to Yours, the scones are on page 34 and the cobble on page 415.

Brioche dough is soft and silky and wonderful to work with. The TWD group made the Brioche Loaves in August 2011. It was my choice and I remember how lovely the dough was. The two selections I am posting today both use that same Brioche Dough.

    Pecan Honey Sticky Buns

There is no way I can describe how GOOD these were. They didn’t last long in this house. 1/2 of the recipe resulted in 11 buns. These are actually cinnamon rolls which are baked in a layer of pecans and caramel. The pan is flipped over to cool and the sweet, nutty glaze is on top of the buns. These are probably the best cinnamon rolls I have made in a long time. Not just because of the glaze but because of the brioche dough. It is soft and buttery. Chosen by Madame Chow of Madam Chow’s Kitchen the group made these May 27, 2008. The recipe is on her blog.


The other selection that used this Brioche dough was the Brioche Raisin Snails from March 18, 2008. I decided to wait and post these with the Sticky Buns so I could make the dough and have enough for both. 1/2 of the Brioche recipe was enough to make 1/2 of each of these selections.

Cinnamon rolls with Rum flamed Raisins and a sweet glaze. While Dorie called for raisins I used dried cranberries instead. I am just NOT a big fan of raisins. They worked out very well. I soaked and flamed them the same way Dorie suggested with the raisins. I wasn’t sure how they would work so I only put them in 1/2 of the buns. Now I wish I had gone all the way with them. The dough is spread with a pastry cream, sprinkled with cranberries, a cinnamon sugar mix and rolled up and sliced to bake. Like the Sticky Buns I made them in a small 8″ x 8″ pan and ended up with 9 rolls. The pastry cream sort of melted into the dough giving it a wonderful soft interior. Way good!! But not quite as good as the Sticky Buns. I would definitely make both of them again – often!! Peabody of Culinary Concoctions by Peabody chose this one. Thanks, Peabody, for making me learn to make Pastry Cream (pg 448) and making me practice, and I need lots, drizzling.

That almost takes care of May’s TWD picks. Well, almost. I still have the Tirimisu (May 5, 2009) to make. Guess there will be a catch-up catch-up.

The Sticky Buns are on page 51 and the Snails on page 56 of Dorie’s Baking From My Home to Yours.

There are only two weeks left for COOKIES in the Modern Baker Challenge. Just two weeks. I want to know where all my Mondays for cookies went. I have at least 4 more I want to make. Guess I better get busy.

This past week I made two cookies – thinking it was the last week of May {I have been a week ahead in dates for the past month…..}

    Pine Nut Macaroons

Pine nuts are not something I usually bake with. They are the edible seeds of some pines and often harvested for food among many Amerindians of the Southwest. They are soft and delicious. It takes a lot of labor to harvest the nuts so they can be pricy. But they were good in this little almond cookie which only called for 4 ounces of the little seeds. I made 1/2 of the recipe which resulted in 16 cookies. They are very easy to make – nuts, almond paste, sugar and eggs are all you need. After only 18 minutes we were munching on this sweet little nugget.

Since I was in cookie mode I also made the Macadamia Shortbreads.

The great thing about shortbreads, at least Malgieri’s, is the fact that you don’t have to do anything except put the dough together (in a food processor), empty the mix into a pan and press down gently. That’s it. No rolling. No shaping. No scraping. I LOVE making his shortbread cookies. Oh, and they taste good, too!!! The cookies come out of the pan a little soft but Nick said to slice them and then let them cool and they would crisp up. And they did. Nice a crispy and buttery and nutty. Oh, Yeah!!

Now that I know I have another week left I can get some more of the cookies done. I tell you, this retirement thing is great – except sometimes you lose count of the days!!!

The Macaroons are on page 302 and the Shortbreads on page 292 of Malgieri’s the Modern Baker. I also found the shortbread recipe HERE!!

One more week of cookies for Modern Baker Challenge then on to CAKES!!! Oh, My! Put the scales AWAY!!!!!

Check out the other cookies at The Modern Baker Challenge.

I’m sorry!

    What month did you say it was? MAY!! How did that happen. Didn’t we just have Christmas? New Years?

Time just flies by!! Too quickly sometimes! But we make the best of it….

And we do that by BAKING! Lots and lots of baking! At least I do because I am doing TWD catch-ups. At least there are 5 Tuesdays this month. Two reserved for Baking with Julia, the NEW TWD! And three for catch-ups. WHEW!

In 1958 I was living just outside Liverpool (you know, BEATLE City!) We had a huge house in a little village (Rainhill) and there was a garden in the backyard. In that garden we had RHUBARB. Lots of RHUBARB! I remember liking it as an 8 year old but that was lots of years ago. Did I still like it? Only one way to find out!

      Strawberry-Rhubarb Double Crisp

I have to admit I didn’t expect to like this. I tasted the Rhubarb before slicing it up and putting it on the crust and it was NOT what I remembered. But in the crisp it added a touch of tart to the sweetness of the strawberries. Admittedly, I did not use as much as Dorie called for (1 lb) but it was enough to taste the tartness. The sliced rhubarb is scattered over the bottom crisp layer, covered by a sweet strawberry filling over which another layer of crisp is scattered. YUM!! is all I have to say. The ginger (but not the crystallized) added a certain amount of zing to the crisp and cuts back on the sweetness of the filling. It. Was. Good! And just because – I added a slightly sweet gingered whipped cream on top. I liked that!! Just enough ginger to compliment the ginger in the crisp.

This crisp was selected in April 12, 20ll by Sarah of Teapots and Cakestands where you can find the recipe. Or find it on page 420 of BFMHTY.
BTW this is a double catch-up because it WAS an April recipe but there was not rhubarb to be found in April.


Now! May!
May 6th, 2008, the TWD group all came together over a Peanut Butter Torte.

Imagine a fluffy Peanut Butter Mousse filled with chopped peanuts, flavored with espresso, poured into an Oreo Cookie crumb crust flavored with nutmeg and cinnamon, topped with chocolate ganache and you have this torte!! OH! MY! HEAVEN! IF you like PB and IF you like Chocolate, that is!
As is the case, the espresso served only to heighten the taste of the chocolate. And since the cinnamon and nutmeg are in the crust it doesn’t overpower the mousse itself. The SIL said it tasted like a PB Cup. I think it is MUCH more than that! MUCH MORE!! Definitely a repeat here.

I made 1/2 of the recipe and it fit nicely into a 5″ springform with just a tad left over for, eh…. tasting!! Yeah, that’s it. TASTING!!

Thank you, Elizabeth of Ugg Smell Food, great choice. Elizabeth’s page is no longer available, but I did find the recipe on Susan’s blog. And it is on page 282 of Dorie’s BFMHTY.


May 13, 2008, TWD visited Florida – kinda – with a wonderful lime and coconut pie chosen by Dianne of Dianne’s Dishes

      Florida Pie

What we have here is a creamy lime meringue pie combined with a creamy coconut layer on the bottom. Can you imagine the combo – lime and coconut (Yeah, I know. You are singing the song, too! So were all the other TWD bakers on this one!!!) The coconut layer added a little ‘chew’ to the pie. The lime was faintly there and just the perfect level of tartness for the sweet coconut. Coconut is also mixed into the meringue. Everyone liked this one!

1/2 of the recipe resulted in two 6″ mini pies. Just right for two people.

Look on page 340 of BFMHTY for Dorie’s recipe. And you can find the recipe on Dianne’s blog.

Cookies!! Fingerfood!! A little bite of sweet when you don’t need a BIG bite!!

    Honey Peanut Wafers

How about a little bite of sweet with honey roasted peanuts and honey. A simple little wafer cookie with plenty of honey flavor.


    1 cup flour (spoon flour into a dry-measure cup and level off)
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 cup sugar
    1/2 cup honey
    1 large egg
    3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
    1 1/3 cups (about 6.5 ounces) honey-roasted peanuts, finely chopped (but not ground)

Position oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with silicone liners or parchment paper.

Combine the flour and baking soda on a sheet of wax paper or parchment paper.

Gently whisk together the sugar, honey and egg in a medium mixing bowl, trying not to create any foam or froth. Then whisk in the butter.

Add the flour mixture; use a large, flexible spatula to incorporate it. Then add the chopped peanuts and mix well to distribute the nuts evenly throughout the dough.

Drop tablespoon-size pieces of the dough onto the prepared sheets, spacing them about 4 inches apart. Flatten each mound of dough with the tip of a water-moistened finger (to keep it from sticking). {I didn’t flatten one sheet and they came out the same as the flattened.}
Bake both sheets of cookies for about 5 minutes, then rotate them top to bottom and front to back. (If you know that your oven gives strong bottom heat, use a third baking sheet to insulate the cookies as they bake on the bottom rack.) Bake for 5 minutes or until the cookies have spread and are evenly golden.

Slide the silicone liners or parchment paper onto wire racks to cool the cookies. As soon as you can pry the cookies off the mats, rinse the mats and repeat the baking process. The cookies should be cooled completely before storing.

When the cookies were still warm, they were nice and chewy, but as they cooled they crisped. Equally good both ways. Theis one can be put together lickity split when you just have a few minutes to make cookies. Dangerous, I know!!

I am putting in the recipe because I found it already on the net HERE. The recipe is in Malgieri’s the Modern Baker on page 280.

Other MB members have made them:

    Abby and it was her pick so her post is on the MB Challenge site!

And if you want to join in to finish up cookies {and then Cakes beginning in June} just stop by the Modern Baker Challenge Home Page.

If a picture is worth a 1000 words I don’t need to say anything else!!!

What you see is one of Malgieri’s bar cookies in the cookie section of the Modern Baker.

The bars start off with a buttery shortbread crust….

….which is gently pressed into a 9″ x 13″ pan.

While the dough is baking you mix together your brown sugar, eggs, sugar, coconut, pecans, and chocolate pieces. {Malgieri calls for 12 ounces of cut chocolate, but I used chocolate chips.} This mix is spread over the baked but not cooled crust…

…and baked for about 20 – 25 minutes until the filling is set. {Have to say, mine never did ‘set’ until if chilled them.} The ‘slab’ is then cut into 2″ squares – which is all you need because they are SO rich, and devoured!!

I know several of the Modern Challenge Bakers have already made these so check them out and visit The Modern Baker Challenge – Cookies.

And if you want to join in the fun, contact us.

This recipe is on page 277 of Malgieri’s the Modern Baker.

Ilke describes herself as, “A Turkish Girl Cooking it up in the American South”. And her blog, Ilke’s Kitchen , is wonderful mix of Southern Cooking and Turkish Recipes. Recipes range from a beautiful Baklava (wish I had had the time for this one) to Muhammara (Roasted Red Pepper Dip) to Simit (Turkish yeast bread). Just so many wonderful Turkish dishes to choose from. I knew I didn’t have time for ALL of them, so I settled for just a couple.

I love oatmeal. And I love grits ( I am a southern girl, afterall). But I am always on the lookout for something new and different. And I found it with this Turkish Breakfast dish:


….described by Ilke as, “which is just a simple combination of cornmeal, butter, and cheese”. How can you go wrong with those ingredients?

Love the stringy Mozarella Cheese in this…..

    Cheesy Cornmeal (Kuymak)

      •2 cups of water
      •1/2 teaspoon salt
      •2 tablespoon unsalted butter
      •3/4 cup cornmeal
      •1 cup mozzarella cheese or Oaxaca cheese
      •1/2 teaspoon black pepper
      •1/2 teaspoon paprika to garnish

    1. Boil water, salt, black pepper and butter in a deep skillet.
    2. Reduce the heat to medium. Add cornmeal and stir frequently to break up all the clumps until it reaches a thick consistency.
    3. Add cheese and stir until all melts.
    4. Sprinkle paprika on top and serve hot.

    This was one of the most filling breakfasts ever. But then it is cooked cornmeal. Like Oatmeal and Grits it sticks to your ribs. I cooked it in a cast iron skillet (which is what I think Ilke used) and had plenty of left overs. It is hard to reheat this type of dish so I decided to try browning it in butter like left over grits. WIN!!

    I spooned the leftovers into a small cake pan and cooled. Then I sliced it into large wedges and browned quickly in butter. Perfect!


    You all know I am a big-time Tea Drinker. Earl Grey is one of my favs. I always have some loose tea in the kitchen to make a cup (or 5) of CREAM Earl Grey. I had seen a recipe before for an Earl Grey TeaCake, but had not made it yet. When I saw this one had CHOCOLATE in it I knew I had to try it.

    Earl Grey Tea Cake

      1 teabag of Earl Grey black tea
      1 cup of hot water
      3 large eggs
      1-1/2 cups of sugar
      1 stick of unsalted butter, melted and cooled
      2-1/4 cups of cake flour {no cake flour so made a sub: 1 3/4 cups AP + 1/4 cornstarch = 2 cups cake flour}
      1 tablespoon baking powder
      1/4 cup Hersey’s Special Dark Cocoa Powder
      1/2 cups of chopped hazelnuts
      Zest from one orange (optional) {not a single orange in the kitchen so I used a dash of orange oil}

    1. Steep the teabag in 1 cup of hot water for 15-20 minutes.
    2. Beat eggs and sugar in a mixing bowl until all blend well.
    3. Discard the teabag. Add cooled black tea and butter, continue beating until everything is well combined.
    4. Add cake flour, baking powder and cocoa. Stir until all well blended.
    5. Stir the chopped hazelnuts. Pour the batter in a bundt pan or 9-inch cake pan.
    6. Bake at 350-degrees for 45 minutes {since I made mini-bundts mine only needed 35 minutes to bake} or until the toothpick inserted comes clean. (Do not preheat the oven.)

    This cake is not real sweet and the taste of orange from the tea and the oil is subtle but tasty. Because it wasn’t too sweet I knew it wouldn’t hurt it to drizzle with a little Nutella. It is already full of chopped hazelnuts – what’s a little more.


    Finally, a quick and tasty side dish….

    Turkish Pilaf

    Serves 4

    1 cup of basmati rice
    1/4 cup of thin broken vermicelli
    1 tablespoon butter
    1 teaspoon salt
    1-1/2 cups of water or chicken stock {I used veggie broth.}

    1. Wash the rice in a colander until the water runs clear.
    2. Melt the butter in the pan and add vermicelli. Saute vermicelli until it browns slightly.
    3. Add rice and salt, saute the rice for another 1 minute.
    4. Add water and cover the pan, turn the heat up until it starts to boil. Once the water boils, turn the heat down to low and cook another 20 minutes. The rice will be fluffy when all water is gone.

    This is great side dish and a good alternative to everyday rice. Finding this recipe made me very happy I had bought that package of Vermicelli at the local, and very small, MidEast Store last month. I KNEW there was a reason it found it’s way into my kitchen!!

    When you get a chance, go visit with with Ilke in her Southern Turkish kitchen and enjoy some of the recipes I am looking at real closely. Like the Borek.

    And if you want in on our monthly fun come join Amanda and her Secret Recipe Club.

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