Pumpkin Pancakes

November 21, 2012 § 2 Comments

J: I haven’t had much time recently for baking or trying new fun breakfast or dessert foods.  However, every fall I go a little bit pumpkin crazy.  It’s just been delayed a bit this year because this semester has been more stressful than usual (quals, anyone?).  So, while I have a little bit of “downtime,” as much as anyone gets downtime in grad school, I jumped on it as an excuse to finally, finally, try a new pumpkin recipe.

a little more orangey than normal pancakes

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White Chocolate Chip Pecan Muffins

June 14, 2012 § Leave a comment

J: I’ll come out and admit it up front: these muffins are kind of cheating.  They are actually the same basic recipe as these muffins, just with a few minor tweaks — why mess with a good thing, right?  Anyway, the coffee cake muffins were kind of delicious, in case you don’t remember or are just joining us now on our culinary journey (welcome!).  But we wanted something different and had some interesting ingredients lying around, so … this variation was born!  And who could complain?

fresh out of the oven

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Pink Velvet Cake

January 27, 2012 § Leave a comment

J: This cake was actually my birthday cake last October (clearly, we need to post more often so we aren’t doing months-late posts like this so much…).  I know very few people who don’t like red velvet cake, and I am no exception — except I have always sort of turned a blind eye to how exactly the cake gets red.  The answer to that is: TONS of food coloring.  Which, I mean, is all well and good, if you don’t mind consuming ridiculous amounts of chemicals, but Erik and I have been trying to cut down on our chemical intake.  Watching one’s girlish figure, and all.

guess the color!

Anyway, we were trying to figure out ways in which we could get the cake red without using food coloring.  The obvious choice here was to use beets, but what fun is going with the obvious choice?  Erik’s alternative idea was to use strawberries.  It didn’t exactly not work, but, well, the cake was less red and more pink.  Hence, the title. « Read the rest of this entry »

Rum-Soaked Berry Apple Pie

January 4, 2012 § 3 Comments

J: I have been on a major pie kick since Thanksgiving, and not least because I really enjoy making pie dough.  I love working with dough of all kinds — bread dough, cookie dough (duh!), pizza dough, scone dough, pie dough.  And the basic recipe for pie dough that we have been using, from the Joy of Cooking, is simple and produces consistently excellent results if you work with it correctly (more details on that later).  Once you’ve gotten this down, you don’t have to buy pie dough (or quiche dough, for that matter) ever again.  And you know how we feel here at Nombudsman about buying food that can be just as easily made at home!

Incidentally, another bonus to making pie dough is that all of a sudden you have a delicious vessel that you can put more delicious stuff in, and then bake, and then eat.  It’s kind of magical that way.

PIE

So, Erik and I were at his parents’ house this week and we decided we were going to make a dessert.  As I was on the aforementioned pie kick, it was clear what kind of dessert it would be.  The only question was what to put in the pie.  In a joint moment of genius, we hit on berries and apples, and then decided that clearly it would be in everyone’s best interest to soak the fruit in rum before we baked the pie.

That was a very, very good choice. « Read the rest of this entry »

Bite-Size Apple Pies

November 20, 2011 § 5 Comments

J: So, I had this idea back in September about making apple pie cookies.  I am in love with apple butter, and we had just found some organic apple butter in our local Whole Foods, so I was trying to think of delicious baking endeavors that I could use it for.  As fall was just around the corner, the flavors of apple pie came to mind immediately, and then I had an extra burst of inspiration and decided that what we really needed was apple pie in the form of cookies.

This idea was finally put into action at dinner party #2, in October, when we made thumbprint-esque apple pie cookies by taking pie dough, pressing an indentation into it, and adding some slices of apple along with our magical apple butter concoction.  These were so tasty that among 5 of us, we devoured the entire batch.  Oops?

miniature pies: delicious and adorable

Since they all disappeared within half an hour of being baked, Erik and I decided that, um, we wanted more of them, and we wanted more very quickly.  So we made another batch the next day, and decided that this time we would amp them up a little and make legit mini-apple pies, since the “cookies” were pretty close to mini-pies already. « Read the rest of this entry »

Coffee Pecan Brownies

October 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

J:  I have a confession to make.  Our usual dessert here in the Nombudsman household is cookie dough — we have a standard recipe (from the Joy of Cooking, of course) memorized and we have each made it so many times that we can probably throw it together in 5 minutes, tops, at this point.  More often than not, we don’t have the patience to bake anything and we just end up nibbling on the dough.  But, the other night, we were feeling a little bored with our standard, so we tried to think of something else we could make.  Something not too complicated but delicious and, of course, chocolatey.

just the ticket

Brownies seemed an obvious choice, particularly because neither of us had made them in ages.  We’d recently made an entrée that involved toasted pecans (don’t worry, it’ll be up soon), and I was still remembering the mouthwatering smell those nuts gave off while they were toasting, so another obvious option presented itself in the form of toasting more pecans and adding them.  And, for the final touch, we threw in some instant coffee, because come on, chocolate, nuts, and coffee?  Match made in heaven. « Read the rest of this entry »

Rombauer Chocolate Cheescake

September 15, 2011 § Leave a comment

E: Pretty much every year for the last 3 or 4, I’ve used the same recipe for my birthday cake. It’s a newspaper recipe I got from some friends of mine, and really makes the most delicious chocolate cake I’ve ever had. I promise it will be on here some day. (We made one over the winter holidays last year as a New Year’s cake, but we didn’t get pictures of anything but the finished product.) But this year, I wanted to switch things up for my birthday. I wanted cheesecake. And so cheesecake we made!

delicious, smooth, and chocolate flavored!

I’ve baked this cheesecake at least twice before, and every time it manages to blow me away. This time we started pretty late at night and cut some corners with the crust, so as you’ll see it isn’t the finest nor the neatest crumb crust known to man. I’m convinced I’ve got the right method, because the last time I made one of these I got a perfectly neat, beautifully even crumb crust. So bear with me. And even if you overcook it a little and it cracks (ours did, though again last time we got it just right and it was perfect) it will still be absolutely delicious. If you are really worried about it you can always bake it bain marie style, though you certainly don’t have to. If you decide to do this, I certainly recommend pre-baking the crust to make sure it gets crispy.

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