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February Bake-off
Posted: 22 February 2011 05:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
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Liza

Those heart shaped sugar cookies look so good! Your daughter must have been thrilled to take them to school.

And Julie, the Lemon berry cream cake looks so luscious and yum!

Thanks for sharing.

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Posted: 23 February 2011 12:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
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Just want to leave a note that hard boiled quail eggs taste pretty much like hard boiled chicken eggs, only a bit sweeter perhaps (and cuter).

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Posted: 23 February 2011 02:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
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I could be mistaken, but I think the Coconut Seduction cake part with the modifications = the Southern Manhattan cake part.

Oh—except, of course, for the addition of the ground coconut.  Which made me wonder why more liquid wasn’t added so this cake wasn’t, as Rose mentions, a touch dryer.

BTW, Jenn, I had to laugh at your blog post—I didn’t buy the coconut cream for the same reason—I read the ingredients list—yikes!!!  I was going to use it for a sort of coconut ganache, but went a different route instead!

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Posted: 23 February 2011 03:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
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Anne,
I do remember the Suothern Manhattan was more moist. This one is still good on day 3 though - had a piece yesterday.

Thanks for reading the blog post. Yea the cream of coconut is scary, plus they’re much more expensive (1 can of coconut milk is $1.50 whereas cream of coconut is over $3 and half the size. One wonder why the “fake” stuff is more expensive.

The coconut cheesecake in the book calls for cream of coconut, no substitution provided. I might have to cave in and purchase the chemicals (and make very very little of the recipe - divide by 3-4) or experiment using coconut milk grin.

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Posted: 23 February 2011 03:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
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Anne, what did you use for coconut ganache? or did you end up making something else that’s coconut-y?

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Posted: 23 February 2011 03:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]
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I ended up making something else coconutty because I didn’t have any unsweetened dried coconut around.

However, if I did have it, I would have passed it through my juicer (http://www.amazon.com/Samson-GB9001-Electric-Wheatgrass-Juicer/dp/B000E48LGC).  Then I’d have mixed it with ... well ... something, anyway, depending on how thick I wanted it.  This is what I use to make nut butters.  You just pass the nuts (or dried coconut or whatever) through it (1st time is nut flour) ... and again ... and again (and, sometimes, again), and you’ve got the smoothest stuff imaginable! 

If you use one cone (with the holes) you get the juice out the bottom and the pulp out the front.  If you use the cone without the holes, everything is crushed and comes out the front.  Repeated action crushes it more and more, heats it slightly, which helps it get smoother. 

It’s great for making crushed tomatoes, also.  I’ve also chunked up apples, frozen them, and then put them through this same way with raisins, dates and brown sugar (all mixed together) and you get an awesome “ice cream.”  Frozen banana chunks are great too as “ice cream.”

You might really like one of these.  Saves money in the long term, I think.  For example, an 11 oz can of hazelnut paste (I have to order) is $11.  But so is 16 oz organic hazelnuts—non-organic, which I couldn’t find, are no doubt cheaper.  Three times more nuts for the money (16 oz vs. 5.5 oz in the praline paste when you consider the sugar)!  I used my own hazelnut butter in my recent caramel SMBC to make praline SMBC, and it was fabulous and perfectly smooth!!!

No affiliation or anything, plus I believe you can probably use any auger-style juicer (these are the kind that look like this—a sort of “ray gun” appearance).  You can’t use the centrifugal juicers (the ones that spin, rather than crush), though, because they only juice.  I’ve had mine for 6 years now.

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Posted: 24 February 2011 01:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]
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Anne, thanks for the tip on the juicer. I haven’t used mine (a Champion) this way. It would be good to make hazelnut paste that way in small amounts.

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Posted: 24 February 2011 02:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]
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It’s awesome!  I hear those Champions are great, too!!! You can make large amounts of nut butters for eating, also.  I used to make 4 pints of almond butter at a time (4 quts almonds makes about 4 pts of butter)—it’s super smooth and because it doesn’t heat as much as commercial equipment, it doesn’t separate into oil/nuts.  If you fill canning jars to the very top so that there’s basically no air, they keep super-fresh for months in the fridge.  If you use hard nuts, like almonds, for the initial run-through (when they’re whole nuts) you have to put them in rather slowly, but soft nuts, like cashews and walnuts, can go it more quickly.  Untoasted nuts the first time through make flour, toasted (even cold) will be a bit pasty.  Toasted nuts make nut butters much faster than untoasted (less passes).  Must be how the oils are modified in toasting.  Make sure the nuts are completely cool—even cold from the fridge—before running through or you’ll get an oil separation. 

If you look at the Sicilian Pistachio Cake’s frosting and use that nut-to-frosting ratio, except beat in nut butter instead of putting the nuts on the outside (of any cake) it is the perfect amount to pair!  I did froofs of it around the cake, and even people who don’t like nuts went crazy over that frosting with pistachio butter beaten in, so I think those amounts will work great with any nut!

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Posted: 24 February 2011 03:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]
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Interesting what you said about the toasted nuts getting oily faster than untoasted- I don’t have a juicer but I’m going to do a test run in the food processor and see if I can get a better result with untoasted nuts.  I’ll be excited beyond belief if it works, I’ve been dissatisfied with homemade nut flours for a while.

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Posted: 24 February 2011 04:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]
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Yay!  I hope it works for you, Julie!  When I try to make nut butter with untoasted almonds, I have to run them through about 7 times (rather than 4 for toasted).  At the same time, I cannot make nut flour with toasted almonds, as they immediately come out pasty.  I don’t know how this will translate to the food processor.  With the juicer, each particle is only affected one time, unless you put it through again, and every particle is the same size as each other one.  With a food processor, you’re getting big and little ones, so the little ones are hit more for the sake of the big ones.  Maybe process, then sift out the small ones, and return the big ones, etc.  Finally, in the end, if the sifted bowl of small ones still needs to be smaller, at least they’re all equal.  Just a thought from someone who only has a teeny mini-prep and has to grate carrot cake carrots by hand, so all that might not be applicable!!

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Posted: 27 February 2011 08:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]
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Hello Fellow Bakers,
Here are two more heart entries. One is a Chocolate Cake and the other is a batch of Red Velvet Whoopie Pies. Both were fun to make!
http://cakesbydar.blogspot.com/2011/02/happy-valentines-day-red-velvet-whoopie.html
http://cakesbydar.blogspot.com/2011/01/valentines-day-cake-nordic-ware-heart.html
Enjoy! smile

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Posted: 27 February 2011 09:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]
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Oh, man, Dar—I’ll bet those were some happy litttle girls!! What a great surprise!  Hearts with PINK filling.

I love the sugar-crystal idea on your chocolate cake!  Really inventive and worked great!

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Posted: 27 February 2011 12:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]
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They are adorable.

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Posted: 27 February 2011 02:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]
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Thanks Anne and Flour Girl! smile

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Posted: 27 February 2011 02:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]
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Beautiful!  I’ll bet the girls were thrilled with the red velvet heart-shaped whoopie pies!

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