Tag Archives: baking

Going for Gluten Free {Chocolate Pavlova Recipe}

I find it so exciting when I stumble across gluten free recipes that are naturally just gluten free. I’ve mentioned before (and sure I will again…) that my mother has Celiac’s Disease and follows the gluten free diet. But, I’m sure most people know people who either have Celiac’s Disease or another disease that benefits from the gluten free diet. I’m so glad that there’s more awareness now because it makes it easier to find good recipes to cook and bake for my mom.

But, since she’s been diagnosed, I’ve noticed something. The more real you cook, the fewer problems you have with gluten. By real, I mean cooking with whole ingredients instead of highly processed ingredients. However real you cook, though, baking is a whole different ball game. So many desserts we rely on are carb-heavy: cakes, pies, cookies, oh my! So, when I find a delicious looking dessert that doesn’t have any gluten in it, I jump for joy! When we have family parties, I like to have dessert that everyone can enjoy, including my mom. chocolate pavlovaLast month, we planned a Mother’s Day dinner for the Saturday before, and I planned to make a gluten free chocolate cake roll I got from Smitten Kitchen. I’ve made it before, and we’ve all loved it. It’s simple, light, and airy. A few days before, however, I found this recipe for chocolate pavlova on Brown Eyed Baker. I mentioned it in passing to my mom, and she was really excited. “Let’s have that!” she exclaimed. Continue reading


Remembering Paris {Chouquettes recipe}

Ever since I named this blog, I knew I had to make chouquettes. I’ve made pate a choux before, and turned them into cream puffs. Chouquettes, though, have never graced my kitchen. Chouquettes were something I enjoy in Paris, not something to make. Chouquettes are something you eat out of a crinkly paper bag on your way to the metro. Just thinking about chouquettes fills my nose with the scent of Paris. It never occurred to me to recreate my memories of chouquettes (though I certainly try to recreate my other favorites).

The major stumbling block, though, wasn’t the dough. I’d made it, and found it easier than expected. The stumbling block was the sugar.

If you aren’t familiar with chouquettes, they are covered with delightful pearl sugar that is perfectly sweet and crunchy. Pearl sugar is often used for decorating baked goods, particularly in Scandinavian baking. Since most of my baking is, well, ugly, I don’t have much use for decorative (however delicious) sugar, and didn’t have any in my pantry. It took me a while to get around to buying some, since my local grocer doesn’t carry it, and I had to venture to a baking supply store.chouquettes

The laughable part is that once I had the sugar, even though it was on the counter, I forgot to put it on the chouquettes until they had been in the oven for three minutes. With bated breath, I opened the oven door, slid the oven rack out of the oven and smashed, gently, the sugar onto the half-baked chouquettes, praying they wouldn’t fall because of it. And yet, they didn’t.

I was rewarded with eggy, slightly sugary (only because I didn’t add enough sugar…), light and airy chouquettes. And in hardly no time at all, which are really the best treats.


adapted from America’s Test Kitchen’s Gougeres from The Best International Recipe

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg white
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 5 tablespoons butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup (2 1/2 ounces) flour, sifted
  • 1/4 cup pearl sugar

Preheat the oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and fit a pastry bag with a 1/2-inch plain tip. Set aside. Beat the eggs and egg white together with a fork in a small liquid measuring cup. Keep 1/2 cup, discard the rest.

Bring the water, butter, milk, salt, and granulated sugar to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir it occasionally until the butter is melted. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the flour until well combined and the mixture forms a dough that clears the sides of the plan, about a minute. Return the saucepan to low heat and cook, stirring until the mixture turns shiny and sandy and small beads of fat appear on the bottom of the pan, about 5 minutes.

Transfer the mixture to a food processor and process for about ten seconds with the feed tube open to cool the mixture slightly. With the machine running, gradually add the beaten egg in a steady strength. When all the eggs have been added, scrape down the sides of the bowl and process for 30 seconds until the mixture forms a smooth, thick, sticky paste.

Fill the pastry bag with the mixture and pipe onto the prepared baking sheet, forming 2-inch mounds about 1 inch apart. Press the pearl sugar onto the mounds on all sides, covering the mounds as best you can. They’ll puff considerably in the oven, so don’t worry about putting too much on.

Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 375 without opening the oven door. Bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until they are no longer soft and are instead firm and golden brown.

Remove the chouquettes from the oven and pierce each one on the side with a paring knife. Return them to the oven, turn the oven off, and prop the oven door open with a wooden spoon. Let the pastry dry until the center is just moist (not wet) and the puffs are crisp, about 50 minutes.

Enjoy, and think of Paris.

Quick Baking {Cinnamon Scones Recipe}

So many times, I want to bake, I crave baked goods, but I’m short on energy. When that happens, I turn to scones. They are easy, rely on very little leavening (which makes them a breeze even at my high altitude), don’t require a mixer, and are out of the oven ready to eat in less than an hour. Perhaps the best part is that they don’t look like they are as easy as they are and impress people. However you slice it, scones are an all-around win.

So, when I realized that my friend’s birthday was the day before (luckily, she was out of town on her actual birthday…) and I didn’t have a gift, I took the easy way out and baked for her. It was already 3pm, and it was high time for me to figure out what on earth I was going to make for dinner. Which meant that I really only had one choice: scones. It was a delicious choice, to be sure, and I was ready to try a new recipe.cinnamon scones 2

I picked cinnamon scones from Brown Eyed Baker, who adapted her recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod, because I had a bag of cinnamon chips in my pantry just waiting for me to try them. It was the perfect opportunity.

I wasn’t wowed by the chips, and I might consider ordering cinnamon chips or cinnamon bits from KAF in the future, but scones lived up to every bit of hype I’ve given them. They were easy, quick, and looked great. And they tasted great. We’ll be making them again soon.

cinnamon scones

Cinnamon Scones

from Brown Eyed Baker

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons cold butter, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup cinnamon chips
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon milk (or cream if you have extra)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, 3 tablespoons sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and salt. Using your fingers (powder-free latex gloves are great here), cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. You want the butter to be mostly pea-sized, with some lumps smaller and a few a bit bigger. Stir in the cinnamon chips. Pour the cream over the ingredients and stir briefly until a dough forms–don’t over mix.

Turn the dough onto a floured counter and knead by hand just until it forms a ball, gathering in all the dry parts. Pat the dough into a 3/4 inch thick circle. Cut the dough using a bench scraper into 8 triangles.

Place the scones on the parchment-lined baking sheet. In a small bowl, combine the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Using a pastry brush, brush the scones with milk then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake the scones for 12-17 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool the scones on a cooling rack before serving.

The Ultimate Compliment {Rasberry Almond Bars Recipe}

The other day, a friend called. She wanted to talk about our plans to celebrate another friend’s birthday. We had already discussed having a barbecue, and she followed up with that. She talked to the birthday girl and hashed out a menu, including baby back ribs, potato salad, grilled vegetables…the works. When asked about what kind of cake she would like, the birthday girl replied, “Well, you know I’m not much of a cake person. But those cranberry bars you make! Those would be great!”

Our friend replied that she didn’t make cranberry bars…but could she be meaning my raspberry bars?Raspberry Bars 2

Of course! That was it. Raspberry bars. That was what she wanted for her birthday dessert. Continue reading

Pie Failures {French Lemon Cream Tart Recipe}

I love baking.

But I am not a pie baker.

I’ve never been able to make crusts all that well. I guess I’m not good at leaving things be, and I probably overwork the dough. I try, and I try, and that’s probably the problem. I try too much.

A few years ago, my mom and I decided that everyone should bring a pie for Thanksgiving so the burden for pie didn’t rest with any one person. I thought it was a great idea, even though there was that nagging thought in the back of my head that I really can’t bake pies. I pushed it back, thinking to myself that anyone can bake pie, and I am a good baker–certainly I could bake a pie.

Right? Continue reading