baking Dorie

Tuesdays With Dorie: Pumpkin Muffins

For years I made pumpkin muffins from a recipe I cut out of the Philadelphia Inquirer — cut out, with a pair of scissors, and then kept track of on a little piece of newsprint. It’s so archaic. But somewhere along the line I lost my recipe; no more Andrew’s Pumpkin Muffins. They were excellent, by far the best pumpkin muffins I had ever had in my life.

This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe gave me a chance to replace my beloved recipe. And Dorie’s came close to Andrew’s (whoever he may have been) — or, at least, close to my no-doubt-nostalgia-enhanced memory of Andrew’s. We had them for breakfast rather than dessert, so I made them with King Arthur’s white whole-wheat flour. It’s great flour — we really can’t tell the difference in most baked goods — and I feel less guilty about serving it for breakfast.

And then, of course, I had to do something about those raisins. Over the objections of #1 Son (who has developed something of a raisin obsession lately), I used chocolate chips instead. (Breakfast? Who said anything about breakfast?)

So, without any further ado, here are my pumpkin muffins with chocolate chips and pecans:


Family review:

Husband: They were good all-around muffins — not transcendent, but quite tasty. The chocolate chips were a plus.

#1 Son: They were good, very good. There wasn’t a whole lot of pumpkin flavor, just enough to let you know you were eating pumpkin muffins but not enough to really make an impact. Texture was good, chocolate was good. Yay.

#2 Son: Um nom nom nom nom. (Translation: He liked them.)

I will definitely make these again. (Maybe with more chocolate chips. A cup? Two cups? The sky’s the limit!)

If you’d like to try them, Kelly over at Sounding My Barbaric Gulp! has the recipe. Really, go now. Try them. You won’t be sorry.

And if you’d like to see what other bloggers did with and to them (many no doubt much more creative than my chocolate-for-fruit substitution), check out the blogroll at Tuesdays With Dorie.

baking Dorie

Tuesdays With Dorie: Caramel-Peanut-Topped Brownie Cake


This week’s TWD recipe was Caramel-Peanut-Topped Brownie Cake. Husband’s birthday was last Thursday, and so this was a perfect ending to our Friday dinner.

I was on my own for this one, and I didn’t start till mid-afternoon. The cake came together pretty quickly, which was nice, and it was out of the oven an hour after I started.

The topping came a couple of hours later, just before dinner, and it too was fairly simple. I’ve had issues with caramel before, but this came together nice, exactly as described in the book.

And when I brought it to the table, it was beautiful. Mouthwateringly beautiful.

Unfortunately, it just didn’t live up to the promise of its name and beauty. It was fine, but not brilliant. It reminded me of a restaurant dessert, one of those that sound incredible when you read the description on the menu but are ultimately disappointing.

From the name, I thought the cake would be more of a giant brownie, but it was actually a cake, and the caramel was a bit bland.

We had vanilla ice cream with it; I think that’s absolutely necessary. It balanced the sweetness and richness of the chocolate and caramel.

Family reviews:

Husband: It was more cakey than I thought it would be, not as chocolatey. It worked as a whole package, when the ice cream was added in.

#1 Son: Not a lot of depth of flavor, and the texture was disappointing. But the caramel and the peanuts were good.

#2 Son: The cake was not the texture of either brownie or cake, kind of in between. Still really good — I like the bittersweet chocolate. The peanuts were good — they added that little bit of salt — and the caramel was awesome. Great with vanilla ice cream!

The next day, two of us liked it more (richer flavor), and two of us liked it less (drier cake).

This recipe was chosen by Tammy over at Wee Treats by Tammy. She’ll have the recipe over there if you want to try it for yourself, or you could go buy Dorie’s book, Baking: From My Home to Yours. And if you want to see what tons of other bloggers thought of it, check out the blogroll at Tuesdays With Dorie.

baking Dorie

Tuesdays With Dorie: Dimply Plum Cake

I wasn’t going to do Dorie this week. You know, the whole fruit thing. But yesterday was my mother’s birthday — and the first day of fall — so I figured that was a good enough reason to bake, even if there was fruit involved.

Unfortunately, I decided this after I had been to the farmers market on Saturday morning. Fortunately, I had bought nectarines. So I made Dimply Nectarine Cake. And it was good.

I made it Sunday night, because the recipe said the cake was moister the next day, and moist sounded good.

Because the nectarines were considerably larger than plums, I cut them into quarters rather than halves. Oh, and I left out the orange zest, because I didn’t have any oranges, and the cardomom, just because. Other than that, I made it as written.


Everyone really liked it. My mother and I had it plain, but it was apparently also good with ginger preserves (#1 Son):


and Greek yogurt (Husband):


and raspberry jelly (#2 Son, but no photo).

This was a good buffet-type cake: not too sweet, probably excellent with coffee. It wasn’t anything jaw-droppingly spectacular, but it’s an excellent recipe to have on hand when you need something a little unusual and not too labor-intensive.

If you’d like to try it yourself, Michelle will post the recipe over at Bake-En. And if you’d like to see the myriad variations that all the other TWD bakers come up with, check out the blog roll at Tuesdays With Dorie.

baking Dorie

Tuesdays With Dorie: Chocolate Chunkers

I’m late! I always get these posts done by 8 a.m. on Tuesday (well, usually over the weekend, with an automatic post at 8 a.m. on Tuesday). But it was a rough few days around here. I apologize to my thousands of early-bird readers who were disappointed this morning.

This week’s recipe was Chocolate Chunkers, chosen by Claudia of Fool for Food; she’ll have the recipe (in both English and German, most likely!) if you want to try them yourself.

I made these cookies in a rush, which is never a good way to do anything, on Friday morning before a picnic. There were going to be lots of people there, including lots of kids, and I thought it would be nice to have lots of people to eat these things, because otherwise we were going to wind up eating way, way, way too many.

The recipe calls for raisins. Anyone who has read more than a couple of my posts can predict that I left those out, much to the chagrin of #1 Son. I made half as written (using milk chocolate rather than white, because I forgot to buy white, and because I like milk better), except without the raisins, and added shredded sweetened coconut to the other half. Everything’s better with coconut, right?

Turns out, not these cookies. They were great without the coconut, really amazing, and just good with it.

They taste like little brownies, rich and moist and oh-so-chocolatey. All of four of us loved them, and all four of us preferred the non-coconut version (which didn’t prevent us from eating the coconut ones too, mind you!).

These were by far my favorite Dorie cookies so far.

With coconut:


And without:


Try them both ways. See which you prefer.

If you want to see what everyone else did with these, check them out at Tuesdays With Dorie.

baking Dorie

Tuesdays With Dorie: Chocolate Whopper Malted Drops

Rough week here. But I couldn’t skip Dorie, now, could I? So I made the batter on Friday, amidst all the other goings-on, and managed to bake one batch of 12 before dinner. But that was it.

We ate a few after dinner on Friday, when they were meant to be our special Friday dessert, but we were all so tired by the time dinner was done that the sense of ceremony was lost.

And I didn’t have time to bake on Saturday, either. Once again, #1 Son to the rescue. He pointed out, quite rightly, that the batter was once again delicious. And that he had not been terribly impressed by the cookies. And that we had most of a carton of vanilla ice cream in the freezer, which had been intended to go with the cookies for Friday dessert.

The logical conclusion: Chocolate Whopper Malted Drops Dough Ice Cream!

The batter had been sitting in the fridge overnight, so it was pretty solid. I portioned it out into ice cream-appropriate bits and froze it for a couple of hours. Then I softened the ice cream in the food processor, à la the Chocolate-Banded Ice Cream Torte. Then I combined the two and stuck the result back in the freezer to harden.

It was a very good thing.

Comments on the cookies were as follows:

#1 Son: No depth of flavor — it didn’t taste like a malted-milk cookie. The Whoppers didn’t come through. But the dough was excellent, like chocolate frosting.

#2 Son: They’re just chocolate — you don’t really get anything else out of them.

Husband: I liked the soft and chewy texture, but the taste wasn’t particularly complex or interesting.


But everyone loved the batter in the ice cream, especially with Ovaltine sprinkled on top!


If you want to see what everyone else did with the actual cookies, head on over to Tuesdays With Dorie. And if you want to try them yourself, either as cookies or as batter — complete with raw eggs! — check out the recipe at Confessions of a Tangerine Tart (or, even better, buy the book!).

baking Dorie

Tuesdays With Dorie: Chunky Peanut Butter and Oatmeal Chocolate Chipsters

I’ve been making oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for years, the ones from the Quaker Oats box. Everyone loves them, and I get requests for them from people I haven’t seen for months at a time. They’re really good.

All that is prelude to my saying that this week’s Tuesdays With Dorie recipe was for peanut butter oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, taking mine just a bit further flavorwise. #2 Son helped out this time, making the batter completely on his own.


I refrigerated the batter for about three hours, and then scooped it out with my lovely little cookie scoop. (The batter, by the way, was really good. We ate more than was strictly a good idea.)

Baked them. Ate one. Wow. Warm chocolate chip cookies are one of the little pleasures of life.

But I couldn’t leave well enough alone. All the other TWD bakers have inspired me to push everything just a little further.

So I slapped some vanilla ice cream between a couple of cookies, and let me tell you, that was incredible.

I would have eaten most of the cookies myself, along with most of the ice cream, but luckily I had two extra 16-year-old boys here overnight (in addition to the usual one), and they polished off the couple of dozen cookies and nearly half a gallon of ice cream that were left after dinner.

But I would have.


Check out how far all the other TWD bakers pushed this recipe, and if you want to try it yourself, head on over to Proceed With Caution, where Stefany will have it all typed up for you.

baking Dorie

Tuesdays With Dorie: Granola Grabbers

We eat a lot of granola around here, and I make it myself. (Buying it would cost hundreds of dollars a week — only a slight exaggeration!) I generally use Nigella Lawson’s Andy’s Fairfield granola from Feast (online at Food and Thoughts); it uses applesauce for fat and part of the sweetening rather than oil and a ton of sugar, and it’s pretty healthy as these things go — and we all like it. It’s not easy getting Husband to eat breakfast, but mix some Greek yogurt with fruit (frozen or fresh, whatever’s on hand) and some granola, and he’s a happy boy.

We ran out of granola this morning, and faced with the need to make more before I could make this week’s Granola Grabbers, I decided to try something new. I’ve had Melissa’s Seven-Year Granola bookmarked for ages, but I could never find the right excuse for making a breakfast cereal that includes large amounts of butter and brown sugar. These cookies provided that excuse.

I did not take a photo — I couldn’t trust myself around it long enough — but believe me when I say that butter and brown sugar are just the ticket. I used less than half the recipe for the cookies, so breakfast this week is going to be a bit less responsible than usual.

Then #1 Son wandered by and offered to make the cookies (well, the dough at least; he doesn’t trouble himself with “the boring stuff” — i.e., the actual baking). So I left the room, although I did return long enough to start shooting photos, and annoying the professional trying to do his job.

He had his own mise en place:


And he wasn’t amused when I placed myself between him and it to shoot some photos:

exasperated Alex.JPG

But, at last, the batter was made:

granola grabber dough.JPG

He added raisins to about a quarter of the dough — the quarter he was going to eat.

The dough for these cookies is delicious; between the two of us, we must have eaten 10 or 12 cookies’ worth. Baked, though, they lost something. They’re fine, good with milk and awesome with iced coffee (and probably with hot coffee, too, but we didn’t have any of that). But there was nothing terribly special about them. I don’t see myself making them again.

granola grabbers.JPG

Husband: “I enjoyed them. I thought they were a little dry, but I like gooey cookies. The peanuts were a nice surprise.”

#1 Son: “Good with tea or coffee or something, but not much of a stand-alone dessert.”

#2 Son: “I liked them when they were soaked in milk, but they were too dry when they weren’t.”

To be fair, the recipe recommended them as an after-school snack, not a dessert. I think they’d be just the thing after a long day at school, but we don’t do that here; if it doesn’t work as Friday dessert, it doesn’t make it onto the roster.

If you’d like to see what other TWDer’s did, check out the website. And if you’d like the recipe, head on over to Bad Girl Baking, where Michelle has it all laid out for you.

baking bread

Pretzel Bread?

I have a friend who once had this thing she called pretzel bread. She wanted me to make some. I had never heard of pretzel bread. But through the magic of the internet, I found some at Two Bites in Suburbia. And it was good. I made four loaves for eight people the other day, and they went fast. We couldn’t decide whether it was best to cut the loaves in slices or in wedges or just to rip them apart. We had to find out. It was science.

For the record, wedges were the best.

pretzel bread.JPG

I also made some of David Lebovitz’s Killer App Candied Peanuts. They were incredible, although they do take a bit more time and effort than he indicates in the recipe. But totally worth it. I can make these only to take places, because I can eat the entire batch without even noticing.

candied nuts.JPG

I know it’s bad form for me to always send you elsewhere for recipes. Soon I’ll start posting my own, I promise!

baking food

Happy Birthday to Me

Days ago I promised photos of the cupcake #1 Son made me, and I failed to provide them. Herewith I remedy that situation.

He made pecan pie cupcakes from a recipe he found here. As it turned out, nonstick cooking spray is not enough for these babies — they need the little paper cups. Only one made it out of the tin alive:


Luckily, the child is clever. He sent Husband out for vanilla ice cream and made lovely sundaes topped with the crumbled cupcakes:

cupcake sundae

Whole or in bits, the cupcakes were absolutely delicious. #1 Son also made dinner, chicken and risotto. (You can tell where my priorities lie, can’t you?) I missed #2 Son, but it was a very nice birthday anyway.

baking Dorie

Tuesdays with Dorie: Not This Week

Sadly, there will be no TWD post here this week. We sent #2 Son off to summer camp on Sunday, and with all the commotion and hullaballoo there was just no time for cherries and rhubarb. But stay tuned — I’ll be back next week. And if you want to see lovely photos of Cherry Rhubarb Cobbler, check out the other TWD bloggers, and if you want the recipe go to Like Sprinkles on a Cupcake.

Oh, and today’s my birthday. If #1 Son actually makes me a cupcake, as promised, I’ll post a photo!