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Bringing Home the Bakin'

bake my cake and eat it, too

Monthly Archives: March 2009


Mmmmm….these were good.  I recommend making them in the morning (if you have time) and eating them while they are warm.


Easy Sticky Buns – Ina Garten


  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped in very large pieces
  • 1 package (17.3-ounces/ 2-sheets) frozen puff pastry, defrosted

For the filling:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup raisins 


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place a 12-cup standard muffin tin on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the 12 tablespoons butter and 1/3 cup brown sugar. Place 1 rounded tablespoon of the mixture in each of the 12 muffin cups. Distribute the pecans evenly among the 12 muffin cups on top of the butter and sugar mixture.

Lightly flour a wooden board or stone surface. Unfold 1 sheet of puff pastry with the folds going left to right. Brush the whole sheet with the melted butter. Leaving a 1-inch border on the puff pastry, sprinkle each sheet with 1/3 cup of the brown sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the cinnamon, and 1/2 cup of the raisins. Starting with the end nearest you, roll the pastry up snugly like a jelly roll around the filling, finishing the roll with the seam side down. Trim the ends of the roll about 1/2-inch and discard. Slice the roll in 6 equal pieces, each about 1 1/2 inches wide. Place each piece, spiral side up, in 6 of the muffin cups. Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry to make 12 sticky buns.

Bake for 30 minutes, until the sticky buns are golden to dark brown on top and firm to the touch. Be careful – they’re hot! Allow to cool for 5 minutes only, invert the buns onto the parchment paper (ease the filling and pecans out onto the buns with a spoon) and cool completely.


I awoke early this morning with hopes of going to get a few last minute things for my trip next week.  Upon telling my mom that I was going out, she had other plans.  Instead of granting me permission to leave, she showed me a video on the news of people already drinking before 10 AM.  Being the slightly-overprotective-at-times mother that she is, she forbade me to drive on St. Patrick’s day, for fear that I would have a run in with any of these people.  Not only could I not drive myself, but she would not be home to drive me anywhere.  With nothing else to do, of course, my thoughts shifted to baking.  I hadn’t baked in a while, and we did happen to have some beautiful strawberries, so I decided on Strawberry Shortcakes.  No, they aren’t green, so feel free to pinch me, but if only you could have tried them I guarantee you’d reconsider.  I found the recipe in The Sweet Melissa Baking Book, the cookbook for a bakery in New York called Sweet Melissa Patisserie.  The recipe was quite easy, and soo good.

Strawberry Shortcakes

Melissa Murphy

Makes 6 Shortcakes.

For the Shortcakes:

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 tablespoons sugar plus 1 tablespoon for glazing

1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces

1 cup cold heavy cream

2 tablespoons whole milk or heavy cream, for glazing

For the Strawberries:

1 dry quart fresh strawberries, rinsed, hulled, and sliced

3 tablespoons sugar (or more to taste)

For the Whipped Cream:

1 cup cold heavy cream

3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

Before you Start:

Position a rack in the center of your oven.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line a cookie sheet with parchement paper or aluminum foil.

To make the Shortcakes:

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, 2 tablespoons of the sugar, and the zest.  Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until it resembles a coarse meal.  Little by little, stir in heavy cream until the dough starts to hold together (you may use a bit more cream if need be).

2. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface.  Pat together to form a rectangle 5 inches wide by 7 1/2 inches long that is about 1 inch thick.  Cut the long side of the dough into thirds, and the width in half to form six 2 1/2-inch squares.  Place the shortcakes 3 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheet.

3. Brush the tops of the shortcakes with the milk or heavy cream and sprinkles with he remaining tablespoon of sugar.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until light golden brown.  Remove to a wire rack to cool to room temperature.

While the shortcakes are cooling, prepare the strawberries.  In a medium bowl, combine the sliced strawberries with the sugar.  Set aside for 20 to 30 minutes to macerate.

To Make the Whipped Cream:

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whip attachment, beat the heavy cream and vanilla on medium speed.  In a slow steady stream, add the sugar and beat until the mixture forms medium-stiff peaks.

The whipped cream is best used when just made, but can be refrigerated in an airtight container overnight and beaten again just before serving.

To Complete the Shortcakes:

Fork split each shortcake in half horizontally.  Place one half on each of six plates.  Spoon 2 tablespoons of berries on each.  Top each with a large dollop of whipped cream.  Spoon more berries on top.  Place each of the remaining halves on top of the berries.  Garnish with more cream and berries, if desired.  Add a sprig of mint for garnish, if you’d like.

Pro Tip:

When whipping cream, the colder the cream the better.  If the bowl, the whisk or beaters, and the heavy cream are all well chilled, you will achieve the most volume.

Prepare the strawberries and whipped cream no more than 30 minutes before serving.  The shortcakes are best eaten the day they are made, but they can be tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil and frozen for up to 3 weeks.  Do not unwrap before defrosting.

I’ve been swamped with work lately, so I haven’t had much time to bake.  Still, I wanted to post a quick cookie recipe.  These aren’t the prettiest cookies ever, but they are amazing.  They smell incredible, and they taste just as good.  Until next week, ENJOY!

Brown Butter Brown Sugar Shorties

Adapted by Smitten Kitchen, from Gourmet

Makes about 32 cookies

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar (preferably dark)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt (flaky salt would be great in these)
Demerara sugar (Sugar in the Raw) or sanding sugar for rolling (optional)

Cut butter into four or five pieces and cook butter in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently, until it has a nutty fragrance and flecks on bottom of pan turn a light brown, anywhere from 4 to 7 minutes. It helps to frequently scrape the solids off the bottom of the pan in the last couple minutes to ensure even browning. Transfer butter to a bowl and chill until just firm, about 1 hour.

Beat together butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy. Beat in vanilla, then mix in flour and salt at low speed until just combined. Transfer dough to a sheet of wax paper or parchment and form into a 12-inch log, 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Chill, wrapped in wax paper, until firm, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Unwrap dough and roll it in coarse sugar, if using, and press the granules in with the paper you’d be using to wrap it. Slice dough into 1/4-inch-thick rounds, arranging 1 1/2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake until surface is dry and edges are slightly darker, 10 to 12 minutes. Let sit on sheet for a minute before transferring to a rack to cool. (Cookies will quite fragile at first, but will firm up as they cool.)

Dough keeps, chilled, up to 1 week, or in the freezer, up to one month. Cookies keep in an airtight container at room temperature 1 week.

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