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Bringing Home the Bakin'

bake my cake and eat it, too

Monthly Archives: March 2010

I don’t know if this toffee is technically kosher for passover, as I didn’t use kosher for passover chocolate, but if you aren’t a stringent follower of the kosher law, this should do, and if its wonderfully buttery and caramel-ly aroma is any indication of taste, I’m sure it’s DELICIOUS!  Stay tuned for some more passover desserts…

Pecan and Almond Chocolate Toffee – Baked: New Frontiers in Baking


  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 cup toasted pecans
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, but into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 ounces dark chocolate (60% to 72% cacao), coarsely chopped
  • 4 ounces milk chocolate, coarsely chopped


  1. Butter a 9-by-13-by-2 inch glass or metal baking pan (do not use nonstick spray).
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the almonds until they are a fine powder.  Place the powdered almonds in a small bowl and set aside.  In the same food processor bowl, pulse the pecans for just 1 or 2 seconds, or until they are coarsely chopped but not powdered.  Set aside.
  3. Put the butter in a medium pan over low heat.  When the butter is halfway melted, add the sugar and 1 tablespoon water and cook over low heat, stirring very gently with a silicone or rubber spatula, until completely combined.  Clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pan, turn the heat up to medium-high, and wait for the mixture to reach 300 degrees F., about 15 minutes.  The mixture will start to bubble and turn brown.  If the browning seems uneven, swirl the pan during the cooking process but do not stir.
  4. Meanwhile, toss the dark and milk chocolate together.
  5. When the mixture reaches 300 degrees F., remove the pan from the heat and remove the candy thermometer.  Stir in the pecan pieces and pour the mixture into the prepared pan.  After the mixture has evened out in the pan, wait 1 minute, then sprinkle the chocolate pieces all over the toffee.  Wait about 3 minutes for the chocolate to melt, then use an offset spatula to spread the chocolate into an even layer.  Sprinkle the almond powder over the melted chocolate, then carefully put the whole pan in the freezer for about thirty minutes.
  6. Remove the pan from the freezer and break the toffee into pieces with a sharp knife.  Store the toffee, between layers of parchment, in an airtight container at cool room temperature.
  7. The toffee will keep for up to 5 days.

While helping my mom clean the kitchen the other day, I rediscovered our collection of melamine children’s dinner ware.  I was reacquainted with Ariel, and Jasmine, with Barbie and with Madeline; I was confronted with the occasional crack or chip, the wearing away of the characters’ faces.  I was overwhelmed with an intense pang of nostalgia.

So, to combat this bout of nostalgia, I recreated another popular favorite: Pop-Tarts.  Though I always equate Pop-Tarts with childhood, I’m not quite sure why: they seldom graced the shelves of our pantry.  Regardless, when I saw the recipe in this month’s Bon Appetit, I couldn’t resist.  I did however swap out the strawberry preserves for blueberry preserves, and it worked just fine.

My no-sugar kick is still going strong, so I didn’t taste them, but everyone who did said they were really delicious….and “so much better than the original!”

Strawberry “Pop-Tarts” – Bon Appetit


  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour plus additional for shaping and rolling
  • 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 4 tablespoons ice water
  • 12 tablespoons strawberry preserves (preferably organic homemade)
  • Powdered sugar


  • Whisk 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour, coarse salt, and sugar in large bowl. Add butter. Using fingertips or back of fork, blend in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add ice water by tablespoonfuls, tossing until moist clumps form. Gather dough into ball. Divide in half; shape each half into disk. Wrap in plastic. Chill at least 1 hour.
  • Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment. Working with 1 disk at a time, roll out dough on floured surface to about 13×11 inches. Trim to 12×10-inch rectangle, then cut into eight 5×3-inch rectangles.
  • Arrange 4 rectangles, spaced apart, on each sheet. Spoon 1 1/2 tablespoons preserves in row down center of each rectangle. Top preserves with second dough rectangle. Using fingertips, gently press all edges of each tart to seal; press all edges with tines of fork to double-seal. Using toothpick, poke a few holes in center of top dough rectangle. Cover; freeze tarts on sheets at least 2 hours and up to 1 week.
  • Position 1 rack in top third and 1 rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 375°F. Bake frozen tarts uncovered until golden, reversing sheets after 15 minutes, 25 to 30 minutes total (some preserves may leak out). Immediately transfer tarts to rack. Sift powdered sugar lightly over. Serve warm or at room temperature with fresh berries.

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I’ve avoided this recipe for a long time.  By some random stroke of luck, however,  I was almost forced to make these cookies, as I promised to bake something for my physics class, but this recipe was the only one for which I had all of the ingredients.  They were much easier than I had thought they would be, and they received rave reviews.  ENJOY!

Homemade Oreos – Smitten Kitchen

Makes 25 to 30 sandwich cookies

For the chocolate wafers:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 to 1 1/2 cups sugar [see recipe note]
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) room-temperature, unsalted butter
1 large egg

For the filling:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) room-temperature, unsalted butter
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  1. Set two racks in the middle of the oven. Preheat to 375°F.
  2. In a food processor, or bowl of an electric mixer, thoroughly mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda and powder, salt, and sugar. While pulsing, or on low speed, add the butter, and then the egg. Continue processing or mixing until dough comes together in a mass.
  3. Take rounded teaspoons of batter and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet approximately two inches apart. With moistened hands, slightly flatten the dough. Bake for 9 minutes, rotating once for even baking. Set baking sheets on a rack to cool.
  4. To make the cream, place butter and shortening in a mixing bowl, and at low speed, gradually beat in the sugar and vanilla. Turn the mixer on high and beat for 2 to 3 minutes until filling is light and fluffy.
  5. To assemble the cookies, in a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch, round tip, pipe teaspoon-size blobs of cream into the center of one cookie. Place another cookie, equal in size to the first, on top of the cream. Lightly press, to work the filling evenly to the outsides of the cookie. Continue this process until all the cookies have been sandwiched with cream.

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