If you have an hour and a stove and enjoy delicious things then I have a weekend kitchen project just for you! Homemade ricotta! Making cheese is “whey” easier than it seems. Cheese-making has been on my to-do list for “whey” too long. (Are we tired of this joke, yet?) (No “whey”!) I promised myself I would give it a go after my trip to Vermont this fall when I got to go behind the scenes at the holy grail of cheese-making BUT then life happened and there was always a-something-else that required my time. So the other day I got serious. I gave myself a pep talk, carved out one hour, and began my first foray into cheese-making.
Homemade ricotta is like a gateway cheese. One you start with the ricotta the doors open to the hard stuff. You realize what were you ever waiting for because that was just so ridonkously easy. Now I just can’t stop thinking about all the other cheeses out there that can come out of my tiny kitchen. Ricotta. Burrata. Don’t even get me start-ta[ed].
Ricotta is the most simple of DIY cheeses so we’re going to start there. All you need is lemon juice, whole milk and cream. The most involved tool that is required is a kitchen thermometer (but you already have in your arsenal from beer caramel-making, right?).
Mini doughnuts are pretty exciting. Tiny plus doughnuts – what is not to love? But I should probably clear the air before going any further. For quite a while I have been against The Mini Doughnut Pan. It always seemed like a frivolous baking extravagance that even I could not justify. (And this is coming from the human who stores sprinkles and cookie cutters under her bed.) There just seemed to me so many reasons against purchasing one, the biggest being that in my humble opinion The Doughnut Pan a one-trick pony.
Get past the obvious and there aren’t too many reasons to tap in a mini doughnut pan into the game. Well maybe sorting beads. Or making ice rings. Or homemade sidewalk chalk. Or even making bird seed snacks.
Update 12/24/13: Congratulations Christy! A box of Ovenly goodies is coming your way!
Homemade caramels have always been a sticking point (pun intended) for me. Meringue – no prob! Frosting a multi-layered cake – sure, you got it – and would you like me to bring it on the subway as well? OK, see you soon! I have quite a lot of patience when it comes to kitchen projects but there was something about caramel-making that I could never quite get to work out.
My attempts always left me frustrated and disappointed, not to mention caramel-less, which may be the most depressing fact of all. That was until I had the irrational obsession with making homemade caramels for the holiday season. I told myself: they’d be perfect for any and all moments! A last-minute thank you! A office party dream! But the reality was that I was either making batch after batch of beer-infused caramel sauce or hard toffee topped with pretzels. Neither were my attempt of soft, chewy caramels.
If I were a more talented lyricist then this post would include a humorous baking-inspired cover of Sir-Mix-A-Lot’s famous song, called oh I don’t know something along the lines of “I Like Big Bundts”. It would be amazing. I hope somewhere in the world that exists for the sake of bundt lovers everywhere.
But instead there is just this recipe. But it’s a recipe for a bundt that is not messing around. I can not lie. This cake has so much delicious going on. I know you read apple in the title and were like noooooooo, no apple cake for me please, then thought to yourself doesn’t she know that we are firmly into peppermint season now? Well yes, but this cake raises the bar on apple cakes. It is indulgent. It is an overload of goodness. There is crème fraîche and butter and brown sugar and bourbon.
And then there is the bundt side of things. In the same way a tart pan makes anything look fancy, a bundt is a dinner party dessert secret. And when you bake it in an extra-fancy swirl bundt – bing! – 10 points get added immediately to your classy score.
We made it! The Week of Thanksgiving is finally here. You probably have had your Thanksgiving dessert mapped out for weeks now and have been just waiting at the ready for the day to come and your plan to be put into action. But if you are still on the fence about what to make or if a few dozen more people decided to show up and you are in need of another dessert then I have just what you are looking for; this is the perfect pumpkin-spiced answer to all your last-minute baking needs.
Except the good news is that this dessert is hardly baking. It’s a barely-bake situation. If you can crush gingersnaps in a food processor (or with a rolling pin and a heavy duty ziplock bag) you are halfway to pumpkin cheesecake glory.
But that’s not all folks! For only $19.95 I’ll throw in the tart pan!! Annnnnnd you get the… oh what’s that you say, this isn’t an infomercial? My bad, I’ve got holiday brain big-time. Plus this tart needs no sales pitch. It’s a bourbon-spiked dream of a dessert because there’s also the whole “make-ahead” part which is just the icing on the proverbial cake. The refrigerator does all the work for you, and this week, what with your oven working at overdrive and all, it could probably use a little love and attention.
Update 11/23/2013: Congratulations Kathleen! Thank you all for entering and happy holiday baking!
When the Burl Ives begins to play on a constant loop and the twinkling street lights go up while the trees still cling to their last leaves and it seems like the holidays are barreling down on us faster than one can say “Gift wrap!” I begin a little countdown of my own. There are only 5.5 weeks left until my mom’s Christmas Eve Linzer Torte.
Over the years, there have been a few family traditions in our house that have stuck. The first is called Snapdragons and involves igniting a platter of nuts that have been soaked in brandy and snatching as many as one can before the fire goes out. (Flaming brandy is amazingly as fun as it sounds.) The second is Linzer Torte.
A Linzer Torte is an amazing thing. Not only does it always have a place of honor in our dessert line-up, it is almond dough hugging a jam filling. It is also the perfect holiday dessert because it can be easily made ahead and really gets better with time. So if you’ve had too much flaming brandy on Christmas Eve and missed the dessert hour, then it makes for a fantastic Christmas Day mid-morning breakfast treat. I would like to go on the record however and say this has never happened to me.