Sunday, July 26, 2009

sugar cookies

my new friend, royal icing

When I was growing up the best sugar cookies in town came from a local bakery, Cristaudo's. They were these big sugar cookies with pink icing. I was thinking about those cookies recently and how much I wanted one. So I googled the recipe, hoping someone had unearthed the secret of those cookies. Not only did my google-ing turn up nothing, my mom informed me the bakery has closed. So even my next trip home won't get me these cookies to ponder over their ingredients more deeply.

So I decided to go for broke and attempt the sugar cookie recipe from the Baked cookbook.

For some reason I occasionally look at recipes with giant time restrictions, things like "chill for 4 hours" and think to myself, psh nothing needs to chill for that long. Turns out, some things do need to chill that long. I ended up putting the dough freezer for twenty minutes, and then moving it the fridge for another hour. And I realized how wrong I was when I went to roll out the dough, and it was hard to roll and cut. Also I should mention I don't have a rolling pin, so I had to improvise with my no-stick spray bottle, which suffice to say does not work all that well. Still the cookies I cut and baked turned out really well, and I'll definitely be trying this again with another round of royal icing.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


If I had to pick one junk food, I'm pretty sure glazed doughnuts would make the short list. So when I found this recipe for homemade doughnuts, I knew I had to attempt it. Sadly when I found the recipe I was knee deep in thesis design without three hours to spare on doughnuts. So I decided doughnut making would be a reward to making it through thesis design.


First up, I made the dough and let it rise for a couple of hours. Then came time to roll out the dough. I thought I had all the stuff needed to attempt the doughnuts, but I forgot I lack a rolling pin and cookie cutters. So, this turned into a little guerrilla baking. My bottle of no stick cooking spray doubled as a rolling pin, and some glasses and a teaspoon doubled as cookie cutters.

doughnut frying

Next up was doughnut frying. I can't say I've ever deep fried anything before, and it's certainly something I need more practice at.

doughnut hole

By far one of my favorite things was making the doughnut holes.

I rolled the doughnut holes in powdered sugar and glazed the big doughnuts with glaze from Alton Brown. Overall they were really pretty good straight out of the oil and hot, but as they cooled they got a little hard. Not a bad first attempt, but I look forward to trying again.

Sunday, July 5, 2009



So after seeing Nicole at Pinch My Salt write about making Challah. I further investigated the Peter Reinhart recipe and decided to give it a go. My confidence was bolstered a bit by previous no-knead bread baking attempts, although this was definitely more of a challenge, with the windowpane-ing, the rolling and the braiding.


My braid was a little messy, and it turns out bread braiding (unlike hair braiding) is a one shot deal. After the braided bread rose some more, and then after baking the braid had almost completely disappeared. My main goal was to the use the bread for french toast, so I wasn't all that concerned with the way it looked. It tastes great.

italian sodas

raspberry italian soda

I might have written my undergraduate thesis partially fueled by sipping raspberry italian sodas from Rao's and the Thirsty Mind. After leaving MHC I was saddened to find out that very few places sold these wonderful concoctions. (Even places that already had all the ingredients) I've been looking at the grocery stores for syrup, which no one seemed to sell. Then yesterday in Marshall's I spotted a beautiful bottle of raspberry syrup. A quick stop at Wegmans for a little club soda, and beautiful home made italian sods are now all mine.

From the first sip I had one of those, oh my god, why have I not been doing this forever moments. Since bringing home the syrup, I think I've made three or four big glasses. Mmmm.