Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Inspiration....Singapore and St. Lucia

Over the past 18 months I have had the great opportunity to travel many places. Two related places have been Singapore and St. Lucia.

How are these related in one post you ask? The answer is Nutmeg!

Below is a picture of a giant nutmeg sculpture that I saw in Singapore in the fall of 2010.
Giant Nutmeg Sculpture in Singapore
Last fall I had the opportunity to tour the Diamond Falls Botanical Garden, Soufriere in St. Lucia where I saw real nutmeg for the first time.
 Real Nutmeg in St. Lucia

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sour Cherry Crumb Coffee Cake

Sour Cherry Coffee Cake
Yesterday we had a friend stop over for coffee in the afternoon. Luckily for him, he gave us a couple of hour notice. So a coffee cake was born.

I was inspired by a Martha Stewart Blueberry Coffee to come up with this one. Plus I was able to use a pound of frozen sour cherries from last summer.

As the super amazing cherry pitter I bought last summer in Cologne is not quite get all of the pits out I did have to break open each frozen cherry to ensure all of the pits were removed. My better option for a cherry pitter is here.

For this recipe I used:
2 1/2 Cups of All Purpose Flour
1 Teaspoon of Baking Soda
1 Teaspoon of Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon Cardamom
1/4 Teaspoon of Salt
10 Tablespoons of Unsalted Butter
1 Cup Whey Low Granulated Sugar Substitute
3 Large Eggs
1 Cup Sour Cream
1/4 Cup Greek Style Yogurt
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1 Pound Pitted Sour Cherries
1 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
1 1/2 Cups of All Purpose Flour
12 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter

It was a good one...although I would use cake flour for the cake next time.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

2000 Page Views

Wow! 2000 Page views. Thank you. To celebrate it is time for a giveaway...... 1 Batch of oatmeal/toffee/cherry/chocolate chip cookies for a lucky commenter.  (now closed). Make your comment below and once comments reach 50 in total I will select a winner and contact them.

Holiday Baker Man - There is always clean up!

Readers have been from:
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Very cool. Where are you viewing from today?

 June 27, 2013 update..... 14000 page views!
 March 24, 2013 update.... 9000 page views. Very humbled.
 March 15, 2013 update.... 8000 page views. Thank you!
 March 2, 2013 update... 7000 page views. Thank you for your comments!
 February 7, 2013 update ...  6000 page views. Thank you!
 February 15, 2013 .... 1000 page views in the last 30 days. Thank you!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Inspiration.... A Silversea Halloween

As luck would have it I was blessed to be able to be on the Silversea liner Silver Spirit for Halloween in 2011.

The Pastry Chef and his team went all out for the lunch buffet dessert spread in La Terrazza.

Enjoy these!
Silver Spirit - Chocolate Spider Cake
Silver Spirit - Gouling Almond Cake - Gluten Free
Silver Spirit - Pumpkin Patch Jello - Sugar Free
Silver Spirit - RIP Cakes
Silver Spirit - Ghostly Chocolate Torte
Silver Spirit - Slimy Lime Pie
Silver Spirit - Bloody Peanut Butter Mousse

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Inspiration.....Sfogliatelle - Naples Italy

One of the 3 highlights of a day trip to Naples Italy last year was a stop at a bakery for some Sfogilatelle pastry. Uniquely Neapolitan! It was awesome, but one was more than enough for 2 people!!
Sfogliatelle in Naples

Friday, March 16, 2012

Chocolate-Peppermint Cookies - The Hit of the Christmas Cookie Box

I am always keeping in my the annual cookie box and what recipes would be great. I came across this one from Martha Stewart and thought it would be great. I did make a change and used candy canes rather than peppermint candies.
Chocolate Peppermint Cookies - Packing up the Box
This year I made 6 Batches of this cookie. It required:
6 Cups All-purpose Flour
3 Cups Dutch process cocoa powder
3 Teaspoons Baking Soda
3 Teaspoons Baking Powder
3 Teaspoons Salt
15 Ounces of Unsalted Butter
4 1/2 Cups of Sugar
6 Large Eggs
6 Large Egg Yolks
4 1/2 Teaspoons of Peppermint Extract
24 Candy Canes
10 Pounds of White Chocolate

This yields about 432 cookies. WOW!

Due to a vacation in the midst of the holiday baking season last year, I split the mixing and baking of this recipe up. Mixing and freezing one day and the baking and assembly later. Since there a bunch of steps to making this cookie recipe this was a great idea.

I'd love to gear from you. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Inspiration..... The Puyallup Fair

Last fall we took a weekend trip from Vancouver to Puyallup Washington to take in the state fair. We don't do fairs so well locally so this was a great chance to see something new. It was great! We had a lot of fun during our day there.

Unexpectedly, we came across "Fair Scones". There were 5 or 6 stands throughout the fair grounds and then we happened upon the factory. As I said we totally were not expecting this.

You have to try one!

The line ups can be huge but luckily we only waited a few minutes. I have since seen the scone mix in the grocery stores if you can't wait for the fair this year.
The Puyallup Fair - Entrance
The Puyallup Fair -Fisher Fair Scone

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Inspiration....Whole Foods Honolulu

The second last day before returning home from Oahu we took a trip to Whole Foods to see if we could find anything interesting to bring home with us.

It turns out there wasn't much to bring home but I did spy this Fruit Flan:
Whole Foods Honolulu - Fruit Flan

This thing was 8" high!

Something to aspire to!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Hermit Cookies

Hermit cookies are a spiced cookie with glaced fruit and raisins. Yummy with a cold glass of milk!

I have bought Hermit Cookies at our local grocery store with varying success. Sometimes fresh and awesome, sometimes a few days old - starting to get dry, and sometimes when I have been tired after a trip I forget to check the date and end up with dust cookies.


Last fall I made a batch of Apple- Raisin Cookies from Martha Stewart - found here. These were good, but the taste also reminded me of Hermit cookies from my local Safeway. So.... I set out to transform the cookie recipe.

For 60 cookies this is the recipe that I came up with:

2 Cups All Purpose Flour
2 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1 1/2 Teaspoon Nutmeg
1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1/8 Teaspoon Ground Cloves
1 Cup Softened Unsalted Butter
2 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
4 Eggs
6 Tablespoon Milk
2 Cup Raisins
2 Cups Glace Fruit in small cubes

Hermit Cookies - Cooling
A couple of notes here.  For Whole Wheat Flour I use White Whole Wheat Flour and for the Glace Fruit I search (high and low as it turns out) for all fruit mixture - no rutabega! When I was adding the fruit I noticed some whole cherries which I removed and cut up into smaller pieces.

More after the jump....
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