Thursday, January 29, 2009

January Daring Bakers Challenge-- Tuiles

This month's challenge is brought to us by Karen of Bake My Day and Zorra of 1x umruehren bitte aka Kochtopf. They have chosen Tuiles from The Chocolate Book by Angélique Schmeink and Nougatine and Chocolate Tuiles from Michel Roux.


A Tuile, is a thin, light, crisp cookie that is molded into a curved shape due to it being placed over a curved surface while still warm. As it cools, it will set in this shape allowing you to fill it's bowl or center with a suitable filling. "Tuile" is a French word meaning "tile"; these cookies resemble the curved French roofing tiles for which they're named.

The rules that Karen and Zorra have stated are as follows:
- use the batter given,
- shape it either prior (using a stencil) or right after baking and
- pair it with something light


The recipe was probably the most simple recipe that The Daring Baker's will ever see. The technique is what made it a bit challenging.

I decided to just follow the lead that was given to me and copied made a butterfly stencil like Karen had used.

To make the stencil, I used a plastic lid from a disposable refrigerated food, a pen and a utility knife. Easy enough.

I forgot to add some "spots" and design to my butterflies before baking, so I ended up with what looked more like a moth than a butterfly. I also made them a little too large, so threw out the butterfly stencil and moved onto something more simple.... a circle (which somehow ended up looking like a Pringles potato chip once it was cooled). Moths and Pringles... what more could a girl ask for?


¼ cup softened butter (not melted but soft)
½ cup sifted confectioner’s sugar
1 sachet vanilla sugar (7 grams or substitute with a dash of vanilla extract)
2 large egg whites (slightly whisked with a fork)
¼ cup sifted all purpose flour
1 table spoon cocoa powder/or food coloring of choice
Butter/spray to grease baking sheet


1. Preheat oven to 350°F

2. Using a hand whisk or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle (low speed) and cream butter, sugar and vanilla to a paste. Keep stirring while you gradually add the egg whites.

3. Continue to add the flour in small batches and stir to achieve a homogeneous and smooth batter/paste. Be careful to not over mix.

4. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to firm up. (This batter will keep in the fridge for up to a week, take it out 30 minutes before you plan to use it).

5. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or grease with either butter/spray and chill in the fridge for at least 15 minutes. This will help spread the batter more easily if using a stencil/cardboard template such as the butterfly.

6. Press the stencil on the baking sheet and use an off sided spatula to spread batter. Leave some room in between your shapes.

7. Mix a small part of the batter with the cocoa and a few drops of warm water until evenly colored. Use this colored batter in a paper piping bag and proceed to pipe decorations on the wings and body of the butterfly/circle.

8. Bake butterflies in preheated oven for about 5-10 minutes or until the edges turn golden brown. Immediately release from baking sheet and proceed to shape/bend the cookies in the desired shape.

**These cookies have to be shaped when still warm, you might want to bake a small amount at a time. It helped to place the baking sheet toward the front of the warm oven, leaving the door half open while you mold the cookies one at a time. The warmth will keep the cookies malleable.

I molded my butterflies (moths) over the edges of a few bowls:

I molded my circles over spoon handles:

Paired with a whipped cream and some blueberries (they tasted like cream puffs):

My daughter loved the cookies, especially warm (I did, too!). They are sweet and spongy yet crisp and can be gobbled up without even pairing them with something else. I used the remaining dough to make her two big warm cookies! She was thrilled!

Be sure to check out the The Daring Baker's Blogroll to see other amazing January challenges.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Watergate Cake

Every year, when my husband was a child, his mom would make him Watergate Cake for his birthday. When I came into the picture almost 12 years ago, I took over the job of making him this moist, delicious treat each January 27th.

A few years back, I submitted this recipe to a local contest sponsored by Jell-O; submissions were required to use Jell-O pudding as an ingredient. I won first place! The prize was 2 free tickets to see a live Bill Cosby comedy show (because Bill Cosby and Jell-O pudding go hand-in-hand)!

Here is the winning recipe:


1 white cake mix
1 small box of instant pistachio pudding
1 cup of water
1 cup of 7-Up
2 eggs

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and beat together for 2 minutes.
Pour into a greased 9x13 pan and bake at 350° until cake tester comes out clean, about 35-40 minutes.

*(I like it better in 2 round pans but baking time is different... I just bake for 30 minutes and then watch it and add minutes as needed. Also, if you make it a layered cake, I would double the frosting recipe)


1 pkg of Dream Whip (dry)
1 cup milk
1 small box of instant pistachio pudding

Beat until thick and holds a small peak (about 5 minutes)

***It never gets really fluffy thick and holds a meringue type peak. It just gets to be thick enough to "peak" a little peak that just holds it's shape more than doing the swooshy flippy peaky thing. It should be a spreadable frosting consistency***

Keep refrigerated.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Frosted Banana Bars

This is another recipe my mom has become famous for. These bars are made for gatherings and potlucks and never last long. And, as an added bonus, the ingredients are staples in most kitchens so you won't need to run to the store to gather ingredients before making them.


1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs
1/3 cup milk*
1 tsp lemon juice*
1/2 chopped nuts (optional)
1 1/2 very ripe, medium sized bananas; sliced (the other half of the second banana will be used in the frosting, posted below)

*(1/3 cup sour milk may be substituted for these two ingredients)


Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Spread into a greased 9x13" pan. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes.

Cool and frost with banana frosting; recipe as follows. Sprinkle with nuts, if desired.

Banana Frosting:


2 tbsp butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 medium ripe banana, sliced


Combine all ingredients in a bowl and beat until smooth and creamy. If necessary, thin with a few drops of milk, or thicken with a bit more powdered sugar.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

3D Paper Snowflake

What a great way to use all of those worksheets that come home from school with your children... make your house a winter wonderland! Follow these simple instructions to make your own 3D paper snowflake.

What you need:

6 pieces of paper

What you do:

1. Fold each of the 6 pieces of paper in half, diagonally. If the paper you're using doesn't make a perfect triangle, cut off the edge that sticks out (rectangular edge) and make it align perfectly.

2. Cut 3 lines each side of the triangle from the folded edge, making sure not to cut through the unfolded paper edges. The cut lines should be parallel to one another on each side and they should come close to meeting in the middle but not touch. To make this easier, you can fold the triangle in half. This way you'll cut both sides at once, making a very symmetrical snowflake.

3. Unfold your paper and turn it so that the diamond shape is facing you for working with.

4. Still keeping your paper diamond side-up, roll the first two innermost paper lines together to form a tube. Tape these two pieces together. You should see triangle shapes on each side of the roll.

5. Turn the diamond over to the other side. Take the next two paper lines and pull them together on the opposite side of the tube and tape together as before. This will be a more rounded shape and wider than the first tube.

6. Keep turning the paper and joining the paper lines together on opposite side until all paper lines have been joined.

7. Repeat this process (steps 3 - 7) with the remaining 5 pieces of paper.

8. Join 3 of the completed rolled pieces together at one end (draw together with your fingertips) and staple together using the other hand. Do the other 3 pieces the same way. Now you will have 2 pieces consisting of 3 strands or "arms" each.

9. Staple the two new pieces together in the middle. You will almost have the snowflake shape now.

10. Staple where each of the 6 arms meet. This ensures that the snowflake shape is pulled into place. See illustration at top for the finished snowflake.

Use a paper punch to hang your snowflake with string.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Cauliflower Bisque

My friend Ali shared this recipe with me. She said it was so good, served with bacon and cheese sprinkled on top, that it tasted like potato soup without all of the carbs. I love cauliflower and I love potatoes... so it was game on!

I can't stop eating this! I just finished making it and we haven't eaten dinner yet and I'm already posting it. In fact, my husband isn't even home from work yet! It may be all gone by the time he gets home. If a tree falls in the forest and nobody is around to hear it....

The simple recipe:

1 tsp butter
1 small onion, chopped
1 head cauliflower, chopped
3 cups chicken broth
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup heavy cream
Bacon (optional)
Shredded cheese (optional)

Saute the onion in 1 tsp butter until tender (I'll be honest and say that I used probably a tablespoon of butter... only because I love butter).

To the onion, add cauliflower, broth, salt and pepper (I used probably 1/4 tsp of each).

Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until cauliflower is very tender, about 1 hour.

Add mixture to blender or food processor; blend until smooth.

Stir in heavy cream. Top with bacon and cheese before serving.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Easy Chicken Parmesan


4 boneless chicken breasts, pounded to 1/2 inch thickness
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
seasoned bread crumbs
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
sliced or shredded Mozzarella cheese
1 jar (16 oz) spaghetti sauce
Parmesan cheese


Whisk together the egg and milk. Dip the chicken breasts in milk and egg mixture and then in bread crumbs.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the chicken in the hot oil on both sides until golden, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Set chicken in a baking dish.

Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on each chicken breast (as much as you'd like... I covered mine completely).

Pour 1 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce over all pieces. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and a little more mozzarella.

Bake at 350° for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until bubbly. Serve with spaghetti, garlic bread and a nice green salad.

Monday, January 12, 2009


This is one of my all-time favorite cookies. It's snowing out today-- what perfect cookie-baking weather!


1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon


1. Heat oven to 400ºF.

2. Mix 1 1/2 cups sugar, the butter, shortening and eggs in large bowl. Stir in flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt.

3. Shape dough into 1 1/4-inch balls. Mix 1/4 cup sugar and the cinnamon. Roll balls in cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.

4. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until set. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Malted Mocha Bars

Heaven. I've had this recipe stashed away for months and knew it would be delicious! Everytime I went to the grocery store, I would forget to pick up instant coffee and malted milk powder, so I had to hold off on making these. But I finally remembered... and boy, was it worth the wait!


2/3 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
Nonstick cooking spray
3 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup granulated sugar
4 teaspoons vanilla
1-1/2 cups flaked coconut
3/4 cup chocolate malted milk powder
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder or instant coffee crystals
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
3 tablespoons chocolate malted milk powder
1 tablespoon boiling water


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a mixing bowl stir together butter, brown sugar, and the 1-1/4 cups flour until smooth. If necessary, gently knead to blend. Coat a 13x9x2-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray; pat flour mixture into the bottom of pan. Bake for 15 minutes or until just set.

Meanwhile, beat together eggs, granulated sugar, and 2 teaspoons of the vanilla. Stir in coconut, the 3/4 cup malted milk powder, the 1/4 cup flour, 1-1/2 teaspoons of the espresso powder or coffee crystals, baking powder, and salt. Carefully spread mixture on top of baked layer. Bake 20 to 25 minutes more or until set. Cool on a wire rack.

In a medium bowl beat together powdered sugar, the 3 tablespoons malted milk powder, the remaining 2 teaspoons vanilla, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder or coffee crystals, and boiling water. If necessary, beat in a little additional boiling water until icing is of spreading consistency. Spread over cooled bars. Makes 36 bars.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Frosty the Doorstop

How cute is this snowman (snowgirl?)? I was so pleased to find it in a special gift wrapped just for me on Christmas... made with love by my 10 year old niece, Lauren. She originally intended on giving it to my mom (her grandma) for Christmas, but by the time she completed it, she decided to give it to Aunt Michele instead! The perks of having a craft/food blog!

I intend on keeping my snowgirl out all winter long... and maybe even then some!

Lauren saw the how-to for this snowman door stop in Family Fun Magazine.


Keyhole-shaped paver (available at many home improvement stores) *
White and black acrylic paint
Orange modeling clay
Fleece (or other scrap material-- Lauren used a strip of an old sweater)
Pipe cleaner
Two 1 1/2-inch pom-poms
Rubber band


1. Rinse off the paver to remove any loose bits of dirt or cement. Paint it white and let it dry. If needed, apply a second coat and let it dry completely.

2. Lay the paver flat and paint on the eyes, mouth, and buttons. Let the face dry, then mold a clay nose and affix it with superglue (a parent's job).

3. Cut a fleece scarf (ours measures 1 by 22 inches) and tie it in place. For the earmuffs, bend a 5-inch piece of pipe cleaner into an arc. Superglue the ends to either side of the head and the pom-poms over the ends (a parent's job), then wrap the rubber band around the snowman's head to hold the earmuffs in place until the glue dries.

4. To protect indoor floors, superglue a small piece of felt to the base of the snowman.