Tag Archives: baking

World Nutella Day 2011: Nutella and Bananas Are a Match Made in Heaven

World Nutella Day

Drum roll, please. I have an announcement to make . . . today, February 5, 2011, is World Nutella Day! I think I’m more excited about this than Christmas.

World Nutella Day first began in 2007 as the brainchild of Sara from Ms. Adventures in Italy and Michelle from Bleeding Espresso, and what a brilliant brainchild it was. I mean, how can you not love a day that encourages you to eat, cook with, and otherwise pay tribute one of the most fabulous foods to ever come in a jar?

Although 2011 is the fifth anniversary of this glorious holiday, it’s the first time I’m celebrating it personally and participating as The Girl in the Blue Apron. Because I’ve been looking forward to this day for, oh, I don’t know, about six months now, I’ve had a lot of time to think about what I could make that would be worthy of World Nutella Day. I finally settled on something featuring Nutella and bananas, and as luck would have it, today you’re the recipients of a two-for-one recipe deal.

Nutella and bananas are quite possibly a match made in heaven. I’m not usually a fan of regular old chocolate and bananas, but there’s something about the combination of fudgy, nutty Nutella and sweet, soft bananas that’s different. Ever had a Nutella and banana crepe? You’ll know what I mean. Continue reading

Why I Think Biscotti Are the Perfect Christmas Cookie

Biscotti

Wow, I have been so busy with my Christmas baking that I didn’t realize it’s been so long since my last post. What have I been baking? Well, I’m glad you asked!

Every year, I make batches upon batches of biscotti to give as gifts. I didn’t realize how strange this was until I tweeted about this year’s first batch of biscotti being in the oven and I received a reply along the lines of “First? How many batches do you make?” To be honest, I never actually counted, although this year, if I remember correctly, I made one regular batch and then three double batches (thanks to my fabulous new mixer, a much-appreciated early Christmas gift), for a total of seven regular batches. Plus, there’s still time for some more!

I don’t find this strange because to me, biscotti are the perfect holiday cookie. Not only is it the best cookie to enjoy with a warm beverage during the cold months of December and early January, it’s also incredibly versatile. It also keeps for what seems like forever, which is a plus when making them as gifts ahead of time. Continue reading

Why Magnolia Bakery Frosting Changed My Life

Magnolia Bakery frosting

I love cake—chocolate, white, carrot, red velvet, you name it. I love it so much that even one of my favorite bands is named Cake. As you may imagine, I have very stringent criteria for judging good cake: a certain level of denseness, moisture, flavor—and these factors often change based on the variety of cake. It’s all very scientific and detailed, of course. (Ha!)

But what I don’t love is frosting. Never really did. Every birthday I’d scrape the frosting off my cake and leave it in a big pile on the side of my plate. I never want the corner pieces, or the giant balloons or rosettes—someone who loves frosting can take those, please! I thought the artificial taste of store-bought frosting and the gritty, sugary texture of homemade buttercream turned me off to frosting forever.

That is, until I started making Magnolia Bakery frosting. Continue reading

Pie Fail: When You Don’t Want to Use Bacon

Bacon-Sweet Potato Pie

That’s right. I tried putting maple candied bacon on a sweet potato pie. It’s proof that some ideas are better in theory than in practice.

P.S. When David Lebovitz says not to candy bacon with maple syrup, listen to him. Don’t think you know better and that mixing sugar with your maple syrup will make it the right consistency for candying. He is the expert. You are not. Trust me, your house will thank you for saving it from thick, dark smoke from burnt maple syrup on the bottom of your pan. Five days later, my house still smells like burnt syrup.

When Life Gives You Overripe Bananas, Make Banana Bread

Banana bread

I always overestimate the number of bananas I should buy. Part of the problem is that I prefer to eat them slightly underripe, when they’re still a bit “al dente” and tangy rather than soft and sweet. Regardless, I often find myself with several overripe specimens that I won’t eat but feel guilty throwing away. Fortunately, I don’t mind baking with ripe bananas. Banana bread is probably the easiest option, but I also have banana muffins and cupcakes in my repertoire—I’m sure you’ll see them in the future.

The following recipe is from JoyofBaking.com, my go-to site whenever I need a new recipe for a baked item. My only addition is the sparkling sugar, which I add to nearly everything I bake. Although bananas aren’t a fall fruit, there’s something about the cinnamon-sweet smell of this bread baking that makes me feel all warm and cozy. Continue reading

Plum Crostata, or Why I Need to Eat Stone Fruits Cooked

Every summer, I’m tortured by the juicy, fresh, succulent peaches, plums, and nectarines that start appearing in supermarkets and farmers markets. You see, I haven’t had a bite of fresh stone fruits in about 10 years now. I have what is known as oral allergy syndrome: because I have fairly severe seasonal allergies, particularly to birch trees, there’s a long list of fresh fruits, vegetables, and nuts that can set off an allergic reaction if I eat them. It happens to about 70% of people who have seasonal allergies, so if you experience this too, you’re not alone! Continue reading