The baking

Month: January, 2017

Chocolate, chocolate, ganache, pretzels

Behold, a cake occurrence:


This is a double-layer chocolate cake, topped with chocolate icing, salted pretzels, and ganache.

Photos of this cake have lurked in my files for a somewhat longer-than-average while.

The cake was delicious. It looked cool. And it was well-received.

A pretzel-related observation and suggestion:

The pretzels ended up being a little less crisp than they should have been. If using pretzels as a decoration in conjunction with wet ingredients such as icing, I would suggest adding them at the last possible moment.

And now for something completely different a few gratuitous photos of the cake.

Fresh from the oven:


And another angle of the finished cake:





[Soft] focus on olive bread?

This is a random loaf of olive bread from somewhat recently[ish] ago:

coo kies 6

I suppose that the shot is somewhat glamour shot-ey, if glamour shots existed for bread.

The bread is turned on its side. The light and focus are a little soft. And you can imagine, if you so please, the bread holding its collar and gazing into the camera.

Anyway, the recipe for this olive loaf is pretty much this other recipe that I wrote about.

But I only used black olives.

And – this is probably the most important part – the bread machine use was limited to using the dough cycle to prepare the dough.

The bread was actually baked in a cast iron loaf pan in the oven.

I believe that the bread was in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes or so at around 350 degrees – though, well, this was somewhat of a while ago.

The loaf came out of the oven when it was slightly brown on top and looking ready for glamour shot greatness.

And it tasted pretty good too.

Hoot, hoot: it’s a pie

It’s a pie, decorated to look like an owl:

owl pie 2

More specifically, this is a pumpkin pie decorated to look like an owl.

This isn’t, of course, an attempt to create a pumpkin spice and owl hybrid: it’s merely a pumpkin pie decorated to look like an owl.

The filling of this pie started out as an actual pie pumpkin: no canned pumpkin involved in this particular pie.

I washed, seeded, and chopped the pie pumpkin. Then I steamed it and pureed it with an immersion blender.

For the pie, I, basically, used this recipe – minus the pecans.

I played around with the spices – more cloves – a bit. And I used vanilla sugar in place of about half of the total sugar. Vanilla sugar – which used to be somewhat difficult to find – has seemed as of late to be available at a certain large bulk food chain. I’m a fan.

I made a batch of pie pastry dough using this recipe.

This is what the pie looked like when it first came out of the oven:

owl pie 1

The decoration – which I chose to do in the form of an owl – is extra pastry dough that I baked separately on a cookie sheet. I cut a few of the pieces – such as the eyes – with cookie cutters. I cut the rest of the pieces freehand with a paring knife.

Pumpkin pie filling always seems to remain somewhat moist on top, so the pastry pieces I made for decoration pretty much just stuck to the pie without any additional effort, pressure, or ingredients.

Hoot, hoot.

And, of course, I set aside the pumpkin seeds for roasting – with a little bit of olive oil, salt, and ground white pepper.