Thursday, November 11, 2010


That is, What Would Paula Deen do?
I've never been the biggest fan of Paula's food, if only because her food hinges on the fact that it's your down-home Southern cookin' with no g. And cookin' includes copious amounts of butter, eggs, lard, cheese, cream, and anything else that's probably terrible for you, obviously not vegan/vegetarian, and delicious enough that suddenly selling your soul for that last piece of pie doesn't seem like such a horrible trade off. To whit, my grandfather is convinced Paula Deen is trying to personally kill him in a slow, methodical manner with her delicious down home cookin'. This might be true for all of us, but at least the road to our deaths will be littered with apple fritters, cheesy casseroles, and deep-fried everything you could ever want! Woooo!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I beginded a Tumblr!

Hello friends! I have created a sister blog on Tumblr called "Knit it and Quit it" that details different knitting and craft projects that I'm working on. If you're curious about my non-baking activities, head on over!
And more baking soon...with pictures from MY NEW CAMERA!! :)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Gingerbread Apple Crumb Topping Pie

When I think of fall, I think of the following things in the following order:
1. That weird fall smell that's very distinct but that you can't really describe, but I know you totally know what I'm talking about
2. Pies both apple and pumpkin
3. Time to bust out my scarves again, yay!
4. Leaf piles
5. It's finally seasonally appropriate to have hot soups again, yay!

Today's blog post will focus on the second thought, surprisingly enough. I know you're just having a heart attack with surprise right now that I'm going to talk about pie today, because I totally never ever talk about it.

This? Never.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

C. Stout Cupcakes

My good friend Caiti's birthday came to pass, and I love when my vegan friends have birthdays. It's a great excuse to use them as guinea pigs for my vegan baked goods.
I asked Caiti what she wanted for her birthday, and she was infuriatingly vague. Whatever you want, she said. I know you'll figure something out, she said. No coconut, she said. So I figured I'd find something in my vegan cupcake book that I hadn't tried before. I absolutely knew it was fate when yesterday, flipping through my recipe book, I came across Chocolate Stout cupcakes. Caiti's last name is Stout. FATE. C. Stout cupcakes it was, and boy howdy it was a good choice.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Failure Loaf (days 4-9)

R.I.P. my first attempt at sourdough bread.

It's been a while since I've had a spectacular failure at baking bread. It's good for me, though; it keeps my baking ego from "rising" (see what I did there? Baking puns! Lolololo) too much. Experiments like this let me know that even I can fuck something up that even cavemen could do without even really trying. Apparently sourdough has always been the "old school" way of leavening bread without instant yeast and it's been done that way for thousands of years. And I failed. But that's okay! Because it means more baking eventually.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Days 1-3

For three days now, I've been "feeding" my "starter", as the people on the internet say. Which means, three days ago, I mixed a cup of water and a cup of flour (King Arthur unbleached bread flour, in case you were wondering, which I totally know you were) in a tupperware container:
Day one.
and let the gooey mixture sit until the next day. I don't have pictures of day two, because I didn't have access to a camera. The mixture had thickened a lot, and the top was bubbly and swollen-looking. It definitely smelled yeasty and sourdough. I stirred it up a bit and poured half out. The mix was kinda clumpy. I stirred in a half cup of water and a half cup of flour and stirred. The mixture didn't smell sour any more but it was definitely yeasty.
Today is day three, and the mixture looked like it did on day two:
Day three, before feeding.
Yeasty and sour-smelling, just like day two. Lots of little bubbles pockmarking the surface. I repeated what I did yesterday:
Day three, post-feeding
The mixture is now currently more watery than pre-feeding and clumpy, like day two. I'm figuring it's gonna go like this for the next four days. Stay tuned, folks.
Coming up: Vegan experiments in custard pie

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Sourdough Diaries

I've been doing this thing where I try to bake more often, and I'm finding that I enjoy breadmaking almost above baking of any kind. Bread baking is like a science experiment, and each time I make bread I understand the nuances of it more and more, tweaking things to get the perfect loaf. Bread baking often comes down to just knowing something about the dough that you can't measure -- you just have to figure out, through trial and error, things like exactly how warm the water for the yeast should be, or when the yeast has reacted to the water. You just figure it out as you go, and once you figure it out, it's like riding a bike -- you don't forget. The first time I had a loaf measurably rise, I pretty much threw myself a ticker-tape parade (I had many flat, unsatisfying loaves of bread prior to this). For me there's almost nothing more satisfying than lifting the dishcloth off of a bowl full of rising bread and taking in that yeasty, doughy smell and see how large the loaf has swelled.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Hey, Everyone!

If you're in doubt over what to get me for my birthday (less than two months away, just in case you were wondering), I am now in love:

Baking Bites featured this Upside-Down Cooking Guide Apron that needs to be in my life. In fact, the web site that sells it has craptons of adorbs stuff. It makes me want to have kids just so I can have an excuse to have, say, a Guitar Flipper Spatula or a Cake Pan Shaped like a PBJ (I'd make a faux Grilled Cheese one for my mom's birthday 'cause I know she loves 'em) or a Pac Man Oven Mitt or a Holy Toast Stamp. I WANT ALL OF IT. Hell, the web site is called Perpetual Kid. Who needs kids to have Drumstick Mixing Spoons?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Carb festing

-Baking Bites has this delicious Plum Custard Pie with Almond Crust that I have been dreaming about. Why are plums so underutilized in pie making? There need to be more plum pies out there. I am going to start a trend that takes the nation by storm! But first I need to convert that pie to a vegan version, which would be quite a challenge considering it has custard in it and all.
-Sticky buns are a task I have yet to tackle, but I would really love to ASAP. This recipe for Orange-Pecan Sticky Buns with Dates and Cranberries needs to be made immediately, because I need those all up in my life. The recipe even includes directions to make candied orange peels. LOVE.
-Sweet Portuguese Bread? Yes and please.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Strawberry-Rosewater Cobbler with Lemon Poppyseed Pastry

Well, goodbye summer, amiright? You know it's fall when it's fifteen degrees cooler in the shade than the sun and it smells like bonfires. I love the fall. There is something really kind of alluring about it. I don't think any other change is seasons is as electric, it's like you can feel it inherently in your bones. Yeah, when spring comes around it's totally great, but it's a slog and it's always so muddy and slippery and dreary till May or so...and once it gets nice it's practically already summer anyway. But fall lends such a drastic and exciting change, so much more than any other time of year.
Okay. Now that I've waxed poetic about fall, I'm going to write about my favorite summertime dessert, something I like to trot out once or twice a year, mostly because it is my favoritest dessert ever in the history of everness: strawberry rosewater cobbler.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Cake Love

I have been on this kick lately where I have totally been loving food things that look like other food things. I found this adorbs cake set over at Marj's The Icing on the Cake and I really would love to try something like this out soon. In fact, she has a whole page of pretend food cakes that are so good looking I almost don't want to eat them. I love reading a the parts about how she made them, it's really interesting to see how she did it. Actually, a really adorable cupcake book my Aunt gave me has a few recipes for cupcakes that look like other foods. I smell an experiment coming.
More soon! Strawberry-rosewater cobbler to commemorate the already-gone summer...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I'm back, I swear

Today is a good day:
I'm back to baking. New entries soon. Dulche sin leche cupcakes!

Thursday, July 22, 2010


My new roommate is a fashion designer. What's more exciting about this is that it's given me and my other roommate a shot of creative energy, and we've all been feeding our own excitement into crafting/sewing/drawing lots of awesome shit.
Our latest inspiration came through the idea of our new Etsy store, in which we'll be selling lots of awesome stuff, and which I'll surely keep you posted on because clearly you're all on the edges of your seats about that. We had this idea to do an Alice-themed photoshoot to photograph our stuff in, and make awesome little hats and beaded headbands and, the best part for me personally, bake awesome little cakes (eeeeee!) for the shoot. So I looked up petit fours, which I remembered from Samantha's Birthday Tea Party set in the American Girl catalog. I remember them being pastel and adorable, and I am so down for that.
So I googled 'petit fours', and, I mean...

THESE THINGS ARE TOTES ADORABLE! I want like eight billion of them. And I mean, seriously, what is not to love about these things? A mini piece of cake dipped in fondant and decorated adorably? How have I not been making these my entire life?
I've been doing a little bit of research on these babies and I guess you can just dip a cube of cake in fondant but traditionally the cakes are also layered with jam and soaked in liquor syrup. Ohmygodthatsoundssogood.
I need to find a good dense vegan cake recipe and a vegan fondant recipe STAT. This is essential to my well-being that I get to make these things as soon as humanly possible.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

It's-a meeeee!

I found this chick on flickr, hello naomi, and I think I'm pretty much in love with her shit. Specifically, her cupcake collections, which totally own. I mean:
Yeah, I don't think anyone's topping that. Want.
I really need to start experimenting more with marzipan and stuff. I wonder if you can make it vegan. It does have eggs in it, right?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Strawberry-Mango Pie

Do you see that there? The above picture? What does that look like to you? Delicious, perfect, awesome pie, right? Now scroll down a few entries and take a look at that failurepie. This, my friends, is why you don't try to help your sexy awesome ex-girlfriend (who has great hair, by the way, just throwing that out there) do a basketweave pie crust and claim to know what you're doing. Because you don't, because LOOK AT THAT UP THERE. Just LOOK at how AMAZING that basketweave looks. That is how it is done, my friends. That pie is a thing of beauty and grace that could have only been crafted by the hands of an angel such as myself. I mean --
Does that basketweave not bring a tear to your eye? Does it not want to make you weep like a little schoolgirl with pigtails and a pink backpack? I'm thinking it does, so don't lie.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Kalamata Olive Bread

Oh man, people. I try not to brag about myself, but I am pretty much on my way to becoming the champion of bread baking. All I need now is several training montages. They shall consist of me kneading, waiting for the dough to rise, and eating the shit out of the finished product.
But seriously, folks, I've baked some awful bread in my day, and I it could very well be something in the air ducts, but bread baking feels pretty much like magic for me now. The yeast comes to life just for me; it says, "Dorie, for you, we will make your bread dough ginormous". If only bread baking weren't such a labor-intensive and time-consuming process, I'd be making it every day.
"But Dorie," you, the hypothetical reader asks, "why don't you just get a bread machine? You can make the dough and leave it for six hours, and then, boom, fresh bread."
Well, hypothetical reader, that is a good question. The answer is twofold: one, I am too poor to afford your fancy-pants kitchen equipment when I have two hands and a table and way more free time than I deserve. Two, how dare you. Can a bread machine knead with the kind of love that I knead my dough with? It can't? Well, then, sir, I rest my case. Enjoy your soulless machine bread, you communist.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Vegan Caramel-Apple Pie with Gingerbread Crust

There is something about my pies that I need to work the kinks out of, so to speak. My pie crusts have often not held up like a proper pie. A proper slice holds its own, not collapsing in on itself when you're trying to take a particularly attractive picture of it, right? I need to work on that. My pies taste good, but they don't look good, and if I want people to eventually buy this stuff, I need to tweak the recipes so that these pies look as good as they taste.
My pie just doesn't hold its own. I tried to pretend it was cobbler (shhh! don't tell it's really just attractiveness-impaired pie). I also had someone assisting with this pie who wanted to show me that he could make a basketweave pie crust top. Whether or not he succeeded is up to you to decide.
Also, I need to replace some light bulbs in the kitchen. It is not doing these pictures of my pie slash cobbler any favors.
But anyway...on to the actual pie.

Cake Succeed

A cake that I totally want to make now...

Via succeedblog

Recipe/results for apple caramel pie will be up tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Red Velvet Cupcakes

To be honest with you, I have never tasted a red velvet cupcake. I know in some states that would be grounds for divorce. Ha. But if I have had a red velvet cupcake in the past, I've forgotten about it, so obviously the experience was not memorable enough. Like Kenny Powers says, I've had a lot of memories in my life, and sometimes the smaller ones get dumped to make room for the bigger ones.
I guess I would say, consider me full of regret for missing out on years of stuffing my piehole with these babies. I keep changing my mind about what flavor of cupcakes are my favorite, and this one is quite the contender. It has a flavor that is hard to explain. They're like half chocolate, half vanilla, and all deliciousness.
(The cupcake undressing so you could see the red cake underneath. Pervert.)

I was going to get around to making these later anyway, but I decided to make them for a friend who recently went vegan. When I asked what was the hardest thing for her to give up, she said that sometimes her workplace would bring in a steaming batch of red velvet cupcakes, and while most of the time non-vegan treats didn't do much for her, those cupcakes had her seriously considering a relapse. Well, no more, dear friend. We whipped these up and after our first ones apiece we had a conversation that went like this:

Thursday, February 18, 2010

PBCC (Peanut Butter Chocolate Chocolate) Cupcakes

Okay, so I know it's been a few(ish) weeks. The thing is, I'm actually terrible at keeping up with blogs. But this is one I'm really passionate about, so I am going to try from now on to keep up with it a little bit better. My apologies.
Now the truth is that my last recipe was a bust: the lemon cupcakes with raspberry filling, that is. I was totally going to post an entry about them anyway, going over why they failed and what I am going to do differently next time. However, my roommate, who has been my photographer so far, deleted the pictures of the failurecakes, thinking I didn't want them (then having a good laugh at my expense over this exchange: "Why do you need the pictures? I thought you didn't like those cupcakes..." "Well, I still need to blog about them!"). And being the OCD creature that I am, I can't in good conscience write about a failurecake without having a picture of them to drive the point home. Rest assured, they were as ugly as they were messy: the raspberry filling looked like brain matter, poking through the watery lemon icing, refusing to be hidden. I will be retooling the recipe with more solid filling and fluffy (rather than drippy-ish) lemon icing, and when I do I will discuss the failurecakes in greater detail at that time.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Vegan Cranberry-Pear Pie

I am having a very hard time deciding how I am going to organize the menu for the bakery. This makes sense, considering how anal I am. I just got a new wallet today, and deciding how to organize my stuff in it has been driving me nuts. There are too many different compartments, and I the stuff I have doesn't organize into the compartments properly. Frustration.

 Anyway, so I've been throwing around ideas for the bakery menu, and it's giving me trouble. Should I separate it by baked good type (breakfast, breads, desserts), or by specialized type of good (regular, vegan, gluten-free, vegan and gluten-free)? Should I only offer specific combinations of dessert, or offer different crusts/fillings/cakes/frostings etc. and for orders let people put together whatever they want? I could also just have a menu of desserts and specify what they were available in, whether it be vegan, gluten-free, both, or neither. I'm beginning to lean towards doing it by make-your-own, at least for the desserts, since there are so many specialized types of goods, and then I could make menu suggestions and then just bake whatever combination I wanted on whatever given day depending on how I felt.
Let me know what y'all would think, plz.
Anyway, here is my pear-cranberry pie with almond crust. The recipe I used actually had so much leftover filling that I made another open-face pie with an oat crust. Overall the feedback was pretty positive. People also thought the pear was actually apple at first, but most people figured it out after a few bites. I think next time I will add more cranberries and less pear, because while it was good, I felt it was bordering on apple-pie-like, and I'd prefer for it to have more of a punch than apple pie. The only criticism was that a crispier crust would have been good. I covered it with tin foil for the first two thirds of the baking time, so next time I'll lower that time or not do tinfoil all together.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Chipotle-Cheddar Bread

For a first attempt at this bread, it ended up almost perfect. It went over very well overall, and the two loaves were eaten in a matter of hours. I'm already beginning to find that it's hard to test these things out and get constructive feedback besides "om nom nom!", but for the most part people said the spiciness of the bread was good but not overwhelming, and that more cream cheese might be good. The crust was my favorite part, and usually I don't like crust as much. It was crispy and crunchy, like the bottom of a pizza, or the top of a pan of baked macaroni. I ate the ends, actually, since it was more than half crust, and it was so delicious.
Each loaf was about nine inches long and gave 10-12 slices each. Obviously this isn't a vegan bread -- it has cheddar, cream cheese AND parmesan -- but I am sure it could be modified to make a really delicious vegan bread, maybe with mango chunks or tomatoes. Or both. Yum. I am also sure I could make a decent gluten-free version of it. There are a few things I might do differently next time, but I think overall this bread is really awesome and a total keeper.

Baked Goods and Social Action.

When it comes to the 'hiring homeless people' aspect of my business, I think that is what, overall, I'm beginning to see as the most risky or controversial aspect of the bakery. I am going to preface this by saying that this idea as part of the bakery is absolutely non-negotiable; if I can't have this aspect of my bakery in the long-term, then I am not going to start up the bakery. When I see myself doing anything long-term that takes up a lot of time, I believe that it has to serve a higher purpose and help people on a social level. I've just found that when I work in fields where I feel I'm not benefiting other people, I start to feel incredibly guilty and sad. It's the white liberal in me. I know not everyone feels this way, and that's totally cool. It's just a personal feeling that I can't help, and I promise I won't beat you over the head with it.
I have asked people if the idea of hiring the homeless would deter them from going to that particular bakery, and most of the response I've gotten has been: "It wouldn't bother me, but other people aren't going to like it". Overall the consensus is that hiring people affected by poverty might imply dirtiness. That brings up the "why not just donate?" thread again, which of course I want to do, but I have a problem with just doing that in the long run.
Why? Let me put it this way. I don't have a problem with straight-up charity. I  think it is really great in a lot of ways, and there's nothing wrong with donating food or clothing that you don't need so that other people can be full or warm. Everyone deserves those things. However -- and this can piss people off, so I'm prefacing this by saying that I don't mean to offend -- I think there are a lot of problems inherent in the modern charity system, and that when you think about it in the long run, it doesn't help anyone, and actually perpetuates poverty. A nice little proverb sums it up, and I'm sure it's one that you have heard before: give a man a fish, feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime. Just giving people stuff doesn't really help them. Give them free food, they're full today, but what about tomorrow? They're going to be hungry again, and you're just going to have to keep giving them food. So why not, rather than give them a sandwich every day, empower them to eventually be able to work and buy that sandwich themselves? I think when you ask most people what they'd rather have, they would choose a steady job over a handout. Charity can be humiliating to the people you're giving to.
So while I don't find donating baked goods to be a bad thing, it is only a band-aid; a temporary fix that does little overall. That is why I feel like projects like The Cara Program are so great -- it empowers people to lift themselves out of poverty and live their lives with dignity. That is why this aspect of the bakery is so important to me, and without it, I feel the endeavor is pointless.
(Also, word on the street is homeless people are, in fact, capable of bathing, washing their hands, and practicing other sanitary measures. Go figure!)
Now I just need to find a market for people who are altruistic and would find that aspect of the bakery a selling point for them, without making it sound like we pick drifters up off the street and put them straight to work. Also, I need a way to fit that philosophy on the back of a brochure. Lots of work ahead of us, then.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Baked Goods.

They are delicious and satisfying.
I am going to start a bakery in a few years. I am aware that this requires a lot of planning. My biggest problem is assuming people actually want to buy what I have to make. Upon looking into small business stuff, I have found that it seems the most important thing is understanding your market and figuring out how to get to them. Which, I'm sure any business major out there is all: "duh." But for someone like me, that is somewhat of a revelation. Oh, yeah, I totes forgot! I need people to actually buy my stuff for me to have a successful business! So I guess I have to consider the whole 'who am I going to pander to' thing.
After much discussion, the tentative name for the company is going to be the Home Sweet Home Baking Company. This is for several reasons. One, this business might have to start out as an at-home delivery type deal, and 'baking company' sounds better suited to that than 'bakery', which implies a specific place, so it leaves our options open. Two, the Home Sweet Home Baking Company (hereafter known as HSH) is a total panderer to the altruistic market. That is, our company's pledge will be that for every pie or cake you order, we will bake another one for a homeless shelter, thus giving them a little bit of homeyness. When we eventually manage to get ourselves a physical bakery, we would also like to work with a program such as The Cara Program, and hire bakers that are people affected by homelessness trying to get a fresh start in the job market.
Hmmm...maybe that can be our motto. Fresh bread and fresh starts. Ha ha ha.
HSH also provides baked goods for niche markets, that is, people with dietary restrictions. There will be extensive menus of vegan and gluten-free products.
I'm getting ahead of myself, though. This blog is more about the fun side of all that stuff, which is...testing out baked goods! I have an extensive team of experts at my disposal (my roommates), and plenty of crazy recipes to try out. My goal is to bake at least 2 things a week, and get together a review panel to test the stuff and see how good they find it, and what suggestions they would have. I will post the results here, along with occasional recipes, 'cause I love you and I want to share my baked goodness with the world.
This is mostly just a place for me to try and fail, to tinker with crazy recipes and try combinations of things I've always wanted to try. I have a list to test, so join me as I try, succeed, and/or fail.
First up for Trial:
-Plain White Bread
-Chipotle-Cheddar Bread
-Pear-cranberry Pie with Almond Crust
See you on the flip side, lovers.