Follow Me on Pinterest

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Leaving on a jet plane...

Hello my loyal, wonderful readers! I wanted to let you know that I will be off on an adventure for the next week or so. I'll be spending time in Napa and San Francisco with my fabulous fiance on our pre-wedding honeymoon. I hope to be tasting delicious wines and pairing them with delicious meals. I'll try to bring back some pictures and some desserts to try. See you after Easter and Passover! Happy baking! Be sure to check me out on Facebook in the meantime, and send me pictures of your own wonderful baking adventures!

Coffee crumb cake

Cooling on the rack

I'm giving you an update of my coffee crumb cake! It was a delicious success. Here are the pictures as well...

Upside down coffee crumb cake

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Waft in the sweetness

Today I'm baking my version of my mom's famous coffee cake. I've given it a brand new twist, creating an upside down coffee crumb cake. This cake never fails to please! Pictures will be updated on my Facebook album. Search: Lizzy Bee's Bakery or check out my website at

Happy baking!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Freezer burn

After making beautiful cake layers, you will need to cut the top to even them out. This results in a straight cake. It's best not to cut cake as soon as it's out of the oven - if it's too soft, it will all crumble and break. Try wrapping your layers tightly in plastic wrap, sitting each on a cardboard cake round first, and freeze briefly. Put it in the freezer at least 30 minutes to an hour, longer if you prefer. The longer it's in there, the harder the cake layers get (obviously). You want the layers to be firm enough to cut and even out, but not so firm that it's too hard to cut. Place one hand on top to hold the cake in place, and use your cake knife to saw through the layer. Be careful of your fingers! Good luck and happy baking!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Liquify that sugar!

This topic is slightly ironic, considering i just posted about nut allergies, but I try to be well-rounded, what can I say? Making candied nuts isn't hard, if you watch what you're doing and work quickly. An easy way to measure is to think of the ratio 1:1. If you're making a lot, try 1 cup of sugar to 1 cup of nuts. Similarly you can try 1/2 cup of sugar to 1/2 cup of get the idea. Usually I just eyeball how much sugar I'd like to use, but if you're not comfortable with that, try the ratio.

Here's how it works:
First take foil and make lips on all sides, folding up each side like the bottom of a box.

1. Heat the sugar in a large sauté pan over medium to medium high heat, occasionally shaking the pan to move the crystals around.
2. When it starts melting, make sure to shake the pan vigorously and often. You're waiting for the sugar to get a nice deep caramely color, but not so dark that it looks burnt (because chances are, it is...and it'll smell).
3. Be sure your shaking out all of the lumps so it melts evenly. Don't use a spoon in this'll get stuck and it's awful to clean.
4. Once you've got the color you're looking for (the darker the color means the richer the flavor), remove pan from heat.
5. Pour in the nuts (nut type is your choice, though I like walnuts, almonds, or pecans). Now
you can use your spoon to mix QUICKLY.
6. Quickly pour onto the foil on your cutting board. Let sit until cool and hardened, and then break into pieces.
Happy baking!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Fruity tip of the day

Here's a quick tip for your summery fruit tarts and pies: When cutting a strawberry, use a paring knife (they're small and easy to maneuver). Insert the tip around the top of the strawberry, cutting just the stem and leaves. Flip the strawberry on it's top, where it's now smooth, and slice into even slices. Usually about 1/2 inch will do. You usually want to have even slices if you're cooking the fruit, so it cooks evenly. However when using fruit uncooked, even slices look more professional and appealing. Happy baking!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Fruit bars to satisfy the family

After a wonderful response from a post a few days ago about nut-free desserts, I thought it was only fair that I share my deliciously chewy and fruity oat bars. This recipe is adapted from a nuttier version in The Washington Post, and made to fit the nut-free lifestyle. Happy baking!

Fruity Granola Bars
  • 1 cup granola
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 1 cup strawberry preserves


1.       Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan and line the bottom and sides with parchment paper. Spread the chopped pecans in a pie plate and toast for about 5 minutes, until lightly browned and fragrant. Let cool.

2.       In a large bowl, whisk the flour with the rolled oats, granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt, baking soda and granola. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the melted butter until the oat mixture is thoroughly combined.

3.       Press two-thirds of the oat mixture in an even layer on the bottom of the prepared baking pan and top with the strawberry preserves. Sprinkle the preserves with the remaining oat mixture.

4.       Bake the bars for about 45 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking, until the top is golden brown. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the granola bars cool completely, about 3 hours. Cut into squares and serve.
Make Ahead: The bars can be kept in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Spring is here!

It's FINALLY spring! I love the this time of blooming, birds chirping, and snow melting. I just received my new copy of Bon Appetit and they had a delicious-looking recipe I just had to share with my readers. After yesterday's post, I'm curious what would happen if I changed the almond part of this recipe to granola. Might be worth testing...

Almond-Oat Strawberry Shortcakes

Bon Appetit, April 2012
Makes 6
  • active: 20 minutes
  • total: 1 hour


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/3 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 cup chilled heavy cream, divided, plus more for brushing
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
  • 4 cups fresh strawberries, hulled, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur (optional)


  • Preheat oven to 375°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Pulse flour, oats, almonds, 1/3 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt in a food processor until finely ground. Add butter; pulse until only pea-size pieces remain. Add 1/2 cup cream and 1 tsp. vanilla; pulse until large moist clumps form. Transfer to a work surface.
  • Knead until dough comes together, about 4 turns. Pat into a 4x6" rectangle. Halve lengthwise, then crosswise into thirds. Arrange on prepared baking sheet. Brush with cream; sprinkle with 1/2 Tbsp. sugar.
  • Bake, rotating sheet halfway through cooking, until golden brown around edges and a tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Set biscuits on a wire rack; let cool. DO AHEAD: Biscuits can be made 8 hours ahead. Store cooled biscuits airtight at room temperature.
  • Meanwhile, combine strawberries, 1 Tbsp. sugar, and Grand Marnier, if using, in a large bowl. Toss to coat. Let strawberries sit, tossing often, until juices release. Whisk 1/2 cup cream, 1/2 Tbsp. sugar, and 1/2 tsp. vanilla in a small bowl until peaks form.
  • Cut warm or room-temperature biscuits in half; place bottom halves on plates. Divide whipped cream and strawberries over. Top with remaining biscuit halves.

nutritional information
  • 1 serving contains:
    Calories (kcal) 440
    Fat (g) 29
    Saturated Fat (g) 16
    Cholesterol (mg) 85
    Carbohydrates (g) 42
    Dietary Fiber (g) 4
    Total Sugars (g) 18
    Protein (g) 6
    Sodium (mg) 360

Monday, March 19, 2012

Nut-free for today's kids

Happy Monday, everyone. How was your weekend? Today is my final cooking class of the trimester with my 4-6 year olds. As a special treat, we'll be making strawberry oat bars. Since the recipe takes 45 minutes and class is only an hour, I need to make sure we have enough time to eat. I made a swap out so, while the students will prep and bake the bars, they will get to taste a bar that was already made and cooled, so it doesn't turn to mush once it's cut.

Strawberry Oat Bars
Something that comes up often in my cooking classes is dealing with children with nut allergies. Besides searching labels for any traces of nuts, I also come across many childrens' recipes that contain nuts. Often I don't like to bother with recipes designed for kids because I don't believe in dumbing down a recipe for a child, and childrens' recipes are similar to better, more grown-up versions anyway. However getting around this nut issue can be tricky, so I've come up with an excellent substitute. Instead of nuts, I swap in an equal sized serving of granola instead. Though many granola cereals contain nuts, there are brands such as Cascadian Farms, who are nut-free as well as organic! Granola has great texture and the substitution is hardly noticeable. So my point to all of my dear readers is to think creatively!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Be sure to dye your frostings green or bake a delicious Irish soda bread!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Mimosas at the ready!

I'm already dreaming about a Sunday brunch...even though it's only Friday. I do love a deliciously decadent French toast drizzled with syrup and covered in a layer of snow white confectioners sugar...not to mention the side of fresh fruit salad. My mouth is watering just thinking about it! I thought I'd share a recipe for challah, the only bread I like to use for this breakfast, to help spark something in you as well.

Almost Grandmother's Challah                 
Bon Appétit, 1995

Yield: Makes 2 loaves
1/2 cup plus 2/3 cup warm water (105°F. to 115°F.)
2 tablespoons dry yeast
1 tablespoons plus 3/4 cup sugar

5 large eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
7 1/2 cups (about) all-purpose flour

1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon water
1. Combine 1/2 cup warm water, yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar in large glass measuring cup and stir until yeast dissolves. Let yeast mixture stand at room temperature until foamy, about 10 minutes.
2. In large bowl of heavy-duty mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat 5 eggs until blended. Add oil, salt and 3/4 cup sugar and beat until pale yellow and slightly thickened, about 4 minutes. Beat in 2/3 cup warm water. Add yeast mixture and beat until blended.
3. Remove whisk and fit mixer with dough hook. Add enough flour 1 cup at a time to form smooth dough, beating well after each addition. Beat on medium speed until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes, adding flour by tablespoonfuls if sticky.
4. Turn out onto floured surface and knead 2 minutes.
5. Lightly oil large bowl. Add dough, turning to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap, then with clean kitchen towel. Let dough rise in warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
6. Punch down dough. Cover with plastic and clean kitchen towel and let rise 30 minutes.
7. Grease 2 large baking sheets. Turn out dough onto lightly floured surface. Divide dough into 2 equal portions. Divide each portion into 3 equal pieces. Roll each piece into 9-inch-long rope. Braid 3 ropes together; pinch ends together to seal. Repeat with remaining dough pieces, forming 2 braids. Place each braid on baking sheet. Cover with towel . Let rise in warm area until almost doubled, about 30 minutes.
8. Preheat oven to 400°F. Whisk yolk with 1 tablespoon water to blend. Brush dough with egg mixture.
9. Bake 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Bake until bread is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on bottom, about 35 minutes. Transfer loaves to rack and cool completely. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Wrap tightly in plastic and store at room temperature.)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Tip of the day!

As the seasons change, we need to start thinking about what changes we need to make in our kitchens. It's particularly warm around New York City, and warm weather means melty icings. I try to keep my kitchen at cooler temperatures, because the weather makes ingredients and meringues too soft. take care of your cakes by controlling the environment around you. Keep humidity out and cool air in.

Thursday, March 8, 2012


I wasn't sure what to title this post...but I figured this was appropriate. The past few weeks I've been getting tons of brownie orders! They are, after all, my best sellers. Last weekend I had an order of my classics and some peanut butter. This week I tested a new recipe for caramel ganache swirled into the classics, as well as some peanut butters - another fav. Well, as with all new recipes, I think this one may need some tweaking. It's a drizzle of caramel swirled into dark bittersweet chocolate...a delicious combination. Unfortunately, it didn't feel caramely enough to me...I like bold flavors. I guess I'll need to continue testing the caramel to chocolate ratio until I get it just right. In the meantime, I've got some fabulously rich brownies for another satisfied customer. Another successful day in Lizzy Bee's kitchen!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Frosted tips

In order to get that mountain of delicious frosting, delicately iced atop beautiful bakery cupcakes, you'll need the right tips. Luckily stores like Michaels are stocking up on these kinds of supplies. You will need pastry bags, which come in both fabric and disposable. Fabric are great because you can reuse them, but cleaning them out can be a pain! Frosting gets messy and when it's wet it's worse. Disposable might not exactly be environmentally friendly, but hopefully someone will come out with more green products. You will also need good pastry tips. In order to make that marshmallowy mound, you will need a large plain-style tip as well as a star tip.

To fill the pastry bag:
1. Cut a small hole in the tip. Insert pastry tip into the bag so the it sticks out of the pointed end of the bag, not so much that it comes through, but enough that you can pipe easily.
2. Bend back the top of the bag and fill. Close and twist to keep shut.
3. Pipe with your writing hand, using the other as a steady hand for the bag. Exert only enough pressure to make the frosting come out of the bag. Too much and it will explode!

To pipe the frosting:
1. Start on the edge and slowly work your way towards the middle, going around the entire cupcake, making circles and lifting the bag up. The circles should get smaller and smaller.
2. Alternately, you can start from the middle. The frosting won't be as high but the lines will be smoother.

Test out both tips and see which you like best. The star gives a more intricate design, while the plain tip is more classic cupcake-style. Happy baking! Send pictures to my Facebook page. Just look for Lizzy Bee's Bakery and Like me on Facebook!

Hello hello!

Hello my faithful readers. Sorry for the delay the past few days; I've been a little under the weather. New post coming soon...hopefully today! Keep an eye out!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Chocolatey goodness

Happy March! I hope spring comes to us soon. In the meantime, let's talk ganache! A fabulous cake is elevated to a magnificently fabulous cake when you add a depth to the final product - a layer of ganache cake achieve this beautifully, whether inside or on top of the cake. Ganache is so simple to make, yet people go nuts over it. Essentially you just about boil heavy cream, pour it over chocolate. Let it sit a few minutes and whisk. Voila! Once you've mastered that, try adding different flavors, like vanilla or rum. Alcohol can transform a ganache into a more sophisticated version! Not too much though. Depending on the ratio of chocolate and heavy cream, try adding flavors 1 teaspoon at a time and taste (use a separate spoon each time, please!). Here are some basic recipes to get you started:

Chocolate Ganache
(Gourmet 2001)


  • 2 1/2 cups heavy cream

  • 20 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), finely chopped in a food processor

  • Directions
    Bring cream to a simmer in a 3- to 4-quart saucepan and remove from heat. Whisk in chocolate until smooth. Transfer ganache to a bowl and chill, covered, stirring occasionally, until thickened but spreadable, about 4 hours. (If ganache becomes too thick, let stand at room temperature until slightly softened.)           

    Chocolate Ganache
    (Colette Peters recipe)

    1. 24 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
    2. 2 cups heavy cream
    1. Put the chocolate in a large heatproof bowl. In a medium saucepan, bring the cream just to a boil over low heat. Pour the cream over the chocolate, cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Whisk the ganache gently until silky and smooth.
    2. To make the filling, transfer 1 1/2 cups of the ganache to a medium bowl. Set the bowl over ice and whisk the ganache gently until thick and spreadable.