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Monday, April 30, 2012

Does bread rise higher in the east?

Dough rising
 Hello! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. Something I loooove to do on the weekends is bake bread. The whole process tends to be lengthy because of all of the kneading and resting; kneading and resting...but I love it. I just received new glass bowls as a gift and they are the most wonderful invention! I highly recommend them. Williams Sonoma has a boxed set of 10 bowls that sit like nesting dolls, going from a teeny tiny mise-en-place bowl to a large bowl, perfect to watch bread rise. I like to make a recipe out of the Bread Bible, using 2 cups of whole wheat flour along with the all-purpose flour, and I substitute flax seeds for sesame seeds. The recipe makes three loaves, each with a crusty shell and a soft, chewy, flax seed-filled center. I'll look for a great bread recipe to share, but in the meantime here are some pictures to my masterpiece. Happy baking!
After an few hours

Punched down after it rose

Rising again on the sheet trays

Final product

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Overestimating on Earth day

Hello my readers! Sorry for the delay. After making my cake this weekend, I overestimated on the amount of cannoli happens to the best of us! Math was never my strong suit! At any rate, when something like this happens, I hate to waste. In keeping with the Earth day tradition, I like to reuse extra desserts. To cut even cake layers, I had to take off large pieces of cake. However, this led to the unsuspected surprise of making mini cakes with the scraps. They were beautiful and delicious and no one knew where they came from. At any rate, my current situation is that I have extra cannoli cream...not enough for a new cake, but too much to throw away. What will I do, you ask? I've decided to make fabulous cannoli cookie sandwiches with the extra, and I will bring them to someone who might enjoy the tasty treat. In these tough economic times, it's important to try not to waste materials...and it's wonderful to make someone smile in the process!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Birthday success!

First Birthday Cake
Happy Monday, dear readers! I hope you had a wonderful weekend. I was putting finishing touches on a First Birthday cake. It might have been one of my best! Deliciously dense white cake filled with chocolate chip cannoli cream and topped off with vanilla buttercream. YUM! I even had a bit of leftover cake, so I made mini cakes with buttercream roses. Great weekend!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Tip of the day!

Tonight I'll be working on a first birthday cake. I like to do this in stages so I create a cake over the course of a few days (the amount of time it takes to make a cake plays a big part in the final cost...ever wonder why cakes cost so much? They're 100% painstakingly handmade!). Today I am going to create the foundation. I will be baking round layers of deliciously dense white cake and freezing them to make it easier to even the layers tomorrow. I will also be working with classic buttercream tomorrow, as well as creating a rich cannoli filling. By doing this over the course of 2 days, I give the cake time to cool completely (so it doesn't crumble) and the frosting doesn't melt. Check for pictures next week!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Upcoming cake pictures!

Hello everyone! I wanted to give you an update...I'm hard at work on a birthday cake for this weekend. Keep your eyes peeled for new pictures, and be sure to check me out at Facebook (search Lizzy Bee's Bakery) or on my website,

Happy baking!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Kids love French toast!

Happy Monday everyone! I wanted to give you another recipe from my upcoming cooking class for kids. This is my own version of French toast - always delicious and surprisingly healthy. The trick is in the spices. You can really punch up a recipe by adding unique scents and spices, especially those that invoke memories of your favorite holidays! Kids have fun helping because they get to use cookie cutters. Check out this recipe:

Healthy French Toast
·         Challah, sliced 1 inch thick
·         3 eggs
·         ½ cup skim milk
·         ½ teaspoon cinnamon
·         ¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
·         ¼ teaspoon vanilla
·         Cooking spray
·         Powdered sugar
·         Sugar free syrup
·         Fresh berries
1.      Crack eggs and separate whites from yolks. You only need the whites so you can throw out the yolks or ask your mom or dad if they need them for another recipe.
2.      Put the whites in a shallow bowl and add milk, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla. Whisk until combined.
3.      You can use a cookie cutter and cut into 2 slices of bread. Keep shapes close to each other to cut as many as possible.
4.      Coat a large griddle or pan with cooking spray and heat up over medium heat.
5.      Quickly dip bread into your egg white mixture using a fork, one side for 2-3 seconds, then the other.
6.      Pull the bread out of the egg and put into the pan. Cook for 2 minutes on each side. Use a spatula to flip to the other side.
7.      Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with syrup and berries.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Fancy flapjacks

Hi readers! Sorry for the delay in a post yesterday...I had to prepare dinner and ice cream for tonight (my parents are coming in to town!). I made low fat creamy cinnamon espresso and a delicious vanilla dark and milk chocolate chip. YUM!

Here's todays's post, and it's extra special because it's my personal favorite healthy pancake recipe. This recipe doesn't need a lot of sugar, just a little whole wheat flour, some oats and buttermilk, and cinnamon. Eat with fresh berries and bananas, syrup, and a sprinkling of confectioners' sugar (aka 10x or powdered sugar). Magnifique!

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Pancakes
Gourmet, 2008

  • 3/4 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons well-shaken buttermilk, divided
  • 3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar

  • Directions:
    1. Soak oats in 3/4 cup buttermilk 10 minutes.
    2. Meanwhile, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a large bowl.
    3. Stir egg, butter, brown sugar, remaining 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk, and oat mixture into dry ingredients until just combined.
    4. Heat a griddle over medium heat until hot and lightly brush with oil. Working in batches, pour 1/4 cup batter per pancake onto griddle and cook until bubbles appear on surface and undersides are golden-brown, about 1 minute. Flip with a spatula and cook other side, about 1 minute more. (Lightly oil griddle between batches.)

    Happy baking!

    Wednesday, April 11, 2012

    My own breakfast club

    I'll be starting a new cooking session next week; 6 classes for K-2nd graders. I've been asked to choose a theme, and I've decided to introduce children to their favorite breakfast foods, reinvented. Often breakfast foods get a stigma of being very unhealthy and full of carbs. My goal is to take some of the kids' favorites (or Sunday brunch favs) and make them just a bit healthier. It's all about portion control and creating full flavor with less fat. This week I'll be brainstorming ways to recreate pancakes, muffins, French toast, eggs, granola, and other delicious breakfasts. I already have many recipes from chefs I admire; they show that you don't have to compromise flavor in order to reduce calories and carbs. Stay tuned this week and next, and I'll give you some fantastic foods to try! Happy baking!

    Tuesday, April 10, 2012

    Picture perfect desserts

    Here's your tip of the day! To make photo-ready cookies, it's important to have them an equal size. This becomes especially important when making sandwich cookies. After all, you don't want a sandwich with uneven halves! They become too messy! In order to keep each cookie about the same size, choose an ice cream scoop (I like to use one about the size of a golf ball) and scoop the dough, evening your scoop on the side of your mixing bowl. Put each cookie on parchment-lined paper or silpats (the best nonstick invention ever!) and bake as directed. Let your cookies cool completely before removing from cookie sheet. Or, if you only have 2 sheets and you need to bake off more cookies, let them cool 5 minutes and remove entire lining from cookie sheet, cooling on sheet tray. Replace the lining and add a new row of cookies. Your cookies will be picture perfect!

    Happy baking!

    Monday, April 9, 2012

    Loving the Farmer's Market

    Since I was away right before the holiday weekend, my mom took care of the desserts. Trying to keep the meal fairly light, she decided to make a delicious berry cobbler. The berries were macerated and topped with a matzo crumble. Macerating is a fancy term for marinating, but when referring to fruit. It's incredibly easy; the fruit is mixed with sugar, alcohol, or a citrus, and then left to sit for half an hour to 2 hours. During the process the fruit starts to soften slightly and the flavors all meld together into deliciousness.

    There are many ways to make a cobbler, and this is just one idea. Test a recipe and decide how you like your cobbler.
    Try taking a few pounds of your favorite berries or stone fruits (cut up to roughly the same size each), mix with 3-4 tablespoons of sugar, perhaps vanilla extract or lemon.
    Grate some lemon zest for an added punch.
    Decide if you like more sugar or less, and build from there.
    Gently mix and let sit for at least 1/2 hour. Transfer to a well greased casserole dish.
    Top with your favorite crumb topping. I like to use a 1 to 1 ratio: 1 cup flour, 1 cup brown sugar, 1 tablespoon cinnamon, 1 stick of softened butter, cut into pieces.
    Bake about 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes, or until warm on the inside.
    Eat with ice cream!

    Looking for something fancier? Here's one from Gourmet magazine, 1997.

    Cherry Cobbler

    For cherry filling
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
    • 6 cups fresh or frozen pitted tart cherries (about 3 1/2 pints fresh, picked over)
    • 1 tablespoon Frangelico or Di Saronno Amaretto
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
    For biscuit topping
    • 5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
    • 1 cup all-purpose flour
    • 2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
    • 2 tablespoons sugar
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 cup milk
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
    Preheat oven to 375° F.
    Make filling:
    In a large heavy saucepan whisk together sugar and cornstarch. Add fresh or frozen cherries, liqueur, vanilla, and allspice and bring to a boil over moderate heat, stirring occasionally. Simmer mixture, stirring, 2 minutes and transfer to a shallow 2-quart baking dish.
    Make topping:
    Cut butter into pieces. In a bowl with a pastry blender or in a food processor blend or pulse together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, salt, and butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. If using a food processor transfer mixture to a bowl. Add milk and vanilla and stir until mixture forms a dough.
    Drop topping by rounded tablespoons onto cherry filling (do not completely cover it) and bake in middle of oven 40 minutes, or until topping is golden and cooked through. Transfer cobbler to a rack to cool slightly.
    Serve cobbler warm with ice cream.

    Happy baking!

    Sunday, April 8, 2012

    Holiday weekend

    Hello dear readers, I'm back! I hope you all had a lovely week. What are you making for Easter? What have you made/will be making for Passover? See you tomorrow with some more tips, ideas, and recipes!