Posts Tagged ‘Cinnamon’

Apple, Pear, and Cranberry Crisp

February 9, 2010

Some people are football fans. Some are not. Some like this team. Some like that one. Sports have the power to create bitter enemies. They can also bring people together–especially when food is involved. Yesterday a gaggle of my nearest and dearest gathered together to watch the Saints take on the Colts, but none of us were really that emotionally invested in the outcome (though we were all rooting for New Orleans, it was undeniable that it was a room primarily of Jets fans).

What really spurred everyone’s enthusiasm was the food that we ate. Our host provided killer chili and guacamole; others contributed the best soy-garlic fried chicken in the world, my favorite doughnuts in New York, and some other luscious pastries.  It was almost overkill that I brought this apple crisp–but luckily, my friends dug right in.

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Chocolate Cinnamon Bundt Cake with Mocha Icing

November 14, 2009

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What you see here is not just a Bundt cake; it is a birthday Bundt. How did this come to be, exactly?

It all started with a Bundt pan lying around unused in my cabinet. I bought it because I overestimated the number of cakes I’d be baking, I suppose. I justified the purchase by convincing myself it wasn’t a unitasker, so it would be good for more than just cakes (word has it that Bundts are handy for roasting racks of lamb–not that I ever make lamb, but you know it’s good to have just in case).

Now, I consider myself to be a fairly thrifty person to begin with, but I am especially frugal on a nonprofit salary. So when I saw this recipe for a Chocolate Cinnamon Bundt Cake in the September issue of Bon Appetit as I was looking for a recipe for Jason’s birthday cake, I noticed two things: 1) it claims to make use of ingredients that are probably in one’s pantry anyway, and 2) it gave me an excuse to use my bundt pan.

I just wanted to clear it with him first–Bundts aren’t exactly birthdayish; after all, there’s a lot of surface area missing for writing “HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!” in icing. Nevertheless, my heart was set on trying this particular recipe.

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Minor Disasters: Gingerbread

October 28, 2009

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How could something that seems so simple–so easy–so, so, so…elementary turn out so disastrously?

I bring you my newest kind of post: “Whoopsies.” Here, a baking whoopsie: I bring you gingerbread.

My excuse: okay, I grew up in a household that didn’t do cakey gingerbread. Instead, twice a year, we baked (and we still bake) gingerbread cookies: turkey-shaped cookies for Thanksgiving, and bears for Christmas.  Everyone has a role: my mom expertly pipes the icing, and my sister and I get sprinkles/sugar/red hots duty. You should see the way Mom crafts it. You have never seen more realistic-looking suspenders-wearing bears.

Even though I’ve never made gingerbread in its true loafy sense, I didn’t think that it was going to be hard. And maybe it isn’t hard. Maybe Sunday just wasn’t my day.

How did this ever begin? Well, I should take a second to mention that I live within walking distance of one of New York’s best-kept secrets: Two Little Red Hens bakery.  When I was writing my Master’s thesis, I used to go on long, procrastinatory walk down along the East River, and on my way back I’d stop in for some kind of treat. “You can eat this (cupcake/cookie/key lime tart) when you finish writing a page,” I’d tell myself, but I’d always end up polishing off half of my purchase before I made it to my building. It became such a habit that the counterstaff remembered not only my name but my previous orders. “How was the apple cake yesterday?” the girl behind the counter would say as she handed me a slice of peach pie. For some reason, though, I tended to shy away from the gingerbread because it was one of the only items that was consistently available. Maybe I felt the same way about this gingerbread that pretty girls tend to feel about nice boys: it was too available, too easy to get. It would always be there when I needed it. Until one day, disenchanted by the promises of cheesecake and eclairs, I realized maybe what was in front of me was what I really wanted all along.  So I got the gingerbread. I raved. I swooned. I wanted to make it myself.

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