March 20, 2013 |
If you've never tackled a layer cake, the whole process can be a bit intimidating ... and it can become a bit of a mess if you don't know what you're doing. But assembling and frosting a layer cake is actually quite simple, so long as you have some patience and follow a few basic steps. Inspect your cake layers, leveling the layers if needed with a knife. One trick is to flip each cake layer, so the perfectly flat bottom becomes the top. If you want to flavor the cake between layers, pipe a border around the outer edge of each layer to contain the flavoring.
March 18, 2013 |
I recently received a request from Mary in Torrance, asking for a recipe we ran a few years back: "I hope you will search your files for a recipe printed in the TIMES perhaps five or so years ago. Torrance Bakery Chewy Walnut Cookies (or a title very close!) are flourless, and since we have two Celiac 'victims' in the family, as well as my dearest friend, I would love to again have the recipe. My library of 200-plus cookbooks as well as a file cabinet with categorized recipes has not uncovered this favorite. It disappeared faster than a platter of those yummy treats. Please, please find it for us. Thank you for being there 'where it all happens.' " With a texture similar to a brownie, these tender chewy cookies are packed with chocolate and walnuts.
March 8, 2013 |
Sure, it's a common table spice now, but did you know that pepper was once extremely expensive? It was of the most valued items during the time of the spice trade. Peppercorns come in a variety of colors, and each spices and flavors food in its own way: Black peppercorns ( Piper nigrum ) are the most common type of peppercorn. The spice is actually a dried berry. The berries are picked when they are just turning red but still underripe, then dried until the skin shrivels and darkens.
January 27, 2013 |
This week's Culinary SOS request comes from Pam Edwards in Long Beach: "On a business trip to New York City a few years ago, I had the best pancakes of my life at the Clinton Street Baking Co. I've been on a quest ever since to find some that taste as delicious, but so far nothing has matched the flavor of those transcendental pancakes. As I live in Long Beach, and can't get to New York very often, can you get the recipe? I would be forever grateful and my family would appreciate not hearing me gripe about lousy pancakes every time we go out to breakfast!"
December 11, 2012 |
A mixture of ground nuts -- such as hazelnut and almonds -- sugar and liquid (egg whites and perhaps a liqueur), nut pastes are frequently added to baked cakes, tarts and pastries for added richness and flavor. Although prepared almond and hazelnut pastes (and marzipan, a sweetened almond paste) can be found at many gourmet markets and specialty stores, they can easily be made at home. Continue reading below for recipes for homemade pastes, including the hazelnut paste we used when adapting Valerie Confections' hazelnut-orange tea cakes , pictured at left, for our Culinary SOS column (they take a little time, but these amazing little cakes are well worth the effort!
November 14, 2012 |
Quick baking trick: To give your eggs more volume when baking, bring them to room temperature before adding them to a recipe. The eggs will beat more quickly and easily in a batter, and taking the chill off whites before whipping will give you a loftier meringue. To warm eggs: Set the eggs out on the counter to temper, or place them in a bowl covered with very warm water until the eggs lose their chill. If the eggs are already cracked, place them in a bowl over a larger bowl of hot water, stirring until warmed through.