What are you baking? March 2023

What’s in your oven?

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Pecan Crescent Cookies from Cook’s Illustrated

This is a favorite cookie. I use a mini-chopper to process half the pecans … like coarse cornmeal. Just tried Kenji’s method of toasting pecans in microwave: I put them on a paper plate, turned on for one minute, stirred. Repeated 2 more times; I like this method.

When I make the dough, I cover and refrigerate for 2 days; I think this makes them less fragile. Says makes 4 dozen, mine was about 4 short. Unlike other recipes, this one has you roll them in confectioners’ sugar when they are cool, so, not gummy … I like this advice. My oven was exactly 325, says 17-19 minutes … mine take about 24 minutes.

I’m going to try to sell some.


Yum. Similar recipe I’ve made for “Snowball” cookies have you roll in powdered sugar while still warm, creating a sticky layer then roll a second time when they’re cooled. The second coating clings to the first, so the cookie feels dry when picked up and the powdered sugar is less likely to scatter as you eat it.


In this recipe, you roll in sugar when cooled and can do again later before serving. This time I only rolled once. Some recipes only use 1 cup of pecans; this one uses two.

Wonder what people would pay for a bag of 12.

Someone had been wondering why I hadn’t made my cheesy garlic butter wool roll bread again, so today I finally made some. One as a whole round as usual, the other as rolls. I sold the round to her and she happened to be getting her nails done when I dropped it off. A little while ago the woman who did her nails came by wondering when I can make her a loaf because she tried it and loved it!


My best guess regarding what people might pay here in USA is $6 or less per dozen. (50 cents per cookie). I seem to recall reading that you should figure your ingredient costs, including packaging, per cookie and triple that. Then see whether the balance (over actual ingredient costs) gives you an acceptable hourly salary for your time spent mixing, baking, packaging and selling. Butter and pecans are expensive here.


So far, one person said $10 … I’m in SF so everything is expensive here. So, not worth it. Can’t monetize my hobby. Can’t make chocolate ones since it’s so expensive and TJ stopped selling Valrhona chocolate bars, I used to buy the bittersweet ones.

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Had some cookie crumbs languishing in the freezer. Looks messy, tastes delicious


Inspired by MunchkinRedux in the Feb thread, I made the KA European bread rolls. Managed to follow the recipe except that I did toss in about a Tablespoon of sourdough starter. Not as pretty as munchkin‘s but seriously delicious. I was driving home from a meeting fielding multiple texts from recipients raving about them. Will repeat for sure.




Thanks @Nannybakes for encouraging me to bake quiche in a tart pan instead of a pie plate, and to abandon parbaking in favor of freezing the tart shell first, then baking it filled straight out of the freezer.

I had been struggling with how tough the crust was in my previous method (quickly parbake in a pie pan, then fill and finish baking.) Someone also pointed me to Stella’s pie crust recipe, which admittedly isn’t that different from the others I’d been using, but in any case: results were great. The bottom didn’t bake up super crisp (I have no baking stone, but will remedy that) but I didn’t mind it, honestly, and the short little sides of the crust were pleasantly crisp, but not so much that you couldn’t eat the whole slice with just a fork. Which I did :slight_smile:

No change to my standard filling recipe, which is just cubed ham and shredded cheddar cheese using this base recipe (4 eggs, 1/2 cup cream, 1/2 cup whole milk.)

The whole thing baked MUCH faster, so much so that I almost overbaked it, but the golden brown top part wasn’t tough so I’ll let it slide this time:) Having to freeze the crust ahead of time essentially guarantees I’ll split the process into two days moving forward, which certainly improves the likelihood of my making quiche on a weeknight, like I did tonight :slight_smile:


mig…so happy for you that you were so very successful on your first try using the tart mold!
May you have many more, and if you happen to find any tart molds on sale, they are nice to stockpile in the freezer already to go. Makes for impromptu quiche or veggie tarts so easy!


Pretty sure I have a dozen tart pans in my Brooklyn apartment, but there’s only one here in MomLandia.

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Something you might try until you get a baking stone…very lightly spray bottom of tart mold with Pam or equivalent and wipe clean. Sprinkle with extremely fine cracker crumbs/breadcrumbs, not very much, just a very light dusting. Carefully place crust over the crumbs, the spray isn’t necessary if you can place crust in mold without a lot of extra movement. This will help give you a crisper bottom crust.
Looking forward to your next bake!


could i use panko, or is panko not fine enough?

Not fine enough…you want it to be undetectable. You could try breaking the panko down a bit or sifting through a very fine sifter…this sounds like it’s getting to be too much work :grin:. I have dedicated coffee grinder for spices, etc. and I will make a small batch and keep in a ziplock bag as it can also be used to dust interior of crust if you think it necessary.


Great Hot Tips!


If as bakers you weigh the water in grams (instead of using cups measurements), what do you use for your standard mass in grams of a cup of water?

I’ve run into a couple of KA recipes recently that seem to use 226 or 227 g/cup. But most others (and my own calculation) say it should be 236.6 g*. Not huge, but almost a 5% difference and if making a very low- or very high-hydration product, I think it could have an effect.

[*] And of course you’ll see some folks rounding the 236.6 up to 240 g/cup.

Alice Medrich’s yogurt tart from Flavor Flours, but with the original crust from Pure Dessert. The yogurt is not as thick as labne, and especially the Greek yogurt I can usually get here, which I find rather loose. If I’d remembered I would have strained it. It tastes great, but it’s definitely a bit looser than when made with labne.
When making her crust here I find that I need to bump the flour to 150 grams rather than the 129 called for and that I typically use. The crust is a bit too greasy otherwise due to the absorption of the flour here. I also like to let it sit once in the tart pan before baking. It helps the crust to sort of set. This crust has always been one of my favorites and with these adjustments it bakes up beautifully, as before I had a bit of a problem getting it to bake up right with the flour here.

And some toasted milk financiers with a formula that I thought was a bit more buttery than I like. They’re just too rich for my liking.

@CCE I go with 227, but honestly most every recipe I follow for bread has either percentages or weight already included. I haven’t found issue with using that conversion., though.


Baby Baguettes, from Erin Jeanne McDowell’s Savory Baking.

The recipe uses a pre-ferment – I subbed in 50 g. of unfed sourdough for flavor. Otherwise, I followed the recipe exactly for a half-batch of four small baguettes.

Erin’s process offers shortcuts to the making of an institutional baguette. While she can’t save you the anxiety of slashing room-temperature dough, she does offer alternatives to shaping and transfer of the baguettes, which are free-formed and proofed/baked on a sheet pan. No advanced shaping skills, couches or transfer peels required. I found them fun and relatively easy to make, and think her recipe rating of “difficult” here is undeserved. Baked with steam, the results were almost as good as the real deal, with far less of the angst.

Now that I have a visual on these, I’ll bake a full batch next time (tomorrow?) If I had a bigger baking stone, I would bake directly on a stone (using parchment and a pizza peel) and omit the sheet pan.

A side note: having made two out of two successful bakes from this book thus far, I’m encouraged to explore it more.


After my recent (Betty Crocker) “frosting fail”, Sunshine remembered that her mother used to make frosting from scratch and she loved it. So she called her older sister and the sister said that the mother used Crisco in the frosting. So I did some digging and found a recipe for Crisco frosting. I used the recipe as more of a guide. I started out with some butter flavored Crisco, powdered sugar, cocoa powder and 1/2 teaspoon of milk and utilized my mixer to beat it all together. I stopped various times and had Sunshine taste it, (adding ingredients) until we got what she liked. This mixture needed to be just a touch smoother, but was not bad for a first attempt. I spread our “Crisco” frosting on a Martha Stewart chocolate dump cake and Sunshine was quite happy!!