Almost Junior’s Cheesecake

juniors cheesecake

When I think of iconic cheesecakes, three come to mind — Eli’s, Lindy’s and Junior’s. Eli’s is from a Chicago cheesecake company, and I haven’t had any in a while and can’t remember the texture. Lindy’s is associated with an old restaurant in New York and is dense, creamy, and has a shortbread crust. As…

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Red Food Coloring Paste in Red Velvet

red gel for red food coloring

My favorite red velvet cake recipes call for a full bottle of red food coloring. At $3.00 a bottle, that’s pretty steep for a one-time use ingredient. On the other hand, red food coloring paste is more concentrated and a small bottle usually lasts for months. I’m not sure why it took me so long,…

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Favorite Red Velvet Cake

favorite red velvet cake

It’s hot here in Chicago and I should probably be making icebox pies, but instead I’m obsessed with red velvet again and wondering if my favorite recipe is still worthy. Of course to determine that I had to make my favorite red velvet cake again. Here’s a photo.

Chocolate Chunk Cookies with Coffee Extract

chocolate chunk cookies

I’ve been on the hunt for recipes using coffee extract, and this one turned up in a rather unlikely place — an old Paula Deen magazine. It’s for thin, chewy, sweet chocolate chip cookies and it calls for 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and 1 teaspoon of coffee extract.

Walnut Toffee Bars

walnut toffee bars

I baked these walnut toffee bars yesterday, and while walnuts were the feature ingredient, I think they might have been upstaged by the buttery crust. The flavor came courtesy of this Amish butter I found at Treasure Island. At $5.50 a pound, it’s a little more expensive than Land o’Lakes, but compared to similar European…

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ChefSteps Chocolate Chip Cookies

chefstepscookies2

You don’t need an excuse to try a new recipe, but here’s one anyway. A site called ChefSteps has taken a scientific approach to baking really good chocolate chip cookies.

Cupcakes in Chicago

cupcakes in chicago

So far the only downside to living in Chicago is that I’ve been spending way too much money on cupcakes!  I’ll get back to baking them, but lately all I want to do is sample bakery cupcakes  and call it “research”.  So based on my intensive “research”, here are a few recommendations for cupcakes in…

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Chocolate Sea Salt Caramels

sea salt caramels

I’ve always put more time and effort into toffee than caramel, but lately I’ve been craving the latter and trying various recipes. By far, this one is the best! And as a bonus, it’s pretty easy. The original recipe is called “Chocolate Sea Salt Caramels” and I found it on Land o’Lakes while I was…

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Super Nutty Peanut Butter Cookies

super nutty peanut butter

I’ve tried a lot of peanut butter cookie recipes, but this one is my new favorite. It’s called “Super Nutty Peanut Butter Cookies” and it’s fantastic!

Brownie Flats

brownie flats

Last week my friend Linda dropped off a “Welcome to Chicago” dinner of homemade fried chicken, salad, roasted carrots, granola, giant chocolate chip cookies (made our newest Levain copy cat recipe) and some brownies she’d labeled as “Brownie Flats”. Everything was spectacular, but what I couldn’t stop thinking about were the Brownie Flats.

European Style Butter Chocolate Chip

European Style Butter

Last week I bought some Land o’ Lakes European Style Butter. I couldn’t find it in Austin, but it’s in several Chicago stores, and I’ve been testing it in various recipes. One of the first recipes was Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie from Land o’ Lakes.

Honey Vanilla Ice Cream

honeyvanillaicecream

Pure vanilla is one of the best flavors around, but adding a little honey makes a good thing better. Case in point, this honey vanilla ice cream. Not only does the honey add a hint of flavor, it enhances the ice cream’s texture.

Favorite Molasses Cookies

molasses cookies

I made these molasses cookies for a group of friends here in Chicago and I think it’s my new favorite. The cookies are just the right level sweetness, spread into perfectly neat rounds, and are neither too thick nor too thin.

Light Crisp Sugar Cookies

crisp sugar cookie

Before I put away the leaf lard, here’s one more cookie recipe where it seems to make a difference in the texture. Not that you have to use leaf lard. I still got crisp sugar cookies with 100% European style butter as well as the original version with half butter and half shortening.

Leaf Lard Ginger Cookies

Leaf Lard

One of my first little adventures in Chicago was making a trip to Bang Bang Pie and Biscuits for some fresh leaf lard. After years of being maligned for health, social and economic reasons, there’s a movement to put leaf lard back on the table. It has less saturated fat than butter, enhances the texture…

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Chicago Public Schools Butter Cookies

Chicago Public School Butter Cookies

Our family just moved to the great city of Chicago. We love it, and we’ve been so busy! There’s always something to do here and it’s so easy to get around on foot, train or by car (if necessary). Between all the unpacking and exploring, I’ve managed to squeeze in some baking and sample some…

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