Cheesy Focaccia with Caramelized Onions and Sautéed Spinach

I really enjoyed this Focaccia. I am a sucker for melted cheese and bread so this was right up my alley. I am also happy with my result. A lot of times Focaccia is hard or too crunchy. This version was light and fluffy. I will say that I found the 3 different rise cycles to be cumbersome and time consuming. I guess I got used to the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes methods. Truly a great book, check it out:

Hope everyone else enjoyed there Focaccia. I want to do a “sweet” version some day too. Bet that would be tasty.


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Sunday Night Cake

I think I have made this before but to be honest I am not sure. This time around my final product wasn’t “pretty” by any stretch. The pudding like frosting was tasty but really thick. The cake it self was dense and delicious. Next time I do it (if there is a demand for it, I don’t think it’s one that I would do again just to do) I’d take more time making the frosting a little less thick. I am happy with the result though.


I left last week with the notion that I was going to try my hand at soft pretzels. I used the Alton Brown recipe on the Food Network site and I must say these were the best soft pretzels I have ever made. And I don’t credit the recipe. At its foundation the recipe is excellent. It was easy to follow. But there were a couple of things that I did that the recipe didn’t mention. First, I weighed everything out. From the flour, to the pretzels themselves. I was hoping for even portions and weighing them help me achieve that. Second (the most important step, I am sure of it) I baked the baking soda that I used in the water bath before baking the pretzels. And I credit that with the results. I used this article as my guide. The article does a great job of explaining the science. Try it. The hardest part of the whole process was getting the pretzel shape.


Have a good week my fellow Bakers. I look forward to seeing everyone’s Sunday Night Cake.

Bake On.


Baked Sunday Mornings

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Lemon Pistachio Cornmeal Muffin

These muffins were good. They weren’t the best thing Baked has put out but I enjoyed them. The best part, they weren’t that labor intensive. I shared them with my parents and they enjoyed them for breakfast. That really is the best part about baking isn’t it? Sharing. Hope everyone had a nice weekend. I am now going to try and make some soft pretzels to enjoy while watching the parade tomorrow.

Lemon Pistachio Cornmeal Muffin

Baked Sunday Mornings

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Bananas Foster Fritters

Fried bread with bananas. Delicious.

I did run into a small rock solid problem. My dark brown sugar was hard as a rock. Hold your collective eye rolls. Yes I know the slice of bread trick or the sliced apples trick to keep brown sugar from drying up. But for what ever reason I spaced and didn’t. Fun fact, a microwave, damp paper towel, bowl and cling wrap make a nice humidifier.

But back to the point. These things were damn tasty. If you don’t like banana then they probably  aren’t for you. I used banana rum and dark rum and they both worked well in this. Hope to make more to share but for now, I am going to clean my plate.

Bananas Foster Fritters

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Malted Milk Chocolate Pots de Crème

Sweet. Smooth. Chocolate.

I wasn’t sure how I felt about malt. Growing up “Whoppers” weren’t the go to Halloween candy and other than the Christmas Story I had never heard of Ovaltine. The process was pretty painless. I strained it twice and was glad I did. Chunks of sea salt would’ve taken away from the silkiness of my end product. I’d make these again. Maybe with dark chocolate. But over all I am happy with result. Hope everyone else had the same success.



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Classic Short Bread

Not exactly sure if I did it right but happy with my result. They were too “white” for my liking so I added chocolate. Who am I kidding? I wanted chocolate on them from the beginning. Hope everyone else had a good time with these.



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Holiday Spice Cake with Eggnog Buttercream

This weekend I have baked: Red Velvet Cupcakes (gross. but Santa requested them) Chocolate Crinkles (traditional Christmas cookie. A must. might be my favorite) and This Holiday Spice Cake with Eggnog Buttercream. I can’t express how happy I am with the result, so far. I have yet to slice into this gem but from the crumbs and frosting taste testing I think I will be happy with it. That being said, next time I will beat the frosting a little extra and maybe soften the butter a bit more. Other than that I am happy with it.

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays Baked Crew and to my Pals in this Baked Club. I have truly enjoyed every bit of this and look forward to making more with this group.


Holiday Spice Cake with Eggnog Buttercream

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Soft Caramel Candy.

I won’t say this was a disaster nor will I say that it was a pure success. It was some where in the middle. I followed the directions as close as one can. Everything was going great until the last step on the stove top. Never did reach 245. The smell of burning sugar told me to abort the mission and hope for the best. The result.Tasty sweet creamy candies with small black bits of burnt sugar. They are good enough for home consumption, no chance would I give these as a gift. I might be inclined to do it again but honestly I am sure if I am cut out for the candy making business.


Hope others had better luck.

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Spicy Brownies.

Me and Baked are getting into a groove. These brownies were amazing. I spent the weekend baking and left these for last and it was worth the wait. The chocolate (Wegman’s trail mix bar rules) was sweet enough not to over power the mild heat. I would be proud to put these on a cookie plate for that sneaky bearded fella in red.

I will will be making these again. Might even do a “mild” version to see if to taste the difference…. Who am I kidding? i don’t really need to make up a reason to consume brownies. But they would be a good brownie without the spice.

In Baked I Trust.

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No-Bake Peanut Butter Cookie

This cookie might be my favorite from the Baked Books so far. Easy, classic flavors and fun to make. After my disaster of a baking experience on Thanksgiving these cookies came into my life to pull me out of my baking doldrums. They went together so fast I thought I missed a step. Like the Baked Cheesy Grits this are a great introduction to “Baked”. I will do these cookies again. I might live dangerous and add coconut next time around. Because, I am at my core, Dangerous. Neigh. DANGER-ous.

Have a good week Baked Crew.





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Baked Cheese Grits

Trust. In. Baked.

I loved the result of these grits. Creamy, gooey and tasty. This is the first time that I didn’t have to go out and buy a bunch of ingredients to participate in this club. I had them all in the kitchen. That being said, I didn’t use whole milk and I took liberties with the cheese. I used 1% and sharp cheese instead of monetary jack. But the result was delicious. This would be a perfect thing to make if you are first using the Baked Cookbooks. It introduces the cook to there methodology but not too time consuming or complicated and an excellent result. Make them. Dare you.

Baked Sunday Mornings

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Caramel Coconut Cluster Bars

This time around our assigned recipe was, Caramel Coconut Cluster Bars. (point of order: its CAR-mel, not CARE-A-MEL or any other goof ball pronunciation, now that we have that sorted we can carry on)


I joined this confection club for a couple of reasons. The main one was I wanted to use the cookbooks. I have a horrid habit of buying or picking up a cookbook, looking through it, and making a mental list of stuff I’d like to try, only to put the book on a shelf. This club gives me enough structure to actually put forth effort and do, which is great. This week I got a chance to test out a new skill or two and I bought my first ever candy thermometer.

The short bread was easy and delicious. The caramel was far too sticky/gooey. So much so it tested to my dentist’s craftsmanship. I understand now that I wasn’t patient enough. But the sugar wouldn’t get above 220 degrees  and the smell started to turn burnt, I decided to go forth and see what happens. The chocolate was barely a hint. By no means am I down on this. I think after a time or two I could really do this well. If I was to do this again, I would use a better suited pot. Live and learn I suppose.

Bake On.


Baked Sunday Mornings

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Parading Around.

This gallery contains 8 photos.

This morning my Mom and I took a walk about half mile up the street to watch our neighborhood Veteran’s Day Parade. The parade is small, short and perfect. Complete with Santa coming in to start the holiday season on … Continue reading

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Buttermilk Pie with a Hint of Maple

My fourth (Fifth if you count the amount of times I tried to make the Burnt Sugar Bunt Cake) in the “Baked Sunday Mornings Bake Club.”

I admit to not being a “custard” guy. I am not a fan of baked eggs of any kind. It has nothing to do with “real men don’t eat quiche” but more getting around my head as to what an egg is.

This pie is good. I enjoyed it. More importantly, my Mom enjoyed it. This is the first time I have made a crust from scratch. The recipe was easy to follow, I elected to use a combination of my immersion blender and a cooking fork instead of a food processor. I was incredibly happy with the crust and look forward to using the recipe in other pie incarnations. My problem is the Maple wasn’t a stronger “hint”. Maybe I should have used a higher quality of Maple syrup…

As I baked this morning I thought about all those folks in New York, Rhode Island and New Jersey who couldn’t participate in today’s baking and thought “I am not a custard guy, but at least I am dry and can bake, so lets have pie” (I often rhyme internally, (that isn’t true)).

So here goes: Buttermilk Pie with a Hint of Maple

(if everything goes to plan, if you click the picture you will see a larger image)

Keep Baking.

Baked Sunday Mornings

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Pumpkin Seed Brittle.

My first brittle. Not as tacky or sticky as I thought it would be. The hardest part was finding the Pumpkin seeds and getting enough for the recipe. Wegman’s saved the day.


Hope everyone else had a good Baked Sunday!

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Joe Froggers

Not incredibly difficult cookie to make. I found the dough to be sticky and regretted I didn’t read through the recipe last night. If I was going to do them again, I would take the time and let the dough chill for 24 hours.

Ben Bake Tip: With sticky doughs like this or any rolled cookie, let the weight of the rolling pin do the work. Pressing down too hard leads to the dough sticking to the pin.


Baked Sunday Mornings

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Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Scones

Rich, dense delicious breakfast.

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Scones.




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Sam. by benjaminrickard
Sam., a photo by benjaminrickard on Flickr.

Last night my sister gave birth to a boy. Her third boy. Fourth kid. We are over the moon.

Allow me to introduce to you. Sam.

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Sea Foam

Sea Foam by benjaminrickard
Sea Foam, a photo by benjaminrickard on Flickr.

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