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Miscellaneous Baking

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Chocolate hamantaschen make for a nice change and they're perfect for kids
who may not care for some of the more tart fruit fillings. You will find
chocolate hazelnut paste in the peanut butter and jam section of most
supermarkets. Or use this in the Chocolate Peanut Butter Hamantashen recipe in my Complete Recipe Archives.

The subtle taste of hazelnut cream together with rich pure chocolate

You cannot believe how good a strong black tea is when coupled with chocolate notes and a sweep of orange! This is dessert in a cup. An extravagant, outrageously, decadent cuppa tea. You could vary this by using white chocolate instead of the milk chocolate. This is a great tea to bring in a cannister or pretty cello bag and a colored tie as a gift or for serving to guests with spice cake, butter cookies, or a delicate pastry.

This unique presentation of a buttery and rich bread pudding will have you thinking you are tasting cheesecake - it is that rich and good.The use of a spring-form mold (or 9-inch tart or quiche pan) dramatically changes the presentation to a dense lovely torte. The use of heavy cream makes for a thick and smooth interior. A great way to turn leftover egg bread, brioche or challah into a deluxe affair.

If you saw The Birdcage, you will remember, Nathan Lane goes wild for the cinnamon schnecken at a local pastry shop. Rent the movie, make the recipe.  These are cinnamon laced, buttery, morsels of joy. You can also freeze them unbaked and bake as needed – no rise required.

This brown sugar and coconut wonder is a throwback to the days when Impossible pies heralded the arrival of Bisquick © which is a flour, baking powder, salt and shortening mix that made for quick biscuits, cakes and pancakes. Some of the most famous of this genre of pies were Impossible Coconut Pie and Impossible Bacon Pie which was the quickest quiche imaginable – the eggs and  bacon filling, mysteriously separating as the pie baked into a brunch cassrole/quiche that deserves its fame. Impossible referred to the quick and easy method (usually all ingredients were dumped in a blender and whizzed up in seconds), as well as the novelty of pies that went into a pan as a batter and bake into a pie filling/pie sort of dessert. This recipe is also good if you pour the Impossible filling into a pre-baked pie shell. Serve with crème anglaise, fresh churned vanilla ice-cream or a dab of whipped cream and some fresh summer berries. Vintage pie with contemporary great taste. It is not quite pie, not quite a chewy square but sort of a tender, buttery little cake that defies description. I guess it deserves to be called....Impossible.

 Sweet, chewy, easy – leftovers of these can also be used, crumbled up as a topping for a baked cobbler, added to a sour cream coffee cake as the streusel. Dipped in melted semi-sweet chocolate makes these classic macaroons visually more appealing, not to mention the extravagant taste of coconut and chocolate is irresistible. The sweetened coconut is more moist but unsweetened is also fine. Either way, do not adjust the sugar in this recipe.

 Sometimes pure and simple is best. Nothing beats the fragrance of these slow baked apples unless it is the taste of them, replete with cinnamon, honey and a kiss of brown sugar.

 Most authentic Irish soda breads are whole wheat but combinations of half white and half whole wheat or white whole-wheat make for a fine standing loaf. As with anything else, a larger proportion of white flour will give an airier and higher loaf. All wholewheat will give you a more rustic, nutty loaf. Both eggs and caraway seeds are optional. I alternate on including the caraway seeds but often omit the eggs. You will use more of the buttermilk if you omit the eggs. I like this with a wedge of sharp cheddar or imported Cheshire or Lancastershire cheese - and a couple of pickled onions for a makeshift ploughman's platter. I made miniatures of this recipe for my sister-in-law Sheila Moore's shower a few years ago. Each guest got their own brown-paper and cord, and green ribboned package of still-warm soda bread.....and the marriage that followed is going strong. Is it the special union or the soda bread? Baking is....magic.

Yes, they're just as good at home and you can tune in the game (TV or stream) and cheer for who you like from the comfort of your sofa. Nothing beats a big, fat, soft, crusty pretzel and a dish of yellow mustard to dunk it in. Use coarse sea salt, coarse kosher salt or Himalayan Pink Salt or large grain fleur de sels. These can be baked or boiled or try some one way and some, the other. Offer in squares of wax paper for that street vendor/stadium feel.

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