Chocolate Eruption Cheesecake is the perfect Valentine's Day recipe. It's big, bold, decadent and like love, a leap of faith (not really, it's easy as....pie). It comes from my cookbook, A Passion for Baking, Oxmoor House 2007 but it is free until February 14th. But there's a slew of other great treats like Free Quick Honey Bun Cake in this month's Baker's Stash.
Dear Friends and Fellow Bakers,
I pride myself in reading people. I get my peeps - at least most of the time. Say for instance, I am checking out someone else’s grocery order (given if they are the person behind me in line). Sample one: pre-cut stir fry vegetables, lean beef or chicken breasts and nuke-and-serve instant rice – to me that’s says: in a hurry, still trying to eat well, like flavour. Sample Two: frozen meals and a few boxes of cereal. I’m thinking: dieter or single or kids who want commercial yuck versus homemade or a parent in a hurry or “I take my lunch to work and don’t have time’. Sample Three: ice-cream, chips, beer, and a steak? Single. Probably a guy. Sample Four: tons of fresh vegetables, rapini, chicken parts, maybe filet of sole, hummus, interesting coffee, yogurt, green tea? A cook and someone who knows health. Then there’s the: Cokes, giant ketchup, Mac and cheese types. Conclusion: kids or grown-up kids live here or someone is feeding heartache. It’s not really that hard to figure out if you pay attention.
Similarly, as a baker, I have come to see my peeps as having particular taste preferences in their sweets. It’s not that difficult to assign, by personality, what people gravitate to in their desserts.
There’s the Anything Chocolate addicts (closely related to the Cheesecake Swooners). Then there are the Make Mine Cinnamon who are related to the Anything Apples sorts; Then there are Purists Who Just Love Buttery Pastry and last, a small but individualist group – the fans of acid, aka Lemon and Tartness Addicts – they like their desserts, much like their love affairs, sweet and sour. Of course, there’s hybrids or cross-over’s of a few categories. I am probably one of those.
Moreover, in reading people’s appetites, I don’t think I’ve ever guessed wrong. Chefs, like mothers, are intuitive. And chefs are especially attuned as they aim to please. Which brings me to this month’s issue.
Although Valentine’s Day is only one day in February, the beguiling sentimentality of it has us thinking baking treats from mid-January to February 14th. More than ever before, there are appealing Valentine’s Day accouterments to bake with from heart candies and chocolates, to cupcake and cake molds in heart shapes, and pretty bags and boxes to pack up the goodies. Whether you are baking for your family, friends, or the office or to say Thank You to someone in this ‘heart’ month, I’ve got you covered. Chocolate, Cinnamon, Tart Lemon, or Pure Butter – it’s all here.
By the way, if I had my druthers, I personally would opt for Cinnamon Buns made with blueberries instead of raisins, or thick, dense shortbread, or simply buttery croissants. But I’d give it all away for a bushel of pink roses – Valentine’s Day or not. It’s the one thing I can’t bake and always pleases.
What could be better than your favourite cookie folded into a decadent brownie batter? Most of you call 'em Mallomars; Canucks call them Whippets. Plain, they're fine but in a brownie? Oh my. Cookies 'N Cream Cheesecake Truffles I can’t believe I didn’t make this before – who doesn’t like a cookies’n cream combination? Add a chocolate cookie crust and you can easily convert this into a Cookies’n Cream Cheesecake. !!Free!! Quick Honey Bun Cake What is more fitting for Valentine’s Day than a quick and easy Honey Bun Cake. These have been around a long time and use a cake mix with some pantry ingredients for a golden cake that slices like coffee cake but tastes like a cinnamon bun. If you prefer a scratch cake, choose any one of the streusel recipe cakes I have but if you’re in a hurry or just like the notion of a mix once in awhile, this ummmm....takes the cake.
Cheesecake Cupcakes Cupcakes are in but on Valentine’s Day, surprise people with cupcakes-one-notch-up in baby cheesecakes. Add on fruit and an apricot glaze or dab on cherry pie filling for mini New York Cheesecake cupcakes. Small but with wow appeal.
Pucker Up Lemon Squares Sour and sweet in perfect balance in a deluxe lemon square. Red Velvet Cupcakes
A rich red velvet or devil’s food cake, with the added tang of sour cream and the richness of pure cocoa. It also features a luscious white cream cheese frosting.
This is for the pure and simple butter and sugar purists in your dessert crowd.
Simply Irresistible Caramel Eclairs Another BB/Marcy Goldman classic, the éclairs from the romcom Simple Irresistible – a good name for a film and a sublime pastry of choux paste and caramel. Turns anyone into a whimpering puddle.
Essays to tickle your funny bone, wake up your inner baker, twinge on your heartstrings, or make you smile and say, ‘I’ve know the feeling; I know the place”. If you missed an essay, or a season in baking or inner sensibility, we invite you to stroll through our archived Notes From Marcy.