Porcini Apricot and Fig Soda Bread

It took me a lot of willpower to stop eating this bread. It was so good freshly baked, still a bit warm, eaten with fresh goat cheese, especially with the peppery one. The apricots I used were unattractive unsulfured organic fruits, which differ significantly in both price and flavor from the regular supermarket variety. But, in my opinion, their super-sweet deliciousness is well-worthy the extra money spent.

Adapted from the Bon Appetit

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Sesame Mascarpone Cookie and Lemon Ginger Ice Cream Sandwiches

I had a little bit of mascarpone cheese left over – not enough to fill a tart or a cake. So, I put it in the fridge and forgot about it. The poor cheese spent there a few days too long and, when discovered, it was suitable for baking purposes only. So, I made some cookies. They turned out quite yummy. They also behaved well as the ice cream sandwiches – neither became too hard nor lost their crispiness once frozen.

I apologize for the recent lack of posts and some unanswered e-mails. We are on vacation. We’ve just returned from one trip and now planning another one. Hopefully, everything will return to normal pace as soon as the school year starts. Thank you, everyone, for the lovely comments you have left! I greatly appreciate it.

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Brandied Raspberries

Before it’s too late, and while they are still available, I’d like to share a nice way of preserving the raspberries rather than freezing them or making jams. The method is not cheap, but well worth the money spent. The raspberries will keep well for several months, easily up to the Christmas time, and will make a lovely addition to any home-baked/made gift baskets (if you do such things). These berries are so good in chocolate tarts, soufflés or mousses.

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Chocolate-Covered Marshmallow Cookies

Finally, here’s a long ago promised post, part two of the DB challenge. The recipe (another Gale Gand’s) makes an enormous amount of cookies. It seemed a bit boring to make them all plain vanilla (by the way, there’s not even remotely enough vanilla extract stated to make decent-flavored marshmallows, may I say). I made four different kinds as follows:

  • Chocolate cocoa nib cookies with sour cherry jam center and chocolate marshmallow
  • Cinnamon-chocolate cookies with dulce de leche center and chocolate-cinnamon marshmallow
  • Lemon cookies with lemon curd center and blackberry marshmallow
  • Espresso cookies with coffee-flavored ganache center and coffee marshmallow

Unfortunately, I can’t show you the insides of the cookies. I accidentally deleted these photos from my camera before I had a chance to upload them into the computer. It has never happened before… I need a vacation, I guess.

The recipe below is an adaptation of Gale Gand.

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Lightning McQueen Cake

This is only as far as my automechanical skills go. The cake is fondant-covered; the Lightning McQueen is made of gum paste. Everything is edible, of course.

Inside are three layers of lemon cake moistened with lemon syrup, white chocolate and cream cheese filling, and Swiss lemon buttercream. The cake is 9×13-inch, over 3-inch tall; the cartoon character is about 4-inch long.

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Tiger Cake

Sorry, this is not the post I promised. I still don’t have time for a lengthy post. I’ve been doing a lot of cake decorating lately. It’s a time consuming but also a quite satisfying activity. This particular one was made for a boy (a young man, I should probably say) turning his twenty. I was told he’s into martial arts and graphics. His nick name is Tiger, and that’s an animal I was supposed to represent in a cake-form somehow. Since the birthday boy already passed the Winnie the Pooh age (pity… I love Tigger), I had to find more of an adult-oriented solution. This fondant appliqué took me longer than I expected due to the curvy shapes. Well, live and learn… The hieroglyph on the side means “tiger” in Chinese Characters (I think a Japanese character with the same meaning is very similar to it). I thought it would be appropriate considering the boy’s interest in martial arts. I tried to copy the symbol precisely (I know you have to be careful with Asian letterings); I just hope it didn’t get misspelled during the process.

Under the fondant was a Devil’s chocolate cake filled with strawberry jam and bittersweet sourcream ganache.

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