Baking, Esq.

15th December 2012


Sweet Potato Casserole


This is a holiday staple at my house.  Really, it should be more dessert than side dish but who is gonna be picky about that?  It’s the Holidays!  

We used to make sweet potatoes with marshmallows on top but really I only just picked off the gooey marshmallows, and left the yams.  With this recipe there is no picking… there is licking the bowl.

Though my husband, I must admit, pines for the marshmallow stuff.  

Sweet Potato Casserole

From The Southern Living Cookbook 

For casserole:

1 large can (29 oz) sweet potatoes (or yams)

1/2 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1/3 cup milk

1/2 cup butter

For topping:

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup pecans

2 tbsp flour

2 tbsp butter


We always melt the butter. The original recipe does not say to do this but it seems to work much better. And who remembers to bring their butter to room temperatur first anyway?


Combine the sweet potatoes,










and 1/2 cup butter.  You can do this is a separate bowl or… if you are doing a lot of holiday baking and worried about space in your dishwasher… you can just mix if up in the greased 12X8X2 in baking pan that you are gonna be baking it in anyway.


Using a potato masher (or a hand mixer if you prefer, but I like the mashing) mash up the ingredients until it is desired consistency.  We like it a little lumpy but it is still delicious if silky smooth.  Pour the mixture into your greased baking dish or just spread it out evenly.


For your topping combine the brown sugar, 


pecans and flour.  


Cut in the 2 tablespoons of butter until it resembles corse crumbs.


Sprinkle mixture over the casserole.

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Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.


Pull it out and watch it disappear at your next holiday meal.



Tagged: sweet potatoholidaysbakingRecipieChristmassugar


15th July 2012

Post with 1 note

Cinnamon Pull-Apart Bread

My fiancé loves breakfast.  Like whoa.  I am not as big a fan.  Heavy greasy things in the early morning and I just do not mix.  I like eating my breakfast around 11, thank you.  After sleeping in most of the morning… and being lazy… maybe reading a  few chapters of my book… mmmm yeah that would be nice, but… hmmm… Yep, still in bar review mode.  Lazy mornings are still a distant memory.  But soon, soon it will be over.

The last time my fiancé came to visit, my mother made this bread.  It was amazingly good, the top crust slightly crunchy and sweet, the middle soft and delicious, and the bottom.. oh, the bottom of the bread caramelizes into gooey sticky perfection.  It does take a little preplanning and a little finesse but the results are delicious.  Now a slice of this and a big mug of tea… that is a perfect breakfast for me!

Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread


For the dough

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast

1/2 tsp salt

2 ounces butter

1/3 cup milk

1/4 cup water

2 large eggs beaten (best if they are at room temperature)

1 tsp vanilla

For the filling

1 cup sugar

2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1 ounces butter, melted

Whisk together 2 cups flour, sugar, yeast, and salt.  Set aside.  In a small saucepan melt the milk and butter until the butter just melts.  Remove from heat and add in the water and vanilla.  Allow the mixture to cool slightly.


Carefully pour the milk butter mixture into the flour and mix.  Add the eggs and stir until the eggs are thoroughly incorporated.  This will be difficult and will seem to take forever. 


Keep stirring. Add in the remaining flour and beat for about 2 minutes.  The dough will still be sticky.


Allow the dough to rise in a greased bowl until doubled in size, about an hour.  At this point you can also put the dough into the refrigerator and allow to raise slowly overnight.  If doing this, then just be sure to remove the dough from the fridge 30 minutes before rolling out the dough.


Mix together the cinnamon, sugar and nutmeg for the filling.  Melt the 2 ounces of butter and set aside.  Also grease a 9X5X3 loaf pan. 


Punch down the risen dough and knead for a few good turns.   Cover with a kitchen towel and let the dough rest for 5 minutes.  Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to roughly 12 inches tall and 18-20 inches wide. 


Spread the melted butter across all of the dough and cover the surface with the cinnamon and sugar mixture. 


And I mean cover!


Carefully slice the dough vertically into 6 equal strips and stack the strips on top of one another.


Now cut the strips horizontally into 6 squares. Place the squares into the loaf pan standing on end.  It helps to tip the pan on one end as you stack the slices up the pan. 


Cover with a towel and allow the loaf to raise in a warm place for another 30 - 45 minutes until again doubled.


Place the rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.  You will also want to put some aluminum foil or another baking sheet on the lower rack to catch any overflows or drips. Bake the loaf for 30-35 minutes, until the top is a deep golden brown.  


Remove from the oven and allow the bread to rest for about 20 minutes (if you can.. this is not an easy step… I won’t judge you if you rush to the eating). It can be tricky to get the loaf out.  The easiest way is to run a butter knife around the bread, loosening the sides, then place a plate on top of the loaf and invert the pan.  Using a second plate, flip the bread back over to create a perfect beautiful gooey delicious breakfast. 


Tagged: breadbreakfastcinnamonsugarbakingyum


22nd January 2012

Post with 10 notes


Homemade caramel



Making candy scares me a little.  I blame the really, really bad burn I got the first time I ever tried, or maybe just the fact that it took me years to figure out a candy thermometer  works (now I have a cool digital one that even I can’t read wrong).

But you should not be afraid of making candy.  It is really more like delicious mad science.  And you, as things bubble and foam, can laugh maniacally and make plans for when you take over the world!  

… or maybe that is just me.

Seriously though.  Homemade caramel is delicious.  And so so worth learning how to make yourself.  You’ll never eat the Kraft pre-wrapped stuff again!  (Ok that is a lie - I eat it all the time but I at least know this is better stuff!)



Recipe from Epicurious

1 cup heavy cream

5 tbsp butter

1 tsp kosher salt (I always add a tiny bit more because I love the sweet salty thing)

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/4 cup light corn syrup

1/4 cup water


Line the bottom of an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper, then lightly oil the paper (or use aluminum foil and Pam the thing if that is what you have on hand).

Bring the cream, butter, and salt to a boil in a small saucepan; remove from heat and set aside 


Boil the sugars and water in a 3-4 quart heavy saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved.  Continue to boil without stirring, but gently swirl the pan until it turns a light golden caramel color. 

Carefully stir in the cream mixture (it will bubble up so feel free to laugh manically here as well!).  PICT0701 Simmer, stirring frequently, until caramel registers 248 F on a candy thermometer for a softer caramel, 250 F for a slightly harder caramel.  About 10 - 15 minutes.  


Pour into the prepared baking dish and cool 2 hours.  After about an hour I went ahead and scored the top of the caramel to make cutting easier.  Cut into roughly 1-inch pieces


Now you have some options.  I like dipping mine in chocolate, or rolling the caramel in peanuts, or even just wrapping the pieces in wax paper and eating as is.   Whatever is your favorite way to enjoy caramel, go for it! 


Tagged: carameldessertfungooeysugar


19th December 2011

Post with 2 notes


(Sorry a little late guys, been having technical difficulties here at home.) 


I packed up, got in a rental car, and moved out to California in 2007.  It was not my best planned move ever. I had a school to attend, but had neglected to secure housing when I showed up in Hollywood. And I was a little overwhelmed.  


I have an aunt and uncle on my father’s side who live in California. They took me in for those first few weeks while I looked for a place to live.  Before this they only knew me vaguely, but still they took me in.  They are wonderful people and I owe them the success of that crazy move.


As ultimate comfort food my aunt would give me hot tea and gingersnaps.  And to this day I still associate green tea with lemon and gingersnap cookies with the warm and comforting presence of my aunt’s house. 


Ok: true confession time.  These cookies weren’t bad, but were not my favorite.  I want my gingersnaps to be STRONG ginger and these, while extremely delicious and very good with hot tea (Green tea with lemon grass from Good Earth!), they just were.. milder ginger flavor than I hoped for.  Ah well, I eat straight candied ginger as candy - maybe anything less will be too mild for me! 




From Smitten Kitchen 

2 1/4 cups flour

2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp table salt

3 teaspoons ground ginger

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp allspice

1/4 tsp pepper

2 sticks (1 cup) softened butter

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1/3 cup unsulphured molasses

1/2 cup finely minced candied ginger



Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, spices, and candied ginger, then set aside.  Cream the butter and sugars. Add in the egg and molasses and beat until well combined.  Add in dry ingredients and mix until just combined.



This is an extremely soft dough so you really do need to chill it in the refrigerator for a few hours (I know, I usually skip that step too - no patience. When I want my fresh hot-from-the-oven cookies I want them!). 



Preheat the over to 350 degrees. Roll the dough into roughly 1 in balls and then roll them in some sugar.  Space on a greased baking sheet and bake for 10 - 15 minutes.  The longer you bake them the crunchier-more snappy-they become. 



And while they are baking… your kitchen will smell amazing!


Tagged: cookiesgingerholidayssugardessert


11th November 2011

Post with 16 notes

Cinnamon and Sugar Muffins


This recipe has been floating around the internet for a while now… so you know I had to try it.  And it was a huge hit!  All the deliciousness of a doughnut with all the ease of a muffin.  Yea!

One note of caution though, they are highly addictive.  Next time I make then I think I will accentuate this quality and make them as mini-muffins!


Cinnamon and Sugar Muffins

From Lemanda on Tasty Kitchen 


For the Muffins

1 3/4 cup flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/3 cup oil

3/4 cup sugar

1 egg

3/4 cup milk



Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a muffin tin.  This is not a recipe where you want to use liners.  Trust me.


Mix your dry ingredients: the flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon, and set aside.  Combine the oil, sugar, egg and milk in another bowl.  Mix well.  Add the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined.


Bake for 15 - 20 minutes. Meanwhile make the topping.


For the topping

1/4 cup butter (melted)

1/3 cup sugar

1 tbsp cinnamon

Melt the butter and put it aside in a small dish.  Mix the cinnamon and sugar and set that aside in a second dish.  


Shake out the muffins while still hot.  Cover them in the butter and then in the sugar/cinnamon mixture.  Let it cool.  Not sure why but this is one baked good that is definitely better cooled. 


Tagged: muffinsdessertcinnamonsugar