ashallen's Bookshelf

  • These have a really nice, chewy texture which is rare to find in peanut butter cookies. I think I messed up the flavor balance though by using a not-very-flavorful peanut butter (trying to use it up!) and the darkest of the dark brown sugar brands I've cooked with. The cookies were so dark, they kind of looked like spice cookies and the molasses competed with the peanut butter flavor. My peanut butter was also a natural peanut butter, which they advise against using, but the chewiness survived, fortunately. My husband, a huge peanut butter cookie fan, liked these but still prefers our usual recipe (=lightly modified version of 1998 Cook's Illustrated recipe). I'll try these again with a better peanut butter and a lighter dark brown sugar.

  • Delicious. I used apricot lekvar which worked really nicely with the raisin flavor. Lightly crisp on the outside and tender inside. I used unbleached flour instead of bleached as called for in the recipe and they still turned out great. Baked an extra 5 minutes since I prefer cookies like this to be more-browned. Some online reviewers noted problems with the dough getting very soft during rolling and/or flattening during baking. I didn't have those troubles but my kitchen was very cool (61F) and I gave the cookies a full overnight rest before baking. Don't let them sit too long on their baking sheets after baking - I waited a couple minutes too long on one batch and they began welding to the foil and had to be scraped free with a sharp spatula.
    about Lora Brody's rugelach from Rose's Christmas Cookies added on November 23, 2021

  • Delicious. I used apricot lekvar which worked really nicely with the raisin flavor. Lightly crisp on the outside and tender inside. The only sad thing about this recipe is that it makes only 2 dozen cookies which isn't nearly enough :)! I used unbleached flour instead of bleached as called for in the recipe and they still turned out great. Baked an extra 5 minutes since I prefer cookies like this to be more-browned. Some online reviewers noted problems with the dough getting very soft during rolling and/or flattening during baking. I didn't have those troubles but my kitchen was very cool (61F) and I gave the cookies a full overnight rest before baking. Don't let them sit too long on their baking sheets after baking - I waited a couple minutes too long on one batch and they began welding to the foil and had to be scraped free with a sharp spatula.
    about Rugelach from Baking Bible added on November 23, 2021

  • The chops, apples, and creamy sauce are wonderful together in this recipe - autumn on a plate. Strong sage and spice flavors. Forgot the parsley and chives but didn't miss them. My hard cider was very dry so I also added a couple of tablespoons of fresh cider to the sauce for some sugar and additional apple flavor. Sugars from the apples stuck to the skillet and got verrrry brown. I was initially concerned they'd add too much bitterness to the sauce but they ultimately weren't a problem. I cut back on the salt in the spice rub from 1.5 tablespoons to 1.5 teaspoons, thinking it was maybe a typo. The final dish did need some additional seasoning so I won't cut back so much next time. Recipe makes plenty of sauce, so it's nice to serve this with something that can mop it up.

  • The flavors in this chili were fine but washed-out in comparison to those in my usual stovetop ground beef-and-bean chili. Not very spicy even though my chipotles were extra-hot and I kept their seeds. Adding some vinegary hot sauce after the cooking is done helps to brighten this up. I substituted black beans for kidney beans and they stayed intact for the long cook. I like the convenience of putting everything in the slow cooker and walking away, but given the flavor differences I'll continue to use my stovetop recipe.
    about Weeknight beef chili from Slow Cooker Revolution added on November 21, 2021

  • The flavors in this chili were fine but washed-out in comparison to those in my usual stovetop ground beef-and-bean chili. Not very spicy even though my chipotles were extra-hot and I kept their seeds. Adding some vinegary hot sauce after the cooking is done helps to brighten this up. I substituted black beans for kidney beans and they stayed intact for the long cook. I like the convenience of putting everything in the slow cooker and walking away, but given the flavor differences I'll continue to use my stovetop recipe.
    about Classic beef chili from Complete Slow Cooker added on November 21, 2021

  • These have a really nice, chewy texture which is rare to find in peanut butter cookies. I think I messed up the flavor balance though by using a not-very-flavorful peanut butter (trying to use it up!) and the darkest of the dark brown sugar brands I've cooked with. The cookies were so dark, they kind of looked like spice cookies and the molasses competed with the peanut butter flavor. My peanut butter was also a natural peanut butter, which they advise against using, but the chewiness survived, fortunately. My husband, a huge peanut butter cookie fan, liked these but still prefers our usual recipe (=lightly modified version of 1998 Cook's Illustrated recipe). I'll try these again with a better peanut butter and a lighter dark brown sugar.

  • These have a really nice, chewy texture which is rare to find in peanut butter cookies. I think I messed up the flavor balance though by using a not-very-flavorful peanut butter (trying to use it up!) and the darkest of the dark brown sugar brands I've cooked with. The cookies were so dark, they kind of looked like spice cookies and the molasses competed with the peanut butter flavor. My peanut butter was also a natural peanut butter, which they advise against using, but the chewiness survived, fortunately. My husband, a huge peanut butter cookie fan, liked these but still prefers our usual recipe (=lightly modified version of 1998 Cook's Illustrated recipe). I'll try these again with a better peanut butter and a lighter dark brown sugar.

  • These have a really nice, chewy texture which is rare to find in peanut butter cookies. I think I messed up the flavor balance though by using a not-very-flavorful peanut butter (trying to use it up!) and the darkest of the dark brown sugar brands I've cooked with. The cookies were so dark, they kind of looked like spice cookies and the molasses competed with the peanut butter flavor. My peanut butter was also a natural peanut butter, which they advise against using, but the chewiness survived, fortunately. My husband, a huge peanut butter cookie fan, liked these but still prefers our usual recipe (=lightly modified version of 1998 Cook's Illustrated recipe). I'll try these again with a better peanut butter and a lighter dark brown sugar.

  • This recipe has a variation in which you substitute pineapple for maraschino cherries - that's the version I made using canned pineapple. The fruit definitely made for a moister cake so this is a nice technique if you think your angel food cakes are too dry. Cake fluffiness was maybe a bit less because of the extra moisture (or maybe I didn't invert my cake to cool long enough!), but still very good. Pineapple flavor wasn't super-strong. Pineapple bits migrated somewhat toward cake bottom during baking, so I'd chop them finer than 1/4-inch next time - canned crushed pineapple might be a better alternative. I find Betty Crocker's basic angel food cake to be quite sweet, so I'll try this technique of folding pineapple bits into the batter with a different base recipe in the future.
    about Cherry angel food cake from Betty Crocker's Picture Cook Book added on November 12, 2021

  • I made the "Deluxe" version which substitutes powdered sugar for some of the granulated sugar in the base recipe. Very good recipe that yielded a high-rising cake with a melt-in-your mouth texture. I used unbleached cake flour and it was still very tender. Mixing instructions are simpler than those in some other recipes but still produced a good result. Angel food cake is always pretty sweet, but this recipe uses even more sugar than other recipes I've liked (Carole Walter, Cook's Illustrated). I prefer their lower sweetness so I'll continue to use those recipes versus switching to this one.
    about Angel food cake from Betty Crocker's Picture Cook Book added on November 12, 2021

  • Due to an oversupply of peanuts, I've made several versions of kung pao chicken recently - my husband said this was his favorite to date. Good, intense flavors and a really nice crunch from the celery and peanuts. I deviated from the recipe in a few substantive ways, however. Recipe provides instructions for cooking in a skillet on the stovetop, but I used my wok on a gas burner and roughly followed the cooking steps from Grace Young's Kung Pao Chicken recipe in "Stir Frying to the Sky's Edge" (also a good recipe!). I used only 1 pound chicken, 3 chilies (=hot enough for us!), and substituted balsamic vinegar for Chinese black. Instead of cutting scallions into 1/2-inch chunks, I cut them into thin rings so they'd cook more thoroughly. I minced the fresh ginger instead of grating it and added an extra teaspoon.
    about Kung pao chicken from Cook’s Illustrated Magazine, Nov/Dec 2018 added on November 10, 2021

  • Due to an oversupply of peanuts, I've made several versions of kung pao chicken recently - my husband said this was his favorite to date. Good, intense flavors and a really nice crunch from the celery and peanuts. I deviated from the recipe in a few substantive ways, however. Recipe provides instructions for cooking in a skillet on the stovetop, but I used my wok on a gas burner and roughly followed the cooking steps from Grace Young's Kung Pao Chicken recipe in "Stir Frying to the Sky's Edge" (also a good recipe!). I used only 1 pound chicken, 3 chilies (=hot enough for us!), and substituted balsamic vinegar for Chinese black. Instead of cutting scallions into 1/2-inch chunks, I cut them into thin rings so they'd cook more thoroughly. I minced the fresh ginger instead of grating it and added an extra teaspoon.
    about Kung pao chicken from Cook's Illustrated Annual Edition 2018 added on November 10, 2021

  • These are great. Their buttery, gingery flavor reminds me of one of my favorite store-bought cookies - Peek Freans Ginger Crisps (though less spicy). Texture is quite different from Ginger Crisps, though (which are very thin and crisp) - an interesting mix of sandy, chewy, and nubbly from the oats. Also kind of dense, but I pressed the dough pretty firmly into the pan - next time I'll use a lighter touch. If you have a food processor as called for in the recipe, these are super quick and easy to make. I used steel cut oats (toasted a bit in oven to freshen) and stone-ground white whole wheat flour.

  • This is a great classic apple pie. My husband inhaled it. My first time using Honeycrisp apples for pie and they were a really nice mix of sweet and tart with a not-too-soft-not-too-firm texture. The filling does call for a fair amount of cornstarch but I didn't notice an aftertaste (though it's not a flavor I'm particularly sensitive to). I baked the pie until the center reached 205F (couple degrees past full cornstarch gelling temperature of 203F). Filling was thickened enough to slice well but not gluey. Crust was buttery, tender but sturdy, and flaky - great! Baking sheet called for in recipe was helpful for catching butter that oozed from crust rim early in baking and preventing smoking but, even though I used my thinnest sheet, it prevented bottom part of crust from browning. I ended up removing pie from sheet and baking it on lowest oven rack at the 60 minute mark and that worked great. Top crust browned deeply but wasn't bitter. Rim protector and foil prevented overbrowning.
    about My favorite double-crust apple pie from Midwest Made added on November 01, 2021

  • Great crust. Crusts like this one made with just butter (no shortening) and all-purpose flour (no cake or pastry flour) can sometimes be tough, but this one has really nice tenderness and flakiness. Recipe provides good, clear instructions without getting overly complicated. As mentioned in some earlier notes, the crimped edge on the pie lost definition during baking - I'm guessing it's the baking powder at work (?) and might try omitting it next time. Dough looked like a giant pile of crumbs when I dumped it out of the food processor bowl, but easily formed a cohesive dough with kneading. December 2021 Update: Made crust again without baking powder. Crimping still lost definition during baking (perhaps a tad bit less), so it's not the baking powder!
    about My favorite pie crust from Midwest Made added on November 01, 2021

  • Made these again using boneless chicken breast halves vs. the skin-on, bone-in halves called for in the original recipe (which you're asked to de-bone, retaining the skin on the meat). I liked using the boneless breast halves better, both because it was faster and easier and because the chicken skin never fully rendered and so was a bit rubbery. It's also not necessary for protecting the chicken meat underneath if you're careful.

  • I feel like I've made this dish before from another recipe (it's similar to Kung Pao chicken), but we definitely didn't mind since we enjoyed it. Since we can't handle tons of heat, I used just 3 chili de arbol (seeds removed) and that was enough to get my nose running. Pretty salty - I usually don't mind saltiness, but might cut back in the future on the salt in the marinade. Like Breadcrumbs, we also didn't notice much smoky flavor but we'd used only half the chilis which are the main smokiness source, I think (they get dry-fried at the start). Also, I make my stir-fries outside and it was a colder and windier evening than I'd expected, cutting down on searing and caramelization - that didn't help! Peanuts added a really nice flavor layer. Overall very nice and we'll make it again.
    about Smoky red pepper chicken from Seductions of Rice added on October 28, 2021

  • Very pleasant rice dish. It's relatively gently flavored, so it's a good accompaniment for more strongly flavored dishes. The ketchup adds a nice flavor layer that doesn't shout "ketchup!!" Definitely add salt to taste - it's not salty at all as written. A lot of commenters on Chowhound noted the modest quantity of fish sauce called for in the recipe and said that they'd added a lot more - that would definitely intensify the flavors and saltiness!

  • Fine, but not fabulous, muffins.

  • A fine, basic recipe for French toast.

  • Good!

  • Good!

  • This was just OK, not great - so-so flavor and a heavy texture.

  • Hermits: I loved the dark, spicy flavor of these but the texture was off - like a wet, dense, "underbaked" brownie and more tender than chewy. I'm hoping that the main cause was that I pre-soaked my raisins (which had seemed dry) - I won't do that next time. The raisin moisture was exacerbated given that I was using the recipe calls for 1/4 c dried currants in addition to the raisins (I substituted more raisins) plus 3 tbsp candied citron and/or candied orange peel. I used homemade candied peel packed in syrup - I squeezed it out but it was still very moist. I baked these for ~20 minutes after which the corners were ~192F and the center was ~185F. Since their flavor is very good, I'll try these again. In the meantime, the "gooey" version might make a good mix-in for a batch of vanilla ice cream...