Ben the Baker

Just a guy trying to get his kids to eat

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Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

Orange Tian (sort of) – March DB Challenge

Posted by osakaben41 on March 27, 2010

  It’s a strange thing, the places an idle mind will go.  I had every intention of sticking close to this months challenge recipe, but one thing leads to another and here we are.  The 2010 March Daring Baker’s challenge was hosted by Jennifer of Chocolate Shavings. She chose Orange Tian as the challenge for this month, a dessert based on a recipe from Alain Ducasse’s Cooking School in Paris.  

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Posted in Cookies, DB Challenge, Fruit, Ice Cream, Recipes | 10 Comments »

Hazelnut Tiramisu – DB’s September challenge

Posted by osakaben41 on February 27, 2010




Hazelnut Tiramisu with Cardamom-Caramel sauce and Kahlua Jelly


It’s that time again for another Daring Bakers entry.  This one holds a special place for me, as Tiramisu was the first dessert my wife and I made together (we were dating then).  You’re going to think this a made up story, but it was while spending a week in a Tuscan villa just south of Florence.  Lazy mornings reading the Herald Tribune while sipping cappuccinos in town.  spend half the day shopping for dinner, then back to the house to cook with family and friends.  Seems almost unfair to get a taste of retirement before even getting into a career, but I digress…

The February 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen and Deeba of Passionate About Baking. They chose Tiramisu as the challenge for the month. Their challenge recipe is based on recipes from The Washington Post, Cordon Bleu at Home and Baking Obsession.  (recipes as always, listed below)

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Posted in Chocolate, DB Challenge, Nuts, Recipes, Sauce | 8 Comments »

Nanaimo Bombe – DB January Challenge

Posted by osakaben41 on January 27, 2010

I missed the last two months of the DB’s for no better reason than just being too busy to catch up.  They put out some great Canolis in November and some stunning gingerbread houses in December.  I couldn’t stand to miss yet another challenge.

The January 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Lauren of Celiac Teen. Lauren chose Gluten-Free Graham Wafers and Nanaimo Bars as the challenge for the month. The sources she based her recipe on are 101 Cookbooks and

The general idea was to make gluten free Graham Crackers and then incorporate them into the cookie base of a Canadian Nanaimo Bar.  The bars themselves consist of a chocolate base, in this case with Walnuts, Graham Cracker pieces and Coconut, with a ‘custard’ (though some say it’s more like a buttercream) center, topped with melted chocolate, sliced and served cold, or at least they were in this case. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Chocolate, Cookies, DB Challenge, mousse, Recipes | 4 Comments »

Macaron Mania – October DB Challenge

Posted by osakaben41 on October 27, 2009


What a great challenge this month.  It have everything that makes the DBs worthwhile.  An excuse to bake something new, a whole world of technique to practice, and with just a cookie shell and filling to do, a fairly easy vehicle for playing with different flavors.  Beyond that though, this month really turned into a chance to think about the nature of creativity.

I’d love to say that the Lemon with Red Lentil/apple confit idea, inspired by this Nordljus post worked out, or that I had time to put together the Black Sesame/Drunken Cherry concept.  I’m going to have to wait a little longer to find somebody that wants to try David Leibovits’s Ketchup Macaron, or Pierre Herme’s Vanilla Olive Oil Mac.  In short, I just couldn’t keep up with all the great ideas out there, but more importantly was just plain unable to put a personal stamp on these.

The 2009 October Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Ami S. She chose macarons from Claudia Fleming’s The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern as the challenge recipe.

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Posted in Cookies, DB Challenge, Recipes | 11 Comments »

Pumpkin Pecan Cheesecake

Posted by osakaben41 on October 26, 2009

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Reading begets more reading, and never was this more true than with these addictive food blogs.  I can’t even remember exactly how I came across Desserts Magazine, most likely somehow from Tartelette.  The pictures alone are inspiring, but when asked recently to bring a pie, “something Autumnal” to a harvest pot luck party, the pumpkin Pecan cheesecake from “the Spice Kitchen: Everyday Cooking with Organic Spices” by Sara Engram and Katie Luber, looked like the perfect fit (Recipe Below). Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Ice Cream, Nuts, Pie, Recipes | Leave a Comment »

Cranberry-Walnut Tarts

Posted by osakaben41 on October 17, 2009

c-w tart

This month the majority of my baking energies have been poured into the October Daring Baker’s Challenge, the results of which are not to be published until the 27th.  Considering that as well as a general lack of sleep from trying to sleep train my 18-month-old son, I just haven’t had the energy for a serious project in awhile. 

That said, if a week goes by without something sweet and new coming out of our kitchen, my hands start to shake and I get fidgety.  To scratch this persistent itch I’ve resorted to the quick, small experiments, leaving the multilayered entremet cakes for when I’m not quite so drowsy (has anybody else ever fallen asleep standing up in the shower?)   The other night I ripped out some quick Madelines, which felt good just to get back in the groove.  To that end, I came across in our freezer some left over Citrus Tart dough from the Pear-Flan Tart a few weeks back. 

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Posted in dough, Ice Cream, Nuts, Recipes, Tarts | Leave a Comment »

Apple Cider Madelines

Posted by osakaben41 on October 14, 2009


Something about the fall makes my wife and I crazy for apple cider donuts.  We haven’t gotten around to the annual apple picking family excursion yet, but when we do, while the kids look forward to the hay rides, and general outdoorsy fun, we head right for the donuts.

Knowing that somethings are always going to taste better bought than made, if only because the joy is partially in the apple-picking fun, I still wanted to try making these, if only to see how hard they might be.  Turns out, surprisingly easy.

Perhaps someday we’ll try the fried donut approach, but without a fry-daddy on hand, and not wanting to waste that much oil for a frivolous experiment, I found this baked donut recipe online.  As we were having friends over for dinner, and not wanting to give the kids a donut each, I just filled the Madeline tin instead.  

Oddly enough the one problem with this recipe was that they came out too cake-y and not dense like you’d expect a donut to be.  Accidentally then, it was ideal as a small tea cake.  At least the kids seemed to enjoy them, and sometimes it’s nice to spend no more than half an hour on a project.

Posted in Cake, Cookies, Recipes | Leave a Comment »

Pear-Flan Tart

Posted by osakaben41 on October 5, 2009


If you want to get better at something I suppose you just need to keep working outside your comfort zone.  There are some wonderfully complicated recipes out there and the list keeps getting bigger, but until recently I had avoided Johnny Izzuni for anything other than inspiring pictures.

His website is actually a great resource, as he posts two recipes each month, an “advanced”, and a “beginner”.  The advanced ones invariably involve some obscure form of molecular gastronomy and ingredients I would probably only find at an MIT lab.  The beginner ones are still more involved than anything you’ll find in a Barefoot Contessa book (seriously, who out there has poached a pear Sou vide?) Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in dough, Fruit, Ice Cream, Pastry, Recipes, Tarts | 4 Comments »

Vols-au-vent, DB September Challenge

Posted by osakaben41 on September 27, 2009


Baking Fail

Baking Fail

I’ll admit defeat this month, lick some wounds and gear up for next time.  If you can judge a cafe by its laminated dough, I’m not quitting my day job anytime soon.  But perhaps I should start this story at the beginning.

The September 2009 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Steph of A Whisk and a Spoon. She chose the French treat, Vols-au-Vent based on the Puff Pastry recipe by Michel Richard from the cookbook Baking With Julia by Dorie Greenspan.

In summary, we were to make puff pastry from scratch, shape it into a container, typically a cylinder, which is then filled with a savory or sweet stuffing.  Puff pastry, like any laminated dough consists of layers of butter and dough rolled into thin layers, such that when the butter melts, the steam released puffs up the thin layers of dough, resulting in an ethereal buttery flakiness.  Normally the challenge with this dough is to roll out and fold it as thin as can be without breaking through the layers.  Its a tricky thing, and when done right a wonder of engineering.  But like all things worth doing, all too easy to screw up. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in DB Challenge, dough, Pastry, Recipes, Savory | 5 Comments »

Lemon/Lavender Macarons

Posted by osakaben41 on September 14, 2009

A study in the many ways to ruin a perfectly good cookie

A study in the many ways to ruin a perfectly good cookie

In honor of Lance Armstrong and the LIVESTRONG foundation, WinosandFoodies is hosting another Taste of Yellow challenge.  In short, those of us that are either biking fans, or just care about cancer research, bake something yellow in honor of the man and his cause.  It isn’t in itself a fundraiser so much as a reason to mark the day, and something you’ll come across often in the food blogging world.  If you enjoy seeing just how creative a dedicated army of home bakers can be, go and click through some of the past entries.  Humbling and inspiring work, that I was itching to be a part of.

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Posted in Chocolate, Cookies, Fruit, Lemon, Recipes | 3 Comments »