RLB Molasses Sugar Butter Cookies

plated these

Since I’m a little late posting this I just snuck a look at Marie’s post on the Alpha Baker’s blog. They look exactly like mine, which almost never happens. I think it’s because there’s less room for error, or artistic expression, depending on your perspective. Especially with this cookie style. Balls of dough enter the oven, cookies exit. Although size matters, as you will see.

sugar toasted

It’s hard to see the color in this picture, but this is toasted sugar. I read about this technique on the Serious Eats blog http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2016/05/dry-toasted-sugar-granulated-caramel-recipe.html at a time when I had 10 pounds of sugar in my pantry, so I had to try it. I thought the toasted flavor would complement these cookies particularly well. Since I haven’t made them with regular granulated sugar I can’t say if there was a difference, but everything worked, and toasted sugar! How cool is that?

butter browning

Browning butter, ho-hum. I have browned butter so often since joining the ranks of the Alpha Bakers it’s no longer a Big Deal, which is nice.

cookie dough

The dough in the bowl is unimpressive, I admit. I was contemplating it thinking about cookie dough ice cream which is never molasses cookie dough ice cream. Maybe it should be? I bet it would go well with cinnamon-flavored ice cream. Anyway, back to the cookies.

getting ready for the ball ready for the ball

The dough was formed into balls and rolled in superfine sugar. The recipe said to use a 1 1/2 inch scoop for the dough, and I had a 1 1/2 inch scoop, or so I thought. I used it to scoop out the dough, but after I had a panful of dough balls I realized I had too much dough left over, and I weighed one. It was too small! I baked the pan of cookies anyway, but they came out hard, not crisp and chewy.

cookie friends
You can see the difference here.
height comparison
And here

In the end it was fine because my husband prefers the hard cookies and I prefer the soft ones. Vive la difference!


RLB Mango Bango Cheesecake

better done in pan

I made this back in March, when my daughter requested a cheesecake for her birthday. After I had made it, she clarified that she wanted the lemon cheesecake I had made from the Baking Bible earlier, so there was a lot of baking going on at my house in March!

I couldn’t get to our local Indian markets that week, so I ordered mango pulp from Amazon:

mango pulp

and assembled ingredients for the sponge cake base:


Which took a little longer than the 20 minutes described in the Baking Bible, but not too much longer, and looked lovely.

cheesecake base

I left it cooling on the counter while I picked up my daughter.

Turns out the dog thought it smelled lovely. At least I think he did, because there was no sign of the cake. After a short hunt I found the parchment paper crumpled up next to the sofa, but nary a crumb of cake remained. <sob>

I didn’t have the energy to make another sponge cake AND this cheesecake, and by the way it was my older daughter’s birthday too, so I was truly in the weeds with this cake-baking endeavor. Off to the store I went for some ladyfingers, which were probably not as flavorful, but I was the only one who knew what we were missing.


I’m getting ahead of myself here. The filling in progress:

cheesecake filling

with some mango:

cake filling

egg whites a-beating, and lightening the batter:

beaten egg whites with some yellow

meringue with mango maybe

folding meringue into mango mixture

mixing egg whites into batter

Here’s the mango cheesecake mixture getting even MORE mango’d with the cooked-down mango pulp.

batter with mango globs

finished cake

We all liked this a lot. Sweet, sweet mango with some lemony tartness set off inย  creamy cheesecake, with a spongy ladyfinger base. Next time though, I will push my spongecake to the very back of the counter so the dog can’t reach it!







RLB Cherry Sweetie Pie

slice of pie

This was the perfect recipe for the season in my part of the world. Cherries are suddenly everywhere. I was excited to bake with them. I got all my crust ingredients cold, and then re-refrigerated and re-froze them to be absolutely, positively sure the bits of butter and cream cheese didn’t have a chance to melt until they were in the oven, but the resulting crust was less than lovely in the pan this time. I’m not sure why it seemed so dry, when I’ve made the recipe more successfully before, but here’s the result:

pie dough in pan

Luckily the cherry filling covered most of the patches, and it tasted just fine after it was baked.

pureed plums
Pureed plums

cherries in pan

Here’s the filling being cooked. Cherries, pureed plums, sugar, lemon zest and vanilla. The plums seemed like an odd addition, but they were a good counterpoint to the cherries, adding a little astringency so the filling wasn’t cloying.

adding lattice

I was putting the lattice on while watching The Unbreakable Kimmie Schmidt with my younger daughter and checking in on the older kid who was working on an end of the year presentation for English. Draw what conclusions you will. ๐Ÿ™‚

whole pie

This is truly a delicious pie. Juicy without being runny, with lots of cherry flavor enhanced by the lemon zest and vanilla, set off by a flaky, savory crust.

RLB Rum Raisin French Toast Royale

holey cinnamon breadcloseup french toast

Neither of these photos does justice to the delightful bread and French toast produced by this recipe. Part of the problem I think is that I didn’t roll the dough tightly enough after I put the filling on. The French toast itself, well if you can think about all that lovely eggy goodness being swirled onto the bread like you see in the photo, and the soft custardy insides of the French toast, maybe then you’ll be able to appreciate it.

One thing that is missing though is raisins. I thought hard about the raisins, because I love raisin bread, and I had the perfect raisins for this bread:

raisins are so wonderful

Big and soft and sticky sweet like raisins should be. But I didn’t want Alan and me to be the only ones eating it, so I made cinnamon swirl bread instead.ย  While I would have preferred cinnamon raisin bread, the raisinless version was excellent too.

dough monster before rising after kneading in kitchen aid

The ingredients mixed together into a rather raggedy dough, but once kneaded

dough on hook

it came together nicely.

dough after kneading

and rolled out well.

bread sticking tongue out

It baked up into a handsome loaf, although I can’t help thinking that dent in the lower middle looks a lot like a tongue…

bread looking normal

But it’s straight-up pretty from this angle. ๐Ÿ™‚ I had to hide the loaf for a few days because the family had a few pieces and wanted to devour it before I had a chance to make French toast.

They cooperated, so a couple of days after I made the bread I sliced it and soaked it in milk, a tiny bit of rum, and some spices:

milk and spices


so we had breakfast for dinner. I was originally thinking we’d eat it it for breakfast, but by the time the high schoolers wake up it’s almost timer for me to eat dinner. Or it feels that way, at least. Whatever the name, and whenever the serving time, it was a popular meal.