Baking Like Blanche Dubois

May 4, 2008

DIET, DESSERT AND DOGS has moved! 

If you’re reading this page, you’ve landed on the old site.  Please visit the new location by clicking here–and don’t forget to update your readers and blogrolls!

As always, thanks for reading.  I look forward to seeing you at the shiny new Diet, Dessert and Dogs!

“Um, Mum, we are coming with you, aren’t we? Because (and sorry to have to tell you this), we actually have more fans than you do on this blog.”]  

When I was organizing my photos this weekend, I came across a fair number that I’ve never used in blog posts. Not sure why; maybe it’s that my (relatively new) blog-related compulsion to photograph virtually every dish I cook, bake, or eat has produced a backlog.  It also struck me that I’ve always depended on the kindness of strangers  to provide inspiration, unique recipes, or novel combinations of ingredients that often direct me in my cooking and baking exploits. And what better way to acknowledge their inspiration than to showcase some of these photos–and their recipes–here?

Since I began my “Total Health” kick just over a week ago, I’ve steered clear of most sweets, including my greatest desire, chocolate. I have to admit that the restriction feels a tad less torturous this time than during the WOCA, when I would have hopped on the nearest streetcar named “Chocolate” and happily gone wherever it took me. Well, as it turns out, most of my photos depict desserts–how perfect for a sultry Sunday evening!  So here are some of the lost treasures that have been baked in the DDD household over the past few months:

These chocolate-cranberry biscotti, adapted from a recipe in Patricia Greenberg’s Whole Soy Cookbook, were my first attempt at these crisp coffee-dunkers. I wish I’d read Romina’s post about her own version before I made these, as I definitely baked them too long. While visually appealing, they were probably more useful as paperweights or doorstops than cookies.  After a long soak in a hot tub cup of tea or coffee, though, they were just fine.

Next up were Vegan Magic Cookie Bars from Susan’s blog. When I was a kid, we called these “Hello Dollies” in our house (Why “Dolly?”  No idea.). Susan warns that these are definitely not fat-free.  Having said that, they were gooey, rich, and deliciously decadent. I had to give the rest away or I would have consumed them all.

These speckled darlings are Lemon-Zucchini Poppyseed Muffins adapted from one of my favorite cookbooks, Laura Matthias’s Extraveganza. With a tender, ethereal lightness, these muffins seemed almost too fragile for this world. Didn’t stop us from eating them, of course.

These gorgeous, golden beauties are Sweet Potato and Cranberry Scones, a test recipe for Anne-Kristin at Swell Vegan.  I adored these–juicy with tart cranberries, a base that’s satisfying, lightly spiced and not too sweet, with the expected heft you’d get from a conventional biscuit.  The HH and I thoroughly enjoyed these for breakfast (oh, and a few snacks). 

Another recipe courtesy of a fellow blogger: this Raw Carrot Cake and Cashew Cheeze Frosting hails from Lindsay over at Day to Day Vegan.  I’d been wanting to try this cake ever since Valentine’s Day, when we both participated in the Vegetable Love contest! My version came out a bit softer than Lindsay’s, so I just popped it in the freezer for about 20 minutes before unmolding and frosting.  Raw, with a mysterious magnetism. . .  This was yummy!

Finally, here’s a photo of the Double Chocolate Fudge Brownies from Ellen Abraham’s amazing cookbook, Simple Treats.  These are, quite simply, one of the best brownies I’ve ever baked or eaten.  See those chocolate chips gleaming in the sunlight?  These are so good, I have to show them again.  From another angle: 

Everyone I’ve ever served these to has flipped over them.  Aren’t they just stellar??  In fact, they might make you want to rush from the apartment, down the fire escape to the sidewalk below, and bellow at the top of your lungs, “STELLA-R! HEY, STELLA-RRRRRRR!!!!!!”

(Well, you just knew that’s where I was going with this one, didn’t you?).

Thanks to all my baking muses! Now, back to reading more blogs for new ideas. . . 

14 Responses to “Baking Like Blanche Dubois”

  1. Romina Says:

    I think I might go into sugar shock!! Look at all these yummy sweets!

    I’m sorry about the biscotti. I never understood why so many recipes say to bake them for so long!! They get hard after baking anyway. So I stopped following recipes. =)

    Mmm… I love hello dollies! I’ve had that recipe on my “to do” list for so so long!

  2. LisaRene Says:

    Wow, you have been baking up some delicious desserts. Amazing assortment of yumminess! The raw carrot cake and the scones really have my attention!

  3. Johanna Says:

    what a fine and mouthwatering collection of photos! I was curious about the brownies and loved the brightness of those scones

  4. Celine Says:

    mmm…a streetcar named chocolate.

  5. VeggieGirl Says:

    so glad that you found/posted these photographs!! the biscotti, magic cookie bars, scones, muffins, AND brownies look sensational!!

  6. Deb Schiff Says:

    Fantastic! Makes me want to go make some carob brownies right now!

    I liked your meme from yesterday, too. Reminded me that I have to review a book I didn’t particularly like. Ugh.

  7. Lysy Says:

    Oh my goodness – I just made it over here and was greeted with a collection of the most mouth-watering photos I’ve ever seen! I’m adding those brownies and lemony muffins to my ‘to-bake’ list right away!

  8. Kristen Says:

    Oh seriously… you are killing me! Everything looks sooooo good.

  9. holler Says:

    Can I have the recipe for those brownies if you still have it? I couldn’t find it through the link!🙂
    tinnedtomatoes@googlemail.com

  10. Ricki Says:

    Romina,

    I usually go with my instincts with recipes, too, but in this case, I’d never made biscotti before, so I assumed the recipe would steer me in the right direction! Next time, I’ll follow your advice!

    LisaRene,
    I hadn’t realized how much baking there had been until I saw all the photos. . . I’m waiting for the Swell Vegan to publish her e-zine so I can have the “official” scone recipe!

    Johanna,
    The brownies really are tremendous. If you don’t already have the cookbook, I’d definitely recommend buying it (though I should warn you, she uses barley flour in virtually everything!).

    Celine,
    Okay, so it was cheesy (“chocolatey”?), but how could I NOT include that reference? (And besides, anything chocolate works for me. . .).

    VeggieGirl,
    Thanks so much! Somehow I figured a fellow baker would appreciate all that sweetness!🙂

    Deb,
    Sorry about the book review (no fun). But carob brownies sound terrific–I’d be curious to see how the Simple Treats recipe came out with a carob version.

    Lysy,
    Thanks so much for visiting, and for your comment! I hopped on over to your blog and was enchanted by your stories and photos. Will visit again!

    Kristen,
    Thanks for your comment and for visiting the blog! Glad you liked everything!🙂

    holler,
    Thanks for asking. It’s from Ellen Abraham’s Simple Treats. Apart from copyright issues (it’s actually legal to copy up to 10% of a book, which would certainly include one recipe), I’m always reluctant to publish recipes on the net without the author’s permission (or a direct link–which doesn’t seem to exist for this one). The book is fairly inexpensive (about $10 US) and well worth buying. I guess I should have clarified that the recipe was in the book, not on my blog!🙂

  11. Johanna Says:

    just checked the link to sweet treats and it went to the raw carrot cake rather than the book – now I want to make the carrot cake too!

  12. Ricki Says:

    Thanks, Johanna. I’ve just fixed the link!🙂

  13. veganhomemade Says:

    For being a baking backlog, those are some really nice pictures. The brownies in particular look amazing.

  14. Vegan_Noodle Says:

    Oh my goodness, look at all those amazing baked goods!!


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