Sweet Melissa Sunday: Rewind: Perfect Pound Cake

sweetmelissasundaysThis week’s Sweet Melissa Sunday recipe is Ginger Snaps chosen and hosted by Gloria of The Ginger Snap Girl. I’m not a ginger snap (or ginger anything) kinda girl, so I decided to do a rewind! 🙂 I chose the Perfect Pound Cake hosted by Michele of Veggie Num Nums on September 12, 2009.

I pretty much grew up on Sara Lee Butter Pound Cake. I liked eating it cold, straight out of the fridge, plain. I don’t like to add anything because I feel that the cake will be soggy. I’ve tried many times to replicate a Sara Lee Pound Cake, but have never been successful.

Although this isn’t like the Sara Lee one, but this is THE BEST pound cake that I’ve ever made! *Pat my own back* It’s got just the right amount of moistness, and best of all, it doesn’t have that lemon taste to it (which a lot of pound cake recipes have — because they either have lemon zest or lemon juice). This yummy pound cake is sitting safely in our fridge. I can’t wait to try this while it’s cold! 😀

Sweet Melissa Sunday: Chestnut Honey Madeleines

This week’s Sweet Melissa Sunday recipe is Chestnut Honey Madeleines chosen and hosted by ME! (Woohoo~~)

To tell you the truth, I don’t think I deserve to be a host nor to choose a recipe because I haven’t even been a very good MEMBER!! First, I skip 4 weeks of recipes, then I promise to participate all of June, then I got into a car accident and had to skip last week. BUT, I’m back to host this week’s SMS!! 🙂

I chose this week’s recipe because we love madeleines. In fact, we love it so much that I had to buy a pan couple years back, but never went around to using it…:P I was VERY excited to use my pan for the first time and to bake true madeleines for the first time (I’ve used mini cupcake pans in its place before). I really liked this recipe!! I am a true hazelnut fan, and I just love the nutty flavor of this cookie/cake!! 🙂 I only baked 1/2 of a recipe because I only had one pan, but I’m sure I’d be baking more in the future. 😀

I had a little bit of issues with the recipe:
First, I couldn’t locate chestnut honey and I thought I had some clover honey at home, but I found out right before baking that what I had at home was wildflower honey.
Second, I couldn’t locate whole hazelnuts, and could only locate chopped hazelnuts. I still ended up toasting the hazelnuts, but I may have burnt the tiny tiny pieces.
Third, after baking the madeleines for 15 minutes, they turned out a bit browner than I would’ve preferred. I’m not sure if it’s because our pan is a dark pan or if I burnt the hazelnuts (or even the butter).

Despite all the difficulties, I think they still tasted DELICIOUS!! 🙂

Chestnut Honey Madeleines

2/3 cup roasted hazelnuts
1 2/3 cups confectioners’ sugar, plus more for dusting
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
13 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 large egg whites
1 tablespoon chestnut or clover (or wildflower) honey

Before you start:
Using a pastry brush, brush on soft butter and then flour two 12-cup madeleine molds. Refrigerate until ready to use.

1. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, grind the hazelnuts with 2/3 cup of the confectioners’ sugar, pulsing as fine as you can get it, so that it is a semicoarse flour (you should have 1/2 cup hazelnut flour).

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the hazelnut flour, all-purpose flour, and the remaining confectioners’ sugar.

3. In a small heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter until the butter solids at the bottom of the pan turn golden brown. Immediately remove from the heat and strain into a bowl to stop the cooking. Discard the solids.

4. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whip attachment, beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the flour mixture and mix until combined. Add the butter and honey and mix until combined.

5. Spoon the batter into the prepared molds, filling almost at the top. Refrigerate for 2 hours.

6. Position a rack in the top and bottom thirds of your oven. Preheat the oven to 375F.

7. Remove the filled molds from the refrigerator. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. After removing from the oven, immediately tap the pans on your work surface to release the madeleines. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.

To serve, turn the madeleines scallop side up and dust with confectioners’ sugar. They will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 days. For longer storage, refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days, or freeze for up to 3 weeks. Do not uncover before defrosting.

Be sure to check out other bakers’ creations! 🙂

Sweet Melissa Sunday: No SMS This Week

sweetmelissasundaysI know…I know. I said I’d bake all four weeks of June, but I failed. But this time, I have a good reason! I got in a car accident this past Friday (and my plan was to bake during the weekend), so I have nothing for you. Sorry!

However, please check out this week’s recipe…Chocolate Orange Macaroons chosen and hosted by Ellen of Blue Tree Green Heart.
Be sure to also check out other bakers‘ experiences. 🙂

Sweet Melissa Sunday: Pistachio Linzer Thumbprints

sweetmelissasundays See!!…I told you I’d be baking for Sweet Melissa Sunday this week!! And I did!!!…:)

This week’s recipe was chosen Dawn of Growing Up (And Having Fun) After 40 and hosted by Tracey of Tracey’s Culinary Adventures. Thank you Dawn and Tracey for choosing and hosting this week’s recipe. The full recipe can be found on Tracey’s blog here.

This recipe can be done with either Pistachio or Hazelnuts, and I actually bought both. Right before starting, I asked Steven if he’d prefer pistachios or hazelnuts, and he said pistachios (although I would’ve preferred hazelnuts), so we used pistachios (this time).

I made two changes to the recipe…

1. Instead of using preserves/jam as the filling, I used chocolate chips. Everything is better with chocolate…:)
2. I didn’t use lemon zest (or any kind of zest) in our cookies. We just don’t like zest…:P

I refrigerated the dough for a little toooo long (4 hours) so it was a little too firm when I did the thumbprint part of the process. On some of the dough-balls, when I pressed my thumb into the ball of dough, a chunk of hard dough separated from the rest of the ball. The second and third batch was a lot easier as it started to soften.

I also didn’t have enough pistachios to roll all the dough-balls in. I think I had enough for about half of the dough. I’m thinking it’s because I didn’t chop the pistachios fine enough(?).

The balls of dough look a little like fishballs…:)

I think I would decrease (or omit) the amount of cinnamon next time. I’m not sure if I’m too fond of it. I think I like the traditional buttery thumbprints more, I still like the nuts…just not too sure about the cinnamon. After tasting both versions of with and without the exterior nuts, I think I like it without the nuts more…

All in all, this was a good recipe. I think I’ll make it again…probably with hazelnuts and without the cinnamon. 🙂

Be sure to check out the other bakers’ experience with this week’s recipe!!

Maybe I wasn’t meant to be in a cooking club…

First off…let me apologize to all my fellow Sweet Melissa Sunday members and hosts. I’ve failed to participate in the last 4 recipes:

Now, the reason I say “maybe I wasn’t meant to be in a cooking club” is because there’s a lot of things I don’t eat…>_<…therefore…don't make…

Muffins – I don't have a good reason for the Blueberry muffins…other than Steven cringed when I told him that they were orange blueberry muffins. He actually requested blueberry muffins, but he didn’t like the orange idea much, and I didn’t want to alter the recipe TOO MUCH (because some of the members mentioned that this is a DENSE muffin). And I would HATE to make them and have them sit because no one wants to eat them. So, I skipped this recipe.

Bread pudding – I’m anti mushy soggy bread, so bread pudding has never appealed to me (although I’ve never had it). So, I skipped this recipe as well.

Pralines – I never really knew what pralines were, other than they’re related to caramel…and I dislike caramel. I really intended to make these, but then after seeing members’ comments, I found out that I need a candy thermometer (which I don’t have), so I skipped this recipe as well.

Coconut Custard Pie – I HATE coconut, I’m not a BIG fan of custard, and I don’t have enough people at home to eat a whole pie without me. So, I skipped this recipe also.

So that’s that…I’ve failed BIG TIME as a member.

Looking at June’s recipes, it looks like I’ll be interested in making 2 out of 4 of those (I’m hosting one of them). To make up for the last 4 weeks, I will be making something Sweet Melissa-related (most likely a rewind) the other two weeks of June.

Once again, I apologize, but stay tuned! 🙂

Sweet Melissa Sunday: Peanut Butter Truffles

sweetmelissasundaysAfter two weeks of not-really-participating, I’m back!! This week’s recipe is Peanut Butter Truffles chosen by Mara of Love Your Mother Earth. The full recipe can be found here.

This was my first time making truffles, and I was surprised at how easy they were to make. There’s basically four steps…heat…then whisk whisk whisk…wait…then roll roll roll…:)

I brought these to my lovely friend Tony’s Birthday Party, and they were pretty well-loved…I think. Even people who don’t normally eat chocolate/sweets enjoyed them. However, it seems like people would prefer it better if it were slightly sweeter…maybe I’ll make it with semisweet chocolate rather than bittersweet.

At first, I was a little skeptical about the salty peanuts and the chocolate, but the feedback I received was that the salt of the peanuts compliments the bitterness of the chocolate really well. Also, there doesn’t seem to be enough peanut butter because nobody knew there was peanut butter. I don’t know if that was intentional (that there isn’t a strong peanut butter taste), or maybe I used the wrong kind of peanut butter. Everyone loved the smoothness and creaminess of the truffle, but didn’t absolutely adore the taste. Overall, the feedback I received was pretty positive, but there are still improvements I’d make to this recipe.

Remember to check out the Peanut Butter Truffles from other Sweet Melissa Bakers. 🙂

Sweet Melissa Sundays: Chocolate Chip Cookies with Toasted Almonds

sweetmelissasundays I, once again, have cheated because I didn’t make this week’s Sweet Melissa Sunday recipe. This week’s recipe for Sweet Melissa Sunday is actually Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler Pie, which was chosen by Tracey of Tracey’s Culinary Adventures (the recipe can be found here). Since we’re not fans of pie, and I really don’t think we’re ready to make the leap into what looks like red celery, I decided to skip this week’s recipe and traveled back in time to June 14th, 2009 when the recipe was Chocolate Chip Cookies with Toasted Almonds chosen by the Sweet Melissa herself!

I’ve baked chocolate chip cookies way too many times, but have always used walnuts/pecans as the nut-of-choice. It is sooo good with toasted almonds!! I love Haagen Dazs’ Vanilla Swiss Almond Ice Cream, and I love chocolate covered almonds; I don’t know why it never occurred to me that almonds in chocolate chip cookies would work wonders!!

I’m glad that I went back before my time and baked this today!! It is the best Chocolate Chip Cookie I’ve made and had!! I can’t wait till I make more of this!!

Update: These cookies are definitely consume-same-day cookies. Once the next day rolled around, they were stale (REALLY hard and REALLY chewy).

Sweet Melissa Sundays: Snickerdoodles

sweetmelissasundaysI know I know…it’s not Sunday, nor was this week’s selection Snickerdoodles. This Sweet Melissa Sunday’s selection of Sweet Potato Bread with Cinnamon-Rum-Orange Glaze was hosted by Lorelei of Mermaid Sweets. Since we’re not big fans of quick breads, I skipped this recipe and made something before MY Sweet Melissa Sunday days — the August 9, 2009 selection of Snickerdoodles which was hosted by Spike of Spike Bakes — the recipe can be found here.

It was our friend Henry’s birthday BBQ on Saturday, so I baked him two kinds of cookies — this was one of them. 🙂 They seemed to be pretty well-liked. I’ve been known to be critical of my own food, so here goes. I feel that it wasn’t buttery enough. I’ve had snickerdoodles where I just taste a full-on cinnamon-sugar-buttery goodness. I’ve never been able to achieve that baking Snickerdoodles at home.

I need to find a way to increase the butter flavor in this, but I have to admit, this is the best Snickerdoodle I’ve baked!! 🙂

Sweet Melissa Sundays: Chocolate Malted Cupcakes

sweetmelissasundaysThis week’s recipe is chosen by Nicole of Sweet Tooth. I have to say Thank You to Nicole for choosing this yummy recipe. This was the best chocolate cake recipe, ever! I served it to a couple of friends and they absolutely loved it!! Steven’s momma had one without the whipped cream and already LOVED it!!…she loved it even more with the whipped cream.


I made a couple changes to the recipe…
1. I made cupcakes and baked them for 18 minutes.
2. I made a Horlicks whipped cream topping in place of the chocolate malted frosting.
3. I use Maltesers in place of Whoppers.

I made 18 cupcakes with half of the recipe, then I frosted it with a Horlicks Whipped Cream, and finished it off with one Malteser per cupcake.

Horlicks Whipped Cream (adapted from the Chocolate Whipped Cream recipe of Joy of Baking)
(Enough for 10 cupcakes)

1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
2 Tbsp Sugar
2 Tbsp Horlicks
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract

1. Stir together all ingredients in a small bowl, cover and place in refrigerator for 1 hour.
2. Whip ingredients on high until stiff peaks form.


Sadly, the whipped cream didn’t have enough malt flavor. When I make the whipped cream for the remaining eight, I am going to put more Horlicks to try and up the malt flavor.