Monday, March 27, 2006

Solar Eclipse 2006

I was so sure this was in 2007...I'm glad there is a live webcast from the Exploratorium...

"On March 29, 2006, a total solar eclipse will occur when the new moon moves directly between the sun and the earth. The moon’s shadow will fall on the eastern tip of Brazil, speed eastward across the Atlantic, through northern Africa, across the Mediterranean, and into Turkey, where an Exploratorium team will be waiting."

Teacake Bake Shop

teacake bake shop
Originally uploaded by no_onions.
Have you been to the Teacake Bake Shop? Check out their menu and pictures on Flickr. This place is sooooo good! I am still on SBD, what am I going to do tomorrowwwwwww? Awwwwwww! Hey, wait a minute, I am a baker, I just have to live with the fact that I can't be off sugar. Much better:) Yay! I baked the Walnut-Rosemary Bread request, but it is not looking very promising. Will have to cut and see tomorrow...Good night!
P.S. I just came across this quote from Carl Sandburg - "Nothing happens unless first we dream."

Friday, March 24, 2006

Chocolate Mint Cake and Cupcakes-(vegan shhhhhhh!)

I wanted to bake something vegan for poker night and came across this interesting cake recipe from Fior. Vegan cakes are the hardest, I have failed a couple times before but I am a sucker for mint and chocolate so I had to give this one a chance:) Such a smart decision! It is by far the most compliemented cake I've ever made. It also marked a new height for future baking projects with a tough comparison point...Stressed! Nope, just desserts spelled backwards:)

I followed the exact recipe but used 1 teaspoon of mint extract instead of fresh mint. I was worried if that would be plenty or not enough but it was the right amount.

The only sucky part was, I didn't taste any, because I am on this South Beach diet. I hate diets, I hate dieting and I don't like stupid rules like no fruit or cereal or carrots for two weeks... I am craving chocolate:(

So, I will have to make it again very soon. Actually, Jason and Lane suggested to substitute apple sauce for some of the sugar. Such a good reason to bake a cake! I am very tempted to try it tonight...I will be happy to share some, as this recipe makes 12 cupcakes and a large Bundt cake. Any takers?

P.S. It turns out poker is not my game, but I would pay $5 anytime to hear Goldman's confused statements about Jews and Turks, quite entertaining:)

What would you wish from the Baking Fairy?

I really can't decide what to bake in between thousands of posts I read daily and star for future reference (see my starred items from Google Reader) and the cookbooks I keep accumulating. Even if I manage to decide on something, I can't deal with the delivery of the leftover cookies, cakes, cupcakes and I end up either throwing them away (sorry!) or keep sending them to a black hole somewhere in South Bay.

So, here is my new idea; you will help me decide what to bake and I will post about your recipe and even send you a sample to try. Yes, I will even ship to Turkey. I will collect the requests weekly and then decide on one item and bake it. You can email me @ or even better you be creative and send me an Odeo! Just click on the link below and wish from the Baking Fairy with your sweet voice!

Send Me A Message

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Istanbul: European Capital of Culture

Hell ya!

Three thumbs up: Apple Pie

I was up in Tahoe with about a dozen people last weekend, totally unprepared with nothing even planned to be baked. Soooooooo unacceptable for the Baking Fairy! And of course, the idea of store bought cookies for dessert haunted me all day on the slopes! Goodness! I kept thinking about all the recipes on 101Cookbooks, my favorite blog. I adore Heidi, her writing, her creations, her photos, Wayne... I can easily say I am addicted because I can list all her recipes from my mental blog already. Scary but you have to admit it comes handy on occasions like this:)

Somewhere on the Nevada side, I finally settled on her Apple Pie. Only if I had planned this earlier, I could have brought my precious apple machine, but oh well, peeling, coring and cutting 2 pounds of apples are all very relaxing tasks after 6 hours of skiing, who I am kidding, that part sucked! But in the end, it turned out great even we bought the crust and I didn't have all my tools.

Three thumbs up! Yay!

P.S: It also helped to have a real pro chef in the house and my new Fairy Wand, (thank you all, I do feel VERY appreciated!)

Note to self: Baking is so much fun when there are other people around. I should do something about this soon! *wink *wink:)

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Introducing Wandering in FairyLand!

Nope, not a new cookie brand! I've been looking for a way to add categories to BakingFairy with no luck. I read a few articles and fooled around some different ideas but nothing seemed easier than switching to Typepad -that I can't do! Today, I am happy to report that there is a super easy way of doing it, for small and pretty blogs like mine.

Amit came up with this tool called Labelr and it works like magic! It took me a few minutes to understand and install it. I've done categorizing a few dozen posts already and now you can start Wandering in FairyLand. I highly recommend it! Thanks Amit! His pictures on Flickr are very cool too!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


sedatnisan 029
Originally uploaded by Mochi83.
My cousin got engaged last weekend. I missed it and they missed me, or the engagement cake:) So, happy for them. May you all be happy, merry and at peace for many lives to come!

Monday, March 13, 2006

Not so brightly colored matcha-almond cookies!

I went to a weird party last weekend: Middle Name Pride Party. Ugh? My name is hard to remember as it is, and I didn't want to create any more confusion and simply wrote "Ask me in Turkish!" on my name tag..Yeah, they even had name tags:) I knew these guys Brett and Chad through Eric and was pretty sure that they didn't know anyone Turkish. Opps, I was wrong! In about an hour, this guy came up to me and started blurbing some funny noises...I must had a weird face trying to figure out what was going on and he repeated "orta adin ne?" That is how I met the famous Turk, Orkut!

I promised Chad to bring some "brightly colored" baked goods and thought I could do something matcha, green-tea powder. Well, you can't really see that vibrant green, I know; I learnt my lesson as well. My cookies lost their color when baked, but still, they were quite a hit! Thank you Brett!! It was a rainy Saturday well spent in baking. ( oh, I also baked these chocolate cookies; you can't get possibly get any brighter than M&Ms, right?)

The original recipe is from Grab Your Fork and I added a small twist by sandwiching them with almond-matcha filling. I had Solo Brand almond filling at home and mixed 3 tablespoons with a teaspoon of matcha powder, very simple!

The hardest part, as always, is taking the pictures, so in case you are curious on the number of different angles one can possibly photograph a cookie, feel free to check out the pictures on Flickr!

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Martha's Grapefruit Cookies

I tried Martha's grapefruit cookies for Lane's birthday. They tasted good and very grapefruity to me, but Aaron and Lemon.nut thought they were lemony (duh!) They even went as far as claiming that we, Turks, may be calling lemon as grapefruit, funny kids:) To my surprise, I found this article, I guess they weren't the only ones complaining about the flavor. Apparently, I baked some odd cookies:)

Still, it is well worth trying for something different, you can use orange or lime but not lemon and it sure won't taste lemony!

Grapefruit Sandwich Cookies

Grated zest of 1 ruby red grapefruit, plus 1/4 cup of its juice
1 cup sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large egg yolks

Preheat the oven tp 350 F.
1) In a small bowl combine the grapefruit zest with one tablespoon sugar and set aside.
2) Whisk together the dry ingredients, both flours, baking powder and salt and set aside
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat the butter and the remaining sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy about 2 minutes.
3) Add the egg yolks and beat until combined.
4) Beat in the zest mixture.
5) Add the flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the grapefruit juice.
6) Shape the dough in a disc and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
7) Roll out the disc to 1/8 inch thick and using a cookie cutter, cut out rounds, or stars- up to you.
8) Bake the cookies until the edges are golden, 15-18 minutes.
9) Let the cookies cool before sandwiching them with the filling.

Grapefruit Filling
1 stick butter
2 cups powder sugar
1 tablespoon honey
3 tablespoons ruby red grapefruit juice
1 tablespoon ruby red grapefruit pulp

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat all the ingredients and spread over the cookies.

Dust the cookies with powdered sugar and enjoy! More pics on Flickr!

Friday, March 10, 2006

We Rock!

Pink Slips
Originally uploaded by Rocco Kasby.
I came across this picture on the Flickr Blog and could not resist posting it. Happy belated Women's Day and Happy Friday!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Cardamom Spiced Poached Pears with Ice Cream and Cardamom-Pistachio Cookies

I love the idea of poached fruit desserts with ice-cream, especially after dinner when a cake is too filling and a cookie will not simply not cut it. Having said that, I have such an embarrassing memory from the last time I tried something similar, my pears were hard rock and people were trying to cut the thing as I served them with a fork! Shameful! Let's fast forward to today:)

This time I made up the recipe and was much more careful picking up pears, (we are looking for ripe fruit but not too soft). I redeemed myself big time, as Sera and Andre were there when I first made them and they certainly remember those rocks:)

Here is what you need:

1) 6 ripe pears, Borsh works perfect, try to pick the ones with stems.
2) 2 cups of cranberry-apple juice
3) 5 pods of cardamom
4) 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
5) 1/2 teaspoon of ginger
6) 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
7) Juice of one lemon

Here are the steps:

1) Peel pears and make sure to keep the stems for a pretty after shot:)
2) Cover peeled pears with lemon juice, so they don't get brown.
3) Place pears in a large pot with the cranberry-apple juice and all the spices and vanilla.
4) Poach the pears about 30 minutes under medium heat, until they become soft to touch.
5) Take them on a plate to cool.
6) Fire up the heat to high and continue boiling the juices for the syrup. This takes a long time, and I gave up after the first 30 minutes and microwaved the juice for at least 3 minutes.
7) Plate the dessert as you wish, with ice-cream, frozen yogurt and/or cookies. I had the cardamom cookies on hand and they worked perfect with the cardamom spiced pears.

Marc took the pictures, I love how they came out. It looks way too fancy!


Friday, March 03, 2006

Happy Friday!

Good are friends when need arises;
good is contentment with just what one has;
good is merit when life is at an end,
and good is the abandoning of all suffering.

Dhammapada 331

-going to Tahoe this weekend with my good friends, it is supposed to be really nice up there, so I can't wait, and maybe there will be soooo much snow that we will have to extend our stay...:)

Have a nice weekend!

Oh, one more thing:

I know my template gone wild on the side, but I am dead scared to try to fix it, so calling for help...(you know I bake)

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Cardamom, Pistachios and Dark Chocolate

I love cardamom, can't get enough of it, especially in Indian food, but I was dying to bake with it for sometime since I saw this cookie recipe on Lex Culinaria.

Cardamom, Pistachio and Dark Chocolate...It has my name written all over it...I followed the recipe exactly but added a teaspoon of lemon zest, a trick I learned when I was working at the Crixa Bakery. Take a note: lemon zest brings out the flavor of pistachios...

There is even a mash-up version of these cookies on Chef Girl. She uses the butter cookie recipe from Martha's Baking Book. I will give it a try very soon, but first I have to get the tasting notes from the experts:) Jason and Lane received a batch already and I am taking some over to Cindy and Carrie tonight, so stay tuned for real reviews:)