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Thursday, September 27, 2012


This was a week of repeats on JulieBakes.  Late last week I baked mini cupcakes for a friend's sister's 40th birthday party and she had requested red velvet and s'mores cupcakes.  Then I went home for dinner and my mom asked me to make some cookies - since she wanted to try those chewy dark chocolate cookies with white chocolate chips the last time I made them but didn't get the chance to, I made them this time.  So while it may appear that I haven't been busy here in the JulieBakes kitchen, I have been.....just baking up some repeats...

**of note, when I made the s'mores cupcakes this time, I made the icing using the cream of tartar as it called for.  The icing stayed soft for way longer and had a slightly better consistency.  I strongly recommend NOT leaving out the cream of tartar**

Monday, September 24, 2012

Baked Explorations cookbook

Last month I had stumbled into Williams Sonoma and spent some time in the cookbook section.  There were two that I wanted.  I bought one of them then and there, a Bundt Cake cookbook called Cake Simple, and left the other one to pick up on a rainy day.  Well, a few weeks later I went back and bought it (although it wasn't rainy that day).  See, when flipping through the cookbook in the store weeks before, I saw a Nutella scone recipe that, well, I just knew I was going to have to make.

I have to admit that I actually bought this cookbook a few weeks ago and it sat in the bag for a while.  Then I took it out and flipped through it.  There are so many amazing sounding recipes in there!  I can't wait to make them and share them with you!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

New camera

I've been talking about this for a while.  Maybe not here on the blog, but in "real life" I've been talking about it a lot.  I wanted a DSLR camera. 

It's something I've been saying that I wanted - and probably needed for the blog.  See, most of the pictures I've posted on JulieBakes have been taken on my <<gulp!!>> iPhone.  Yup, you read that correctly!  A few were taken on my regular digital camera but the large majority were taken on my phone.  There's really nothing wrong with that - and I think most of the pictures are fairly decent - but I wanted to elevate the pictures.  Make them a little artistic.  Show you that my talents extend far outside of the kitchen....or at least outside of the kitchen.

So a few weeks age my friend and camera guru WW met me at the camera store, and I finally bought my DSLR camera!  Of course I am too afraid to get it dirty or scratched in the kitchen, so I have yet to photograph any baked goods with my new camera, but that will change soon enough!

Stay tuned and check out some of my future pictures and let me know what you think.  Are the pictures better?

Apple Pizza

The Jewish new year, Rosh Hashanah, is upon us.  Apples and honey are common ingredients in Rosh Hashanah desserts.  Last year, I made an apple challah.  The year before, an apple crisp.  This year, I wanted to make something else.  The challah was actually delicious, but I wanted to make an apple dessert this year; the apple crisp literally weighed a ton, and lugging it from Manhattan to Brooklyn back to Manhattan then on the train to Westchester, and then walking through the train because my car wasn't going to open at my stop was almost as taxing as a workout at the gym.  So I went in search of an apple dessert that was not a cupcake, and came across an apple pizza by John Barricelli on Martha Stewart's page.  I was intrigued.

Of course I didn't have enough counter space to roll it out into the 16x11 rectangle, so I made a smaller but - in my humble opinion - just as cute one.  I think that some cinnamon might be nice on it, too, but since this was the first time I made it, I didn't want to change it too much.

Apple Pizza


Pate Brisee (aka crust)
     2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
     2 teaspoons sugar
     1 teaspoon coarse salt
     1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
     1/4 cup ice water
1/2 cup applesauce (they made their own, I went with no sugar added store bought)
6 granny smith apples, peeled, cored, halved, and cut into 1/8" thick slices
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
5 Tbsp confectioner's sugar, for dusting
1/2 cup apricot jam
(I bet some cinnamon on top would be fantastic, too).


Make Pate Brisee: In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, sugar, and salt.
Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs, about 10 seconds.
With the machine running, add ice water in a slow, steady stream until dough just comes together.  Dough should not be wet or sticky. If dough is too dry and does not hold together, add a little more water.
Turn dough out onto a clean work surface and shape into a flattened disk; wrap with plastic wrap. Chill at least 1 hour before using.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll out pate brisee to a 16-by-11-inch rectangle, trimming if necessary, and transfer to a large baking sheet. Prick dough all over with a fork.
Transfer to refrigerator; chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees with a rack set in the middle.

Pour applesauce onto center of dough; using an offset spatula, spread evenly over dough leaving a 1/2-inch border all around.
Arrange apples on top of applesauce in three tight rows down the length of the dough, using 2 apples per row.
Brush with melted butter and dust heavily with confectioners' sugar.

Bake, rotating the baking sheet two-thirds of the way through the baking time, until golden brown, about 50 minutes.
Transfer to a wire rack.

Meanwhile, heat jam in a small saucepan over low heat until warm; strain through a fine mesh strainer.
Brush jam over warm pizza.
Using a pizza wheel, cut into squares and serve.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Black and white brownie bars

Remember those black and white brownie bars I had made for my friends fundraiser?  The ones that completely fell out of the pan and onto my pants when I tried moving them from the pan to the counter to cool?  In case you don't recall, check this out.  Well, not to be bested by those brownies (or the clean up that ensued afterwards), I made them again.

These are great because it's one batter that you then separate and turn into the white chocolate and chocolate layers.  And it's a white chocolate layer, not a blondie layer, which I like.  And they're sooo good....when they cooperate and cool into a block of brownie instead of pouring onto your jeans and causing you to have to clean your floor, kitchen counter, and run a load of laundry to wash your now brownie-covered jeans, but I digress....

Black and White Brownies Bars


1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups chopped white chocolate or white chocolate chips
3/4 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp salt
2 cups all purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350F.
Line a 9x9" baking pain with aluminum foil and lightly grease.

In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt 1 cup of semisweet chocolate chips.  Microwave in 30 second intervals and stir frequently until it is smooth and all chocolate is melted.
Repeat with 1 cup of white chocolate chips in a second bowl.
Set both bowls aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar. 
Beat in the eggs one at a time, allow each egg to be fully incorporated before adding the next.
Beat in the vanilla, salt, and flour, mixing just until all ingredients are combined and no streaks of flour remain.

Transfer 2 cups of batter to a mediu, mixing bowl. 
Add the melted white chocolate and beat to combine.
Poir into the prepared pan.
Top evenly with remaining 1/2 cup of semisweet chcoolate chips and 1/2 cup of whtie chocolate chips.
Beat melted semisweet chocolate into remaining batter. 
Drop small dollops of chocolate batter on top of the chocolate chip layer, then use a spatula to gently spread the chocolate batter into an even layer.

Bake for 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached.

Allow to cool in pan, then lift the brownies out with the foil and slice into long, thin slices (12 x 3 slices.....or in my case, approximately 1.5x1.5 inch squares).

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Triple chocolate brownies

For my friend's fundraiser, I planned to bake cookies and brownies.  The brownies were black-and-white brownies, which I've made several times before and they always get rave reviews.  But something happened during the brownie baking process.  Brace yourselves people, but.....even "professional" (or wanna-be professional) bakers have a mishap or two in their careers.  This was one of those nights.  The evidence is clear:

The only things missing from the picture are the first-degree burns that my thigh (through my jeans!) and foot sustained when the hot brownies fell on me.

But I still needed brownies.  Without enough semisweet chocolate chips to repeat the recipe, I had to turn to another brownie recipe.  Luckily for me, I have a brownie cookbook.  A quick glance through it, and I stopped at triple chocolate brownies.  I guess that multi-chocolate is my theme for the fundraiser - triple chocolate cookies, dark chocolate cookies with white chocolate chips, and these triple chocolate brownies.

Triple Chocolate Brownies
From the Fat Witch Brownies Cookbook (Makes 12-18 brownies, I got more than than since I cut them smaller)


8 Tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/3 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
3 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup unbleached flour (I used regular all-purpose flour)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 white chocolate chips


Grease a 9x9" baking pain with butter (I used cooking spray). 
Dust with flour and tap out the extra flour. 
Preheat the oven to 350F.

Combine butter, bitttersweet chocolate chips, and 1/4 cup of milk chocolate chips in a small saucepan.
Melt together over low heat, stirring constantly.
Set aside and let cool to room temperature.

In a bowl, beat together the eggs, sugar, and vanilla until smooth.
Add the cooled chocolate mixture.
Continue beating until well blended.

Measure the flour and salt and then sift together (I skipped the sifting part) directly into the chocolate batter.
Mix until well combined and no trace of the dry ingredients remains.
Gently stir in the white chocolate chips and the remaining 1/4 cup of milk chocolate chips.

Spread the batter evenly in the prepared baking pan.
Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with only crumbs - no batter - on it.

Remove from the oven and let cool on a rack for at least 1 hour.
Cut just before serving.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Chocolate chip cookies

We probably all grew up on chocolate chip cookies. And there's a pretty good chance that if you did grow up eating homemade chocolate chip cookies, that they were of the Tollhouse variety.  I'll be honest with you, it's still my go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe.  Great warm out of the oven.  Or even unbaked....raw cookie dough is pretty awesome, if you ask me.

And as good as these cookies are on their own, stay tuned in the near future for a little riff on the "plain old" chocolate chip cookie...

Chocolate Chip Cookies 
(Straight from the Toll House Semi-Sweet Morsels Bag)


2 1/4 cups of flour (all-purpose)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar (granulated sugar)
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups (12 oz package) Toll House semi-sweet chocolate morsels


Preheat oven to 350F.

Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Set aside. 
Beat butter, both sugars, and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. 
Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. 
Gradually beat in flour mixture. 
Stir in morsels.

Drop by tablespoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets (I used parchment paper-lined baking sheets)
Bake for 9-11 minutes or until golden brown
Let cool on baking sheets.

Triple chocolate cookies

Wow, it's been a while since I've posted....I apologize for the lag, but I will more than make up for it soon.

My friend started a non-profit animal rescue and about two weeks ago was one of their fundraisers.  They had a bake sale at the event, and I was honored when he asked me to bake some treats for the event.  I was trying to decide what to bake for the event - it needed to be something hand-held and portable, so that people could walk around during the event eating said treats, but also portable in the sense that I had to get it to the event and that involved a big detour all the way uptown before going downtown to bring the treats.  I thought about mini cupcakes, but lets face it, I've made a ton of those lately.  It was down to cookies and brownies.  Unable to decide, I chose both.  And why stop at one kind of cookie?  So I opted for a few.

When I made those (totally awesome) chewy chocolate cookies with white chocolate chips last month, my friend saw them and asked "Wow - those look fantastic - Can ya make them on the 23rd?"  So that was the first type of cookie that I made.

Then I decided to make "giant double chocolate cookies" except I made smaller triple chocolate cookies.  Because if double chocolate is good, triple chocolate is better.  No, I'm not making that up.  I'm sure someone has proven it in the past.

All three cookies that I made packaged as a gift

Giant Double Triple Chocolate Cookies
Modified from the recipe for Giant Double Chocolate Cookies, which is based on the amazing cookies from Levain Bakery in New York City
The recipe states that it makes 12 very large cookies.  I got a ton of small-medium sized ones.


1 cup (2 sticks) cold, unsalted butter, cubed
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup dark cocoa powder
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp coarse salt
1 tsp baking powder
2 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips and 1 cup of milk chocolate chips.  I actually had dark chocolate chips, too, but decided that the world might not yet be ready for quadruple chocolate cookies....)


Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar. Beat together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Blend in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl as needed.

Mix in the cocoa powder until well blended.
Add the flour, salt and baking powder to the bowl and mix on low speed just until incorporated.
Fold in the chocolate chips with a spatula.
Transfer the dough to a work surface and knead briefly by hand to be sure the ingredients are well combined.

Divide the dough into 4 ounce portions (or divide into 12 equal pieces - I made them much smaller).  Roll each portion of dough into a ball and flatten just slightly into a disc.
Place on the prepared baking sheets, a few inches apart. Bake 16-20 minutes (less for smaller cookies).
Let cool on the baking sheets 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.