Baking History

A Taste For The Past

Archive for July, 2007

The Foodie Blogroll

Posted by bakinghistory on July 26, 2007

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Cocoa Buns

Posted by bakinghistory on July 25, 2007


In these breakfast treats the flavor of cocoa is nicely enhanced by a touch of cinnamon and their light texture well paired with a thin, crunchy layer of frosting

From the original recipe by M.E. Robinson

In “Chocolate and Cocoa Recipes” 1909–USA


2 tbsp (28 g) butter

1/3 cup (65 g) sugar

1 egg

1 cup (237 ml) whole milk, scalded

1/2 tbsp (6 g) active dry yeast

1/2 cup (118 ml) warm water

1 tsp (2.3 g) cinnamon

1/2 cup (45 g) cocoa

1/4 tsp (1.5 g)salt

3-1/2 to 4 cups (480-550 g) bread flour

1/2 (70 g) cup currants

For the icing

1/2 cup (60 g) confectioners’ sugar

1 egg white

Scald the milk and dissolve in it the sugar (keep 1 pinch of sugar), salt and butter, then set aside to cool. When lukewarm add the well beaten egg.

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water with 1 pinch of sugar and set aside.

Sift the flour with the cocoa (start with 3-1/2 cups-480 g flour, adding the remaining flour if needed) and the cinnamon in the bowl of a stand mixer, pour the yeast water over the flour and then the milk mixture. Knead using the dough hook attachment at low speed, the dough should be very soft and barely tacky–add more flour as needed. If using the currants, add them by hand after the dough is ready.

Let the dough raise, covered, in a lightly oiled bowl, until doubled.

Preheat the oven to 350F (180C).

Lightly grease 2 large baking sheets, shape the raised dough into small balls about the size of an apricot. Place the balls onto the baking sheets, and let raise for about 30 minutes, or until doubled and light. Bake for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile make the icing mixing the confectioners’ sugar with enough egg white to make a thin icing. As soon as the buns are ready, lightly brush their top with icing, then let them cool on a rack.

Posted in Chocolate, Yeasted Cakes, Kuchen, Coffee Cakes | 4 Comments »

Chocolate Cake with Fudge Frosting

Posted by bakinghistory on July 23, 2007


A moist, tender cake with a luscious chocolate fudge frosting

From the original recipes by:

Maria Parloa in “Chocolate and Cocoa Recipes” 1909–USA

Maria Willett Howard in “Lowney’s Cook Book” 1912–USA


For the Cake

1 cup (227 g) butter

2 cups (400 g) sugar

2 oz. (60 g) unsweetened chocolate, melted

4 eggs

1 cup (237 ml) milk

3 cups (375 g) flour

2 tsp (9 g) baking powder

1 pinch salt

2 tsp (10 ml) pure vanilla extract (or vanilla paste)

For the Fudge Frosting

4 tbsp (60 g) butter

4 squares (4 oz.–112 g) unsweetened chocolate

2 cups (400 g) sugar

2/3 cup (160 ml) milk

2 tsp (10 ml) pure vanilla extract (or vanilla paste)

For the White Icing

2 tbsp (15 g ) confectioners’ sugar + 2 tsp (10 ml) hot water

Make the cake:
Preheat the oven at 350° F (180° C), grease 3 round 8-inch (20 cm) cake pans, then line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment paper. Beat butter to a cream and add sugar gradually, then add the melted chocolate and mix well. The mixture should be creamy and light in color. Add the unbeaten eggs and mix well. The mixture might look curdled. Sift the flour with the baking powder and salt, than gradually add the flour to the butter mixture, alternating with the milk, and letting the flour fall through a fine sieve into the butter mixture and beating until incorporated. The final mixture should look creamy and smooth again, and very light. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for about 35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pans, placed on racks, for about 10 minutes, then take the cakes out of the pans, peeling off parchment from the bottom, and let them finish cooling on racks.

Make the Fudge Frosting:
Scald the milk, then pour it over the chocolate and stir until melted. Add the sugar, mix well, then cook for 6 minutes. Add the butter and cook for 6 minutes more. Take off the heat and stir in the vanilla. Beat the mixture until thick enough to spread.

Make the white icing, mixing confectioners’ sugar and hot water to make it rather thin.

Assemble the cake:

Spread one of the cakes with a layer of fudge frosting, then cover with a second cake layer and spread again with frosting. Place the third cake on top and cover both top and sides with fudge frosting. Immediately drizzle the white icing in a decorative pattern on the top and sides of the cake. The frosting will stay glossy and shiny. Refrigerate the cake in a container with a lid that does not come directly in contact with the cake top.

Posted in American Cooking, Cakes, Chocolate | 17 Comments »

Pignoli Tart (Torta coi pinoli)

Posted by bakinghistory on July 16, 2007


A crisp pastry shell with a creamy semolina filling speckled with crunchy pine nuts

From the original recipe by Pellegrino Artusi

In “La Scienza in Cucina e l’Arte di Mangiar Bene” 1891–Italy


For the pastry (Pasta frolla)

1-1/2 cup (200 g) flour

1 stick (100 g) unsalted butter
1/2 cup (100 g) sugar

1 large egg

1/2 tbsp (7.5 ml) white wine–or as needed

1 yolk to glaze and confectioners’ sugar to decorate

For the Filling

1/2 cup (100 g) medium semolina

1/3 cup (65 g) sugar

2 cups (500 ml whole milk

1/2 cup (50 g) pine nuts

1/2 tbsp (10 g) butter

2 eggs

1 pinch salt

1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) pure vanilla extract (or better, vanilla paste)

Preheat the oven to 375° F (190°C)

Make the pastry: Place flour and butter (cut into small dice) in the bowl of a food processor and pulse briefly until the mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs. Add salt, sugar and pulse briefly again, then add the egg well beaten and pulse to incorporate. Add a little wine, as needed, with the machine running, until the dough just comes together. It is important not to overwork the dough. Gather the pastry in a piece of wax paper and refrigerate.

Make the filling : Chop the pine nuts with a sharp knife–they should be the size of rice kernels. Do not use a machine to do this or the pine nuts will be ground too fine. Bring the milk (with a pinch of salt) to a boil and then add the semolina little by little, stirring to eliminate lumps. Cook the semolina on low heat for about 5-6 minutes–the mixture will be stiff and smooth. Stir continuously to avoid scorching. Take off the heat and add sugar and other ingredients except eggs. Set aside to cool. When the semolina is lukewarm add the eggs, well beaten, stirring vigorously to incorporate well, until the mixture is again smooth and creamy.

Assemble the tart: On a lightly floured surface roll 2/3 of the pastry (leave the rest in the refrigerator) to an 11-inch round 1/8-inch (3 mm) thick and line a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom with the pastry, pressing gently with your fingertips to cover sides and bottom of the pan.

Roll the remaining portion of pastry in an 11-inch square and cut into strips about 1/4-inch (0.5 cm) thick.

Pour the filling into the prepared pastry shell smoothing the surface with the back of a spoon. Make a lattice on top with the prepared strips. Brush the strips with yolk and bake the tart for about 1 hour.pinolitart2.jpg

The tart filling will be golden and raised, but will fall as the tart cools. Take the tart out of the pan and let cool on a rack.

Sift confectioners’ sugar on the tart once cold. pinolitart3.jpg



Posted in Italian Cuisine, Italy, Pies & Tarts | 6 Comments »

Apple Bread

Posted by bakinghistory on July 14, 2007


Flavorful apples give this bread a pleasant sweetness with slightly tart overtones and a subtle fragrance. Perfect paired with sharp cheese but also good on its own or with jam and butter.

“Bread with Fruit” is the theme for bbd#2 proposed by Becke of Columbus Foodie


Here is the roundup for bbd #02

From the original recipe by Jane Cunningham Croly

In “Jennie June’s American Cookery Book” 1870–USA


1-3/4 cups (425 g) cooked and mashed apples (about 4-5 apples –I used 2 Granny Smith and 3 McIntosh apples + 1-1/2 tbsp sugar –or to taste)

5-1/2 cups (750g) Bread four + extra as needed

2 tsp (8 g) active dry yeast dissolved in 1 tbsp (15 ml) warm water

1/2 tbsp (9 g) salt

Make the Apple puree: peel the apples and cut in chunks, place them in a heavy saucepan with 1 tbsp water (I used an enameled cast iron dutch oven); cook, covered, on low heat until tender–stirring once in a while. When the apples are cooked through and very soft process them in blender or food processor (or an immersion blender works great as well). Add sugar to taste and blend well.

Set the apple puree aside to cool, then stir 1 tsp of lukewarm apple puree into 1 tbsp of warm water, dissolve the yeast in this mixture and let stand for 5 minutes, until foamy. Place the remaining apple puree in the bowl (of a stand mixer) and when the yeast has proofed add it to the applesauce, then add the flour and knead (with the dough hook attachment at the lowest speed if using a stand mixer) until the dough forms a shaggy mass. Cover the bowl and let the dough rest for 15 minutes, then add the salt and finish kneading, on low speed, until the dough is well developed, smooth and supple. It should be soft and slightly tacky, but not sticky and wet. If too wet, add a bit more flour, 1 tbsp at a time, if needed.

Let the dough rise, covered, in a lightly oiled bowl, until doubled in bulk. Shape the raised dough, sprinkle a peel with fine semolina, place the shaped bread on it and sprinkle the bread surface with a little flour. Cover and let rise until doubled and very light. Slash the top with a sharp blade.

Preheat the oven to 450°F and bake the bread for about 45 minutes. Let the bread cool in the oven for 15 minutes leaving the door slightly open, then place the bread on a rack to finish cooling.

This bread won’t taste like much when still warm from the oven–serve it only when it is thoroughly cold.

Posted in American Cooking, Blog Events, Fruit, Yeasted Breads | 5 Comments »

Bangor Brownies

Posted by bakinghistory on July 12, 2007


Fudgy, moist, chocolaty, and full of walnuts.

From the original recipe by Maria Willett Howard

In “Lowney’s Cook Book” 1912–USA


1/4 cup (57 g) butter (room temperature)

3/4 cup (95 g) flour

1 cup (200 g) brown sugar

1 egg (room temperature)

3 squares (90 g) unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled

1 cup (120 g) shelled walnuts pieces

1/4 tsp (1.5 g) salt

Cream the butter, add gradually the brown sugar, add the egg and beat until well incorporated, then add the melted chocolate. Stir in the flour sifted with the salt and finally fold in the walnut pieces.

Place the batter into an 8×8-inch (20×20 cm) square pan lined with aluminum foil (cut the foil large enough to overhang from the sides of the pan) smoothing it with the back of a spoon and bake in a preheated oven (325°F-165°C) for about 25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out slightly moist. It is important not to over bake them.

Use the foil to take the cooked brownie out of the pan and transfer on a rack to cool. When cold cut the brownie into 9 squares and peel off the foil.

Posted in American Cooking, Chocolate, Cookies, Bars, & Biscotti | 5 Comments »

New England Corn Cake

Posted by bakinghistory on July 12, 2007


A yeasted corn bread with a crisp, golden crust and a creamy, soft interior.

Blog-Event XXV- American Cooking

From the original recipe by Fannie L. Gillette

In “The White House Cook Book” 1887–USA


1 quart (948 ml) whole milk

2 cups (300 g) stone ground yellow corn meal (whole grain)

1 cup (140 g) bread flour

1-1/2 tsp (6 g) active dry yeast dissolved in 1 tbsp warm water

1 tsp (6 g) salt

2 tbsp (30 g) butter, melted and cooled

2 eggs

1/2 tsp (2.3 g) baking soda dissolved in 1 tbsp (15 ml) warm water

Mix corn meal and bread flour in a large bowl. Scald the milk then pour it over the flours and mix well, taking care to eliminate lumps. Set aside to cool and when lukewarm add the melted butter and the yeast dissolved in 1 tbsp of warm water. Cover the bowl and set aside for 2-3 hours, until the mixture is light and bubbly.necorncakethumb.jpg

Preheat the oven to 450° F (230° C). 350°F (180°C)

Beat the eggs until light and foamy, add salt and baking soda dissolved in 1 tbsp of water, then pour into the cornmeal mixture. Beat until eggs are well incorporated then pour the batter (it will still be relatively loose) into a lightly greased 10-inch (28 cm) cake pan (I used a cast iron pan), let stand, covered, for 15 minutes then bake for 30-35 minutes, until golden brown. (A few minutes before the end of the baking time increase the oven temperature to 450°F (230°C) in order to get a nice golden crust.

Serve hot from the oven.

Note. The first time I tried to make this recipe I thought it would never work: there seemed to be too much liquid and the cornmeal sank to the bottom of the bowl in a loose mass. But after the yeast was added and left to ferment for a while, the mixture turned light and relatively cohesive. Well beaten eggs and a hot oven did the rest. This corn bread turns out perfect every time.

Posted in Blog Events, Corn Bread, Regional American Food, Yeasted Breads | 7 Comments »

Vanilla Wafers

Posted by bakinghistory on July 6, 2007


These are plain, very thin, crisp and crunchy, and well flavored with pure vanilla. Equally good with tea or a glass of chocolate milk.


From the original recipe by Mrs. B. M. Nichols

In “The Woman Suffrage Cook Book” (edited by Mrs. Hattie A. Burr) c. 1886–USA



1 cup (200 g) sugar

2/3 cup (170 g) butter

4 tbsp (60 ml) milk

1 egg

1 tsp (3 g) cream of tartar

1/2 tsp (2.3 g) baking soda

1 pinch salt

1 tbsp (15 ml) pure vanilla extract (or better, vanilla paste)

5 cups (600 g) flour (or as needed)

The original instructions do not specify the exact amount of flour, they just say to add enough flour to roll the dough very thin. Begin by adding 4 cups (454 g) of flour and then add as much as needed to make a supple dough that is easy to roll. Adding too little flour will make the dough too soft and sticky, adding too much will make it dry and brittle–in both cases it will be very difficult to roll. If you realize you added too much flour, add some more milk (1 tbsp at a time), until the dough is again supple and easy to handle.

Preheat the oven at 350°F (180°C).

Cream the butter, then add the sugar and mix well. Add the egg and beat until well incorporated, then add the milk and vanilla and mix well. Sift 4 cups of flour with the salt, the cream of tartar and the baking soda, and add these to the butter mixture. Mix well and then add enough extra flour until the dough holds together and is firm and supple, easy to roll.

On a very lightly floured surface roll the dough very thin (1/8 inch–3 mm), and cut with a cookie cutter. Using a thin metal spatula transfer the cookies to a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and bake for about 10-12 minutes, until lightly golden. Transfer the cookies on a rack to cool–they will be soft just out of the oven but will become crisp as they cool. Keep in an airtight container.


Posted in Cookies, Bars, & Biscotti | 2 Comments »