Pork Cracklins | Peanut Butter Chocolate Whirligigs

Meh. Peanut butter cookies. The only peanut butter-chocolate combo I like is Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

These are über-persnickety cookies, too. The dough is soft an pillowy, not necessarily a bad thing until you try rolling it out, painting chocolate all over it, and then rolling it into a cylinder. I’ve worked with more difficult doughs, but the payoff needs to merit the headache. I don’t think it does. And then, there’s the bake time. There’s a very thin margin of error here for over baking. I checked the cookies at 10 minutes and they still looked a little wet. At 11 minutes, they were done, but after they had cooled, I thought they were a little dry and chalky.

For the recipe and to see how the other Baked Sunday Mornings bakers fared, head over to Baked Sunday Mornings.

Pork Cracklins | Classic Creme Brûlée

There’s not a lot to creme brûlée – it’s just a baked custard, deceptively light (how can something with that’s just cream, egg yolks and sugar be so ethereally light?).

This version stays faithful to to what a creme brûlée should be – nothing fancy, just a substitution of brown sugar for granulated sugar on the top. That simple swap out makes the topping more like a burnt caramel than a crackly barrier of sugar, but it’s still good. It’s easy to burn the brown sugar, though, so care has to be taken not to get the flame too close for too long.

Someone in my household may have eaten one of these for breakfast. No judgement, it’s milk and eggs, right?

For the recipe and to see how the other Baked Sunday Mornings bakers fared, head over to Baked Sunday Mornings.

Pork Cracklins | Lime Angel Food Cake with Lime Glaze

This cake already had one strike against it – it’s a roulade, a sponge cake rolled around a filling.

In this case, it’s a chocolate sponge cake that’s easy to make and pretty easy to handle – no real issues with cracking. The filling is a take on chocolate ganache: chocolate folded with whipped cream and flavored with some mashed banana. The whole cake is wrapped around an entire banana. Oh, and there are some toasted walnuts in there too. There’s a lot going on.

I think this cake looks weird. It tastes okay, though. But given the choice, I’d much rather make a layer cake rather than a roulade.

For the recipe and to see how the other Baked Sunday Mornings bakers fared, head over to Baked Sunday Mornings.

Pork Cracklins | Lime Angel Food Cake with Lime Glaze

The first time I made this cake was during recipe testing for Baked Elements. I loved it then and I still love it.

The downside to angel food cake is the need for egg whites – and a lot of them. But if you like lemon curd or ice cream, this is the perfect opportunity to kill two birds with one stone. My leftover yolks became Meyer lemon curd, although in hindsight, I wish I would have made a lime curd – it would be delicious with this cake.

This cake tastes like a very sweet margarita. I swapped out the tequila in the glaze for mezcal – mainly because that’s what I was drinking when I made it, but also because I don’t particularly like tequila. The mezcal adds just a hint of smokiness, and the crunch of the pistachios is the perfect foil for the light and airy cake.

For the recipe and to see how the other Baked Sunday Mornings bakers fared, head over to Baked Sunday Mornings.

Pork Cracklins | Bale Bars

Initial reports from the other bakers on these bars (which aren’t actually baked) were mixed, so I was skeptical. Plus, they’re a big jumble of peanuts and peanut butter and white chocolate and pretzels. I’m not someone who likes a big jumble of stuff mixed together. And ew, peanuts.

I didn’t expect Larry to like these, either, since he usually doesn’t like peanut flavored desserts. But I made them, and as I was cutting them into squares, we kept snacking on them. They’re addictive. I like them, strangely enough. They’re salty and crunchy in just the right way.

I inadvertently made one modification to the recipe, which I think may have been for the better. I was short a couple of ounces of pretzels, but I still used the full amount of everything else. The recipe didn’t quite fill up a 9×13 pan, but it really wasn’t an issue – they didn’t ooze all over after I propped them up. I ended up with nicely flavored bars that didn’t crumble at all.

For the recipe and to see how the other Baked Sunday Mornings bakers fared, head over to Baked Sunday Mornings.

Pork Cracklins | Simple Chocolate Whiskey Tart with Whiskey Whipped Cream

Holy crap, is this tart good! Shortbread crust (I didn’t bother making my own shortbread, Walker’s was fine), and a ganache filling spiked with booze and held together with some egg and teeny bit of flour.

Not only is it delicious, it’s deadly simple to make, and doesn’t even require a mixer. It’s a great technique recipe and would do well with variations – different cookies in the crust, different types of liquor. Although I like it just as it is.

I’m not sure I could really taste the whiskey in the tart, but I sure do like it in the whipped cream. I’m a Bourbon drinker, so used what I normally drink – Black Maple Hill Bourbon.

The recipe suggests a sprinkling of cocoa powder over the top of the whipped cream. At the last minute, I decided I wanted cinnamon instead… and a smattering of Maldon salt. Perfection.

For the recipe and to see how the other Baked Sunday Mornings bakers fared, head over to Baked Sunday Mornings.

  • Simple Chocolate Whiskey Tart with Whiskey Whipped Cream (Baked Elements, p. 85)
Pork Cracklins | Lemon Lime Champagne Granita

We’re starting out 2014 with Baked Sunday Mornings with an easy… not baked at all, but super refreshing (at least, it is for those of us in temperate climates). And it’s got some bubbly!

I’m not a big Champagne drinker, so having my bubbles in this granita is a perfect way to ring in the new year. The headnote on the recipe says the star of the show is the lemon and lime, and I agree.

I’ve got two lemon trees in my yard – one old Eureka lemon tree that’s nearing the end of its life, and a tiny little Meyer lemon tree that we planted a couple of years ago. Despite its runty size, the Meyer lemon tree is becoming a prolific producer of fruit, so I went with Meyer lemons. In fact, the flavor and aroma of the Meyers is so pronounced that I’m not sure I even detect a hint of lime – although I’m sure it’s doing a great job of balancing flavors and making up for the lack of acidity in the Meyer lemon juice. A little bit of fresh mint adds to the brightness of flavor.

The trick with a granita is to give it lots of attention during the freezing phase. I scraped and stirred and fluffed with a fork every hour for six hours to get a light, shaved ice type of texture. It would be just as delicious without the fuss, just more dense and icy.

For the recipe and to see how the other Baked Sunday Mornings bakers fared, head over to Baked Sunday Mornings.

Pork Cracklins | Chocolate-Chip Orange Panettone

Enriched yeast breads are interesting in theory, but unless they’re covered in caramel and other forms of fat-laden sugar (sticky buns, cinnamon buns, monkey bread), it just never delivers. I don’t know why – bread with copious amounts of butter and eggs should be delicious, right? But there’s something about the texture that always puts me off.

And so there I am with this panettone, the last recipe of the year for Baked Sunday Mornings. It sounds good in theory, especially with chocolate and chocolate chips, but the texture still has that weird thing going on that all enriched breads have. And I decided I’m not crazy about the orange in this bread, either.

That said, it was fun to make, and pretty much trouble-free. I might like it better toasted and slathered with salty butter (then again, I like everything better slathered with salty butter).

For the recipe and to see how the other Baked Sunday Mornings bakers fared, head over to Baked Sunday Mornings.

Pork Cracklins | Velvet Chocolate Walnut Fudge with Olive Oil and Fleur de Sel

I’m with the rest of the group in their feelings about homemade fudge. Most of the time it’s way too sweet, and the texture can be crumbly and grainy.

This version is different. It’s not too sweet at all. The chocolate takes center stage, and a drizzle of olive oil and fleur de del set this version apart even more. Larry likes it best plain. I think next time I’ll sprinkle some Maldon salt over the fudge before it’s set.

It was pretty simple to make, too. I was working on a couple other projects in the kitchen, but still managed to get the fudge made at the same time – cooked sugar and all. The base of the fudge is a homemade marshmallow cream (which also makes a great cupcake frosting), plus there’s some more sugar, a bit of butter, and evaporated milk – all heated up together. Milk and dark chocolates are mixed into the hot sugary soup, and magic! It’s fudge.

I think this would be great with or without nuts, and the nuts could definitely be changed out to whatever you prefer. I kind of want to try pine nuts sometime… that feels right with olive oil.

One more note about the marshmallow cream, which is made with corn syrup. I’ve decided to ban corn syrup from my kitchen, and I haven’t had any issues with my new standard, tapioca syrup. Non-GMO and organic, it’s more expensive and harder to source, but I feel better about using it.

For the recipe and to see how the other Baked Sunday Mornings bakers fared, head over to Baked Sunday Mornings.

  • Velvet Chocolate Walnut Fudge with Olive Oil and Fleur de Sel (Baked Elements, p. 193)
Pork Cracklins | Antique Caramel Cake

I took the easy way out with the cake for this week’s Baked Sunday Mornings, and made it into cupcakes (the recipe will make 20 cupcakes) instead of a two-layer cake. Cupcakes travel to work without a lot of hassle, and with Thanksgiving coming up, we don’t really need extra cake in the house.

This cake is just my style. I’m a sucker for anything caramel, anyway. But the cake isn’t too sweet, and it’s light and moist. The frosting doesn’t have a deep caramel flavor, and the sweetness is cut with some cream cheese. I couldn’t help myself and made salty caramel for the top, but really, it’s just gilding the lily – they’re really good even without the caramel.

For the recipe and to see how the other Baked Sunday Mornings bakers fared, head over to Baked Sunday Mornings.