I need new baking ideas

chi83December 2, 2011

Hi everyone,

I bake every Friday for my coworkers. They love it but I'm starting to run out of ideas. Cookies, cupcakes and brownies are nice but I'm looking for something a little more special or elaborate as I use this opportunity to work on my baking skills. I have ambitions to own a bakery someday. :)

The biggest hits so far have been Ann's cream cheese danish with raspberry preserves, individual chocolate tarts filled with peanut butter custard and apple dumplings.

The only limitations are that it needs to be made the night before and hold okay until the next day (with refrigeration of course), and it needs to be able to stay out in room temperature for several hours.

Other than that, as long as it's tasty, I am all ears! I would be very grateful to anyone who has additional ideas for me. I have every sort of kitchen gadget, extract, tool that you could imagine and I'm not afraid of difficulty. I am just looking for things that are unique, tasty and not found at a regular bake sale unless it's truly spectacular.

I trust the recommendations of this forum so I'm hoping you can help me.


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Pumpkin pie?



Here is a link that might be useful: Pumpkin Pie

    Bookmark   December 2, 2011 at 5:42PM
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How about a big coffee cake? The directions may seem a little different than usual but it comes out just fine.


3/4 cup chopped pecans
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened (1/2 stick)
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened (1 1/2 sticks)
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbs. vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
4 cups flour
1 pint (2 cups) sour cream

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 10 inch tube pan. Line bottom with waxed paper. Grease paper.

Stir streusel ingredients with a fork until well blended and made into crumbs.

Cake: In a large bowl, with electric mixer on high speed, beat sugar, butter, baking powder, baking soda, and salt for 5 minutes or until pale and fluffy. With mixer on medium speed, beat in vanilla, then eggs, one at a time, until blended. Stir in the cranberries, then alternately stir in flour and sour cream in 3 additions until blended.

Pour 5 cups of batter into prepared pan; smooth top. Scatter 3/4 cup streusel over the batter, leaving a 1/2 inch wide border around edge and center hole of pan uncovered. Repeat layers with remaining batter and streusel.

Put a piece of foil over the top of cake pan but leave edges loose so air can circulate under it. Bake for 1/2 hour, then remove foil. Bake an additional 1/2 hour or until top is golden and a pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. If it starts to get too brown but center of cake is not done, put the foil back on.

Let cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Run knife around edges and tube; invert cake onto rack. Remove waxed paper and place right side up on serving plate. Serves 18-20.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2011 at 6:13PM
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beachlily z9a

This recipe is from a lady who no longer posts here. I've had marriage proposals when I served this. We are all married, so what was up with that???? The recipe is super rich, but oh so wonderful!


16 ounces high quality semi-sweet chocolate, chopped and divided
7.5 ounces butter cut into pieces and divided
5 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1.5 teaspoons real vanilla extract
One quarter teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoons water
One quarter cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Position rack in the middle of the oven and heat oven to 300 degrees. Lightly butter the bottom of a 9x2" round cake pan and line it with a piece of parchment paper cut to fit. Lightly butter the parchment paper and dust it with a little cocoa powder, tapping out and discarding the excess. Melt 12 ounces of the chocolate with 6 ounces (three-quarters of a cup) of the butter over low heat while stirring with a rubber spatula until smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine eggs, sugar, vanilla, salt and water. Beat on medium high until the mixture is very foamy, pale in color, and doubled in volume (about 2 minutes). Reduce speed to low and gradually pour in the chocolate then increase the speed to medium high and continue beating for 30 seconds. Add the cocoa powder and mix on low to medium low just until blended, another 30 seconds. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a pick inserted in the center comes out looking wet with small gooey clumps, 40 to 45 minutes. Do not overcook; tort will look soft and not set. Let cool in the pan on a rack for 30 minutes. If necessary, gently push the edges down to form an even layer. Run a small, thin knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the cake. Cover with a cake plate and invert. Cover and refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight.

Melt remaining 4 ounces of chocolate with remaining 1.5 ounces (3 tablespoons) butter over low heat, stirring until smooth. Spread the glaze evenly over the cold torte to within a quarter inch of the edge. Refrigerate until glaze is set, 30 to 40 minutes. To serve, remove torte from refrigerator for 30 minutes. Cut into 12 servings using a hot knife (dip knife in very hot water and dry).

    Bookmark   December 2, 2011 at 6:15PM
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Cream Puffs?

I just use the recipes from Joy of Cooking for the pastry and pastry cream. My favorite is to use 1/2 pastry cream and 1/2 whipped heavy cream for the filling. Put the top back on and drizzle with chocolate sauce.


    Bookmark   December 2, 2011 at 6:27PM
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Oh, without doubt, cheesecake! The most basic versions are wonderful, and there's no end to fancies you can add. The best I've ever made (and I've made a lot) is the Brownie Mosaic Cheesecake from Smitten Kitchen.

Here is a link that might be useful: Brownie Moasic Cheesecake

    Bookmark   December 2, 2011 at 6:51PM
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I've made King Arthur Flour's Harvest Apple Challah a few times. It's always a big hit. It's not too sweet, but could be served in place of a coffee cake.

Here is a link that might be useful: KAF Harvest Apple Challah

    Bookmark   December 2, 2011 at 7:04PM
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I only make this if I can find organic clementines (and they are in season now), but it is the most scrumptious, moist, fragrant, lovely cake ever. Just be certain to use almonds that are fairly finely ground.

Here is a link that might be useful: Nigella's Clementine Cake

    Bookmark   December 2, 2011 at 7:13PM
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I took these coconut bon-bon bars to work a couple of months ago, and everyone raved over them.

The hardest thing for me was to find the Betty Crocker cookie mix in the flavor that the recipe called for. I tried 3 stores and of course it was at the 3rd one!


Here is a link that might be useful: Coconut bon-bon bars

    Bookmark   December 2, 2011 at 10:06PM
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Thanks everyone. Lots of great ideas here! I appreciate the T&T feedback.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2011 at 10:10PM
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How about Biscotti ???
They are very easy to make.
The same dough can be used for Pizzelles.
Just make it a little thinner.

I have recipes for the Pizzelles and Cinnamon Buns.

Lou�s Biscotti

Preheat Oven to 325 Deg.

3 X Large eggs
1 1/3 cups Sugar
3 Tablespoons of Oil
1/2 cup ( I stick ) of Butter ( Softened - nuked ) not hot.
3/4 teaspoon of Anise Oil or 4 teaspoons Anise Flavor
1/3 teaspoon Salt (optional )
4 � cups Flour ?
4 level Teaspoons Baking Powder

In a Large bowl, place - the Eggs, Oil, Butter, Sugar, Anise Flavor, Salt.
Mix with a mixer and add 3 cups of Flour and Baking Powder.
Beat well then add remaining Flour and knead by hand on a floured worktop.
Add just enough flour so the dough doesn�t stick to your hands.
Form into a soft ball and cut in two pieces. Roll and shape into12 to 14 inch Logs..
If the dough has slight cracks, push the ends together, to shorten, roll out again.
Repeat this until there are no more cracks showing. Roll out to the right length .
Place on a lightly oiled cookie tin and flatten slightly, leaving the center higher.
Leave a space between the 2 and the pan, they will grow.
Bake in a 325 Deg. Oven for approx. 30 to 40 minutes. Or until slightly tan.
Remove from the oven and place on a cutting board.
Slice across , diagonally, making pieces about 7/8 in. ( size of a Nickel )
Separate slightly. Control yourself !!! Let them cool, before eating.
Save one for me.


    Bookmark   December 3, 2011 at 12:00AM
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If you want special and elaborate, nothing IMO is better than a dobos torte with German chocolate icing. Definitely not quick and easy but very very tasty.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2011 at 7:15AM
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This is really good. I haven't made it in a few years, and I think it is time to revisit it!


Chocolate Trio Truffle Cake

Moist chocolate cake
12 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
9 T butter, cut into pieces
8 large eggs, separated, at room temp
1/4 cup plus 3 T sugar, divided
2 T all purpose flour
White chocolate truffle layer
1 lb white chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup heavy cream
3 T Poire Williams liquor (I use Grand Marnier)
Milk chocolate layer
1 lb milk chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup heavy cream
3 T Bailey's Irish Cream
Bittersweet (or dark) chocolate layer
1 lb bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup heavy cream
6 T Kahlua
Garnish with cocoa powder
Make the cake
Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper.
Melt the chocolate with the butter, set aside
Beat the yolks with 3 T of the sugar until pale
Beat in the melted chocolate mixture slowly until the mixture is shiny.
Sprinkle the flour over the chocolate batter (do not mix it in) and set aside.
Beat the egg whites to soft peaks. Slowly add the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar until stiff peaks form.
Fold the beaten whites (and the flour) into the chocolate mixture. Don't over mix.
Spread in an even layer onto the jelly roll pan.
bake at 350 for 20 - 25 minutes (till the cake pulls away from the sides)
Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.
White Chocolate Layer
Put the white chocolate in a medium bowl.
In a saucepan, bring the cream to a gentle boil, then pour over the chocolate and let the mixture stand for 30 seconds to melt the chocolate.
Stir until smooth.
Stir in liquor.
Begin to assemble cake:
Using the bottom of an 8 1/2 inch springform pas as a guide, cut our 2 rounds from the cake layer. Place one of the rounds in the bottom of the springform pan. Scrape the white chocolate mixture onto the cake and spread in an even layer. Freeze for 1 hour.
Milk chocolate layer:
Put the chocolate in a medium bowl.
In a saucepan, bring the cream to a gentle boil, then pour over the chocolate and let the mixture stand for 30 seconds to melt the chocolate.
Stir until smooth.
Stir in liquor.
Spreak over cake, freeze 1 hour.
Dark chocolate layer:
Put the chocolate in a medium bowl.
In a saucepan, bring the cream to a gentle boil, then pour over the chocolate and let the mixture stand for 30 seconds to melt the chocolate.
Stir until smooth.
Stir in liquor.
Spreak over cake, freeze 1 hour.
Put the 2nd cake round on, refrigerate 6 hours.
Remove from springform pan and dust with cocoa powder

    Bookmark   December 3, 2011 at 8:34AM
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I haven't made this for a while, but it's always popular.

Chocolate Babka

1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 TB butter
2 eggs (one separated, reserving one egg white for bread wash)
3 TB sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups flour 1 Pkt of Yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
Put the above ingredients (minus the one egg white) in the breadmaker and start the dough cycle.

Streusel Topping:
1 TB softened butter
1/4 tsp cinnamon
3 TB powdered sugar
3 TB flour
Mix together with a fork until evenly combined. Set aside.

3 TB cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 TB butter melted

Combine cocoa and sugar and set aside.

When dough cycle is complete, remove dough from bread maker and knead gently on a floured surface. Roll into a 10x20 inch rectangle.

Brush the surface with the 1 1/2 TB of butter for filling, leaving a 1/2 inch margin on all edges. Sprinkle the filling evenly over the melted butter.

Starting with a 20 inch side, roll the rectangle tightly, jelly-roll fashion. Pinch edge to seal.

Zigzag the roll back and forth into a well-greased 4 1/2 x 8 1/2 loaf pan. Let rise until almost doubled in size (~40 minutes). Preheat oven to 350.

Beat reserved egg white with 1 tsp water. Brush egg white mixture over the loaf and sprinkle the streusel topping overtop. Bake until loaf is well browned, about 30 minutes. Remove loaf from pan and cool on a wire rack.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2011 at 10:13AM
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Not particularly difficult....but a bit more time consuming that brownies....and always receives raves.
Danish Puff
cut 1/2 cup of butter into a cup of flour,
sprinkle on 2 T. water and mix to form dough.
Divide dough in half and pat into strips 12" by 3 " on an ungreased cookie sheet....keeping strips 3 inches apart.
Place 1/2 cup butter and
1 cup water in a sauce pan and bring to a rolling boil.
Remove from heat and dump in
1 cup of flour and stir.
Add 3 eggs one at a time beating well after each and return to low heat and beat until dough comes together and is smooth and glossy ....
add 1 tsp almond flavoring and mix in
Divide batter in 1/2 and spread on pastry strips and bake 60 minutes at 350.
Frost with powdered sugar frosting and sprinkle with chopped nuts ( I use pecans) cut into 2 inch wide strips and serve with coffee.
To make a powdered sugar frosting, I mix a cup of powdered sugar with 1/2 tsp vanilla extract add a very little milk until it's like pancake batter.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2011 at 10:51AM
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Another idea that will get you away from the sweet stuff. How about a stromboli or strombolini?

Here is a link that might be useful: Strombolini

    Bookmark   December 3, 2011 at 9:03PM
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Here's another cookie bar that goes over very well in the office. My husband could eat the whole batch by himself (though it's too sweet to do so at one sitting).


2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup sugar (Splenda works)
1/2 cup margarine or butter, melted

Mix these three ingredients, then spread on the bottom of a 13"x9" pan. (I line it with non-stick foil. Easier!) Bake at 350F for 8 minutes.

2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
1 can sweetened condensed milk (Fat free works)

Mix together. Spread over the graham cracker crumb bottom. Bake at 350F for 8 minutes.

1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips

Melt these together, stir till smooth. (I use the microwave Soften/Melt button to do this.) Spread over the top of the graham cracker/coconut bars. Let cool, cut into bars.

These are very rich, but switching to fat-free sweetened condensed milk and Splenda helps keep the calorie and fat content down.

Recipe from my MIL.


    Bookmark   December 3, 2011 at 11:47PM
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It being Christmas time, how about a stolen. A great way to start the day.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2011 at 12:33AM
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Does it have to be sweet? A couple of weeks ago I made homemade pretzels (half with salt on top and half with cinnamon/sugar on top) - they were a HUGE hit with my co-workers.

Here's the recipe I used:

Here is a link that might be useful: Homemade Auntie Ann's Pretzels

    Bookmark   December 4, 2011 at 9:56AM
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I would definately say branch out into yeast breads. So many options! I would definately consider stollen or something like panettone this time of year.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2011 at 11:00AM
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I make these for a little shop I work at and recently included them in a cooking class I taught -I haven't met anyone yet who has tried them and hasn't loved them. The recipe is from LaBrea Bakery in LA

Ginger Scones

2 1/4 all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp lemon zest
1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1 inch cubes
2/3 cup finely chopped candied/crystallized ginger
3/4 cup heavy cream, plus extra for brushing the tops of scones
Sugar for dusting

1. Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and preheat to 375 degrees.

2. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade (or in the bowl of a stand
mixer fitted with the paddle attachment), combine the flour, sugar and baking
powder and pulse (or mix on low) to incorporate. Add the lemon zest and butter,
and pulse on and off (or mix on low) until the mixture is the consistency of fine

3. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and stir in the ginger. Make a well in the center
and pour in the cream. Using a bowl scraper, or one hand, draw in the dry
ingredients, gently mixing until evenly moist and just combined.

4. Turn the dough out into a lightly floured work surface and gather into a ball. Divide
dough in half and pat each half into a circle about 3/4 inch thick.

5. Cut each circle into 8 wedges. Flip the wedges over and arrange on a parchment
lined baking sheet. Brush the tops with extra cream and sprinkle with a little sugar.

6. Bake for 10-14 minutes, until they are lightly browned.

7. Makes 16 scones

Make ahead notes: Scones can be stored (unbaked) in refrigerator overnight, or frozen for longer storage, tightly wrapped. Add a few minutes to the baking time. Scones can also be frozen after baking. Reheat in a 350 degree oven.


    Bookmark   December 4, 2011 at 2:20PM
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Quick breads? Yeast rolls. Hot cross buns. Mini or not mini pies, like pecan pie "tartletts". Donuts, cinnamon rolls, caramel rolls, etc. Maybe you should browse some local bakeries (even at the stores) and look for ideas of what you'd like to make if you had a bakery and that could give you some ideas.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2011 at 2:30PM
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    Bookmark   December 5, 2011 at 12:56AM
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Sorry bout that:

Here is the Recipe. Lot of words but very easy after the dough is made.

Lou-s Cinnamon Buns ------

SS Pan ,9 1/2 in by 12 in by 2 1/2 in deep Or Pyrex baking dish

3/4 stick of butter and 1 tablesp. Of Vegetable oil
Pancake syrup , Brown Sugar and a little granulated sugar
Cinnamon and Raisins

Melt the butter in the pan and let it cool ( put it in the refrig. a few minutes)
Level it across the pan and back into the refrig to harden.

Take it out and Sprinkle very little oil and move it around with the back of a spoon.
Dribble some pancake syrup all around the pan , then a little gran. Sugar
Then lay in some brown sugar . Don�t be chincey , leave some lumps.
Last sprinkle ( good bit ) of Cinnamon and Raisins. You can also add some walnuts,
If you want to. If you don�t want to , don�t do it but don�t blame me , if you didn�t
Do and wish you had done , etc.

Take half + of the recipe of the Braided Bread dough and roll it out to about
3/16 in thick ( 3 pennies ) You can do the dough in 2 pieces if it is easier.
Try to roll them out to at least 16 in long. x 12 in. Sprinkle some pancake syrup,
Sugar and cinnamon on the dough , then some raisins. Roll the dough up loosely,
Making a 12 in. long Roll and cut into 1 in. pieces. Mark the roll ,at half way
and half again before cutting., into 8 pieces. Do the same to the other piece of dough
Place these pieces in the pan that you prepared ,
leaving spaces in between , because the dough will grow.
Push them around with your fingers, to fill the pan evenly.
When the dough is doubled , bake in a 320 degree oven , on a shelf
near the top, for about 25 to 35 minutes or golden brown.
You can Baste , with an egg milk mix, while baking.
When it is removed from the oven , place a piece of aluminum foil over it and
a large cutting board or cookie tin and then flip it over and remove the pan.
If some of the goodies stay in the pan take them out right away and patch
the Buns while the goo is still hot.
WARNING !!!! Get away from them until they cool. !!!!!!!!
You will burn your lips
Now you can see if you used enough brown sugar and gooey stuff.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2011 at 1:10AM
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