Sunday, August 30, 2009

Summer Breeze (like dessert) Makes Me Feel Fine

As the song from Seals & Croft goes,
"SUMMER BREEZE makes me feel fine"...
I would say desserts make me feel fine too!

The scent of lemons and limes remind me of summer.

I found a cookie recipe which included both lemons and limes.
The scent of lemons and limes as I zested away was absolutely heavenly.

Thumbprint Lemon-Lime
Meltaway Cookies

Recipe can be found in ~

"The Secrets of Baking"

by Sherry Yard
Spago's award-winning Pastry Chef

You can pick up Sherry's book at

Just a Note: This recipe was a little labor intensive in that there were steps in the baking process that required a 'waiting' period.
- The lemon curd had to cool before use.
- The brown butter had to be completely chilled.
- The dough required chilling.
Save this recipe for a day where you have extra baking time.

Found the recipe online... check it out HERE.

~ ~ ~

On a trip to the shore this summer, I met up with my friend Larry. We enjoyed sites in Atlantic Highlands and Sandy Hook.

We stopped by the Sandy Hook Bay Catamaran Club , where Larry docks his catamaran.

Sandy Hook Point Lookout

The view was spectacular from Sandy Hook Point Lookout.

Sandy Hook's the oldest working Lighthouse.

Twin Lights was used as the primary lighthouse for New York Harbor and was known as the best and the brightest light in North America.

Sailing ~ Beautiful to the background is the Atlantic Highlands and The Highlands.

279 Bay Ave
Highlands, NJ 07732-1525
(732) 291-4729‎

We had Pizza...DELISH!
I enjoyed listening to the water flowing from the bamboo water fountain near us.

I love water fountains!
Mosaic of boats flower planter~

Had to take a picture of fitting for the shore area.

Summer is nearing its close...hope your summer of baking was fun!

Peace in Baking,

I'd like to leave you with a great song for your listening pleasure...
(click on the song title)


by Seals & Croft

Monday, August 24, 2009

NEW YORK style Crumb Cake

My neighbors Rob & Karren love Crumb Cake.

So, I thought I’d give this a whirl.

Here is my freshly baked

NEW YORK style Crumb Cake

in its full glory.

It was very delicious! And, with a hot cup of coffee...ahh...delightful!

Below is a recipe I found on a blog called

Check out Michelle's blog. It’s full of great recipes and photos.

New York-Style Crumb Cake
(Source: Cook’s Illustrated, May 2007)
Serves 8 to 10

Don’t be tempted to substitute all-purpose flour for the cake flour, as doing so will make a dry, tough cake. If you can’t find buttermilk, you can substitute an equal amount of plain, low-fat yogurt. When topping the cake, take care to not push the crumbs into the batter. This recipe can be easily doubled and baked in a 13 by 9-inch baking dish. If doubling, increase the baking time to about 45 minutes. Cooled leftovers can be wrapped in plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Crumb Topping
1/3 cup granulated sugar (2 2/3 ounces)
1/3 cup dark brown sugar (2 2/3 ounces)
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon table salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), melted and still warm
1 3/4 cups cake flour (7 ounces)

1 1/4 cups cake flour (5 ounces)
1/2 cup granulated sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon table salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter (3/4 stick), cut into 6 pieces, softened but still cool
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup buttermilk

Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

1. FOR THE TOPPING: Whisk sugars, cinnamon, salt, and butter in medium bowl to combine. Add flour and stir with rubber spatula or wooden spoon until mixture resembles thick, cohesive dough; set aside to cool to room temperature, 10 to 15 minutes.

2. FOR THE CAKE: Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Cut 16-inch length parchment paper or aluminum foil and fold lengthwise to 7-inch width. Spray 8-inch square baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and fit parchment into dish, pushing it into corners and up sides; allow excess to overhang edges of dish.

3. In bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt on low speed to combine. With mixer running at low speed, add butter one piece at a time; continue beating until mixture resembles moist crumbs, with no visible butter chunks remaining, 1 to 2 minutes. Add egg, yolk, vanilla, and buttermilk; beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute, scraping once if necessary.

4. Transfer batter to baking pan; using rubber spatula, spread batter into even layer. Following photos below, break apart crumb topping into large pea-sized pieces and spread in even layer over batter, beginning with edges and then working toward center. Bake until crumbs are golden and wooden skewer inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool on wire rack at least 30 minutes. Remove cake from pan by lifting parchment overhang. Dust with confectioners’ sugar just before serving.

In the News today...

Speaking of NEW YORK ~

9/11 steel column is returned to World Trade Center site
by The Associated Press

Monday August 24, 2009, 12:58 PM
NEW YORK -- It became a makeshift memorial to the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks. Now a massive steel column has been returned to ground zero as a symbol of rebirth.
After more than seven years in storage at a hangar at Kennedy International Airport, the 58-ton, 36-foot-tall beam was delivered before dawn today to the World Trade Center site.

A crane lifted it and placed it upright in a new footing below street level. American flags fluttered near the column, which had a white protective covering.
"It's a proud day," said retired firefighter Lee Ielpi, who watched.
His son, Jonathan, also a firefighter, died in the attack. "I also lost 80 to 100 good friends. I'm proud of all of them," said Ielpi, wiping away a tear.
Column No. 1,0001 B of 2 World Trade Center, as it's officially known, will become part of the planned National Sept. 11 Memorial & Museum, according to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the site.
Dubbed the "Last Column," it became the final standing steel column removed from ground zero, and a steel canvas for tributes from recovery workers and victims' families.
It was adorned with firehouse patches, police logos and union stickers, and spray-painted with the shorthand messages "PAPD 37," ''NYPD 23," and "FDNY 343" in honor of Port Authority and city police officers and firefighters who died in the 2001 attacks.

It was cut down, wrapped in black muslin and an American flag, and taken out as part of a ceremony marking the end of recovery efforts on May 30, 2002.

~ ~ ~

While in Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey last month, I visited the
Mount Mitchill Scenic Overlook.

Many Middletown, NJ residents died. They worked in New York City.

Monmouth County's 9/11 Memorial
has three symbolic components:

a timeline walkway to recollect the day’s events;

a stone base carved with the names, ages and hometowns of the county residents who lost their lives;

and an eagle sculpture with a beam from one of the fallen towers.

147 people from Monmouth County perished in the terrorists attacks of September 11th, 2001. For days and weeks afterward, people visited Mount Mitchill Scenic Overlook to reflect and remember.

This metal is from the towers in NYC.

Those whose lives were lost will FOREVER be remembered.

Love & Peace, Carmen

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Enjoying a Key Lime Tart at THE FLAKY TART

In July, I visited THE FLAKY TART in Atlantic Highlands, NJ
on the recommendation of a friend, Larry Goldberg.

Check out reviews about THE FLAKY TART on

So I finally arrive at THE FLAKY TART.

Walked to the bakery and noticed the quaint decor.
I looked around the bakery and saw Owner Marie Jackson was speaking with a client.

I had an opportunity to speak to Marie about the baking business. She was very generous with advice and tips about the bakery business.

As I looked over all the fabulous baked goods, I wanted one of each!
I finally made a decision and purchased a Key Lime Tart.

It was excellent!

Stop by THE FLAKY TART…it’s a great place!

Here is a recipe I tried when I made a Key Lime Tart:

(recipe by Martha Stewart)

Serves 8

9 to 10 graham crackers (each 2 1/2 by 5 inches)
2 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
3/4 cup fresh lime juice (from 4 to 6 limes), or fresh or bottled key-lime juice
4 large egg yolks
Pinch salt
Slivered lime zest, for garnish (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Process graham crackers and 2 tablespoons sugar in a food processor until fine crumbs form, add butter.

Process until combined.

Transfer mixture to a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom, pat into bottom and up sides.

Place pan on a baking sheet, and bake until crust is fragrant and slightly colored, about 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine condensed milk, lime juice, egg yolks, remaining 1/2 cup sugar, and salt; whisk until smooth.

Pour mixture into crust (warm or cool is fine), leaving 1/8 inch at the top; return to oven.

Bake until filling is set around edge but still slightly loose in center, 20 to 25 minutes.

3. Cool completely at room temperature, then refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours.

To store longer, cover and refrigerate, up to 2 days.

Serve, garnished with zest, if desired.

Peace in baking, Carmen




Thank You.

~ Carmen Ortiz - blogger (Baking is my Zen)