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Banana Cake VI

Reviewed: May 26, 2013
This came out exactly the texture I had hoped (and as another reviewer stated), like a light banana bread... but much more tender crumb as one would expect from a cake. I halved the recipe and did it in a 6" x 10" cake pan (an 8" x 8" would have worked). The only "goof" I made was that I had buttermilk in the fridge and I thought it was OK but it was NOT, so I substituted a 6 ounce container of vanilla yogurt. I hate to deviate from the recipe when making it for the first time, but it was either improvise or serve Chips Ahoy for dessert. Otherwise, I made it exactly as stated. Although the baking time for me was about 90 minutes, it was nowhere near done at 60. So definitely do use the toothpick method to check. I think the flavor improved the next day, so the next time I'll make this a day ahead which is actually a bonus... one less thing to do on the day of having company over. Thanks for the recipe!!!
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Chef John's Macaroni and Cheese

Reviewed: Mar. 11, 2013
I halved the recipe and cut the macaroni back to 4 ounces which made it very cheesy and yummy. I had reservations about the seasonings in the sauce, but it is a nice combination of flavors with the cheese. I would never have thought to put thyme in mac and cheese, but it really works. I used the three cheeses that Chef John states in the video (Cheddar, Gouda, and Gruyère) and I really enjoyed this dish. And the Panko topping is also a winner. Thanks, Chef John!!!
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Janet's Rich Banana Bread

Reviewed: Mar. 4, 2013
This is definitely one of the top banana breads I have had. I made it exactly as written except I didn't have walnuts I had pecans so I used them instead. This has an excellent banana flavor with no spices (like cinnamon or nutmeg) that sometimes make banana bread taste more like a spice cake. It is very tender, it does cut well and you can easily spread room temperature butter on it but a slice won't stand up to any "manhandling". I suspect this is due to the sour cream. But I really like it that way. This is going to be my new "go to" recipe when I want banana bread. The only change I plan to make is to increase the walnuts (or pecans depending on what I have on hand) the next time, as I like lots of nuts in banana bread.
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German Pork Chops and Sauerkraut

Reviewed: Feb. 25, 2013
Made this almost exactly as written but I only had two pork chops which I put on top of the sauerkraut mixture in a slow cooker after browning them. I was somewhat concerned about the amount of onion, caraway seed, and brown sugar, but I wanted to make it as written the first time around. I used a mandolin to cut the onion and apple into shreds so it would more closely resemble the sauerkraut and avoid large chunks of either. Made some mashed potatoes to go with it. I was surprised to find that after cooking just on the edge of boiling for about 4 hours, the caraway flavor did not overpower the dish, nor did it taste like onion. While it was not overly sweet to my taste, I might cut back on the brown sugar next time to get a little more "sour". But the sauerkraut when eaten together with the mashed potatoes was awesome. Don't know what it is about that combination but it always hits a home run, as does corn and mashed potatoes eaten together. Anyway, I will be making this again... thanks for an excellent recipe!
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5 users found this review helpful

Beth's Spicy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Reviewed: Jan. 21, 2013
I used all butter since I didn't have any butter flavored shortening, also, I halved the recipe. They are good cookies, they remind me of spice cake somewhat of which I am not a fan, but I'll definitely finish these off. My only two observations: Firstly, the recipe says to drop rounded teaspoonfuls, which is WAY too little, more like rounded TABLESPOONFULS. Once I realized the error, I used the cookie scoop that I bought which is about a #40 disher which is 1.5 tablespoons (go to wikipedia and look up scoop utensil for disher sizes), and that was much more appropriate. Secondly, for those of you having trouble with them falling apart, my guess is that they were not baked long enough. I put in two cookie sheets, and after 12 minutes the cookies on the top rack were lightly golden and held together fine after cooling for 2 minutes then removing from the cookie sheet, but those on the middle rack wanted to bunch up and break and were still too pale, I put them back in for a couple more minutes and then they were fine.
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Southern Fried Chicken Gizzards

Reviewed: Oct. 3, 2012
I really liked the "chew", not too tough but still a lot of character. I read the reviews and some said that simmering for 1.5 hours was enough, so I split the difference and simmered for 2 hours. I removed the gizzards from the simmering pot straight into a zip top baggie, then added the marinating ingredients and marinated, then just dumped the 1 cup of flour in when I was ready to deep fry; I couldn't see the sense in removing them to a dish to marinate only to dump them into a baggie to flour them. I liked the lightly crunchy texture that the simple flour dredge gave them. I ate quite a few of these while watching the game, as did a friend. Thanks for sharing your recipe!
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8 users found this review helpful

Easy Batter Fruit Cobbler

Reviewed: Aug. 6, 2012
It really couldn't get much easier than this. I used 3 cups of sliced fresh very ripe peaches, and added 1 teaspoon of vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon to the batter as suggested by other reviewers. The batter didn't really rise much during baking, I think my baking powder is too old and has lost its leavening power. Baked it for about 55 minutes and it really could have baked longer, it was somewhat doughy. I used a stoneware pan, so I'm thinking it may have slowed down the initial cooking. However, all of that said, it was REALLY good and between 4 of us, we managed to polish off 13 of the 16 pieces in the 8 x 8 pan. I'll definitely make this again, but next time I'll use fresh baking powder and I'll also bake it a bit longer. Thanks for a simple but great recipe.
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Best Peanut Butter Cookies Ever

Reviewed: Jan. 23, 2012
I halved the recipe and omitted the pinch of salt, as the natural peanut butter I used seemed to have plenty. The dough seemed fine until I added the baking soda, then it seemed to "seize" and became very crumbly. So much so that I was afraid that it would not even hold together enough to make cookies. It just *barely* did. The flavor is quite addictive, I found myself going back for a second cookie shortly after finishing the first. If I can just figure out how to make the cookie more moist and a bit chewy, this could well be my new favorite PB cookie recipe. I think I'll try using half brown sugar next time to see if that helps. I'm glad I tried it, if I can just get it tweaked slightly it will go from excellent to awesome! (At least to my preferences... YMMV)
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2 users found this review helpful

Mouth-Watering Stuffed Mushrooms

Reviewed: Dec. 4, 2011
Made these per the recipe, with the minor exception that I used some finely chopped sweet onion instead of the onion powder, which I sauteed with the garlic. I also wrapped each one with a half of a strip of bacon that I partially microwaved to remove some of the grease and give it a "head start". My choice of mushroom was criminy. They were EXCELLENT!!! The only thing I will do differently next time is to either use a thicker cut of bacon, or use the whole strip on each one. Oh and for 20 mushrooms, an 8 oz package of cream cheese made at least twice as much filling as I needed. So I might try to scale that back to using a 4 ounce package next time. But overall, a great recipe! As others mentioned, do yourself a huge favor and get your Parmesan from the gourmet cheese section of the supermarket and grate it yourself. The stuff in the green can is OK in a pinch or for convenience for spaghetti and pizza, but your recipes will definitely come out better with freshly grated Parmesan.
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Potato Pancakes

Reviewed: Jun. 26, 2010
OK, I broke my "cardinal" rule of not modifying a recipe when I try it for the first time. I added only maybe 1/4 cup of finely chopped onion, omitted the flour, and also added 3 Tablespoons of mayo (as I saw in another recipe), and a 15 oz can of corn, well drained. I used the ready-made 20 oz package of shredded Hash brown potatoes from the refrigerator section (Simply Potatoes). Mixed everything and it was REALLY wet and loose and I was afraid that it would never hold together. I formed it into 4 large patties about 5 inches in diameter and one inch thick on a heavily buttered pizza pan that fits on my gas grill. Covered it tightly with foil and put on the grill over medium-high setting for 10 minutes, removed the foil and flipped them, then loosely re-covered with foil for 10 minutes. My fear that they wouldn't hold together was completely unfounded. I think the secret to having them stay together is to not try to do ANYTHING until the first side is well browned. They came out looking really great, but they were bland. I think I should have used a whole onion, as the recipe states, and I don't think the mayo did anything significant except add fat calories. I'm going to try this recipe again, only sticking more closely to the instructions as written. Very aesthetic results, just need to jazz up the flavor a bit for my taste. Thanks for a solid recipe, will definitely be going back to this one again, especially to do on the grill for Summer cooking.
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Yummy Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce

Reviewed: Jun. 20, 2010
Very nice balance of honey/mustard flavor. I didn't have Dijon mustard, so I used all yellow mustard. I don't like to modify recipes the first time that I try them, but I don't keep Dijon on hand and wanted honey mustard with the chicken fingers I was making for dinner. It was good when first made, but I agree with the observation that it improves overnight, so I would recommend that if you want the best flavor, make this a day ahead. Thanks for a great and easy recipe!
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33 users found this review helpful

Awesome Steak Marinade

Reviewed: Jan. 1, 2010
Made exactly as written, halving the amount as I only had two smallish steaks. I used A1 Steak Marinade Classic Steakhouse for the steak sauce, Chiavetta's Italian dressing, and Oishi Genen Shoyu Premium Low Salt Soy Sauce. Marinated the steaks in a zipper bag from 8 PM until noon the following day, then grilled them. I realize that one's preferences are subjective, but to my palate, they were outstanding. I'll definitely be using this again! Thanks for this great recipe!!!
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Jalapeno Popper Spread

Reviewed: Sep. 21, 2008
Great dip! I started out cutting down to a half recipe... one package of cream cheese, one half cup of mayo, and one half cup of grated Parmesan, since there were only going to be three people eating it. I made it using two ounces of green chiles and one ounce of Jalapeños, then tasted it. I have a pretty high tolerance for spicy, so I ended up using the whole 4 ounce can of jalapeños, and I liked the flavor of the green chiles, so I used the whole 4 ounce can of that as well. Nuked it for a couple of minutes then put it into a small slow cooker. It was truly addictive!!! Actually only two of us were really eating it, and we just about polished off the entire batch! Although all agreed that it was better when it was stirred together so the Parmesan wasn't a layer on top but rather mixed into the dip. But that's just personal preference. Also, I think I'll take it up another notch or two the next time and use even MORE Jalapeños!!! Thanks for a great recipe, I'll definitely make this one again.
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Golden Wedding Punch

Reviewed: Jun. 24, 2007
I served this for my parents' 50th wedding anniversary party, and it was *definitely* a hit! With triple the recipe and about 85 guests, there were 2 cups left at the end of the 3 hour party. I bought a three tiered beverage fountain from an online retailer (think of a river in South America) for about $50, and didn't want a recipe with carbonation which would quickly be lost, or citrus pulp which would clog the pump or holes in the fountain. This recipe was a TOTAL success!!! Nice flavor and the golden color of course matched the golden theme of the anniversary. I was worried about using bottled lemon juice rather than fresh, but it worked fine. And the sugar seemed like a lot, but with all the lemon juice, it was needed. A great alternative punch to the "standard fare" red punch or those made with ice cream or sherbet, lemon lime pop, etc.. The fountain was very much a hit with the kids, and no spilling as with a ladle! Tara, thanks so much for sharing this recipe!
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26 users found this review helpful

Marie's Easy Slow Cooker Pot Roast

Reviewed: Feb. 26, 2007
Came out VERY good, the smell while it was cooking was making me SO hungry! I took the suggestion of other reviewers to use Montreal Steak Seasoning and flour to coat the roast before browning. I'll definitely make this again.
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3 users found this review helpful

Baked Corn II

Reviewed: Jan. 7, 2007
I have to agree with sunnnij, this recipe really highlights the flavor of the corn. There seem to be three categories of this type of recipe: cakey, custardy, or soufflé-like, and varying degress of sweetness. This results in more of a custard, with the perfect balance of sweetness to my taste. Of course, I realize that that is a strictly personal preference, and preferences vary. I used to use a recipe that my Mom gave me which is quite similar, but had less corn, more milk, and twice the sugar, flour and eggs. Since I prefer canned corn, to preserve the exact proportion of corn as specified in the recipe, I used kitchen scales to weigh out 16 oz of canned Niblets corn from two 11 oz cans, which left 3.5 oz of corn leftover from the second can... I expect just using the two 11 oz cans would work fine. The texture was more custard like, which I really liked. To prevent excessive clumps that other reviewers mentioned, I put the flour and sugar into the mixing bowl, then added the 3/4 cup of cold milk and whisked vigorously, then added the egg and whisked again. (Never try to add flour to any liquid that is not really cold, as the flour will immediately create lumps that will be impossible to eliminate without a sieve). Then I nuked it for 20 seconds or so to warm it to about room temperature before adding the melted butter and corn. Baked as specified and it came out perfect. This is *definitely* replacing the recipe my Mom gave me (sorry, Mom!).
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63 users found this review helpful

Baked Creamed Corn II

Reviewed: Dec. 19, 2006
Thought I'd try this instead of my usual recipe. To my taste, there was too much cream and cream cheese flavor and not enough corn flavor. Very rich. My guests seemed to like it so I gave it four stars.
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4 users found this review helpful

Mexican Style Meatballs

Reviewed: Dec. 4, 2006
I'll be making this one again, these ARE addicting! I was skeptical that so few ingredients could have much flavor, but I was pleasantly surprised! The meatballs are excellent, and the sauce is fantastic! I had to add some sugar to the sauce, as often is the case with tomatoes, as they always vary in their sweetness. I halved the recipe, and got about 90 one inch-ish meatballs. I think I'll make them 1.5 inches next time as they shrink when browning. Thanks for an easy yet wonderful recipe!
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7 users found this review helpful

Hot Sausage Dip

Reviewed: Nov. 12, 2006
Made exactly as written, except I didn't use the crushed red pepper, not all of my friends are in to hot. Everyone liked this, it was a great recipe. Will make again. Thanks for sharing!
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Cranberry Hootycreeks

Reviewed: Dec. 31, 2005
A wonderful, jazzed-up oatmeal cookie. The dough didn't seem like it would come together, but with a LOT of fairly hard cutting in, it did. I think I will try the dough hook or paddle on the stand mixer next time. As one other reviewer mentioned, I, too, had to bake for 13 - 14 minutes. Will make these again.
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