Baricat Recipe Reviews (Pg. 5) - Allrecipes.com (131039)

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Danish Pastry Apple Bars I

Reviewed: Feb. 18, 2012
Oh. Wow. Yum. Unbelievably delicious. I had to put them in the freezer so I'd stop helping myself to "just one more piece." The cornflakes are not at all discernible once it bakes. I used 10 cups of apples, and 1/2 cup brown sugar, plus 1/4 cup white sugar, plus 1/2 tsp of freshly ground nutmeg. That addition was the only deviation I made from the recipe. Don't skip the nutmeg - it adds depth of complexity to the flavor. Outstanding! The pastry, which is made with milk in classic Danish style (and which differentiates it from classic American pie dough) is tender. The egg white wash makes for a glossy, professional, Kodak-moment finish. I made them to serve at my daughter's bridal shower (if I can keep my fat mitts off of them, that is!) The lovely aroma hung heavy in the air for hours after they were out of the oven, driving everyone crazy. This is a showstopper recipe, any way you look at it. Thank you, Stephanie, for sharing.
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Monkey Bread

Reviewed: Feb. 16, 2012
Very good with the refrigerated biscuit dough, but a whopping, off-the-charts TEN stars if you can afford the time to sub Colleen's Potato Crescent Rolls recipe from this site. Just mix, allow to rise, punch down and shape into the balls, dip them, throw them into the bundt pan. You can make them the night before this way, and let them rise in the fridge, covered. Or you can give them the second rise immediately and bake. The "dip" for the dough is a nice change from the more traditional, straight cinnamon-cum-sugar mix. Lovely presentation.
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3 users found this review helpful
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Petits Fours

Reviewed: Jan. 23, 2012
This recipe is too flimsy for petits fours. A more substantial cake is needed stand up to cutting without crumbing so that when you pour the fondant over them, they stay nice and smooth. Best bet is a moist pound cake recipe (a good choice is Grandmother's Pound Cake II from this site.) A sponge cake just isn't as successful for this purpose. AR, please note: The link in the recipe for frosting does not work.
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2 users found this review helpful
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Grandmother's Pound Cake II

Reviewed: Jan. 17, 2012
Yes, this is the formula for a classic American pound cake as it has been made for well over a century and a half (1:1:1:1 or 1 pound butter, 1 pound sugar, 1 pound flour, 1 pound eggs.) I used this as a base for petits fours, and the texture stood up to repeated cuts (I halved the recipe, and baked in a 9"X13" pan, then cut 7X10 into (70) 1-1/4" squares) and didn't shed crumbs, neither when it was cut, nor when the fondant was poured over it. I did, however, add more milk. This was so short on liquid that the result was closer to a dough than a batter. I added 50% more milk, and added extracts (combo of almond, vanilla, orange, lemon , maple and coconut) as I needed the cake to have sufficiently assertive and complex flavor to stand up to the uber sweet fondant. The 9"X13" was done in 27 minutes. I cooled it in the pan for about 13 minutes, and it released beautifully onto the rack to finish. This cake is appropriately dense, sturdy and velvety moist (with additional liquid.) It's a 4-1/2 star recipe as is, but a 5 with additional milk and flavoring, which yields distinct sensory improvement.
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51 users found this review helpful
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Baked Alaska

Reviewed: Jan. 17, 2012
Just browning the top on broil doesn't make it baked. As written, this is just a ho-hum ice cream pie topped with meringue. Graham cracker crumbs and vanilla ice cream, topped with almond-flavored meringue just didn't do it for us. A genuine Baked Alaska is made with cake as a base, not crumbs, and it's baked in the oven, not merely broiled (meaning heat source only applied to the top.) We didn't care for the meringue with its heavy almond flavoring. A more suitable meringue for this dish uses brown sugar for appealing color and full flavor, and a dash of vanilla. Although quicker and easier to put together, we felt it was a poor substitute for real Baked Alaska, and it only served to make us long for the real deal.
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8 users found this review helpful
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Chocolate-Mint Brownie Cookies

Reviewed: Jan. 13, 2012
Wonderful! Someone before me commented that these turn out flat, but that was not the case with mine, which turned out nicely rounded (see picture.) Flattening can happen when butter is substituted for shortening or when too little flour is used, but I have no idea if either of those is what happened with the reviewer's cookies. Just two things to watch for if you prefer nice, plump hemispheres. As they emerged from the oven, I topped each with an Andes mint, allowed them to rest for 2 minutes, then swirled the melted candy on top. The result was serendipitous. These are just lovely, with a perfectly fudgy, brownie-like inside and a firm outside. If you like brownies and Girl Scout Thin Mints, you'll love this hybrid that represents the best of both.
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Mini Cheesecakes

Reviewed: Jan. 10, 2012
Fabulous and wonderfully versatile! I have made Bailey's Irish Cream cheesecakes by omitting the lemon juice, adding 3 Tb Irish cream, and 2 Tb sour cream. After they cool, I brush the tops with a little more Irish Cream, and no one can get enough! Of course, the fruit topped minis are lovely, as well, made according to directions. They can be made chocolate by sprinkling the bottoms of the papers with crushed Oreos, eliminating the lemon juice and stirring 1/2 cup of melted chocolate chips and 1/4 tsp vanilla into the filling. To dress those up even further, I have been known to top the Oreo crumbs with 1 tsp hot fudge sauce, then pour the topping in. Also lovely is a grasshopper version, using the Oreo crumbs, and in place of the lemon juice, add 2 Tb green creme de menthe and 1 Tb creme de cacao. I will sometimes even fold mini chocolate chips into this one. The possibilities are literally limitless. Simple to make, even simpler to eat! These freeze like champs. A+++
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24 users found this review helpful
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Buttery Yeast Spritz

Reviewed: Jan. 9, 2012
Normally, spritz cookies are boring, dry, forgettable (but cute) little bites. This is the recipe that puts an end to all that. They're everything we love about butter cookies, on steroids!! I, too, did a double-take at a cookie recipe that uses yeast. But I'm so glad I tried it. They're absolutely WONDERFUL!! The yeast does unparalleled wonders to point up the buttery nature of these gems. I have found that they benefit from a couple of pinches of salt, particularly if you use unsalted butter, and a dash of extract. I have used vanilla, almond and coconut on various occasions, and even a mixture of those three, which gave an inscrutable, but delectable result. The texture is of a fine crumb: not dry, not crispy but tender and delicate. These actually taste as good as they look!
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5 users found this review helpful
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Cherry Winks

Reviewed: Jan. 8, 2012
This recipe was the grand prize winner in the 2nd (1950) Pillsbury Bake-Off, and has graced many a family's Christmas cookie tray for decades. It's wonderful to see it here for another generation to enjoy. Tried and true, it never fails to please. In reference to the complaint about maraschino cherries being too wet, there is a crucial omission from the recipe. The cherries must be drained before inclusion. Placing them in a single layer on about 3 thicknesses of paper towels for 30-60 minutes is sufficient. Over the years, we have morphed the recipe to using half almond extract in place of half of the vanilla, because it fortifies and underscores the flavor of the cherries. Cheerful and always festive, they'll disappear fast.
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12 users found this review helpful

Whipping Cream Pound Cake

Reviewed: Jan. 2, 2012
An AR search for a pound cake that didn't need sour cream, like my usual recipe (because I was all out) turned this up, and what a fabulous find! It's everything a pound cake should be: dense, moist, buttery rich with a tender crumb. This is it. The recipe is basic, as well as quite forgiving. I only had half the whipping cream called for, so I subbed 1/2 cup of buttermilk for the missing cream, and added a couple of pinches of baking soda, which neutralizes the acid in the buttermilk. I stayed with the 2 tsp of vanilla extract, but also added a dash each of almond, maple, coconut, orange and lemon extracts. The result was a delightfully, subtly complex flavor. It made an outstanding base for pureed strawberries and ice cream, and turned the ordinary into a memorable dessert. Subbing Splenda for half of the sugar (equal measurement) turns out just the same as if you had used all sugar. I sprinkled the pan with sugar after greasing it, and the crust was attractively shiny, giving a little punch of sweetness. Note: Cutting the ingredients in half fits perfectly in a 9"X5" loaf pan. A++
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Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Perfection

Reviewed: Jan. 2, 2012
Tres chic!! The chicken was simply outstanding. Only three relatively minor changes. Since I make all salad dressings in this house, I never have bottled Italian dressing. I subbed a homemade vinaigrette for marinating the chicken, and left it to soak for about 24 hours. The second change was that we're not fans of sundried tomatoes, so I left them out. In the past I've put in chopped artichoke hearts in their place, which was fabulous. I've also subbed fresh peeled and seeded, chopped tomatoes, which gave a nice color contrast to the spinach. Third change was to pre-cooked the mushrooms by chopping, microwaving, and draining before incorporation in the stuffing, which sped up the process. The spinach punctuated the mix with festive bits of green. Phenomenal results, and not all that difficult to put together. This can be served confidently to your most discriminating guests, yet it's simple enough for a nice weekday dinner surprise for your family when you want to do something a little special, just "because."
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Fudge Puddles

Reviewed: Dec. 14, 2011
Superb concept. As many others have noted, you must have patience and not try to take them out of the tins too soon. I found that waiting about 10 minutes allowed them to pop out easily by simply inserting the tip of a knife between the outside of the cookie and the tin. Only 4 stars because we disliked the artificial taste and megawatt sweetness imparted by the condensed milk. Having a hunch as to how to improve the filling, I heated about 1/3 cup of heavy cream until the edges got bubbly, adding 2 Tb butter and 6 ounces of milk chocolate and 6 oz bittersweet chocolate, both Ghirardelli. Stirred it until the chocolate was melted and the mixture was perfectly smooth and shiny, then filled. OFF THE FLIPPIN' HOOK'!! The tender cookie acts as the perfect vehicle for fudgy truffle/ganache filling. You can easily adjust the sweetness by changing the proportion of milk chocolate to semisweet or bittersweet chocolate you use, according to your taste. The proportions above represent a more adult, sophisticated version of the cookie, not sickeningly sweet as the written filling is. Rich, sinfully chocolate. Now THAT's what I'm talkin' about!!! NOTE: The easiest way to fill is to put your filling in a zip-lock sandwich bag, cut one of the corners off by snipping a small piece of the plastic, and squeeze to fill. If the filling gets a little thick, microwave for 10-15 seconds and it should loosen up enough for you to resume filling. Easy and no mess!
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Beef Pot Roast

Reviewed: Dec. 13, 2011
Calling this "Beef Pot Roast" is a bit like calling a Lamborghini a "vehicle," or the Mona Lisa a "picture." Maybe "Beef Ambrosia" is more fitting. No disagreement with any of the stellar reviews. This is a celebration of wholesome goodness, of simpler times before dinner meant grabbing take-out, a pizza, or fast food. The flavor is that of the beef without adornment. I made it almost verbatim. I had found two thick top round steaks which I had bought longer ago than I care to mention here, languishing in my chest freezer. They came to 4+ pounds altogether. So the cut was substituted for chuck. After browning, I stacked them in the Dutch oven. I simply cut the cooking time by 30 minutes, since top round is a much leaner and more tender cut than chuck. Fabulous! The meat was fork-tender. Whereas calling the resulting liquid "gravy" is a stretch, turning it into such was a simple matter of whisking 3 Tb of flour into about 4 Tb beef stock, adding to the pan liquid, and simmering for 10 minutes. Poured over the meat with braised carrots and sauteed mushrooms, nestled lovingly on a cushy bed of homemade spaetzle, it was a meal fit for a sultan. Ladies, if there's a man in your life you'd like to marry, make him this dish. He'll follow you anywhere and be yours for LIFE!!!!
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The Best Meatballs You'll Ever Have

Reviewed: Dec. 4, 2011
We weren't fans. The Cajun spice didn't work for us, nor did the overwhelming taste of mustard. If you were to remove those two items, you would be left with a bland product. They fared slightly better when served with a brown gravy than they did with tomato sauce and pasta, with which the flavor was decidedly incongruous. They left a very strange aftertaste, and after trying them those two ways, hoping to salvage them, we ended up cutting our losses and pitching them.
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9 users found this review helpful
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New York Italian Pizza Dough

Reviewed: Dec. 3, 2011
Just enjoying a slice of pie made with this dough recipe, and it's hard not to keep going back and goo-ing up my hands with "one more bite" of it until I finish this review! The quintessential New York pizza has a thin, seared crust layer on the bottom, with light, ethereal bread topped with a thin layer of sauce, cheese, and whatever other items ring your bells. This does not disappoint on any score. This dough stretches easily to supreme thinness when allowed to rest as recommended in the fridge. That's one detraction, that you need to plan ahead. But it can be made and rested for up to 2 days, so no problem. A baking stone is a must for success, as when it's preheated, it will sear the bottom of the crust by instantly drawing out the surface moisture. As for "blandness" that some dislike, remember that a great crust acts as a backdrop for your accoutrements. It's not the star. It is, however, a very important supporting player. If desired, you can flavor it with herbs and/or a few Tb of Parmesan. I found the dough to be too sticky with the proportions listed. Whereas I fully understand that a pizza dough needs as little flour as possible, no way could you work with it, until I added about 1/4 cup of flour, which left it still very sticky, but able to be handled with floured hands. Experiment. You want it sticky, but not quasi-liquid. You're going to love this crust. Second-generation Italian girl here, New York born and raised, and I can tell you, THIS is the real deal.
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Double Crust Stuffed Pizza

Reviewed: Dec. 1, 2011
Can't believe I never got around to reviewing this great recipe! I've made it twice, once exactly as written and the second time with my own sauce, which for our palates improved things tremendously. The sauce recipe, which is slightly sweet and disappointingly bland, loses one star. If a nice, hearty, appropriately spiced tomato sauce is used, however, the recipe benefits exponentially, and it's catapulted into the 5 star stratosphere. Also, I added about 1/2 cup of the sauce to the filling ingredients in the middle which increased our enjoyment and tied everything together nicely. It's extremely filling, and no one but the heartiest of eaters will be able to consume more than one slice without busting a gut. Because of the fat in the sausage, which melds into the crust as it bakes, it's not healthy, but this is a favorite, very occasional guilty pleasure in this house.
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Honey Vanilla Ice Cream

Reviewed: Nov. 16, 2011
Oh, my freakin' WORD!!! This will have to be kept under lock and key to keep me from making myself sick gobbling it all up before the holiday. I made it today to have for serving on top of Thanksgiving pies, and it's so unbelievably delicious that it's a major temptation. The marriage of honey and vanilla is sheer genius! The honey is just barely discernible, but it complements the vanilla flavor to perfection. I didn't have any whole milk, so I substituted fat-free half and half. No matter. The texture is wonderful, the flavor sublime. It melts in a silken ribbon on the tongue, leaving a delightful taste on the palate that makes you crave another spoonful. I cut back on the brown sugar by 25% after reading several reviews that noted excessive sweetness. After tasting the solution, it was just a bit short of sweetness, so I simply added about 2 Tb Splenda to make it just right. Awesome!
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Belgian Molasses Bread

Reviewed: Nov. 16, 2011
The molasses contributes a very unique, earthy flavor to this soft bread. I didn't change a thing, and the result was a perfect bread for sandwiches or toast. Be aware that although the texture is nice and moist, it does crumb significantly when cut. When we just couldn't eat it fast enough to keep it from getting stale, I took those leftover pieces that weren't fresh anymore, and gave them new life in the Bread Pudding II recipe from this site. Wow! That was the best bread pudding I've ever eaten. No matter what you use this for, it could not possibly be better.
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Pumpkin Bread IV

Reviewed: Nov. 15, 2011
In a word, WOW! This always turns out wonderfully moist. I have made it with pureed sweet potato, as well, and there is very little, if any, difference in flavor or texture. I sub Splenda for half the sugar, and no one who has not been told is ever any the wiser. I increase the spices according to my family's tastes, with the exception of cloves, and add 1-1/2 tsp ginger plus a generous dash of cayenne pepper for a hint of warmth. That never fails to make the guys go wild for this! I also add 2 Tb dark rum, which you can't taste in the finished product, but which adds a great depth of flavor, underscoring the spices to perfection. One noteworthy item...If made in a 9"X13" loaf pan as indicated, the resulting loaves are a bit shallow. It makes a much more impressive presentation if you bake it in a loaf pan of 8"X4", adding about 10-15 minutes to the baking time. Test at 50 minutes, then add time accordingly as necessary. Freezes well. What a fabulous recipe this is!
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Bread Pudding II

Reviewed: Nov. 12, 2011
Outstanding! Phenomenal! ...and any other superlative you care to use. I had some Belgian Molasses Bread (another Allrecipes treat) left over, and crumbled it up to use in this. As much as I liked that bread, it was amazing in this! I used all Splenda, as I'm diabetic, and cut back the eggs to 3, based on other reviews. Added a generous dash of allspice and cloves to the cinnamon, and substituted fat-free half and half for 1 cup of the milk, using skim for the rest. Dotted the top with only 1 Tb butter (to cut calories) - no need to pre-melt it. Baked it for 55 minutes. At 45, there was still some liquid at the very bottom, so popped it back in for another 10 minutes. We just loved the juxtaposition of the crunchy crust against the creamy interior. No one could tell it was made completely free of added sugar, and very low fat, making it almost guilt-free. As a bonus, it's high in protein and calcium. Not many desserts can make that claim. Fabulous enough for company, served warm with either a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of real, lightly sweetened, vanilla-laced whipped cream.
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