Posts tagged ‘Sugar High Fridays’

SHF Round Up #68 – Brown Butter

There are so many changes, so many new things to absorb. I’m sleeping in a new bed, shaking hands with new people, going to new (and incredible) classes – but little things keep reminding me of home. Texts from my mom, Skype with my friends, and emails from bakers participating in August’s Sugar High Fridays. The theme was brown butter – here’s the round up.

Allison of Zucchero Dolce made this beautiful Almond Cake with Raspberry Filling & Brown Butter Frosting.

Heather of Souffle Days used browned butter to make Salted Browned Butter Shortbread.

Jamie of Life’s a Feast incorporated the theme ingredient into a super unique, colorful “Peach Melba My Way.”

Denise of Oh Taste n See used buerre noisette in her Browned Butter Pound Cake.

Rebekah of The Cooking Vent baked a batch of Browned Butter Molasses Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Xiaolu Hou of 6 Bittersweets browned butter for the first time for these Browned Butter Chocolate Chunk Pecan Pizzookies.

Emily of Ales And Emily made these beautiful Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Janet of The Taste Space baked up golden and summery Blueberry Peach Brown Butter Muffins.

Denise and Lenny of Chez Us rose to the challenge with their Brown Butter and Wildflower Honey Gelato.

Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen made Rava Kesari (Indian Semolina and Saffron Halwa or Pudding). She’s also the lovely host of Sugar High Friday #69, bite-sized desserts, so head over to her blog for the September announcement!

My friend Ivonne, co-creator of the Daring Bakers, was kind enough to help me out with the round up. You can see Part 2 of the round up on her blog, Cream Puffs in Venice.

Thanks to everyone who participated!

September 10, 2010 at 2:31 pm 15 comments

Brown Butter Baked Alaska & Ice Cream Petit Fours


Maybe you’re sick of hearing me saying it, but it’s the only thing on my mind right now – I’m so excited for college.

It’s been coming for months. I felt it in my bones as I reread my acceptance letter, checking and double checking every sentence. It crept up my spine as I leaned over a map of Massachusetts, marveling at the thrill of my school printed there on the paper. Most surreal of all, I might never forget the day I noticed our plane ticket confirmation on the table… two tickets for each of my parents, and a one way ticket for me. There’s no turning back.

And even though my friends have slowly left one by one, the change hasn’t felt real until the past week, when I myself began packing. My whole life fits into four suitcases. Now I look at my room and realize next week I won’t fall asleep beneath these glow in the dark stars, or wake up to these familiar blue walls. I know that each day is one of my last here, and I want to make the most of every one.


One of the best parts? I hosted the Daring Bakers this August. I’ve been a member for over a year, and it’s one of the most dedicated, inspired, supportive communities I’ve ever been a part of. I was beyond thrilled and grateful for the chance! The month they had in mind for me to host was a joint challenge with Sugar High Friday. The creator of SHF, Jen, picked the theme ingredient brown butter, so I needed to incorporate that into the Daring Bakers recipe.

In all honesty, it was difficult. Not only did the month’s challenge need to use brown butter, it also needed to be versatile, accessible, and summery enough for the end of August. Finally, it came to me – brown butter in the form of a toasty, nutty pound cake, with homemade ice cream as ice cream petit fours or a baked alaska.

Individually, I’d made the ice cream, meringue, and glaze recipes before. I knew they’d be successful. But I couldn’t ignore a hesitant uncertainty. I’d never browned butter before, and kept pulling the pan off the heat too soon, mistaking the chocolate brown milk solids for burnt scraps. I didn’t know if the cake would freeze well, or if I could properly glaze petit fours. Worst of all, I wasn’t sure if I could be a good host.


But I shouldn’t have been afraid. Sure, the recipe didn’t work out for some, and I spent plenty of time researching foreign ingredients to answer every person’s question. But I should have known that even if I’d been a complete flop, I’d be greeted with nothing but cheeriness and charm. For most people, the brown butter pound cake was a wild success, and even though last month’s challenge also included ice cream and cake, just about everyone tackled August with an open mind and stomach.

The August 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Elissa of 17 and Baking. For the first time, The Daring Bakers partnered with Sugar High Fridays for a co-event and Elissa was the gracious hostess of both. Using the theme of beurre noisette, or browned butter, Elissa chose to challenge Daring Bakers to make a pound cake to be used in either a Baked Alaska or in Ice Cream Petit Fours. The sources for Elissa’s challenge were Gourmet magazine and David Lebovitz’s “The Perfect Scoop”.

How cool is that? (That’s me, in the blog checking lines!)


Since my access to a kitchen will be limited the next ten months, this was my last Daring Bakers challenge, and admittedly my favorite one. Every day I opened the Daring Kitchen website to more and more photos of finished Baked Alaskas and ice cream petit fours, and every adaptation, failure, or success made me smile. I loved scrolling through photos and thinking, “At this very second – someone somewhere might be churning a batch of this ice cream, or snacking on brown butter cake scraps.” It’s like we’re all in this together.

And as you’re reading this right now, what am I doing? I might be in our living room, trying to force a stuffed suitcase shut, wondering if I can fit a few more socks in the gap. I might be on my one-way plane, peering out the window, trying to catch one last glimpse of the Puget Sound glittering in the darkness. More than likely, I’ll be in Boston when you read this. I might even be meeting my roommate for the first time, hugging my parents for the last.

Wherever I am, wherever you are, I’m glad we’re in it together – thanks for reading, baking, supporting and inspiring. See you on the other side.


August 27, 2010 at 11:57 am 90 comments

Announcing Sugar High Fridays – Browned Butter!


August has only just begun, but I can already tell it’s going to be one of the busiest months I’ve had. Sweet and short announcement today – it’s an honor to host the 68th edition of Sugar High Fridays!

Created by Jennifer of The Domestic Goddess, SHF is an international dessert extravaganza. Every month a host picks a theme, whether an ingredient or category of baking, and foodies around the world create something around that theme. The results are showcased in a round-up at the end of the month, and I’m always amazed at how differently people are inspired by the same theme.

This month’s theme  ingredient is warm, nutty, extra indulgent and super versatile – you can stir it into cake batter, beat it into buttercream, brush it onto baklava… It could only be browned butter. Simmered it until it smells like toasted hazelnuts, speckled with chocolate brown flecks, browned butter is irresistable.  I can’t wait to see what everyone creates! It can be any dessert you can imagine, as long as it incorporates browned butter.


Anyone can participate. Here are the details:

— Make a dessert incorporating browned butter in some way between now and August 30th.

— Photograph the dessert and post it on your blog, with a link to this announcement.

— Email me your name, the name of your blog, the name of your dessert, a link to your post, and a 250x250px picture of your dessert by August 30th. My email is 17andbaking [at] gmail [dot] com.

— If you aren’t a blogger but want to join in, just email me your name, the name of your dessert, and the 250x250px image of your dessert by August 30th.

— Check out the round up of desserts on September 10th!

Regular SHF participants might notice the round-up is a little later than usual… This is because I’m flying out to college the last week of August and the usual end-of-the-month round-up would’ve been difficult to handle. It just gives you more excuses to bake with browned butter!

[PS: If you’re new to browned butter, check out this great guide to browning butter. It’s from Elise of Simply Recipes and includes handy step by step photos.]

[PPS: Regular post like always coming in a few days. Happy August!]

August 1, 2010 at 12:08 am 34 comments

Simple Pear Tart for two – SHF

I wish I could travel more. Traveling is something I’ve barely done, and yet, it’s one of my favorite things. There’s so many things I love about it – mostly, I just love to experience something so totally different from what I’m used to. A different skyline, a different perspective and culture, a different lifestyle… and different food.

Food is one of the biggest highlights of my travels, limited as they might be. It’s as important as the monuments, the museums, the shopping. Bagels, pizza, and cheesecake in New York, the best bubble tea and bao bing in Houston’s Chinatown, french brioche toast and tea in Victoria, Canada. Oh, but Paris…

I was in 8th grade when I went to Paris with my French class – such an amazing trip. While I didn’t photograph any of our meals, I remember them vividly. Crêpes, bought right on the street and spread with nutella; fresh sandwiches made with beautiful, crackly baguettes; and a fresh, flaky croissant served with orange juice and chocolat chaud every morning for breakfast.

And Fauchon, the famous luxury bakery! My French teacher told a story of a boy one year who was left behind in Fauchon, so mesmerized by the pastries that he did not notice the group leave the patisserie and board the subway. Madame called it a nightmare. Me, I think it sounds like a dream come true!

I really wish I would have discovered my love for baking at that point in my life. At the time, I’d never heard of Fauchon, and while I left feeling full and impressed (I bought an excellent fig éclair at what I thought a ridiculous price), I didn’t fully appreciate the visit.

When I saw that April’s Sugar High Friday, hosted by Heather of Diary of a Fanatic Foodie, was to make a dessert inspired by travel (“Take Me Away”), memories of Paris came back to me with surprising strength. There were so many unbelievable desserts I tried. But what made me think utterly of Paris? And what was simple enough to make at home, right after school?

This lovely pear tart was the ticket. Back to Paris, I mean. :)


April 15, 2009 at 11:03 pm 16 comments

Elissa Bernstein

I'm Elissa: a 17 (now 21) year old baker in Seattle Boston juggling creative nonfiction workshops, subway maps, and my passions for writing, baking, and photography. Photo above © Michelle Moore

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