A new pizza dough

The BaselineI have been baking pretty good pizza at home for years using a set of recipes and techniques that have come from many sources. My crust recipe is from the May/June 1995 issue of Cook’s Illustrated (“Professional Pizza at Home”). Now and then I tweak the recipe a bit — perhaps replacing some of […]

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Another Flourless Cake: Torta Regina

Emily Luchetti’s “Torta Regina” is not photogenic (in my kitchen, anyway, with the lack of fancy china) but is so delicious and different that it deserves a post. It has only four main ingredients (chocolate, hazelnuts, eggs, sugar) and two flavorings (orange and lemon zest). Although it is a “flourless cake,” it is not at […]

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Cocoa Wafers

Author’s Note: My posting frequency at Mental Masala has been a bit lower than usual because I have been tied up writing a few guest posts for Ethicurean (a must-read blog if you care about sustainable and ethical food). One of the posts nearly swallowed me for a few weeks, as I became obsessed with […]

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Eating the Whole Thing: An Orange Cake Recipe

[Updated below] My contribution to the amazing Goose Dinner was a cake I have started calling the “whole orange cake.” When I ran across the recipe on the Singapore-based blog Kuidaore (a blog with phenomenal photography and complex desserts), it immediately caught my attention because it uses the whole orange. Zest, rind, membranes, juice. Everything […]

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Let Cookies Be Cookies

From the “Seemed like a good idea at the time” or the “Some things just shouldn’t be” file: I made a batch of my favorite oatmeal-chocolate chunk cookies the other day, and thought I could make them a little bit healthier by tossing in a quarter cup of amaranth seeds. Amaranth seeds contain a nearly […]

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7 Year Bread

Over 7 years ago, on October 27, 1999, I e-mailed myself a recipe for Pumpkin Pecan Spiral Bread by Amy Scherber (of Amy’s Bread, 3 retail bakeries in Manhattan plus wholesale baking) that was in the New York Times. Like many other e-mailed recipes, it went into my “Food and Wine” folder for later use. […]

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Favorite Holiday Cookies

It seems to be cookie week at Mental Masala, with quite a few posts about cookies. These are some of my favorite cookies, most of which are good for holiday entertaining: Chocolate Gingerbread from Martha Stewart Living (blog post here with link to recipe) – a thrilling combination of spice and chocolate. Swedish Spice from […]

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Mom’s Shortbread

This is the shortbread that I grew up eating. My family only made them at Christmas-time, and generally as part of a massive cookie baking weekend. Very small cookie cutters (1/2″ across) in shapes like stars, diamonds and the like made the cookies especially attractive and tasty. There is something about the one-bite cookie that […]

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Chocolate Chunk Cookies

These cookies were inspired by some cookies that found on the bargain shelf at Berkeley Bowl (the best grocery store on the West Coast of the U.S., IMHO). The goal was something with good oatmeal flavor, big chunks of chocolate, and a basic heartiness (but not too hearty–these are cookies, after all!). I created the […]

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