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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