Though I am fairly certain these would be better classified as cupcakes, I really enjoy alliteration, hence the name. While making the fruit juice bread in my previous post, I was complaining to my mother about the fact that there is beer bread, but no wine bread or cider bread, and she rememebered having had a wine cake years ago. She found the recipe a friend had submitted to a church cookbook -- one of those frighteningly midwestern collections of recipes for meaty cheese dishes and cheesy meat dishes the whole family will love. The recipe called for some cooking sherry and eggs to be added to a yellow cake mix to make a cake with a poundcake-like texture and density.
When I was still in the process of making these and thinking about the blog entry I'd write for this bread, I figured I'd either start out by declaring myself a baking genius, or saying I'd found out why no one uses fruit juice instead of water in bread. Now that I've made and tasted it, I'm leaning towards the former, but the idea could still use refining.
So I finally baked the bread off the cover of The Bread Baker's Apprentice. I'd been sort of lusting after it for a while, reading more about the bakery where it originated, Boulangerie chez Poilâne. Their website, available in English and French, includes a form for ordering loaves to be shipped. What I made would cost me $35.95 to have shipped to my home. I'm not sure how to react to the fact that that doesn't seem excessive for a loaf of bread. I wouldn't eat it every day, certainly, but I'd consider trying it once, even just for the coolness of having bread come in the mail. I also like that their website has food pairing ideas for all their breads.
Hot cross buns are an Easter tradition I had never tried before, preferring to stick to the equally traditional chocolate (while avoiding frightening things like Peeps). But in the weeks approaching Easter, various food blogs and forums I read were full of hot cross buns and terrifying recipe ideas for Peeps and suddenly the hot cross buns looked fairly attractive. I saw a lot of unpleasant attempts with melty-looking frosting crosses, but quickly found a more traditional pastry-crossed recipe at A Spoonful of Sugar.
Black as hell, strong as death, and sweet as love? Well, not quite, but that's what I was going for. A while ago I got some Turkish ground (very fine grind) coffee to use in baking, most specifically to try to make coffee chocolate chip muffins that were better than the ones I had a recipe for. It worked perfectly. Using coffee beans ground to a powder in baking gives a stronger, richer coffee flavor than using brewed coffee or instant coffee granules, the two methods of adding coffee flavor I see most frequently. It's easy enough to buy an eighth or a quarter pound of beans ground like this for use in cooking (The Foppish Baker likes espresso or French roasts) - the only problem is that most recipes will only take a tablespoon or so of the coffee, and the rest might go stale. Clearly having a grinder at home is the way to go.