In our virtual bake sale in the last month of Hel's Kitchen, we donated all dessert-based revenues to the Kellogg-Hubbard Library to put towards their audiobook collection ($345). On busy weeks, I can get up around 1 audiobook per day. These are not erudite, educational books, I will add, but whodunit mystery books of the beach read variety . . . and I won't apologize. (I did not, however, earmark the funds for my preferred genre).
In honor of the audiobook donations, I've got here links to recipes for few desserts that were popular at Hel's Kitchen in the past. Feel free to cook them with the soundtrack of your choice. I do rather like the Robert Galbraith books on audio, though, and Anne George's mystery books in audio format are darn funny (I can't speak to her poetry), plus I like listening to Lorelei King (she narrates a lot of Janet Evanovich books). Word to the wise - don't listen to audiobooks where the narrator is going to attempt Maine accents. Ouch.
Ginger Crunch Bars - A New Zealand treat, I'm told that in NZ they cut these MUCH larger than the instructions here indicate. This calls for golden syrup, corn syrup works as a substitute, or honey, or half and half (the problem with honey is that it affects the flavor. . . though not necessarily in a bad way).
Chocolate Ghoriba Cookies (Moroccan) - Deceptively simple, yet quite popular. Later displaced in prime popularity by the gluten-free Ginger cookies from Alice Medrich's "Flavor Flours" (that recipe is not online so you would need to check the book itself - it's worth it). Note on this recipe - you really should use dark cocoa powder, instead of substituting regular.
Cigar Cookies - Described in a previous blog post (scroll down in the post)
Baklava - I use Alton Brown's version.
Egyptian Palace Bread - I did not follow the actual recipes for Egyptian Palace bread, except in the basics of it being bread soaked in honey and then baked. Here is my non-traditional version:
You need a nice white bread with some chew to it, I like La Panciata (at Hunger Mtn Coop) - crusts cut off. About 10 pieces.
Rose-Honey syrup - warm together 2 Tb butter, 2 Tb water, 1 Tb rosewater, 1/4 tsp cardamom (optional), 1 3/4 cups of honey (yup, that's a lot of honey) warmed together gently in a saucepan until butter is melted and incorporated.
Butter a 9 x 9 pan. Put in one layer of bread, spoon on half the honey syrup, then repeat. Let rest covered with tinfoil for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 300-degrees. Cook, still covered, for 40 minutes, uncover and cook a little longer just enough to make sure the top isn't soggy.
Cool and refrigerate.
Make coffee whipped cream. I use the King Arthur Flour espresso powder, whipping 1 cup of heavy cream with 1/4 cup powdered sugar and 1 tsp of espresso powder until quite thick. It's not a terribly sweet whipped cream. . . remember all that honey you soaked the bread with? Yeah.
Serve the bread with the whipped cream on top.
This recipe is very easy to adjust how strong you want the rose, cardamom, coffee, or honey, until it's your preferred balance.