Monday, November 10, 2014

TWD: Palets de Dames

Holy smokes, it has been a LONG time since I last blogged.  There has been an enormous amount of baking in my life, but no posting.  Dorie was gracious enough to publish another cookbook, and it's amazing.  I'm back to baking and blogging with a vengeance.

The first recipe of the new book, Baking Chez Moi, is a light, buttery, slightly sweet cookie.  It is a snap to put together.  A touch of simple frosting gilds the lily.

This recipe relies heavily on good butter, so make sure you use good butter.  I used Plugra for this one.  The dough is silky and delicious when eaten raw.  I was able to manage to just sneak a taste or two and leave the rest for baking.  My cookies were done after just seven minutes in the oven.

One of the other bakers mentioned that you need to bake these until you see a light brown ring on the edge of the cookies.  It adds hugely to the flavor, and I concur.  The frosting adds the perfect sweet/tangy note.  And if, hypothetically, you run out of frosting because you forgot to buy more powdered sugar and don't have enough, chocolate peanut butter makes a yummy substitute.  Also, these make excellent sandwich cookies with said chocolate peanut butter and jam.

Side note and fan girl squee - I got to meet Dorie today at one of her book tour stops!  She is lovely, sweet, and charming.  And petite.

This recipe can be found online, but you'll really want to buy the book.  Really!  Check out what the other fabulous bakers made here.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

TWD: Rustic Potato Loaves

With rustic being the operative word, here.  (On a side note, The Girl, walking by the open cookbook, thought the recipe was for Rusty Potato Lovers.)  No, I'm not sure what that is, either.

Anyway, for not particularly following the recipe, this turned out ok!  I realized that the recipe called for a boiled potato that is then mashed.  Hmmm, I have mashed potatoes in the fridge from the other night!  Upside - they are already made!  Downside - they have seasoning, butter, and sour cream in them.  Plus, they were cold from the fridge, and I had no potato water.  And, I went ahead and baked with them anyway.  It was a LONG rise time.  Long.  The first rise was about 90 minutes.  And it never really rose.  After shaping, and resting it on a floor heating vent because room temperature was pretty cold, it did rise some.  

Instead of misting, I threw some ice cubes into the bottom of my oven.  The loaf baked up pretty flat.  It unrolled some as well.  It smelled pretty good, though.  The verdict?  The taste is really good.  I might try this again with plain potatoes and add my own seasoning.  

My friend, Dawn, at Simply Sweet has an amazing photo and the recipe at her blog.  Go visit!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

TWD:BWJ Mocha Chocolate Chip Cookies

I'm a big fan of mocha, and I'm a big fan of chocolate chip cookies.  I like them together.  This, however, wasn't the most successful recipe for me.  

It's a standard chocolate chip cookie recipe with the addition of dried apricots.  There is a caveat in the recipe that you should use good chocolate because it calls for A LOT of the stuff - a pound for four dozen cookies.  I didn't have apricots, but I did have dried cherries.  And because they were pretty dry, I re-hydrated them in some kahlua.  More coffee flavor!

I halved the recipe and still got about three dozen cookies.  Apparently, I make small cookies.  These came out very flat.  Very.  Flat.  I tried scooping the dough and refrigerating it again to try to slow/stop the spread, but it didn't make a difference.  The flavor was fine, and there were very chewy.  I couldn't get past the flat, though.  The coffee flavor was much more pronounced after the cookies were allowed to sit for a while.  The dried cherries seemed to just add chew.  Perhaps fresher cherries would be more flavorful.

Behold the flatness!

I could absolutely see adding espresso powder to my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe for a change of flavor.  I don't, however, see myself making these again.

Go see Peggy's blog for great photos and the recipe.

Monday, March 04, 2013

Baking here and there

I've been a huge TWD slacker.  I'm sure it's the case with a lot of people.  I'm baking a lot these days - but I'm baking what the kids/husband/friends request or what strikes my fancy.  This week's recipe was croissants.  As much as I love them, and I do, I wasn't brave enough to try this two-day-pound-of-butter-lots-of-fussing recipe.

So here's what we've been doing instead:  Confetti sugar cookies, hamentaschen, challah, date nut pumpkin bread, sourdough bacon maple waffles, cinnamon sugar nuts, granola, and...  maybe that's it.  I'm going to get back on the Dorie wagon, but then I'll be falling off again in May or so when we rip up our kitchen for four or five months.  I've been offered some friend kitchens so I don't lose my mojo.  Thank you, friends!

Here's a sample:

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

TWD: Foccacia

Finally!  So, hi!  This week's recipe was for foccacia.  It's a lovely dimply bread that you can dress up or down.  It takes quite a while to make, but most of the time is long, cold rising.  

This is a recipe with simple ingredients - flour, water, yeast, salt, and olive oil.  I heard a few groans from mixers and owners of said mixers.  I halved the recipe and I kept my KitchenAid at a nice slow speed, and I didn't have any trouble.  It's also a six quart professional model, so that may have had something to do with it as well.  It rose.  It deflated.  It rose.  It deflated.  It rested in the fridge.  Then it rested on the counter.  I deviated a bit here.  I made one bread instead of two smaller ones.  I dimpled instead of slashed.  And I completely forgot about the whole "spritz with water" thing.  Oops.

I borrowed from a recipe that a friend requested for the topping.  She saw a foccacia with thin Meyer lemon slices and fresh rosemary.  Done and done.  I did a quick sprinkle of coarse salt, and in to the oven it went.

Ta dah!

It ended up a little dark around the edges - I think I left it in a minute or two too long.  Ah well.  Plus, the spritzing might have made for a slightly less crispy crust.

The flavor was lovely, though.  I would highly recommend this combination.  In the end, if I did the right planning, I would make this again.  Go visit Wandering Through if you'd like the recipe.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

TWD: Finnish Pulla

Oh my, but this is a fabulous recipe.  It's a sweet, but not so sweet bread.  It made the house smell AMAZING.  We are cardamom lovers in this house, so I was looking forward to this one.

I started this morning.  The dough was simple to put together.  I used my stand mixer to do the kneading.  I am lucky to live near a fabulous spice shop called The Spice House.  They have cardamom seeds that have already been shelled.  It's lovely because it retains potency that ground cardamom loses, but I don't have to break open all the pods.  Win!  I have a dedicated spice grinder, and after a quick whir I was ready to go.  

I was pretty happy for the P & Q this week.  I saw that some other folks had played with the rising time some, so I was fairly confident about walking away for a bit.  I made the dough, let it do the first rise, and then shaped it.  It was so silky and so easy to roll and braid.  After shaping, I put it in the fridge for a few hours.  After it came back to room temperature, I let it rise for another half hour or so and then baked it off.  I chose to make two smaller loaves instead of a round.  One was coated with pearlized sugar and almonds and one with just sugar.

They are a gorgeous golden brown.  As of this writing (9:00 pm Chicago time) all of one loaf and most of the other are already gone.  I will say that there seven of us eating it, but still.  It's great on its own, but we also discovered that it's amazing with a small amount of nutty, sweet cheese (Sartori) melted on top.  

I will be making this again.  The friends who are over and helping us to eat it have threatened me if I don't.  My photos absolutely do not do the bread justice.

 Here is the version with almonds.

 This is the sugar only loaf.

Sliced and ready to be eaten.

The Boy gives his sign of approval.

Go visit Erin's blog for the recipe (You want to make this).  Or go buy the book already!

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

TWD: Gingerbread Baby Cakes

We are major ginger lovers at this house.  I can't wait for the fall when ginger abounds (though, I'll eat it at any time of the year)  Anything ginger usually disappears pretty quickly.  I make gingersnaps, lebkuchen, and gingerbread on a regular basis, so I was pretty sure this would be a hit as well.  I was correct.  This is some SERIOUS gingerbread.  With the high ratio of molasses and the hit of black pepper, this was not for the (ginger) faint of heart.

These were ridiculously easy to put together.  Dry ingredients in one bowl (the surprise addition of powdered espresso and cocoa powder added more flavor dimensions) and liquid in the other.  Quick blend, and done.  I was a little surprised at the amount of molasses.  My favorite gingersnap calls for twice the flour and half the molasses.  I also realized that I didn't have fresh ginger, so I subbed minced candied ginger.  I used my mini bundt pan, which makes 12 mini cakes.  There was enough batter left over for one three inch cake.  These took longer to bake than I expected.  Mine baked for a total of 28 minutes with the mini cake taking about eight minutes more.  The house smelled delicious throughout, so the longer baking time was ok.

This is a very good gingerbread.  It was suggested to me that a dollop of creme fraiche and/or lemon curd would be lovely.  These did beg for hot chocolate or something just a little sweet.  I will certainly file this away as a possibility for future baking, but we have a few favorites that would take precedent.  I will say that these minis were a perfect size.  I think too much more would have been a little overwhelming.

Go see the recipe and better photos at Karen's Kitchen Stories.