Tuesday, December 28, 2010

TWD: Rewind!

Just like everyone else, I've been doing A LOT of baking. This is a crazy month. There were some birthdays and cakes and bars baked for said birthdays. There were the usual Dorie assignments. There was also some extra-curricular baking going on. Between this weekend and last I made four cakes, seven-layer bars, cookies, and sweet and spicy nuts. Whew!

Technically, I made five cakes, but we'll get back to that. I decided for my rewind to go seasonal. Back in September, I made a Peach Upside Downer. It was supposed to be cranberry, but they weren't quite in the stores yet and I had some ripe peaches. I thought it was time to try the cranberry version.

This was a snap to put together. I made a lovely caramel-ish sauce and poured it in a cake pan. I piled the cranberries and almonds on top. I made a simple cake batter with almond extract to replace the vanilla. A snap. I was a bit nervous about the unveiling, but it worked! The cake came out beautifully. I put it on one of the stove burners to cool for a minute while I moved some other things around. Uh oh.

Cranberry REALLY Upside Downer.

Sigh. Now, because I have a very stocked kitchen and because I am a little bit crazy. I made the cake again. That night. To prove that I could do it and not mess it up. Well, at least to prove that I can keep it on the counter.

Here it is. It was quite tasty. I must admit, though, that I liked the peach version better. Maybe I was just bitter about the broken plate. Who knows. I'm pretty sure I'll keep making some version of this one!

The color was gorgeous and the cake was so moist!

Hope everyone had a fun and disaster-free holiday!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

TWD: Cardamom Crumb Cake

There's a funny thing about baking along with this group with this cookbook. I don't actually tend to look through it much. I know that at some point we'll get to all the recipes, so I don't tempt myself much by reading it. I hadn't remembered that this recipe was in the book. Now, I want to bake and/or eat it every day.

It has such wonderful and wonderfully balanced components. First there's cardamom, which is a floral-ish spice. Add coffee for a dark, slightly bitter counterpart. Toss in some citrus for a little sweet acid. And my finishing touch - pistachios for a buttery flavor and crunchy texture. (Dorie called for walnuts but a) I don't like them and b) I didn't have them.)

This was simple to put together. The crumb topping was a snap. (Dorie suggests that you can use this for a number of different uses. I suggest eating it out of the bowl.) The cake came together with slight effort. Mine baked for the time called.

Here is the finished cake. Its simple looking is hiding great deliciousness.
This cake was (yes, was, it lasted at my house for about a day) amazing. The flavors blended together so well. The cake itself was moist and the crumb added just the right flavor and texture notes. I could easily see whipping this together for a brunch or breakfast. Or a snack. Just for me....

The last piece in the pan. So lovely and so sad. I must make more.

This is definitely going into heavy rotation at my house. Thank you Jill of Jill's Blog for introducing a new favorite.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

TWD: Apple Coconut Family Cake

We all know of my dislike of coconut. My family, however, loves the stuff. So while a bite of this would never pass my lips, the rest of the gang was eager.

This was a very simple cake to put together. There was some easy peeling, slicing/dicing, and mixing to get this one done. It was baked in a spring form pan. Dorie suggests that you use unsweetened coconut, but all I had was the sweetened stuff, so that's what I used. I did have to bake this about ten minutes longer than the recipe called for. I also didn't glaze the cake at the end. Truly, I didn't think it was necessary.

This was a big hit. All of my coconut lovers really enjoyed it. The girl had a friend over for dinner, and she loved it as well. It looked very moist and seemed to be better on the second day. Maybe it's a good thing I didn't eat it. I made up for the calories with the cookies from a cookie exchange at the yarn shop where I work.

Here's the cake. The little pattern on the top is slightly uneven, but I'll just call it rustic.

The girl loved it.

The boy devoured his.

The Friend was pretty happy. She's the only coconut lover in her house.

Thank you Amber of Cobbler du Monde for giving my family a cake they really enjoyed.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

TWD: Translucent Maple Tuiles

Oh. Holy. Smokes. These cookies are crazy good. Good like, the batch makes 40 cookies, and I'm pretty sure that it would only take one sitting for them to disappear.

Initially, this cookie scared me. Not the dough. The dough was a snap. I was given good advice about making sure all the ingredients were room temperature. I was nervous about taking the cookies and placing them gently on something round to make a lovely shaped cookie. I have heard and seen too many horror stories about smushed, scrunched, or otherwise mangled hot cookies.

I got some other good advice and lowered my oven temp to 375. You start out with marble sized balls of dough. I put nine on my baking sheet. I literally sat in front of the oven and watched the first batch bake. It was pretty cool watching them melt and then bubble. At exactly seven minutes, I pulled them out of the oven. I used my thinnest spatula to slide one off. Hmmm, pretty easy. And then I moved it to the (plastic wrap covered - more good advice!) rolling pin. It slid off easily, and I was on to the next cookie! Two more on the pin and the other six on the rack. Wow! I can do this! I made two more batches letting the baking sheet cool COMPLETELY between batches. I have more dough in the fridge.

Here are the cooling cookies. No one counted, did they?

I love most anything maple. Maple and butter even more so. Once these cookies cooled, they turned into a crunchy, maple-y, buttery round of joy. At first I was slightly annoyed by the nine cookie per sheet limit. Then I realized that it was for my own good. If I made more, I would eat more.

Thank you thank you thank you Hindy of Bubie's Little Baker for choosing this recipe!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

TWD: Devilish Shortcakes

I just made these this afternoon. When the kids got home from school, they WANTED TO EAT THEM. I made them wait until after dinner. I'm such a mean mom.

I forget how much I like shortcake. I also forget how easy it is. I halved the recipe, and I still got nine pretty decent sized shortcakes. I did make one substitution. The girl is on a total eggnog kick. I found chocolate eggnog at our local Trader Joe's. I thought she would like it. I was wrong. Ah well. I didn't have whole milk, but I did have chocolate eggnog!

The fillings were kid's choice. The Boy chose my mom's pear and cranberry relish. The Girl chose hot chocolate ice cream. Both asked for whipped cream. Both enjoyed it a lot. The real taste comes from the filling. The eggnog flavor is not really discernible. There is a slight eggnoggy taste, but nothing you'd be able to pick out.

I'm not sure that I'd make these again unless I had some really good summer berries. The kids would like it if I made them all the time. Then again, they aren't that picky.

This is a photo of last week's treat:

Thanks to Tania of Love Big, Bake Often for this week's treat.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

TWD: Rewind!

Happy Thanksgiving week, everyone! This week we were allowed to choose any of the recipes that have already been made. Scanning through the list made my mouth water. In the end, I decided on some traditional(ish) favorites.

At my house there will be apple pie (this one's not a Dorie recipe), Cranberry Upside Downer (p. 206, The link will get you to a peach version. You'll have to use your imagination for a few more days), and All in One Holiday Bundt Cake (p. 186-187 ) See, since it's only Tuesday, the baking hasn't happened yet. I'll have new photos of the new food on Friday.

Have a wonderful, happy, healthy, thankful holiday!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Not a TWD: I was on a business trip

And this weekend was crazy busy. Fabulous friends in from out of town. A great tailgate (mmm, pumpkin cinnamon rolls!) My birthday ;-). But no TWD.

I'll be back next week!

Go to Celestial Confections to see the recipe.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

TWD: Not Just for Thanksgiving Cranberry Shortbread Cake

That is a very long title. Very long. The dessert? Very good. I had a much different picture in my head of what this actually was. Then I read the recipe. Oh! It's two layers of a shortbread cookie with cranberry orange jam sandwiched in between. Yum!

This was a simple recipe. The cranberry jam was a snap to make and could easily stand alone. I didn't have an orange (oops) so I used orange juice that I had and a drop of orange oil. I like a tart counterpoint to the shortbread, so I only used a half cup of sugar. The shortbread was also a cinch. I made the dough, divided it into two disks and stuck it in the fridge.

Dorie calls for a springform pan, though I could easily see making this in a square pan and cutting it into bars instead of slices. I pressed the bottom layer of dough into the pan and then spread the cranberry jam on top. I pressed out the top layer between two sheets of plastic wrap and then placed it on top of the jam. I sprinkled the top layer with coarse sugar.

The baking times messed with me a little. The edges were a nice golden brown, and the top was lightly golden. What I didn't realize was that the middle was still a bit squishy. Definitely needed a few more minutes in the oven. The layers weren't exactly even, which may also have contributed to the underdone middle.

The presentation of the cake is lovely. The Boy said that "It was one of the most delicious things in the world." I really liked it as well. We brought it to a friend's house for dinner, and it was universally enjoyed. Funny enough, I have a similar recipe for a shortbread bar with jelly/jam in the middle that I make in a 13 x 9 pan. This is sort of a more refined cousin to that one.

I could see this making a return trip to our table. Especially if The Boy has anything to say about it. Thanks to Jessica of Singleton in the Kitchen for this lovely recipe.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

TWD: Peanuttiest Blondies

Yowsa. Yes, that's a word. As in, "Yowsa, these were amazing!" Seriously, though, when you have a blondie made with peanuts, peanut butter, and chocolate, what could be bad?

This was a simple recipe to put together. I used my favorite chunky peanut butter, lots of chopped peanuts and mini chocolate chips. The recipe calls for a 9 x 9 pan which makes a very thick blondie. I could see making these in a 13 x 9 for a thinner bar. I wholeheartedly agree with the use of the mini chips in this recipe. The peanuts are the star with the chocolate adding a little flavor note.

I was a little worried about the baking time because these smelled done while they were still a bit jiggly in the middle. They were pretty brown looking on the top, too. I ended up baking them for about 45 minutes and leaving them in the turned off oven for about another 10. Perfect. They were chewy without being soggy. The peanuts gave just the right amount of crunch.

The Husband had some friends over the day I made these, and they were a huge hit. I won't say how many each person ate, but there weren't too many leftovers.

These are absolutely going to be made again in my house. Thanks Nicole of Bakologie for picking such a great recipe.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

TWD: All American, All Delicious Apple Pie

Apple pie is just about my favorite dessert ever. Top it with some vanilla ice cream, and you'll reach Nirvana. Ok, I will. I have a couple of tried and true recipes that I make every fall. One uses a double crust, and one has an oatmeal/apple cider crust and a streusel top.

Truthfully, Dorie's recipe wasn't so far off the "traditional" recipe. It calls for apples, cinnamon, lemon juice, a bit of sugar, and tapioca. The tapioca is used as a thickening agent. I didn't want to buy it just for this recipe, so I used corn starch. Worked like a charm. I'm sure that Dorie's Good for Everything Pie Crust is just that, but I refuse to use anything other than the one from Cook's Illustrated. I've had success too manytimes with it to use another.

Does anything smell as good as an apple pie baking in the oven? This one turned out lovely and delicious.

The only drawback for me was that I needed more apples. I used my deep dish pan, and the apples did a magic shrinking trick. There was quite a cavern between the crust and apples. I didn't use Granny Smith apples this time, and that could be part of the problem.

Flaky flaky crust. This one is just waiting for its best friend, vanilla ice cream.

Will this recipe drag me from my standard version? Probably not. Was a I happy to have a reason to make apple pie? Of course!

Thank you to Emily of Sandmuffin for getting more pie into my house.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Coolest thing around

There is a very special day coming up. It's Dorie Greenspan's birthday! Dorie of Tuesdays With Dorie and French Fridays With Dorie. (FFWD is a cook-along with Dorie's fabulous new book, Around My French Table) To celebrate this wonderful event, some of us created a multi-course meal that we are (virtually) sharing with Dorie.

I made an appetizer from her book. While tzatsiki is not, strictly speaking, French, this wonderful Greek treat can be found at many markets in Paris. (Mind you, I'm taking her word on this. Or perhaps I need to go to Paris to find out for myself....)

Tzatsiki is very versatile. It can be used for a dip, dressing, or as a lovely snack. I often just eat it with a spoon. It's made from simple ingredients, so it's important that they be high quality. The good news is that Greek yogurt can be found at almost any supermarket these days. It comes together very easily.

My food styling is not quite up to par, but the tzatsiki is wonderful!

Happy birthday, Dorie! I hope you enjoy the tzatsiki and the rest of the meal.

Holly at Phenomenon has the whole menu. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

TWD: Caramel Pumpkin Pie

This was not a recipe that called out to me. I'm not a fan of pumpkin pie. Although I've lately come to enjoy pumpkin baked treats (whoopie pies, blondies, and quick bread), I'm not a pumpkin pie girl. I skipped last week due to totally forseen circumstances (helloooo cruise to the Bahamas), and I wasn't about the skip again. That meant pumpkin pie. Or did it....

I am going to fully cop to not being organized enough to make this recipe well. First off, I didn't have heavy cream.I did have evaporated milk, which I'vesubstituted before, so I was willing to try it. I didn't fully read the recipe before I started baking, so I was in a bit of a tizzy gathering and getting ingredients ready. I also didn't want to deal with pie crust. I know. It's not hard. I make it often enough not to be afraid of it. Mostly I was lazy. And, you know, the whole "pumpkin pie" thing. I was thrilled to see another baker post an idea for pumpkin custard in ramekins. I'm in!

But back to why I needed the heavy cream. We had to make caramel. Just melted sugar caramel. That scares the bejeezus out of me.It goes from mahogany to black likethat. Plus, Dorie tells us to use a non-stick skillet. Mine has a black bottom. I'm not sure how I'm supposed to judge the color when the background is black. So I rebelled and used a regular saucepan. Rebel. It actually got to the necessary color and everything! I stirred in the butter, milk, and rum, and stirred until smooth. I was nervous because mine was pretty liquidy. But I didn't see an instruction to cook until it thickened.

I finished out the recipe, combined all the ingredients,poured the mixture into the ramekins, and hoped for the best.

I decided that a little crunch would be good, so I crumbled up some ginger cookies and sprinkled them in the bottom of the ramekins.

Here is a finished custard. Not a very appealing photo for sure.

Here's the dark inside with a hint of the Cool Whip that we ate with it. Yes. Cool Whip.

Well, I have to say that I am not a big fan. Perhaps I cooked the sugar too long and the caramel not enough. There is a bitter edge that I don't like and the rum flavor is pretty pronounced. This could all be user error. I really like the concept, and once I got going, it wasn't hard. I haven't decided if this is a keeper or not. The substitution didn't seem to effect the texture, so that was good. Ah well. There's always next week.

Thanks Janell of Mortensen Family Memoirs for getting me to try something new!

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

TWD: Double Apple Bundt Cake

There are so many things to love about Bundt cakes. They have a fun design that help you cut the slices nice and even. (Big pieces for me - little pieces for everyone else) They look really cool when you drizzle glaze on them. And, especially in the case of this cake, they taste wonderful. We recently went apple picking, so I've made a bunch of apple recipes in the past two weeks. I was very happy to add this to my baking list.

This was a great fall cake to make. The "double apple" idea isn't two apples (really, it was more than that for me) but apples and apple butter. It's also full of seasonal spices. Yum! This came together really easily. The original recipe called for raisins and pecans. I said no to the raisins. I only like them in oatmeal cookies or cinnamon raisin bread. I used half pecans and I subbed one of my favorite ingredients (maple flav-r-bites**) for the other half cup.

The cake was very moist and so tasty. I made it the day before I planned to serve it to let the flavors blend. A few days later, the little bit that was left tasted just as wonderful. I would absolutely make this again. Though, I would use fewer of the bites. The maple flavor almost overwhelmed the apple. Not that it was a bad thing, mind you because I love maple. But I really wanted the apple to shine through.

Not a very photogenic cake. But it is tasty!

Photogenic children, though! Also, a bit goofy. Please ignore the mess at the breakfast table.

Thank you Lynne from Honey Muffin for choosing this recipe.

** Flav-r-bites are these little nuggets bursting with either cinnamon or maple flavor. They are wheat based, so unlike chips, they don't melt. I highly recommend them!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Not a TWD: I did some other baking instead

This week I made an apple slab and pumpkin blondies.

Although my photos would never ever be as good, my treats look remarkably similar to those in the blogs. I would highly recommend either recipe.

Next week I'll be back on the TWD wagon.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

TWD: Coffee-Break Muffins

I really like the smell of coffee. And I love coffee ice cream. But I drink "coffee". It has to have so much milk, sweetener, vanilla, and chocolate in it that it is virtually unrecognizable as coffee. I was sure this sweet, coffee muffin would be right up my alley.

These muffins were a snap to put together. The recipe calls for espresso powder and brewed coffee. I had both! To gild the lily just a bit, I added mini semi-sweet chocolate chips. Coffee and chocolate do go so well together.

I tasted the batter hoping for a nice coffee punch. Hmmmm. The smell of the muffins baking in the oven was sweet and yummy, but there wasn't a lot of coffee wafting about. The taste was delicious. It was, however, lacking in coffee flavor. I know that from the "coffee" drinker, this might seem blasphemous. I really was expecting more of a coffee taste from these. Regardless, they were a hit. The Boy really liked them. The Girl liked picking the chocolate chips out of them.

I'm not sure that these hold a spot in my rotation. Then again, considering how I drink my "coffee", I just may find room for them. Thanks to Rhiani of Chocoholic Anonymous for choosing this one.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

TWD: Cranberry Upside-Downer (but not cranberry)

It's early September, and I am loving the slightly cooler weather here in the Chicago area. This cake totally fits in the fall season. Except there weren't really cranberries to be had just yet. And by slightly cooler I mean low 80's instead of 95 and humid. The other option was peach. I went with peaches.

I found these fabulous, sweet, HUGE peaches as Costco. Huge as in bigger than a tennis ball. When you go big, you run the risk of mealy peaches. Not these. They are sweet and delicious. It only took one peach to line my pan.

HUGE peaches.

This is one peach sliced and fanned out.

This is a simple recipe. It's a basic upside down cake. It started with a syrup of sugar and butter. Next came a layer of peaches. Last was a simple butter cake. Into the oven for a bake. Out of the oven for a flip. I was a tad nervous. But it worked out just fine. There was lots of syrup pooled on the plate near the cake. A few hours of resting took care of it. The cake soaked it all back up. I was worried that it would get soggy, but it only added a lovely peachy moistness to the cake. Dorie offers a glaze option, but I don't think it was at all necessary.

Yum! This is minutes after the flip. You can still see some juice around the edges

You can almost see how moist and yummy this cake is (was - didn't last long)

This one is an absolute keeper. I can't wait to try it again with cranberries! Go to Sabrina's blog to see what the cranberry version looks like.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

TWD: Peanut Butter Crisscrosses

This recipe came at a perfect time. The Girl and Boy started school last week (finally!), and this was the treat that was waiting for them when they came home. They were pretty pleased with Dorie for the recipe and Jasmine (of Jasmine Cuisine) for choosing these. I even got a few hugs for making them.

Simple cookie to make. I always have the ingredients on hand to make peanut butter cookies. Except when I don't, so I used chopped cashew nuts instead of peanuts. This is maybe what made me only like the cookies and not love them. Needed more peanut flavor. I'm not sure that they needed to be rolled in the extra sugar.

Having said that, I don't actually happen to have a favorite peanut butter cookie recipe. I may just have to make this one again with peanuts. I don't think anyone here would stop me.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

TWD: Espresso Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

I cannot overemphasize how much I love these cookies. Love. Them. This is cookie simplicity at its best.

The dough is simple to make, and it uses ingredients I always have on hand. Once it's mixed, it's ready to go into the bag. Yes, I said bag. This is where Dorie's genius shines through. She has us spread the dough into an even layer in a gallon sized zip top bag. Genius. Then the dough goes into the fridge or freezer for a chill. A very necessary chill to help the flavors meld and allow the cookies to keep their shape when baking.

Once the chill is ended, the cookies go on a cutting board. The plastic bag is cut off, and the slicing can begin. I use my kitchen ruler (it's a sturdy plastic and can go in the dishwasher) and a pizza cutter to make even 1 1/2" squares. They go on a cookie sheet, each cookie gets pierced with a fork two times, and then the sheet goes in the oven. Easy and done.

The mix of the espresso and chocolate is perfect. I've made these a few times. One of my favorite versions used chopped Lindt orange and almond chocolate. This batch went to the teachers at the Boy's school. I know how to stay on the good side of the school staff.

Awww. A heart for the teachers.

Make these. Now. Try not to eat all the dough before they become cookies. The key word there is "try." Thank you Donna of Life's Too Short Not to Eat Dessert First for giving me a chance to make these wonderful cookies again.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Not a TWD: Vacation!

We've just returned from a wonderful weekend away. But, that means no baking. I'll be back next week!

(In a little while, this will be a wonderful photo of my children silhouetted against the lake with the moon high in the sky. The Husband has to e-mail it to me first.)

Here it is!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

TWD: Oatmeal Breakfast Bread

The name, folks, is a misnomer. This bread isn't just for breakfast, though it was lovely toasted with a dab of cream cheese. It was also a nice afternoon snack and a little something to get me through that after dinner time.

For some reason, I originally thought this was a yeasted bread. When I saw that it was a quick bread, I was sold even more. This was an easy - and adaptable - bread to make. It calls for ingredients that I usually have on hand, so that was nice. I found a great dried fruit mix from Trader Joe's in my cabinet. It came together pretty quickly with no mixer. I'd seen where a few people had problems with the interior being soggy. While mine has a moist spot or two, it's basically baked through.

I love the golden color, and it smelled heavenly. The light coatingof pecans and cinnamon/sugar was a nice addition.

Here is a cross-section. You can see the lovely fruit and moist texture of the bread.

While the husband and I liked it, it was not a hit with the Boy and Girl. They were unimpressed. What do they know anyway. Unfortunately, since they do a fair portion of the eating around here, I don't know that I'll be making this one again. Ah well. Go see Natalie's blog, Oven Love, for the recipe.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

TWD: Chocolate Ganache Ice Cream

Let me just start this by saying HOLY SMOKES! This stuff is good. Really good. I don't have a photo because I just finished the churning, and the ice cream is in the freezer. But the taste that I snuck was fantastic.

*** Here's the finished ice cream. YUM!

How far do you think I'll get with my family if I told them that it was horrible and I had to spare them and no, I didn't eat all the ice cream before dinner, why would you think that? Oh, that stain on my shirt? I was cleaning something. Yeah, that's it.

Ok, I gave them each a taste. I think they liked it.

This one is simple to make with indefinite possibilities. If I can remember and if there's any left (a big IF), I'll take photos. (Done!) Go see Katrina's blog, Baking and Boys to see some gorgeous photos and the recipe.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Not a TWD: I was a bit busy

This week's recipe was gingered carrot cookies. While they do sound intriguing, I was a bit busy this past week and weekend and they did not get made. I'll have to read everyone else's comments and see if they get favorable reviews.

Go see Natalia's blog for photos and the recipe.

I'll be back next week because it's ice cream. I rarely pass up ice cream.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

TWD: Chewy, Chunky Blondies

Hands down, this is one of my favorite recipes from the book. I've made these numerous times. The first time I followed the recipe as written, then I veered off course and I never looked back.

I lent my cookbook to a friend before I joined the TWD book. She had it for about two weeks. She wrote her notes on Post-its and left them on the pages of the recipes she had baked. On the page with this recipe, the note says, "Perfect. Imade these twice."

This version was without coconut. I truly don't feel that it adds all that much. Plus, I don't like it. This is a simple bar cookie. It comes together very easily. The only trick is the baking time. This batch baked for 25 extra minutes, and the bars were just the way I like them, moist and very chewy. I used cappuccino chips, chocolate chips, and toasted almonds for this batch. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Here's a bit of a close up. The top crust did separate from the rest of the bars a bit. It was a nice contrast to the chewy of the interior.

Here's the whole batch ready to go to a friend's house. They did not last long.

Thank you, Nicole, of Cookies on Friday for letting me re-live this deliciousness.

Monday, July 19, 2010

TWD: Lots of Ways Banana Cake, but I didn't make it

I have a great recipe for banana bread. One that I love. It's just sweet enough to work as cake if needed, but also just the right texture for a lovely quick bread. And I have a great banana chocolate chip cake recipe. So I skipped this week.

Here's a link to my BCCC. It's my absolute go-to when I need a cake for almost any reason.

My absolute favorite banana bread is from King Arthur. I buy these things called Flav-R-Bites. They look slightly like rabbit pellets. They are a great addition to many baked goods. One of my favorites is their banana bread. Hmmm. I think I'll have to make it this week and post about it.

Anyway, so that's why I didn't bake Dorie's recipe. I'm sorry Kimberly (of Only Creative Opportunities) for not baking along. I know I'm baking along next week because I've already done so.

Monday, July 12, 2010

TWD: Brrrrr-ownies

I've often stated my thoughts on brownies. (Every time we bake them, actually) I was going to skip this one, but the girl loves chocolate and mint, so I baked.

This is essentially a lovely chocolate brownie with lots of peppermint patties thrown in for good measure. It was easy to put together. I melted the chocolates and butter in the microwave and then stirred everything else intothe bowl. It was pretty darn easy. I mixed in a bunch of the chopped up patties, and I saved some to throw on top. I didn't realized until after I greased the pan that it was 9 x 9 and not 8 x 8. Ah well. I cut down on the baking time. Don't think I cut down enough.

The taste was really good. I liked the bittersweet chocolate with the sweetness of the mint candies. The edges had a dry texture, though. The middle pieces were much better. If requested, I would make these again.

Here's the whole pan just out of the oven. I kinda like the way the candy looks.

Thanks, Karen of Our Crazy Blessed Life for this week's pick.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

TWD: Tarte Noire

Whew! Just got in under the Tuesday deadline. This one was rich, creamy, and totally simple.

Here's what made it simple: I had two 4" tart crusts already baked and hanging out in my freezer. They were chocolate, so that added to the super richness of this dish.

I picked out some of my favorite Lindt Intense Orange chocolate. Yum! I made 1/4 of the recipe for the two tart shells. Here's how I know this is a very versatile recipe. I had no heavy cream for the ganache. I used what I had. I'm almost embarrassed to say it. I used fat free half and half. There. I said it. You heat the cream. Pour it over the chocolate. Add the butter. And then put the whole thing in the fridge. Dead easy.

It certainly didn't set up as well as it would have if I had used heavy cream. It was much creamier - more like a pudding. Still, the flavor was excellent.

Pardon the lousy photos. We were out of natural light. No real sheen on the tart. Ah well.

The slight lumps are the almond slivers in the chocolate.

I would absolutely make this again.

Thanks Dharmagirl for choosing this one!