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!