Showing posts with label TWD. Show all posts
Showing posts with label TWD. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Banana Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake

One of my coworkers recently told me she was tired of coming to my blog and seeing green beans. While they were delicious, I've decided to post something new, just for her. And you all get to reap the benefits, because this cake is delicious! 

In case you didn't know, the best week of the year is going on right now. Not only is it the week leading up to my birthday, but it's the week before my 1st Mother's Day as a mom, and, best of all, It's Frappy Hour week! The lovely people at Starbucks bless us with a week of half-price Frappuccinos from 3-5pm each year. And I have to admit that I've been each day since the promo began. Since everyone else and their mom is also going, the drive-thru line is a mile long, and I'm forced to go get my coffee inside, where I'm tempted by the pastry case. Specifically, the Reduced-Fat Banana Chocolate Chip Cake. 

Back in the days of my barista service, this cake was introduced (along with the banana mocha frappuccino, which was actually delicious!) and I took my job of cutting up samples for patrons (okay, myself) very seriously! I loved this cake then, and I love it now. But rather than spend $3 on one slice, I decided to use up the browning bananas at home and make this cake for free with pantry staples. It was moist, chocolatey, and subtly flavored with banana. It goes perfectly with my 4 o'clock coffee frappuccino pick-me-up! 

For the recipe, I went to a trusty source, Dorie Greenspan! I used her Banana Bundt Cake and simply added a handful of chocolate chips!

Banana Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake
a few slight changes from Dorie Greenspan's Baking From My Home to Yours

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 sticks salted butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature
4 ripe bananas, mashed (1 1/2+ cups)
1 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
1 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350*
Butter a 12 c. bundt pan and set aside.
In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat butter and eggs until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
Add eggs one at a time until mixed well, then add vanilla and bananas.
Turn mixer off, scrape down sides.
Add the baking soda and sift in half the flour.
Beat until absorbed. 
Add the sour cream, then the rest of the flour and beat until just absorbed and batter is no longer curdled.
Turn the mixer off, fold in chocolate chips.
Pour batter into bundt pan and smooth out top with a spatula. 
Bake 60-75 minutes, until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
Transfer to a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes, invert on a place and cool to room temperature. 

Monday, July 6, 2009

Blueberry Crumb Coffee Cake

When I first got Baking, From My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan, I was amazed at how many recipes had photos. I hate cookbooks that don't have photos because I am such a visual person. When I flipped to the page that had this Blueberry Crumb Coffee Cake, I dog earred the page and knew I'd be making it at some point.
I seriously considered it for my TWD week when I was part of the group, but I know blueberries can be hard to find and expensive in the off season, so I went with the WONDERFUL banana marble loaf.
Well I'd forgotten about the recipe until I was packing up my cookbooks on Friday and saw it. Since I was going blueberry picking on Saturday, it seemed like fate. I made it as soon as I could! This recipe was good, the cake was nice, but it's the crumbs that make it something special! My cake was a bit dry, and I only cooked it for 50 minutes, so I don't know that I'd go as long as Dorie says to.
I also didn't have walnuts, so I used rolled oats instead. I think the oats made the crumble even more delicious and healthier! I served this with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.

Blueberry Crumb Coffee Cake
by Dorie Greenspan

For the Crumbs:
5 tbsp unsalted butter at room temp
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar (packed)
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup rolled oats

For the Cake:
1 pint blueberries
2 cups plus 2 tsp all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
2/3 cup sugar
grated zest of 1/2 lemon
3/4 stick (6 tbsp) unsalted butter at room temp
2 large eggs, at room temp
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350.
Butter an 8-inch square pan and put it on a baking sheet.
To make the crumbs:
Put all the ingredients except the nuts in a food processor and pulse just until the mixture forms clumps and curds and holds together when pressed.
Scrape the topping into a bowl, stir in the nuts and press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface.
Refrigerate until needed.

To make the cake:
Using your fingertips, toss the blueberries and 2 tsp of the flour together in a small bowl just to coat the berries; set aside.
Whisk together the remaining 2 cups flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Working in the bowl of a stand mixer or in another large bowl, rub the sugar and zest together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and aromatic.
Add the butter and, with the paddle or whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat the sugar with the butter at medium speed until light, about 3 minutes.
Add the eggs one by one, beating for about 1 minute after each addition, then beat in the vanilla extract.
Don’t be concerned if the batter looks curdled — it will soon smooth out.
Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture and the buttermilk alternately, the flour in 3 parts and the buttermilk in 2 (begin and end with the dry ingredients.)
You will have a thick, creamy batter.
With a rubber spatula, gently stir in the berries.
Scrape the batter into the buttered pan and smooth the top gently with the spatula.
Pull the crumb mix from the fridge and, with your fingertips, break it into pieces.
There’s no need to try to get even pieces — these are crumbs, they’re supposed to be lumpy and bumpy and every shape and size. Scatter the crumbs over the batter, pressing them down ever so slightly.
Bake for 55 to 65 minutes, or until the crumbs are golden and a thin knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
Transfer the cake to a rack and cool just until it is warm or until it reaches room temperature.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

My TWD Pick - Black and White Banana Loaf

This week was my week to choose the TWD recipe. I had the hardest time deciding what to choose! I wanted to please the group, as well as my husband, and myself!
I decided to make this cake because we haven’t made a loaf cake yet, and I have never made a marbled cake. When I first saw this cake, it reminded me of the marbled loaf cake at Starbucks, as well as the banana chocolate chip cake, one of my favorites!
I have remade a few of Dorie’s recipes to tweak it a bit, and that’s what I had to do this week! The first time I made it, the batter was too runny and the marbling didn’t stay intact (that’s the photo down below). Since it was my host week, I was determined to get it right, so I tried it again. The second time, I cut the nutmeg back for taste, used only 1 banana, ¼ c. milk, and added ¼ c. flour, used light butter, and omitted the granulated sugar and rum (because I could barely taste it in the first loaf). This time, the cake marbled beautifully and tasted even better!

I hope everyone enjoyed this cake as much as I did, though I wish it came out ‘right’ the first time, it was nice to be challenged a bit to get it right! I ate mine with some chocolate milk (JJ had vanilla) like Dorie recommended and it was a fantastic breakfast.

Black-and-White Banana Loaf

1 1/3 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1 ½ ripe bananas, peeled
Squirt of fresh lemon juice
Grated zest of ½ lemon
1 tbsp. dark rum
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 stick plus 2 tbsp. room temperature butter
2/3 c. packed light brown sugar
1/3 c. sugar
4 large eggs
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
½ c. whole milk

Getting Ready:
Center a rack in the oven and preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter an 8 ½ x4 ½ x 2 ½ inch loaf pan on an insulated baking sheet.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg.
In another small bowl, mash the bananas with lemon juice, zest, then stir in the rum.
Melt the chocolate and 2 tbsp. butter together in a microwave or saucepan over simmering water.
Working with a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter at medium speed until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the sugars and beat for 2-3 more minutes, until light and smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in vanilla. The batter will look curdled, and it will continue to look curdled as you add ingredients. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add half the flour mixture, mixing only until it is just incorporated. With the mixer running, pour in the milk and when it is blended add the remaining dry ingredients.
Scrape down the bowl and mix in the mashed bananas. The batter will look even lumpier.
Pour a little less than half the batter into the bowl with melted chocolate and stir to blend. Drop alternating spoonfuls of both batters into prepared pan (or follow any of the marbling techniques on page. 229). Then, using a knife, swirl the batters taking care not to overdo it.
Bake for 1 hour and 20 – 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. Check after 30 minutes, if the cake browns too much, cover loosely with a foil tent. Transfer the cake to a cooling rack and let it cool for 15 minutes before removing it from the pan. Continue to cool on the rack.
The original loaf, not exactly marbled, and too wet!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Apple Cheddar Scones

This week, Karina of The Floured Apron chose Apple Cheddar Scones. I was thrilled because I love apple and cheddar paired together! I also was able to double duty these, because I had them for breakfast Sunday during the race in New Hampshire. When I was younger, my family would go apple picking in New England, and apples and apple cider remind me of those days!

The recipe called for apple cider, but it's not on sale right now, so I used Simply Apple. It's not exactly cider, but it is much more flavorful than apple juice. I found dried apples in the bulk bin at our local co-op health food store. I also used 4 tbsp. of light butter instead of 8 tbsp. of regular, you can find the recipe over at Karina's blog if you'd like to see!

I really enjoyed these scones, and I will for sure make them again!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Mixed Berry Cobbler

This week's TWD recipe is Mixed Berry Cobbler, chosen by Beth. I really enjoyed this cobbler. I thought it really showcased the fruit. Since berries are still a bit pricey here, I used peaches to help bulk up the fruit. I also used half whole wheat and half AP flour for the biscuit topper.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

TWD #14

This week's TWD recipes is LaPalette's Strawberry Tart. I made tartelettes because they're cuter and I only wanted to make 1/4 of the recipe! I love how simple and delish this is, really highlighting the strawberry.
TWD founders have been in contact with Dorie, and it's been decided that since we have over 200 members, we won't be posting the recipes anymore. We all feel strongly that everyone should buy the cookbook. I believe that it is truly a reference tool that is timeless. There are so many classic recipes, as well as innovative recipes that Dorie should be getting monetary credit for.
In the future, if you're only looking for once recipe here or there, I can give it to you via email, but they will not be posted for Dorie's sake!

The recipe calls for creme fraiche or whipped cream, but i subbed yogurt, and it was delish!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Tuesdays With Dorie #13

This week for TWD, Madeleines were chosen by Tara. I couldn't be happier that these were chosen. It wasn't until about 3 years ago that I tried my first madeleine. I was working at Starbucks, and one of my favorite regulars bought a pack of them every day with her coffee. I asked her one day what they were, and she said I had to try one. So my coworker and I 'accidently damaged' a pack, and sampled them. OHMYGOSH I had been missing them my whole life!!! I took the next few months to make up for the 18 Madeleine-less years of my life.
I have since been on a mission to make the perfect Madeleine, and try them where ever I find them. Dorie's recipe is wonderful, without the lemon. When I first got this cookbook I made them with, then this time I made them without, and liked them much better.
I got the idea for chocolate chips from the Madeleines I had in France at Epcot. I liked them with chocolate chips, but plain was much better.
I encourage you to buy a Madeleine pan, and try out these wonderful cookie-cakes. You will not be sorry!!!

Traditional Madeleines

2/3 cup all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
½ cup sugar
Grated zest of 1 lemon (omitted)
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
¾ stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
Working in a mixer bowl, or in a large bowl, rub the sugar and lemon zest together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Add the eggs to the bowl. Working with the whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat the eggs and sugar together on medium-high speed until pale, thick and light, 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in the vanilla. With a rubber spatula, very gently fold in the dry ingredients, followed by the melted butter. Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the batter and refrigerate it for at least 3 hours, or for up to 2 days. This long chill period will help the batter form the hump that is characteristic of madeleines. (For convenience, you can spoon the batter into the madeleine molds, cover and refrigerate, then bake the cookies directly from the fridge; see below for instructions on prepping the pans.)
GETTING READY TO BAKE: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter 12 full-size madeleine molds, or up to 36 mini madeleine molds, dust the insides with flour and tap out the excess. Or, if you have a nonstick pan (or pans), give it a light coating of vegetable cooking spray. If you have a silicone pan, no prep is needed. Place the pan(s) on a baking sheet.
Spoon the batter into the molds, filling each one almost to the top. Don’t worry about spreading the batter evenly, the oven’s heat will take care of that. Bake large madeleines for 11 to 13 minutes, and minis for 8 to 10 minutes, or until they are golden and the tops spring back when touched. Remove the pan(s) from the oven and release the madeleines from the molds by rapping the edge of the pan against the counter. Gently pry any recalcitrant madeleines from the pan using your fingers or a butter knife. Transfer the cookies to a rack to cool to just warm or to room temperature.
If you are making minis and have more batter, bake the next batch(es), making certain that you cool, then properly prepare the pan(s) before baking.
Just before serving, dust the madeleines with confectioners’ sugar.
Makes 12 large or 36 mini cookies
Serving: Serve the cookies when they are only slightly warm or when they reach room temperature, with tea or espresso.
Storing: Although the batter can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, the madeleines should be eaten soon after they are made. You can keep them overnight in a sealed container, but they really are better on day 1. If you must store them, wrap them airtight and freeze them; they’ll keep for up to 2 months.
*I added 1 tbsp. mini chocolate chips to half the batter

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

TWD - #11

This week's TWD recipe is Florida Pie. I describe it as a Key Lime Pie and a Coconut Creme Pie and a Lemon Meringue Pie have a threesome. I brought the pie to my parent's house this past weekend, so I received a lot of feedback. Pretty much the whole family scraped off the meringue, as did I. We're not meringue people, I suppose! The key lime layer was very good, but I would add more zest next time, because the flavor wasn't strong or tart enough for me. I liked the coconut layer, but I felt like the whole pie didn't marry well. It was an interesting pie, but overall, not my favorite.
Next week will be Madeleines, my favorite cookie!

Florida Pie

1 9-inch graham cracker crust fully baked and cooled, or a store-bought crust
1 1/3 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups shredded sweetened coconut
4 large eggs, seperated
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup fresh Key (or regular) lime juice (from about 5 regular limes)
1/4 cup of sugar
Getting Ready:
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Put the pie plate on a baking sheet lined with parchment of a silicone mat.
Put the cream and 1 cup of the coconut in a small saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium-low heat, stirring almost constantly. Continue to cook and stir until the cream is reduced by half and the mixture is slightly thickened. Scrape the coconut cream into a bowl and set it aside while you prepare the lime filling.
Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl beat the egg yolks at high speed until thick and pale. Reduce the mixer speed to low and beat in the condensed milk. Still on low, add half of the lime juice. When it is incorporated, add the reaming juice, again mixing until it is blended. Spread the coconut cream in the bottom of the graham cracker crust, and pour over the lime filling.
Bake the pie for 12 minutes. Transfer the pie to a cooling rack and cool for 15 minutes, then freeze the pie for at least 1 hour.
To Finish the Pie with Meringue:
Put the 4 egg whites and the sugar in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan and heat over medium-low heat, whisking all the while, until the whites are hot to the touch. Transfer the whites to a stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, or use a hand mixer in a large bowl, and beat the whites at high speed until they reach room temperature and hold firm peaks. Using a rubber spatula, fold the remaining 1/2 cup coconut into the meringue.
Spread the meringue over the top of the pie, and run the pie under the broiler until the top of the meringue is golden brown. (Or, if you've got a blowtorch, you can use it to brown the meringue.) Return the pie to the freezer for another 30 minutes or for up to 3 hours before serving.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

TWD - #10

This week's Tuesday's with Dorie recipe was chosen by my friend, Elizabeth. At first I wasn't going to make it because I had no one to make it for or give it to, but her threats didn't stop! So I made it. I did make a few changes to make it lower in fat/sugar/calories, like substituting chocolate graham crackers for oreos, using half as much peanuts and chocolate (for the ganache) and cool whip for the cream (and I used no additional sugar). I did have to keep the pie frozen though, but I actually really liked it frozen, it was like an ice cream cake. I haven't received the recipe typed up yet, but when I do I'll post it. This recipe is DELICIOUS, and I highly recommend it for a summer dessert!

Peanut Butter Torte

1 ¼ c. finely chopped salted peanuts (for the filling, crunch and topping)

2 teaspoons sugar

½ teaspoon instant espresso powder (or finely ground instant coffee)

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

½ c. mini chocolate chips (or finely chopped semi sweet chocolate)

24 Oreo cookies, finely crumbed or ground in a food processor or blender

½ stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Small pinch of salt

2 ½ c. heavy cream

1 ¼ c confectioners’ sugar, sifted

12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

1 ½ c salted peanut butter – crunchy or smooth (not natural; I use Skippy)

2 tablespoons whole milk

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate finely chopped

Getting ready: center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch Springform pan and place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat.

Toss ½ cup of the chopped peanuts, the sugar, espresso powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and chocolate chops together in a small bowl. Set aside.

Put the Oreo crumbs, melted butter and salt in another small bowl and stir with a fork just until crumbs are moistened. Press the crumbs evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the spring form pan (they should go up about 2 inches on the sides). Freeze the crust for 10 minutes.

Bake the crust for 10 minutes, then transfer it to a rack and let it cool completely before filling.

Working with a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, whip 2 cups of the cream until it holds medium peaks. Beat in ¼ cup of the confectioners’ sugar and whip until the cream holds medium-firm peaks. Crape the cream into a bowl and refrigerate until needed.

Wipe out (do not wash) the bowl, fit the stand mixer with the paddle attachment if you have one, or continue with the hand mixer, and beat the cream cheese with the remaining 1 cup confectioners’ sugar on medium speed until the cream cheese is satiny smooth. Beat in the peanut butter, ¼ cup of the chopped peanuts and the milk.

Using a large rubber spatula, gently stir in about one quarter of the whipped cream, just to lighten the mousse. Still working with the spatula, stir in the crunchy peanut mixture, then gingerly fold in the remaining whipped cream.

Scrape the mouse into the crust, mounding and smoothing the top. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight; cover with plastic wrap as soon as the mousse firms.

To Finish The Torte: put the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Leave the bowl over the water just until the chocolate softens and starts to melt, about 3 minutes; remove the bowl from the saucepan.

Bring the remaining ½ cup cream to a full boil. Pour the cream over the chocolate and , working with a a rubber spatula, very gently stir together until the ganache is completely blended and glossy.

Pour the ganache over the torte, smoothing it with a metal icing spatula. Scatter the remaining ½ cup peanuts over the top and chill to set the topping, about 20 minutes.

When the ganache is firm, remove the sides of the Springform pan; it’s easiest to warm the pan with a hairdryer, and then remove the sides, but you can also wrap a kitchen towel damped with hot water around the pan and leave it there for 10 seconds. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Tuesdays With Dorie #9

I was so excited about today's TWD choice because I love honey, cornbread, and figs. I enjoyed this, though it was a bit sweet. I don't know that the figs added to the cake, next time I might use nuts, like almonds or macadamia. It wasn't really a breakfast food, or dessert, more like an afternoon tea-time pick-me-up dish. It was like cornbread, but much more tender and soft. I like how the corn meal gave it a little texture. Overall, a great recipe, but next time I'd make a few adjustments!

Fluted Polenta and Ricotta Cake

About 16 moist, plump dried Mission or Kadota figs, stemmed
1 c. medium-grain polenta or yellow cornmeal
½ c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 c. ricotta
1/3 c. tepid water
¾ c. sugar
¾ c. honey (if you’re a real honey lover, use a full-flavored honey such as chestnut, pine, or buckwheat)
Grated zest of 1 lemon
2 large eggs

Getting Ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter a 10 ½-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom and put it on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat.
Check that the figs are, indeed, moist and plump. If they are the least bit hard, toss them into a small pan of boiling water and steep for a minute, then drain and pat dry. If the figs are large (bigger than a bite), snip them in half.
Whisk the polenta, flour, baking powder, and salt together.
Working with a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the ricotta and water together on low speed until very smooth. With the mixer at medium speed, add the sugar, honey, and lemon zest and beat until light. Beat in the melted butter, then add the eggs one at a time, beating until the mixture is smooth. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they are fully incorporated. You’ll have a sleek, smooth, pourable batter.
Pour about one third of the batter into the pan and scatter over the figs. Pour in the rest of the batter, smooth the top with a rubber spatula, if necessary, and dot the batter evenly with the chilled bits of butter.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. The cake should be honey brown and pulling away just a little from the sides of the panm, and the butter will have left light-colored circles in the top. Transfer the cake to a rack and remove the sides of the pan after about 5 minutes. Cool to warm, or cool completely.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Brunch, Part I

I wanted to make a nice breakfast for Saturday morning with the in-laws visiting. I had the other half of the brioche I made for this TWD recipe in the freezer, so I decided to use it. I found a recipe in Baking: From My Home to Yours that called for half a recipe of brioche, Pecan Honey Sticky Buns, that sounded wonderful. My husband and I love honey, so this was it. When I made my glaze, I over-cooked it a bit, so it became more of a pecan-honey crunch, with a littly syrup. I actually really liked the crunch more than a sticky syrup, so I was happy with my mistake. It reminded me of the cinnamon-crunch bagels at Panera.

Pecan Honey Sticky Buns

For the Glaze: (I halved this)
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 stick butter
1/4 cup honey
1 1/2 cups pecans

For the Fillings:
1/4 cup sugar
3 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tbsp. cinnamon
3 tbsp. butter at room temp.

For the buns:
1/2 recipe for Golden Brioche Loaves

Putter a 9x13 pan (I used an 8" round).
Make the glaze: In a saucepan, bring brown sugar, honey, and butter to a boil over medium-low heat. Pour into the pan, sprinkle the pecans over the glaze.
Make the filling: Mix the sugars and cinnamon in a bowl.
Shape the buns: Roll the dough into a 16" square. Spread the butter over the dough, sprinkle the cinnamon-sugars over top. Roll into a cylinder, keeping tight. Cut into 1 inch rolls. Fit in the pan. Let the rolls sit for 1 hour and 45 minutes, until puffy, soft, and doubled in volume.
Preheat the oven to 275 degrees.
Bake for 30 minutes. The glaze will be bubbling up into the buns. Invert the pan over a plate and remove the sticky buns right away or they won't come out.

(I made the buns the night before and put in the fridge, made the glaze in the morning and baked off right away)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Tuesday's with Dorie - #8

This week's Tuedays With Dorie recipe is Marshmallows!!! My husand always looks forward to hearing the recipes, but he felt cheated with Marshmallows. I'm not a huge marshmallow fan, but at Christmastime, I saw many food network chefs make them and say there's no comparison between fresh, homemade marshmallows, and store bought, dried out marshmallows.
These did not disappoint AT ALL!!! They were also very easy to make! One thing that I love about this cookbook is Dorie gives you a few other options with each recipe in her "playing around" section. There was a chocolate option, which I jumped at! The marshmallows were puffing up and growing nicely in the final whipping stage, but as soon as I added a bit of cocoa powder, it reduced in size by half! I was worried I had ruined them, but I carried on and poured them into the pan. They ended up setting nicely. I knew I was going to make s'mores, double chocolate, but now, I'm thinking, "why didn't I buy chocolate grahams and make triple chocolate s'mores?!?!"
I hope you try making these, they're delicious!


Makes about 1 pound marshmallows:
About 1 cup potato starch (found in the kosher foods section of supermarkets) or cornstarch
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 1/4-ounce packets unflavored gelatin
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
3/4 cup cold water
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon sugar

GETTING READY: Line a rimmed baking sheet -- choose one with a rim that is 1 inch high -- with parchment paper and dust the paper generously with potato starch or cornstarch. Have a candy thermometer at hand.
Put 1/3 cup of the water, 1 1/4 cups of the sugar and the corn syrup in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Once the sugar is dissolved, continue to cook the syrup -- without stirring -- until it reaches 265 degrees F on the candy thermometer, about 10 minutes.
While the syrup is cooking, work on the gelatin and egg whites. In a microwave-safe bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the remaining cold water (a scant 7 tablespoons) and let it sit for about 5 minutes, until it is spongy, then heat the gelatin in a microwave oven for 20 to 30 seconds to liquefy it. (Alternatively, you can dissolve the gelatin in a saucepan over low heat.)
Working in the clean, dry bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or in another large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the egg whites on medium-high speed until firm but still glossy -- don't overbeat them and have them go dull.
As soon as the syrup reaches 265 degrees F, remove the pan from the heat and, with the mixer on medium speed, add the syrup, pouring it between the spinning beater(s) and the sides of the bowl. Add the gelatin and continue to beat for another 3 minutes, so that the syrup and the gelatin are fully incorporated. Beat in the vanilla.
Using a large rubber spatula, scrape the meringue mixture onto the baking sheet, laying it down close to a short end of the sheet. Then spread it into the corners and continue to spread it out, taking care to keep the height of the batter at 1 inch; you won't fill the pan. Lift the excess parchment paper up to meet the edge of the batter, then rest something against the paper so that it stays in place (I use custard cups).
Dust the top of the marshmallows with potato starch or cornstarch and let the marshmallows set in a cool, dry place. They'll need about 3 hours, but they can rest for 12 hours or more.
Once they are cool and set, cut the marshmallows with a pair of scissors or a long thin knife. Whatever you use, you'll have to rinse and dry it frequently. Have a big bowl with the remaining potato starch or cornstarch at hand and cut the marshmallows as you'd like -- into squares, rectangles or even strips (as they're cut in France). As each piece is cut, drop it into the bowl. When you've got 4 or 5 marshmallows in the bowl, reach in with your fingers and turn the marshmallows to coat them with starch, then, one by one, toss the marshmallows from one hand to the other to shake off the excess starch; transfer them to a serving bowl. Cut and coat the rest of the batch.

SERVING: Put the marshmallows out and let everyone nibble as they wish. Sometimes I fill a tall glass vase with the marshmallows and put it in the center of the table -- it never fails to make friends smile. You can also top hot chocolate or cold sundaes with the marshmallows.

STORING: Keep the marshmallows in a cool, dry place; don't cover them closely. Stored in this way, they will keep for about 1 week -- they might develop a little crust on the outside or they might get a little firmer on the inside, but they'll still be very good.

Playing Around
RASPBERRY MARSHMALLOWS: Fruit purees are excellent for flavoring these candies.
For raspberry marshmallows, you'll need a generous 1/3 cup of puree; reduce the vanilla extract to 1/4 teaspoon. After the batter is mixed, gently fold in the puree with a rubber spatula. You can use the same measurements and technique for other purees, such as strawberry, mango and passion fruit.
CAPPUCCINO MARSHMALLOWS: Sift 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 2 tablespoons instant espresso powder and 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon together into a small bowl. Stir in 1/3 cup boiling water and mix until smooth. Reduce the vanilla extract to 1/2 teaspoon, and add it to the espresso mix. After you add the sugar syrup and gelatin to the meringue, beat in the espresso mixture and continue.
LIGHT CHOCOLATE MARSHMALLOWS: Melt 3 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate and stir in 2 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder. Reduce the vanilla extract to 1/4 teaspoon, and after the marshmallow batter is mixed, fold in the chocolate mixture with a large rubber spatula.
PUMPKIN SPICE MARSHMALLOWS: Whisk together 1/2 cup canned unsweetened pumpkin puree, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg and a pinch of ground allspice. After the marshmallow batter is mixed, fold in the spiced pumpkin with a large rubber spatula.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

TWD #7

This week's TWD recipe was a choice between an Orange Tart, and a Lemon Tart. Since I knew I'd be bringing it to work, I took a vote, and Orange was chosen (though I was really hoping for lemon!) This recipe was good, but it tasted a bit buttery to me (which isn't shocking because it contained 2 3/4 sticks of butter!) The process seems to be long, but it only took me maybe 30 minutes, not so bad.
I did things a little different from Dorie, I made my tart shell, then my filling, and instead of putting the filling in the fridge and then the next day filling the crust, I just poured it right in to set. I took the leftover filling and put it in the fridge, then I put it in a piping bag the next day, and piped little borders. I also used orange segments to garnish. The crust was delicious!
Overall, I enjoyed this, but I did think it was a bit buttery in texture.

Usually, I get TWD recipes typed up and mailed to me, haven't gotten one yet, so if I don't I'll type it up tonight!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Tuesdays With Dorie #6

Thank goodness, back to chocolate!!! This week's TWD recipe is Gooey Chooclate Cake, also known as Molten Chocolate Cake or Lava Cake. It is a classic chocolate cake with a gooey middle. Like most of my baked goods, I planned to bring this to work with me. It serves 6 in ramekins, but I have 12 people at the office, so I made it in mini-muffin tins. They came out pretty good, the chocolate didn't sink enough because it wasn't heavy, but you still got the melted chocolate and it was so good. This is a classic dessert, and I'm so glad I now have a great recipe! Thanks Dorie!

Gooey Chocolate Cake

1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon salt
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate,
4 ounces coarsely chopped,
1 ounce very finely chopped
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
6 tablespoons of sugar

Getting ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. butter (or spray – it’s easier) 6 cups of a regular-size muffin pan, preferably a disposable aluminum foil pan, dust the insides with flour and tap out the excess. Put the muffin pan on a baking sheet.
Sift the flour, cocoa and salt together.

Set a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water, put the coarsely chopped chocolate and the butter in the bowl and stir occasionally over the simmering water just until they are melted – you don’t want them to get so hot that the butter separates. Remove the bowl from the pan of water.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and yolk until homogenous. Add the sugar and whisk until well blended, about 2 minutes. Add the dry ingredients and, still using the whisk, stir (don’t beat) them into the eggs. Little by little, and using a light hand, stir in the melted chocolate and butter. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups and sprinkle the finely chopped chocolate over the batter.

Bake the cakes for 13 minutes. Transfer them, still on the baking sheet, to a rack to cool for 3 minutes. (There is no way to test that these cakes are properly baked, because the inside remains liquid.)

Line a cutting board with a silicone baking mat or parchment or wax paper, and, after the 3-minute rest, unmold the cakes onto the board. Use a wide metal spatula to lift the cakes onto dessert plates.
These are the mini cakes in the muffin tin. I sprayed it with non-stick spray and they all came out beautifully, no problems!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Tuesdays With Dorie - #5

I halved the flan recipe, but kept the caramel the same after reading the reviews by other bakers. My only mistake was filling the water bath too high, and the water boiled and splashed into one of the mini-flans. I don't really like sweet creamy, egg dishes, so I wasn't overly fond of this, but my husband loved it.

Caramel Topped Flan

For the Caramel
1/3 cup sugar
3 tbsp water
squirt of fresh lemon juice

For the Flan
1-1/2 cups heavy cream
1-1/4 cups whole milk
3 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Getting Ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a roasting pan or a 9-x-13-inch baking pan with a double thickness of paper towels. Fill a teakettle with water and put it on to boil; when the water boils, turn off the heat.
Put a metal 8-x-2-inch round cake pan-not a nonstick one-in the oven to heat while you prepare the caramel.

To Make the Caramel: Stir the sugar, water and lemon juice together in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan. Put the pan over medium-high heat and cook until the sugar becomes an amber-colored caramel, about 5 minutes-remove the pan from the heat at the first whiff of smoke.
Remove the cake pan from the oven and, working with oven mitts, pour the caramel into the pan and immediately tilt the pan to spread the caramel evenly over the bottom; set the pan aside.

To Make the Flan: Bring the cream and milk just to a boil.
Meanwhile, in a 2-quart glass measuring cup or in a bowl, whisk together the eggs, yolks and sugar. Whisk vigorously for a minute or two, and then stir in the vanilla. Still whisking, drizzle in about one quarter of the hot liquid-this will temper, or warm, the eggs so they won't curdle. Whisking all the while, slowly pour in the remainder of the hot cream and milk. Using a large spoon, skim off the bubbles and foam that you worked up.

Put the caramel-lined cake pan in the roasting pan. Pour the custard into the cake pan and slide the setup into the oven. Very carefully pour enough hot water from the kettle into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the cake pan. (Don't worry if this sets the cake pan afloat.) Bake the flan for about 35 minutes, or until the top puffs a bit and is golden here and there. A knife inserted into the center of the flan should come out clean.

Remove the roasting pan from the oven, transfer the cake pan to a cooking rack and run a knife between the flan and the sides of the pan to loosen it. Let the flan cool to room temperature on the rack, then loosely cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

When ready to serve, once more, run a knife between the flan and the pan. Choose a rimmed serving platter, place the platter over the cake pan, quickly flip the platter and pan over and remove the cake pan-the flan will shimmy out and the caramel sauce will coat the custard.
Yield: 6 to 8 Servings

Easter's with Dorie!

The week before I started Tuesday's With Dorie (and the recipe that really made me want to join) was this Almost Fudge Gateau. Now I never favor one dessert over another, but I am a bit partial to chocolate. I was sad I didn't have a chance to make it, but kept it in the back of my mind, knowing I would one day.
I was in charge of bringing desserts to Easter, and I knew my sister would not let me go without a rich, dark chocolate dessert. I thought this would be perfect, and it was. It's by far my favorite Dorie recipe yet. My younger sister speaks French, and I thought gateau was a fancy word, but it's just cake. So if you don't want to sound pretentious (like Kristine said my gateau was) then just call it a fudge cake, but if you want to be fancy, tell people you're bringing a Gateau!

Almost-Fudge G√Ęteau

5 large eggs
9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup of sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks
2 tablespoons coffee or water
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt

For the Glaze (optional)
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
½ cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons light corn syrup

Getting Ready:
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan, line the bottom with parchment paper, butter the paper, dust the inside of the pan with flour and tap out the excess. Place the pan n a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat. Separate the eggs, putting the whites in a mixer bowl or other large bowl and the yolks in a small bowl.
Set a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and add the chocolate, sugar butter and coffee. Stir occasionally until the chocolate and butter are melted; the sugar may still be grainy, and that's fine. Transfer the bowl to the counter and let the mixture sit for 3 minutes.
Using a rubber spatula, stir in the yolks one by one, then fold in the flour.
Working with the whisk attachment of the mixer or a hand mixer, beat the egg whites with the pinch of salt until the hold firm, but glossy peaks. Using the spatula, stir about one quarter of the beaten whites into the batter, then gently fold in the rest. Scrape the butter into the pan and jiggle the pan from side to side a couple of times to even the batter.
Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the cake has risen evenly (it might rise around the edges and you'll think it's done, but give it a few minutes more, and the center will puff too) and the top has firmed (it will probably be cracked) and doesn't shimmy when tapped; a thinn knife inserted into the center should come out just slightly streaked with chocolate. Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and let the cake rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
Run a blunt knife gently around the edges of the cake and remove the sides of the pan. Carefully turn the cake over onto a rack and removethe pan bottom and the parchment paper. Invert the cake onto another rack and cool to room temperature ride side up. As the cake cools, it may sink.
To Make the Optional Glaze:
First, turn the cooled cake over onto another rack so you'll be glazing the flat bottom, and place the rack over a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper to catch any drips.
Put the chocolate in a small heatproof bowl.
Melt the chocolate over a pan of simmering water or in a microwave oven - the chocolate should be just melted and only warm, not hot.
Meanwhile, bring the cream to a boil in a small sauce pan. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and stir very gently with a rubber spatula until the mixture is smooth and shiny. Stir in the corn syrup.
Pour the glaze over the cake and smooth the top with a long metal icing spatula. Don't worry if the glaze drips unevenly down the sides of the cake - it will just add to its charms. Allow the glaze to set at room temperature or, if you're impatient, slip the cake into the refrigerator for about 20 minutes.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

TWD #3- Brioche Raisin Snails

For this week's Tuesdays With Dorie recipe, Brioche Raisin Snails were chose. At first, I didn't think I was going to make them because the brioche contains 3 sticks of butter! I'm sticking with this though, so I decided to make them anyway, and just eat one. I liked them, but they weren't as great as I thought they would be since I worked on them for a day. The recipe is long, and seems tedious, but it really wasn't bad at all (thanks to ms. kitchenaid).

Brioche Raisin Snails

1 cup moist, plump raisins
3 tablespoons dark rum
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
Scant 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 recipe for Golden Brioche Loaves(page 48), chilled and ready to shape (make the full recipe and cut the dough in half after refrigerating overnight)
1/2 recipe Pastry Cream (page 448)

For The Optional Glaze
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
About 1 teaspoon water
Drop of pure vanilla extract

Getting Ready: Line one large or two smaller baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
Put the raisins in a small saucepan, cover them with hot water and let them steep for about 4 minutes, until they are plumped. Drain the raisins, return them to the saucepan and, stirring constantly, warm them over low heat. When the raisins are very hot, pull the pan from the heat and pour over the rum. Standing back, ignite the rum. Stair until the flames go out, then cover and set aside. (The raisins and rum an be kept in a covered jar for up to 1 day.)
Mix the sugar and cinnamon together.
On a flour dusted surface, roll the dough into a rectangle about 12 inches wide and 16 inches long, with a short end toward you. Spread the pastry cream across the dough, leaving 1-inch strip bare on the side farthest from you. Scatter the raisins over the pastry cream and sprinkle the raisins and cream with the cinnamon sugar. Starting wit the side nearest you, roll the dough into a cylinder, keeping the roll as tight as you can. (At this point, you can wrap the dough airtight and freeze it up to 2 months; see Storing for further instructions. Or, if you do not want to make the full recipe, use as much of the dough as you'd like and freeze the remainder.)
With a chef's knife, using a gentle sawing motion, trim just a tiny bit from the ends if they're ragged or not well filled, then cut the log into rounds a scant 1 inch thick. Put the snails on the lined baking sheet(s), leaving some puff space between them.
Lightly cover the snails with wax paper and set the baking sheet(s) in a warm place until the snails have doubles in volume--they'll be puffy and soft--about 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Getting Ready To Bake: When the snails have almost fully risen, preheat the oven: depending on the number of baking sheets you have, either center a rack in the oven or position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Remove the wax paper, and bake the snails for about 25 minutes (rotate the sheets if you're using two, from top to bottom and front to back after 15 minutes), or until they are puffed and richly browned. Using a metal spatula, transfer the snails onto a cooling rack.

If You Want To Glaze The Snails: Put a piece of wax paper under the rack of warm rolls to act as a drip catcher. Put the confectioners' sugar into a small bowl, and stir in a teaspoon of water. Keep adding water drop by drop until you have an icing that falls from the tip of a spoon. Add the vanilla extract, then drizzle the icing over the hot snails.

Golden Brioche Loaves

2 packets active dry yeast
1/3 cup just-warm-to-the-touch water
1/3 cup just-warm-to-the-touch whole milk
3 3/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature but still slightly firm

For The Glaze
1 large egg
1 tablespoon water

To Make The Brioche: Put the yeast, water and milk in the bowl of a stand mixer and, using a wooden spoon, stir until the yeast is dissolved. Add the flour and salt, and fit into the mixer with the dough hook, if you have one. Toss a kitchen towel over the mixer, covering the bowl as completely as you can-- this will help keep you, the counter and your kitchen floor from being showered in flour. Turn the mixer on and off a few short pulses, just to dampen the flour (yes, you can peek to see how you're doing), then remove the towel, increase the mixer speed to medium-low and mix for a minute or two, just until the flour is moistened. At this point, you'll have a fairly dry, shaggy mess.
Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula, set the mixer to low and add the eggs, followed by the sugar. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for about 3 minutes, until the dough forms a ball. Reduce the speed to low and add the butter in 2-tablespoon-size chunks, beating until each piece is almost incorporated before adding the next. You'll have a dough that is very soft, almost like batter. Increase the speed to medium-high and continue to beat until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 10 minutes.
Transfer the dough to a clean bowl (or wash out the mixer bowl and use it), cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature until nearly doubled in size, 40 to 60 minutes, depending upon the warmth of your room.
Deflate the dough by lifting it up around the edges and letting it fall with a slap to the bowl. Cover the bowl with the plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator. Slap the dough down in the bowl every 30 minutes until it stops rising, about 2 hours, then leave the uncovered dough in the refrigerator to chill overnight.
The next day, butter and flour two 8 1/2-x-4 1/2-inch pans.
Pull the dough from the fridge and divide it into 2 equal pieces. Cut each piece of the dough into 4 equal pieces and roll each piece into a log about 3 1/2 inches long. Arrange 4 logs crosswise in the bottom of each pan. Put the pans on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat, cover the pans lightly with wax paper and leave the loaves at room temperature until the dough almost fills the pans, 1 to 2 hours. (Again, rising time with depend on how warm the room is.)

Getting Ready To Bake: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

To Make the Glaze: Beat the egg with the water. Using a pastry brush, gently brush the tops of the loaves with the glaze.
Bake the loaves until they are well risen and deeply golden, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer the pans to racks to cool for 15 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the pans and turn the loaves out onto the racks. Invert again and cool for at least 1 hour.

Pastry Cream

2 cups whole milk
6 large egg yolks
1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits at room temperature

Bring the milk to a boil in a small saucepan.
Meanwhile, in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the egg yolks together with the sugar and cornstarch until thick and well blended. Still whisking, drizzle in about 1/4 cup of the hot milk-- this will temper, or warm, the yolks so they won't curdle. Whisking all the while, slowly pour in the remainder of the milk. Put the pan over medium heat and, whisking vigorously, constantly and thoroughly (making sure to get the edges of the pot), bring the mixture to a boil. Keep at a boil, still whisking, for 1 to 2 minutes, then remove the pan from the heat.
Whisk in the vanilla extract. Let sit for 5 minutes, then whisk in the bits of butter, stirring until they are full incorporated and the pastry cream is smooth and silky. Scrape the cream into a bowl. You can press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the cream to create an airtight seal and refrigerate the pastry cream until cold or, if you want to cool it quickly--as I always do--put the bowl into a larger bowl filled with ice cubes and cold water, and stir the pastry cream occasionally until it is thoroughly chilled, about 20 minutes.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Tuesdays With Dorie - #3

Happy 100th Post to Me!!!

Now, on with the post...

This week for Tuesday With Dorie, Russian Grandmother's Apple Pie-Cake was chosen. I'm not exactly sure why it's not just apple pie... because it tasted, and basically was, apple pie. The recipe called for a mixture of apples, which I've never cooked with a mixture before, so I really liked the end flavor of the different apples. Also, I loved how the raisins got really plump as it cooked. The crust was more like a rolled sugar cookie dough than a traditional pie crust, which made it all the more delicious.
I enjoyed this, however next time I might make it in a pie plate because making it in a rectangular pyrex made rolling the dough a little harder, and it's a pie to me!

Russian Grandmothers' Apple Pie-Cake
For The Dough
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Juice of 1 lemon
3 1/4 - 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
For The Apples
10 medium apples, all one kind or a mix (I like to use Fuji, Golden Delicious and Ida Reds; my grandmother probably used dry baking apples like Cordland and Rome)
Squirt of fresh lemon juice
1 cup moist, plump raisins (dark or golden)
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Sugar, preferably decorating (coarse) sugar, for dusting
To Make The Dough:
Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs and continue to beat until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes more. Reduce the mixer speed to low, add the baking powder and salt and mix just to combine. Add the lemon juice - the dough will probably curdle, but don't worry about it. Still working on low speed, slowly but steadily add 3 1/4 cups of the flour, mixing to incorporate it and scraping down the bowl as needed. The dough is meant to be soft, but if you think it looks more like a batter than a dough at this point, add the extra 1/4 cup flour. (The dough usually needs the extra flour.) When properly combined, the dough should almost clean the sides of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a work surface, gather it into a ball and divide it in half. Shape each half into a rectangle. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or for up to 3 days. (The dough can be wrapped airtight and frozen for up to 2 months; defrost overnight in the refrigerator.)
To Make The Apples:
Peel and core the apples and cut into slices about 1/4 inch thick; cut the slices in half crosswise if you want. Toss the slices in a bowl with a little lemon juice - even with the juice, the apples may turn brown, but that's fine - and add the raisins. Mix the sugar and cinnamon together, sprinkle over the apples and stir to coat evenly. Taste an apple and add more sugar, cinnamon, and/or lemon juice if you like.
Getting Ready to Bake:
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Generously butter a 9x12-inch baking pan (Pyrex is good) and place it on a baking shee tlined with parchment or a silicone mat. Remove the dough from the fridge. If it is too hard to roll and it cracks, either let it sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes or give it a few bashes with your rolling pin to get it moving. Once it's a little more malleable, you've got a few choices. You can roll it on a well-floured work surface or roll it between sheets of plastic wrap or wax paper. You can even press or roll out pieces of the dough and patch them together in the pan - because of the baking powder in the dough, it will puff and self-heal under the oven's heat. Roll the dough out until it is just a little larger all around than your pan and about 1/4 inch thick - you don't want the dough to be too thin, because you really want to taste it. Transfer the dough to the pan. If the dough comes up the sides of the pan, that's fine; if it doesn't that's fine too. Give the apples another toss in the bowl, then turn them into the pan and, using your hands, spread them evenely across the bottom. Roll out the second piece of dough and position it over the apples. Cut the dough so you've got a 1/4 to 1/2 inch overhang and tuck the excess into the sides of the pan, as though you were making a bed. (If you don't have that much overhang, just press what you've got against the sides of the pan.) Brush the top of the dough lightly with water and sprinkle sugar over the dough. Using a small sharp knife, cut 6 to 8 evenly spaced slits in the dough.
Bake for 65 to 80 minutes, or until the dough is a nice golden brown and the juices from the apples are bubbling up through the slits. Transfer the baking pan to a cooling rack and cool to just warm or to room temperature. You'll be tempted to taste it sooner, but I think the dough needs a little time to rest.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Tuesdays With Dorie #2

This week's TWD recipe was Snickery Squares. They are supposed to bean adult/gourmet version of a Snickers bar. It was complete fate that brought this recipe and Argentina in the same week because I needed 1/2 cup of dulce de leche for my Alfajores, and 1 1/2 cups of dulce de leche for this recipe. The recipe I had made 2 cups, and I didn't know what I'd do with the other 1.5 cups after making the cookies (besides eat it with a spoon). I knew making this TWD recipe was meant to be!

These bars were good, but I have mixed feelings about them. My husbandand I both thought the chocolate seemed to overpower the rest of the layers. I think also the caramel/peanut layer could have been doubled. If I make these again, I'll definitely use 3 cups of dulce de leche.

I absolutely loved the peanuts. They tasted exactly like cracker jacks peanuts. I never knew it was as simple as making caramelized sugar. They cooled and hardened much faster than I expected, and I couldn't stop snacking on them while waiting on the crust. Overall, I'd say it's a good recipe, I would just tweak it next time and use more dulce de leche and maybe a little less chocolate.

Snickery Squares

For the Crust:
1 cup all-purpose flour

¼ cup sugar

2 TBSP powdered sugar

¼ tsp salt

1 stick unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled

1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten

For the Filling:
½ cup sugar

3 TBSP water

1 ½ cups salted peanuts

About 1 ½ cups dulce de leche (I used homemade)

For the Topping:
7 ounces bittersweet, coarsely chopped (I used 6)

½ stick unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces, at room temperature

Getting Ready:
Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a 8 inch square pan and put it on a baking sheet.
(I used a 5x10)

To Make the Crust:
Toss the flour, sugar, powdered sugar and salt into a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Toss in the pieces of cold butter and pulse about 12 times, until the mixture looks like coarse meal. Pour the yolk over the ingredients and pulse until the dough forms clumps and curds-stop before the dough comes together in a ball. Turn the dough into the buttered pan and gently press it evenly across the bottom of the pan. Prick the dough with a fork and slide the sheet into the oven. Bake the crust for 15-20 minutes, or until it takes on just a little color around the edges. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool to room temperature before filling.

To Make the Filling:
Have a parchment or silicone mat-lined baking sheet at the ready, as well as a long-handled wooden spoon and a medium heavy bottomed saucepan. Put the sugar and water in the saucepan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Keeping the heat fairly high, continue to cook the sugar, without stirring, until it just starts to color. Toss the peanuts and immediately start stirring. Keep stirring, to coat the peanuts with sugar. Within a few minutes, they will be covered with sugar and turn white—keep stirring until the sugar turns back into caramel. When the peanuts are coated with a nice deep amber caramel, remove the pan from the heat and turn the nuts out onto the baking sheet., using the wooden spoon to spread them out as best you can. Cool the nuts to room temperature. When they are cool enough to handle, separate the nuts or break them into small pieces. Divide the nuts in half. Keep half of the nuts whole or in biggish pieces for the filling, and finely chop the other half for the topping. Spread the dulce de leche over the shortbread base and sprinkle over the whole candied nuts.

To Make the Topping:
Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Remove chocolate from the heat and gently stir in the butter, stirring until it is fully blended into the chocolate. Pour the chocolate over the dulce de leche, smoothing it with a long metal icing spatula, then sprinkle over the rest of the peanuts. Slide the pan into the fridge to set the topping, about 20 minutes; if you'd like to serve the squares cold, keep them refrigerated for at least 3 hours before cutting.
Cut into 16 bars.

I was a little worried my bars wouldn't come out nicely, so I took this photo of the whole thing before cutting into it. Luckily they didn't stick and came out really nicely.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Tuesdays With Dorie #1

I joined a Blog Baking Club last week. It is called Tuesdays with Dorie, and all recipes are chosen from the cookbook Baking: From My Home to Yours, By Dorrie Greenspan. Every week one member picks a recipe we all make, and it's posted on Tuesday.

Pecan Sour Cream Biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour (or 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour and 1/3 cup cake flour)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 10 pieces
1/2 cup cold sour cream
1/4 cold whole milk
1/3 cup finely chopped pecans, preferably toasted

Getting Ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Get out a sharp 2-inch-diameter biscuit cutter and line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat.
Whisk the flour(s), baking powder, salt, and baking soda together in a bow. Stir in the brown sugar, making certain there are no lumps. Drop in the butter and, using your fingers, toss to coat the pieces of butter with flour. Quickly, working with your fingertips (my favorite method) or a pastry blender, cut and rub the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture is pebbly. You'll have pea-size pieces, pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and pieces the size of everything in between-- and that's just right.
Stir the sour cream and milk together and pour over the dry ingredients. Grab a fork and gently toss and turn the ingredients together until you've got a nice soft dough. Now reach into the bowl with your hands and give the dough a quick gentle kneading-- 3 or 4 turns should be just enough to bring everything together. Toss in the pecans and knead 2 to 3 times to incorporate them.
Lightly dust a work surface with flour and turn out the dough. Dust the top of the dough very lightly with flour, pat the dough out with your hands or toll it with a pin until it is about 1/2 inch high. Don't worry if the dough isn't completely even-- a quick, light touch is more important than accuracy.
Use the biscuit cutter to cut out as many biscuits as you can. Try to cut the biscuits close to one another so you get the most you can out of the first round. By hand or with a small spatula, transfer the biscuits to the baking sheet. Gather together the scraps, working with them as little as possible, pat out to a 1/2-inch thickness and cut as many additional biscuits as you can; transfer these to the sheet. (The biscuits ca be made to this point and frozen on the baking sheet, then wrapped airtight and kept for up to 2 months. Bake without defrosting-- just add a couple more minutes to the oven time.)
Bake the biscuits for 14-18 minutes, or until they are tall, puffed and golden brown. Transfer them to a serving basket.