Tuesday, February 23, 2010

TWD: Honey-Wheat Cookies

For this week's Tuesday's with Dorie recipe, Michelle of Flourchild chose Honey-Wheat Cookies.

The name pretty much sums them up. They were chock full of wheat germ inside and had a healthy dusting of wheat germ outside. A generous amount of honey pairs with the wheat germ so that it almost seems like you're having a healthy snack.

To be honest, I went back and forth between thinking these cookies were OK and thinking something was a little off. It wasn't until I read the discussion on the TWD forum that I realized what it was. I thought the amount of honey was a little over-whelming and they were a tad too sweet. Maybe cutting the honey by half would have made these better... it seems that a lot of other TWD bakers really liked them a lot.

OK, seems that's all I've got to say...if you'd like to see the recipe, you can stop by Michelle's blog or get yourself a copy of Dorie Greenspan's book, "Baking, From my Home to Yours".

Thursday, February 18, 2010

TWD: Cinnamon Squares, Day 10 of my TWD Marathon

OK, folks, this wraps up my Tuesday's with Dorie marathon. I've now baked all of the recipes chosen so far, which is around 110. And let me tell you, I've thoroughly enjoyed it. I have baked things I've never heard of, things I didn't think I would like, things that were utter failures and surprising successes. And I'd say about 80% of the recipes, I've really enjoyed. That's pretty amazing, when you think of it. Dorie is to be commended on having hit recipe after hit recipe. Girlfriend knows her baking!

Anyway, Tracey of Tracey's Culinary Adventures picked Cinnamon Squares in June, 2009. This was one of those recipes I didn't think I would like, since I'm not a big fan of the cinnamon-chocolate combo. Well, as it turns out, I think what I don't like is a predominantly chocolate recipe with too much cinnamon in it. Chocolate with a little cinnamon is OK, and mostly cinnamon with a little chocolate is OK.

I guess that's why I ended up liking this cake. Well, without the chocolate frosting... I was afraid it would push it into the bad cinnamon-chocolate range, so I left it off. I didn't include the espresso powder either, since I don't like coffee at all.

The cake consisted of a super-cinnamony cake with a layer of chopped chocolate and cinnamon sugar in the middle. You can see that layer here (half of the batter is underneath)...

The chopped chocolate and cinnamon-sugar is covered with the remaining cake batter. Since I halved the recipe, I used my adjustable cake pan that I got from a friend in England. I'm not sure if those pans are available here in the US or not.

I was surprised to see that the ribbon of chocolate and cinnamon was wavy, like in the picture in the book. Don't ask me how that happens, but it does, and I'm glad. If you'd like to see the recipe, please check out Tracey's blog or Dorie Greenspan's book "Baking, From my Home to Yours".

All right, I'm going to wrap up with my top 5 favorite Dorie recipes so far. These are the ones that left me saying "wow!" over and over.

1. French Pear Tart

2. Rosy Poached Pear and Pistachio Tart

3. Coconut Butter Thins

4. Butterscotch Pudding

5. Tarte Tatin

There were also a few runners up...

- Banana Cream Pie

- Blueberry Pie

- Chocolate Whopper Malted Drops

- Lenox Almond Biscotti

(So, I read through some of these old posts and have come to the conclusion that my old posts are WAY more entertaining than my current posts. I need to get back to the witty and entertaining. I'm just boring now, LOL. )

Thanks so much for following along, I really do appreciate folks stopping by. Hope you all have a really fantastic day!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

TWD: Berry Surprise Cake, Day 9 of my TWD Marathon

Mary Ann from Meet Me in the Kitchen picked Berry Surprise Cake in January, 2009 for Tuesday's with Dorie. We were moving around that time and I didn't have the time or cookware to make this.

Too bad, because it was a delight. With a genoise cake shell hiding a whipped cream-cream cheese-berry filling and cloaked in more whipped cream, what's not to love?

Seriously, this "cake" was all about the whipped cream and fruit. The cake was really no more than a vessel to hold the goodies. And I Love, love, loved it!

I took a few pictures of the cake coming together since it was kind of fun to make.

In theory, we were to bake a nice tall cake that was to have a thin layer removed from the top (to be used later as a sort of lid) and then be hollowed out in order to hold the yummies. In reality, the cake rose beautifully and then sunk not-so-beautifully. So I improvised. It was already bowl shaped...

... so instead of taking a thin layer off the top, I took a thin layer off the bottom. Notice the flour that was not mixed in well.

A thin layer of filling coated the bottom of the "bowl".

Then a pile of fruit went in and was topped by more filling.

The lid went on top and then it was whipped cream city, folks.

I had to share this cake with friends. Otherwise I was gonna be eating this one for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

OK, please visit Mary Ann's blog to see the recipe, or check out Dorie Greenspan's book, "Baking, From my Home to Yours".

Tomorrow is the grand finale of my Dorie marathon. See you then :)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

TWD: My Best Chocolate Chip Cookies, Day 8 of "8 Days with Dorie"

Kait of Kait’s Plate selected My Best Chocolate Chip Cookies for this week's Tuesday's with Dorie recipe.

Chocolate chip cookies are like brownies in that there are so many variations, from cakey to chewy to thick to thin to crispy to soft. It's hard to say that any one recipe is the best, because every one's definition of the best is different.

I thought Dorie's chocolate chip cookies (I'm going to call them "CCC" from here on out) were on the thin and crispy side. They were good, but I tend to like my CCC thicker and softer. I'm glad I tried these, though, it's always nice to have another data point in the quest to find the perfect (for me) chocolate chip cookies. Plus, a not-perfect CCC is better than no CCC at all, right?

OK, that's all for now, folks. Tomorrow and the next day I'll post the last two recipes in my "to bake" TWD list. After that, I'm all caught up and will have baked every recipe the group has baked since the beginning of TWD. Woo hoo! And yes, I'm an insane over achiever... woo hoo!

You can find the cookie recipe on Kait's blog, or in Dorie Greenspan's book "Baking, From my Home to Yours".

Monday, February 15, 2010

TWD: Fluted Polenta and Ricotta Cake, Day 7 of "8 Days with Dorie"

I have to admit that the Fluted Polenta and Ricotta Cake, chosen by Caitlin of Engineer Baker in April, 2008, didn't exactly inspire me. It looked kind of, well, boring... like cornbread in a tart pan.

All I can say is that looks are deceiving. The title doesn't let on that this deceptively tasty little cake has sweet, crunchy figs scattered throughout.

The cake itself was moist with that slightly crunchy cornmeal texture and hints of honey and lemon. I would have to say that of all of the "8 Days with Dorie" recipes, this was my favorite. So, a belated thanks to Caitlin for the great pick.

If you'd like to see the recipe, please visit Caitlin's blog, or get yourself a copy of Dorie Greenspan's book "Baking, From my Home to Yours".

Tomorrow I'll present the regularly scheduled "Tuesday with Dorie" recipe, and after that... two bonus recipes. I only had two recipes left to finish the recipes I missed and figured I'd might as well bang them out.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

TWD: Pecan Sour Cream Biscuits, Day 6 of "8 Days with Dorie"

Half-way through my Tuesday's with Dorie marathon is a recipe I don't feel qualified to discuss... biscuits. (I'm trying to finish up the several months worth of recipes baked before I joined.)

I never ate biscuits growing up. My grandma and mom, both bakers, never made them. I don't know why... maybe it's because we come from small Rocky Mountain towns made up of predominantly German folk. I guess we just didn't "do" biscuits?

So when it was time to make Pecan Sour Cream Biscuits, chosen by Ashley of Eat me Delicious, I shuddered a little.

Yes, I got through the recipe, and yes they were pretty good. The slightly toasty and nutty flavor was divine. I don't think they're quite right, though. Not light and fluffy enough. Not tall enough. Slightly tough on the bottom.

Maybe you're better off checking out Ashley's site, where you can find the recipe. I'll bet she's a better biscuit maker than me. Or get it straight from the horse's mouth and get yourself a copy of Dorie Greenspan's book, "Baking, From my Home to Yours".

Up tomorrow... Fluted Polenta and Ricotta Cake, a surprise hit.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

TWD: Almost Fudge Gateau, Day 5 of "8 Days with Dorie"

This is the last chocolate recipe in my Tuesday's with Dorie marathon. Almost Fudge Gateau was chosen by Nikki of Crazy Delicious Food back in February, 2008.

I only got one bite of this little chocolate cake. Wanna know why?

OK, I'll tell you. Picture this... I cut a slice, taste it, share the rest with the kids, and then take the cake out to the front porch for some natural light, since chocolate desserts are notoriously hard for me to get decent photos of. I snap a picture, but decide it's too bright and I'll wait until later. I bring the cake in and set it on my desk.

Later, I walk by the office and notice the cake is GONE. Not a single crumb left. In shock, I call out... "who ate the cake!?". "Not me!" and "not me!" were the responses. That leaves only one suspect.


Little stinker hopped onto the chair and had himself a chocolatey feast. Yea, I know, dogs aren't supposed to eat chocolate. Fortunately I made a tiny little cake... maybe that's why he's still scouting around, dreaming of his next great chocolate cake caper.

So, I think this was good, at least the ONE bite I had was good. Almost brownie-like.

If you'd like to find out, Dorie Greenspan's book "Baking, From my Home to Yours", or visit Nikki's blog. Or, you could always ask my DOG.

Friday, February 12, 2010

TWD: Black and White Chocolate Cake, Day 4 of "8 Days with Dorie"

April of Abby Sweets chose Black and White Chocolate Cake almost exactly two years ago for Tuesday's with Dorie. It was only the 6th recipe chosen for the new baking group.

This is a white cake with alternating layers of dark and white chocolate filling. White chocolate whipped cream covers the outside of the cake.

The predominant flavor is definitely white chocolate. If you like white chocolate, this cake is for you. I tend to go to the dark side where chocolate is concerned, so I thought it was just OK. My husband really liked it, though, and had two pieces in one sitting.

OK! If you'd like to check out the recipe, please get your hands on Dorie Greenspan's book "Baking, From my Home to Yours" or visit April's blog.

I'll finish up the chocolate recipes tomorrow with Almost Fudge Gateau.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

TWD: Peanut Butter Torte, Day 3 of "8 Days with Dorie"

Hi and welcome to Day 3 of my little Tuesday's with Dorie marathon. I've been a busy bee, baking up the recipes from before I joined TWD.

Today, I thought we'd stick with the chocolate theme, but mix it up a little bit. Let chocolate be the background, and peanut butter the star. Peanut Butter Torte was on the TWD menu May 6, 2008 and was chosen by Elizabeth at Ugg, Smell Food.

If you've ever eaten peanut butter pie, you'll have a pretty good idea of what this tastes like. Except this version is just a teeny, tiny bit better (the Dorie factor, I guess). There's the Oreo crust, the chunks of nuts and chocolate in the filling, and of course, real whipped cream. (Dorie... use Cool Whip? As if!)

It tasted fantastical! It was rich, but oh so good. Leave it to Dorie to improve on peanut butter pie.

If you'd like to check out the recipe, please get your hands on Dorie Greenspan's book "Baking, From my Home to Yours", or visit Elizabeth's blog.

Tomorrow, stay tuned for Black and White Chocolate Cake.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

TWD: Gooey Chocolate Cakes, Day 2 of "8 Days with Dorie"

Here we are on Day 2 of "Jacque shows her type A side by baking the recipes from before she joined Tuesday's with Dorie". Yeah.

I figure we might as well keep the chocolate train a rollin', so for today's TWD-athon recipe I present Gooey Chocolate Cakes. Leigh of Lemon Tartlet chose these back on April 1, 2008.

If you've ever tried or heard of molten chocolate cakes or chocolate lava cakes, you know the effect we're going for here. This chocolatey delight is *supposed* to, when cut into, ooze forth with a stream of gooey chocolate, almost like a warm, thick chocolate sauce.

Welp, I'm guessing you need to bake this cake for the exact right amount of time to be rewarded with the stream of chocolate goo. I obviously baked for just a tad too long, because mine was more like a gooey chocolate pocket.

But it was still dadgum good! In fact, a lot like I'm guessing yesterday's brownie was supposed to be. (And yes, I know I said I didn't like gooey brownies yesterday. But that was then and this is now. We all know women reserve the right to be contradictory.)

If I someday win the metabolism lottery and calories no longer have an effect on me, I'll experiment to find out just the right amount of time to bake this cake to get the desired molten chocolate effect. I'm thinking this could possibly be heaven on a plate.

OK, that's that. You can find the recipe on Leigh's site or Dorie Greenspan's book, "Baking, From my Home to Yours".

See ya' tomorrow!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

TWD: Rick Katz’s Brownies for Julia, Day #1 of "8 Days with Dorie"

This week at Tuesday's with Dorie, Tanya of Chocolatechic chose Rick Katz’s Brownies for Julia. (Yes, that Julia.)

And with this post, I'm kicking off eight straight days of TWD recipes. I have slowly but surely been whittling away at the recipes that were baked before I started TWD nearly two years ago (only two left, yeah!). These eight posts will be short and sweet and to the point. Think "quantity over quality".

So, anyway, these very-long-named brownies (want the story? get the book!) were reported to bake up gooey, soupy, and all sorts of other adjectives that I don't like attributed to my brownies. Consequently, I added more flour, as in 1/2 cup added to the required 1 cup. (Well, except that I quartered the recipe, so whatever that works out to.) Quarter of a recipe fit perfectly in a mini-muffin pan. As you can see, I *didn't* grease the pan and so had to pry my brownies out. And if this weren't enough changes, I used semi-sweet chocolate instead of unsweetened and bittersweet.

And how were they? Good! Very good! They were chewy and moist and delish. Now, I'm not sure how they compare to the original version, but this improvised version was dang tasty.

Thanks, Tanya, for a great pick. You can find the recipe on Tanya's blog or Dorie Greenspan's book "Baking: From my Home to Yours".

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Daring Bakers: Nanaimo Bars

I'm guessing I'll get my eviction notice from the Daring Bakers blog event any day now. Missing Posts. Very Late Posts.

My days are probably numbered.

Hopefully they'll show some mercy on the chronically lame baker that I am.

I'm glad I eventually did make the January recipe, Nanaimo Bars. I also made the graham crackers that are used in the base, although not the gluten-free version. After just cleaning out my pantry and having to chuck too many partially used baking ingredients in the trash, I couldn't force myself to buy the gluten-free flours required. I'm sorry. (See reference to lameness above.)

These bars, originating in Nanaimo, Canada, really grew on me. At first I thought the creamy middle layer was just too sweet and over-whelmed the rest. But after I let them come completely to room temperature and remembered to cut small pieces, they were quite delish. I liked the chunky bottom layer a lot.

If I make them again, I'll figure out a less sweet version of the middle layer, though.

The January 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Lauren of Celiac Teen. Lauren chose Gluten-Free Graham Wafers and Nanaimo Bars as the challenge for the month. The sources she based her recipe on are 101 Cookbooks and www.nanaimo.ca.

Nanaimo Bars

Bottom Layer
1/2 cup (115 g) (4 ounces) Unsalted Butter
1/4 cup (50 g) (1.8 ounces) Granulated Sugar
5 tablespoons (75 mL) Unsweetened Cocoa
1 Large Egg, Beaten
1 1/4 cups (300 mL) (160 g) (5.6 ounces) Graham Wafer Crumbs (I left my crumbs on the chunky side. Recipe for home-made graham crackers can be found by clicking on the link to "101 Cookbooks", above.)
1/2 cup (55 g) (1.9 ounces) Almonds (Any type, Finely chopped)
1 cup (130 g) (4.5 ounces) Coconut (Shredded, sweetened or unsweetened)

Middle Layer
1/2 cup (115 g) (4 ounces) Unsalted Butter
2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons (40 mL) Heavy Cream
2 tablespoons (30 mL) Vanilla Custard Powder (Such as Bird’s. Vanilla pudding mix may be substituted.)
2 cups (254 g) (8.9 ounces) Icing Sugar

Top Layer

4 ounces (115 g) Semi-sweet chocolate
2 tablespoons (28 g) (1 ounce) Unsalted Butter

1. For bottom Layer: Melt unsalted butter, sugar and cocoa in top of a double boiler. Add egg and stir to cook and thicken. Remove from heat. Stir in crumbs, nuts and coconut. Press firmly into an ungreased 8 by 8 inch pan.
2. For Middle Layer: Cream butter, cream, custard powder, and icing sugar together well. Beat until light in colour. Spread over bottom layer.
3. For Top Layer: Melt chocolate and unsalted butter over low heat. Cool. Once cool, pour over middle layer and chill.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

TWD: Milk Chocolate Mini Bundt Cakes

Seems like we got in spurts at Tuesday's with Dorie. Like right now, we're smack dab in the middle of a full-on chocolate phase. This week, Kristin of I’m Right About Everything picked Milk Chocolate Mini Bundt Cakes.

Although I'm slightly burned-out on cake, I still thought these were really good. They were light and moist and the sweet, nutty swirl really added a lot of interest. Of course, I forgot to add my swirl mid-way through the batter, so mine was more of a crunchy bottom.

But no matter, they were still really tasty.

I skipped the glaze since so many TWD baker reported having problems with it. Thanks to Mr. Hines (first name, Duncan) I was able to save myself some grief and use some warmed ready-made chocolate icing instead. I also "thirded" the recipe and made just two minis.

OK, that's that! There's more chocolate on the horizon... watch out for some dad-gum yummy sounding brownies next week. For now, it seems you actually won't find the recipe on Kristin's site, but I did find it ---> HERE, or pick up a copy of Dorie Greenspan's book "Baking, From My Home to Yours".