Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Cocoa Crisp Cookies

These were designed to be made with one of our very first desserts in the Baking with Julia baking group, the Chocolate Truffle Tartlets.  Needless to say that dessert was enough of an undertaking by itself, I did not add this little side treat.  (I also did not add the espresso parfait.)  

I am glad we came back to this one on its own.  They appear rather lackluster and the ingredients were nothing extraordinary.  But this belies their simple deliciousness.  Rolling the dough proved to be the hardest part of this recipe (not hard but challenging on a 90 degree day). 

While these cookies are not designed to be eaten on their own but rather a little ice cream, they would be perfect with a cup of coffee.  And I would return to this recipe again would I need something that fit either one of those bills. 

Check out fellow bloggers experience at Tuesday with Dorie

And Rhiannon…

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Danish Pastry Pockets and Danish Slices

This is my second or third go with the danish pastries from the Baking with Julia book.  And usually practice makes perfect but not so in this case.  I believe the dough turned out well, but I may have forgotten the salt?  And the confectioners cream was not cooked long enough leading to a thin filling which affected the pastry dough while cooking, making it a bit greaser/ oily instead of light and flaky. But everyone still managed to eat them and ask for them the next day (after they were long gone). 

I made one half of the dough into the slices (below) and the other half I tried my hand at the various shapes (above) in the book, pinwheel being the least successful of all of them.   

Despite this round being a less successful, I think the recipe is a solid one that rarely fails if one follows the directions.  And it's definitely a recipe that looks more impressive than the effort required for it.   Check out other bloggers take on this one at Tuesdays with Dorie.

And Rhiannon…

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Persian Naan

Oddly enough I had a mediterranean affair planned for dinner last night but I made these today.  Sometimes that's how the cookie crumbles or how the flat bread rises.  

Despite desperate poking of fingers, this bread still had loft in the oven.  This was the first one in and the next three got progressively flatter as they had more time to rest and get thin and unwieldy.  

All turned out well enough.  As my son said they were "not too soft and not too hard, just right".  I did use about half bread flour and half all-purpose lending to their nice, chewy texture.   I almost can't imagine using all bread flour.  

I will absolutely make these again as I dread buying naan at the store knowing how simple and how much more delicious it really is when homemade. 

…and Rhiannon.
Check out fellow bloggers post at Tuesdays with Dorie.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Meringue Cookies (& Chocolate Ruffle Cake)

Meringue and I go well together (unlike genoise).  Maybe its beginner's luck, but I tend to have success with meringue-based things, thus far.  Despite this luck,  these meringue cookies,  look no where near professional, but then again, a 4 and a 7 year old piped up most of them.  (But even mine lacked a professional air.)  I think, the only thing easier than whipping these up, is eating them.

On the other end of the difficulty spectrum was the chocolate ruffle cake (or the chocolate roll cake in my case).   This recipe had 5 recipes within it; not your after-dinner-whip-up-dessert dessert.   And not a recipe to be repeated anytime soon or anytime, period.  That being said, I am glad I did it.

I have always wondered how cakes were wrapped in a thin sheet of chocolate; I had absolutely no idea how it could be done.  Making that sheet and wrapping my little cake was far and away my favorite part.

My favorite part to eat was the chocolate creme fraiche filling.

And wow, those ruffles have to be made with impeccable timing.

I will leave this one up to the professional bakeries from here on out, but I have a much deeper respect for the 5-7 recipes and the subtleties that go into a slice of cake like this.


Thursday, February 4, 2016

Brie in Brioche, Babas and Buttermilk Bread (Not in a Bread Machine)

Better late than never. 

I sat down to post tonight on the delightful buttermilk bread (2 days late), but realized I had two more recipes in my queue (> 2 weeks late).

Brie in brioche (above) felt a bit quirky and a bit indulgent: butter, egg rich dough surrounding a wheel of brie topped with slow cooked onions.   So odd yet so delicious, as is everything with brioche dough. 

Babas were my second go at this type of sweet yeasted dough, the first being savarin.  I recall not being a fan of the savarin; I was not excited to give this one a shot (leading me to be late). But it turned out better than all expectations, especially the vanilla pastry cream tucked up inside. 

And finally, buttermilk bread, not made in a bread machine.  It has been some time in our baking that we have baked bread, and it felt homey and reassuring to do so.  This recipe is one I will hang onto for quick dinner rolls/ bread. Simple, simple, simple. 

Check out other bloggers here:  Tuesdays with Dorie.

And Rhiannon at the coast.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Cornmeal Currant Biscotti

Not your traditional twice-baked biscotti but nice, fat, plump diamond shaped tea cookies.  These will only last a week on your shelf, but given all the leftover holiday treats lying around, I could have used the one month shelf life of regular biscotti. (Truth be told these can be molded and baked like regular biscotti but I wanted to sample these not-so-traditional ones.)

These are tasty little tea cookies with a higher butter content and a nice crackly corneal texture.  I used raisins instead of currants, and I like the contrast of the soft raisins and the crunch of the cornmeal.  Despite these attributes, I don't think I will make these again; I have too many other biscotti recipes that I favor.  But then again maybe I will, as Rhiannon loved them.

And Rhiannon… she loved these cookies!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Vanilla Hazelnut Cheesecake- Rewind

I don't normally like cheesecake but I did like this one.  I don't even normally crave hazelnuts in my desserts, but this one won me over.   Amidst the holiday sweet craze, this could have been lost, but it wasn't.  And cottage cheese in a cheesecake, not a deterrent.

The advantage of doing this one as a rewind, I was able to heed the advice of a fellow Baking with Julia blogger: I did not attempt the flip.  This cake was intended to be made in a round cake pan and upon cooling, flipped out and then re-flipped onto a serving pan.   I have a history with flipping and decided to go with a spring form pan and a regular graham cracker crust (with butter).   I did forget to wrap the pan in foil so the crust was a little water logged; this still did not ruin this cake.

I also did not cook/ burn the caramel for the hazelnut paste quite enough so the coloring of the cake is unremarkable.  But the taste is there.

As for another rewind recipe, I have my eyes on the Brie in Brioche recipe in the coming weeks but, I may need to save some calories for that one.

Rhiannon in the line-up.