Saturday, February 27, 2010

So sorry

I'm so sorry, but no Daring Bakers here today. This month's recipe was Tiramisu. I was excited to make it, but ended up running out of time. I look forward to making it in the future, though, and I'll let you know when I do. Thanks to Aparna and Deeba for this month's pick. See you soon!

Friday, February 26, 2010

TWD Rewind: French Pear Tart

Happy snow day to everyone in the NYC area! :) Last weekend, I made this tart for a dinner. It was so simple to put together, and looked beautiful. It starts off with Dorie's simple tart dough - which I still am in love with - and its partially baked. Then comes an almond cream - put ground almonds (still have so much left over from the DB macarons), sugar, vanilla, butter, cornstarch, and probably something else I can't remember because it's late and I'm tired, into a food processor, blend it, and put it into the crust. Then comes pears. This was the fun part, because you can cut them in a way that looks a lot harder than it is. You take canned pear halves(we had the option of poaching fresh pears, but I was short on time) and thinly slice them. You put one onto a spatula and press down slightly on it, which makes it fan out. You put six of these on top of the cream (one can of pears has six halves):
and stick it in the oven, and out comes a beautiful tart. And it tastes yummy, too!

So if you want an easy, impressive recipe, you can find it here or buy the book. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

TWD: Honey Wheat Cookies

This week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was chosen by Michelle of Flourchild. She chose the Honey Wheat Cookies. These are one of the few recipes in the book that won't instantly kill you from all the butter and sugar. They use wheat germ (I had most of a jar left from god knows what) and honey (!). The dough is fairly quick to put together - you rub lemon zest into sugar, add butter, honey and an egg, and then add flour, wheat germ, baking powder, and salt. So these would be quick to make... notice the WOULD be.... if it weren't for the two-hour chilling time. But you can find something to do for two hours, right? Go make a tart or something ;)
The dough balls are rolled in wheat germ and baked. They are great still warm, although I haven't had a chance to taste the cooled ones yet. They are quite cakey, but not too thick, so they still are like cookies. You can really taste the lemon, honey, and the nutty flavor from the wheat germ (although it probably helped that mine was pre-toasted). If you want to try a yummy sort-of-healthy cookie recipe, you can buy the book or find it here. Enjoy!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Maple Pecan Muffins

Finally, an end to the chocolate madness! Last Wednesday, as you might know, was a snow day in New York (yes!). We had gone to see a show the night before, so we slept in. We woke up and I wanted something freshly baked. Not wanting to wait too long, I turned to my new book, Muffins Galore, for a recipe. I found these Maple Pecan Muffins, which looked good, and we had all the ingredients for, so there you go.
They were pretty good - not very sweet, though, but that might be just what some people want for breakfast. The glaze is simply maple syrup brushed on top. Yum. Enjoy!

Maple Pecan Muffins (from Muffins Galore)

1/2 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup superfine sugar (I used regular)
2 tablespoons ground almonds
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
pinch of salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
7 tablespoons maple syrup
6-12 pecan halves, to decorate

1. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Grease a 12-cup muffin pan or line the cups with paper muffin cups.
2. Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl until light and fluffy. Stir in the ground almonds, then gradually beat in the eggs. Stir in the chopped pecans.
3. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into the creamed mixture. In a small bowl, blend the buttermilk with 4 tablespoons of the maple syrup. Pour the buttermilk mixture all at once into the flour and creamed mixture, and mix briefly until just combined.
4. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, dividing it evenly, then top each muffin with a pecan half. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until well risen and firm to the touch.
5. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack. Brush or drizzle the remaining 3 tablespoons of maple syrup over the hot baked muffins and serve warm or cold.

Muffin Tip: Use real maple syrup for these muffins rather than artificial maple-flavored syrup.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

TWD... er.... Wednesday: My Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

This week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was chosen by Kait of Kait's Plate. She chose My Best Chocolate Chip Cookies. These certainly are the best! I loved loved loved these. I made them for a big party, so I doubled the recipe and ended up with close to one hundred. They were the first thing to go!
The cookie dough is a basic chocolate chip dough, but it also has walnuts. After baking, they are still quite gooey, so they aren't so good warm. But once they cool, they are chewy but not too much. Plus they keep well.
Before making these, I didn't have a go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe. Not any more! So go make these. Now.
If you want the recipe, you can buy the book or find it here. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

TWD Rewind: Four Star Chocolate Bread Pudding

We had some friends over for dinner on Saturday, and I obviously was in charge of the dessert, so I consulted my list of "TWD rewinds". Generally for dinner parties I try to make something that I wouldn't usually make during the week. So that means no loaf cakes, simple cookies, etc.... simply because that's the only way I'll try making something new that might take a while. This was one of those things.
It starts off with cubes of bread - I used challah, which was one that Dorie recommended. Then you make the custard mixture, which uses eggs, sugar, milk, cream, and chocolate. You put the bread in a pan, put the custard over it, let it soak for thirty minutes, and put in the oven to bake in a water bath. After you take it out, you wait.

It seems like forever with that thing just staring at you.
Right before serving, a little confectioner's sugar goes on. Yum... [insert drooling]. But, still not done...
Cut it up with some whipped cream on top and you're all done. Yum! We liked it best at room temperature, but hot and cold were good, too. This was so good! I would have liked a larger bread to custard ratio, though - it was a bit too eggy. Even then, everyone loved it and I'll definitely be making this one again. For the recipe, you can buy the book or find it here. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

TWD: Rick Katz's Brownies for Julia

This week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was chosen by Tanya of Chocolatechic. She chose Rick Katz's Brownies for Julia. According to Dorie, this was a recipe that was made by Rick Katz when she worked with him on the set of Julia Child's show. This is one of the recipes that I might have skipped over in the book if I was choosing a recipe myself, because it is a brownie recipe that requires so much time. And it dirties about every dish in the kitchen. And, you know, someone's gotta wash those dishes. Ewwwww.
Anyways, these are so worth it. I did have to bake them for ten minutes longer than Dorie said to, but they were still gooey when I took them out, like they are supposed to be. I heard from other TWD bakers on the P&Q that they had trouble cutting them because they were so gooey, so I waited until they were completely cool (do you have any idea how hard that is with the intoxicating fumes????????) to cut them. Yum! They were so good.... fudgey but not too sweet. They didn't last long.
If you haven't understood what I'm saying, here's a clarified version: Go buy yourself some butter and chocolate and make them! You can find the recipe in the book or here. Enjoy!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

TWD Rewind: Gooey Chocolate Cakes

The great thing about baking my way through this book is that I can always trust the recipes - I can make them for anything without worrying that they'll be a disaster. This week, we wanted a special dessert for dinner, and so I consulted my list of "TWD rewinds". When I saw these cakes, I knew they were the recipe I needed. They are quick to prepare (melt some chocolate and butter, mix in some other ingredients by hand, all done), and don't have to be refrigerated for three hours. They are even easier to serve - no slicing of layer cakes or flipping of tarte tatins. Just put them on a plate with a little ice cream and you're good to go.
I read on some other blogs that the 13 minutes the recipe says you should make them for is too long - they don't come out with liquid centers. For fear of under-baking mine, I baked them for 12 and a half minutes. They could have been baked for less time, but the centers were gooey, and the cakes delicious. I didn't sprinkle the finely chopped chocolate on top before baking, but I don't think they need it. They were very rich, and wonderful warm. But, I agree with what Dorie says - you have to eat them with something that balances the richness. Hence the vanilla ice cream.
If you need a quick dessert, then make these. I loved them, and hopefully you will too! If you want the recipe, you can find it in the book (link above) or here. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

TWD: Mini Milk Chocolate Bundt Cakes

This week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was chosen by Kristin of I'm Right about Everything. She chose the Mini Milk Chocolate Bundt Cakes. This recipe brought up a lot of questions on the P&Q - Can they be baked in muffin tins? Why wasn't the glaze working for some people? Where can you buy mini bundt pans? I was about to bake them in muffin tins when I remembered that this summer I bought some mini bundt pans (although they don't have pretty designs on top like Dorie's), so I used those. The batter was easy to make - the chocolate component is melted milk chocolate. I had a bunch of semisweet, though, and barely any milk, so I used that. It worked out great! Instead of the swirl recommended, I used some currant jam, which made it a bit less chocolatey. I had some serious issues with the cakes sticking to the pans - even though I greased them well (maybe the jam?). Also, I made my glaze with a mixture of dark and milk chocolates, but it DID NOT come out to glaze consistency. It came out more like a frosting, and I only had enough to frost four out of the six it was supposed to. Oh well, they were delicious, even though I think I might have under-baked them a bit. Everybody liked them, and I will be making these again! If you want the recipe, Kristin will be posting it later today (link to her blog above) or you can buy the book. Enjoy!

(I doubled the recipe)