Tuesday, June 16, 2009

TWD: Honey Peach Ice Cream

This is Bella and her mom Teresa. Their family has been visiting us this past week from Florida. Bella will be four in July and I don't think it's ever too early to learn how to make ice cream. I didn't have any trouble convincing her. Good thing this week's TWD recipe happened to be Honey Peach Ice Cream. There she is cooking the peaches and honey.

Then she pureed them. She looks quite the pro, doesn't she? She decided to take a break from making ice cream to play for awhile.

But she came back for a taste test and gave it her approval. We should have chilled the ice cream for a couple of hours in the fridge, or even overnight, but we couldn't wait! So we put it in an ice bath to chill it quickly. Consequently, our ice cream didn't freeze as well as it could have. After we tasted it we put it in the freezer. Here's our finished product:

It was delicious! And Bella is going to make a great baker and cook! I love that Dorie added honey to this recipe.

We have Tommi of Brown Interior to thank for choosing this week's recipe. Mosey on over to her blog and find out what she thought. You can also see the recipe. And if you want to read other opinions, you can visit 300 other bakers!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

TWD: Parisian Apple Tartlet

If any one thinks that simple can't be elegant or classy, they've never made or ate this week's TWD recipe. The Parisian Apple Tartlet. Seriously folks. It doesn't get any easier than this.

Four easy steps. That's it. Okay five if you make your own puff pastry. I did not. I used Pepperidge Farms.

Step 1 - Cut a 4 " cirlce of puff pastry
Step 2 - Peel half an apple, cut in four pieces, place on pastry
Step 3 - Sprinkle with brown sugar
Step 4 - Place butter on top and bake

Simple. Elegant. Delicious. My future children will be raised having these as their after school snack. But they make an impressive dessert at a dinner party as well.

Dorie says you can eat it one of two ways. Fold it up in wax paper and pretend you're walking the cobblestoned streets in Paris. Or, put it on a fancy plate. I chose the fancy plate. But I was walking along the Seine in my mind.

Jessica of My Baking Heart chose this week's recipe. Thank you Jessica! I loved it. Go check out her blog and see if she was as happy as I was with her pick. And be sure to check out Dorie's masterpiece. I promise, you won't be disappointed. And click here to meet the other bakers.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

TWD: Chipster-Topped Brownies

Is it midnight yet?! Nope. 10:30pm. Whew, I still have time to post.

This week on TWD, we made the Chipster-Topped Brownies. These are not just any brownies. They're brownies with chocolate chip cookie dough on top!

I had some trouble spreading the cookie dough evenly on top of the brownie mixture. Some of the brownie swirled into the cookie part. (sigh) Any tips on how to make this easier are welcome. So my finished brownies don't look like how I imagined them. I thought the cookie part would look like chocolate chip cookie rather than blend into the brownie. I haven't looked at any of the other bakers' brownies yet, so maybe this is what they're supposed to look like.

I couldn't resist. I had to try it right away. They're very good. Ooey, gooey good! Dangerously good.

Up close and personal. Is your mouth watering yet?

This recipe involved melting chocolate and butter together. This can be done by placing a heat resistant bowl over a sauce pan of simmering water. Or, you can use a double boiler, aka a bain marie. I got this as a wedding present and have used it often over the years. It's great for making lemon curd and melting chocolate. Anything that needs to be heated gently.

Jeff is out of town working and I don't want to wind up eating the whole batch, so I packed them up and am sending them to a swap partner in a yarn swap who loves chocolate chip cookies. I hope she likes them! I saved a few for Jeff.

Thanks goes to Beth of Supplicious for picking this week's recipe. Feel free to visit her blog and see how she liked her pick. You can find the recipe there and on page 94 in Dorie's book.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

TWD: Tartest Lemon Tart

I'm back to baking! I had a busier schedule than usual the last couple of weeks, and while I could have probably squeezed in the time to make the weekly recipes, it would have been more stress than pleasure.

I was glad I didn't have to miss this week, since Barb of Babette Feasts chose the Tartest Lemon Tart. I love anything lemon. Cake, tarts, cookies, pie, bars, sorbet, chicken, pasta....bring it on!

This recipe wasn't difficult at all. When I read it though, the crust didn't register in my brain as the "sweet tart dough with nuts", so I just made the regular sweet tart dough and noticed that part afterward. I can imagine it would be delicious with the ground almonds in it. Next time. And there will definitely be a next time! I read the P&Q on the TWD website and took the advice to peel the lemon and separate the pith so as not to make the tart too bitter. It worked like a charm.

I made this tart today and it's already gone. I had dinner plans with my parents and my friend Becky, her husband, daughters and parents. Becky and I go waaaay back to being little girls together. We were meeting at a restaurant and I decided to bring our own dessert. It was a casual family restaurant, so I figured they wouldn't mind. I even brought my homemade whipped cream in my handy dandy cream whipper. It was pretty funny when I pulled it out and started squirting whipped cream on top of the tart slices.

The tart was an absolute hit! Visit Barb's blog using the link above and see how she liked her chosen recipe. And if you want to make one yourself, you can get the recipe there too, or buy Dorie's fabulous book. You can see how the other TWD bakers made out here.

See you next week! Happy baking!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

TWD: Four Star Chocolate Bread Pudding

My aunt is in town from Memphis and my parents brought her over Sunday for a visit. I thought it was the perfect time to make this week's Tuesday with Dorie recipe, Four Star Chocolate Bread Pudding.

This recipe was surprisingly easy to whip up. It was much more challenging for me to find Challah or brioche bread on a Saturday afternoon. I went to three bakeries in my town. One has turned into a cafe and no longer sells loaves of bread. The second only sells Challah on fridays, which makes sense. And the third had only three small individual brioches. Not enough. So I decided that after I did the rest of my grocery shopping, I would look up a recipe when I got home and make my own. No need. Trader Joes had both Challah and brioche bread. Score!

I like bread pudding a lot, so I was looking forward to making this. I've never had chocolate bread pudding. I thought it was good, but I prefer it without the chocolate. (gasp) This coming from someone who thinks everything is better with chocolate. Maybe it's because I'm used to the other version.

I served it while it was still warm, which I also preferred to room temperature or cold. I decided that in order to give it a fair review, I should try it all three ways. ; ) Dorie thinks it tastes better at room temperature or cold. C'est la vie. Maybe I would have liked it more with the chocolate sauce or creme anglaise topping. I took the lazy way out.

This recipe stands up to company, but is simple enough to make as part of the family dinner. My family liked it!

We have Lauren to thank of the Upper East Side Chronicle for this week's recipe. Thank you Lauren! I love making recipes that I've never made before and this is one of them. Surf on over to her blog and see how she liked it. You can see what the other bakers did here. And for over 300 delicious recipes all in one book, get yourself a copy of Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan.

Lucy (my red Kitchenaid stand mixer) is feeling neglected. Her services haven't been needed for three weeks now. I think I'll make some cookies this week and show her a little love.

Next week: Chocolate Cream Tart - Yum!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

TWD: 15 Minute Magic Chocolate Amaretti Torte

This week's recipe is called the 15 Minute Magic Chocolate Amaretti Torte. That's quite a mouthful, isn't it? The name of this dessert alone creates high expectations. Chocolate. Amaretti. Torte. Magic. All in 15 minutes. Tell me more.

A torte is a slim European style cake that is based on ground nuts instead of flour. In this case, almonds are the nuts of choice. Ground amaretti cookies are also part of the recipe. I had never heard of these cookies before. They're an italian almond macaroon. Luckily, I was able to find them at my local italian market.

All of the ingredients go into the food processor and voila, you have your cake batter. Pour it into a cake pan, bake for 25-30 minutes, cool, pour on glaze (which you can make while the cake is cooling) and you're done. Magic!

It's rich and delicious! A little too rich for Jeff, but not for me. It definitely fulfills a chocolate craving. I love the gritty texture from the ground nuts, and chocolate and almonds together are one of my favorite combinations. And because it has almonds rather than flour, it's a healthy cake, right?

Thanks goes to Holly of Phe/Mom/enon for picking this week's recipe! I've never made a torte before and now I have. Head on over to Holly's blog to see the recipe. And see how the other bakers liked this week's recipe.

I'm going to have to send this over to my parents, or else trouble will ensue. Chocolate overdose, anyone?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

TWD: Banana Cream Pie

Is it possible for a pie to hold a grudge? A banana cream pie to be exact? That's how I felt as I made this week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe.

Now, I'll confess upfront. Pie and I don't have a love affair going on. It's not my favorite dessert. I much prefer cake. And cookies. And ice cream. But there are some pies that I like. I love french apple, and I make a great cranberry/apple every Thanksgiving that is my all-time favorite. It has a cornmeal crust that compliments the filling to perfection. And yet, I've been having such a good time making recipes that I wouldn't normally make, that I went into this week's selection with much enthusiasm and hope. The pie was not fooled.

My first inclination that trouble was brewing was with the crust. I did not take Dorie's advice and chill the rolled out dough before attempting to place it in the pie plate. My bad. I was in a hurry and wanted to get the pie done. I had rolled it out between parchment paper and the dough got too soft making it almost impossible to remove the parchment paper. There were rips and tears (both of the holey and weepy variety). So I decided to do some patchwork, figuring it would still taste the same.

So I baked my crust and look at what happened. I guess my patchwork didn't hold. sigh

Still, I was not deterred. It was going to be okay. It would still taste good even if it wasn't the prettiest pie ever made. Don't get worked up Annette. Calm down. It's going to be delicious.

I had chilled the custard while the crust was baking. When the time came to assemble the pie, I vigorously whisked the custard as Dorie told me too. I have to say, I was surprised at how gelatinous and gloppy it was. I was expecting it to be much more creamy, almost pudding-like. Maybe I wasn't vigorous enough? Maybe I should have whisked it in the stand mixer. Did anyone else have this problem? It almost wasn't spreadable.

See what I mean?

While spreading the custard, gently I might add, the crust came right up!

At this point, I almost threw in the towel and gave up. I had been beaten down in the kitchen. By a pie. It's not often that my confidence is shaken in the kitchen. Seriously. But I didn't give up. I had invited my parents over (they love pie), they were on their way and I didn't want to disappoint. And it would still taste good, even if it turned out to be a spoonful of pie instead of a nice pretty slice. So I finished it up the best that I could. Thankfully, the whipped cream topping was easy and didn't give me any trouble.

The end result? My parents really liked it. They loved the crust! We thought the custard could be a little sweeter, and I think creamier. Maybe I over cooked it? It wasn't half bad for pie. I only had a few bites and I sent it home with mom and dad where it would be much more appreciated (I was still bitter).

I have Amy of Sing for Your Supper to thank for choosing this week's recipe. Thank you Amy! You've provided me a challenge. I will master the pie.

I'm off to see how the other bakers fared this week and see if I can gather any tips for improving my crust and custard. Suggestions are welcome! If you want to put your own pie making skills to the test, you can find the recipe in Dorie's delicious book and over on Amy's blog.

Happy baking!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

TWD: Coconut Butter Thins

This week's recipe was chosen by Jayne of The Barefoot Kitchen Witch.

Coconut Butter Thins

The ingredients for these cookies intrigued me from the start. Coconut, macademia nuts, lime zest. Then you have the usual flour, butter, sugar, vanilla, salt. The batter was easy to make.

Dorie suggested rolling the dough inside a gallon size plastic bag in order to end up with a 1/4 inch thickness. I've heard of this trick before from some of the bakers who had either made this recipe already or read it, but I've never tried it. It worked like a charm. No fuss, no muss.

After chilling the dough for at least 2 hours, I measured and cut out 1 1/2 inch square cookies.

I baked two sheets at a time, switching them around halfway through the baking process. One of my cookie sheets got way too done. Oops! These cookies are not supposed to color at all. The other started to brown around the edges but they look much better. So I baked the remainder of the cookies one sheet at a time and checked them earler.

These cookies are delicious! Even the burnt ones. They're the flakiest cookies I've ever made and they'll be perfect with a cup of tea. The flavors compliment each other perfectly. Dorie, these are fabulous! Thanks Jayne for picking a great recipe!

Head on over to Jayne's blog and see how she liked them. You can view the recipe there too. Better yet, you can have all of these delectible recipes for yourself if you buy Dorie's book. Then come back and we'll have some cookies and tea.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

TWD: Blueberry Crumb Cake

Breakfast anyone? Brunch, snack, dessert, midnight snack?

This week's Tuesday with Dorie recipe is Blueberry Crumb Cake! And it's good anytime of day for any reason.

I was a little worried that it was going to turn out purple. Did anyone else have this problem. I knew it would still taste good, but still. Dorie's wasn't blue. Hers was perfect cake color. I think I know what happened. I used frozen blueberries and didn't thaw them, as Dorie instructed. I tossed them with flour and let them sit while I finished the rest of the cake. Maybe I'm too slow of a baker, because I think the condensation from the blueberries thawing while sitting and waiting their turn is the reason they colored the batter. Next time, I'll either use fresh blueberries (if they look good) or I'll prepare the blueberries right before I add them to the batter. In any event, no harm done.

Fresh out of the oven! I baked this this morning and couldn't wait to have a piece for breakfast. The house smelled of homebaked heavenly goodness while the cake baked.

So it turned out delicious and it doesn't look as bad as I feared. The cake part isn't as white as Dorie's, but at least it's not purple! It's just a little dingy.

Dorie scores another point for winning recipe! We have Sihan of Befuddlement to thank for picking this week's recipe. If you've liked what you've seen here on my blog and you don't own the book, Baking: From my Home to Yours, consider buying it. It's a treasure trove of baked goodies. You can also find the recipe at Sihan's blog. See what the other TWD bakers are baking here. There are about 250 talented bakers in this group!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

TWD: It's a twofer!

French Yogurt Cake with Marmalade Glaze...

...is this week's TWD recipe. Dorie describes it as a cross between pound cake and sponge cake. I knew I was going to like it instantly. One of my favorite childhood memories is winning a pound cake in a cake walk at our school fair when I was seven. Between the excitement of winning, the anticipation of getting home to taste my prize and the simple, sweet flavor, well, I've been a pound cake lover ever since.

This cake is simplicity at its best. All you need is two bowls, a loaf pan, a whisk and a spatula. Oh and measuring cups. It's made with plain yogurt and canola oil, which makes for a very moist cake. I added some ground almonds which is optional. I like the added texture it created. And my top crust was a little crispy making a nice contrast to the moistness of the cake.

The recipe calls for a lemon marmalade glaze. I know I would love this, if only I could find lemon marmalade. I went to a specialty food store, but no luck. So instead I bought a French Pear Fruit Spread. Not the same thing, I know, but it sounded interesting and it was french, imported from France. It was good, but I know being the lemon cake lover that I am, I would prefer lemon. So the next time I make this (and there will be a next time!), I'll make a simple lemon glaze with powdered sugar and lemon juice. At least until I stumble upon some lemon marmalade. The cake would also be delicious with raspberry sauce drizzled over it just before serving and whipped cream. Yum!

Thanks to Liliana of My Cookbook Addiction for choosing this week's recipe. You can find the recipe on her blog and of course in the baking bible from which it came.


I've been MIA the past few weeks due to internet connection problems and travelling. But I'm back and eager to get back to the baking!

The day I started having problems with my internet connection was the day I was going to post about the Devil's Food White Out Cake. I made it, I just didn't get to post about it in time.

This was another delicious cake. I was a little worried about it because one of the other baker's had referred to the frosting as a meringue, which I don't care for. But I found it to be more of a marshmallow-y frosting. All of my life I have disliked marshmallows, until my recent discovery that I like homemade marshmallows, but not store-bought. What can I say? I guess I have refined tastebuds.

I loved the combination of the light, marshmallow-y frosting pared with the rich, devil's food cake. When I first saw the picture of the cake in the book, I thought it was covered by oreo cookies or crushed chocolate wafers, but it was a layer of the cake crumbled! Genius.

I owe thanks to Stephanie of Confessions of a City Eater for choosing this recipe, and of course, Dorie for creating it.

Next week's recipe: Blueberry Crumb Cake!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

TWD: Floating Islands

Or, uh, more like icebergs.

This week's recipe was Floating Islands chosen by Shari of Whisk. According to Dorie, this is a classic french dessert. That's all I needed to know. I was intrigued by the name and by the picture in the book.

Floating Island are puffs of meringue floating in a sea of creme anglaise, a custard-like cream, then sprinkled with caramel on top.

The custard came together just fine. I didn't seem to have any problems with it other than the color. It was much more yellow than Dorie's version in the book. Her instructions were to whisk togother vigorously the yolks and sugar until it became thick and pale. Well, it thickened. And it did lighten up in color, but not to a super pale. I whisked for longer than the 3 minutes suggested too. Maybe I wasn't vigorous enough? Still, it tasted good. Onto the next step.

I am not a big fan of meringue. I much prefer whipped cream as pie topping. I think it's the texture that I don't care for. But I moved forward with an open mind. My meringue seemed to come together easily enough. It was "firm but satiny and still glossy."

But it tasted too eggy to me. I don't remember meringue on top of pie tasting like eggs. Of course, I haven't had it in years either. I thought it could be one of two things. First, while I was seperating the eggs, a little yoke slipped into the whites. Oops. I scooped it out and was able to get all of it. It didn't effect the whites from stiffening up. No, that's not it. So that leaves the poaching effect. Maybe poaching the meringue in the milk brought out more of the egg flavor? Maybe I poached it a little too long. Did yours taste like eggs? I invited my parents over to help me eat it since Jeff is out of town. My mom loves meringue. She agreed with me that it tasted more eggy than meringue normally does, but she liked it. I didn't care for it.

Then there was the shaping of the islands. You have two options - scooping the meringue so that you end up with a rocky volcanic island, or molding the meringue between two spoons so that you end up with a manicured oval island. Well. I tried molding the meringue between two spoons and ended up with a rocky volcanic iceberg! They grew huge while cooking, but then they deflated a little after removing them from the pan.

Final verdict - these were okay. I didn't love them but my mom did. I liked the custard a lot, but didn't care for the islands. I'm sure if Dorie were to make them for me, they would be delicious. I think I did something to mess up the taste of the islands. Either that, or I continue to dislike meringue. I am glad that I made them though. I've never made this kind of a dessert and it was fun putting it all together. So thanks Shari for picking out an interesting and different recipe! As always, you can find the recipe in Dorie's cookbook and at Shari's blog, although I'm currently experiencing some technical difficulties in linking to her blog. I'll keep trying. (EDA: fixed it!) Be sure to check out what other bakers thought of this recipe.

Next week: Devil's Food White-Out Cake!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

TWD: World Peace Cookies

Chocolate anyone?

This week's TWD selection is World Peace Cookies chosen by Jessica of cookbookhabit. And let me just say, if you like chocolate, you're going to love this cookie!

It's a chocolate sable cookie that you slice and bake after refridgerating the dough for three or more hours. What makes this little gem unique is the addition of fleur de sel, hand-harvested salt from France's Brittany coast. Unfortunately, I couldn't find mine. I could have sworn that I bought some a couple of months ago. Oh well. I'm sure it will turn up now that the cookies are made and I'm no longer looking for it. So instead, I used regular sea salt. These cookies are great. I'm sure they will be even better with the fleur de sel.

Aside from the great flavor, my favorite thing about this cookie is its sandy texture. It's very subtle when you first bite into it and then it melts in your mouth. It's delicate, yet packs a punch of chocolate flavor at the same time.

Thanks Jessica for a great pick! If you want to make some for yourself (and I know you do!), you can get the recipe over at her blog and from Dorie's Baking: From My Home to Yours.

Next week: Floating Islands!