Tuesday, June 29, 2010
This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was selected by Wendy of Pink Stripes. She chose the Rum-Drenched Vanilla Cakes. This is a seemingly simple loaf cake, infused with vanilla and rum. You can get the complete recipe on Wendy’s blog.
This recipe calls for dark rum, but I didn’t have that at home. I’m not much of a drinker at all, but when I think of rum I think of a trip my husband and I took to Vancouver, BC. We were out for dinner and it was Bellini night at the restaurant. We were on foot (which is often the case when we are on vacation) so we figured we would give them a try. My husband got a Bellini that came with a shot of pineapple rum. Wow, was that fantastic! I hadn’t ever been that interested in rum, but after that I was a fan. I didn’t have pineapple rum at home, but I had coconut rum and I used that instead.
I halved the recipe, but I made the entire recipe of the rum syrup. I used a vanilla bean for the first time and it wasn’t too hard. I see people use vanilla beans on television, so I knew how to work with it. I thought about adding some shredded coconut to the batter, but I decided to keep it simple. I used to have a lot of problems with loaves baking all the way through, but that wasn’t a problem with this cake. I used almost the full recipe of rum syrup on just one cake, so mine is very moist and the rum flavor shines through.
Recipe from Baking from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, pages 226 and 227
Friday, June 25, 2010
I love Nanaimo Bars and I wanted to find something similar that I could make. I was searching online and was at first looking for peanut butter Nanaimo Bars. There are many recipes out there and I came across a site that had a peanut butter variation and a cherry almond variation. I was talking about this with a couple of people and we all agreed that the cherry variation sounded good and was worth a try.
The base of these bars is really what makes them a Nanaimo Bar. Graham cracker crumbs, cocoa, and coconut are standard. These also called for toasted almonds in the base, but I decided to leave those out. (My almonds were a bit stale.) The filling doesn’t include custard powder which is traditional, but that’s ok. The cherries have a great flavor as they are. I decided to just drizzle with chocolate instead of covering the top completely, which lets you see the cherry filling better. These are quite sweet, so cut them small! They are addictive so you won’t have to worry about them lasting too long.
1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup cocoa
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup coconut
In heavy saucepan over low heat, cook butter, cocoa, sugar and egg until thickened and smooth, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla. Add graham cracker crumbs and coconut. Pat firmly and evenly into greased 9" square pan. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 tablespoons maraschino cherry juice
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/3 cup chopped maraschino cherries
In a large mixer bowl, beat together powdered sugar, butter, cherry juice and almond extract until smooth. Stir in cherries. Spread over bottom layer. Cover and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
2 tablespoons shortening
In top of double boiler over hot not boiling water, melt chocolate with shortening, stirring until smooth. (Or you can melt chocolate with shortening in a microwave, stirring every 30 seconds.) Spread or drizzle over filling. Cover and refrigerate until set, about 1 hour, before cutting into bars.
Recipe adapted from Canadian Living Magazine, September 1988.
Found on http://pages.cs.wisc.edu/~roy/nanaimo.html
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was selected by Amy of Amy Ruth Bakes. She decided on the Dressy Chocolate Loafcake for her selection. You can get the complete recipe on Amy’s blog. This is a cake that I think is well suited for lots of different variations, so you may want to check out the versions that all the Tuesdays with Dorie bakers made.
I hadn’t read this recipe all the way through until I was just about to make it, and I was instantly excited to make it since it sounded so good. Dorie calls it a cake that looks like you fussed over, but in actuality is very simple. I agree, this cake was pretty easy to make! You make a chocolate loaf cake, slice it in thirds, spread with preserves (raspberry in my case) and then top with a simple frosting. For me, the hardest part was slicing the cake evenly in thirds. Some of my cuts were a little crooked, but you couldn’t tell when the cake was reassembled and frosted.
I was also unsure of the frosting, as this was one of the most unusual frostings I have ever made. You just melt chocolate and stir in sour cream. That’s it. I was completely baffled as to how this would come together as frosting, but it worked. The cake itself has a great chocolate flavor and the bites with the raspberry jam are wonderful. I think I baked mine a minute or two too long, so the corners are a bit dry. That’s my only complaint, and that’s my own fault. I think I would like to try this cake and fill it with orange preserves for an orange/chocolate concoction. Or, I think I would like to try and fill the layers with Nutella and then use gianduja (chocolate with hazelnut paste) for the frosting. Yum!
Recipe from Baking from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, pages 286 and 287
Friday, June 18, 2010
We’ve had such terrible weather in the Seattle area lately that it seems like February outside. I’ve been getting away with making wintery things just because the weather has been so dreary. Well, I’m hopeful that the sun will eventually make an appearance, and I wanted to bake something a little more summery.
I went out searching on the Internet, trying to find something with lemon. I then remembered that I had white chocolate chunks at home and changed my search for lemon white chocolate cookies. I found a lot of lemon bar cookies with white chocolate, but that wasn’t exactly what I was looking for. I came across these cookies and they looked perfect. Lemon, white chocolate and toasted coconut had to be good.
These have a nice buttery flavor and a good crunch from the coconut. The lemon flavor is there but it’s not too strong. They are really easy to make, as simple as a chocolate chip cookie, but they seem a bit more special. They are certainly a cookie for sunnier days, and I just hope that the weather will cooperate soon!
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
2 1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Zest of 2 lemons
1 cup shredded coconut
6 oz. white chocolate chunks
1/2 cup shredded coconut
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread all the coconut on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 3-5 minutes. Set toasted coconut aside. Line baking sheets with silicone baking mats.
In a large mixer bowl, beat the sugar, brown sugar and butter until thoroughly combined and fluffy. Beat in the egg, vanilla, and lemon juice until combined. In a small separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture beating at low speed until just combined. Stir in the lemon zest, 1 cup of coconut, and white chocolate chunks.
Roll dough into 1-inch balls. Dip each formed ball in the ½ cup coconut. Place prepared balls on the prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 10-13 minutes. Let cool 2 minutes on cookie sheet before transferring to a wire cooling rack.
Recipe from Goodlife Eats
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was picked by Susan of Food.Baby. She selected Raisin Swirl Bread. You can get the complete recipe on Susan’s blog. This is a yeast bread and many of the Tuesdays with Dorie bloggers hadn’t baked with yeast in a while. That was true for me too, but I’ve generally had pretty good luck with yeast.
This recipe really takes me back. I first made cinnamon swirl bread in home economics class in 8th grade. This is similar, but with raisins. The recipe I made in junior high was a little simpler than this one, but the concept was the same. Thinking back, it was fairly ambitious to make yeast bread in home economics class; the timing just had to be perfect or you didn’t get done. Mine turned out fairly well as I recall, but that was a really long time ago. I really enjoyed home economics class, and it was nice to reflect about that time.
I had to start the yeast twice, since my milk wasn’t warm enough the first time. No problem, since I had a couple packets of yeast. It rose beautifully during the first rising, and it rolled out to the right size without too much effort. I thought that the cinnamon sugar mixture needed more sugar, but I hoped it would be ok. I had a small tear in the top when I rolled the dough, but I figured that wasn’t fatal. Mine rose too much during the second rising, and it deflated a little when I put it in the oven to bake. In the end my loaf was a little misshaped and looked somewhat deflated. It tasted ok, but I would have liked a little sweeter filling and I think I would add more sugar next time. I enjoyed baking with yeast again, since it’s been such a long time. My house smelled wonderful when I was making this!
Recipe from Baking from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, pages 59 and 60.
Friday, June 11, 2010
When I started baking many years ago, I was very precise about everything I did related to baking. All of the ingredients had to be precise. I didn’t like to be bothered while I was in the kitchen. If I was making cookies, all of them had to be baked before anyone could eat any. I got really annoyed if anything disturbed my baking process. It seems silly now, but at the time baking was a serious matter, not to be disrupted in any way.
Well, I’m much more relaxed now and while I still strive to be a successful baker, it’s not so serious. My husband likes to check in with me when I am baking, eat some of the cookie dough, and steal fresh out of the oven cookies. I grumble a little bit about this but it’s only in jest. Sometimes if I am making a cookie that doesn’t yield very many, I will warn him to make sure to leave enough to take to work!
This week has been very difficult and stressful, so when picking the cookie for the week I was open to the option of doing the best that I can. I found these cookies on Culinary Concoctions by Peabody, one of my favorite blogs. She makes great recipes and has wonderful photography, and I hope that my blog is even fractionally as successful as hers is. I thought that I had all the ingredients to make these, but then I realized that I didn’t have toffee chips. No worries! I decided to substitute cinnamon chips and they worked very well. Sometimes mixing things up and not worrying about perfection ends up working out better anyway.
8 ounces butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp instant espresso powder
2 cups flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1cup cinnamon chips (or toffee pieces)
1 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 325° F. Line baking sheets with silicone baking mats.
In a large mixer bowl, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, vanilla, and espresso powder. Stir until combined.
In a small bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix into the creamed butter mixture. Stir in the cinnamon chips and chocolate chips.
Scoop tablespoon-sized balls onto the prepared baking sheet using a cookie scoop. Make sure the dough is at least 2 inches apart, as they spread a bit during baking.
Bake until the cookies are just flat, 16 to 18 minutes. Let cool about 10 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a cooling rack.
Recipe from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was selected by Cathy of The Tortefeasor. She chose the Tender Shortcakes, which are the perfect base for berry shortcake. You can get the complete recipe on Cathy’s blog. You can also check out how all of the other Tuesdays with Dorie bakers fared with this week’s recipe. I’m looking forward to seeing all the interesting fillings that people came up with for these shortcakes.
I don’t think that I have made shortcakes before. They remind me a lot of making scones, as you use heavy cream to bring the dough together. They are very crumbly and when I put them in the oven I was hoping for the best that they would come together as cohesive shortcakes. I shouldn’t have worried as they came together beautifully. They were very quick to make, too. I had planned to make them Monday, but I realized that the berries I had bought were starting to go. I made them up Sunday night and served them in about 35 minutes.
The shortcakes were so good. They were crispy and crumbly and just a tiny bit sweet. I served mine with blackberries, which were pretty good (although my blackberries could have been a little fresher). I would like to try these with caramelized pineapple next time or maybe some other berries. It’s been so cold and rainy here in the Seattle area that I’m not sure that summer berries will ever be ripe! My husband is convinced that these are scones rather than shortcakes. He had one with raspberry jam and whipped cream and declared that they were excellent. I tried a bit of one with raspberry jam and they taste exactly like the Fisher Scones that you get at the Puyallup Fair. Call them what you will, they turned out great!
Recipe from Baking from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, page 423-424.
Friday, June 4, 2010
There are a couple cookies that I fondly remember from childhood. I made most of those favorites when I started my blog, so now I have to figure out ways to keep making variations of those favorites. One of my favorites is the Russian teacake. They go by lots of different names: Mexican wedding cakes, snowballs, etc. I’m sure you’ve had them before, probably on a plate of Christmas cookies that someone made for you. Some people love them, some don’t. I happen to really like them.
This is a variation of the Russian teacake, but spiced up. It has the flavors of chai tea, but you make those flavors yourself instead of using premade chai tea mix. It also uses almonds rather than pecans or walnuts. The basic recipe isn’t so different; just add cinnamon, allspice and cardamom.
I was worried that these would be to fall-like, but they aren’t at all. They smelled so good when I was making them and even better when they were baking. My house smells amazing! The flavor is spot on for chai. For a cookie that is quite simple, the flavors are wonderful and complex. They do bake a little longer than most cookies, but they don’t get dry. They would be perfect with a cup of tea, but they are so good on their own. I will make these again!
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/3 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon almond extract
3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup finely chopped toasted almonds
Additional powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with silicone baking mats.
In a large mixer bowl, beat butter, powdered sugar, extracts, spices, and salt in medium bowl. Stir in the flour, then stir in almonds. Roll dough into tablespoon-size balls. Place on the prepared baking sheets.
Bake until pale golden, 20-25 minutes. Cool on sheet 5 minutes. Place powdered sugar in large bowl. Working in batches, gently coat hot cookies in sugar. Cool cookies on rack. Roll again in sugar and serve.
Recipe from Epicurious
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
This week, all the Tuesdays with Dorie bakers rejoiced because someone finally picked the White Chocolate Brownies! Marthe of Culinary Delights selected this week’s recipe. Why such an anticipated recipe had not yet been picked is the unanswerable question, but everyone was so thrilled that we’d finally get to make these. You can get the complete recipe on Marthe’s blog.
The name of this recipe is quite misleading. Yes, they contain white chocolate, but that’s about the only accuracy. They aren’t brownies at all, since they contain no chocolate other than white chocolate. Now depending on the camp you are in, white chocolate may or may not be technically considered chocolate. I would call these blondies, white chocolate raspberry blondies. I imagine that there’s some definition for blondies and maybe these don’t fit, but they certainly don’t look like a brownie!
These cookies start with a cake-y layer which is topped by fresh raspberries and then a meringue layer. You don’t bake the base layer before topping with the meringue, and spreading meringue on top of cake batter is tricky, to say the least. I baked it up and it looked pretty good, but as they were cooling, parts of the meringue topping disappeared in spots. I was quite puzzled by this and I have no idea what went wrong. When I took them out of the pan, the cake part was way undercooked, so perhaps that was the cause of the disappearing meringue. Parts of these bars were a complete loss, but the parts that I could salvage were really, really good. They are light and sweet and have a great flavor of raspberries. These would be perfect for a light summer dessert, just make sure you bake them enough.
Recipe from Baking from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, pages 110 and 111