Tuesday, August 31, 2010
This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was selected by Donna of Life’s Too Short Not to Eat Dessert First. She picked Espresso Chocolate Shortbread Cookies. I love it when cookies are the pick. They are typically so quick and easy. When it’s warm in the house, the last thing I want to do is have the oven on for too long. I’m always happy to have fresh cookies though! You can get the recipe for these cookies on Donna’s blog. You can also visit the Tuesdays with Dorie site to see how all the bloggers interpreted this week’s recipe.
Shortbread is one of the easiest cookies to make: butter, flour, sugar. This recipe is livened up with instant espresso powder and mini chocolate chips. I love Dorie’s method for shaping these: place the dough in a gallon-size freezer bag and roll it out. Refrigerate and then you cut the bag away, leaving a perfect square of cookie dough. This works so incredibly well and it’s so easy. Normally, if a recipe tells me to roll out dough to a certain dimension, I usually don’t even try because it’s so frustrating trying to get the dough to just the right size. This method solves that issue completely.
These have a fairly strong espresso flavor, which I liked when I paired them with coffee, but was a bit too strong when eaten on their own. They’re still very good; crispy, light, and buttery. Shortbread is wonderful because it stays fresh for quite some time, although that’s not usually a problem in my household! I thought these were good and I think my husband liked them, but I think he was in the mood for something chewy. These don’t fit that description, but they’re good in their own right.
Recipe from Baking from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, page 125
Friday, August 27, 2010
I kind of wish that it was fall/Christmas all year! Here it is, the end of summer and here I am posting a decidedly Christmas-y cookie. I love the homey, spicy flavors usually associated with those seasons, and this cookie includes ginger and honey. In one way these are perfect for summer: they’re no bake! So you could argue that they are just right for the end of summer when the weather is so warm. (Well, it’s not always been warm in the Seattle area this summer!)
I make a lot of recipes from this cookbook: Favorite Brand Name Cookie Collection. It’s a collection of recipes from different companies and I’ve found the recipes to be very approachable and they always turn out well. My cookbook is pretty messy, splattered with bits of dough and chocolate. That just shows that it’s a well loved book. I’m not sure which company supplied this recipe, since it doesn’t include any obvious name brand products.
I also like this recipe because it only uses a little bit of a package of gingersnap cookies. That means that there are leftover gingersnaps to eat! As much as I love homemade cookies, there are some store-bought ones that you just can’t replicate. Those crispy gingersnaps are one of those cookies. Just grind up the cookies, add the other ingredients, roll into balls and you’re done. This recipe is easy and can be made in advance. The cookies keep for several weeks in the refrigerator, good to keep around in case you want something sweet.
1 cup gingersnap cookie crumbs
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup finely chopped pecans
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate
1-1/2 tablespoons honey
¼ cup bourbon
Additional powdered sugar
Combine gingersnap crumbs, sugar and pecans in a large bowl. Combine chocolate and honey in a small bowl and microwave for 30 seconds; stir until chocolate is melted. Blend in the bourbon. Stir the liquids into the crumb mixture and stir to combine.
Shape into 1 inch balls. Roll the balls in powdered sugar. Refrigerate until firm. The flavor of the balls improves with time.
Recipe from Favorite Brand Name Cookie Collection
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was picked by Rachel of sweet tarte. She decided on Crunchy and Custardy Peach Tart, which is really perfect for summer. For the complete recipe, visit Rachel’s blog. If you have extra peaches to use up, this is a great recipe for that!
I don’t think that I’ve had peach pie of any sort since I was a kid. I think the last one I had was made by my paternal grandmother, probably when I was 10 years old or so. I’m not exactly sure why it has been so long, but when I have pie I’m much more likely to pick apple pie since that’s my favorite. It’s also pretty hard to get ripe peaches in the Seattle area, they are either rock hard or soft and yucky. I think this is pretty strange since they grow peaches in Eastern Washington. I went to a grocery store that carries lots of local produce and they had peaches from Cashmere, WA. The Cashmere area is known for their apples, but the peaches I bought were really good. Huge, but good.
I hadn’t read the recipe for this very well, and at first I thought that you didn’t cook the peaches. My husband thought that was weird and he was right that you do cook the peaches. You have to blanch the peaches and peel them. That was a little tricky because the peaches are so slippery when they are peeled and then trying to get the pit out and everything was a comedy of errors. I’m glad no one was around since I was laughing so hard trying to get the peaches prepped. Other than that, this is a simple recipe: make the tart dough, put the peaches in the pan, pour over the custard mixture and bake. It came together well and I really enjoyed this. I thought it tasted better at room temperature, but it was pretty good when it was warm, too. Overall, a great pick and perfect for a summer dessert.
Recipe from Baking from My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan, pages 346 and 347
Friday, August 20, 2010
Since I try not to eat too many of the baked goods that I made, I usually take my cookies to work and share them there. When I started baking, way back when I was in college, I would always take things to work. At that job, my coworkers would sometimes leave tips, which was enough to help me keep supplied with butter. I use a lot of butter and it can get expensive!
My friend at work recently took a trip to Portland and visited the Penzey’s Spices store in town. I’ve looked at their catalog a couple of times, but I had no idea that they had a store that was so close. When she was there, she decided to pick up some Vietnamese Extra Fancy Cinnamon, which Penzey’s describes as “the strongest, richest, and sweetest cinnamon around.” She gave it to me and I was thrilled to give it a try. I was so touched that she thought of me!
I wanted to find a recipe where cinnamon was the star, but I didn’t want to make cinnamon rolls. I came across this recipe and thought that it would be just right. It’s simple dough, and it’s assembled sort of like a refrigerator cookie. You make the dough, chill, and then roll into ropes and cut in pieces. Super fast! These cookies are tender as can be and just melt in your mouth. They aren’t too sweet and the cinnamon flavor is nice and strong.
¾ cup butter, softened
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1-1/4 cups flour
½ cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons butter, softened
½ teaspoon vanilla
About 1 tablespoon milk
In a large mixer bowl, combine the ¾ cup butter and 1/3 cup powdered sugar and beat on medium until creamy. Reduce the mixer speed to low and stir in the flour, cornstarch, and cinnamon. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with silicone baking mats.
Divide the dough into three parts. Roll each part into a 20-inch rope. Cut each rope into 10 segments, each about 2 inches. Place on the cookie sheet and bake for 11-13 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges. Cool before glazing.
To make the glaze, combine the 1 cup powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons butter, vanilla and milk in a small bowl. Whisk until smooth, adding additional milk if necessary. Drizzle over the cooled cookies and then sprinkle with cinnamon. Store the cookies in a single layer.
Recipe from Land O Lakes
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was picked by Natalie of Oven Love. She selected Oatmeal Breakfast Bread for her choice and I really, really liked this! You can get the complete recipe on Natalie’s blog and you can also visit the Tuesdays with Dorie site and see links for all of the other bakers this week.
Oh man, where to start with this recipe? I made some of this month’s recipes in advance, trying to be efficient. This recipe calls for pretty standard ingredients, so I made it right away, as soon as the recipes of the month were posted. I honestly thought that this sounded a little plain. Well, I was pleasantly surprised at this recipe because it is not plain, AT ALL! It’s really, really yummy and my house smelled wonderful when it was baking. My coworkers raved about it when I took it to work. In the end, a fabulous winner.
This is a quick bread, but you substitute most of the oil with applesauce. Tasty and lower in fat! It has a pecan/brown sugar topping that gave it a nice crunch. You can add any type of dried fruit, and I opted to use dried apricots since I hadn’t baked with them in a while. I had wanted to use dried apples, but I could find them at the store (I needed to go to Trader Joe’s). Oh well, they were great with apricots. This bread is moist and the applesauce gives great flavor. The apricots are little pockets of sweetness. My expectations were blown away with this bread and I will certainly make it again. I think this recipe would make excellent muffins, and I’m sure some of the Tuesdays with Dorie bakers opted for that, so make sure you check them out. Thanks for picking such a great recipe Natalie!
Recipe from Baking from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, page 44
Friday, August 13, 2010
This is one of those recipes that I usually don’t think about making because I always assume that I have made it and posted it on my blog. I had a friend ask me for a recipe recently and I thought of this one. I went home to find the link to send to her, but I realized that I hadn’t made it to post. It’s such a good recipe so I decided to make it right away.
The trickiest part of this recipe was finding the right pan to use. You make these in a 10” x 15” inch baking sheet. This is the traditional size of a jelly roll pan, but a jelly roll pan has 1” tall sides. My pan has edges that are about ½” inch tall, plus my baking sheet is really beat up. These cookies are extremely thin, so I figured that I would be ok. I used to have a pan with 1” sides, but I have no idea where that went to!
The recipe for these cookies is a simple base, and the recipe gives three variations for toppings: almond toffee, chocolate peanut or chocolate pecan. I’ve always made the almond toffee variation, since I like to bake with sliced almonds. I had to change the filling a bit, since I was out of heavy cream. I used milk and it worked out fine. Don’t worry if the topping doesn’t cover every inch of the crust; spread it out as best you can. These are a little crumbly, and they are a little better a day or so after baking (they become less fragile). They aren’t too sweet, and go perfectly with a cup of tea.
2-1/2 cups flour
1 cup butter, cut into pieces
½ cup powdered sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 10” x 15” baking sheet (or cookie sheet of similar size). In a large mixer bowl, combine all ingredients and mix until the mixture resembles crumbs. Press firmly and evenly into prepared pan. Bake 20 minutes or until golden brown. Meanwhile, make the topping.
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup light corn syrup
¼ cup butter
¼ cup heavy cream
1-1/2 cups sliced almonds
1 teaspoon vanilla
In a medium saucepan, combine brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, and cream. Bring to a boil over medium heat; remove from heat. Stir in almonds and vanilla. Pour over hot crust; spread evenly. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until set and golden. Cool completely before cutting into bars or triangles.
Recipe from Favorite Brand Name Cookie Collection
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was picked by Katrina of Baking and Boys. She decided to choose Chocolate Ganache Ice Cream, which is one of the simplest recipes, ingredient wise, in the book. To get the complete recipe, visit Katrina’s blog. It’s just chocolate ganache (chocolate and heavy cream) and then ice cream/custard base mixed together. Yummy!
I had some left over ganache in the refrigerator that I had thought about using, but it was beyond its natural life so I decided to start from scratch. I only have 3 ounces of chocolate so I decided to halve the recipe. I used 72% bittersweet chocolate and hoped that would give enough flavor without being too dark and bitter. My ganache didn’t get at smooth as usual, but I hoped that wouldn’t be a problem. I’ve made custard a zillion times since joining Tuesdays with Dorie, but this time it didn’t turn out too well. It was kind of grainy (from the start) and I couldn’t ever get an accurate temperature reading, so I think I may have overcooked the custard. I mixed it all together and while it was still a little grainy, it looked pretty good.
I had to go to work so I stuck it into the refrigerator to cool and then planned to freeze it later. Making ice cream is always quite a task because I don’t have an ice cream maker. I use David Lebovitz’s method of freeze-stir-freeze to make ice cream. This usually takes about 4 hours. When I took the mixture out of the refrigerator, it was already very firm. I froze it for 45 minutes to start the freezing process and by the end of the first freezing, it was pretty solid. I stirred it as well as I could, froze it another 30 minutes and called it good. I served it right away and it was quite yummy! It wasn’t perfectly frozen but the texture was really nice. This ice cream is really rich and you can’t eat too much, but I really liked it. I think it would be good with some add-ins like nuts and marshmallows, but that wouldn’t have worked with my version. Don’t forget to check out how all of the other Tuesdays with Dorie bakers did with this week’s recipe.
Recipe from Baking from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, page 430
Friday, August 6, 2010
I realized recently that I haven’t been mixing up the Friday cookie recipes quite as much as I’d like. I’ve been reaching for the same cookbooks, or just looking on the web for recipes. This week I again vowed to plan ahead and get everything ready long before I needed to bake the cookies. I grabbed by King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion to look for something to mix it up a bit. The recipes from this book always turn out well and they tend to have more complex flavors. A quick look through the book and I had a couple of possible recipes.
I decided to make the Café au Lait bars. Yes, I do make bar cookies a lot, but I hadn’t made anything coffee flavored in a while. The recipe suggested topping the bars with the cinnamon cocoa glaze, and this really added a lot. You do swirl the batters together and this becomes fairly invisible when you put the glaze on top, but I think the bars needed the extra sweetness. The original recipe called for nuts (well, they were optional) and I opted to leave those out.
I have to say that these are the most unconventional bars that I have ever made. They seem more like cake when you put them in the oven, but once they are baked they have a very firm, cake-like texture. I’ve never beaten eggs and sugar until stiff and glossy. I usually do that with egg whites when I make meringue, so that was interesting. The batter loses some of its volume when you add the other ingredients, but it is still very fluffy. Quite a departure from the normal creaming method that you use when making most cookies. I really liked these; they were different and quite elegant. The coffee flavor was there but not over the top; the addition of the cream mellows the coffee flavor. These were a big hit at work!
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
¾ cup butter, melted
2 cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons instant espresso powder
¼ cup heavy cream
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 teaspoons cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons cream or milk
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease a 9” x 13” pan.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs until light-colored and thick. Add the sugar, beating until glossy and stiff. Add the vanilla and the melted butter, beating to combine. Stir in the flour and salt.
Set aside 1-1/2 cups of the batter. In a small bowl, combine the instant espresso powder and the heavy cream and then add to the remaining batter. Spread the coffee batter in the prepared pan and then spoon the reserved batter over the top. With a small knife, swirl the two batters to marble them.
Bake for 30 minutes or until the sides barely pull away from the edge of the pan. Cool and then top with the glaze.
To make the glaze, combine the powered sugar, cinnamon, cocoa powder and salt. Gradually add the cream and whisk until no lumps remain. Spread over the top of the bars. Allow the glaze to set before cutting into bars.
Recipe from the King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was selected by Natalia of gatti fili e farina. She chose Gingered Carrot Cookies which are in the cookie part of the cookbook but really should be in a different section. I’m not really sure what section they should be in, but they are very un-cookie-like. You can get the complete recipe on Natalia’s blog and you can check out how all of the other Tuesdays with Dorie bakers did with this week’s recipe.
I thought that these would be like carrot cake, just in cookie form. Reading the notes that Dorie includes in the cookbook, she says that’s what she started out to do but ended up with these instead. They include shredded carrots, raisins and nuts, which are all traditional to carrot cake. But in cookie form it transforms into something else. I’m a little puzzled as to how to classify these: kind of savory, kind of scone-like, a little bit sweet. I wouldn’t call them a cookie, I’d probably call them a scone but they don’t have the technical requirements of scone-dom. Does it matter? I don’t think that it does. I liked these even though they were very different than I imagined them to be.
I think that these would be really good with a bowl of roasted vegetable soup or something like that. They weren’t bad on their own but I think pairing them with other vegetables would be a good call. I had no trouble putting these together; just mix and bake. I was happy that this was another quick and easy recipe! My husband asked if you could ice these with cream cheese frosting, and I think that would work really well. I’d initially thought of putting them together as sandwich cookies, but after tasting one I knew that would not work. I’d like to try that someday, but with a different recipe. I’m happy I tried these, they are quite different for a cookie!
Recipe from Baking from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, page 162.