Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Sorry, no Tuesdays with Dorie today. With the busy Thanksgiving weekend, time got away from me and I never got this week’s recipe made. This week’s recipe was Devilish Shortcakes, picked by Tania of Love Big, Bake Often. You can get the recipe for these chocolate shortcakes on her blog and you can also check out how the other Tuesdays with Dorie bloggers did this week. Back on track next week for me!
Instead I am posting a cake that I made recently for a friend and coworker. I had laser eye surgery at the end of September and the day after surgery I took the day off. I could see fairly well and could read a cookbook just fine, so I decided to make this fairly elaborate birthday cake. This is quite the cake! It’s a pineapple almond cake, filled with chocolate mousse and topped with chocolate ganache and butter cream. I did simplify one step by making simple frosting rather than the fancy one that the original recipe called for, but otherwise I followed the recipe exactly.
This cake took some time, with lots of steps and waiting between steps, but I really enjoyed making this. (This is the longest recipe that I've ever posted!) It was so enjoyable to have an entire day to focus on a recipe. The final product was very impressive and it was a nice treat for her birthday. I’m not usually that successful at frosting cakes so they look nice, but this one came together really well and looked very nice. I didn’t have a piece until a couple of days later, but it was good even then. If you’re looking for something fancy with an interesting mix of flavors, this is certainly a cake that you should try! (Sorry for the bad photo, I took this picture with my phone.)
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ pound dried pineapple, cut into ¼” pieces
¾ cup water
½ pound butter, cut into pieces
1 cup sugar
½ cup sour cream
1 teaspoon almond extract
¾ cup sliced almonds toasted
¾ cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons rum
¼ cup sugar
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon sugar
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup butter, softened
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
About 2 tablespoons milk
Additional sliced almonds, toasted
Make the cake: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter 2 9-inch cake pans and line the bottom of the pans with parchment. Lightly coat the pans with additional melted butter.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. Heat the diced dried pineapple and ¾ cup of water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and then remove from the heat and set aside.
In a large mixer bowl, beat the butter and sugar on low for 1 minute and then on medium for 2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and then beat on medium for an additional 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating for a minute after each addition. Once the eggs have been added, beat on high for 1 minute until the mixture is fluffy. Turn the mixer to low and add the sifted dry ingredients; mix until incorporated, about 1 minute. Add the pineapple and the residual cooking water and mix about 30 seconds. Add the sour cream and the almond extract and mix on low to combine, about 15 seconds. Stir in the toasted almonds with a spatula.
Divide the cake batter between the pans and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, 28-30 minutes. Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool in the pans for 15 minutes. Remove from the pans and allow the cake to cook completely on a wire rack. Refrigerate the cake before assembling the cake.
Make the chocolate mousse: Place ¾ cup heavy cream, 2 tablespoons rum and ¼ cup sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Whip on medium-high speed until still. Using a handheld whisk, whisk about half of the beaten cream into the melted chocolate. Add the chocolate mixture to the remaining whipped cream and fold together until completely combined. Refrigerate until you assemble the cake.
Make the ganache: Place the semisweet chocolate and the unsweetened chocolate in a large bowl. Heat the heavy cream and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and then pour the boiling cream over the chocolate. Allow to sit for 5 minutes and then stir with a whisk until smooth. Set aside at room temperature.
Make the frosting: In a large mixer bowl, combine the powdered sugar and butter. Stir in the vanilla and milk until smooth. Add additional milk if the frosting is too thick; additional powdered sugar if the frosting is too thin.
Assemble the cake: Remove the cake from the refrigerator. Place one layer on a cake plate and top with the chocolate mousse. Add the second cake layer, top side up, and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Spread the frosting around the edges of the cake (not on top) and smooth with an icing spatula. Pour the ganache on the top of the cake and spread the ganache to the edge of the cake. Be careful that the ganache doesn’t go over the sides of the cake. Refrigerate the cake for 5 minutes and then sprinkle the sides of the cake with toasted almonds.
Recipe from Death by Chocolate Cakes by Marcel Desauliniers
Frosting recipe from the Betty Crocker Cookbook
Friday, November 26, 2010
I bake for a lot of different events at work: birthdays, holiday parties, even for meetings sometimes. This year I am the chair of a committee which hosts two big meetings for particular members of the campus. I figured it would be nice to have homemade cookies at these meetings, especially since they are held fairly late in the afternoon when everyone needs a little boost. At the first meeting, I made snickerdoodles and ginger cookies. Someone asked “where are the chocolate chip cookies?” I figured I had better make chocolate chip cookies for the second meeting!
I don’t typically bake chocolate chip cookies, much to my husband’s chagrin. That’s what he always requests if I ask what to bake. I do like chocolate chip cookies, but I don’t think they are all that exciting to make. I guess you can always mix up the type of chips and add different add-ins, but this recipe is about as traditional as you can get. There are a couple of variations of this recipe floating around, but this one is from All Recipes. I make mine a little smaller than the original recipe, but these cookies turn out picture perfect and they are easy to put together.
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats.
In a small bowl stir together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
In a large mixer bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. Stir in the flour mixture and mix until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a spatula. Drop cookie dough by heaping tablespoons onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be about 3 inches apart.
Bake for 15 to 17 minutes, or until the edges are lightly toasted. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.
Recipe from All Recipes
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
This week for Tuesdays with Dorie, we got to do a rewind. A rewind is where we can either make a recipe we’ve already done, or make a recipe that you hadn’t made when it was selected. I was so excited to see that there was a rewind this week, because there were quite a few recipes that had been selected before I joined Tuesdays with Dorie that I wanted to make. It was almost as exciting as choosing the recipe for the week! I originally had in mind one particular recipe but ended up making the Brioche Raisin Snails.
This recipe had been selected by Peabody of Culinary Concoctions by Peabody fairly soon after Tuesdays with Dorie started. You can see her original post with the recipe at her wonderful blog. She is one of my favorite bloggers, but in this case that didn’t influence my decision! I don’t exactly know what inspired me to bake with yeast, since that takes quite a bit of time. I started looking at the sticky rolls, which use the same brioche dough as the raisin snails. I’ll make the sticky rolls later in the week when we have guests for Thanksgiving and I took the raisin snails to work for an extra treat.
This is a super rich dough, with lots of eggs and three sticks of butter! You make the dough in the mixer which is a lot easier than doing it by hand. My mixer was being a bit of a pain but it eventually started working the dough properly. You let it rise and then refrigerate it overnight, shaping the next day. That made it seem like it didn’t take quite so long. The second rise was an hour and a half and I was worried that they didn’t rise enough, but they seemed to bake up nicely. These were a nice treat, very different from the things I typically bake. The pastry cream filling disappeared somewhere in the rolls, which is interesting! These are sweet but not too much, and would be perfect with a cup of coffee in the morning.
Recipe from Baking from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, page 56
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Sometimes when I am baking for birthdays at work I have time to make something a little more elaborate. For this cake, it looks like this cake takes forever, but it really isn’t too bad. It has a couple of different components, but nothing it too complex. It does have a lot of butter, which is maybe why it is so great. It doesn’t contain any flour at all; the structure for the cake is mainly from the eggs. This is very rich and decadent; perfect for a party.
This recipe is from the cookbook Death by Chocolate Cakes, which is a book I turn to whenever I am looking for something different. At first this cake seems a little strange, since the topping calls for oats, chocolate and raisins. I didn’t want to use raisins, so I substituted nuts (pecans) instead. I just wasn’t sure how raisins would be with this. The nuts worked out great, and I think I like the nuts to help balance the sweetness of the white chocolate topping.
The texture of this cake is so smooth, kind of like a fudge or softened butter. The topping gives it a different texture and then the glaze on top gives it some sweetness. I really liked this cake because it was so unusual. It’s a very interesting and different cake, and certainly worthy of a special occasion.
1 pound butter
1 pound semisweet chocolate
1 cup coffee
1 cup sugar
6 egg yolks
2 cups oats
12 ounces semisweet chocolate
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup nuts, chopped
8 ounces white chocolate
¼ cup heavy cream
Make the cake: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Butter a 10 inch springform pan.
Melt the butter and chocolate in the top half of a double boiler. Set aside. In a large mixer bowl, combine the coffee and sugar. Mix on low speed until the sugar is melted. Add the melted chocolate mixture and mix on low speed for 30 seconds. Add the 6 egg yolks to the mixture and mix at medium for one minute, until incorporated. Add the whole eggs, one at a time, mixing until each egg is incorporated before adding the next. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula and finish mixing the batter until smooth and combined.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and place the pan on a baking sheet. Bake for 1 hour. The cake may seem moist, especially near the center. The internal temperature of the cake should be 170 degrees. Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Refrigerate the cake in the pan for one hour.
Make the toasted oat topping: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Toast the oats for 18-20 minutes until lightly golden. Set aside. Place the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Bring the cream to a boil and then pour it over the chocolate. Allow to set for 5 minutes and then whisk until smooth and shiny. Add the oats and the nuts and stir to combine. Spread the topping over the refrigerated cake.
Make the white chocolate glaze: heat the white chocolate and the whipping cream in the top of a double boiler, use a rubber spatula to stir the chocolate and cream until completely melted and smooth. Set aside for a about 15 minutes. Pour the white chocolate glaze over the toasted oat topping and use a spatula to spread it evenly. Refrigerate the cake for several hours before serving.
To serve, allow the cake to sit at room temperature for 20-30 minutes. Remove the side of the springform pan. Cut the cake with a knife dipped on hot water.
Recipe from Death by Chocolate Cakes by Marcel Desaulniers
Friday, November 19, 2010
I love snickerdoodles and I’m always game to try a new snickerdoodle recipe. I’ve made the traditional ones and chocolate ones. I made snickerdoodle cupcakes, although we ate those before I posted them to my blog. I saw this recipe and knew I wanted to make it right away. Snickerdoodle? Cookie bar? Sounds good to me.
These are super easy to make, and you likely have everything you need on hand. I even had sour cream, which was nice. I didn’t have to go to the store at all. This gives you the option of butter or shortening. I like the flavor of butter but shortening does make for a chewy cookie. I decided to split the difference and use ½ cup of each. The cinnamon sugar that you make is heavier on the cinnamon that what I typically use, plus I’m using Vietnamese cinnamon, so these have a good cinnamon flavor.
These bars are extraordinarily forgiving. I put these in the oven and then my husband was making dinner and I didn’t hear the timer go off at all. I didn’t realize they were still in the oven until my husband was ready to put dinner in to cook. They baked for about 40 minutes rather than 30. They looked a little dry around the edges but I hoped they would be ok. I let them cool and when I cut them they were soft and seemed no worse for the wear. I think these taste a little different from snickerdoodles, but the resemblance is there. These are a fine addition to my snickerdoodle repertoire!
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 cup butter or shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup sour cream
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9” x 13” pan.
In a small bowl, combine the 1/3 cup sugar and the cinnamon. Sprinkle half of the cinnamon sugar mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the prepared pan. Set aside the remaining cinnamon sugar.
In a large mixer bowl, cream the sugar and butter/shortening. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for one minute after each addition. Stir in the sour cream. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, soda, cream of tartar, powder and salt. Add to the mixer bowl and stir to combine.
Spread the dough in the pan and then cover with the remaining cinnamon sugar. Bake for 30 minutes or until the center is moist but not doughy.
Recipe from Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was selected by Whitney, April, and Elizabeth of Celestial Confections. They chose the Cranberry Lime Galette, which is a rustic tart. Two weeks in a row with cranberries, which I think will lead to some Tuesday with Dorie bakers to try some variations of this recipe. To get the recipe in its original form, visit Celestial Confections. To check out the variations, take a visit to the Tuesdays with Dorie blog and check out all of the links!
I didn’t completely deviate from the original recipe, but I did mix it up a bit. I wanted more sweet than tart, so I changed up the ingredients. I exchanged the cranberry and apple quantities, so I used 2 cups of apples and about a cup of cranberries. I didn’t have ginger root so I threw in a tiny bit of candied ginger. I also substituted some cranberry conserve for the jam. With a cup of fresh cranberries I knew that it would still be tart, but hopefully not too much.
I was pleasantly surprised how quickly this came together, and it looks just like the picture in the cookbook. Just roll out the dough, mix together the filling ingredients and bake. This would really be a great dessert if you were hosting a small Thanksgiving event. I think I hit the perfect balance of sweet and tart. You can still taste the cranberries but the galette is still sweet. I really liked this: the flavors were great, it looks impressive yet it was easy to make. Another winner from Dorie!
Recipe from Baking From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, pages 364-365
Friday, November 12, 2010
When I am baking, it seems that I pick the most decadent, butter-laden treats that I can find. It seems like moderation is the key: you can eat rich things, just not too many! I haven’t explored low fat baking all that much. My good friend and coworker sent me this recipe for a healthier cookie, and I thought I would give it a try. While pumpkin isn’t my favorite, I do like the spices usually associated with it. This cookie has two types of ginger and other spices that I love.
These were very easy to put together. The hardest part was chopping up the crystallized ginger; it’s very sticky! I actually used candied uncrystallized ginger, which I think is a little less sugary. It was very odd to not use any butter or eggs, but I had faith in the recipe. You don’t use the mixer for these cookies, which is critical in not over mixing the batter. You have to be careful; too much mixing can make things really tough.
These cookies are very cakey, and quite tender. I love the ginger flavor! If you don’t like ginger, these are not for you. I can’t really taste the pumpkin, but that’s ok. I made sure that I made the same number of cookies as the recipe specified (40 cookies) since otherwise the nutritional information would be off. I typically have a hard time making the “correct” number of cookies; I think I usually make them too big. These cookies have about 55 calories and a little less than one gram of fat. (I don’t even want to think about how many grams of fat most of the cookies I make have!) These aren’t quite as decadent as other things I make, but overall they are very good.
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek-style yogurt
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
2 cups sifted cake flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with silicone baking mats.
In a large bowl combine the pumpkin, brown sugar, yogurt, oil and vanilla. Whisk until smooth. Stir in the crystallized ginger. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, cinnamon, ground ginger, baking soda, salt and nutmeg. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet, mixing until just blended.
Scoop the batter onto the prepared baking sheets using a medium-sized cookie scoop. Bake until lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool.
Recipe from The Seattle Times
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was selected by Jessica of Singleton in the Kitchen. She chose the Not-Just-for Thanksgiving Cranberry Shortbread Cake. Dorie calls this a cake, but it kind of falls between dessert genres. The shortbread makes it very cookie-like. I don’t think it is very cakey at all, but I guess it doesn’t matter too much. If you’d like to get the complete recipe, visit Jessica’s blog. You can also check out how the other Tuesdays with Dorie bloggers fared with this week’s recipe. I think there are some tasty variations out there!
You start by making the cranberry orange filling, which is very similar to making cranberry sauce. I didn’t have an orange but I had some Grand Marnier sauce that I used instead. I just estimated the amount to use, but it worked fine. I tasted the filling after I made it and it was sweet but a little tart. I wanted it to remain a bit of the tartness or you’d never know it was cranberry.
I halved the recipe and made two 4-inch mini cakes. I’m glad I didn’t have to roll the dough out too much since it was super sticky. I refrigerated the dough but probably not enough. Rolling it out to fit a 4-inch pan wasn’t too tough. I baked them for about the same amount of time as the larger cake. They turned out really well and I really liked the combination of the cranberry filling and the tender shortbread. I guess I could have added a little more sugar to the filling, but I didn’t mind it being quite tart. This was a very interesting dessert, not quite a cake but still very good!
Recipe from Baking from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, pages 208-209.
Friday, November 5, 2010
When I started baking, I was a not-so-wealthy college student and part-time retail employee. I would bake lots of different recipes, often asking friends and coworkers what I should make. I would have some cookbooks with me and people would note which recipes they thought sounded good. I had one rule: no recipes with almond paste. Almond paste was just too expensive for me to buy with the little money that I had.
Well, times are a little different now. I work for a school, so I certainly am not wealthy, but there’s a little more money for those extras. I try to find recipes where I don’t have to buy too many ingredients. For this recipe, I had everything on hand except the almond paste. (I have no idea why we had coconut extract.) I figured I could splurge and go ahead and get the more expensive ingredient. I’m glad I did because these are wonderful. The house smelled incredible while these were baking.
These have all the flavors of the candy bar with the similar name. I imagine that many people are tired of candy by this time, but I think these cookies will win anyone over. When I melted the chocolate it wasn’t as smooth as I had hoped, but it worked out ok. The cookies are really good on their own, without the topping, so that’s just a bonus anyway.
1 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon coconut extract
¼ cup (2.25 ounces) almond paste
1 cup shredded coconut
2-1/3 cup flour
1 cup chocolate chips
2 tablespoons corn syrup
2 tablespoons butter
Chopped toasted almonds
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with silicone baking mats.
In a large mixer bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, salt, extracts, and almond paste. Add the egg, mixing until fairly smooth. Stir in the coconut and the flour.
Drop by tablespoons onto the prepared baking sheets. Gently flatten each cookie to about 2 inches in diameter. Bake for 14 minutes, until the edges are light golden brown. Remove the cookies from the baking sheets and cool completely on a wire rack.
To make the topping: combine the chocolate chips, corn syrup, and butter in a small saucepan. Melt over low heat, stirring until smooth. Dip the tops of the cookies in the chocolate and then sprinkle with chopped almonds.
Recipe from King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was selected by Nicole of Bakeologie. She chose the Peanuttiest Blondies and I love blondies so I was excited for this week! You can get the complete recipe on the Bakeologie blog. This blondie had the addition of peanut butter, peanuts and chocolate chips.
This recipe was super fast to make, which was nice given the busy Halloween weekend. I don’t think I would have had the time to put together an elaborate layer cake or something fancy like that. I really prefer the simpler recipes anyway. I had made a couple of other peanut cookies recently, so I had the peanuts on hand as well as all the other ingredients. I didn’t have to pick up any extra ingredients for this week’s selection, which was very nice.
You bake these blondies in a 9-inch square pan, which makes for a fairly thick blondie. I think I would maybe try baking these in a 9x13 pan so that the cookies are a little thinner. I liked the flavor of these although I’m not sure about the addition of cinnamon to the batter, I don’t know that I like cinnamon with peanuts. I took these in to work and they were a big hit, so guess they tasted ok! Thanks Nicole, for picking such a tasty recipe.
Recipe from Baking from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, page 119.