Tuesday, December 16, 2008

TWD: Buttery Jam Cookies

This weeks recipe was picked by Heather of Randomodity and the Girl. The recipe can be found on her blog or in Dorie Greenspans Baking book.

I was looking forward to another round of cookies, these were drop cookies so pretty simple to do, no rolling, no cutting, just spoon them on the baking sheet and that's it.
They sounded great, butter, jam, what's not to like? Well they were very, very bland, they lacked taste. It wasn't crunchy, but also not really soft, it tried to be a lot of things, but didn't shine. We all agreed here that this was the recipe we liked least so far.

Oh well, there is always butterscotch pudding next week, butter, booze, what's not to like ;-)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

TWD: Grandma's All-Occasion Sugar Cookies

This weeks TWD recipe was picked by Ulrike from Küchenlatein, if you want to make it yourself you can find the recipe in Dorie Greenspan's: Baking, From My House To Yours or on Ulrike's Blog.

The cookies were very simple to make, I didn't do anything fancy with them, just wanted to see how they would taste without any additions.
I went the slice and bake way, but I think I cut them a little too thick. The taste was still great, but next time I will do them a little thinner, probably roll them out and use cookie cutters.

Thanks for picking this one Ulrike! We all loved them.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Linzer Sablés

Made it back safely after a fabulous cruise! Our luggage decided to stay away a day longer but apart from that everything was great.

This week's Tuesday With Dorie recipe was picked by me! The first guy who joined the group finally got his pick :-)

I choose the Linzer Sablés, so far I've enjoyed the European style recipes more than the American, maybe because I'm European and my tastebuds are more used to those treats? Anyway, I love the way they look with the jam peeking out of the little hole.

I made mine with raspberry jam which I passed through a sieve, after heating it up, to get rid of the seeds.
They were very easy to make and the taste of the cookies comes close to "speculaas", must be the cloves.

I'm pleased with my choice, it's not my favorite recipe but I would make it again.

Here is the recipe:

When I was a kid, the main street in our neighborhood boasted a bakery every two blocks. We always had freshly made bread from the baker closest to our house and almost as often a box of butter cookies from the baker farthest away. My mother would always ask for an assortment, which meant we ended up with too many of those pink-and-green marzipan cookies and not enough of the linzers, buttery, lightly spiced sandwich cookies filled with raspberry jam that peeked through a little cutout on the top. These were the ones I liked best.
This recipe is not a duplicate of the cookie of my childhood, but it is inspired by it and it brings hack childhood memories. I've made these cookies a bit spicier than the originals- I like that extra zing-and I make the peekaboo cutouts only when I'm in the mood to fuss a hit. The rolling out, which is a cinch, can be done just as soon as the malleable dough is made.

1 1/2 cups finely ground almonds, hazelnuts or walnuts
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
Scant 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 large egg
2 teaspoons water
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup raspberry jam or strained apricot jam plus 1 teaspoon water (optional)
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Whisk together the ground nuts, flour, cinnamon, salt and cloves. Using a fork, stir the egg and water together in a small bowl.
Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together at medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl as needed. Add the egg mixture and beat for 1 minute more. Reduce the speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they disappear into the dough. Don't work the dough much once the flour is incorporated. If the dough comes together but some dry crumbs remain in the bottom of the bowl, stop the mixer and finish blending the ingredients with a rubber spatula or your hands.
Divide the dough in half. Working ,,~th one half at a time, put the dough between two large sheets of wax paper or plastic wrap. Using your hands, flatten the dough into a disk, then grab a rolling pin and roll out the dough, turning it over frequently so that the paper doesn't cut into it, until it is about 1/4 inch thick. Leave the dough in the paper and repeat with the second piece of dough. Transfer the wrapped dough to a baking sheet or cutting board (to keep it flat) and refrigerate or freeze it until it is very firm, about 2 hours in the refrigerator or about 45 minutes in the freezer. The rolled-out dough can be wrapped airtight and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months. Just thaw the dough enough to cut out the cookies and go on from there.
Getting ready to bake: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
Peel off the top sheet of wax paper from one piece of dough and, using a 2-inch round cookie cutter-a scalloped cutter is nice for these-cut out as many cookies as you can. If you want to have a peekaboo cutout, use the end of a piping tip to cut out a very small circle from the centers of half the cookies. Transfer the rounds to the baking sheets, leaving a little space between the cookies. Set the scraps aside-you can combine them with the scraps from the second disk and roll and cut more cookies.
Bake the cookies one sheet at a time for 11 to 13 minutes, or until the cookies are lightly golden, dry and just firm to the touch. Transfer the cookies to a rack to cool to room temperature.
Repeat with the second disk of dough, making sure to cool the baking sheets between batches. Gather the scraps of dough together, press them into a disk, roll them between sheets of wax paper or plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, then cut and bake.

If you'd like to make sandwich cookies, place the jam in a small saucepan or in a microwaveable bowl and stir in the 1 teaspoon water. Bring to a boil over low heat or in the microwave. Let the jam cool slightly, then turn half of the cookies flat side up and place about '/2 teaspoon of the jam in the center of each cookie; sandwich with the remaining cookies.
Just before serving, dust the cookies lightly with confectioners' sugar.

If you want to see how all the other TWD bakers did, hop over to the TWD site and check out the blog roll!

Next week: Grandma’s All-Occasion Sugar Cookies on pages 146-147

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


No TWD for me this week and the next few weeks, I'm traveling. Our trip started last Friday when we left for Rome. For us (H. and I) it was the our first visit, K. had been here before. We have visited a lot of the city's high lights, like Galleria Boghese, Sistene Chapel, Pantheon Colosseum, Trevi Fountian, the Spanish Steps etc. But also left a few for a future visit.
For H. and me both the Galleria Boghese was the most beautiful thing we visited, loved the statues by Bernini there!
Trevi Fountain

And than there was the food of course, great pastas, pizzas and desserts, wow, we really have to come back.

Tomorrow we will leave by train to Civitaveccchia, where we will board the Carnival Splendor for our 16 day Rome to Ft. Lauderdale cruise.

On the way we will visit Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Malaga, Funchal (Madeira) and St. Maarten. If I have access to the internet I'll keep you up to date!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

TWD: Lenox Almond Biscotti

Gretchen of Canela & Comino picked this weeks Tuesday with Dorie recipe, she picked Lenox Almond Biscuits which made me very exited.
I know biscotti from my visits to Starbucks when on vacation in the US. I love them and always wanted to give them a try.

They weren't hard to make, although I had to double the time for the first bake. I expected that the logs would spread quite a bit, my sheet pan isn't very wide so I bought an extra one. Glad I did because I could never had fit 2 logs on the one sheet pan I have.
On one sheet pan I put the biscotti's cut side down, on the other I stood them up as Dorie suggested, it didn't make much of a difference taste wise.
I used polenta instead of cornmeal, cornmeal isn't very common on this side of the pond. I'll try to get some next time I make this recipe again. It left a bit of gritty texture. Apart from that I think this is my favorite Dorie recipe so far. Great flavor, nice and crisp, love the almond flavor! Next time I'll try some pistachios or macadamias, or a mix. Also I will do the second bake on 300 F and for a little longer, the ones on the dark sheet pan went a little too fast.

Want to see how the other bakers did? Look at the TWD site. Want to join us? Hurry up this is the last month you can!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

TWD: Caramel Peanut Topped Brownie Cake

Tammy of Wee Treats By Tammy was the lucky one this week and could choose a recipe from Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My House To Yours. She picked the Caramel Peanut Topped Brownie Cake. The recipe can be found in on Tammy's blog and of course in the book.

The cake was easy to make, I don't have a 8" spring form so I used a 9" one.
The caramel with cream was a first but wasn't too hard in the end, it did take way more time though than Dorie stated in the recipe.
What did we think of the cake, most of the trusty tasters liked it, but we all agreed it was a little on the dry side. Maybe because I used the larger springform? I don't know, but a layer of jam or cream would have lifted it a lot. It wasn't gooey like a brownie that's for sure.

Want to know how the other Tuesdays With Dorie bakers did? Go and visit the TWD site. Want to join us? Hurry up, there is only until the end of this month left to do so!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

TWD: Creme Brulee

Finally a new Tuesdays with Dorie, this time picked by Mevrouw Cupcake (I'm probably one of the few in the group that can pronounce that correctly :-)) and what a great pick it was. She choose Creme Brulee, one of my all time favorite desserts. You can find the full recipe in Dorie Greenspan's Baking From My House To Yours, or Mari's blog.

I halved the recipe since there are only three people here at the moment. The custard was easy to make and I 'm getting much more comfortable with making those after making a few different ice cream recipes, flan and my own creme brulee recipe a couple of times.

When I make my own recipe I use a vanilla bean that I steep in the warmed up cream and milk, Dorie's recipe uses vanila extract.
I used the vanilla extract that I brought home from Mexico last April, this is the reason my custard is so dark!
(egg yolks, sugar and vanilla extract)

Since I have the new oven, I still discover new things, one of those tings was that the lowest temperature I get in it (with the door closed) is 230 F, the recipe called for 200 F. I didn't want to end up with ramekins filled with scrambled eggs, so I decided to go the water bath route.
I cranked the oven up to 300 F, put my ramekins in an oven dish, filled the dish with hot water (halfway up the ramekins) and baked them for 35 minutes.
The end result was tasty! Very different from my own recipe, these were not as rich, if I make mine you just want to hang out on the couch for a few hours and not think about food for a while. These were lighter and are a nice alternative if you still have plans after dinner :-)

Thanks a lot Mari for picking one of my favorites!

Next week: Caramel-Peanut-Topped Brownie Cake

Monday, September 29, 2008

I'm Back :-)

It's been quiet a while since I posted here on my blog, I didn't fell of the face of the planet, but thanks to all who asked about my where abouts!

The reason I didn't post anything was that I was remoddelling the kitchen together with my brother. It was some thing that needed to be done for a long time, the old one was probably from the 60's, the stove at least 25 years old. We started a little sooner than expected so I didn't have the time nor energy to post during the process. We took everything out, did new electricity, drains, tiles, ceiling etc. The washing machine was moved to the summer kitchen to free up space for our new 3 foot wide stove. The counter is 9 foot. We put in a dishwasher. Apart from the gas, it was all done by us. And the roof of the summer kitchen and the warm water/central heating unit is replaced too.

But I'm back in business, just in time for tomorrow's Tuesdays With Dorie, picked by Mevrouw Cupcake who lives here in the Netherlands too, didn't want to miss you pick, Mari!!!

What remaines are the before and after pictures, here you go:

Next project, the summer kitchen....

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

TWD: Black and White Banana Loaf

This weeks recipe was picked by Ashlee of A Year In The Kitchen, you can find the recipe in Dorie's Baking and on Ashlee's blog.

To be honest I wasn't impressed with this one, nor were my taste testers. We found it to dense it had too little banana and chocolate taste.

Oh well there is always next week's ice cream to make!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

No TWD this week.

No Tuesday with Dorie entry for me this week, I'm out of town, but I will be back for next weeks recipe.
In the mean time have a look at what all the other TWD bakers made this week at the TWD blogroll.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

TWD: Cherry Rhubarb Cobbler

Another cobbler this week for Tuesdays with Dorie, this time a Cherry Rhubarb one, picked by Amanda from Like Sprinkles on a Cupcake. The recipe for this cobbler can be found in Dorie's Baking or on Amanda's blog.

I had never worked with rhubarb before although we have it in abundance at the moment. Cherries is a different story, we all love them! I pitted them with a chopstick, a trick I read about in the Question and Problem section on the TWD site. It worked great so no need to buy a cherry pitter for this cobbler.

The top differs from the mixed berry cobler, which has a rolled top, this one has little biscuits floating around in the fruit mixture.
How did we like this one? Well to be short we didn't, the biscuit was the best part, the fruit we didn't care for, the rhubarb was overpowering and the taste of the cherries was lost. I think we just stick to fresh cherries next time.
I might try this one with different fruit in the future, apples could be nice.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

TWD: Chocolate Pudding

This weeks Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was picked by Melissa from It's Melissa's Kitchen and was right up my alley! Here is Holland we eat pudding after dinner, most of the time a more runny variation we call "vla", we have it in vanilla, chocolate, coffee (Hopjes, after the coffee candies from The Hague), lemon, raspberry, banana etc. Then there are thicker variaties, bavarois and all kinds of yoghurts. Pies and such we eat when we serve coffee later in the evening, or during daytime coffee, not like in the States right after dinner.

This pudding was more work than a boxed version, but it was really, really worth it. It was nice and smooth and the taste, WOW! Like a deflated chocolate mousse! I think I'll make smaller portions next time since it was very rich and not everybody was able to finish a portion.
The recipe can be found in Dorie's Baking: From My House To Yoursor on Melissa's blog.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

TWD: Double Crusted Blueberry Pie

Last week I wasn't able to do my Dorie bake but this week I made the Double Crusted Blueberry Pie picked by Amy from South in Your Mouth, You can find the recipe for this pie in Dorie's fabulous Baking: From My House To Yoursor at Amy's site.

With the prices of blueberries here being 2.99 euro for 125 grams, I figured out I needed about $20 in blueberries for this pie, now I like to stick to the recipe, but that was a little too much for me. So I used some more of the frozen berries that I also used for the mixed berry cobbler we baked 2 weeks ago.
Shortening is also a thing that is hard to come by on this side of the pond so I used the cheapest hardest margarine I could find as a substitute, which worked out fine.

I used my food processor to mix all the ingredients which made life so much easier. The pie came together very easy. The only thing I forgot was to sprinkle it with sugar but I don't think that that made a lot of difference.
The taste was great, the crust nice and flaky as a pie should be, the berries sweet yet tart, all together a great recipe. Now if only the price of the blueberries came down so I could make it the way it was supposed to be....

With over 200 Dorie members I find it harder and harder to leave comments on everyones blog, so I've decided to just leave comments on a random number of blogs, hope you gal/guys understand!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

TWD: Mixed Berry Cobbler

Time really flies at the moment, it's Tuesday again and I still had to make the Tuesday With Dorie bake for this week so I made it tonight for dessert, just in time to post it while it's still Tuesday. This weeks recipe was picked by Beth of Our Sweet Life, she picked the Mixed Berry Cobbler, you can find the recipe in Baking: From My House To Yours and on Beth's Blog.

One thing I learned from last week's bake is to check the Problem and Question section on the TWD site. A lot of bakers that made the recipe complaint that the dough was a bit bland, so I exchanged the sugar for turbinado sugar, added a bit of cinnamon and some vanilla extract.
I also halved the recipe since it was a little too big for just the four of us.
The whole thing was pretty easy to make, I used frozen berries from the supermarket, which contained rasberries, blueberries, blackberries, some strawberries and cranberries. The cranberries were very tart so the next time I make this (yes, there will be a next time) I'll add a little bit more sugar to the filling.
The pastry top came together very easy, first time ever I used cream in a dough. I brushed the top with cream and sprinkled some more turbinado sugar on top.
Served it with whipped cream that was sweetened with vanilla sugar.

The verdict on this one: we all loved it! The cranberries made it a little tart sometimes, but apart from that no complaints. We all loved the pastry top, E. asked if I could just make that and serve it with strawberries, so I think the adjustments worked out fine.
I will make this one again for sure, probably serve it with a nice scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream!

Next week we will be making Apple Cheddar Scones, a recipe picked by Katrina of The Floured Apron.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

TWD: Peppermint Cream Puff Ring

This weeks recipe for Tuesdays with Dorie was picked by Caroline of A Consuming Passion, she picked a recipe with choux pastry. I always wanted to try that and I have a couple of recipes laying around but never got to it.

Instead of reading the Problems and Question section on the TWD site, or looking at some of my other recipes, I just made it straight from the book, big mistake!
I had hardly any puff in my pastry, there were some small air pockets but not the big fluffy ones you normally see in puff pastry. I just have to try this another time with the lessons learned from this bake.
Which lessons did I learn,? Well, don't add the eggs to the dough straight from the fire, let it cool down a bit first. Another lesson, after the pastry comes out of the oven (this is for puffs) make a small incision with a paring knife, to release steam, and put them back in the turned of oven so they can dry out a bit more.
Despite the dense structure it still tasted like puff pastry, I filled it with pastry cream instead of the peppermint cream. We are not that big on peppermint in our dessert here.
My pastry cream might look a little dark, that is from the new bottle of Mexican vanilla that I brought back from me recent trip. Beautiful flavor but very dark!

The recipe for this week can be found on Caroline's site since she was the one who picked it.

Next week we will be making the Mixed Berry Cobbler, picked by Beth of Our Sweet Life.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

TWD: La Palette’s Strawberry Tart

Marie from A Year From Oak Cottage choose this week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe: La Palette's Strawberry Tart.

I don't care much for strawberries on their own, but when they are ingredients in cakes, tarts, pies etc. I love them, add to that the fact that our local strawberries are in season and widely available in the shops and you'll get a tart that I looked forward to making!

I didn't want to make the whole tart because there aren't enough people around at the moment to finish it right away, so I ended up making four 4.5" tarts.

The dough was very easy to make, one of the things that can ruin a dough like this is using too warm butter, so I put the butter in the freezer a couple of hours before I needed it.
The recipe calls for freezing the dough when you've put it in the tart tin, an unusual step but it worked great.

I filled the baked tart shells with a store bought jam, since I ran out of my homemade jam. I think it would be even better with my own jam since I always add a little Stroh 80 rum before I can it, which just gives it something special.

I added a little splash kirsch and some cracked black pepper to the strawberries and topped the tarts with whipped cream.

The first bite I took, took me back to Konditorei, Dahinden in Weggis, Switzerland, when we were there on vacation we always drank coffee there with a slice of their fabulous strawberry pie. This pie is totally different, but now I know what made their pie stand out from others.... the kirsch! The kirsch gives the strawberries something special. The cracked pepper sounds odd but complements the tart nicely.
So what do we think of this tart? It's fabulous! We all loved it, I'll probably make it again and again, maybe exchange the jam for pastry cream, use different fruit, but this recipe is a keeper!

Dorie asked if we didn't put the recipes in our posts, so if you want to see the recipe buy Baking: From My House To Yours or enter in the give-away at the TWD site, which is also the pace where you can find the blog roll with all the other bakers.

Next week we will be making Peppermint Crem Puff Rings, chosen by Caroline of A Consuming Passion.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Oreo Truffles

One of the blogs that I enjoy a lot is Bakerella, I discovered her site a long time ago when I was looking into red velvet cake, she had a recipe on her blog for Red Velvet Cake Balls which looked so different that I added her to my rss reader and follow her posts all the time.
One of those posts was a recipe for Oreo Truffles, which uses ingredients that are a little more over the counter here in Holland. except for the white chocolate bark that my friend in the US sent to me, thanks K.!!!

I made only half a recipe, with all the TWD recipes and good food aound here, 36 Oreo Truffles isn't a thing I want to have in the fridge, calling my name every time I open the door :-)

The recipe is fairly easy, the tricky thing is to get a nice coating of bark on the balls, which I got the hang of in the end.

The truffles are very rich, I might make them smaller next time, I would also experiment a bit with them, like adding a splash of Cointreau orange liquor to the oreo/creamcheese mixture.

Thanks Bakerella for the great ideas on your blog and for this great recipe!

Oreo Truffles
1 package oreo cookies (divided… use cookie including the cream center)
1 8oz. package cream cheese (softened)
white chocolate bark

1. Finely crush 7 cookies in a food processor or place them in a ziploc bag and crush into a fine consistency. Reserve for later.
2. Crush remaining cookies and stir in softened cream cheese. Use the back of a large spoon to help mash the two together.
3. Roll the mixture into 1" balls and place on wax paper covered cookie sheet.
4. Melt chocolate as directed on the package and then dip balls into chocolate, tap off extra and set aside on wax paper covered cookie sheet to dry. You can sprinkle the tops with the 7 crushed cookies for decoration.
5. Once dry, refrigerate and enjoy!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

TWD: French Chocolate Brownies

This week in Tuesdays with Dorie, French Chocolate Brownies, a recipe picked by Di of Di's Kitchen Notebook.

Up till now I have only made one other brownie recipe, Sacher Brownies, but I did ate them a few times when I was in the States and I really like them. This recipe is great! Great taste, nice consistency, the occasional rum raisin, the odd top, just great!!

Nothing much was new in this recipe, the flambeeing I did already for the raisin snails, all the other stuff was pretty straight forward. The only scary moment was when I wanted to check if the cake was done and I inserted a small knife, part of the top collapsed, later when I checked the Problem and Question section at the TWD site I found out that happened to all of the other bakers too.
My trusty tasters loved this one too, H. thinks this is the best Dorie recipe so far!

Next week's recipe will be La Palette's Strawberry Tart, choosen by Marie of A Year From Oak Cottage.

French Chocolate Brownies
- makes 16 brownies -
Adapted from Baking From My Home to Yours.

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
1/3 cup raisins, dark or golden
1 1/2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 tablespoons dark rum
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons; 6 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into 12 pieces
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sugar

Getting ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 300°F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil, butter the foil, place the pan on a baking sheet, and set aside.

Whisk together the flour, salt and cinnamon, if you're using it.

Put the raisins in a small saucepan with the water, bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until the water almost evaporates. Add the rum, let it warm for about 30 seconds, turn off the heat, stand back and ignite the rum. Allow the flames to die down, and set the raisins aside until needed.

Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Slowly and gently melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally. Remove the bowl from the saucepan and add the butter, stirring so that it melts. It's important that the chocolate and butter not get very hot. However, if the butter is not melting, you can put the bowl back over the still-hot water for a minute. If you've got a couple of little bits of unmelted butter, leave them—it's better to have a few bits than to overheat the whole. Set the chocolate aside for the moment.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Earl Grey Madeleines

Last week's recipe for Tuesdays with Dorie were the Traditional Madeleines, but the next recipe in the book is Earl Grey Madeleines.
I love Earl Grey tea and not the artificial stuff but the higher quality loose tea leaves. I normally steep it for three minutes and add a splash of milk, how English :-)

So I made Dorie's recipe to see if they would be a nice match with my tea. For me they didn't disappoint, my trusty taster liked the traditional ones better, but she's not to crazy about the tea either. I really liked the subtle flavor of the tea coming through, I will definitely make these again!!

Earl Grey Madeleines (from Baking: From My House To Yours):

5 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp Earl Grey tea leaves
3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1/3 cup sugar
grated zest of 1/2 lemon
2 large eggs,
2 tbsp honey
2 tsp vanilla extract
powder sugar for dusting

Melt the butter and add the tea leaves. Stir to combine and allow the tea to infuse into the butter for 15 minutes. Strain the tea leaves from the butter using a strainer lined with cheesecloth.

Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl.

Mix together the sugar and lemon zest with your fingers.

Whisk together the eggs, sugar, and zest until thickened (2-3 mins). Add the honey and vanilla extract and whisk for another minute.

Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture very gently with a spatula. Gently mix in the strained butter (mine had hardened so I softened it a bit in the microwave). Cover with plastic wrap and chill at least 3 hours.

Preheat the oven to 400. Butter and flour a madeleine pan. Distribute the batter equally between the 12 molds.

Bake for 9 minutes and check. Bake until the tops are firm to the touch, up to 14 minutes. Remove from the molds by tapping the pan.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

TWD: Pecan Honey Sticky Buns

This weeks Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was picked by Madam Chow of Madam Chow's Kitchen. When I read the recipe and saw that it uses the same brioche dough as we made for the Brioche Raisin Snails I was thrilled and scared at the same time, the dough is fabulous, but if you don't have a Kitchen Aid but just a cheap hand mixer it's quite a challenge.
I decided to make the dough this time by hand because I think my mixer wouldn't survive another round with the brioche dough.
The dough came together by hand a lot easier than I expected, I had to use some elbow grease but I would do it again this way. You need only half of the brioche recipe, I used the other half for more Brioche Raisin Snails because my brother keeps asking me to bake some more.

I made seven buns, the rest I froze for a later date. We all thought that these buns were nice but way too sweet for our taste. When I make the remaining ones I won't use the pecan honey glaze but drizzle over the glaze that goes on the raisin snails.
Pecan Honey Sticky Buns
Makes 15 buns

For the Glaze:
1 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1/4 cup honey
1-1/2 cups pecans (whole or pieces)

For the Filling:
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons (packed) light brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

For the Buns:
1/2 recipe dough for Golden Brioche loaves (see below), chilled and ready to shape (make the full recipe and cut the dough in half after refrigerating it overnight)

Generously butter a 9-x-13-inch baking pan (a Pyrex pan is perfect for this).
To make the glaze: In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring the brown sugar, butter, and honey to a boil over medium-low heat, stirring frequently to dissolve the sugar. Pour the glaze into the buttered pan, evening it out as best you can by tilting the pan or spreading the glaze with a heatproof spatula. Sprinkle over the pecans.
To make the filling: Mix the sugars and cinnamon together in a bowl. If necessary, in another bowl, work the butter with a spatula until it is soft, smooth and spreadable.
To shape the buns: On a flour-dusted work surface, roll the chilled dough into a 16-inch square. Using your fingers or a pastry brush, spread the softened butter over the dough. Sprinkle the dough with the cinnamon sugar, leaving a 1-inch strip bare on the side farthest from you. Starting with the side nearest you, roll the dough into a cylinder, keeping the roll as tight as you can. (At this point, you can wrap the dough airtight and freeze it for up to 2 months . . . . Or, if you want to make just part of the recipe now, you can use as much of the dough as you'd like and freeze the remainder. Reduce the glace recipe accordingly).
With a chef's knife, using a gentle sawing motion, trim just a tiny bit from the ends of the roll if they're very ragged or not well filled, then cut the log into 1-inch thick buns. (Because you trim the ragged ends of the dough, and you may have lost a little length in the rolling, you will get 15 buns, not 16.) Fit the buns into the pan cut side down, leaving some space between them.
Lightly cover the pan with a piece of wax paper and set the pan in a warm place until the buns have doubled in volume, about 1 hour and 45 minutes. The buns are properly risen when they are puffy, soft, doubled and, in all likelihood, touching one another.
Getting ready to bake: When the buns have almost fully risen , center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Remove the sheet of wax paper and put the pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat. Bake the sticky buns for about 30 minutes, or until they are puffed and gorgeously golden; the glaze will be bubbling away merrily. Pull the pan from the oven.
The sticky buns must be unmolded minutes after they come out of the oven. If you do not have a rimmed platter large enough to hold them, use a baking sheet lined with a silicone mate or buttered foil. Be careful - the glaze is super-hot and super-sticky.

Brioche Dough:
What You'll Need for the Golden Brioche Dough (this recipe makes enough for two brioche loaves. If you divide the dough in half, you would use half for the sticky buns, and you can freeze the other half for a later date, or make a brioche loaf out of it!):
2 packets active dry yeast (each packet of yeast contains approx. 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1/3 cup just-warm-to-the-touch water
1/3 cup just-warm-to-the-touch whole milk
3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature but still slightly firm

What You'll Need for the Glaze (you would brush this on brioche loaves, but not on the sticky buns):
1 large egg
1 tablespoon water

To Make The Brioche: Put the yeast, water and milk in the bowl of a stand mixer and, using a wooden spoon, stir until the yeast is dissolved. Add the flour and salt, and fit into the mixer with the dough hook, if you have one. Toss a kitchen towel over the mixer, covering the bowl as completely as you can-- this will help keep you, the counter and your kitchen floor from being showered in flour. Turn the mixer on and off a few short pulses, just to dampen the flour (yes, you can peek to see how you're doing), then remove the towel, increase the mixer speed to medium-low and mix for a minute or two, just until the flour is moistened. At this point, you'll have a fairly dry, shaggy mess.
Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula, set the mixer to low and add the eggs, followed by the sugar. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for about 3 minutes, until the dough forms a ball. Reduce the speed to low and add the butter in 2-tablespoon-size chunks, beating until each piece is almost incorporated before adding the next. You'll have a dough that is very soft, almost like batter. Increase the speed to medium-high and continue to beat until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 10 minutes.
Transfer the dough to a clean bowl (or wash out the mixer bowl and use it), cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature until nearly doubled in size, 40 to 60 minutes, depending upon the warmth of your room.
Deflate the dough by lifting it up around the edges and letting it fall with a slap to the bowl. Cover the bowl with the plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator. Slap the dough down in the bowl every 30 minutes until it stops rising, about 2 hours, then leave the uncovered dough in the refrigerator to chill overnight. (After this, you can proceed with the recipe to make the brioche loaves, or make the sticky buns instead, or freeze all or part of the dough for later use.)
The next day, butter and flour two 8 1/2-x-4 1/2-inch pans.
Pull the dough from the fridge and divide it into 2 equal pieces. Cut each piece of the dough into 4 equal pieces and roll each piece into a log about 3 1/2 inches long. Arrange 4 logs crosswise in the bottom of each pan. Put the pans on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat, cover the pans lightly with wax paper and leave the loaves at room temperature until the dough almost fills the pans, 1 to 2 hours. (Again, rising time with depend on how warm the room is.)
Getting Ready To Bake: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
To Make the Glaze: Beat the egg with the water. Using a pastry brush, gently brush the tops of the loaves with the glaze.
Bake the loaves until they are well risen and deeply golden, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer the pans to racks to cool for 15 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the pans and turn the loaves out onto the racks. Invert again and cool for at least 1 hour.

Di of Di's Kitchen Notebook picked next week's recipe: French Chocolate Brownies.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

WSM Smoke Day IV

Today is WSM Smoke Day IV, it's an event, hosted by the virtual weber bullet, where over 400 Weber Smokey Mountain owners worldwide make real barbecue.
I lit my coals at noon, when the WSM was at the right temperature I put in 6 racks of ribs. Two hours before the ribs were done I added some brats and BBQ beans.
After five hours the ribs were done, I used a new sauce I made from the Jack Daniels Barbecue book. It was ok for me, the others liked it a lot. For me it lacked depth so I'll have to make a batch of my regular sauce before the next barbecue.
I served rosemary garlic potato wedges on the side.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

TWD: Traditional Madeleines

Another Tuesday, another Tuesdays with Dorie, this weeks recipe, Traditional Madeleines, was picked by Tara of Smells Like Home.

When I got Baking, this was one of the recipes I put high on my list, but since I didn't have a Madeleine tin I never got to it. So when Tara picked it for this week I had an excuse to get the tin for these classics little cakes.

I made the batter a day in advance and let it rest in the fridge. When I baked them I got a nice hump on all of them, I also buttered and floured the tin well and had no problem with the Madeleines sticking to the tin.
The verdict on these cakes? I love them, they are moist and lemony. Now that I have the tin I will try some of the others in the book too, the Earl Grey Madeleine just moved up a couple of spots on my "to bake" list.
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt ½ cup sugar
Grated zest of 1 lemon
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
¾ stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.

Working in a mixer bowl, or in a large bowl, rub the sugar and lemon zest together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Add the eggs to the bowl. Working with the whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat the eggs and sugar together on medium-high speed until pale, thick and light, 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in the vanilla. With a rubber spatula, very gently fold in the dry ingredients, followed by the melted butter. Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the batter and refrigerate it for at least 3 hours, or for up to 2 days. This long chill period will help the batter form the hump that is characteristic of madeleines. (For convenience, you can spoon the batter into the madeleine molds, cover and refrigerate, then bake the cookies directly from the fridge; see below for instructions on prepping the pans.)

GETTING READY TO BAKE: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter 12 full-size madeleine molds, or up to 36 mini madeleine molds, dust the insides with flour and tap out the excess. Or, if you have a nonstick pan (or pans), give it a light coating of vegetable cooking spray. If you have a silicone pan, no prep is needed. Place the pan(s) on a baking sheet.

Spoon the batter into the molds, filling each one almost to the top. Don't worry about spreading the batter evenly, the oven's heat will take care of that. Bake large madeleines for 11 to 13 minutes, and minis for 8 to 10 minutes, or until they are golden and the tops spring back when touched. Remove the pan(s) from the oven and release the madeleines from the molds by rapping the edge of the pan against the counter. Gently pry any recalcitrant madeleines from the pan using your fingers or a butter knife. Transfer the cookies to a rack to cool to just warm or to room temperature.

If you are making minis and have more batter, bake the next batch(es), making certain that you cool, then properly prepare the pan(s) before baking.

Just before serving, dust the madeleines with confectioners' sugar.

makes 12 large or 36 mini cookies

serving: Serve the cookies when they are only slightly warm or when they reach room temperature, with tea or espresso.

storing: Although the batter can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, the madeleines should be eaten soon after they are made. You can keep them overnight in a sealed container, but they really are better on day 1. If you must store them, wrap them airtight and freeze them; they'll keep for up to 2 months.

Next week's recipe are the Pecan Honey Sticky Buns, choosen by Madam Chow's Kitchen.