Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Blueberry-Buttermilk Pie Bars

Blueberry-Buttermilk Pie Bars from Dorie's Cookies are an easy to make two layer square.

The crust is unusual in that it has cornmeal and cornstarch in addition to the usual butter, sugar, and flour.  The topping is a custard made with buttermilk, eggs, butter, and sugar, plus blueberries.

The people I shared this treat with wondered if it was cheesecake.  It tastes great and is something I will plan to bake again.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Streusel-Topped Rhubarb Lime Tart

Most of the time for these Tuesdays With Dorie baking projects I stick fairly closely to the recipe.  This week with the rhubarb lime tart I had to make a change because I really don't like lime.  I substituted orange zest and juice.  Also I left out the tart shell, making this a crisp rather than a tart.  And then I didn't have heavy cream and substituted plain Greek yogurt mixed with milk.

The dessert turned out well, though the orange flavor does over power the tartness of the rhubarb.  Dorie mentions this issue in her introduction to the recipe on page 160 of Baking Chez Moi.  "Rhubarb's tricky:  Mix it with too much sugar, and you mask its character; mix it with too little, and you risk letting its acidity run roughshod over your dessert."  More rhubarb, less orange zest, and a little less sugar might have given me the right taste balance.

I used 4 cups of rhubarb, just over 1 lb. in weight. The custard is light and holds the rhubarb nicely.  The streusel is delicious.  I wonder if cinnamon would be a nice addition.  All in all, a fun experiment.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Dorie's Newest Chocolate Chip Cookies

This chocolate chip recipe, from Dorie Greenspan's Dorie's Cookies, uses white and whole wheat flours and white and brown sugar, with the interesting addition of nutmeg and coriander.  Other spice variations are suggested (instant espresso, cinnamon, or Chinese five-spice powder) but I wanted to try the recipe as written.

The dough is very stiff and I wished I had used the stand mixer instead of the hand mixer.  Dorie recommends refrigerating the dough for at least a day before baking, which I did.  I found the cold dough very difficult to scoop.

I baked the cookies for 10 minutes.  They were puffed, set around the edges but still soft in the middle.  As the cookies cooled they firmed up to a nice, chewy texture.  I can't really taste the spices, there is just a tiny trace of special flavor.

I like heavier chocolate chip cookies made with oatmeal, wheat germ, and coconut.  While this recipe is not my new favorite it certainly was fun to try.


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Pistachio and Berry Gratins

This baked fruit dessert is a combination of berries, lemon zest and sugar with nut cream.  Previously in Tuesdays with Dorie we've seen almond cream in tarts.  In this berry gratin there is no tart shell, only the berries and the cream.  Pistachios are used instead of almonds, with wonderful results.

It won't be berry season where I live for a couple of months, so I used frozen blueberries.  The dessert would have tasted better with fresh berries.  Lemon, blueberry, and pistachio are three flavours that I love, the the combination was delightful.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Goat Cheese and Chive Cookies

Dorie Greenspan's latest cookbook, Dorie's Cookies, includes 25 savory recipes in a section entitled Cocktail Cookies.  All the recipes are intriguing and I've been looking forward to trying them.  This week for Tuesdays with Dorie I baked Goat Cheese and Chive Cookies.

I have chives growing outside.  It was satisfying to add the freshly cut chives to the dough.



I used a plain black pepper.  The only thing I would change would be using a different, more interesting kind of pepper next time.



As one of my tasters commented, anything with lots of butter and cheese is going to taste good.  We all loved the richness of these cookies.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Plain and Simple Almond Cake

I baked this plain and simple almond cake for a potluck on the weekend.

Made with eggs, sugar, and almond flour with vanilla and a pinch of salt, it is a modest, tan cake.

It is gluten-free.

I dusted the top with confectioners' sugar and served it with Bittersweet Chocolate Sauce, another recipe from Baking Chez Moi.

Everyone at the dinner liked this cake.  So much so that I was left with an empty plate.  No photo today.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Chocolate-Cornflake Haystacks

Haystacks are usually not baked.  Dorie Greenspan's recipe adds eggs and some time in the oven at a low heat.  The result is a sweet, chewy treat.

The recipe is very easy to mix up, no mixer required.  I used all the ingredients listed:  eggs, agave nectar, salt, coconut, pecans, raisins, cornflakes, and milk chocolate.  I wondered about substituting honey or corn syrup for the agave nectar, but after some research decided to make the effort to acquire the agave nectar.

To use up the rest of the agave nectar I will plan to make these again soon.  Next time I will use a different, richer milk chocolate.   This is an appealing recipe.


Thursday, April 27, 2017

Laurent's Slow-Roasted Spiced Pineapple

One pineapple, skinned and quartered. Roast at 300 degrees with a mixture of orange juice, apricot jam, and whole star anise, a cinnamon stick, and black peppercorns.  Baste periodically during the 2 to 2 1/2 hours roasting time.  Result - delicious soft, sweet, mildly spiced pineapple.  Wonderful with plain yogurt.
For the recipe see pages 333-334 of Baking Chez Moi by Dorie Greenspan.
Next time I will try it with orange marmalade, vanilla bean, and no other added flavors.  It is fun to have so many choices with jam and spices.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Lemon Sugar Cookies

Dorie Greenspan's Lemon Sugar Cookies are an easy to make sugar cookie, flavored with lemon juice, lemon rind, and vanilla.

Dorie gives a variety of baking times, depending on your desired texture.  8-10 minutes should result in pale, chewy cookies; 12-14 minutes should give you cookies with chewy centers and crisp edges.  I baked my batch for 12 minutes and got crisp cookies.  Next time I will try reducing the baking time slightly for a slightly softer cookie.

I contributed most of these cookies to a funeral reception where they languished amidst more showy baked goods.  Perhaps some colored sprinkles would have made them more attractive.  I thought the cookies were very good.  Next time I'll add more grated lemon rind or perhaps lemon extract.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Anzac Biscuits

Coconut oatmeal cookies are the thing that I bake the most often.  The Anzac biscuits for this week's Tuesdays with Dorie are a version of coconut oatmeal cookies that uses Lyle's Golden Syrup plus sugar for sweetening and does not include eggs.

I was unable to find Lyle's Golden Syrup at the grocery store.  I researched substitutes and went with light corn syrup and molasses in a 2:1 ratio.

My other deviation from the recipe was to use unsweetened coconut.

Dorie says the dough will be soft and a tad crumbly.  My dough was very crumbly.  I used my new cookie scoop which was great for even portions of dough.  I pushed the dough crumbs together and assumed that they would bake up fine into cookies and they did.




Friday, March 31, 2017

Pithiviers

Participating in the Tuesdays with Dorie online baking group means learning new things as well as being introduced to unfamiliar desserts.  Pithivers is in north central France, the location of a Nazi internment camp.  A pithivier is a pie made with puff pastry and almond cream (frangipane).

Having little previous experience with puff pastry I was unprepared for how easy and impressive Dorie's Pithiviers recipe is.

The version in Baking Chez Moi calls for a home made prune jam.  I used a chunky plum ginger jam made by local culinary students.  The almond cream is simply a mixture of butter, sugar, optional lemon or orange zest, almond flour, all purpose flour, cornstarch, egg white, and rum or vanilla.  This plus store bought puff pastry is all you need to make this wonderful dessert.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Salted Chocolate-Caramel Bars

Salted Chocolate-Caramel Bars from Dorie's Cookies have a chocolate shortbread base with a salted chocolate caramel topping sprinkled with toasted chopped pecans.

My caramel had lumps, which I removed with a spoon.  After refrigerating the bars overnight I was disappointed to see that the caramel did not set.  Perhaps I should have reviewed how to make caramel before starting, used a heavier pan, swirled the pan less as the sugar mixture was cooking, let it get a little darker before I took it off the stove, warmed the cream before adding, who knows what went wrong.

Perhaps some time in the freezer will improve the texture.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Black-and-White Marbled Madeleines

Two years ago we made Lemon Madeleines from Baking Chez Moi.  It is one of my favourite baked goods from the book so far.  I was happy to get out my madeleine pan to try Black-and-White Marbled Madeleines this week.

I followed the recipe exactly except I left out the grated lime zest because I really don't like lime.  If I make these again I would like to try adding cinnamon to the chocolate portion of the dough.  Also I'll use a different chocolate as I found the bar I used was very sweet without much chocolate flavour.

The madeleines came out of the pan without a hitch.  They look lovely and taste pretty good, but lemon is still the best.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

"Corked" Breton Galettes

Breton galettes, from Dories Cookies, are thick, round buttery cookies.  The dough is shaped into a roll, chilled, sliced, and baked in a muffin tin. The recipe instructs us to press a cork or the end of a wooden spoon into the cookies when they come out of the oven.  I added jam to the holes, and can see it will be fun to experiment with other fillings.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Rose-Hibiscus Shortbread Fans

Rose - Hibiscus Shortbread from Dorie's Cookies was my project for this week's Tuesdays With Dorie.

My hibiscus tea also contains organic peel, cinnamon, cranberries, lemon verbena, and rosehips with natural organic flavour.  I decided to leave out the rose extract or rose water called for in the recipe.  It seemed like there would be a lot happening flavour wise just with the tea.

I didn't have rice flour on hand and made the All-Purpose Shortbread variation with all-purpose white flour.

The recipe has a short ingredient list and was easy to put together.  I wondered as I patted the dough into the round cake pan, pricked it and crimped it as instructed, if it would break after baking.  I baked the shortbread for 23 minutes and followed the cutting and pan removal directions exactly as written.  I'm happy to say nothing crumbled and we ended up with 16 slim wedges of delicately flavoured shortbread.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Sunday in Paris Chocolate Cake

I made Sunday in Paris Chocolate Cake from Dorie Greenspan's Baking Chez Moi for this week's Tuesdays with Dorie posting.
Inspired by a Paris pastry shop, Dorie's recipe uses an ingredient which is unusual in France - peanut butter.
The batter features both bittersweet or semisweet chocolate and cocoa along with peanut butter and chopped peanuts.
I chose to bake the cake in a square pan so that I could decorate it for Valentines Day.  To amp up the peanut butter flavour I replaced the heavy cream in the ganache with peanut butter.  The cake looks rustic and not at all Parisian, perfect for an at home celebration.


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Valentine's Day Share-a-Heart

Valentine's Day Share a Heart is a roll and cut chocolate cookie made with cocoa powder in the food processor.
Rather than doing a giant heart I chose to have some fun and cut out medium big hearts free hand.
The cookies have a nice brownie flavour and will be great for sharing with neighbours.


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Breakfast Biscotti

Breakfast Biscotti is the recipe I baked this week from Dorie Greenspan's newest cookbook Dorie's Cookies.

I've made biscotti and mandelbrot many times before and was very familiar with the two baking periods for these cookies. First they are baked in long logs, cooled slightly, sliced, and baked again.

The dough came together easily and quickly.  Cinnamon and grated orange peel are listed as optional and I was glad that I added both.  Next time I'd like even more orange flavor.

I used a maple home made granola, chopped almonds and a mixture of dried cranberries and raisins.  The almonds at the surface of the biscotti had a lovely toasted flavor in the finished cookies.

These are great as a not too sweet snack.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Granola Cake

I made Granola Cake from Baking Chez Moi along with Dorie Greenspan's famous World Peace Cookies for our New Years Eve dinner.

I used home made granola, Dorie's recipe, and white chocolate.

The batter was delicious, but I found the baked cake to be too sweet for my taste.  I am about to bake the cake again using a less sweet home made granola and bittersweet chocolate.  This time I will shorten the baking time slightly as my first cake was a tiny bit dry, but still very edible.

This cake is very easy to make and I will enjoy tinkering with the ingredients until I find the perfect version for my household's taste.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

World Peace Cookies

I baked Dorie Greenspan's World Peace Cookies to eat at our New Year's Eve dinner.

These very chocolatey cookies rely on good quality cocoa and chopped bittersweet chocolate for their flavor.

The batter comes together quickly, is rolled into logs, and then is refrigerated or frozen before it is sliced and baked.  During mixing my dough did not reach the big, moist curd stage recommended by Dorie.  I kneaded it together as I was rolling it into logs, but found that it tended to break into crumbs when I was slicing the cookies for baking.  Perhaps next time I will use a bit less flour.

The baked cookies have a wonderful, deep chocolate flavor with a sandy texture.

This photo does not do these delicious cookies justice.