Tuesday, June 30, 2009

TWD: Perfect Party Cake

I LOVED the look of this cake. It really is beautiful and will wow everytime. The coconut adds to the beauty. I ended up halving the recipe, because a whole double layered cake was a little much for our family. So we ended up with this darling little square cake that was the perfect size for our family.

The Cake: I haven't had a lot of luck with with layered cakes. I am sure it is due to lack of practice. I was happy when this one turned out well. Dorie describes the cake as a tight crumb cake and that is just what it was. I expected it to be heavy, but it was very refreshing and light. It's color was a beautiful white. The lemon zest in the cake was not necesarilly recognizable in the finished product but lightened up the taste significantly.

The filling: I made a raspberry sauce from frozen raspberries for the filling instead of raspberry jam as I am not a huge fan of jam in my treats.

The frosting: This frosting was light and elegant. It finished off the cake charmingly. I was really curious about how the frosting would turn out and taste. It was a hot meringue buttercream frosting. This was no ordinary buttercream. Basically you take egg whites and sugar and warm over simmering water while whisking. It turns into a shiny white mixture that looks like thin marshmellow cream. You then whisk the egg whites and sugar in a stand mixer to make a meringue. I was unsure whether the frosting would take on the pristine white whipped frosting that was described. However as I whipped the meringue and added the butter and watched and watched my frosting transform into a soft beautiful flowing buttercream.

I assembled the cake and cooled it in the refridgerator. Glenn and I both sampled it that night. The cake was delicious as was the filling. The icing, while beautiful, might have been heavy on the butter flavor. I may use a whipped cream next time. But it is hard to pass up the beautiful look of that frosting. However...my other taste testers (my lovely neighbors) loved the cake and felt the whole thing was refreshing and delicious...frosting and all.

This was a fun make and I would surely make it again for a special event. If you are interested in the recipe you can visit mix, mix...stir, stir.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

TWD-Coconut-Roasted Pineapple Dacquoise

You're probably thinking this looks nothing like Coconut-Roasted Pineapple Dacquoise....well, it's not! I made a valiant effort, but had a bit of a problem. My dacquoise looked and smelled beautiful! I was so excited when I pulled it out of the oven; however, my excitement quickly dissolved when my dacquoise was stuck to my paper!
This is definitely a recipe I will try at another time, but time did not permit me to start the three hour plus process again. In the meantime, I whipped up my ganache and we've been eating it with strawberries, pineapple, graham crackers, and anything else we can think of! It is delicious and we're in heaven eating it!

The recipe isn't super hard, just requires a good amount of time. Make sure you have plenty of time when you get started. Thanks Andrea for the recipe, we'll give it another try!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Ooooops La La

So, I made a delicious baking mistake a few weeks ago. My family is just waiting for me to make this mistake again.

I wanted to make a quick batch of chocolate chip cookies...I expanded on the recipe and accidently made it even more delicious. Okay so I decided to add some toasted almonds and coconut. And of course I toasted them myself and in my haste get these cookies in the oven and in our mouths faster I added the warm toasted almonds and coconut right on top of the chocolate chips (instead of allowing time for the nuts and coconut to cool). As I stirred the chocolate chips melted into the cookie dough making the most amazing chocolate dough. Once the dough had cooled a bit I added more chocolate chips to make the cookies a deep chocolate chocolate chip cookie. The dough was AMAZING and the cookies could not have been more perfect. Yummers!! I really need to make these again. I think they rivaled The World Peace Cookies.

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies w/ toated almonds and coconut

Dorie's Best Chocolate Chip Cookie
2 c. flour
1 tsp salt (1 1/4tsp if you really like salt)
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 sticks butter, at room temp.
1 c. sugar
2/3 c. (packed) light brown sugar
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
12 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chips, or 2 c. store bought chocolate chips
My Additions
1 c. chopped almonds
1 c. coconut
2 c. semisweet chocolate chips

1. Center rack in oven and preheat to 375
2. Whisk flour, salt, and baking soda
3. Beat butter on medium speed for 1 min, until smooth. Add sugar and beat for another 2 min or so, until well blended. Beat in vanilla.
4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating for 1 min after each egg.
5. Reduce mixer speed to low. Add dry ingredients in three portions making sure dry ingredients are incorporated each time (I added a little bit more flour, a few Tablespoons).
April's Additions
6. Pour 2 c. chocolate chips over dough, set dough aside.
7. Put coconut and chopped almonds in dry frying pan on low stiring constantly. Cook until coconut and nuts are toasted (coconut will be just starting to turn golden, but the majority will be white...it will smell really good).
8. Pour warm nuts and coconut on top of chocolate chips and stir into dough. Keep stiring until chocolate is melted into the dough and nuts and coconut are incorporated. Let dough cool for a few minutes. Stir in 2 more cups of chocolate chips (these ones should not melt).
9.(Dorie again) Spoon dough by slightly rounded tablespoonfuls onto baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between spoonfuls. Bake cookies one sheet at a tiem rotating the sheet at the midway point for 10-12 min. They may still be a little soft in the middle and that's fine. Pull from oven and allow to rest for 1 min, then transfer to cookie rack and cool.

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe was taken from Dorie Greenspan's book...Baking from My Home to Yours on page 68.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

TWD: Honey-Peach Ice Cream

Dear Summer,

Thank you for your hot days, your bright sun, your warm breeze.  
Thank you for the happy sounds of children giggling, splashing in the water, carefree in every way.
Oh ya, and thanks for honey peach ice cream.  It really is perfect!!

Add Image

Thank you Tommi of Brown Interior  for choosing this recipe.  It was such a sweet treat for summer.  I received a Cuisinart ice cream maker for Christmas and just didn't get around to using it until now.  This recipe reminds me of old-fashioned peach cobbler.  My peaches weren't great, so I used peaches for the honey blend and nectarines for the mix-ins.  I made ice cream sandwiches with Grandma's all-occasion sugar cookies, (which happen to be the best sugar cookies ever.)  Together, they made a perfect pair.

This recipe originally comes from "Baking:  From my home to yours" by Dorie Greenspan, but you can also find it at www.browninterior.blogspot.com.

Happy Summer!!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Brown Butter Icing

Admittedly...I am a chocolate girl through and through. I do enjoy most treats even if they are not chocolate, but unfortunately chocolate is my true weakness and temptation. However, I must say that I may have enjoyed this icing/frosting simply as much as I do chocolate. I have been craving it since I had it last. I am sure there are other recipes of this. The recipe I am posting is not the exact one from the picture as I have not retrieved that from a friend yet, but I have had this fabulous version of it before. This recipe is from Martha Stewart...how can you go wrong a Martha cookie, right. The icing would be good on a pumpkin bread (as pictured above) or anything pumpkin or spice. Really all you need is a vehicle. Enjoy!!!

Pumpkin Cookies w/ Brown Butter Icing

Makes about 6 dozen
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 1/4 cups packed light-brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin (14 ounces)
3/4 cup evaporated milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted (add more icing for thicker frosting for beads and such, according to preference)
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon evaporated milk,
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Make cookies: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg in a medium bowl; set aside.
Put butter and brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in eggs. Reduce speed to low. Add pumpkin, evaporated milk, and vanilla; mix until well blended, about 2 minutes. Add flour mixture; mix until combined.
Transfer 1 1/2 cups batter to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain tip (such as Ateco #806). Pipe 1 1/2-inch rounds onto parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing 1 inch apart. Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until tops spring back, about 12 minutes. Cool on sheets on wire racks 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks; let cool completely.
Make icing: Put confectioners' sugar in a large bowl; set aside. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, swirling pan occasionally, until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Immediately add butter to confectioners' sugar, scraping any browned bits from sides and bottom of pan. Add evaporated milk and vanilla; stir until smooth. Spread about 1 teaspoon icing onto each cookie. If icing stiffens, stir in more evaporated milk, a little at a time. Cookies can be stored in single layers in airtight containers at room temperature up to 3 days.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

TWD - Parisian Apple Tartlet

When I first read this recipe I was thrilled that it was so easy! Puff pastry from the freezer, apples, a little brown sugar and a bit of butter. How in the world could you go wrong with that combination? After reading other's reviews I decided I was going to be brave and make my own puff pastry. I didn't want to try and track down a butter puff pastry and didn't want to use one with shortening after reading Dorie's opinion on puff pastry.

So, I pulled out my binder from Cook Street and had a go at puff pastry for the first time in seven years. Yikes! The weather here in Utah has been very mild for this time of year so I figured it was a good time to try this as it wasn't so hot that the butter would become too soft and melt while I was working with it. It was a lot of work and required a lot of time because the dough needs to rest between the series of rollings and foldings. By repeating those steps multiple times, this creates alternating layers of butter and pastry, thereby creating a flaky, light puff pastry crust.

When I put the tarts in the oven I was apprehensive that my puff pastry wasn't going to work out and that I would have a big melted butter mess on the bottom of the pan. I watched carefully and was relieved when it appeared to be doing exactly what it was supposed to do!

We had our friends over for Sunday night dessert and the Parisian Apple Tartlet was a huge hit! I served them slightly warm, with a small scoop of Butter Pecan ice cream on top, which added a creamy element which complimented the baked apple and pastry in a lovely way. In fact, I thought it was so good I had two servings. Good thing I hit the gym hard Monday morning!

Although the puff pastry was a lot of work, I would definitely make these again, and would try my hand at puff pastry again. If you are interested in this simple, fabulous dessert, head on over to My Baking Heart for the full recipe.

Until next week! Happy Baking!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Latest Dishes

I just thought I would share some of my latests and greatests!

Happy Birthday, Lindsey. She wanted a bear cake in the likeness of her Build-A-Bear except she wanted blue eyes like hers and a pink crown. I think we got it all! She was tickled and I was too. It was my first time to use the Wilton cake decorating bag and tip and I think it turned out okay!

Okay, we had some leftover flank steak that had marinated for a LONG time so it was really soft and delicious. It had marinated just in BBQ sauce. But with the leftovers I tossed it with spinach, gorgonzola, strawberries and homemade poppyseed dressing and it was delicious! You know how there are some dishes that you inhale rather than eat. This was one of those.

This one sounds like a cop-out but it's really good and my kiddos just kept eating and eating. We bought some of that frozen puff pastry dough and let it thaw. Then I made scrambled eggs with ham and cheese and put it into the dough and baked it. My kids were literally fighting over the last one. It's not exactly healthy because the dough is similar to pie dough but it made for some full tummies. Next time we're going to try eggs with sausage and cream cheese!

TWD: Cinnamon Chocolate Squares

Yum! This was a seriously easy recipe to make. I didn't even have to go to the store for any special ingredients. For whole milk I used some canned evaporated milk and from experience with Dorrie's recipes I have stocked up on "store bought mini chocolate chips". This is a pretty little cinnamon cake with a thin layer of chocolate, sugar and cinnamon in the center. As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints we don't drink coffee so I switched the espresso powder to cocoa. I figure a little extra chocolate couldn't hurt a recipe like this!

It was fun to make and I loved the little crunch of the cinnamon/sugar/cocoa layer. I never thought chocolate and cinnamon would really go together. I thought the chocolate would over power the cinnamon...I was wrong. It has a very strong flavor and is delicious! If you'd like to try making this recipe or see other delightful dishes check out Tracey's website.