Tuesday, December 22, 2009

TWD: My Favorite Pecan Pie

I can hardly contain my excitement. Christmas is three short days away. Christmas is the beloved of all holidays in this house. I love it even more with kids. I love their excitement and cheer. My three year old has been belting frosty the snow man and Rudolph the red nose reindeer for a few weeks now. I love the songs, the dancing that surely accompanies the songs, the stories, the decorating, the parties, the crafts, the cold (when accompanied by Christmas only), and of course the TREATS. This house has been nonstop treat zone for a few weeks. This beauty of a treat is a Tuesday with Dorie treat. It was a fun make. Here is the short breakdown.

The making: So this awesome pecan pie is not your average. Some of the extras it calls for are cinnamon, bittersweet chocolate chunks, and espresso powder. I of course omitted the espresso powder. I think it would have been delicious and richened the taste, so I think I need to research non-caffeinated espresso powder. Do you think there is such thing? Dorie uses A LOT of espresso powder and it would be fun to add it to our dishes without the caffeine. Okay....I am rambling. I used cocoa powder in place of espresso powder (not a bad alternative, yum!).

The Tasting: Quote directly from my hubby after his first bite, "this is definitely the best pecan pie I have ever tasted." Chocolate makes all the difference. It was rich, but a different kind of rich than your average pecan pie. I LOVED the cinnamon after taste!!! The bittersweet chocolate made for some wonderful surprises. This may be my regular pecan pie recipe from now on.

This treat was a fun one, because we had a baking day at my house where Lizzie and KT came and enjoyed the fun. Liz made toffee which was amazing and KT was a great nut chopper (there were lots of nuts)

Beth of Someone’s in the Kitchen with Brina chose My Favorite Pecan Pie, page 327 of Dorie's book.

Some of our Christmas treats this year have included:
pumpkin roll
Big Fat Chocolate Chip Cookies
Gingerbread men cookies
Apple cake
And I am sure there are more that I am not remembering, but I did tone it down quite a bit this year.

Please note that these gingerbread men where decorated by children

I hope everyone else is enjoying the baking season. What will we do when spring hits? (hopefully loose 10 lbs and stop baking)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

TWD: Sables

TWD: Sables

So, just to be clear, this week its Thursdays with Dorie and its a week late too. Sorry. Its December and everything is at the top of my priority list, which pretty much makes the whole list null and void.

This will probably eventually kill me, but this is one of my favorite things to see in the mixing bowl because it means deliciousness is about to happen. (No, I didn't make it in the shape of a "T" on purpose, but I did smile when I noticed it.)

The recipe was super simple and straightforward. You mix the dough, minimally once the flour is in. Then you roll into long tubes and store in refrigerator for several hours. I rolled mine in white sparkling sugar, then sliced and baked.

I do not think these are good when they are warm. The texture is weird. However, if you can have some patience, they are delicious once they are cooled and even better with hot cocoa, even if you live in Florida and its 80 degrees in December. These would be a nice addition to a Christmas cookie plate too!

This recipe was chosen by Bungalow Barbara. For the recipe and to see how she fared, click here. She also did some kind of science experiment with these involving different kinds of flour, egg, and sugar. I thought it was kind of interesting. It made me wonder if she has a fourth grader.

Merry Christmas and Happy Baking!!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

TWD-Rosy Poached Pear and Pistachio Tart

Tarts are one of my favorite desserts. I love a fresh fruit tart, especially in the Summer months. Pastry cream is also a favorite of mine so this dessert seemed to be right up my alley, although I have never made a tart with "Fall" fruit so this was new for me.

This recipe was definitely labor intensive, but in the end I felt it was well worth the work. When I went to start the pastry cream, I realized I had forgotten to get pistachios at the grocery store and I wasn't about to head back with three little ones in tow, so I made due with the almonds I already had in the freezer and I think it worked out just fine. Nuts were a nice addition to the pastry cream. I love all things flavored almond, so this pastry cream hit a home run.

For religious reasons, I chose not to use wine as my poaching liquid. After talking with my husband and checking the P&Q on the TWD site, I decided that a combination of cranberry juice and apple juice would make a good alternative to red wine. The pears were beautiful in color and had a nice hint of citrus to them when they were done poaching.

Once assembled, this dessert is quite the show stopper. My guess is it is more so when pistachios are used, as the pastry cream is a different color. The sweet, cookie-like crust, combined with the nut-filled pastry cream, topped with rosy poached pears, made for a lovely combination, and the reduced syrup from the poaching liquid gave it the perfect finishing touch. I will definitely make this recipe again, but would want to make it for a crowd to ooh and ahh over! For the full recipe, head on over to I'll Eat You. As for pictures, I hope to get some posted tomorrow. We just returned from a wonderful Thanksgiving at Disney World with my parents, sisters, their husbands and kids and life has been a bit hectic here. Until next week!

Happy Baking!

Birthday Cakes

We had a birthday in October and one in November and having young children that means we get to make fun cakes. Here are my latest creations. I am actually quite impressed with myself since I have never been a super creative cake maker.

This is a little truck cake I made for my now one year old. The cake itself was a spice cake with cream cheese frosting, which he downed in minutes. The idea for the polka dots came from a blog from a woman I knew for a bit in Brooklyn. She is amazingly talented and creative, I LOVE looking at her stuff.

This cake is for my now 6 year old daughter. She alwasy requests chocolate cake and pink frosting. So I jazzed it up this year with a crown. I found this idea on the family fun website. The cake was chocolate cake mix mixed with cherry pie filling, chocolate chips, a little oil, and some eggs. It was very rich. The middle layer was a cherry cream cheese filling inspired by a Dorie recipe. Last years attempt at a barbie cake turned out a little mediocre so I am happy this turned out better.