Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Chocolate-Mascarpone Cheesecake

February 18, 2014 at 6:43 pm | Posted in cakes & tortes, cheesecakes, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 23 Comments
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chocolate-mascarpone cheesecake

I wouldn’t want to eat David Ogonowski’s Chocolate Mascarpone Cheesecake in any type of weather other than the type we’ve been having (i.e., “two blizzards a week” weather).  It’s true hibernation food…if you told me it was a thousand calories a slice, I wouldn’t be surprised.  This is a dense and creamy cheesecake with cream cheese, of course, mascarpone and sour cream. Oh, and there’s chocolate, too, although frankly it gets a little lost in all the dairy.  Adding a dark chocolate ganache layer on top of the cooled cake is an option, but might send this cake over the top.

The recipe doesn’t call for a crust.  Well, actually, it calls for baking the cheesecake without a crust and then patting cookie crumbs onto the bottom and sides once it’s set.  My inner baker’s voice told me that was weird and that I’d probably have some sort of disaster in the process, so I went ahead and made a real crust for mine.  I had a baggie of homemade chocolate-hazelnut cookie crumbs in the freezer that need to be used up (and I love crumb crusts!) anyway.  Also, I’ve always liked making my cheesecake batter in the food processor rather than in a stand mixer.  Faster mixing and fewer lumps.

For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Onion Bialys

February 11, 2014 at 12:01 am | Posted in breakfast things, groups, savory things, tuesdays with dorie, yeast breads | 15 Comments
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onion bialys

A toasted bialy with salty butter is my idea of a very fine breakfast.  I’m sure a number of my fellow Americans have never heard of a bialy– I hadn’t before I moved to New York City.  Then after about six years of living here, someone *finally* brought a sack of them in from Kossar’s at the first restaurant I worked for, and I was hooked.  I now know that I can find bialys at almost every bagel shop in the city, but they’re usually pulled out of a plastic bag, and I get the feeling that they aren’t made fresh in-house.  To get my fix, I stock up at Kossar’s anytime I have errands to run on the Lower East Side.  I was pumped to be making Lauren Groveman’s Onion Bialys for TWD this week!  BTW, I feel like every other week we’re making another recipe from Lauren Groveman…

I’d call bialys cousins of the bagel, although they are not boiled, they are flatter than bagels (despite the fact that mine came out looking like balloons), and instead of holes they have awesome caramelized onion-filled centers…so on second thought, even though they have a similar dough, they are really not really like bagels at all.  Speaking of the dough, it was soft and lovely (I didn’t need all the flour called for) and easy to work with.  Of course my bialys took off in the oven, but I’m sure it was my fault.  I did prick the heck out of the centers, but next time I’ll hand stretch them a little more, too.  I don’t really care– they tasted great and had perfect texture.  Fresh from the oven, they are even better than Kossar’s!

For the bialy recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan.  Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Vanilla Chiffon Roll

January 28, 2014 at 7:40 pm | Posted in cakes & tortes, groups, layer cakes, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 21 Comments
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vanilla chiffon roll

I start this post with a warning:  after I made Mary Bergin’s Vanilla Chiffon Roll, I took a look in the sink and internally freaked out.  I think I used every bowl, whisk and spatula I own to make the cake and mousse filling, not to mention the food processor and all its bits and pieces.  Well, I was really glad that this cake was totally worth that mountain of dirty dishes I had to tackle!   And also that assembly was much easier than washing up.  The soft vanilla chiffon cake was really easy to roll around its delicious chocolate-walnut mousse filling.  I didn’t get any tears or cracks…just a little sticking, which was easily disguised with a dusting of cocoa and powdered sugar.

I made a half recipe of the cake in a quarter sheet pan.  I think it took a few minutes longer to fully bake than the time indicated for the full-sized cake, so go with your good judgment if it looks underdone.  I noticed when I watched the video that there was a lot of leftover mousse in Mary’s bowl after she filled her cake, so I decided that I’d just make a third of the mousse recipe (I keep typing “mouse” BTW).  The full cake supposedly yields six servings…if you’re feeding giants…I easily cut six slices from my smaller cake.  Once this roulade has had time to chill out in the fridge, it’s really divine, not to mention classy.  I loved the chocolate-walnut mousse (and was psyched to use my special black walnuts and fancy walnut oil for it).  If I had had any extra left, I most certainly would have polished it off with a spoon.

For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan (it’s also here, along with a video). Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Country Bread

January 14, 2014 at 3:51 pm | Posted in groups, savory things, tuesdays with dorie, yeast breads | 20 Comments
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country bread

I’m just back from a week-long course at Penn State studying the science and federal regulation of large-scale ice cream manufacture…”from cow to cone,” as the main professor said.  OMG–so fun, but also really hard (especially since I hadn’t studied chemistry or physics since high school and didn’t know squat going in about the mechanics of freezers or homogenizers).  Now that I geeked-out on ice cream for a week, it only makes sense that I’m back here with Joe Ortiz’s Country Bread (huh?). 

This made one monster loaf!  The dough polished off what was left of both my yeast and my bread flour.  I was expecting the crumb to have larger air holes, but now that I think about it, given the whole wheat and rye flour in the dough, it makes sense that it had a denser structure.  I made a good breakfast with it this morning, and it’ll be a great soup-dunker, too.

country bread

For the bread recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan.   Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

TWD BWJ Rewind: Challah

December 31, 2013 at 11:06 am | Posted in groups, sweet things, sweet yeast breads, tuesdays with dorie | 12 Comments
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challah bread

Happy New Year!  Have you made any resolutions for 2014?  Normally I wouldn’t, but I have a couple of “situations” that I should get under control STAT.  Resolving to use up my current kitchen cupboard and my bathroom beauty products before buying more is something that has to happen.  I do not need four eye creams or six bottles of hot sauce open at once.  I don’t have the storage space for that, and the clutter on my counters is driving me bananas!

What does Lauren Groveman’s Challah have to do with this?  It’s going to help jam population control (five jars open in the fridge, with four more in the cupboard…sheesh).  The group made this bread in early December, but I didn’t have my act together that week.  I’m glad I got it together, though, because it’s delish.  I just made one loaf, which was a half-recipe, and it’s a huge beauty!  A three-strand braid is so simple to do and it really looks great, but maybe one day I’ll be brave enough to try my hand at five or six.  Maybe.  Even though I’m notoriously stingy with egg wash (I never want to use  up a whole egg for it, and unless I have a bit of extra egg left over from something else, I usually pilfer a tiny bit from the eggs in the recipe),  it still came out with a gorgeous crust.   And the insides are perfectly soft and slightly sweet.  I’m looking forward to challah French toast in a couple of days…topped with jam sauce, of course.

For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan.  Note that this challah recipe uses melted butter, if that’s a concern for you (although I suspect it could be replaced with oil).  Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll to see if anyone else did a rewind this week, and see the links page from challah week at the beginning of December!

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Gingersnaps

December 17, 2013 at 10:58 am | Posted in cookies & bars, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 13 Comments
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gingersnaps

Last week I was in paradise, now I’m back to reality.  I’m trying to brighten up the Brooklyn dreariness with a tree and some holiday-spiced cookies.  How convenient that David Blom’s Gingersnaps are up for TWD this week.  Cutout cookies are fun, I think.  Sticky doughs can be tricky to work with and get soft quickly, but I’ve found that rolling out dough on parchment and then chilling the rolled sheet for 10 or so minutes before punching out shapes makes the process a lot easier.

I heard that these cookies tasted more like molasses than ginger, so I doubled the spices in my batch.  I also reduced the water called for in the recipe to just 1 tablespoon, as I didn’t think the dough needed so much extra moisture.  Since I was trying to boost the spiciness, I skipped the molasses glaze and sprinkled my stars with sanding sugar instead.  While I baked these a few minutes longer than the recipe called for, they were still a little more chewy than snappy.  They never quite dried out in the center.

These may not be my ideal gingersnaps (those are from Miette, although I’ve only had them in the shop and have not tried their recipe in my own kitchen), but they were tasty enough and the recipe was small enough that I don’t mind too much.  They were good with tea.

For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan (it’s also here).  Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Double Chocolate Cookies

November 19, 2013 at 12:01 am | Posted in cookies & bars, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 18 Comments
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double chocolate cookies

Rick Katz’s Double Chocolate Cookies came along at just the right time…I have been majorly craving chocolate lately.  I’ve hardly touched the stuff in the last six months, and that’s just plain unnatural!

I knew exactly what these cookies would be like.  I’ve worked in two places where we made cookies very similar to this, method and everything (just in way bigger batches).  In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if my two former chefs started with this recipe originally.  These are rich– a dark chocolate batter with extra chocolate bits mixed in (preferably a high percentage bittersweet)– and exactly the fix I was looking for.  The recipe intro calls them something like “half cookie, half brownie,” and that about sums it up.  You have to whip the heck out of the eggs and sugar when you make these, so they get that awesome brownie-like crackle shell, but they’re really soft inside.  As soon as they cool from baking, they’re pretty gooey.  But give them the better part of a day, or even overnight, and they become chewy.  So good.

For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan (it’s also all over the Interwebs) Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Pumpernickel Loaves

November 5, 2013 at 12:12 pm | Posted in groups, savory things, tuesdays with dorie, yeast breads | 11 Comments
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pumpernickel loaf

I really thought about skipping Lauren Groveman’s Pumpernickel Loaves.  I was annoyed at the thought of having to make prune butter first.  I didn’t have any caraways seeds.  And then there was some crazy stuff about S-hooks and slings.  I sucked it up and went to the store, made the prune butter (using the lekvar recipe that’s in the book) and thought about a way to form the bread that didn’t involve a sling.

I made half a recipe for one big loaf.  Since I had a smaller batch, I mixed it in my KitchenAid.  I found that I didn’t need quite the full amount of flour to get a nice dough.  This pumpernickel gets its color (and a lot of flavor) from dark things like chocolate, espresso powder, molasses and, of course, that prune butter.  Who knew that stuff was in there?  After giving the dough two rests in a bowl, I shaped it and put it in a 9.5″x4.5″ loaf pan for its final rise (I sprayed and dusted the pan with cornmeal first).

I actually was expecting it to look darker than it turned out to be…I’ve had store-bought pumps that were almost black.  The flavor from the caraway seeds is lovely and the crust is great.

There’s an accompanying recipe for Reuben sandwiches in the book, and I made those for dinner the other night.  Yesterday I just had a plain turkey and cheese for lunch.  Both were totes yum, and my husband was extremely excited about having homemade pumpernickel.  I have this problem with slicing whole sandwich loaves, though.  I can never get a straight slice, so my sandwiches are always lopsided  (I tried to disguise that in this picture)!

pumpernickel loaf

For the bread recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan.  It’s also here, and there’s even a video of Lauren and Julia making pumpernickel together.  Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Danish Braid (& Pinwheel)

October 15, 2013 at 9:32 am | Posted in breakfast things, groups, sweet things, sweet yeast breads, tuesdays with dorie | 18 Comments
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danish braid

I’ve just started working out with a trainer to get my sorry self in shape.  Let’s celebrate that with a big slice of Beatrice Ojakangas’s Danish!  This may not go so well…

I made a Danish braid here once before.  That recipe used what I think is a more traditional method for making Danish dough…there was a separate butter block and lots of chilling between folds (like when we made our croissants).  This one uses a “quick” method, employing the food processor to break down the butter into chunks in the flour.  The rough dough does need to rest in the fridge overnight, but after that, all of the lamination work is done at once, without any waiting in between the turns and folds.  Pretty easy.  I was surprised at how good the results were– crisp and flaky.  If you are wondering how the dough becomes a braid, this video explains all very clearly.

I don’t like to ask too much of myself on a weekend morning, so I cheated a little on the fillings.  Rather than fiddle with homemade pastry cream and fruit spreads, I just whizzed up a quickie sweetened cream cheese filling and combined it with some store-bought apricot jam.  I was pretty jazzed to have a use for the pearl sugar I found at an IKEA ages ago.

When we do a recipe that has several variations, I’m never quite sure if we’ll revisit it later to try out those variations, so I took this opportunity to make my favorite Danish shape with some extra dough–the pinwheel!  This one had the same cream cheese filling as the braid, but with blueberry jam instead of apricot.

danish pinwheel

We’re going without hosts now for TWD, so for the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan.  It’s also here, and there’s even a video of Beatrice and Julia making Danish together. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: X Cookies

October 1, 2013 at 12:26 am | Posted in cookies & bars, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 9 Comments
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X cookies

Finally–Nick Malgieri’s X Cookies!  I’ve had a little hunk of pasta frolla in the freezer waiting for these guys ever since we made pizza rustica.  What’s that you say?  That means it’s been in the freezer for almost a year and a half?  Details, details…

X cookies are a take on a traditional Sicilian cookie called cucidati…a sweet dough filled with a paste of dried figs, raisins, orange, nuts, rum, spices, etc. Think of a more grown-up Fig Newton and you’re on the right track.  Truth be told, I’m not the biggest fan of darkly flavored dried fruit and spice stuff like this.  I probably would have skipped this recipe, but the process looked fun, and my husband’s half Sicilian, so I thought he might like them.  Of course I tried them, too.  And while they aren’t my favorite (although, as predicted, my husband likes them quite a lot), I can see their appeal when dunked in hot coffee or eaten with a little scoop of vanilla ice cream.

The instructions for forming the Xs were very clear.  It could have been a long process if I’d made a full batch, but I sure don’t need five dozen of them hanging around.  I did just a quarter batch for fifteen cookies.  I didn’t have any dried orange peel, so I improvised by using Grand Marnier instead of rum.

X cookies

We’re going without hosts now for TWD, so for the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan.  It’s also here, and there’s even a video of Nick and Julia making the cookies together. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

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