Tuesdays with Dorie: Kids’ Thumbprints

December 27, 2011 at 12:01 am | Posted in cookies & bars, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 29 Comments
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kids' thumbprints

So here is it…the last recipe TWD is baking as a group from Baking: From My Home to Yours. I’ve been in the group for close to four years, close to 200 recipes. It’s kind of hard for me to imagine that we are here at the finish line, and I almost don’t know what to say.  It’s very true that my week-to-week posts are not as wordy as they were at first, but I have still have been baking (and eating) with the same enthusiasm.  I bake professionally, but, as much as enjoy it, it is so much more satisfying to fire up the oven at home and bake for people I know and love. So, thank you, Dorie for your big, beautiful book of recipes, stories and kitchen wisdom.  My husband thanks you, too, btw…that guy has gotten quite accustomed to homemade cake and cookies!  Thank you, Laurie for your brilliant idea to start this group and to Julie for keeping it running like clockwork.  And thanks to my fellow bakers for leaving so many nice comments over the last four years and always being quick to lend advice and suggestions.  You have been so much fun to bake with and get to know!

Boy, I am talking like we are all done here, or maybe like I have just won an Oscar, and neither of those things are true.  Starting in February, TWD is switching to a different Dorie book, the classic Baking with Julia.  New members are very welcome, so if you want to join the fun you have a whole month to get the book and get on board!  And while we’re on hiatus in January, I’ll definitely be posting a least a few rewinds for the handful of BFMHTY recipes I’ve missed along the way.

I almost forgot that there are cookies to talk about!  These Thumbprints feature the classic kids’ flavor combo (which I have never outgrown), PB&J.  A peanut-coated shortbread-style cookie holds a dollop of yummy jam in the middle.  Here, I used the concord grape jam I made back in the fall.  These were good cookies, and they served as my Christmas cookies (since they were the only cookies I made).  I have some more unfilled doughballs in the freezer, and I think when I bake those I will try filling them with some chocolate in the center.

For the recipe, see Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, or stop by Dorie’s blog since she is our host for this last week.  Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

TWD Rewind: Bittersweet Brownies (with Peppermint)

December 21, 2011 at 9:29 pm | Posted in cookies & bars, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 2 Comments
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bittersweet brownies with peppermint

I’ve been doing a lot of holiday baking…but it’s all for work…all for strangers. Home baking will largely have to wait until our customers resolve not to eat another slice of almond cake or pint of gelato or whoopie pie until Valentine’s day.  (I kind of like the holiday rush, but I love the post-holiday slow-down.) I can’t possibly miss out on the last couple weeks of TWD, though, and this week the group is giving us a chance to make up a recipe we missed.  I chose these Bittersweet Brownies specifically because I thought they might lend themselves to a little bit of Christmassy doctoring up…maybe my husband won’t feel so neglected.  Instead of espresso powder, I added a few drops of mint extract to the brownies.  And I actually do use a dropper for mint extract because things can go from a hint-of-mint to mouthwash pretty easily.

Everything came out right with these brownies. Since it’s the last brownie recipe in the book, maybe that means I’ve learned something.  The texture was perfect…rich and fudgy.  And of course they were choco-minty. I liked them best right out of the fridge. I’m going to leave one for Santa and see if I get a good present.

bittersweet brownies with peppermint

For the recipe, see Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan or read Lethally Delicious, as Leslie chose this recipe last month.  Don’t forget to check out the TWD Blogroll and see what everyone else chose to rewind this week!

Tuesdays with Dorie: Chai Tea Madeleines

December 5, 2011 at 6:43 pm | Posted in cakes & tortes, cookies & bars, groups, simple cakes, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 8 Comments

chai tea madeleines

The fourth and final madeleine recipe from the book…you can tell Dorie lives in Paris!  The original recipe calls for an Earl Grey tea infusion to give these cookie/cakes flavor, but I usually only have one or two types of tea kicking around my cupboard at a time, and the Earl wasn’t one of them.  So I used chai (from a teabag actually…I tore the bag open and sprinkled the bits into my hot butter to infuse; then I put it through a very fine strainer to remove any sediment).  I thought the chai spices would be nice with the honey that was already in the ingredient list.  I could really taste the tea in here.  They were delicious, and I amped up the spicing even more by tossing them in a cardamom sugar while they were still warm.  I made big, full-sized madelines…I didn’t really get the pronounced madeleine bump with these, but they had rounded backsides and great texture and taste, so I guess I don’t mind so much.

For the recipe, see Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan or read Bakeologie And see Grandma’s Kitchen Table for Honey-Almond Fig Tart, this week’s other recipe (which I unfortunately didn’t get a chance to make this week). Don’t forget to check out the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie (on Friday!): Mini Madeleines

November 11, 2011 at 11:21 pm | Posted in cakes & tortes, cookies & bars, groups, simple cakes, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 2 Comments
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mini madeleines

OK, Tuesday has come and gone (happy 11/11/11, by the way), but I did bake both of this week’s TWD recipes, so I wanted to show you my Mini Madeleines as well. Better late than never, right?  I like madeleines…so much that I got a little greedy and swiped one from my photo session…oops.

Good reasons to make madeleines include:
*Little cakes that disguise themselves as shell-shaped cookies– how cute!
*A batter that’s hand-whisked and allowed to rest for as long as a couple of days– how easy!
*A soft crumb that you can flavor a zillion different ways– how tasty!
*Less than ten minutes of baking time– how energy efficient!  (alright, that’s a stretch)

If you’ve avoided making them because you don’t have the traditional madeleine baking pan, I’m pretty sure a mini muffin tin would make a fine substitute.  I browned my butter for these and used lots of lemon zest.  They had great flavor and were nice with chamomile tea.

For the recipe, see Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan or read Di’s Kitchen Notebook Don’t forget to check out the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie: Ginger-Jazzed Brownies

October 18, 2011 at 12:01 am | Posted in cookies & bars, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 9 Comments
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ginger-jazzed brownies

Chocolate and ginger together?  Yes, please!  This is a combo I like a lot when the weather gets cool, and it makes for a brownie with some heat.  The mixing method was kind of unusual for brownies– creaming rather than melting the butter– and my Ginger-Jazzed Brownies were more on the cakey side than the fudgy side (but not fluffy cake, like this delicious chocolate gingerbread).  Perhaps that’s because while I made a half recipe, I used two eggs instead of the 1.5 I technically should have.  Or maybe it’s because instead of the corn syrup called for (for chewiness, I guess?), I used golden syrup, but I usually make this swap and it doesn’t seem to affect other recipes.  Or maybe that’s just how they’re supposed to be…I’m curious to see results from the other TWDers to compare.  With ground and grated fresh ginger, these were good, and even better with a little frosting and candied ginger bling.

For the recipe, see Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan or read Bubie’s Little Baker.  Don’t forget to check out the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie: Salt and Pepper Cocoa Shortbreads

September 20, 2011 at 4:50 pm | Posted in cookies & bars, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 8 Comments
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salt and pepper cocoa shortbreads

Chocolate shortbread with a little hit of salt and pepper?  Sounds exotic, but the s&p doesn’t overpower (even though I added 50% more of each than the recipe called for).  It just gives the slightest tickle on your tongue.  I used a little of my precious Aussie pink salt here…love that stuff.  After I baked off what you see here, I put the other half of my dough log into my freezer cookie stash.  I’ve built a good selection in there at this point, and while I must admit that this one may not bring about world peace, it’ll be a nice addition to that massive cookie platter I’ll one day make from all the leftover dough hunks.

For the recipe, see Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan or read Buttercream Barbie, as it was Tia’s turn to pick again.  Don’t forget to check out the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie: Classic Brownies

September 13, 2011 at 12:01 am | Posted in cookies & bars, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 15 Comments
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classic brownies

I have made lots o’ brownies with TWD (I think there are even still a couple more versions to go), but this is Dorie’s classic…no honey, no cheesecake, no Peppermint Patties…just straight-up chocolate and walnuts.   This is a solid brownie, in both the solidly-good sense, and the fudgy-but-not-raw-in-the-middle sense.  It’s the one to take to a bake sale, the one to put in a lunchbox, the one that will please everyone (unless they don’t like nuts, but then you just leave them out!).

For the recipe, see Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan or read Anne Strawberry.  Don’t forget to check out the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie: Chocolate Spice Quickies

September 6, 2011 at 12:01 am | Posted in cookies & bars, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 12 Comments
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chocolate spice quickies

I thought TWD was a pretty PG-group, but this week’s recipe sounds a little racy.  Too much talk about spicy quickies might make me blush.

Ok, so these are just quick to make food processor cookies, flavored with spices and chocolate.  No ID required.  I read that they weren’t actaully very spicy at all, so I doubled the amount in mine.  I used allspice, and doubling it makes it noticable, but it’s not in your face.  Ground almonds give the dough cute little speckles.

When my quickies turned out soft instead of crispy, I was kind of confused.  Ahhh….seems I didn’t read the recipe intro…the one where Dorie says they are chewy.  However, as you can see, her side note about turning them into ice cream sandwiches did not escape me!  She’s right, they have the perfect texture for ice cream sandwiches.

For the recipe, see Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan or read the delightful My Baking Heart, as it was Jessica’s turn to pick again.  Don’t forget to check out the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie: Cocoa Almond Meringues

August 2, 2011 at 12:01 am | Posted in cookies & bars, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 9 Comments
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cocoa almond meringues

We are having hot, sticky weather here.  I’ve baked enough to know that sticky weather equals sticky meringues, so I thought about hitting the snooze bar on TWD this week and skipping these Cocoa Almond Meringue Cookies.  But I had some weekend time on my hands, and I figured I could do a scaled down batch…just enough to be eaten the same day, with nothing left to wilt in a container overnight.

I like meringues, and I’m a fan of these.  Beneath their crisp, light cocoa shells, they are chewy and very dark with chocolate (studded with crushed hazelnuts, too, in this case).  If you like your meringues drier and crisped-through, I’m guessing you could bake them longer, or at the end of the book’s suggested time, turn off the oven and let the cookies continue to hang out for a few more hours inside.  I actually did bake these about 15 minutes longer than the recommended hour and ten because I made a few quite large meringues as opposed to a zillion little guys, and I wanted to make sure they weren’t soup inside.  I made a special exception to my “no coffee after 3:00″ rule and served these with a little glass of milky iced joe.  It was the perfect thing to cut the sweetness of the meringues.

Next time I find myself with extra egg whites, I’ll be sure to keep these in mind!  For the recipe, see Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan or read Ugly Food For an Ugly Dude.  Don’t forget to check out the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie: Sour Cream Chocolate Cake Cookies

June 28, 2011 at 12:01 am | Posted in cookies & bars, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 12 Comments
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sour cream chocolate cake cookies

Hooray, Spike, for finally giving these Sour Cream Chocolate Cake Cookies their fifteen minutes of fame.  This is one of the first recipes in the book that really piqued my interest, mostly because I couldn’t imagine what the heck a “cake cookie” could be.  But then, after making approximately a hundred zillion whoopie pies at the bakery in Red Hook where I used to work, it dawned on me that these might something similar.  Although Dorie says they are thin and plain, somehow mine came out chubby and rounded– like little cakes in cookie-mound form.  These are nice and moist, and to boost the chocolaty-ness, I used my darkest cocoa, replaced the cinnamon and nutmeg in the recipe with a bit of instant espresso powder and left out the currants entirely.  While they are pretty good on their own (just grab a glass of milk or iced coffee and have at ‘em), I think they’d be great filled with buttercream.  Since it’s so schwetty out here, I decided to make them into ice cream sandwiches instead, using a bit of the caramel gelato I help to make at the shop where I now work.

For the Sour Cream Chocolate Cake Cookie recipe, see Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan or read Spike’s blog.  Don’t forget to check out the TWD Blogroll!

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