Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Pizza with Onion Confit

January 8, 2013 at 12:01 am | Posted in groups, savory things, tuesdays with dorie, yeast breads | 19 Comments
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pizza with onion confit

My husband is going out for a business dinner tonight, and I have plans of my own.  Sometimes when he’s not around for dinner I’ll meet up with friends for wine and gossip. But tonight, it’s a little alone time…just me, Steve Sullivan’s Pizza with Onion Confit and the first episode of the new season of Downton Abbey.  Perfect

Here in Brooklyn I don’t have to look too hard to find good pizza, but I make it a lot at home anyway.  I fiddle around with different recipes, too, so I didn’t mind trying a new one here.  This dough uses a sponge starter to add flavor, but the process can be done in a day, unlike some doughs that require a day or two of fridge fermentation (like this excellent one).  I cook my pizzas on a stone in a ripping-hot oven.  And I (obviously) don’t care too much if they are perfectly round or not.

pizza with onion confitpizza with onion confit

All the tears you shed slicing onions will be worth it when you wind up with a pan full of soft, sweet onion confit to top your pizza.  I didn’t have the red wine the recipe calls to simmer the onions in, but I did have an open bottle of white, so I used that instead.  I’m sure the red wine would have made the confit a beautiful shade of rich purple, but mine wound up more like traditional caramelized onions.  Leftover onion confit is like gold in the fridge, and I can’t wait to use it on a turkey burger or a sandwich. 

onion confit

I also put a handful of spinach on top of my pizza, you know, for vegetables.  And at the halfway point I crumbled on a little Point Reyes blue cheese.  For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan or read Paul’s The Boy Can Bake.  Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Rich Chocolate Cake with Salty Dulce de Leche

December 29, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Posted in cakes & tortes, simple cakes, sweet things | 4 Comments
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rich chocolate cake with salty dulce de leche

So, Christmas came and went in a tinsel-strewn blur.  And now we are just about to say goodbye to 2012 and hang a new calendar on the wall…but first there’s one more party to throw.  New Year’s Eve is a night that calls for sparkle, like these Glitter Ball Cookies, or decadence, like this Rich Chocolate Cake with Dulce de Leche.

Here’s proof that decadence doesn’t have to be difficult.  This cake is easy to put together because it’s just a single layer.  It’s a dark devil’s food-style cake, so that’s really all you need.  And you can buy the dulce de leche, although I did make David Lebovitz’s homemade version (which, to be honest, is no  more difficult than opening a can). Some chopped nuts or crushed brittle add a little crunch, but even that isn’t totally necessary.  What is necessary, though, is sprinkling of salt– preferably a fancy coarse sea salt– so don’t skip it.  Salty and sweet, just like this year.

Happy New Year!  See you in 2013…

rich chocolate cake with salty dulce de leche

Rich Chocolate Cake with Salty Dulce de Leche- makes one 10-inch round cake
adapted from One Girl Cookies by Dawn Casale and David Crofton

Steph’s Notes:  A half recipe will yield an 8-inch round cake that bakes in 30-35 minutes.  The authors suggest decorating this cake with crushed nut brittle, but chopped salty peanuts or hazelnuts would be just as good (and easier). 

for the cake:
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
3/4  cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup plain whole-milk  yogurt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
8 tablespoons  (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups  granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 1/4 cups all-purpose  flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon table  salt

for the topping:
1/2 cup dulce de leche (homemade or store-bought)
a few pinches of kosher salt, fleur de sel or Maldon
about 1/2 cup of roughly chopped, salted nuts or crushed nut brittle for decoration (optional)

-Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Grease a 10-inch round cake pan with cooking spray and line the bottom with a parchment round.

-To make the cake, pour the hot coffee into a medium bowl and stir in the  cocoa powder until it dissolves.  Stir in the brown sugar, followed by the yogurt  and the vanilla.  Stir thoroughly to ensure that all of the ingredients are  incorporated.

-In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat  the butter and granulated sugar on medium speed until light-yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the eggs and mix for 2  minutes.

-In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.  With the mixer running on low speed, mix in a third of the flour mixture and half of  the coffee mixture.  Scrape down the bowl.  Add another third of the flour mixture and all the remaining coffee mixture.  Remove the bowl from the mixer and, using  \a rubber spatula, fold in the remaining flour mixture until all of the  ingredients are fully incorporated.  Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan.

-Bake the cake for about 45 minutes, rotate the pan at the halfway point, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out  clean.  Remove the pan from the oven and let the cake cool in the pan for 20  minutes.  Run a knife around the edge, and then turn the cake out onto a clean plate, remove the parchment, and  turn the cake back over onto a wire rack.  Let the cake cool completely.

-Put the cooled cake on a serving dish.  In a microwave-safe dish, heat the  dulce de leche on high power for 30 seconds, or until it is just liquid.  Spoon the dulce de leche over the cake, and then sprinkle the salt over the  dulce de leche.  If using nuts or brittle, sprinkle about 1/2 cup around the outer edge of the cake as a delicious decoration.

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Finnish Pulla

December 18, 2012 at 12:01 am | Posted in breakfast things, groups, sweet things, sweet yeast breads, tuesdays with dorie | 27 Comments
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Finnish pulla

Oh my gosh–isn’t this loaf the cutest?!?  I’m not in the know with most Scandinavian baked goods, so I wasn’t sure what to expect with Beatrice Ojakangas’s Finnish Pulla bread.  Never heard of it, but I was pretty pleased to discover this baby when it came out of the oven.  It’s a little bit buttery, a little bit sweet, a little bit eggy and scented with cardamom, one of my favorite spices.  Pulla is often shaped into a glorious braided wreath, but I made half a recipe, so I did a loaf instead.

The recipe didn’t suggest making the dough ahead of time, but I wanted to take care of it on Saturday night so I could have fresh-baked bread with jam for breakfast on Sunday morning.  I made the dough all the way through the shaping stage (it was a dream to work with in the cooler temps), then put my braided loaf on a parchment lined sheet tray, loosely covered it in plastic and stuck it in the fridge before I went to bed.  Early Sunday morning, I took it out and left it on the counter to come to room temperature for a little over an hour before I baked it.  Seemed like a good strategy.

Finnish pulla

Pulla reminds me of challah, but with cardamom and pearl sugar (which I bought at an IKEA in Jersey about a year ago and until Sunday had still never used).  I’m glad to have this recipe on my radar now, and I bet leftovers will make good French toast (or will that be Finnish toast??).  For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan or read  Erin’s The Daily Morsel.  Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Gingerbread Baby Cakes

December 4, 2012 at 12:02 am | Posted in cakes & tortes, groups, simple cakes, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 22 Comments
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gingerbread baby cakes

What–December already?!?  Seems I am refusing to belive it, because every time I went to label the stuff I made at work today, I wrote “11/” and then had to turn that second one into a goofy two.  I feel not quite ready to tackle this month.

Johanne Killeen’s Gingerbread Baby Cakes should help me get into the December spirit.  These cakes may be little, but they are strong, with a spicy molasses, ginger and black pepper punch.  Espresso and cocoa add extra dark, bitter notes.  I want to say that I loved these, because they came out so darn cute, but really, they were too intense for me…too adult for my juvenile taste buds.  I don’t have baby cake molds, but I do have baby tube pans, which made a fine substitute.  I have two cakes left, and I’m thinking they will be cubed for a trifle with sweet cream and stuff to temper their spicy bite.

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

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Best-Ever Brownies

November 20, 2012 at 12:01 am | Posted in cookies & bars, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 15 Comments
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Rick Katz’s brownies for Julia

It wasn’t until yesterday when I actually got cracking on Rick Katz’s Best-Ever Brownies, that I realized I’ve made this recipe before.  Back in Season 1 of TWD.  Only then they were called Rick Katz’s Brownies for Juila.  Different book, same recipe, same strange egg whipping technique.  I am cheaply recycling the photo, because I missed my light window both yesterday and today (curses to work!).

Well, there is one difference between the two recipes.  This version in Baking with Julia calls for 1/4 cup of extra flour.  I prefer it with that extra little bit of flour…I think it gives the brownies a bit more structure.  The batch I made yesterday looks the same as the one in the photo, but they are a little taller.  This time I made half a recipe and baked it in a 9″ x 5″ metal loaf pan lined with parchment for 30 minutes exactly.  Then I pulled them out of the oven to come to room temperature before I put them in the fridge to chill through.  I did the same thing the last time around, because I remembered this made the chocolate goo solidify into chew.  They were good brownies back then, and they are still good now.

For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan or read Monica’s A Beautiful Mess.  Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD blogroll!

Pumpkin Waffles

November 18, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Posted in breakfast things, pancakes & waffles, sweet things | 5 Comments
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pumpkin waffles

It may be all about dinner on Thursday, but somehow this year I’m not cooking the turkey, so I get to focus on a lazy holiday breakfast instead.  The next few days are gonna be go-time at work, cranking out orders for pecan and pumpkin pies and cranberry upside-down cakes.  I know already that it will be pastry versus the savory kitchen, battling for space in the one convection oven we have.  If I come out alive, sleeping in and having breakfast at home will feel good after all this.

Waffles are a perfect way to use up that open can of pumpkin we always seem to have in the fridge this time of year.  And I don’t use my waffle iron that often, so making them seems a little more special than pancakes. These pumpkin waffles have all the usual warm spices I associate with pumpkiny treats, and they cook up to that beautiful rusty orange color of autumn leaves. Maple syrup is my normal waffle topping, but I’m kind of thinking that cranberry sauce would be pretty good, too.

pumpkin waffles

Pumpkin Waffles- makes 4-6 large round waffles 
from Pumpkin Waffles Blog

Steph’s Note:  Don’t have a kitchen scale?  This recipe with volume measurements can be found here.

50 g light brown sugar
24 g cornstarch
156 g all-purpose flour
7.2 g baking powder
3.0 g salt
3.0 g cinnamon
3.5 g ginger
0.5 g cloves
0.6 g freshly grated nutmeg
2 large eggs
240 g whole milk
244 g canned solid-pack pumpkin
56 g unsalted butter, melted and warm

maple syrup and butter for serving

-Heat the oven to 200°F and heat a waffle iron, preferably a Belgian waffle iron.

-Combine brown sugar and cornstarch in a large bowl. Whisk together to break apart the cornstarch. Add the remaining dry ingredients, and whisk to blend.

-Separate the eggs– yolks go in a medium-sized bowl and whites get set aside in a smaller bowl.

-Add pumpkin and milk to the egg yolks. Whisk to blend and set aside.

-Whip egg whites with a hand mixer on high to stiff peaks (you could do this by hand instead)– about 1 1/2 – 2 minutes. Set aside.

-Pour melted butter into the yolk/milk/pumpkin mixture. As you pour, whisk to combine.

-Add the pumpkin mixture to the dry ingredients, and mix them together until just combined. A little lumpiness is fine. That will smooth out when the egg whites are added.

-Slide the whipped egg whites out of the bowl and onto the mixture you just prepared. Gently fold them in until no white bits are obvious.

-Brush the waffle iron with a little vegetable oil. Working in batches, cook the batter in the waffle iron according to the manufacturer’s instructions until crisp and golden. Set the waffles directly on the oven rack to keep warm. Do not stack them.

-Serve the waffles with the syrup and butter.  You can freeze leftover waffles to recrisp another day.

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Buttermilk Crumb Muffins

November 6, 2012 at 12:01 am | Posted in breakfast things, groups, muffins & quick breads, tuesdays with dorie | 11 Comments
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buttermilk crumb muffins

What a weird week last week was.  Weird and scary…and not just because of wacky Halloween costumes.  We count ourselves very lucky at our house, and if you live on the East coast, I hope the same is true at yours.  Some minor disruptions and inconveniences were all that Sandy really dealt us and our neighborhood.  Still, it was nice to have something comforting to bake after just emerging from the supposed storm of the century.

Like the name says, Marion Cunningham’s Buttermilk Crumb Muffins are made with buttermilk and have a little crumb on top.  They also have some warm spices and brown sugar.  They were tasty, simple and homey.  Nothing that will knock your socks off, but we ate them all just a few minutes out of the oven.  Maybe you don’t always need your socks knocked off at breakfast anyway, right?  The original recipe makes sixteen muffins and uses all shortening as the fat.  When I said we ate them all, I should clarify (so you don’t think my husband and I are complete pigs) that I made one-quarter recipe for just four muffins, using 2 tablespoons of butter and one whole egg.  I went a little heavy on the spices and a little scant on the sugar.   

For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan or read easier than pie (it’s also here).  And there’s even a video of Julia and Marion making these together.  Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Devil’s Food Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

October 28, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Posted in cupcakes, sweet things | 14 Comments
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devil's food cupcakes with cream cheese frosting

I needed a little weekend baking project to help take my mind off the Frankenstorm that’s coming our way.  Spooky.  It’s time for Halloween cupcakes anyway…I make them every year, mostly to use my orange and black sprinkles.  I think devil’s food is appropriate for Halloween, and it helps that it’s my favorite species of chocolate cake.  I have a particular fondness for oil-based devil’s food like this one from Zoë Bakes.  So moist, oh my gosh.  And isn’t cream cheese frosting good on just about any cake?  Looking forward to eating one of these from the fridge tonight.

Happy Halloween, and stay safe (and dry)!

devil's food cupcakes with cream cheese frosting

Devil’s Food Cupcakes- makes 3 dozen
from Zoë Bakes

Steph’s Note:  I made one-third of the cupcake recipe below to get one dozen cupcakes, but I still used the full amount of frosting.

3 cups granulated sugar
2 3/4 cups  all-purpose flour
1 1/8 cups cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-processed), sifted if lumpy.
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
2 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups milk or buttermilk
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup hot coffee
1/4 cup rum or brandy (or replace with extra coffee)

-Heat the oven to 350°F and prepare 3 dozen muffin tins with papers

-Combine all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl and whisk until combined, set aside.

-Whisk together, eggs, milk, oil and vanilla until well combined. Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth. Slowly add the hot coffee and rum to the batter and whisk until totally blended and smooth, about 2 minutes. The batter will be quite runny.

-Fill a measuring cup or pitcher (you can fill directly from the mixing bowl if you have a steady hand) with the batter and then fill the muffin cups about 2/3 – 3/4 full.

-Bake the cupcakes for about 18-20 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.

-Allow to cool completely on a cake rack, removing the cupcakes from the tin after about 15 minutes, and then frost with cream cheese frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting
from Zoë Bakes

Steph’s Note:  I used the full amount of frosting to decorate 12 cupcakes.

1 (8 ounce) package of cream cheese, softened
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon golden syrup (can substitute with honey)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt

-Combine all the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and cream together until smooth.  (I used a hand mixer for this.)

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Bagels

October 16, 2012 at 12:01 am | Posted in breakfast things, groups, savory things, tuesdays with dorie, yeast breads | 12 Comments
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bagels

I eat my fair share of bagels.  Frankly it’s hard not to when you live in New York City and there are bagel shops all over the place (Bergen Bagels being my favorite close-to-home joint).  I’m not just a bagel-eater, I’ve actually made a lot of bagels, too, at my first restaurant job where we’d get slammed with weekend brunch crowds who all seemed to want the smoked trout with quail egg and a mini bagel….so Lauren Groveman’s recipe wasn’t totally Greek (or should I say Yiddish?) to me.

There were a couple of things I did differently than the recipe, just out of old habits.  After boiling the bagels for about a minute on each side, I removed them from the water and placed them on a cooling rack set over a baking sheet.  I baked them on the rack as well, because it allows the oven heat to circulate underneath the bagels. I didn’t bother brushing them with the egg white glaze before baking.  They may not have been laquer-shiny, but they still browned very nicely and the toppings held in place.  Also, in the bagel dough, I used half sugar and half barley malt syrup for the sweetener, which Groveman did on the TV show, but did a little differently in the book (which calls for only sugar).

I wasn’t super-prepared in the toppings department, so I just went with poppy seeds on some and grey salt on others.  The salt ones were my favorite. I stirred some dill and chives into cream cheese to jazz up my schmear a bit.  These were chewy and had a nice crust….with a cup of coffee, these bagels made for a perfect New York breakfast.

bagels

If you’ve never had a super-fresh, warm bagel before, you can really make great ones at home, so give it a go!  You can make the dough the night before and it’s ready to shape and cook off the next morning.  For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan or read Heather’s Bytes (it’s also here).  And there’s even a video of Julia and Lauren making bagels together.  Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Deviled Eggs for Jessica’s Bridal Shower

October 3, 2012 at 6:00 am | Posted in other savory, savory things | 14 Comments
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deviled eggs

I love a good party, and I’m so happy to have been invited to a virtual bridal shower for Jessica from My Baking Heart!  I’ve gotten to know Jessica through TWD.  She’s an amazing baker (and cook, too)…clearly C knows that he’s a lucky guy.

Nikki from Pennies on a Platter organized this big celebration, and we are going to have a fabulous table of drinks, snacks and sweets prepared by a list of incredible ladies.  I decided to bring along deviled eggs.  They are one of my favorite cocktail snacks, and I just love how retro they are.  The recipe below is for deviled eggs at their most basic, but you can jazz them up an infinite number of ways with spices and fresh herbs.  I used a French curry mayo that I bought at the fancy mayonnaise shop here in Brooklyn (I was just too intrigued by the strangeness of a mayonnaise shop not to stop in and buy something), and sprinkled over smoked paprika and chives.  Of course I piped my filling in with a star tip because it’s a special occasion.

Please visit Jessica to say congratulations and head over to Nikki’s to see the whole party spread.  Cheers to Jessica and Chris!

Deviled Eggs- makes 12 halves

6 large eggs
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon sour cream
1/2 teaspoon white wine vinegar or squeeze of lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste

-Place eggs in medium saucepan, cover with 1 inch of water, and bring to boil over high heat.  Turn off the heat, cover and let stand 10-12 minutes. Meanwhile, fill a medium bowl with water and ice cubes. Transfer eggs to ice water with slotted spoon and let cool 5 minutes.

-Peel eggs and slice in half lengthwise. Put the yolks in a fine-mesh sieve and use a spatula to press them through sieve and into bowl. Add remaining ingredients, and stir vigorously until smooth.

-Arrange whites on serving platter and mound with the yolk mixture, either using a spoon or a pastry bag and tip.  Serve immediately.

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