Tuesdays with Dorie DC: Mint Chocolate Sablés

December 1, 2020 at 5:26 pm | Posted in cookies & bars, DC, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 4 Comments
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mint chocolate sablés

I’d say that the first of December marks the start of cookie season, but isn’t it always cookie season around here? I’ll just put a more festive spin on things this month, starting with these Mint Chocolate Sablés. We make this type of buttery French shortbread on the regular, but this particular sablé has a chocolate base jazzed up with mint oil or extract and little bits of chopped chocolate. Chocolate and mint is a pretty winning combo in my books. If it had occurred to me in advance, I would have bought a nice mint chocolate bar to cut up for the added bits, but, as per usual, my best ideas happen just as I’m about to put something in the oven. These are really good anyway, and I could actually smell their minty-ness while baking…I did add some gold glitter sugar for sparkle, so there’s that. I’m having a cookie tonight with vanilla ice cream and am very much looking forward to it.

For the recipe, see Dorie’s Cookies by Dorie Greenspan. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll.

Everyday Dorie: Parsnip and Cranberry Cake

November 27, 2020 at 8:30 pm | Posted in cakes & tortes, everyday dorie, groups, layer cakes, sweet things | 4 Comments
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parsnip and cranberry cake

This Parsnip and Cranberry Cake was the star of the show for our Thanksgiving-for-two dinner last night. And for leftovers night tonight. And I’m sure for leftovers-turned-into-something-else night tomorrow. It is very good. Originally, this cake is a big triple-layer nine-incher, but since we were solo for the holiday, I scaled the recipe back to a third of that to get two (rather tall) nice six-inch layers. I pretty much expected it to taste like carrot cake, until I realized the spicing is quite different. This one has ground coriander, grated fresh ginger and orange instead of cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. It’s filled and frosted with cream cheese icing, but it has a sneaky layer of cranberry sauce inside, too. It also should have had chopped fresh cranberries mixed into the batter and sugared cranberries on top, but I was working with a partial bag of berries, and after making the sauce, I didn’t have any extras. Rather than the berries in batter, I used chopped candied orange zest (and left out the sugared fresh zest in the recipe) and put some bloops of sauce on top of the finished cake, along with some maple-parsnip chips. I don’t always go for the “nearly naked” style of decoration…like someone did the crumb coat and then said “to heck with it”…but here, I thought it was kind of charming with that little bit of cranberry sauce peaking out.

For the recipe, see Everyday Dorie by Dorie Greenspan, and head over to Cook the Book Fridays to see all of our cakes this week.

Tuesdays with Dorie DC: Pain de Gênes Buttons

November 17, 2020 at 11:57 am | Posted in cookies & bars, DC, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 3 Comments
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pain de gênes buttons

Calling these Pain de Gênes Buttons “cookies” is a stretch. These buttons are really baby cakes, not that I mind at all. The star of the flavor show here is the good bit of almond paste that’s incorporated into the batter (the rum I sloshed in was runner-up). My husband loved these because they reminded him of the almondy treats of his childhood from the Italian-American bakeries in Long Island. I liked their flavor, too, and their texture, which was spongy and dense at the same time. These were another winning treat for the WFH coffee station.

For the recipe, see Dorie’s Cookies by Dorie Greenspan. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll.

Everyday Dorie: Roasted Acorn Squash Wedges

November 13, 2020 at 7:51 pm | Posted in cook the book fridays, everyday dorie, groups, savory things, veggies | 6 Comments
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roasted acorn squash wedges

I eat a lot of roasted orange stuff in the colder months– squash, sweet potatoes, carrots– and I’m always looking for new things to do with them. These Roasted Acorn Squash Wedges are brushed with a dressing of olive oil, pomegranate molasses, za’atar, lemon juice, cayenne and, of course, salt before they go into the oven. While they roasted, I stirred together the harissa yogurt Dorie suggests serving alongside, and I’m glad I did, because I thought the squash really needed it. I told my dining companion that I thought that this preparation was okay but not great. I thought maybe the squash I bought just wasn’t sweet enough for the tart dressing, but after reading the group’s reviews, I saw that I wasn’t alone. Perhaps I don’t really need to find a new thing to do with acorn squash…the “classic” butter and brown sugar schmear with a hint of salt and spice is just what I like. I think the pomegranate molasses dressing would be a better coating for already-roasted sweet potatoes, or actually even salad greens.

For the recipe, see Everyday Dorie by Dorie Greenspan, and head over to Cook the Book Fridays to see all that the group made this week.

Tuesdays with Dorie BCM: Carrèment Chocolat, The Fancy Cake

November 10, 2020 at 12:01 am | Posted in BCM, cakes & tortes, groups, layer cakes, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 12 Comments
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carrèment chocolat, the fancy cake

Wow– after six years, this is our final Tuesdays with Dorie recipe from Baking Chez Moi. I’m not crying, you’re crying. Okay, I’m definitely crying, but a slice of Carrèment Chocolat, The Fancy Cake will make me feel better.

This is a chocolate cake that is sleek and slim, but rich and luxurious. A single pan of chocolate cake is sliced into two thin layers, brushed with syrup (which for me was Kahlúa) sandwiched with chocolate pastry cream, glazed in ganache and topped with homemade salted chocolate shards. It’s no wonder that it’s the book’s cover girl, and it’s no wonder that we saved her for our grand finale. I actually made this over the summer for my husband’s birthday. It seemed like a nice treat for a quarantine celebration and a fun project for me. We savored every bite.

My copy of BCM has lived on my kitchen counter for the last six years. It’ll go on the bookshelf now, but I’m sure I’ll take it down often (and, if I’m being truthful, I do have a few things to rewind). We have made close to 150 recipes, and it would be really, really hard for me to pick a favorite..maybe the Caramel-Topped Rice Pudding Cake, maybe the Chocolate Crème Caramel. Clearly I fancy upside-down puddings sitting in a caramel puddle, but I’ve had such fun baking and sharing all kinds of treats with our small group on Tuesdays. Thank you, it’s a highlight of my week. Also, of course, merci to Dorie for teaching, inspiring and encouraging us, and to Laurie, who started TWD back in 2008 with BFMHTY.

For the recipe, see Baking Chez Moi by Dorie Greenspan. Don’t forget to check out our last BCM TWD Blogroll! We bake on with Dorie’s Cookies, but for this one, c’est fini.

Tuesdays with Dorie DC: Cheddar-Seed Wafers

November 3, 2020 at 6:31 pm | Posted in cookies & bars, DC, groups, savory things, snacks, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 5 Comments
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cheddar-seed wafers

Cheddar Seed Wafers, full of cheese and poppy seeds, have a highbrow Cheez-It thing going on. They’re rolled really thin and they bake up delicate, salty, savory and a bit flaky. These are in the “cocktail cookies” section of the book, and they would certainly be an excellent sidekick for a glass of crisp white wine, but I actually had my extra-large wafer broken up into shards with a roasted veggie dish that was heavy on the tomatoes.

For the recipe, see Dorie’s Cookies by Dorie Greenspan. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll and please join us anytime!

Tuesdays with Dorie BCM: Macaron Biscotti

October 27, 2020 at 1:52 pm | Posted in BCM, cookies & bars, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 3 Comments
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macaron biscotti

When you pipe a tray of macarons, there are bound to be at least a few, maybe more if by “you” I mean “I”, shells that bake up too big, too small, blob-shaped, footless or for whatever reason wonky. You can eat them on the sneak and destroy the evidence (my go-to method for dealing with them) or you can make Macaron Biscotti with them and serve them up with tea. I’ve never seen twice-baked mac shells before this, but the idea is neat and easy— dip once-baked shells in melted butter and rebake. I didn’t even bother to melt any butter…I have a small container of ghee that I keep at room temp in the cooler months and brushed that on both sides of my shells. They turn very bronzed in the oven and are super crunchy through-and-through. Macarons with a suntan.

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

Everyday Dorie: Bean and Tortilla Soup

October 23, 2020 at 9:19 am | Posted in cook the book fridays, everyday dorie, groups, savory things, soups | 10 Comments
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bean and tortilla soup

It’s sweater weather but not yet parka weather, so if you’re you’re looking for a soup that manages to be light and fresh and warm and satisfying all at the same time, then this Bean and Tortilla Soup is for you. As written, this recipe is for a vegetarian soup with a spicy, tomatoey base broth with carrots, bell pepper, onions and whatever beans you want bobbing around in it (I used tinned black beans). Then you can go nuts with the toppings— load it up with whatever you’d like. I went with cherry tomatoes, scallions, tons of cilantro, avocado, crumbled feta and lime juice. Your soup bowl is the perfect landing spot for those lingering bits and pieces of cooked stuff in the fridge, too, even if that stuff is something like chicken, sausage or shrimp. Of course this is tortilla soup, so don’t forget some chips to go with! I sprinkled over those broken bits at the bottom of the bag that are too small to hold salsa or guac but make perfect soup crunchies.

For the recipe, see Everyday Dorie by Dorie Greenspan, and head over to Cook the Book Fridays to see how the group liked this one.

 

Tuesdays with Dorie DC: Thanksgiving Bars

October 20, 2020 at 8:37 am | Posted in cookies & bars, DC, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 1 Comment
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thanksgiving bars

I’m often pretty meh on fruit and chocolates combinations, so I thought about passing on these Thanksgiving Bars, which have a cranberry-raspberry filling inside a walnut and cocoa double-crust. Also, I thought they sounded kind of weird and I don’t normally associate raspberries with Thanksgiving. My TWD friends who made them for the last posting all gave them excellent reviews though, so I didn’t want to skip a good thing…FOMO baking, I guess.

As it turns out, I do like these! That’s probably predictable, though, right? Haha. I reduced the sugar in the cranberry jam by about a third because I prefer it not to be too sweet, although I didn’t skimp on the sparkly sugar coating on the top crust. I like the way that top layer of dough conforms while baking around the whole raspberries in the filling, giving it pretty bumps. These are good with a scoop of ice cream or a cup of coffee.

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

Tuesdays with Dorie BCM: Parisian Macarons

October 13, 2020 at 1:58 pm | Posted in BCM, cookies & bars, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 9 Comments
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parisian macarons

Someone’s getting fancy over here. Parisian Macarons require a bit more technique and attention than the usual loaf cakes I churn out in five minutes without really even measuring. I’ve spent most of my pastry career in fine dining, so really I’ve piped countless trays of these almond flour-meringue cookies for petits fours plates, but for the last several years, I’ve been focused on tempered chocolate work. I do think maybe the last time I made macs was circa 2007, when I worked for a restaurant called Becasse in Sydney. What I’m trying to say is that I am rusty.

This macaron recipe from BCM uses an Italian meringue in the batter, as opposed to a French meringue, which is what I am more used to. I didn’t have any problems making that, although I was tempted to just eat it as marshmallow fluff and jump ship on the macarons…that is the danger of Italian and Swiss meringues. I’m actually really pleased with how the macarons turned out, but I’d say I wish the bottom “feet” had been a bit taller. Mardi and I agree that the listed baking temp of 350F is hotter than most recipes, and that may have had something to do with it. If I make this recipe again, I’m going to experiment with a 300-325F oven, which is more standard, and see if that makes a difference. I did leave my assembled macs in the fridge overnight (those are the rules!), and they were perfectly crispy- chewy for a few days after.

The thing I do really like about macs is that you can totally customize them. You can fill them with ganache, like I did here, or with jam, caramel, buttercream, or whatever floats your boat and makes them stick.  You can sub some of the almond flour for another nut flour, or tint the shells any color of the rainbow. I left them au naturale, preferring to get my daily dose of food coloring in the form of a scattering of sprinkles.

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

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