Tuesdays with Dorie BWD: Chocolate Babka

December 27, 2022 at 10:38 pm | Posted in breakfast things, BWD, groups, muffins/quick breads, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 8 Comments
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chocolate babka

I don’t really have a baking bucket list, but if I did, I’d now be able tick babka off it. Any good New Yorker knows that Chocolate Babka is the superior babka, so I was pretty excited (but a little intimidated) to make this. Turns out, it’s not too hard; it just requires some time spread out over a couple of days. Dorie’s buttery brioche dough is the base for this sweet yeasted loaf, and we’ve made that dough a number of times now. Like making cinnamon buns, you roll out your well-chilled dough, smear it with a sweet cocoa paste and then spiral it into a log. Unlike cinnamon buns, you cut the log in half lengthwise to expose long ribbons of the chocolate filling, and then twist the two halves into a ropey thing and squeeze it into a loaf pan to proof. Before going into the oven, Dorie tops her babka with a crust of crisp, rubbly streusel, which not all babkas have and is kind of gilding the lily, but I’m here for it.

My loaf rose and baked tall, and I was so excited to cut into it and see what kind of pattern the chocolate took on. Some slices had stripes and others had swirls. All tasted equally delicious…buttery soft bread with chocolate pockets and crunchy topping. Elaine is right that it is dinner party-worthy.

If you don’t have the book Baking with Dorie: Sweet, Salty & Simple by Dorie Greenspan yet, get it and join us as we bake through it every second and fourth Tuesdays! Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll and all the other participation deets over on Tuesdays with Dorie!

Tuesdays with Dorie BWD: Cranberry Spice Squares

November 20, 2022 at 11:36 pm | Posted in breakfast things, BWD, cakes & tortes, groups, simple cakes, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 3 Comments
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cranberry spice squares

Here we are, a couple of days out from Thanksgiving, and I still don’t really know what I’ll be making for dessert (although I have a few ideas). If I hadn’t already baked, frosted and polished off these Cranberry Spice Squares, they’d be contender. Think spiced molasses gingerbread with pops of fresh cranberries and swoops of cream cheese frosting. Good, right? This is a great snacking cake for the holiday season, and if you have leftover crannies after the big dinner, think about putting them towards this. Toasted or candied nuts make a good sprinkle.

If you don’t have the book Baking with Dorie: Sweet, Salty & Simple by Dorie Greenspan, get it and join us as we bake through it every second and fourth Tuesdays. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Everyday Dorie: Caramel-Pear and Five-Spice Upside-Down Cake

October 28, 2022 at 3:40 pm | Posted in breakfast things, cakes & tortes, everyday dorie, groups, muffins/quick breads, simple cakes, sweet things | 5 Comments
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caramel-pear and five-spice upside-down cake

I do appreciate a good upside-down cake, and have made several here, using all different kinds of fruit. The bulk of them Dorie’s, of course, since this blog has for many years been basically a DG stan account (I think I used that term correctly). This Caramel-Pear and Five-Spice Upside-Down Cake uses a technique I don’t remember doing before with any of them– making the batter in the food processor– and it worked brilliantly!

Everything about this was good, from the soft texture of the blitzed cake, to the caramelized pear topping (no sticking!), to the flavorings. I did make a citrus switch. As I didn’t have a lemon, I used orange instead, which I think of as a natural partner to five-spice anyway. I made half a recipe of the cake and baked it my 7″ cake pan, which had space for a nice pinwheel of pears on top.

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 BWD: Scones Pudding

September 27, 2022 at 4:36 pm | Posted in biscuits/scones, breakfast things, BWD, groups, pudding/mousse, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 3 Comments
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scones pudding

You can give all sorts of baked goods the bread pudding treatment…doughnuts, croissants, cake scrap, bagels, and even scones. All you have to do is chunk them up and bake them in a custard bath. This Scones Pudding is made from leftover Buttermilk Scones, a recipe we baked last month. I tucked two of them into the freezer so I’d be able to do a half batch of pudding with them later. Technically, I was half a scone short for a half batch, but went ahead with 50% of the custard recipe anyway. I sliced my scones as instructed and layered them into a little dish. I did have some gaps because of the missing half scone, but liked the thought of having pockets of straight-up baked custard here and there, since the scones are so dense.

Dorie suggests spreading the scone slices with lemon curd as you layer them in your baking dish and then arranging apple slices on top of the pudding, but she also says you can play around with that. I gave mine a “summer’s last hurrah” combo of raspberry jam, fresh razzies and nectarine slices. I will not eat an apple if there are still stone fruits to be had. I liked this, and I enjoyed the slightly higher custard to scone ratio I had going on. I wish I’d taken a slice shot, because it was actually kind of pretty with a ripple of red jam running through the center.

If you don’t have the book Baking with Dorie: Sweet, Salty & Simple by Dorie Greenspan, get it and join us as we bake through it every second and fourth Tuesdays. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll and all the other participation deets over on Tuesdays with Dorie!

Tuesdays with Dorie BWD: Java Mini Mads

September 13, 2022 at 4:17 pm | Posted in breakfast things, BWD, cakes & tortes, cookies & bars, groups, simple cakes, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 4 Comments
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java mini mads

When I say that I like to have a little coffee treat on-hand, I mean a little treat to go with my coffee…but when my coffee treat is also a coffee-flavored treat, like these Java Mini Mads, that’s even better! I’ve made lots of Dorie madeleines over the years, and even have both large and small shell-shaped molds for them. Here, though, she has us bake these buttery, espresso-infused bites in a mini muffin tin, which shows you really don’t need that extra stuff cluttering your kitchen.

These are easy to put together, as the batter is mixed by hand. The hardest part of making it is having patience…it needs a long rest in the fridge, a recommended five hours minimum before baking, if you want to achieve the signature “madeleine hump” in the oven. Dorie says the batter will last refrigerated for up to three days, so I baked these off over the course of a couple of days. The photo above is from round one, but for round two, I decided to dunk their humps in cinnamon sugar while they were hot from the oven. Spicy.

If you don’t have the book Baking with Dorie: Sweet, Salty & Simple by Dorie Greenspan, get it and join us as we bake through it every second and fourth Tuesdays. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Everyday Dorie: Peach Flognarde

September 9, 2022 at 12:09 am | Posted in breakfast things, cakes & tortes, everyday dorie, groups, muffins/quick breads, pudding/mousse, simple cakes, sweet things | 6 Comments
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peach flognarde

If you’re wondering what a flognarde, join the club. Well, I do know what one is, but only because I just made one. Flognarde is what you call the classic French country dessert clafoutis when it’s made with fruit other than cherries. Here I did a spin on Dorie’s recipe with plums and made a Peach Flognarde.

To make this, a simple crêpe-like batter is poured over sliced fruit. As the batter bakes, it soufflés around the fruit and, as it cools, it settles into something that’s more like a sliceable custard. This one baked really beautifully, truly custardy inside and not rubbery, and I love the edging. I swapped the spices in the recipe for a splash of almond extract and the cognac for a glug of Combier, both of which I thought would pair well with the peaches. Now I want to try this out with all the fruits!

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 BWD: Buttermilk Scones

August 23, 2022 at 8:06 pm | Posted in biscuits/scones, breakfast things, BWD, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 4 Comments
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buttermilk scones

A quick search tells me we made a Buttermilk Scone recipe before, back in 2014. I have no memory of those (a BWJ recipe), or really of 2014 in general, but apparently I liked them and even said I’d make them again. Well, of course I didn’t, but now I have made these BWD Buttermilk Scones instead.

With only 2 teaspoons of sugar (could that be a typo??), other TWDers said these were more like buttermilk biscuits than sweet pastries. I bumped that up to 2 tablespoons of sugar and also sprinkled the tops with turbinado before baking. They were a sticky-but-easy mix and they got a pretty decent rise in the oven, but they still registered as only very lightly sweetened. While some butter and honey or jam (or 2 or 3 more tablespoons of sugar) would probably give them what they’re missing, they certainly did make me think of a biscuit or a cobbler topping. Since buttermilk is so lean, they also don’t have the same delicate, rich texture as a cream scone. I decided to turn a couple of my scones into strawberry shortcakes with sweetened mascarpone whipped cream and macerated berries and mint. The rest headed into the freezer for Scones Pudding next month.

If you don’t have the book Baking with Dorie: Sweet, Salty & Simple by Dorie Greenspan, get it and join us as we bake through it every second and fourth Tuesdays. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll and all the other participation deets over on Tuesdays with Dorie!

Tuesdays with Dorie BWD: S’mores Ice Cream Cake

August 7, 2022 at 3:17 pm | Posted in breakfast things, BWD, groups, muffins/quick breads, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 3 Comments
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s'mores ice cream cake

I live in a house with no central air, so I’m always looking for a way to keep cool in the summer. S’mores Ice Cream Cake is possibly the best way I’ve found yet to get my core temp down. Think: peanut-graham crust, layers of ice cream, fluffernutter goo, fudge sauce and a mountain of toastie marshies. I scaled it down to fit in my six-inch springform, and also only used two layers of ice cream (coffee was my flavor choice) separated by the peanut fluff instead of the original three. It still weighted a ton…this is a substantial treat. The cake takes a bit of time to put together, as it needs freezing after every step, but it is so good! Seriously, my childhood dreams all came true in one fabulous sugar high.

If you don’t have the book Baking with Dorie: Sweet, Salty & Simple by Dorie Greenspan yet, get it and join us as we bake through it every second and fourth Tuesdays! Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll and all the other participation deets over on Tuesdays with Dorie!

Tuesdays with Dorie BWD: Crumb-Topped Ricotta Coffee Cake

July 12, 2022 at 4:45 pm | Posted in breakfast things, BWD, groups, muffins/quick breads, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 6 Comments
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crumb-topped ricotta coffee cake

This Crumb-Topped Ricotta Coffee Cake is one of my recent baking standouts. With a heap of super-crispy (thanks to a secret ingredient…shhhh, it’s cornmeal) crumbs on top and a dense but tender cake (thanks to a not-so-secret ingredient…ricotta), it doesn’t get much better. Oh wait– what about adding a layer of fruit? Well, that would make it better, but not to worry, as this cake has that, too. I used sweet dark cherries in mine, but you could use any berry. Hiding just under the layer of crumbs, the fruit turns soft and jammy. It’s good for a breakfast, snack or dessert treat. Really, this cake hits all the notes.

If you don’t have the book Baking with Dorie: Sweet, Salty & Simple by Dorie Greenspan yet, get it and join us as we bake through it every second and fourth Tuesdays! Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll and all the other participation deets over on Tuesdays with Dorie!

Everyday Dorie: Cornmeal-Buttermilk Skillet Cake

July 8, 2022 at 3:29 pm | Posted in breakfast things, cakes & tortes, everyday dorie, groups, muffins/quick breads, simple cakes, sweet things | 3 Comments
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cornmeal-buttermilk skillet cake (with strawberries)

This Cornmeal-Buttermilk Skillet Cake with Strawberries is one I actually whipped up a couple of years ago. With the pandemic in full swing, summer 2020 was all around good times. I, like most you, was cooking with whatever I could get my hands on or had already. Saturdays were my shopping days, masked up at the farmers’ market and wondering what would be left after waiting in block-long socially distanced lines, and then going to the grocery store for the other stuff and finding the shelves half empty.  But if you know how to cook, you can make some pretty good stuff in all kinds of different circumstances…you can even have cake.

This was an easy, dump-and-stir type of cake that can be baked off as a loaf or a round (I went with the cast iron skillet option). It’s made similar to cornbread, but a little sweeter. I stirred in some strawberries, but you can use whatever berries you have, or none at all. Maybe I should make it again this summer, while the blackberries are around and more readily available.

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.

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