Tags: baking, cake, chocolate
Hello my loves. How about a little chocolate for Valentine’s Day? Maybe with some peanuts thrown in, too? If that sounds good to you, then this Sunday in Paris Chocolate Cake will be right up your alley. This recipe is in the “Fancy Cakes” section of the book, but it isn’t an intimidating one. The batter is pretty straightforward, with some peanut butter and chopped nuts in the mix. And the decoration is simple, too…ganache with a sprinkling of extra nuts and chocolate. I debated making mini cakes or a larger loaf, as the recipe will work either way. I decided to go for dainty little ones and used a silicon financier mold for baking, but a mini muffin tim would be a fine substitute. Watch the baking time if you do small cakes…they don’t take long in the oven.
This sort of reminds me of a cakey brownie. While I could easily eat one of these on it’s own, a scoop of vanilla ice cream makes it even better. You can fiddle with the topping, too. Last night, I took two plain (no ganache topping) cakes, accompanied by the obligatory scoops of ice cream, and drizzled them with warm salted caramel sauce and then scattered peanuts over top. Super good!
Tags: baking, cake
I nominated Spiced Honey Cake a couple of times, and then when it was chosen, I skipped it! Nice, right? I will admit to feeling guilty about that, but now Rewind Week is here to redeem me. So, here it is…
This might not be what you have in mind when you hear the word “cake.” It’s a take on pain d’epices, and is more like a quick bread than a moist, spongey cake. Dorie flavors it with honey (obvi) and also an orange/spice infusion. She uses lavender, Sichuan peppercorns and fresh ginger as her spices, but when I rooted through the cupboard (a chore, let me assure you), I saw don’t have the lavender or the peppercorns. I do have a really nice chai mix with lots of coarse bits of black pepper, ginger, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and fennel. It doesn’t contain any actually tea leaves, just the spices, so I thought it sounded like a perfect choice to go with the orange and honey flavors, as well as the almonds and dried cherries. Because the cake is purposefully on the dry side, it toasts up really nicely (I will thank my fellow TWDers who made the recipe on-schedule for pointing this out to me!). In fact, it’s better as cake toast than as non-toast. And it’s perfect with tea or coffee, so I’m glad to have gotten around to making it!
I had some thoughts about passing on this Honey-Yogurt Mousse. I mean, honey-sweetened Greek yogurt and whipped cream sounds delicious, but to make it a mousse, it’s stabilized with a bit of gelatin, which I don’t really care for. Then I decided, who needs the gelatin? I strained my yogurt, whipped my cream, added my honey, and had the same flavors but a softer texture. I make a jar of candied cherries every summer to put in all the cocktails I never wind up shaking or stirring at home. They tend to wind up in ice cream sundaes instead of in Manhattans…here I spooned a few into the bottom of my glass before putting the mousse on top. Light and nice…with or without the gelatin, this would be good with all kinds of fruit or (without the gelatin) even spooned over a slice of poundcake.
Tags: baking, cake
I don’t normally think of granola as a baking ingredient…usually it’s just my breakfast. Dorie likes to incorporate it into all kinds of stuff, though…there were the Granola Grabbers from years ago…now there’s Granola Cake. This actually reminds me of a chewy blondie more than cake– not just because of the add-ins, which include chocolate chunks and coconut in addition to the granola– but also because of the consistency of the batter, which is a lot like stiff cookie dough. Maybe it also reminds me of a blondie because I made just a quarter of the recipe in a loaf pan, so it’s probably thinner than it otherwise would have been. I’m down though. I like it. It’s a great snack cake. The granola contributes to the chew and it’s an interesting use of my normal breakfast cereal.
Tags: candy, chocolate, holiday
My mom used to make her own Chocolate Truffles every year and bring them with us to Christmas dinner at Grandma’s house. They were delicious…soft, creamy and rich…and boozy with Cognac, too. Not so child-friendly, but it was a once-a-year treat, so we’ll cut her some slack. Also, it was the ’80s, so no one cared. Why my mother has stopped making these, I am not sure, but I wanted to recreate them myself with this recipe. I added in a glug of Cognac to the ganache and rolled the truffles in cocoa powder, just like she did.
At the restaurant where I work, I’m the chocolatier (it always embarrasses me to say that, btw). I make primarily molded chocolates and piped decorations but I’ve learned to work with chocolatey stuff pretty quickly. I even manage to keep my jacket and apron mostly clean these days (the bowl that I work from is often another story). If you have “hot hands” you may find the truffle rolling process frustrating and super messy. Using a little cookie scoop can help to preshape them before rolling them in your hands. Food-safe gloves help with the mess, too.
Tags: baking, tarts
This looks like a pumpkin pie, and given this time of year that would be a logical assumption, but it is in fact a Caramel Tart. I was expecting something super sweet, chewy and gooey but was surprised. It really isn’t overly sweet, has more the consistency of a ganache tart and really is fabulous cold, as Dorie recommends. I made just two individual tartelettes, using a quarter of a recipe, but if I have a dinner party, I won’t hesitate to make a big one. I put a quenelle of ganache top (more for photo decoration than anything else) and when we ate them, a bit of whipped cream, too…delicious.
Tags: baking, crumble, fruit
Happy US Election Day…maybe…depending on how you see it. For voting day, I’ve made patriotic ramekins of Apple Speculoos Crumble. This uses speculoos spice cookies to top apples and (optional) raisins. I decided to kill two birds with one stone and made my own speculoos using the recipe in the book. I have a log of raw dough in the freezer to bake later and post about whenever its time rolls around.
I wasn’t crazy about this one, I have to admit. For me, was like just having loose cookie chunks on top of baked fruit chunks. Nothing wrong with that, I suppose, and frankly store bought Biscoff cookies may have worked better consistency-wise, but I prefer a more traditional crisp or crumble topping to what I made here. And I like when the fruit has a bit of thickener in it and gets a little saucier than mine did here, so it’s held together better. Maybe I can fiddle with it a little bit another time.
Tags: baking, fruit, tarts
I do like a good baked pear dessert. Apples and pumpkins will be around for a long while yet, but pears are more delicate and have a quicker season. Use ’em while you can! This Pear Tart with Crunchy Almond Topping has Dorie’s Sweet Tart Dough holding a mound of lightly caramelized pears and a topping of sweet and crispy glazed sliced almonds. Pear-plus-almond is a classic combo, and for good reason– it’s delicious! I did one thing to my tart that wasn’t in the recipe. I had a little bit of almond frangipane in the freezer that I’d been looking for a home for. After blind baking the tart shell, I spread it on in a thin later before piling on the pears and the almond topping. Not a bad call, if I do say so myself.
This tart is really best the day it’s made. The topping and the tart shell both go a little soggy after sitting overnight…although that sure didn’t stop us from finishing it!
Tags: baking, cake, fruit
This Custardy Apple Square recipe is one I’ve actually made a few times now…maybe three or four. It was the first recipe I tried out when I got Baking Chez Moi and it’s so simple and tasty that it went right on the “make again” list. Apple slices tossed in a quick batter that’s whisked by hand get layered in a baking dish. It goes into the oven kind of a hodgepodge but comes out a stack of beautifully soft apples with a bit of vanilla (and rum, in my case) custard holding them together. A mandolin makes quick work out of neat, thin apple slices (and of course adds a thrilling element of danger to baking prep–watch your fingers!). This also reminds me quite a bit of something called Bolzano Apple Cake that I posted about many years ago. It’s great with whipped cream, but just fine on it’s own.
P.S.: Thanks so much for all the kind comments on my last Baking With Julia post! xoxo