Tuesdays with Dorie BCM: Fruit and Nut Croquants

May 12, 2020 at 12:01 am | Posted in BCM, cookies & bars, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 5 Comments
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fruit and nut croquants

These Fruit and Nut Croquants look a lot biscotti…they are full of good tidbits and formed into logs that are baked and sliced just like biscotti. But they are only once-baked, so while croquant means “crunchy,” they aren’t that crunchy. Mine got softer as the days went days went by, and I actually liked that, especially since they still stayed sturdy enough to dip into coffee.

I used whole skin-on almonds, sliced dried figs and raisins and I swapped some of the AP flour for einkorn. They also have vanilla and almond extracts, orange zest, nutmeg and cloves. They had lots of flavor and were just sweet enough.

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

Tuesdays with Dorie BCM: Martine’s Lemon and Apple Tart

April 28, 2020 at 12:01 am | Posted in BCM, groups, pies & tarts, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 6 Comments
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martine's lemon and apple tart

Someone last round described Martine’s Lemon and Apple Tart as being like a lemon bar that happens to have a bit of grated apple in. I can’t find who said it, but she was spot-on, I’m terms of both preparation and taste. It’s a little strange-looking, I will admit, but the filling is sweet-tart and delicious.

I decided to make just two individual tarts, rather than a big one, so I had to take the ingredient list and kind of wing it a bit with the amounts I’d need to fill them. I felt like this fit with the spirit of the recipe though, since Dorie’s friend Martine, who came up with it, sounds like she can cook on the fly. In the time it took my lemon-apple filling to set, my baby sweet tart dough shells did get a little browned, but I guess that’s just the “French bake” Dorie describes elsewhere in the book.

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

Tuesdays with Dorie BCM: Green Tea Sablés

April 14, 2020 at 8:39 am | Posted in BCM, cookies & bars, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 9 Comments
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green tea sablés

Now being home 24/7, elevenses seems to have become a thing I do to break up the day. Green Tea Sablés are a perfect side treat for my new-found tradition. We’ve made many varieties of these buttery, sandy cookies by now, and these ones are flavored, not with matcha, but with more delicate green tea leaves. We have (had? *sniff*) beautiful loose leaf tea at work, including one labeled “Japanese Pan-Fried Green Tea,” which I believe is kamairicha. I brought home a couple of tablespoons just before we closed in anticipation of these cookies.

The dough for these sablés is easily made by hand…like, the butter is actually rubbed in with your fingers, which are the cleanest they have even been, I’m sure. Then it is rolled into logs, chilled, and sliced. Okay, is it just me, or are slice-and-bake cookies infuriating? I feel like they are supposed to be the easiest way to cute round cookies, but, in fact, they always totally crumble when I slice them and then I have to press them back into some sloppy, patched together blobs. Or I cut them slanted. Or some cookies are too thick and others are too thin. Rather than let slice-and-bake cookies make me feel totally lame, I have picked up a few tricks from all of our DC baking and did these sablés in a muffin tin to get a nice coin shape. I only made a quarter-recipe of this dough (my lockdown freezer is stacked up with the half-finished coffee cakes and hot cross buns I am apparently hoarding for the apocalypse), so I took out my mini muffin pan and made these petits sablés.

I had enough of that green tea left over to not only make a small pot to go along with the cookies for elevenses, but also to make a bit of green tea sugar for garnish. Because I was baking the sablés in a tin instead of free-form, rather than roll my log in sugar before slicing, I sprinkled the tops of each cookie with it before baking.

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

Tuesdays with Dorie BCM: Coco Rochers

March 10, 2020 at 3:35 pm | Posted in BCM, cookies & bars, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 5 Comments
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coco rochers

Coco Rochers…what are those? Turns out, they are coconut macaroons. Just four ingredients (unsweetened coconut, sugar, egg whites and vanilla) get heated up for a gently cooked batter that’s then chilled, scooped and baked. I have to confess to you that I added a pinch of salt, too, so I guess that’s really five ingredients. If you want to make it six, add a chocolate drizzle or dip…something I’ll do next time, for sure. My unsweetened coconut is the very fine and fluffy desiccated stuff. I was able to pack the mix pretty tightly into my cookie scoop, and it made for macaroons that were a lot like the Manischewitz-type ones in a can. I’m a big fan of those, by the way. I made just 1/4 batch with the one egg white I had already separated in the fridge. I’m wishing I had more, but they are easy enough to make again anytime.

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

Tuesdays with Dorie BCM: Carrément Chocolat, The Simple Loaf

February 25, 2020 at 8:38 pm | Posted in BCM, cakes & tortes, groups, simple cakes, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 9 Comments
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carrément chocolat, the simple loaf

This Carrément Chocolat cake has a fancy French name but it’s just a “simple loaf.” Actually, it’s an outstanding chocolate-chocolate chip loaf. Why did we wait so long to bake this? Why did I only make a little half-recipe cake? Life’s regrets…

The cake batter is basically whizzed up in stages in the food processor, so that is simple. There’s a bit of prep to take care of first though, and that’s to make a batch of salted chocolate to chop up for chips that get mixed into the batter. This is just as it sounds: melted dark chocolate with sea salt mixed in (you can take a shortcut and buy a couple of nice sea salted dark chocolate bars at the store instead). Dorie says to spread the chocolate out and freeze it hard before chopping. Frozen chocolate is a shardy mess to chop up, so I’d recommend setting it up in the fridge instead. I actually tempered my chocolate, which I’m used to doing at work, and let it harden at room temperature so it cut fairly easily into neat chips.

As I said, I regrettably made only a half-recipe of this cake, but it sounds as though the full batch may be a bit too much for the 8.5×4.5-inch loaf pan called for. Either using a 9×5-inch pan instead or scaling back to 3/4-recipe for an 8.5×4.5-inch tin is something to consider.

I tried to layer the cake batter and salted chocolate chips in my loaf pan to keep the chips from sinking, but they headed right to the bottom anyway. (I would recommend lining your loaf pan with parchment for this reason.) Oh well, that made for a nice little black bottom-style surprise treat. The baked loaf gets brushed with a sugar syrup to help keep it moist. I added espresso powder to my syrup to give it some flavor, but I almost went with rum. I will save that idea for next time.

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

Tuesdays with Dorie BCM: Lavender-White Chocolate Pots de Crème

February 11, 2020 at 9:27 am | Posted in BCM, groups, puddings, custards, mousses, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 8 Comments
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lavender-white chocolate pots de crème

Floral and delicate, yet rich and elegant, Lavender-White Chocolate Pots de Crème may be the answer to, “what the heck should I make for Valentine’s Day dessert?” We made another version of pots de crème not too long ago, and these little baked custards are equally luxurious.

The only lavender I usually have at home is in a potpourri sachet in my sock drawer. Thinking better of breaking it open for this recipe (eww– I would never!), I almost made the mint Bonne Ideé version. Then I remembered that the pastry chef at work candies lavender buds for a bar cocktail, so I asked her for a few spoonfuls to take home for both these and the upcoming sablés for DC. In the finished pots de crème, I found the lavender flavor to be subtle and the white chocolate added even more richness and smoothness to the creamy texture. To help disguise the fact that mine got a bit of a darker yellow layer on top, I decorated these with a bloop of whipped cream, some candied lavender bits and a few white chocolate pearls…btw, looking at the last PdC we baked makes me realize I’m a one trick pony when it comes to food styling!

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

Tuesdays with Dorie BCM: Chunky Chocolate Fruit-and-Nut Bars

January 14, 2020 at 1:59 pm | Posted in BCM, candy, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 7 Comments
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chunky chocolate fruit-and-nut bars

Dorie describes these Chunky Chocolate Fruit-and-Nut bars as both nougat’s crunchy cousin (a very timely comparison, since we made her Honey-Nut Nougat just last month) and as a homemade version of a Chunky candy bar. The raisin-hating child version of me would not have touched a Chunky with a ten foot pole, but the adult version of me has more evolved tastes and would now gladly consume this mass-produced packaged product. Haha.

This is an easy recipe– it really is. You just need some toasted nuts, some chopped dried fruit and some melted chocolate to make it. It’s totally customizable to your tastes and to the contents of your cabinet. It’s not even really a recipe, it’s just stuff mixed together. And yet, I managed to screw a few things up and fumble my way through it. Ironic, since my day job is actually making chocolate candy.

For my nuts I used cashews, which I burned when I toasted them, so I toasted more. For my dried fruit, I used a pre-mixed blend of golden raisins, cranberries, cherries and blueberries that I buy at TJs. I also put in some crystalized ginger and some candied orange peel. For my chocolate, I used a bittersweet 72%. I decided I didn’t need to eat a full 8×8 pan of this, so I scaled everything back by a third to fit in a small loaf pan I have. Or I tried to, at least…I must have divided the chocolate incorrectly in my head, because I only had enough to coat my add-ins, not to stick them together. I just eyeballed a little more to seal my fruit and nut glob together and pressed it into the pan. Even if it looks a little rough and I needed a nap afterwards, it was all good and tasty in the end (I secretly ate up all the little bits with a spoon and they were fab!), and that’s the moral of today’s story.

Dorie recommends lining your pan with cocoa-dusted parchment paper and then dusting more cocoa on top of the finished chocolate mix and laying another piece of parchment on top as you press it in to the pan. I did line my pan with parchment, and I lined it so it acted as a sling, but I skipped all the cocoa powder and also the top parchment sheet. I’m guessing the cocoa is to help the mass release from the pan, but when chocolate gets cold it contracts, and since this is stored in the fridge, I didn’t see the need for it.

For the recipe, see Baking Chez Moi by Dorie Greenspan (it’s also here, along with a great video). Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie BCM: Honey-Nut Nougat

December 24, 2019 at 8:42 am | Posted in BCM, candy, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 8 Comments
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honey-nut nougat

Happy holidays! Is Christmas Eve too late to show you a fabulous edible, homemade gift idea? I admit that I am one of those last minute types, but I really think it isn’t too late, as this Honey-Nut Nougat can be ready to cut up in a just couple of hours (provided you have a candy thermometer and an abundance of nuts in your pantry). And anyway, we still have plenty of party-time ahead of us. This isn’t difficult to make, but the instructions are lengthy, and since you’ll be dealing with a hot sugar syrup, it’s advisable to read them all the way first. Trust me, I would almost never say that, as I would almost never do that, but here it’s important, because timing is everything in candy-making.

You can find nougat in every Italian deli/specialty shop year-round, but the nice thing about making it yourself, aside from the freshness and the fun, is getting to choose exactly what goes into it. Dorie’s recipe uses heaps of roasted nuts, so I went for a combo of hazelnuts, almonds and pistachios, along with tart dried cherries. Nougat is traditionally formed between sheets of edible rice/wafer paper to help with the stickiness, but you can use cornstarch and powdered sugar instead. I actually had the rice paper, which I bought the last time I was in Australia (now that I write that down, it seems like a weird souvenier)…you can also get it online and in decorating supply stores.

This is delicious–chewy and full of nuts and honey flavor–and it lasts for a few weeks, so if you don’t take it to a holiday party, you can just cut off little hunks as you want them. Which will probably be often.

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

Tuesdays with Dorie BCM: Touch-of-Crunch Chocolate Cake

December 10, 2019 at 12:01 am | Posted in BCM, cakes & tortes, groups, simple cakes, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 5 Comments
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touch-of-crunch chocolate cake

I totally didn’t realized what this Touch-of-Crunch Chocolate Cake was all about until I actually went to make it. I just thought, “gonna make a chocolate cake today,” and assumed it would be like most others. Then I had to switch out my cake pan for a pie plate, get a double boiler going and locate some black sesame seeds in the freezer (they’re the hidden crunch in the batter). But what a nice surprise this turned out to be. It baked up with a pretty, crackly, brownie-like crust and a rich mousse-like middle. Super chocolatey, there’s not much in the way of dry ingredient binder here…just a spoonful of flour or cornstarch. I used cornstarch to keep it GF. Dorie says that this cake shines straight from the fridge, and it does, but I actually preferred it at room temperature, when it’s smooth like a truffle, except for that touch-of-crunch from the surprise sesame seeds of course!

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

Tuesdays with Dorie BCM: Caramelized-Coffee Bean Pots de Crème

November 26, 2019 at 12:01 am | Posted in BCM, groups, puddings, custards, mousses, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 7 Comments
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caramelized-coffee bean pots de crème

Pots de crème are luxurious baked custards (pots of cream! and egg yolks!), and these Caramelized-Coffee Bean Pots de Crème are flavored with cracked coffee beans further roasted and toasted in caramelized sugar. Pots de crème are rich, and a small-ish serving will do. I baked these babies off in some cute little French yogurt pots that I had to go all the way to Europe to collect! Turns out it was worthwhile trip. I served my cream pots with a little whipped cream and some chocolate covered espresso beans.

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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