TWD DC Rewind: Pistachio-Berry Slims

July 31, 2018 at 12:01 am | Posted in cookies & bars, DC, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 2 Comments
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pistachio-berry slims

I’ve always thought of pistachios as “fancy” nuts. Hazelnuts and macadamias are also fancy nuts. Almonds and walnuts are regular nuts. Cashews are somewhere in between. I’m working on drawing up my nut hierarchy diagram for you…it’s actually very complex. Because for whatever reason I consider them fancy, I usually use pistachios sparingly. For Pistachio-Berry Slims, though, I had to go all out. (I admit that I briefly considered cutting the pistachios with half almonds, but then decided not to be so stingy.) These are chewy nut macaroons– no wheat flour, no dairy– just ground pistachios, sugar and egg whites, formed and baked into a log. They are further fancified with a trench of nice raspberry jam and fresh berries running through the middle. Sliced into dainty slims, these are lovely little cookies, to be eaten with pinkies up. As Dorie says in the recipe intro, no one needs to know they take 10 minutes to prepare.

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

Tuesdays with Dorie DC: Cast-Iron Pan Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

July 17, 2018 at 12:01 am | Posted in cookies & bars, DC, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 6 Comments
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cast-iron-pan chocolate chip cookie bars

The Interwebs tell me that skillet cookies are a big thing. Certainly they are big cookies, which probably explains why I’ve never made one before. Cooking and baking for just two people, I usually go for treats smaller in size and quantity. Luckily, I don’t think I’ll have a problem finding any takers for extra Cast-Iron Pan Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars.

These are loaded with chopped chocolate (I used a milk and dark combo), dried fruit (I used cherries instead of apricots) and a ton of shedded coconut (I used half sweetened and half unsweetened). All that good stuff makes a sturdy, chewy, dense bar cookie…kind of like a trail bar, actually. Baking them in a skillet gives a nice caramelized bottom and edge bits. I do have a smaller-sized skillet that I use for things like frying eggs and I made a half-recipe of the bars in that. Those crispy edge bits are my favorite part, and I really like these bars with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

cast-iron-pan chocolate chip cookie bars

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: Classic Fruit Tart

July 10, 2018 at 12:01 am | Posted in BCM, groups, pies & tarts, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 11 Comments
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classic fruit tart

This Classic Fruit Tart is the type you’ll encounter in just about every French bakery case. A sweet shell, filled with pastry cream and topped with lots of berries, they are always eye-catching and so tempting. But they are really so easy to make at home, and very often, much tastier. Made at home, you can control when you assemble it, so the shell stays crisp and the berries fresh and vibrant. You can even play around with the flavors. I took the regular vanilla pastry cream and added a bit of almond extract to it, too, because I like that flavor with berries. I made mini tarts just so I can fill them as we want them, since there are only two of us. I couldn’t fit that many different fruits on top of my mini tartlets…space was a little restricted. I went with teensy tristar strawberries and some pink champagne currents. Then I filled in the gaps with some white chocolate Valrhona crunchy pearls. Maybe tomorrow’s pair will have raspberries in place of the strawberries, or maybe even rhubarb compote. Options, options.

classic fruit tart

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: Black-and-White Baked Alaska

June 26, 2018 at 12:01 am | Posted in BCM, cakes & tortes, groups, ice creams & frozen, layer cakes, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 7 Comments
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black-and-awhite baked alaska

What do I have to say about Baked Alaska? Cake & ice cream & meringue…really, do I need to say more? I think not, but I will say just enough to tell you that the cake here is a flourless chocolate souffléd brownie-type thing, and while the ice cream could have been any kind, I chose coffee. Those two flavors are a match that can only be made better with swirls of sticky meringue. I made individual-sized Alaskas, rather than a large one, so I was a little concerned about browning the meringue in the oven. I thought they might be too delicate for that, so I used my blowtorch instead…which is more fun anyway…maybe next time I’ll try setting it on fire.

black-and-awhite baked alaska

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 DC: Cocoa-Tahini Cookies with Sesame Crunch

June 19, 2018 at 8:45 pm | Posted in cookies & bars, DC, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 6 Comments
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cocoa-tahini cookies with sesame crunch

I know I said in my last DC post that we were super on-trend with the Swedish fika snacks, but if there’s one ingredient that’s so hot right now, I think it’s tahini, and it’s not just for hummus anymore. Boy, the month of June has seen the TWD coolness factor go way up– haha! Bring on the tahini in baked goods, I say…these Cocoa-Tahini Cookies with Sesame Crunch are delicious. The tahini gives the cookies a richness and a slight savoriness. The sesame flavor is reinforced with bits of sesame brittle mixed into the batter (I also sprinkled some black and white sesame seeds on top of the cookies before baking), while the cocoa flavor is backed up with a ton of chopped dark chocolate. Yum.

A couple of the folks who made these cookies for the previous posting noted that the homemade sesame brittle gave them some issues and suggested using store-bought sesame snap candy instead. In fact, these cookies were partially inspired by the sesame candies Dorie’s grandma used to buy, so even though I can’t say that I’d ever had them myself until now, I didn’t feel too bad about taking that cheat. I easily found some Greek sesame candy at Sahadi’s, one of my favorite shops in Brooklyn, which I rough chopped so I’d get a few intact bits in each cookie.

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 if you haven’t already.  (If you are looking for other desserty ideas for your jar of tahini, the tahini and halva brownies from Sweet are also highly recommended by yours truly.)

Tuesdays with Dorie BCM: Cowgirl Cornmeal-Pecan Financiers

June 12, 2018 at 10:48 pm | Posted in BCM, cakes & tortes, groups, simple cakes, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 8 Comments
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cowgirl cornmeal-pecan financiers

I like the little nutty, buttery French cakes called financiers. These Cowgirl Cornmeal-Pecan Financiers are a perfect Franco-American take on the classic. An easy melt-and-mix batter flavored with cornmeal, ground toasted pecans and plenty of browned butter bakes into a decadent treat. I have a silicone mold that’s in the traditional financier bar shape and used it here instead of my mini muffin tin. To avoid eating too many of these tasty butter bars, I decided to cut just one into bite-sized pieces and kind of extend it into a larger dessert with some berries, dulce de leche whipped cream and candied pecans. I plated it up pretty for a picture before giving it to my husband. Then I took the same components and just tossed them together in a little bowl for myself. Equally delicious, although maybe less photogenic.

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 DC: Swedish Visiting Cake Bars

June 5, 2018 at 12:01 am | Posted in cakes & tortes, cookies & bars, DC, groups, simple cakes, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 8 Comments
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swedish visiting cake bars

If you’re as on-trend as I am (hahaha), you’ll have heard of fika, which is not at all a trend in Sweden, but a ritual. It’s a proper sit-down, slow-down coffee break, complete with treats. Of course I am hopeful that something this delightful will turn from Scandi trend to full-on tradition on this side of the Atlantic, too, and I’m willing to do my part to enable it. If I’m ever visiting someone, or having someone visit me, for fika, I’m making Swedish Visiting Cake Bars for treat-time. These bars contain no leavening agent and are thin and dense, but they’re not heavy. They have that almond paste cake taste and feel but are actually flavored with extract. They aren’t too sweet and are an ideal coffee or tea companion.

I made Dorie’s original cake version of these bars something like eight years ago (whelp!). I think the main difference between the two, besides the shape, is that the cake just had a scattering of sliced almonds on top, while the bars have an upgraded topping of crackly sugar-glazed almonds. Making that topping gave me a déjà vu feeling, too…then I looked back and realized I’d used it before on a pear tart. I like this kind of mix-and-match, taking good parts from one thing to improve another.

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 if you haven’t already!

TWD BCM Rewind: Rose-Scented (Loaf) Cake

May 29, 2018 at 7:48 am | Posted in BCM, breakfast things, cakes & tortes, groups, simple cakes, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 3 Comments
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rose-scented cake

A couple of summers ago the group made the Rose Fraisier cake from BCM. I’m not exactly sure why I sat that recipe out, but it most likely had something to do with not wanting to make pastry cream. Flash forward two years and I still don’t feel like making pastry cream (some things don’t change), so I decided for this rewind to make Dorie’s Bonne Idée take on the recipe. Instead of being a multi-component layer cake, it’s a simple Rose-Sented Loaf Cake. When I say simple, I mean simple. It’s a yogurt and oil-based cake you can stir up in about five minutes with just a bowl and a whisk. I’m pretty sure Dorie uses the base recipe for several other flavor variations because, not only is it a very good cake, making it felt very familiar to me.

I made a half-recipe of the cake batter and rather than baking it in a loaf pan, I put it into my baked donut pan. That pan had gotten zero use because I’ve decided that I like my donuts fried (and also purchased at a donut shop so I don’t have to do the frying). But a baked donut pan is really just an individual cakelette pan, and one that gives a nice little divot in the middle for piling on yogurt whipped cream and roasted strawberries to boot. Even though I was too lazy for pastry cream, I still wanted the flavors of the Rose Fraisier, and the rose-strawberry-cream combination is a lovely and elegant one.

rose-scented cake

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

Tuesdays with Dorie BCM: Springtime Cookies and Curd with Double-Butter Double-Baked Petit Beurre Cookies

May 22, 2018 at 12:01 am | Posted in BCM, cookies & bars, groups, other sweet, puddings, custards, mousses, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 7 Comments
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springtime cookies and curd with double-butter double-baked petit beurre cookies

Here are both of this month’s BCM recipes in one nifty post. I’d say I love the efficiency, but actually, I had to get together a lot of bits and pieces before I could stick a spoon in this Springtime Cookies and Curd dessert and call it done. This is a layered treat…cookies, curd, rhubarb and strawberries…oh my! I began by making Double-Butter Double-Baked Petit Beurre Cookies, which I can assure you are double-good. They’re made in an unusual way, starting with buttery baked streusel-like crumbles, to which even more butter is added to hold them together into a rough dough. I knew this would be tricky to work with, so I skipped the step of rolling out the dough and then cutting and transferring delicate rounds. Instead, I pressed the dough into rings, chilled everything well and baked the cookies right in those rings.

Once the cookies were baked and cooled, I got everything else together. Sometimes the state of my fridge drives me nuts, while other times I am thankful for all the little jars of this and that I have kicking around. Taking shortcuts where you can is nothing to be ashamed of. I had passion fruit curd in the fridge already, as well as stewed rhubarb, so I used those. Rather than make a strawberry compote I just diced up some fresh berries.  I put all these together in a coupe, beginning and ending with cookie bits, and it made a beautiful and delicious springtime dessert. And the cookies are fabulous on their own…very buttery, a tiny bit salty and with a texture that can’t be beat.

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 DC: Strawberry Shortcake Cookies

May 15, 2018 at 9:11 pm | Posted in cakes & tortes, cookies & bars, DC, groups, simple cakes, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 5 Comments
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strawberry shortcake cookies

Let’s get one thing straight about these Strawberry Shortcake Cookies– they are cakes. If we are calling them cookies, it’s only because they are little two-bite babies. This is about the easiest sponge cake in the world to make, though, and the batter bakes up into nice little rounds in a muffin tin. Each round is a self-contained shortcake, with a small blob of strawberry compote (I used some roasted strawberries I made for something else a while back, although you could also just use jam) topped with some sweetened whipped cream and sliced berries. I made the sour cream whipped cream because I like the tang alongside the sweetness of everything else. These weren’t hard to make, but they are tasty and pretty. You can make the little sponges ahead of time (I have some in the freezer now) and top them as you need them. As the summer moves along, other berries will work just as beautifully.

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 if you haven’t already!

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