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

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 DC: Pink Peppercorn Thumbprints

February 4, 2020 at 1:40 pm | Posted in cookies & bars, DC, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 5 Comments
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pink peppercorn thumbprints

These sweet and dainty little Pink Peppercorn Thumbprints are a perfect teatime treat. Pink peppercorns and white chocolate are two surprise twists in the dough, which comes together quickly in the food processor. The peppercorns didn’t break down as much in the food processor as they would have in a spice grinder, and I think the little unground bits and pieces were where I noticed their pop of flavor the most. You wouldn’t really know these cookies have white chocolate in the dough because that did get fully incorporated, but it gives them a richness that they wouldn’t have otherwise. Dorie uses strawberry jam in her recipe to fill the thumbprints, but I had some plum in the fridge and used that instead. I think most any jam would do nicely here. In keeping with the pretty in pink theme, I dusted them with pink powdered sugar (sugar sieved along with a crushed freeze dried raspberry).

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

Everyday Dorie: Pasta with Cabbage, Winter Squash and Walnuts

January 24, 2020 at 9:49 am | Posted in cook the book fridays, everyday dorie, groups, pasta, savory things, veggies | 5 Comments
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pasta with cabbage, winter squash and walnuts

The first bowl of pasta we made this month from Everyday Dorie was a bright, fresh, herbaceous thing. Our second– this Pasta with Cabbage, Winter Squash and Walnuts– is the cozy kind that begs for a glass of red wine by the fire. It’s vegetarian (although I couldn’t help but think some crispy bacon sprinkles would be a pretty good addition), and not heavy, but the flavors and ingredients definitely have the cold weather vibe. I used delicata squash and swapped out the green cabbage for a small bunch of lacinato kale.

Like the first pasta, this one is glazed rather than sauced. Here, the glaze is a sweet and sour agrodolce that’s simply made with honey and cider vinegar in the pan the veggies are cooked in. Dried cranberries give the dish another sweet-tart dimension and toasted walnuts at the finish give it some crunch. I liked this very much, and appreciate that the strong veggie to pasta ratio…just enough spaghetti to twirl around your fork, but the focus is really on the squash and cabbage.

For the recipe, see Everyday Dorie by Dorie Greenspan (it’s also here), and head over to Cook the Book Fridays to see how the group liked this one.


Tuesdays with Dorie DC: Meringue Snowballs

January 21, 2020 at 1:00 am | Posted in cookies & bars, DC, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 3 Comments
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meringue snowballs

Meringues aren’t something I make on the regular and they don’t really call to me in a bakery display either. It’s not that I don’t like them— I do. Their sweet crispness basically evaporates on the tongue, and that lightness is what I like about them but it’s also what keeps them from being a truly satisfying sweet. These Meringue Snowballs look so cute in the book, though, that I was game to give them a go. Dorie lists several fun ways to color and flavor them beyond the basic white sugar puff….I saw the words “mint chip” and there was pretty much no other option for me (although I kept them au naturel in color).

I whipped up a third of the recipe with a hand mixer, scooped them with a cookie scoop and gave them a few swirlies with an offset. After the necessary baking time, I let them hang out in a turned off oven for several hours while I did the day’s errands. When I finally bit into one, it did have that crisp, shattery exterior, but the center was a delicious pocket of chocolate chipped chewiness. I really enjoyed these, I must say, and a scoop of chocolate ice cream turned them into a “proper” dessert quite easily.

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!

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!

Everyday Dorie: Pasta with Shrimp, Squash, Lemon and Lots of Herbs

January 10, 2020 at 8:25 pm | Posted in everyday dorie, groups, pasta, savory things | 7 Comments
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pasta with shrimp, squash, lemon and lots of herbs

Some nights after work I come home and do a throw-together pasta situation for dinner. Not a long-simmered Sunday sauce, but quickly cooked odds and ends from the fridge that will all taste good together mixed up with with some noodles. This Pasta with Shrimp, Squash, Lemon and Lots of Herbs is along those lines. I had to go out and get a zucchini to make it, but I had all the other stuff on hand…some shrimp in the freezer, lemon, herbs and butter in the fridge and cherry tomatoes on the counter. I actually had some homemade pappardelle in the freezer that I was looking to use up, but if I hadn’t, I would have just grabbed a box of dried pasta from the cupboard.

I’m always scheming to save steps and (especially) save cleaning a dish or two. Rather than cooking off the shrimp and zucchini separately as the recipe calls for, I started with the squash and then added the shrimp in with it near the end of cooking, just before finishing the “sauce” (really more of a buttery glaze) with the rest of the ingredients and marrying it with the cooked pasta. This was delicious–fresh and not heavy. It will be great in the summer when the squash, tomatoes and herbs are at their peak but it was a nice, bright winter surprise, too.

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: Puffed Grain and Miso Cookies

January 7, 2020 at 8:26 am | Posted in cookies & bars, DC, groups, savory things, snacks, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 3 Comments
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puffed grain and miso cookies

I buy rice cakes on the regular and usually use them as a vehicle for hummus, nut butter or smashed avo, but it had never really occurred to me that I could make my own version, with add-ins so tasty I could enjoy them just on their own. To be fair, these are Puffed Grain and Miso Cookies, not merely rice cakes, and they have a lot going on, even though they come together in a snap once you have all the ingredients. I was sort of hemming and hawing about having to buy both a bag of puffed rice and a bag of puffed barley, as the recipe calls for…then I spotted a box of Kashi 7 Whole Grain Puffs, decided seven grains would be even better than two, and went with that instead. I stirred in sesame seeds, cashews (instead of peanuts) and a mix of dries berries and raisins, along with the miso, brown rice syrup and sesame and olive oils. They bake in muffin cups into light, crispy-chewy, sweet-salty little rounds. No bland or stale rice cakes here!

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

TWD DC Rewind: Cocoa-Almond Uglies

December 31, 2019 at 3:21 pm | Posted in cookies & bars, DC, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 1 Comment
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cocoa-almond uglies

Cocoa-Almond Uglies– such an unfortunate name for something so tasty! I’d say don’t judge a book by it’s cover but I really don’t think these chocolate-almond meringue blobs are that bad looking. Knobbly with chopped nuts and chocolate, they do kind of do what they want to in the oven. But they’re unique, not ugly, and they’re very, very good. They also happen to be gluten- and dairy-free. The cookies stay chewy inside but have a crispy crust and they have great chocolate flavor. They’re like the cookie version of a Ferrero Rocher. Need I say more? I’ll have one with a glass of bubbles tonight. Happy New Year!!

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

Everyday Dorie: Sweet and Smoky Roasted Carrots

December 27, 2019 at 9:12 am | Posted in cook the book fridays, everyday dorie, groups, savory things, veggies | 4 Comments
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sweet and smoky roasted carrots

I’m always looking for easy and tasty side dishes to go along with something simple like roasted chicken thighs. Turn the oven on and I’m basically done with dinner. Haha. These Sweet and Smoky Roasted Carrots fit that bill nicely. Take carrots, toss them in a smoky-spicy cider vin dressing with paprika, cumin, cayenne and a drizzle of honey. Roast ’em up and pile them on a plate with a swoop of Greek yogurt and any extra dressing. Veggies and sauce all set!

These carrots would make a great side dish, but this batch I had for lunch. My greenmarket had some small rainbow carrots and I thought they’d be cute and colorful here. I sprinkled them with some smoked almonds (which I’m kind of addicted to) for a bit of extra toasty oomph. Something I really like about this recipe is that you can take the technique and play around with the dressing ingredients/flavorings to suit your tastes or to suit your particular meal.

For the recipe, see Everyday Dorie by Dorie Greenspan (it’s also here), and head over to Cook the Book Fridays to see how the group liked this one.


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!

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