Tuesdays with Dorie BCM: Alsatian Christmas Bread

December 11, 2018 at 12:01 am | Posted in BCM, cakes & tortes, groups, other sweet, simple cakes, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 7 Comments
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alsatian christmas bread

Alstatian Christmas Bread (aka baerewecke) is a bit of a project, but it also couldn’t be easier. It’s not a bread that needs flour or yeast, just dried fruit and nuts. Instead of rising time, it needs chopping and mascaerating time…also some shopping time to gather ingredients. This uses all sorts of yummy dried fruit- figs, apples, pears, raisins, apricots and prunes- plus walnuts and almond flour. The fruit is cut and soaked in juice until it’s very soft and makes a sticky paste when mixed with the nuts. Form the paste into logs, bake them until they hold together, and you’re done! This is one of those things that, like fruitcake, lasts a long time and probably even gets better with age. I made mine a few days before I first cut into it, and I still have the second log sitting in my chilly kitchen. I’m thinking of mailing it to my mom in Seattle, because I think she’d like it.

By itself, it’s gluten free, dairy free and vegan. You can nibble on this like a snack or energy bar, but I think it’s also great with cheese. If I make a cheese plate I always like to have some sort of jam or fruit paste on the side, and this is a perfect accompaniment.

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: Christmas-Spiced Greek Honey Dainties

December 4, 2018 at 4:23 pm | Posted in cookies & bars, DC, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 8 Comments
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christmas-spiced greek honey dainties

Greek Honey Dainties are more often known as melomakarona, and I see them all the time in bakeries in NYC. It’s about time I made some of this deliciousness at home. I sadly never seem to get around to making many Christmas cookies, so I took this as an opportunity to get festive and made the Christmas-Spiced Honey Dainties version. The batter is easy to put together and flavored with so many good things, like orange juice and zest and the usual holiday spice suspects. It is a soft dough though, so I chose to refrigerate it for about half an hour before I scooped and shaped the cookies into their traditional ovals.

After baking and cooling, the cookies are drenched a few times over in a honey syrup similar to the one baklava is soaked in and sprinkled with walnuts (which I toasted while the cookies baked). The honey syrup, btw, is amazing! I veered slightly off the recipe, which called for orange peel, cinnamon stick and whole cloves, and used some mulling spice mix that I have in a little tin (it also has allspice berries and star anise pods in it) and finished it off with a splish of Grand Marnier while it cooled. You bet I saved every leftover drop….I think it will be awesome in tea or hot toddys. The cookies, too, are awesome. They must be handled carefully, but they do keep their texture, even with all that syrupy goodness poured over them. So perfect with coffee, and I’ll soon test them with vin santo…if there is probably a Greek sweet wine I should know about pairing with them, please let me know.

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: Chocolate Cream Puffs with Mascarpone Filling

November 27, 2018 at 12:01 am | Posted in BCM, general pastry, groups, other sweet, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 7 Comments
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chocolate cream puffs with mascarpone filling

Yesterday was a good day for baking, but not so much for photo taking. It was basically black outside and pouring rain at 3:00. My Chocolate Cream Puffs with Mascarpone Filling were not shown off in their best light (and let’s not even get started about my weird hand). I have to take the bad with the good, I guess. I do love making pastries with choux paste– it’s such a fun dough to make! And turning regular cream puff dough into chocolate cream puff dough is as simple as adding a little cocoa to the mix.

Dorie suggests filling these light chocolate puffs with a rose-scented mascarpone whipped cream. I saw the words “chocolate” and “mascarpone” and could only think “tiramisu” (isn’t that so predictable?) so I skipped the rose and added coffee extract to my filling instead. I made a quickie ganache glaze to dip the tops into and tacked on chocolate sprinkly bits. Delightful. As an aside, I think the tastiest and best way to stabilize whipped cream is to add in a blob of mascarpone and I actually do this often. It lasts for a few days if you want to whip extra, and if you need to frost a cake with whipped cream, this is the way to go.

I tucked half of these puffs, sans cream filling, into the freezer so I can turn them into one of my very favorite other choux desserts, ice cream profiteroles, later in the week. For the recipe, see Baking Chez Moi by Dorie Greenspan (it’s also here). Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie DC: Sweet Potato Pie Bars

November 20, 2018 at 12:01 am | Posted in cakes & tortes, cookies & bars, DC, groups, pies & tarts, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 5 Comments
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sweet potato pie bars

In my family, you cannot get away without having pumpkin pie on the Thanksgiving dinner table. Specifically Grandma W’s pumpkin pie recipe. But it is not yet Thanksgiving (and in reality I’m not going to my parent’s house this year, and therefore I can do whatever I want without my father losing his sh_t), so I’m going to play around a bit. These Sweet Potato Pie Bars are just a little bit of a deviation from my family’s Thanksgiving norm. They are flavored pretty similarly to pumpkin pie, and I added a pinch of cloves to the recipe’s cinnamon and nutmeg, making them even more alike. I used a whole roasted sweet potato and puréed it (like lovielou did) because I think it’s more tasty than the canned stuff, and it made a nice thick filling because it’s also less watery.

The sweet potato filling gets baked over a base of sweet tart dough. You can serve these as is, or add toasty marshmallows on top. Truth be told, I’ve never been crazy about marshmallows, so I made a mascarpone-whipped cream concoction, spiked with rum because I know my father would approve of that, to swirl on top. I liked these cold from the fridge. Although Dorie says they’re best the day they’re made, I thought they held up really well for the three days it took us to eat them.

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. Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesdays with Dorie BCM: Gâteau Basque Fantasie

November 13, 2018 at 10:24 pm | Posted in BCM, groups, pies & tarts, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 5 Comments
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gâteau basque fantasie

I am a fan of the gâteau Basque. In fact, I’ve made a couple of rather traditional versions here before, both filled with pastry cream and jammy fruit. This Gâteau Basque Fantasie is Dorie’s fall fantasy version. It has that great cookie-like double crust (seriously, so good!), filled with a cooked down mix of apples, grapes, lots of orange and dried fruit and nuts. It reminds me of mince pie, and I like it a lot. You can act out your own fantasies and switch things up, too. I imagine pears would be great in place of the apples, and you can change the spicing to be whatever you want it to be.

gâteau basque fantasie

The pastry dough seems a little fussy to work with. It’s soft and cracks easily. But really, it’s super forgiving because all that seems to disappear in the oven. Any imperfections come out looking perfectly beautiful, even if you feel you’ve done a rather kooky patch job getting it into the pan. Don’t skip the egg wash and the pretty crosshatch pattern. Of course these are just my fantasy additions, but may I also suggest a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a little glass of vin santo?

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: Cranberry Five-Spice Cookies

November 6, 2018 at 12:01 am | Posted in cookies & bars, DC, groups, savory things, snacks, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 7 Comments
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cranberry five-spice cookies

When these Cranberry Five-Spice Cookies were being floated around in the month’s nominations, I didn’t realize that they are in the “cocktail cookies” section of the book. This is the section where the cookies lean more savory than sweet…nibbles to go with a glass of wine or an aperitif.  These ones have the texture of sugar cookies, but they are only very lightly sweetened, and are flavored with tart fresh cranberries, salty peanuts and Chinese five-spice powder, an exotic mixture of ground cloves, cinnamon, fennel seeds, star anise and Szechuan pepper.

A lot of times, I like to cut roll-out cookies like these into squares rather than rounds so I don’t have any waste. I sprinkled these with a little mix of extra sugar, salt and five-spice before baking. Even though they weren’t quite what I had in mind when I cracked open the book to make them, I did like them. I thought a bit of spreadable goat cheese on top went rather nicely.

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

TWD BCM Rewind: Basque Macarons

October 30, 2018 at 12:01 am | Posted in BCM, cookies & bars, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 3 Comments
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basque macarons

Why on Earth did I skip out on Basque Macarons last month? There isn’t anything precious or fiddly about this type of macaron…this is an easy recipe to throw together. At its heart, there are just four ingredients: almond flour, egg whites, sugar and salt. Okay, you have to whisk and fold in some of the egg whites, but I made and baked these at 7:00 in the morning and managed not to screw them up, so I’d call them low stress. I did add in a bit of cinnamon and a dash of almond extract for extra flavor. And I pressed a whole almond into the tops of half of them just ‘cuz. But you don’t have to do any of that if you don’t want to.

These bake up with a sweet, crisp shell and a nice, chewy inside. If feel like I say this with every cookie, but they are so good with coffee! I could even give them to my DF/GF bestie, so they win extra points with me.

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 Rewind make-ups!

Tuesdays with Dorie BCM: Le Cheesecake Round Trip

October 23, 2018 at 7:57 pm | Posted in BCM, cakes & tortes, cheesecakes, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 4 Comments
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le cheesecake round trip

Le Cheesecake Round Trip is a cheesecake Dorie makes in both in New York and in Paris. In fact, she’s been known to smuggle ingredients in her suitcase from one continent to another to make it. With a filling of all-American cream cheese and a Paris-ized crust of spice cookies and almond flour, it contains a bit of both worlds.

We actually make a crispy little spice cookie at work, and there is always scrap, so I just took some of that home to bake and grind into crumbs for this. A portion of the crumbs gets reserved to mix into the filling, giving it little freckle-speckles. I always whiz my cheesecake fillings together in the food processor. It’s easy, fast and lump-free. I made a half-sized cheesecake in a six-inch pan, but I only used a quarter of the filling (one block of cream cheese). So mine was a low-rider, but still very rich and satisfying. Dorie says that during baking the top of the cheesecake will brown and may even crack. Mine didn’t do either of these things, but I think that’s because it had so much less filling that it didn’t need enough time in the to get brown before I declared it c’est fini.

While a drizzle of salted caramel on top of Le Cheesecake is very good indeed, so is fruit sauce or jam or chocolate sauce. Cheesecake lasts a few days, so you can play around with options.

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: Spiced Pumpkin Jammers

October 16, 2018 at 12:01 am | Posted in cookies & bars, DC, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 3 Comments
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spiced pumpkin jammers

I’ve made a larger galette version and the classic cookie version of Dorie’s jammers before, and these Spiced Pumpkin Jammers are a take on those. Here, a sweet and sandy spiced sablé base is topped with a pumpkin-cream cheese mix and ringed with sweet pumpkin seed streusel. Don’t expect immediate gratification…this is a recipe for when you have some time to spend and want a project.

These can be formed in either rings or muffin tins to get a crisp, round shape. I went with my muffin pan. Rather than roll, chill and cut the sablé dough to fit the tins, I used a little cookie scoop to portion it out right after I made it, and then just pressed it in. Be sure to grease the cavities of the molds well, as these are delicate. You’ll notice these’s one missing in the picture, and that’s because I destroyed it trying to get it out. I ate it anyway and shared a half dozen of the rest with the trainers at my gym (who all have a secret sweet tooth)…we all gave them glowing reviews! They’re like pumpkin pie bites, and, fyi, a little blob of whipped cream on top certainly doesn’t hurt anything.

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

Tuesdays with Dorie BCM: Bettelman

October 9, 2018 at 12:01 am | Posted in BCM, groups, puddings, custards, mousses, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 9 Comments
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bettelman

As much as I don’t want to acknowledge it, the summer fruits are out and the apples are in. I might as well get used to it and least bake some interesting apple treats. I’d never heard of a Bettleman before, but it’s an Alsatian bread pudding made to use up stale brioche. The bread gets soaked in warm milk and egg yolks and then the mix gets a hit of spice and rum, along with apples and raisins. The egg whites are whipped separately and added at the end, so the pudding soufflés a bit in the oven. It’s lighter than the bread pudding I’m used to, and I liked it very much.

I happened to have a couple of brioche rolls in the freezer, and they were just enough to make two individual ramekins. I served my bettleman with some ice cream and a drizzle of apple caramel sauce.

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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