Tuesdays with Dorie DC: Friendship Cookies

January 5, 2021 at 5:41 pm | Posted in cookies & bars, DC, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 5 Comments
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friendship cookies

Happy 2021– to celebrate another year of baking cookies with my friends, I present you with a plate of Friendship Cookies! These are really rugelach, with a flaky cream cheese dough filled with lots of things that play well together. I had a just little bloop of Philly that was exactly enough to make the dough for a quarter-recipe of these cookies. Not getting to invite friends for cookie parties and the “use what ya got” challenge are two 2020 trends that seem to be continuing into this year, so a smaller amount was just fine with me. The one downside to the downsize is that my cookies were a bit squat. The dough is rolled into a circle that’s spread with the filling  and cut like a pizza into triangles, which are then individually spiraled into the rugelach shape. Since I was working with a smaller piece of dough, my rolled-out circle was a smaller diameter and as such, my triangles weren’t long enough for me to get the extra loop in. I don’t know if that makes any sense unless you’ve made the recipe, but you can see that there is something just a bit off about the way these look. You may have to look closely, because I tried to distract the eye with some rainbow sugar sprinkle.

I filled my cookies with cranberry jam (and by that I mean leftover cranberry sauce), boozy golden raisins, toasted walnuts and cinnamon sugar. I had to leave my very best friend out of these cookies…I could tell there just wasn’t going to be any room for chopped chocolate with my smaller dough round…the filling that I already had in there was basically busting out! It’s all good though. These were delicious as-is, and that chocolate will no doubt get used another time.

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 DC: Mincemeat-Oatmeal (Raisin) Bars

December 15, 2020 at 7:59 pm | Posted in cookies & bars, DC, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 5 Comments
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mincemeat-oatmeal bars

These Mincemeat-Oatmeal Bars are Dorie’s “Playing Around” take on her Raisin Bars, with a jammy raisin filling sandwiched between two layers of delicious oatmeal-almond cookie dough. Actually, maybe they are my take on the “Playing Around” take, as I made a very off-the-cuff approximation of a (meatless) mincemeat filling. I don’t even know if I’ve ever had mincemeat, but it is the holidays, so why not give it a shot? I swapped out a couple of spoonfuls of the raisins for candied orange peel, added a few grates of fresh ginger and a big shake of mixed spice and cooked it down in apple juice. Mardi mentioned that she found the Raisin Bars to be too sweet, so I kept that in mind and didn’t sweeten my mix until I’d cooked and thickened it. A little sprinkling of maple sugar was all I thought it needed.

The same cookie dough, made with oatmeal, brown sugar and almonds, forms both the crust and the topping to these bars. It’s like an oatmeal crisp really, and basically any fruit jam would work sandwiched in the middle. I used to make very similar bar cookies for family meal meal at work, using up whatever fruit was on the way out (or often pâte de fruit scrap) for the jam. The only thing I did differently here was to pre-bake the crust layer for ten-ish minutes before finishing the bars. I’m not sure it was necessary, but I knew I’d have these around for a few days, and I planned to bring a couple to the trainers still at the gym, so I wanted to be sure they had a stable base.

There was a time in life when I wouldn’t have touched a raisin, but I’ve really come around in recent years and I thought one of these bars with a scoop of vanilla ice cream was, well, *chef’s kiss*. Oh, and the dudes at the gym requested more, but they’re all gone now, so it’s on to the next…

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 DC: Mint Chocolate Sablés

December 1, 2020 at 5:26 pm | Posted in cookies & bars, DC, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 6 Comments
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mint chocolate sablés

I’d say that the first of December marks the start of cookie season, but isn’t it always cookie season around here? I’ll just put a more festive spin on things this month, starting with these Mint Chocolate Sablés. We make this type of buttery French shortbread on the regular, but this particular sablé has a chocolate base jazzed up with mint oil or extract and little bits of chopped chocolate. Chocolate and mint is a pretty winning combo in my books. If it had occurred to me in advance, I would have bought a nice mint chocolate bar to cut up for the added bits, but, as per usual, my best ideas happen just as I’m about to put something in the oven. These are really good anyway, and I could actually smell their minty-ness while baking…I did add some gold glitter sugar for sparkle, so there’s that. I’m having a cookie tonight with vanilla ice cream and am very much looking forward to it.

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 DC: Pain de Gênes Buttons

November 17, 2020 at 11:57 am | Posted in cookies & bars, DC, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 3 Comments
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pain de gênes buttons

Calling these Pain de Gênes Buttons “cookies” is a stretch. These buttons are really baby cakes, not that I mind at all. The star of the flavor show here is the good bit of almond paste that’s incorporated into the batter (the rum I sloshed in was runner-up). My husband loved these because they reminded him of the almondy treats of his childhood from the Italian-American bakeries in Long Island. I liked their flavor, too, and their texture, which was spongy and dense at the same time. These were another winning treat for the WFH coffee station.

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: Carrèment Chocolat, The Fancy Cake

November 10, 2020 at 12:01 am | Posted in BCM, cakes & tortes, groups, layer cakes, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 12 Comments
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carrèment chocolat, the fancy cake

Wow– after six years, this is our final Tuesdays with Dorie recipe from Baking Chez Moi. I’m not crying, you’re crying. Okay, I’m definitely crying, but a slice of Carrèment Chocolat, The Fancy Cake will make me feel better.

This is a chocolate cake that is sleek and slim, but rich and luxurious. A single pan of chocolate cake is sliced into two thin layers, brushed with syrup (which for me was Kahlúa) sandwiched with chocolate pastry cream, glazed in ganache and topped with homemade salted chocolate shards. It’s no wonder that it’s the book’s cover girl, and it’s no wonder that we saved her for our grand finale. I actually made this over the summer for my husband’s birthday. It seemed like a nice treat for a quarantine celebration and a fun project for me. We savored every bite.

My copy of BCM has lived on my kitchen counter for the last six years. It’ll go on the bookshelf now, but I’m sure I’ll take it down often (and, if I’m being truthful, I do have a few things to rewind). We have made close to 150 recipes, and it would be really, really hard for me to pick a favorite..maybe the Caramel-Topped Rice Pudding Cake, maybe the Chocolate Crème Caramel. Clearly I fancy upside-down puddings sitting in a caramel puddle, but I’ve had such fun baking and sharing all kinds of treats with our small group on Tuesdays. Thank you, it’s a highlight of my week. Also, of course, merci to Dorie for teaching, inspiring and encouraging us, and to Laurie, who started TWD back in 2008 with BFMHTY.

For the recipe, see Baking Chez Moi by Dorie Greenspan. Don’t forget to check out our last BCM TWD Blogroll! We bake on with Dorie’s Cookies, but for this one, c’est fini.

Tuesdays with Dorie DC: Cheddar-Seed Wafers

November 3, 2020 at 6:31 pm | Posted in cookies & bars, DC, groups, savory things, snacks, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 5 Comments
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cheddar-seed wafers

Cheddar Seed Wafers, full of cheese and poppy seeds, have a highbrow Cheez-It thing going on. They’re rolled really thin and they bake up delicate, salty, savory and a bit flaky. These are in the “cocktail cookies” section of the book, and they would certainly be an excellent sidekick for a glass of crisp white wine, but I actually had my extra-large wafer broken up into shards with a roasted veggie dish that was heavy on the tomatoes.

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 anytime!

Tuesdays with Dorie BCM: Macaron Biscotti

October 27, 2020 at 1:52 pm | Posted in BCM, cookies & bars, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 3 Comments
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macaron biscotti

When you pipe a tray of macarons, there are bound to be at least a few, maybe more if by “you” I mean “I”, shells that bake up too big, too small, blob-shaped, footless or for whatever reason wonky. You can eat them on the sneak and destroy the evidence (my go-to method for dealing with them) or you can make Macaron Biscotti with them and serve them up with tea. I’ve never seen twice-baked mac shells before this, but the idea is neat and easy— dip once-baked shells in melted butter and rebake. I didn’t even bother to melt any butter…I have a small container of ghee that I keep at room temp in the cooler months and brushed that on both sides of my shells. They turn very bronzed in the oven and are super crunchy through-and-through. Macarons with a suntan.

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: Thanksgiving Bars

October 20, 2020 at 8:37 am | Posted in cookies & bars, DC, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 1 Comment
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thanksgiving bars

I’m often pretty meh on fruit and chocolates combinations, so I thought about passing on these Thanksgiving Bars, which have a cranberry-raspberry filling inside a walnut and cocoa double-crust. Also, I thought they sounded kind of weird and I don’t normally associate raspberries with Thanksgiving. My TWD friends who made them for the last posting all gave them excellent reviews though, so I didn’t want to skip a good thing…FOMO baking, I guess.

As it turns out, I do like these! That’s probably predictable, though, right? Haha. I reduced the sugar in the cranberry jam by about a third because I prefer it not to be too sweet, although I didn’t skimp on the sparkly sugar coating on the top crust. I like the way that top layer of dough conforms while baking around the whole raspberries in the filling, giving it pretty bumps. These are good with a scoop of ice cream or a cup of coffee.

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: Parisian Macarons

October 13, 2020 at 1:58 pm | Posted in BCM, cookies & bars, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 9 Comments
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parisian macarons

Someone’s getting fancy over here. Parisian Macarons require a bit more technique and attention than the usual loaf cakes I churn out in five minutes without really even measuring. I’ve spent most of my pastry career in fine dining, so really I’ve piped countless trays of these almond flour-meringue cookies for petits fours plates, but for the last several years, I’ve been focused on tempered chocolate work. I do think maybe the last time I made macs was circa 2007, when I worked for a restaurant called Becasse in Sydney. What I’m trying to say is that I am rusty.

This macaron recipe from BCM uses an Italian meringue in the batter, as opposed to a French meringue, which is what I am more used to. I didn’t have any problems making that, although I was tempted to just eat it as marshmallow fluff and jump ship on the macarons…that is the danger of Italian and Swiss meringues. I’m actually really pleased with how the macarons turned out, but I’d say I wish the bottom “feet” had been a bit taller. Mardi and I agree that the listed baking temp of 350F is hotter than most recipes, and that may have had something to do with it. If I make this recipe again, I’m going to experiment with a 300-325F oven, which is more standard, and see if that makes a difference. I did leave my assembled macs in the fridge overnight (those are the rules!), and they were perfectly crispy- chewy for a few days after.

The thing I do really like about macs is that you can totally customize them. You can fill them with ganache, like I did here, or with jam, caramel, buttercream, or whatever floats your boat and makes them stick.  You can sub some of the almond flour for another nut flour, or tint the shells any color of the rainbow. I left them au naturale, preferring to get my daily dose of food coloring in the form of a scattering of sprinkles.

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: Honey-and-Tea Jammers

October 6, 2020 at 2:21 pm | Posted in cookies & bars, DC, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 3 Comments
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honey-and-tea jammers

These Honey-and-Tea Jammers are pretty close to Dorie’s famous Classic Jammers, but with tea leaves rubbed into the sugar in the shortbread cookie base. I used a loose leaf spiced chai here– which, to tell the truth, was not that noticeable– with cherry jam in the cookies’ centers. I don’t make many pies or tarts, as I’m squarely on team cake and cookies, but I like that these give the effect of a crumb-topped pie in cookie-form. Just like with pies and tarts, à la mode is a encouraged with these Jammers.

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

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