Tuesdays with Dorie DC: Salted Chocolate-Caramel Bars

March 21, 2017 at 5:05 pm | Posted in cookies & bars, DC, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 14 Comments
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salted-chocolate caramel bars

If the name of these bars doesn’t tell you everything you need to know about them, then the photos should. These Salted-Chocolate Caramel Bars are basically all that is good and gooey in this world in one cookie. With a cocoa shortbread base, a layer of thick, salty chocolate-caramel sauce and toasted pecans on top, they are almost candy. If you’re in danger of eating too many, at least you’ll have no problem finding friends to share them with.

My advice is to keep the bars in the fridge. The caramel layer gets a little schlumpy when they are left to sit for too long. They’re also delicious cold, if you can’t wait for them to come up to room temp.

salted-chocolate caramel bars

For the recipe, see Dorie’s Cookies by Dorie Greenspan. It was also Dorie’s #cookiesandkindness selection for the month of March, so you can find the bar recipe on her site, too. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie BCM: Black-and-White Marbled Madeleines

March 14, 2017 at 12:01 am | Posted in BCM, cakes & tortes, cookies & bars, groups, simple cakes, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 11 Comments
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black-and-white marbled madeleines

Over the last nine years, I’ve made many Dorie versions of the little shell-shaped cakes called madeleines. Appearance-wise, these Black-and-White Marbled Madeleines were probably not my best effort. I could tell I would have a little more batter than I needed, but overfilled the molds a bit anyway because: a) I was too lazy to clean the pan and do a second bake-off, and b) I’m too cheap to ever throw out batter. So my edges weren’t the sharpest. I didn’t get the signature madeleine bump this time either…I probably should have rested the batter for several hours instead of just one. Also my marbling technique wasn’t great. But hey– at least I know what my problems were! Taste and texture-wise, they were great. The vanilla-chocolate combo is a classic, obviously, and the little bit of citrus zest (I used bergamot instead of lime) made them extra flavorful. They were soft and spongy fresh out the oven…I don’t know how well they hold up because they didn’t last! I wouldn’t hesitate to give these a go again and be a bit more of a perfectionist when baking them the second time around.

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: Sunday in Paris Chocolate Cake

February 14, 2017 at 5:22 pm | Posted in BCM, cakes & tortes, groups, simple cakes, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 10 Comments
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sunday in paris chocolate cake

Hello my loves. How about a little chocolate for Valentine’s Day? Maybe with some peanuts thrown in, too? If that sounds good to you, then this Sunday in Paris Chocolate Cake will be right up your alley. This recipe is in the “Fancy Cakes” section of the book, but it isn’t an intimidating one. The batter is pretty straightforward, with some peanut butter and chopped nuts in the mix. And the decoration is simple, too…ganache  with a sprinkling of extra nuts and chocolate. I debated making mini cakes or a larger loaf, as the recipe will work either way. I decided to go for dainty little ones and used a silicon financier mold for baking, but a mini muffin tim would be a fine substitute. Watch the baking time if you do small cakes…they don’t take long in the oven.

This sort of reminds me of a cakey brownie. While I could easily eat one of these on it’s own, a scoop of vanilla ice cream makes it even better. You can fiddle with the topping, too. Last night, I took two plain (no ganache topping) cakes, accompanied by the obligatory scoops of ice cream, and drizzled them with warm salted caramel sauce and then scattered peanuts over top. Super good!

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: Chocolate Truffles

December 13, 2016 at 8:12 pm | Posted in BCM, candy, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 10 Comments
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chocolate truffles

My mom used to make her own Chocolate Truffles every year and bring them with us to Christmas dinner at Grandma’s house. They were delicious…soft, creamy and rich…and boozy with Cognac, too. Not so child-friendly, but it was a once-a-year treat, so we’ll cut her some slack. Also, it was the ’80s, so no one cared. Why my mother has stopped making these, I am not sure, but I wanted to recreate them myself with this recipe.  I added in a glug of Cognac to the ganache and rolled the truffles in cocoa powder, just like she did.

At the restaurant where I work, I’m the chocolatier (it always embarrasses me to say that, btw). I make primarily molded chocolates and piped decorations but I’ve learned to work with chocolatey stuff pretty quickly. I even manage to keep my jacket and apron mostly clean these days (the bowl that I work from is often another story). If you have “hot hands” you may find the truffle rolling process frustrating and super messy.  Using a little cookie scoop can help to preshape them before rolling them in your hands. Food-safe gloves help with the mess, too.

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: Esquimaux Pops for Grown-Ups

August 9, 2016 at 5:20 pm | Posted in BCM, groups, ice creams & frozen, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 13 Comments
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esquimaux pops for grown-ups

Hot summer days call for cold treats, everyone knows that. Esquimaux Pops for Grown-Ups are frozen chocolate mousse on a stick, with booze (I used Cassis) and chopped chocolate bits added for more fun. No ice cream maker– but several bowls!– required. I had my suspicions about these freezing too hard, actually, but they were perfectly airy and delicious. A “make again” for sure.

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

TWD BCM Rewind: Cocoa Crunch Meringue Sandwiches

May 31, 2016 at 12:01 am | Posted in BCM, cookies & bars, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 14 Comments
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cocoa crunch meringue sandwiches

These Cocoa Crunch Meringue Sandwiches the group made last month are light and crisp, but rich with chocolate.  The cocoa meringue cookies are made in much the same way as French macarons (they even contain nuts), but instead of being left with a little chew in the center, they are baked long and low and all the way, till they are like crunchy chocolate air.  Ganache, possibly my favorite form of chocolate, finishes these cookies off.  Dorie says to eat the sandwiches chilled, and they’re great that way.

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 BCM: Betty’s Chocoholic (ice cream!) Cake

May 24, 2016 at 11:04 am | Posted in BCM, cakes & tortes, groups, ice creams & frozen, layer cakes, simple cakes, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 12 Comments
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betty's chocoholic cake

Hi.  My name is Stephanie and I’m a chocoholic.  I need to be kept away from that lady Betty…she’s such an enabler with her Chocoholic Cake!  I don’t stand a chance against three layers of brownie cake sandwiched and frosted with ganache.  That’s why I had to alter her original cake and make it an ice cream cake.  Actually, that makes no sense whatsoever–  don’t stand a chance against ice cream cake either.

We are only two, so I made a scaled back version of the cake…a third of the recipe got me two six-inch layers.  It is Dorie who mentions in her recipe intro that the brownie layers would be a good base for an ice cream cake.  I followed her fine suggestion and filled my two layers with some coffee ice cream and popped the whole thing in the freezer for a few hours.  I made the ganache recipe, but rather than cool it and use it as frosting, I used it warm as a sauce.  And then I put peanut butter cereal on top.  I’ve lost my chocolate-addicted mind, clearly, but it’s really delicious.  The frozen cake should temper a bit before saucing and serving though, because it’s pretty hard to get a fork through it otherwise.  Also, when it’s tempered, you get the really good fudgy texture and chocolatey taste of the cake layers.

betty's chocoholic cake

Next time, I may try this the way Betty had intended.  Or else I’ll make a mint chip or raspberry ice cream cake out of it!  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: Soft-Centered Chocolate Teacup Cakes

February 9, 2016 at 12:01 am | Posted in BCM, cakes & tortes, groups, simple cakes, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 16 Comments
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soft-centered chocolate teacup cakes

These Soft-Centered Chocolate Teacup Cakes are rich, delicious and easy to make.  Kind of a dangerous combination!  They are a take on molten chocolate cake…an almost flourless and uber-chocolatey cake with more gooey, melting chocolate bits hiding in the middle.

They’re hardly more difficult to make than brownies, although you have to whip eggs and sugar until ribbony, so using a stand mixer is a good idea.  The batter is divided among teacups or ramekins, which are half-filled, sprinkled with chopped chocolate and then topped off.  I have quite a collection of teacups for some reason (reason actually being that they are cute!).  I can see these making an adorable dinner party dessert served in mismatched cups.  I didn’t get a photo of the insides for you, but you can see here that they’re schlumping a bit in the middle…that’s how you can tell they have soft centers.  That dip also makes a perfect landing spot for a bit of whipped cream or ice cream.

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: Chocolate-Chestnut Tart with Chestnut-Vanilla Syrup

December 22, 2015 at 10:12 pm | Posted in BCM, groups, pies & tarts, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 14 Comments
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chocolate-chestnut tart

I’ve unfortunately (or maybe not, since I was on vacation) missed the last two TWD postings but I’m hoping to come back strong with this Chocolate-Chestnut Tart.  Don’t let my terrible photo (boo to winter afternoon lighting!) fool you, this tart is darn delicious.  If I were in charge of cooking Christmas dinner, I’d be making it a second time this week.

We’ve used Dorie’s Sweet Tart Dough many times by now, and here it’s filled with candied chestnuts and a rich, truffle-like baked chocolate filling.  The chestnuts are candied during a long, slow poach in vanilla simple syrup.  I was able to easily find vacuum packed chestnuts in a neighborhood gourmet store (I think I’ve even seen them at Trader Joe’s recently).  I candied my entire package, which was more than the recipe called for.  In addition to the sliced chestnuts hiding under the chocolate filling, I decorated the top of the tart with some of the extras, brushed with gold dust for a little holiday bling.  Served with a scoop of ice cream and a drizzle of the awesome reduced chestnut poaching syrup, this was a fine way to end a meal.

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.  And happy holidays!!

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Crème Bruléed Chocolate Bundt

February 17, 2015 at 12:02 am | Posted in BWJ, cakes & tortes, groups, puddings, custards, mousses, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 21 Comments
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crème bruléed chocolate bundt

This Crème Bruléed Chocolate Bundt is the first, no second, no make that third Mary Bergin chiffon cake we’ve made.  I’ve liked them all…I think I just really like the spongy, fluffy softness of chiffon cakes.  And it also helps here that I love chocolate and Bundts.  And crème brulée, too…who am I kidding?  I knew this would be good.

If you watch the video of the BWJ episode, you’ll see that this chocolate chiffon Bundt gets its center stuffed with raspberries and then a big glug of vanilla crème brulée custard is poured over top of the whole shebang and torched.  I figured that as soon as the brulée was poured on, the cake pretty much needed to be eaten up…This would be very dramatic and impressive for a crowd, but since I was just making it for two of us, I had to both reduce the recipe and settle for adding the custard to order.  I made a half recipe of the cake (in my 6-cup Bundt pan) and a half recipe of the brulée cream, too.  I was convinced, even though I’d sprayed the heck out of my Bundt pan and coated it well in cocoa (which I prefer to use instead of flour for a dark chocolate cake), that the cake would stick like crazy and rip when I tried to unmold it.  It didn’t!  I made sure to kind of gently nudge it from the sides with a little offset as it started to cool and shrink in a bit, and it released perfectly– phew!

I used my darkest cocoa powder (Valrhona) and my Bundt had great flavor.  The chiffon was easy to make, too…in fact, I did the whole thing in my bathrobe (TMI??).  I’d happily make it again on its own, just to have with ice cream or whipped cream.  I liked the stovetop water bath method for thickening the crème brulée…that was new to me, and it came out nicely.  After the better part of a day in the fridge, the brulée had thickened up well and I was able to pour it over a single slice without it looking a mess.  All in all a winning dessert for Valentine’s Day weekend.

crème bruléed chocolate bundt

For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan (it’s also here, along with a video). Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!  (Update:  I see from the blogroll that some folks wound up with a thinner custard, in which case I’d just serve it as an anglaise sauce on the plate.)

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