Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Lemon Squares, French Style ~ Baking Chez Moi

Per Nana~
The lemon squares that we baked this week from BCM are so delicious 
that I am absolutely going to freeze them, the temptation is too much. 
I am not a big fan of lemon flavor and seriously considered cutting the 
recipe in half. When I realized that they could be frozen, I changed my mind.  
The crust, made with the addition of almond flour, is so delicious, and then
 to use more of the same for a crumb topping was absolutely scrumptious. 
When I first removed the pan from the oven I thought they were
 over-baked, but when I cut through them, the crust was tender, 
the lemon curd held nicely, and the crumb topping did not fall apart. 
We are still trying to decide whether they are more delicious at 
room temperature or refrigerated. In any event, they will not
 go to waste and I will be making these again. 
Per Tricia~
Unlike Nana, I love lemon flavored desserts. 
Granted there are few desserts I am not a fan of, 
but lemon is a true favorite. 
No wonder that this was a hit in my house. My only regret is that I didn't
 make this ahead of time when my older taste tester was still home
 - he adores lemon.  But I was like Nana in having to put the little 
temptations in the freezer, so lucky for him there is a stash
 waiting when he visits home. A little incentive never hurt.
this was only half way through the snow fall - another foot or so fell....
Incentive was also involved as I made this recipe during "the Blizzard of 2016".  
(hopeful thinking that we will not be having another big storm, even though it 
is only January).  My hubby was a trooper and handled the almost 30" of
 snow outside while my contribution was a lemon reward inside. He was 
happy. Ok, there may have been a well earned single malt involved as well.
Doris's wonderful crust, ready to go-
Assembled, before baking. 
Out of the oven.
This was the first time that I made lemon curd at home and 
would not hesitate to do it again. I have always enjoying it when 
buying a container and like most things, making it at home was 
a value. Since the quality was fantastic (not all things are better 
made at home....or at least in my kitchen ) I'll gladly revisit the curd 
even if not making the lemon squares. But likely I will be doing both.....

This marks another Tuesday recipe testing as we cook along with the "Tuesdays with Dorie" online group.  Please note that we do not post the recipes, per the group rules, but we do encourage others to RUN out and buy their own copy of Dorie Greenspan's "Baking Chez Moi".  Better yet, buy the book and JOIN THE GROUP ! www.TuesdaysWithDorie.wordpress.com

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Fluted Carrot-Tangerine Cake ~ Baking Chez Moi

Per Nana~
The group's selected recipe for this week from Baking Chez Moi
 is a delicious carrot-tangerine cake. I was fortunate to have all the
 ingredients on hand even though my carrots were small ones for snacking.
 A lot of fun on a box grater without losing skin, but I succeeded. 
In place of tangerines I used two clementines which were delicious
 and very juicy. The cake baked up beautifully and was easy to 
remove from the pan without a problem.  
I prepared a drizzle using confectioner's sugar, a bit of milk 
and orange extract. It accented all the flavors in the cake. 

The cake is very moist and wonderfully delicious.  I will definitely be 
keeping this one in my files for a great snack cake that is quick to prepare. 
Per Tricia~
This cake is exactly the type of recipe that I enjoy cooking as
 part of a blogging community, because had not been "assigned"...
I likely would have just skipped right over it in the book. 
Not because it sounded bad but simply because I could not
 get my head around the combination of carrots with citrus. 
So I likely would have kept thumbing through until I hit something
 chocolate :)  And that would have been a shame because this was
 a delicious combo. The cake was moist and dense and combined with
 the citrus from the orange I used (yes, neither of us actually used the
 tangerine for which the cake is named...) was a welcome combo for 
a cold winter's day.  The fact that this was truly a quick and easy
 cake makes it a sure repeat. So glad I gave it a try.

This marks another Tuesday recipe testing as we cook along with the "Tuesdays with Dorie" online group.  Please note that we do not post the recipes, per the group rules, but we do encourage others to RUN out and buy their own copy of Dorie Greenspan's "Baking Chez Moi".  Better yet, buy the book and JOIN THE GROUP ! www.TuesdaysWithDorie.wordpress.com

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Stained Glass Cookies ~ Baking Chez Moi

Per Tricia ~
This is a makeup week, or "rewind", as the Tuesdays with Dorie
community calls it.  I hadn't yet completed the Stained Glass Cookie
 recipe from Baking Chez Moi so I decided to go for it.  I expected 
the process to be time consuming so I tackled it AFTER 
Christmas, but while both sons were still home on break. 
 The process WAS time consuming. 
Even with Dorie's detailed  instructions, when you start thinking
 that tweezers would be a useful tool as you are cooking it's a good 
indicator that the process is involved. I'm not that patient :)

These were lovely when held up to the light. But even better to eat :)
The verdict ? 

Off the charts delicious and fun to look at. 
That said, I have no intention to ever make these cookies -per the recipe 
and for the holidays -again. I also have every intention to make the 
COOKIE part of the recipe many times.  I'll just omit the labor intensive/
arts & crafts cutting and filling with candy I have crushed by hand.

I cut the edge of a plastic bag and piped in the crushed candy, rethinking my choice of snowflake cutter the whole time.....
 
The cookie recipe is hands down the best butter cookie I have ever made. 
While many might not think its a compliment, the fact that the cookies
 tasted like the old school blue tins of little shaped butter cookies I grew 
up with is a huge compliment in my book. To have those little 
delights in a warm and fresh version was a wonderful surprise. 
I added an egg wash to the dough before cutting. The inserts got the extra candy on top- delicious !

And while it was labor intensive to this admittedly lazy baker, I really did 
enjoy trying - at least once - Dorie's technique for decorating the cookies 
this way. Trying is what it is all about.  And I am totally planning to steal
 the idea of one of my blogging peers who's going to revisit this with 
heart shaped cutters and red candy for Valentine's Day. Love it.

This marks another Tuesday recipe testing as we cook along with the "Tuesdays with Dorie" online group.  Please note that we do not post the recipes, per the group rules, but we do encourage others to RUN out and buy their own copy of Dorie Greenspan's "Baking Chez Moi".  Better yet, buy the book and JOIN THE GROUP ! www.TuesdaysWithDorie.wordpress.com

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Chocolate Chestnut Tart - Baking Chez Moi

Per Nana ~
This is an incredible dessert and so decadent.  
I thought the best part was the syrup made from sugar and vanilla bean, 
added to the chestnuts.  The chocolate ganache came together beautifully 
and when it was added to the tart, looked fantastic.  Because it is so rich in 
flavor, I only served small portions and did not serve ice cream with it. I also
 didn't have any :) And the leftover syrup I have saved for another time. 
I chilled the remaining tart and found that the next day it tasted just
 like fudge with a crust. I loved it and just cut small portions. This 
is definitely a recipe I will make again, it is so impressive. 
Per Tricia ~
We knew the family would love this one because Nana sent
 over a portion of hers ahead of time. So I had to deliver on 
this one because of course, the family wanted more :) 
That said, the unsuspecting and not too complicated recipe got a 
disproportionate share of grumbling from me simply because it's the 
busy holiday season and I had lots of wonderful competition for my 
time- which did not include roasting and peeling chestnuts. 
Internet lies...that new technique of blanching & cutting a single line (not X) before roasting only added to the time lost.
I should have known better and bought a pricey jar of the ready to go 
version, but I got caught up in the cozy holiday illusion of how fun it 
would be to do these myself. That ship has sailed and took with it the 
immediate thought of making those stained glass cookies we are to 
also knock out this month too (we'll see about that one.....)
Vanilla specks in the syrup makes these chestnuts on the tart bottom delicious.
That said, the final version truly was a "company worthy" little dessert. 
My complaints are unjustified considering last year I was staring down a 
gingerbread Buche de Noel.  Great coordination and planning makes a big 
difference in this recipe, since it relies on a few different processes/steps to
 create the final product. Making the tart crust ahead of time, roasting and 
shelling the chestnuts, and then prepping the syrup too -  so that the vanilla 
chestnut combo (which takes about 45 minutes to cook down) doesn't 
blindside you - would all have made a big difference in my knocking this out.
  Truthfully we are simply not that HUGE of chestnut fans for me 
to likely be making this one again, but that is no reflection on the recipe. 
 I was happy to try it this once and the family is certainly 
enjoying round two after tasting Nana's :)   

 Happiest of Holidays to All ~

This marks another Tuesday recipe testing as we cook along with the "Tuesdays with Dorie" online group.  Please note that we do not post the recipes, per the group rules, but we do encourage others to RUN out and buy their own copy of Dorie Greenspan's "Baking Chez Moi".  Better yet, buy the book and JOIN THE GROUP ! www.TuesdaysWithDorie.wordpress.com

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Stained Glass Cookies - Baking Chez Moi

Per Nana ~
Unfortunately this turned to be a disaster for me. 
The cookie dough was so easy to prepare and turned out perfect. 
I froze it for approximately one hour as Dorie suggested. I even had 
hubby working on the lifesavers using my mortar and pestle. 
He had a lot of fun sorting out the colors and pulverizing them.
 I realized later that this should be done at the last minute, as the 
candies all stuck together. When I started to fill the little holes in the 
cookie the candy had melted together and I could not push it 
through the pastry tip. I baked one sheet of cookies with the holes 
"sort of" filled and then just sprinkled candy onto the rest. 
The cookies were good, they just did not end up with a stained glass design.

Per Tricia ~
This month the "Tuesdays with Dorie/Baking Chez Moi" schedule is
 bit more flexible and includes an extra day to use as a rewind. I will 
be holding off baking and posting till later in the month so my college
 taste testers will be around to enjoy the treats fresh out of the oven :)

 Now, to get a hold of some of Nana's stained glass cookies....

This marks another Tuesday recipe testing as we cook along with the "Tuesdays with Dorie" online group.  Please note that we do not post the recipes, per the group rules, but we do encourage others to RUN out and buy their own copy of Dorie Greenspan's "Baking Chez Moi".  Better yet, buy the book and JOIN THE GROUP ! www.TuesdaysWithDorie.wordpress.com

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Pear Cranberry Roll Up Tart ~ Baking Chez Moi

Per Tricia~
Kitchen shenanigans ensued as I baked this tart. 
 And they added to the fun.
My four legged sous chefs were busily monitoring the blowing leaves 
and saving our home from "intruders"..... when an actual squirrel dared
 to invade the back porch.  I managed to catch the moment on camera 
since I was already taking tart photos. Suffice to say that the scene below 
was the last moment of calm for quite some time after this sighting. 
The seasonal ingredients, wonderful aroma of the added ginger and 
the accepted (but dangerous) devil-may-care attitude to my spilling
 out fruit filling all added for a memorable baking experience. 
This proved a lovely addition to  our Thanksgiving week recipes. 
I can attest to the delicious results personally, but I am 
really looking forward to all of my taste testers being 
home to share their opinions this evening. 
A happy holiday indeed.  
And as to the continued shenanigans, I came back to the kitchen
 after uploading photos to find that the cat helped himself to the 
small bowl of "decorating" cranberries. And proceeded to roll them 
ALL over the kitchen floor.  Oh the things we give thanks for :)  

Happy Thanksgiving all ~
Per Nana~
 This pear and cranberry tart was so easy to make and delicious to eat.  
It's also absolutely wonderful as a leftover. 
We simply reheated it in the microwave for a few seconds. 

I love using Dorie's recipe for Galette dough because it is so easy to work with. 
This time I rolled it out before chilling. I found that easier than trying to 
roll a disk after it has been chilled. The combination of pear and cranberry 
for the filling was so tasty. I added Penzey's "Raspberry Enlightenment" 
spread instead of orange marmalade and it was just perfect. 

This dessert reminds me of a strudel so I am anxious to try it with apples
 and raisins, or as mentioned in the "bonne idée" - with some summer fruits. 

This marks another Tuesday recipe testing as we cook along with the "Tuesdays with Dorie" online group.  Please note that we do not post the recipes, per the group rules, but we do encourage others to RUN out and buy their own copy of Dorie Greenspan's "Baking Chez Moi".  Better yet, buy the book and JOIN THE GROUP ! www.TuesdaysWithDorie.wordpress.com

Monday, November 9, 2015

Chocolate Covered Toffee Breakups - Baking Chez Moi

 Per Nana ~
This week's recipe for Baking Chez Moi was such a delight and would 
make adorable little packages for a Christmas cookie exchange.   
I do have to perfect my technique for spreading the candy mixture as 
well as spreading the chocolate covering because it came out a bit thick.  
However it was still very delicious. 
I used a mix of toasted pecans and almonds with semi sweet chocolate.
Jim raved about these toffee breakups as soon as he tasted them 
- so I would call that a winner.
Definitely a recipe to be repeated as we come into the holiday season, 
with most of the ingredients being staple items in the pantry.
Per Tricia ~
I've seen recipes for various chocolate barks and toffees but had not
 taken the plunge to try one myself. This week changed that.  I am 
almost sorry to find out how easy (could be deadly.....) it was to make 
something this decadent at home.  And out of routine pantry items no less. 
I read through the recipe and knew there were several steps involved, 
plus waiting time, so anticipated a "production".  Instead, I was able 
to knock most of it out during a lunch break and then just applied the
 melted chocolate and garnishing nuts after work.  
This was pretty unexpected.  
And pretty delightful.  
The completed candies did not disappoint and care packages have 
already been made to send to the boys at college. I sent them pictures 
from my iPhone and as expected, they requested mailing ASAP :)
This is such a wonderful recipe to use for holiday gift giving that I 
wanted to share a link to a similar recipe (recall we do not publish 
Dorie's recipes as part of this online group). Turns out that there are 
tons of similar recipes for toffee out on the web. Don't let the estimated
prep times dissuade you, there is a quite of waiting in between steps. 
And it is SO worth it. 

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/chocolate-covered-almond-toffee-bars-recipe.html