Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Citrus-Currant Sunshine Muffins

I have now made nearly all of Dorie's muffin recipes and the word that I use most frequently to describe them is YUMMY! These are yummy, tender, and with fresh squeezed orange juice, they have a lovely orangey flavor. I took them to Tom's for brunch and when I commented that I was nearly done with the muffin and scone recipes he said, "Good! Now you can start over again!"

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Chocolate Banded Ice Cream Torte

Today is Pete's birthday! When he was little, he often requested an ice cream cake for his summer birthday celebration. This year I made Dorie's Chocolate Banded Ice Cream Torte. Dorie says that it's not that hard to make (she's right), and doesn't take much time (she's right) but that there's a lot of waiting time in between steps (she's right!). Once you make the chocolate cream and the raspberry ice cream, you spread on a layer and then have to firm it up in the freezer before adding the next layer. After the five layers are done, you must freeze the whole thing for 6 hours! I made this yesterday and we enjoyed it today. Very yummy! And very tempting to make it again and play around with different flavors of ice cream. Even two different ice creams. And decorations on the top. The possibilities are endless!

Rum-Drenched Vanilla Cakes

True confessions: I did not bake these cakes this week BUT I did make them in January. I write notes all over my cookbook, Baking from my Home to Yours, and I have a very clear memory of these delicious cakes.

This was the first time I ever worked with a vanilla bean and it was fun to scrape out the insides. This was also the first time I ever poked holes into a cake and poured rum over it. This was also fun. I fretted, though, because I thought the rum flavor might be overpowering. It wasn't overpowering, it was just right.

I served these at one of our soup nights and everybody loved them. In the picture, they are hiding off on the side, near the cookies.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Cherry Rhubarb Cobbler

My personal goal is to finish baking through Dorie's Baking from My Home to Yours by then end of this year. That means baking about 3 things a week and obviously, giving most of it away so as to keep from gaining tons of weight!

I really am trying to pay attention to the seasonal fruit and when the farmer at the local farm market said that this was the last week for rhubarb, I knew I had to make the last rhubarb dish. It's the Cherry Rhubarb Cobbler, and fortunately, local cherries were abundant this week. I did have to buy a cherry pitter and I can definitely recommend the OXO.

This cobbler is a mixture of cherries (pitted and cut in half) and rhubarb topped with little balls of dough. The dough is half white flour and half whole wheat, giving the illusion of being sort of healthy. The real secret ingredient, however, is a half teaspoon of ginger mixed into the fruit.

Very tasty with a dollop of whipped cream!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Dressy Chocolate Loaf Cake

If it hadn't been this week's Tuesdays with Dorie pick, I probably wouldn't have baked this cake today simply because the weather is sooooo hot and humid. But it is a quick and lovely cake. Since some folks said that their batter baked up over the rim of the loaf pan, I took preventative measures and used some of the batter to make two little ramekins of cake.

The cake, once cooled, is sliced into three layers and raspberry jam is spread between the layers. The frosting is an easy melted chocolate and sour cream frosting. The perspective is a little off in the picture: the little cakes are cupcake sized and the loaf is 9x5.

We ate one of the little cakes tonight, but the loaf is in the freezer to save for another time. Couldn't eat everything, as I also baked Dorie's Cherry Rhubarb Cobbler today!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Raisin Swirl Bread

I haven't bought a loaf of bread in years, thanks to our bread machine. It was fun to make bread "from scratch" sans bread machine for this week's Tuesdays with Dorie pick: Raisin Swirl Bread.

This recipe isn't hard, but it is time consuming. It's a soft dough and after it has risen the first time, Dorie says to wrap it in saran wrap and put it in the freezer for 30 minutes to make it easier to roll out. I wonder if that stops the yeast from working? At any rate, the dough stayed put while I rolled it out. Then there's the smearing of butter and the sprinkling of cinnamon and sugar and then the second rise, followed by baking it for 20 minutes, adding a foil tent and baking it some more.

The resulting loaf was delicious!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Strawberry Rhubarb Double Crisp

I've never cooked or baked with rhubarb so this recipe was something new!

It's called Double Crisp because half of the crumble mixture is patted into the bottom of the dish and the other half crumbled on top. I used rhubarb from the CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) that we joined this year and local strawberries. This dessert was lovely to look at and delicious to eat. The rhubarb added a bit of tang without being sharp or bitter. And it was soft, not crunchy like some I've tasted.

Terrific warm with vanilla ice cream.

And there's a little left over for breakfast tomorrow!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Coffee Break Muffins

I made these early in the morning to take to the weekly brunch, but-----shortly after they came out of the oven, I had a call from the Museum telling me they were in a real bind and asking me to extend my work hours today. So instead of going to brunch, I taught three lessons back-to-back and didn't get home till nearly 3.

Tasted these muffins and they are tender and have a lovely aroma. The coffee flavor is, however, stronger than I like. Not surprising, since I don't drink coffee!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Tender Shortcakes

Just when the strawberries are coming in, I have the happy pleasure of making Tender Shortcakes, this week's Tuesdays with Dorie pick. Quick to put together, lovely to eat, I served these with strawberries, whipped cream, and a drizzle of raspberry coulis. How great is summer?!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

White Chocolate Brownies

Any recipe with the word "brownies" in it is likely to be a favorite. This week's Tuesdays with Dorie pick is White Chocolate Brownies. But these aren't ordinary brownies.

This recipe is a "4 bowl" recipe because you have to grind almonds in the food processor, work 2 teaspoons of orange zest into sugar (using your fingers of course), and melt 4 oz of Ghirardelli White Chocolate and a stick of butter in a double boiler. You beat the eggs into the sugar, add the white chocolate and butter, stir in vanilla, and the flour/ground walnut mixture. I poured the batter into a prepared pan and was a bit skeptical because it was thinner than most brownie batters. I sprinkled on some raspberries and then prepared the meringue (another bowl!).

I spread the meringue on top and then baked. Fortunately, I had looked at some of the comments by other TWD bakers and they all said that they had to bake this quite a bit longer than the 30-35 minutes. I pulled mine out after 48 minutes.

I let them cool completely and served with a raspberry coulis. They were beautiful, elegant, and flavorful. The strong berry flavor was in perfect contrast to the sweetness of the meringue and the subtle flavor of the "brownie" base.

I wouldn't call these brownies, however. I couldn't really taste the white chocolate and the texture of the base was neither cakey nor fudgy. My friends who ate these thought they were fabulous, no matter what we called them!