Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Rewind! Rugelach!

This week's Tuesdays with Dorie bakers will have a party-table full of delicious baked goods to share.  I myself have been baking sooooo much the past few weeks that I hardly know where to start:  chocolate chunkers, walnut tea cakes, caramel corn (not really baking but wonderful nevertheless), bundt cakes, carrot muffins, and breads and pizzas.  I keep forgetting to take pictures before the goodies have been consumed, but here's my entry for this week:   Rugelach.

Dorie's dough is so easy to make and even easier to roll out.  I spread on a little apricot jam, and then the filling of sugar, cinnamon, currants, and shaved chocolate.  They turned out really well.  I brought some to a party at work and immediately my friend Lynne said "Who made the rugelach???"  When I confessed that I had made them she said (while holding the third cookie) that they were better than anything she had tasted in a lonnnnggg time.  When Lynne bought Rugelach in some fancy bakeries she had been sorely disappointed.  She asked for the recipe (doesn't that often happen when you share some of Dorie's treats?) which I was happy to share with the advice to buy the book.

Happy Holidays to all of my baking friends!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Cardamom Crumb Cake

I can't remember when I last used cardamom so I wasn't too optimistic that there would be any in my spice cupboard.   I found a little plastic bag labeled "cardamom" in my cupboard, but when I opened the bag and took a sniff I might as well have been sniffing a never-used plastic bag.  No fragrance whatsoever!

After a trip to the store and with a fresh bottle of cardamom in hand, I whipped up the crumbs for the cake.  I did this in the food processor and I don't recommend this method because my crumbs were way too small--more like cereal dust in the bottom of the cereal bag.

We stayed up late playing board games with visiting kids and I got up early to bake the cake.  All went well (aside from the not so pretty crumb topping).  Two family members had to hit the road early so they took their fresh-out-of-the-oven pieces on a paper plate--not the most ideal presentation.  The rest of the family ate up the remainder of the coffee cake and commented that it had "complex flavors", "It's like coffee cake but different", and "spicy but not cinnamon spicy."

Thanks to Jill of Jill's Blog for choosing this recipe for the Tuesdays with Dorie gang- - - it gave me an opportunity to add another spice to my collection!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Pineapple-Coconut Family Cake

This week's Tuesdays with Dorie pick was Apple-Coconut Family Cake--a wonderful and fairly simple cake.  This time, I decided to take Dorie's "playing around" advice and I substitutes pineapple for apples, added 1/2 cup of ground walnuts and 1/2 cup walnut pieces.  All I can say is that it was a beautiful cake and was very yummy!  My family renamed it Pina Colada Cake!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Translucent Maple Tuiles

Fragile, pretty cookies were the challenge chosen by Clivia of Bubie's Little Baker this week for the Tuesdays with Dorie bakers.  I attempted these some time ago and found them to be very fragile so I approached these with a bit of trepidation.

Making the batter is easy:  mix butter, maple syrup, and brown sugar.  Stir in a little flour.  Refrigerate.   It's the baking that is tricky.  You roll the dough into little balls about the size of a cherry and bake until lacy and golden.  Mine turned out a bit darker than I hoped, even though I reduced the time in the oven.  But I was able to get them off the cookie sheet and let them rest on a rolling pin without having them break apart!  Isn't that success?!

Chocolate Armagnac Cake--The Cake that got Dorie Fired!

This cake has a wonderful story:  on Dorie's first job as a pastry chef, she got bored making the same two items every day for several weeks.  So she decided to modify the whiskey/raisin cake by soaking cut up prunes in Armagnac.  The cake was a fantastic success--except it was not the cake that was advertised on the menu.  So Dorie was fired for "creative insubordination."  Amazing!

I've wanted to make this cake for some time and finally had an occasion--an invitation to join friends for dinner and the admonition to bake only "if it makes you happy."

I love Dorie's recipes although many require multiple steps.  I think most of her recipes are "four-bowl" recipes.  This lovely, fudgey, chocolaty cake required a whopping eight bowls but it was well worth it!

You chop the prunes, then simmer them in water. (First pot.)

When most of the water has evaporated, you pour in the cognac and light it!  Can you see the blue glow?

When the flame subsides, pour into a little bowl and allow to cool. (Second bowl--forgot to take a picture of my cute little blue pyrex bowl!)

Grind up pecans in the bowl of the Cuisinart (bowl #3) then mix with flour and salt in bowl # 4.

Melt the chocolate, butter, and a bit of water in a double boiler. (Fifth bowl.)

Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks and sugar in another bowl (that's number 6).

Stir in the chocolate mixture, then the nut mixture, and then the prunes soaked in cognac.

Beat the egg whites in bowl #7.

Fold the whites into the cake batter.

Pour the batter into the springform pan (does that count as a bowl?  I don't think so.) and bake.  Allow to cool completely.

Make the glaze in bowl number 8 and smooth it over the cake.  Beautiful and intensely delicious!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Devilish Shortcakes

This week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe is Devilish Shortcakes.  Ok, so today is Wednesday and I am officially one day late.  It's not as if I haven't been baking--in the past two weeks I've made my apple dumplings and tiny chocolate chip cookies, plus Dorie's Apple Pie Cake, Granola Grabbers, Pumpkin Muffins, Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins, and Toasted Almond Scones.  No pictures, of course, since it's been a bit hectic here and people consumed everything as it came out of the oven.

What with the contractors in the house finishing up our wood floor, and the furnace men installing a new furnace yesterday, I didn't bake yesterday.  These shortcakes seemed to call out for fresh raspberries and we had our first significant snowfall today so there just aren't fresh raspberries to be had.  There was some left over fresh pineapple from Sunday's brunch, but somehow that did not appeal.  Then I had an inspiration:  caramel.  I made Dorie's caramel sauce and we had the shortcakes with a bit of vanilla ice cream and some warm caramel drizzled over.  Lovely!