Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Nutty Swirly Chocolatey Sour Cream Bundt Cake

This week's Tuesdays with Dorie pick is one of my very favorite recipes from Baking.  This bundt cake is absolutely delicious and it is a delightfully sensual cake to make.

You start out by zesting an orange and then you work that zest into some sugar with your fingers.  What a lovely fragrance!  The batter is pretty easy to make; then you make a lovely crumb filling that is-for the most part-shaved chocolate, cinnamon and sugar.  After you put in about 1/3 of the batter, you sprinkle on half of the filling, then spread on the rest of the batter.

Then comes the tricky part:  Dorie wants you to make a little ditch, pour in the rest of the filling, then smoosh the batter over the filling.  My technique is to use my fingers and once I'm satisfied with the smooshing, my reward is to lick the yummy batter off my fingers!

You'll really want this recipe so check out Jennifer's blog at Cooking for Comfort.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

The pick for this week's Tuesdays with Dorie gang is the recipe for Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins.  They were suggested by Betsy of A Cup of Sweetness.  Thanks Betsy!

I baked the muffins with the intention of taking them to Dr. Tom's for brunch but Dr. Tom called to say that his furnace had gone out and brunch was cancelled!  I suppose that a true friend would have braved the foot of new snow to deliver the muffins to Dr. Tom.  However he discouraged unnecessary travel that day so I passed the muffins on to my son who was going to a birthday celebration.  The muffins were very well received and the birthday folks especially liked the very lemony frosting.  Another hit from Baking!

But what I really want to talk about is my muffin pan.  It's an aluminum Ecco pan and because these muffins are rather light in color, the uneven baking results were very noticeable.
The tops of the muffins.

The bottoms of two muffins
The bottoms of the two most dramatically different muffins.

I baked one dozen muffins, the muffin tin was on a cookie sheet, and I rotated the muffins once during the baking.  So why did they bake so unevenly?  Do I need a new pan?  Should I try silicon?  My husband suggests I use the "Convection convert" button on the oven so that the fan will come on and move the air around.  Any ideas?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Fluff-filled Chocolate Madeleines

This week the stock in madeleine pans went up as the Tuesdays with Dorie crowd attempted Fluff-filled Chocolate Madeleines, chosen by Margot of Effort to Deliciousness.

My wonderful son gave me a silicon madeleine pan for Christmas and boy is it slick (literally!)  It's bright red and floppy which just doesn't seem right for a baking pan but I have to admit that those madeleines popped right out.  It was really fun to turn the pan over, give each little mold a push, and see the madeleine drop out without any stickiness.

Using the new pan wasn't the only bit of fun in making this recipe, however.  The dough was easy to make, they baked up just fine (although I wasn't as careful as I might have been on keeping them uniform in size), and as I already mentioned--but it's worth mentioning again--they popped out of the silicon pan very easily.

Then came the fluff.  I cannot remember ever having bought or used marshmallow fluff, so opening the container was intriguing.  The idea is to put the fluff in a pastry bag and, using the tip, poke a little hole in the madeleine.  Then you squirt a bit of fluff into the center of the madeleine.  Well.  I found a metal tip but apparently I gave all of  my pastry bags to my step-daughter when she expressed interest in decorating sugar cookies.  I decided to use a strong plastic bag as a pastry bag, but soon learned why pastry bags are superior:  they don't split apart.  Plastic bags split apart.

So I ended up poking a hole in the madeleine, then squishing in some fluff and pushing it down with the tip of a grapefruit knife.  It sort of worked.

Then I dipped the madeleines in the wonderful chocolate ganache and put them in the refrigerator to set.

The fluff goes into the bag.

Sppppllllit!!  The fluff goes out of the bag!

New tools

Poking a hole

Smooshing in the fluff

All fluffed up madeleines!

Chocolate for the ganache

The yummy finished madeleines!

Dorie says you can add a squiggle of fluff on top for decoration but given the state of my decorating "tools", that was out of the question.  Even without the squiggles, however deliciousness achieved!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Midnight Crackles

It's great to start the new year with chocolate!  Along with the Tuesday with Dorie gang, I baked Midnight Crackles--crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.

I also baked Cocoa-Nana Bread this week.

And I updated my tally of recipes made from Dorie's Baking book and I have completed 139 delicious recipes--that's 66% of the book!  I probably would have done even more but I keep rebaking some of my favorites.  Will I be able to finish every recipe in the book this year?   What a delicious goal!