Monday, February 21, 2011

Toasted Almond Scones

I frequently enjoy brunch with a diverse group of friends:  a retired botanist who plays backwards checkers, an English Country Dance caller who raises chickens, a photographer who recently returned from Budapest, a pie-making opera lover, and various other friends and travelers.  It's a pleasure to contribute to the feast each week---and if I am unable to attend, my host laments "I haven't had a decent scone in weeks!"

This week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe for Toasted Almond Scones was suggested by Mike of Living Out West.  and was greatly appreciated by my brunch bunch.  Thanks Dorie!  Thanks Mike!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Chocolate Oatmeal Drops

We had friends over for soup, bread, and delicious desserts last night.  I baked the Chocolate Oatmeal Drops, some peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, and Dorie's Mint Cream Puff Ring with some extra cream puffs with the leftover batter.  Beautiful!

Three tiers of treats and that gorgeous cream puff ring.

And the soups:  Roasted Beet & Lentil and Cream of Spinach.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Bourbon Bread Pudding

"Cognac" Bread Pudding
With the exception of an occasional half glass of wine with dinner, I only use alcohol in cooking.  We keep a collection of bottles--madeira, marsala, rum, etc., etc.   This week's Tuesday with Dorie delight is Bourbon Bread Pudding and as I've made it before, I assumed that I had some bourbon in the cupboard.

I made bread ahead of time, cut it up to stale it, started whisking the eggs and sugar, started to heat the milk and cream and then. . . reached for the bourbon.   None!  And I'm so unfamiliar with various alcoholic beverages that I had no idea what to use as a substitute.  I called my husband and his suggestion was cognac!  (Which we had on hand to make M. Jacque' Armagnac Chicken from Around My French Table).

The result was fantastic!  One of our guests exclaimed "I'm in heaven!"  A definite success.

P.S.  I had the luxury of spending most of the day in the kitchen yesterday:  made yogurt, made croutons from stale bread, made two loaves of French Bread, made the Cognac Bread Pudding, Made Dorie's Cocoa Almond Meringues,  helped my husband make Dorie's Provencal Vegetable Soup, and made pesto to garnish the soup.  Happily, our 20 "Soup Night" guests loved everything--a happy day!

In the midst of all the cooking. . . . 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Great Grains Muffins

This week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe is the wonderful Great Grains Muffins.  I really wanted to make these because the last muffins I made with my old muffin tin were very unevenly baked on the bottom.

I bought a new, fancy-dance muffin tin (for $25!) with high expectations.  It is a "professional" muffin tin, with a dark non-stick surface.  The helpful salesperson at Cook's World recommended that I adjust the oven down 25 degrees.  So I did that, and here are the results:

The tops of the muffins

The bottoms of the muffins

My brunch buddies thought the muffins were some of the best I ever made, however I am perplexed by the uneven baking.  I rotated the pan halfway through baking.  The muffin tin was on a baking sheet. 

My next experiment will be to use the convection feature on the oven to see if a fan makes a difference.  Any other suggestions?