Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Pecan Powder Puffs

In my collection of recipes, I have one called "Butter Balls" which is very similar to Dorie's Pecan Powder Puffs.  I must say, however, that Dorie's recipe is better.  Why?

Dorie's recipe has a higher proportion of butter, a pinch of cinnamon, and pecans instead of walnuts.  Also, Dorie asks you to chill the dough for two hours and I'm sure that helps preserve the shape.  But really, it's all about the butter.

Another winner!  Check out Tianne of Buttercream Barbie for Dorie's recipe.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Ice Cream for Breakfast

We celebrate the first day of spring by making ice cream sundaes for breakfast!  This year I made Dorie Greenspan's vanilla ice cream and topped it with her hot fudge sauce and her caramel sauce.  Welcome spring!


Honey Brownies were this week's choice for the Tuesdays with Dorie bakers but as I've already baked those, I decided to give Dorie's Kugelhopf a try.

Kugelhopf is a very old recipe and is traditionally baked in its own special pan.  The pan is sort of high-top bundt pan--not as wide as a bundt pan and with a much narrower center hole.  I went to Cook's World yesterday, hoping to buy one.  They had 3 different pans ranging in price from $20 to $45.  I hemmed and hawed and remembered one of the TWD bakers resolution that she would not buy a pan that could only be used for one recipe.  The kugelhopf pan fits into that category so I decided to use my trusty bundt pan this time.

Kugelhopf is a cakey bread with plump raisins, and a brown, buttery crust.  Dorie's recipe is easy to follow--especially if you have a dough hook for your stand mixer!  It is necessary to allow lots of time for the bread to rise, however, as it raises for a couple of hours in a warm place, then in the refrigerator, then rests overnight in the refrigerator, then it raises again in the pan before baking.

Here it is baked and ready to be basted with butter!

And here it is, ready to be eaten on the First Day of Spring!

My first kugelhopf was beautiful and very tasty!  I just may need to buy a kugelhopf pan after all!


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Two luscious puddings

About a year an a half ago I began to bake through Dorie Greenspan's Baking from my Home to Yours.  I found the Tuesdays with Dorie blog and have been baking with them weekly.  But of course, there were some things that they baked before I joined and some things that I've baked and they haven't gotten to yet.  This month, I had already baked 4 out of 5 of the choices!  So this week, instead of baking the Citrus Current Sunshine Muffins again, I decided to go make one of Dorie's luscious puddings.  Maybe it was those Pots de Creme that I made a couple of weeks ago, but pudding seemed so very appealing.

My husband's vote was for  Real Butterscotch Pudding (with butter and real Scotch).  My preference was Split-level Pudding with chocolate ganache on the lower level and vanilla pudding one level up.  So I made both recipes!

The technique for these puddings is similar:  blend egg yolks and sugar in the food processor, add and blend cornstarch and salt, then pour in very hot milk (or a milk/cream combination), blend in butter and flavorings, then everything back in the pot to whisk over heat until it is thick (but not boiling).    Not really tricky, but just enough attention required to remind you that you are really preparing wonderful food.

And the puddings were truly beautiful to look at and wonderful to eat.  Much enjoyed by our musician friends who had dinner before the Contra Dance.

I topped the Butterscotch puddings with buttered pecans and the Split-level puddings with chocolate shavings.  Definitely not pudding from a box!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Corniest Corn Muffins (plus two bonus desserts)

We are nearly finished with our weekly winter soup nights.  They have been a terrific opportunity for me to bake for an appreciative crowd!

The Tuesdays with Dorie choice this week is for Corniest Corn Muffins, chosen by Jill of My Next Life who has waited 2 1/2 years for her turn to choose a recipe from Dorie Greenspan's Baking from My Home to Yours.  Well.  I'm thinking that we'll run out of recipes before my turn comes up, but it's nonetheless wonderful to be baking along with a community of folks from all over the place.

So I baked the corn muffins, and I assume they were yummy because there were none left when I went to take one from the basket.

I also baked Dorie's Lennox Almond Biscotti (very yummy) and a beautiful Cherry Fudge Brownie Torte.  Whoa, did that ever receive rave reviews.

A happy few days of baking.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Chocolate Pots de Creme

Chocolate!  Yay!

When I saw the March picks for the Tuesdays with Dorie crowd I was amazed to see that I have already baked 4 out of the 5 recipes!  I'm definitely closing in on baking everything in the book!

The March recipe that I had not yet made was this week's choice by Christine of Black Cat Cooking, Chocolate Pots de Creme.  As it happens, we are still in the midst of our once-a-week soup nights with about 20 guests each Monday night.  It has been a great excuse to bake, but 8 little ramekins of luscious chocolate just didn't seem enough.  I made them anyway--first 7 guests will get them (I'm having mine right now!).

Ingredients ready
Ramekins ready to take a bath

Ganache ready, eggs whisked, milk/cream coming to a boil

Happy ramekins ready to go into the oven

The Pots de Creme were easy and fun to make.  I love shaving chocolate from a big hunk of Callebaut Bitter Sweet, whisking eggs is also fun, and I'm still amazed at even the thought of boiling cream.

But in addition to the tasty Pots de Creme, I also made Dorie's Peanut Butter Torte and her Sugar cookies.  Wonderful!

Sugar Cookies
Peanut Butter Torte