Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Fig Cake for Fall

I'm only a day late this week but I am determined to keep up with the Tuesdays with Dorie bakers as we are in the home stretch of baking through Dorie Greenspan's Baking from my home to Yours.  

This week's pick was A Fig Cake for Fall chosen by Ursala of Cookie Rookie.

I've never baked with figs.  Actually, I've never eaten figs before (unless you count Fig Newtons which I'm sure does not count!)  The recipe calls for softening the figs in a mixture of Ruby Port and honey.  So I sent my husband off to buy the port and realized that we now have quite a collection of bottles of various alcoholic beverages used only for baking, thanks to Dorie!

The batter is a very small amount of sugar, lots of butter and 3 eggs which you beat for a long time.  It looks curdled, but as she promises, it eventually improves.  The dry ingredients include cornmeal and flour, and I feared that the cake would be a bit gritty.

The cake actually turned out to be quite pretty and, as I've come to expect from Dorie's recipes, very tasty.  A good first try with figs.

Curdles galore
Keep beating--it will turn out all right!

Stirring in the dry incredients
The beautiful Fig Cake for Fall
With the rubyport/honey sauce.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Ginger Jazzed Brownies plus two catch-up cookies!

This week's Tuesday's with Dorie pick was Ginger Jazzed Brownies, chosen by Hildy of Bubie's Little Baker.  Although I had baked these in the past, I was delighted to bake them again.

The brownies are super ginger-y because they include 2 Tbsp. of fresh ginger as well as some ground ginger.  I baked these to take to the contra dance, and they were a big hit.  So much so that some dancers followed me into the kitchen in search of crumbs from the carrying box!  Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture--of the brownies or the hungry dancers!

In my effort to catch up with the other Tuesdays with Dorie bakers, and to bring enough snacks to the dance, I also made two cookie recipes that I had not yet baked:  Coconut Butter Cookies and Traditional Madeleines.

The dough for the Coconut Butter Cookies was delicious!  It had to be the lime zest, the coconut, and the ground macadamia nuts.  The dough is put into a gallon zip lock bag and then rolled out, then refrigerated.  I love this technique!  And it is so easy to slit the bag and cut the cookie dough into nice, even squares.  They spread a bit in baking, but they were delicious and much admired.
Coconut Butter Cookies

Next I baked Dorie's Traditional Madeleines.  It was great to be able to make the batter a day ahead; I did as she suggested and poured the batter into the molds and let them rest in the refrigerator overnight.  I have a silicone madeleine pan and have only used it a couple of times.  The results were interesting.  Notice that brown stripe down the center?  A little like a chipmunk!  I don't think the cookies bake evenly in the silicone pan but they are oh so fun to pop out of their molds!
Traditional Madeleines baked in a silicone pan
Madeleines close up

After baking three things with butter and eggs, it dawned on me that my son-in-law who would be playing fiddle at the dance, is experimenting with vegan eating this month.  He wouldn't be able to eat any of the goodies!  So I made a very easy Vegan cookie recipe--these, too, were devoured.  In my mind, they don't measure up to any of Dorie's recipes, but they tasted pretty good for having no butter, eggs, sugar, or flour.

Vegan oatmeal cookies
No dairy, no wheat, no sugar, but tasted fine.

Vegan Oatmeal Cookies
(Dairy, gluten, and sugar free)

Mash three ripe bananas.
Stir into the bananas:
     2 cups rolled oats
     1 cup raisins or chopped dates
     1/3 cup vegetable oil
     1 teaspoon vanilla

Allow batter to rest for 15 minutes.
Drop by teaspoonfuls onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Squish together the dough with your fingers, as needed.
Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees, or until lightly brown.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tarte Noire and French Yogurt Cake

This week's Tuesdays with Dorie pick is Dorie's wonderful Basic Biscuits chosen by Jennifer of Cooking for Comfort.  It's a great recipe and I was all set to bake the biscuits last night to go with soup that I planned to make for dinner.  But here's what happened: my husband arrived home early and hungry.  Amazingly, we had leftovers in the fridge which we heated up for a quick dinner instead of soup and biscuits.  I thought I'd bake those biscuits today.  But here's what happened:  we were going to have a meeting at our house tonight and I wanted to bake Dorie's Tarte Noire which requires the same amount of cream as the Basic Biscuits.  Cream for biscuits or cream for a tarte?  The tarte won!

The Tarte Noire is a simple Shortbread Tart Dough with a luscious chocolate ganache made from good chocolate, cream and a little bit of butter.  It mixed up wonderfully well, and behaved just as I'd hoped it would, setting up in the shell, holding it's shape, and wonderfully smooth.  I drizzled a bit of caramel sauce on top, just for fun.

The French Yogurt Cake with Marmalade Glaze was a lovely pound cake, easy to make and the lemon marmalade glaze on top was just the right touch.  Two beautiful desserts in one day!


And now a word about the biscuits:  I've made them many times.  And oh boy are they delicious!  And easy to make.  So head on over to Jennifer's blog for the recipe, or better still, run right out and by Dorie Greenspan's Baking from My Home to Yours

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Apple Muffin Nut Cake

This week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe is a lovely cake that is more like a muffin.  With apples and  pecans, it made a wonderful addition to the brunch table.  Check out Katrina's blog, Baking with the Boys, for the recipe.

Part of the end-of-summer brunch table

My contribution:  Apple Cake!