Donnerstag, 17. April 2014

TWD: Cantuccini


Oh no, I forgot to post! No baking for some weeks (lenten season...), and than I forget to document what I made...
Anyways. Cantuccini are really great and I love baking them as much as eating them. They are part of what I call "dry things", I am best at baking. Don't know why. But cookies, shortbread (I know, they are fat, but somehow also dry), bread and so on come easy to me. Not like cream-rich, chocolate loaded sweets. Maybe because I also like them more in taste.

However, I regularily do pistacchio-cranberry cantuccini, but I also liked these. They were more than fast and easy in the making and turned out great. Everybody at the office loved them, even those people who are not very crazy about nuts. I exchange the almonds for pine nuts because I had to get rid of some left-overs. But cantuccini are great with any kind of nuts, I guess.

For the recipe, have a look at pp. 313-314 in the book by Dorie Greenspan! And, as always, don't forget to step by all the other gifted bakers in the group to see what they made of it.

Dienstag, 18. März 2014

TWD: Mocha Brownie Cake

This is one of a great cake! It's not really what I would call a brownie - but it is an excellent chocolate cake. With a fabulous decadent chocolate ganache/glaze.

It is plain and simple in one way (because it is nothing more than a chocolate cake with chocolate cream), and sublime and oppulent in another (because it has three cake layers and the ganache/glaze is very rich). However you want to see it - the Mocha Brownie Cake is awesome!

Baking time was just like the recipe says. The cake and the cream are simple in the making. The only tricky point may be when you cut the cake in layers. Using a cake leveler helps a lot in this respect :-)




 


I made one normal cake but had more batter than needed (my mold is smaller then the recipe calls for) - therefore I also made a small heart-shaped cake with only one ganache-layer and some minis (baked in mini guglhupf molds) with a jam layer in the middle.
Not exactly what the recipe calles for, but great :-) With the jam it comes very close to Sacher Torte in its taste, a Viennese classic.

I can only recommend doing this one! It is far more simple than I thought it would be and the ganache/glaze really works fine! For the recipe, have a look on pp. 282/283 in the book by Dorie Greenspan. And step by the TWD group to see what the other bakers created this week!

Dienstag, 25. Februar 2014

TWD: Buttermilk Scones


Scones are one of my favourite kind of baking-goods. I am really no gifted baker (although I practice since more than four years now. Four years! Unbelievable!). But I guess I have a bit of a "biscuit hand", what applies, I believe, also to scones. The bad I am at mastering cakes with creams and tartes, the better I am when it comes to "dry" things like shortbread, breakfast treats or easy-fast recipes like brownies. And cheesecakes. But that's another story, I am deviating, sorry. This should be about the fabulous Buttermilk Scones, and not about me :-)

So, Buttermilk Scones are a fast and easy recipe as most scones are. I like the buttermilk flavour and consider this to be on my top-3-scones recipe list. The basic dough can be combined with almost everything that goes with scones, I guess. I gave dried apricots a try (one of my all-time-favourite ingredients for scones). Baking time was a bit longer, more like 17 mins. And I didn't glaze them as I don't like them too much on the sweet side.

If you like scones - do them! They are as fast and easy that you can even do them before Sunday breakfast and end up with a wonderful treat in the morning.

For the recipe, have a look at Dorie Greenspan's book. And to see what the rest of the TWD-group made out of this simple, basic but nevertheless delicious recipe, visit the blog!

Dienstag, 18. Februar 2014

TWD. Chocolate Mascarpone Cheesecake

I adore cheesecakes, but am not such a huge fan of chocolate cheesecakes - maybe because I am not a big chocolate-lover in general. I always doubt that chocolate makes the sublime, wonderful taste of a cheesecake better. No need for improvement , in my view!

But I was willing to give this a try. What I do like is that is fast in the making, compared to other cheesecakes. There is no crust, so no pre-baking. Just cookie-crumbling, that's it.
Chilling is a bit longer and I doubt that leaving the cake in the fridge for more than one day (what I had to do) is good for the cookie bottom. It gets soggy.

The Chocolate Mascarpone Cheesecake is what it sounds like - a very rich, chocolatey cheesecake.
Next time, I would prefer to do the basic receipe without the chocolate part, but I am sure this is my personal trouble with chocolate ;-)

For everybody else I can just recommend to give it a try - it is fast, it is delicious, and the creamcheese/mascarpone-combo is heavenly!

For the recipe, have a look at Dorie Greenspans book on pp. 256-258 and to find out how other bakers liked the recipe, and what wonderful creations they made of it, see the "Leave your link" section on our TWD-group blog.

Update: ALL my colleagues LOVED this one. All. No exception. So, forget everything I sad about it and just do it, try it, enjoy it and ignore me chocolate-grinch :-)

Dienstag, 28. Januar 2014

TWD: Vanilla Chiffon Roll

I like chiffon rolls, I like vanilla - I like these Vanilla Chiffon Rolls.
Usually, I guess I would do them with a jam-layer instead of a chocolate-nut-mousse, but why not try something else?

I had so much dough, my cake turned out too high. So I cut the cake in two layers and made two rolls. Like that, I had enough mousse for my taste but less than in the picture in the book.

Baking time was much longer but maybe I used a too small baking pan and the longer baking time was due to the height of the cake. Anyhow, I had no troubles handling the cake.

It is a bit time-consuming, but you can prepare the mousse and cake in advance.

I can imagine to use the cake dough for other variations as well. The mousse might not be my favourite, but I am no chocolate fan in general, so I don't blame the mousse. :-)

For the recipe have a look at Dorie Greenspans book on pp. 277-279 - and to see how beautiful this recipe can turn out when more experienced and better bakers do it, have a look at the TWD-group-page!


Dienstag, 14. Januar 2014

TWD: Country Bread

Oh, long time no baking... I missed the re-wind but now I am back on track!

To make it short: This Country Bread is good, but I am not sure if it is worth the procedure. It is really not difficult at all - but it needs three rising/resting periods and is thereby in my view more time consuming than many other breads.

I like the taste but would definitely recommend to use a bit more salt and/or spices. Like that, it is a bit odd.What is excellent is the dense crust, if you like that.

I tried to put a small braid around the loaf but it did not really work out :-)

For the recipe, have a look at pp. 136/137 in Dorie Greenspans book

Dienstag, 17. Dezember 2013

TWD: Ginger Snaps (and the annual Amnesty Cookies)


The dough for these Ginger Snaps is definitely on the sticky side and it is a bit tricky to cut them out and place them on the sheets. Therefore, a thicker rolled out dough is no bad idea.
Baking time was longer than the recipe says (about 10 mins). Like that, they quickly turned out very cracky. But otherwise it would not have been possible to transfer them on a cooling rack.

I made stars and flowers, but the figure "ran out". So, as so often, they don't look pretty at all. I sprinkled them with some anis flavoured pearls in pink and white and like that liked still liked the look. Taste was fine (I used some more ginger) and I am pretty ok with them. They don't look like Ginger Snaps I know from american food stores - next time I would make thicker figures, definietly.

Usually I do Amnesty Cookies (or Composte Cookies or Kitchen Sink Cookies, whatever you like to call them) around New Years Eve. But this year I will be in Hamburg for some days, so I had to do them now. I do this since I started baking four years ago because I like the idea of "pardoning" everything you find in the closet left over. I stole the idea from David Lebovitz (who links to Amateur Gourmets blog entry on Momofukus Composte Cookies . This year I used "Mikado" (chocolate coated biscuit-sticks, I used white chocolate), gummy bears and for the salted treat chips flavoured with pumpkin-seed oil (a very dark, almost black but still green oil with a very special tastem not at all like pumpkin itself - very common in some parts of Austria). The chips do not taste a lot like the oil but are green. All together, these turned out pretty good, I liked this years version a lot and so tdid my colleagues!

Dienstag, 3. Dezember 2013

TWD: Challah

I like those slightly sweet breads, may they be called challah, brioche or striezel. I knoq, they're not exactly the same, but after all you end up with a soft, buttery white bread that goes well with savory as well as sweet spreads. I know Challah only from a very popular restaurant/cafe in Vienna that is highly inspired by the jewish kitchen. While I'm not a big fan of the restaurant itself (snobbish staff and pricey), I highly value their food. So I was curious if I would manage to do the Challah at least a bit like they do it.

I was slightly irritated that it should be sprinkled with caraway or sesame. I am no expert on challah, but the above mentioned café serves it as "sweet breakfast" with jam. And there is sugar and honey in the dough. So: Caraway?

I made half the recipe and ended up with two braids (and a mini-pretzel :-). So I made one with caraway and the other one as I thought it should be - with coarse sugar on top like a striezel, or like the Pulla we made last year at almost the same time.

The recipe itself is very easy and besides the rising times done very fast. You can do it in half a day. Taste was great - the savory one and the sweet one!

Unfortunately I read the P&Q-section too late. I have no idea of jewish kitchen-laws. But I read that it is unusual to do Challah with butter because dairies and meat should not be combined in a meal. I guess it would have been easy to use oil or another non-dairy fat instead next time (but what about the milk?). The two times a year when I bake a traditonal jewish recipe it should be as close to the original as possible ;-)

Dienstag, 19. November 2013

TWD: Double Chocolate Cookies

This cookie-recipe was unfamiliar for me. You have to beat the eggs and sugar and fold in the dry ingredients into the thick batter. But the batter is extremely tasty and the cookies worked out fine! It gets really dense while chilling, so you can easily spoon it on the baking sheets.

I also used some white chocolate just because I had leftovers - and therefore ended up with "triple" chocolate cookies.

Maybe I should have chilled the dough a bit longer (mine was in the fridge for about four hours) because I had to bake the cookies  a bit longer and they cracked as usually cookies do - despite the recipe says they won't. They also didn't firm completely but kept a chewy texture.

But they did taste great and for are really, really great chocolate cookies!

For the recipe for Double Chocolate Cookies, buy the book by Dorie Greenspan and have a look at pp. 329/330!

Dienstag, 5. November 2013

TWD: Pumpernickel Loaves


I finally followed the recommendation of some of my fellow bakers and watched the video before doing this recipe. Therefore, I already knew that these loaves do not at all look like the Pumpernickel I know.

I used to study and work for some years in Münster, Germany. In this region (Westfalen) Pumpernickel is a specialty. Regional cookbooks even feature some desserts made with it and many people visiting relatives or friends abroad bring Pumpernickl as a gift. The bread looks more like whole-grain bread, see for example here.

Fortunately I knew how this recipe should look like (and how it should be shaped! I would have never understood just by reading the recipe!), so I was not surprised. I made half the recipe and it turned out in one loaf and three small rolls. It is not too difficult and you need no kitchen machine to do it, just some rising and kneading. You can do it in one day, as it needs only two, not too long rising periods and some resting time.

This bread is not one of my favourites. I guess I don't particularily like the chocolate in it, although it is not too dominant. Maybe I didn't use enough spices, too. Or maybe it is because I am a big fan of the Pumpernickel as I know it.

So, as soon as the bread was at room temperature, I made crumbs from two rolls and used them for a pumpernickel-chocoalte topping on an apple crisp. This was definitely the best use for it, in my view. :-)