Dienstag, 28. Dezember 2010

TWD - Christmas Rewind: Split-Level Pudding

And again it's rewind-time at TWD! And, again, first I am all excited that I may chose a recipe and catch up at least with one of the many recipes I missed because I joined the group too late. And, also again, I end up in complete despair because - give me options and see me panic! How can I decide for a recipe when there are so many?
I won't bother you with the different approaches I tried out to narrow the choices. Let's just say that after hours and hours and hours of reflection and deliberation I picked a recipe that was always tempting to me and one which always made me a bit sad that the group just made it directly before I started TWD: The Split-Level Pudding. It was originally due for October 6th 2009 and chosen by Garrett of Flavor of Vanilla. You can find the recipe on his page or in Dorie's book on pages 384- 385.

You may see no point why this should be a very christmasy recipe, but in fact... uhm... I guess it isn't. Except that I had not made something creamy for a long time and was longing for trying this pudding also for a long time. So it's like a little present for myself :o]

I mostly followed the directions but made some variations. Between the ganache layer and the vanilla pudding I sprinkled some chopped moisty dried plums. I added some vanilla sugar to the pudding to make it even more vanillier (I don't think this word really exists...), and some almond and rum flavour. Usually I would just use dark rum, but one of my colleagues is pregnant and I want to take the pudding to work, so, no alcohol!.

Then I topped the vanilla layer with some white chocolate ganache. In the pictures you can't really see the difference between these two layers. I merely made it to get a thicker, harder top because I wanted to sprinkle some crumbs (left-overs from the cardamom crumb cake last week) as the top-layer and thought the pudding might make them too soggy. So in the end I had a chocolate ganache-plum-vanilla-white chocolate ganache-streusel-pudding. And I loved it!
I really extremely love this one! As all puddings and cremes, it is a bit of a fuzz. Warming the cream or milk, pouring it over the eggs, slowly, slowly, than putting everything back in the pot, reheat, than again back to the bowl etc. But it's always worth it! I just think that the quantity turns out not too much. Fortunately half our office is on holiday, so I hope everybody will get one of the glasses tomorrow.

And if you haven't already - do this recipe!

Dienstag, 21. Dezember 2010

TWD: Cardamom Crumb Cake

 Phew! Feels like a little eternity since I baked along with TWD. (in fact, I had to skip only three weeks, what is not too good, but also not too long. Work, holidays, guests and life in general kept me away from the oven).

Cakes are good, and crumbs are wonderful. I likelikelike streusel! Let me choose between a dry, ordinary cake with streusel and a fancy spectacular torte with lots of cream and chocolate - and I will always choose the simple cake.

This one is easy done. I had the feeling the batter was slightly too moist, so I added a little bit more flour just before baking. But I guess it would not have been necessary.

Cardamom was not available in the supermarket next door, and it is far too much winter here in Vienna to take a walk to the next bigger one on a Saturday afternoon. So I mixed what I had and what did sound like an acceptable deviation: For the 1 1/4 teaspoons in the batter I took 1/2 TS cinnamon, 1/2 TS ginger, 1/4 TS nutmeg, a pinch of pimento and a dash of pepper.

I like this pick by Jill form Jill's Blog for its easiness, fastness and sapid taste. Although it is not the same as in the original recipe, I guess it is a good approximation and variant. Find the original recipe on Jill's page or in Dorie's book on page 38/39.

Dienstag, 23. November 2010

TWD - Applesauce Spice Bars (Thanksgiving rewind)

Give me options and see me overextended. Once I got a yes-no-coin from a friend I visited in Budapest. She was completely enervated by my unability to meet a decision (how can I decide between strawberry and blueberry yoghurt? and what about vanilla? vanilla might be fine as well. and what to drink in the morning? coffee? tea? which tea? aaaaahhhhh!!!)

At the same time, when I read "rewind" I was all "hooray, I can pick one of the many, many recipes I missed because I strated TWD so late".

So I limited the enourmous range of possibilities. And limited them further, and further, and further, until... until I recognized that I have about a million apples waiting to be eaten. So in the end it was an easy decision. I opted for the Applesauce Spice Bars, originally due for August 18, 2009. You can find the recipe in Dorie's book on pages 117 and118 or on Karen's blog, who was the first to choose this recipe for a regular TWD. Her bars look perfect, just like the picture in the book.

I made the applesauce myself, what is pretty easy (just cook the cored and peeled apples as a whole in a tiny bit of water, until they fall apart by themselves). Apple sauce is incredible, because it has very few calories and still tastes so sweet! Love it.
I ate a bit of the bar with applesauce and vanilla pudding and completely enjoyed it.

Apples and fall are a wonderful combo. But honestly spoken, I am not too sorry fall is almost over and I can for some months leave all the (wonderful, fabulous and delicious) apple-recipes behind me, and head over to some other things.

Montag, 8. November 2010

TWD: Not-Just-For-Thanksgiving Cranberry Shortbread Cake

I had no idea what a Not-Just-For-Thanksgiving Cranberry Shortbread Cake as chosen by Jessica of Singleton in the Kitchen chose for this week's TWD, should look like. So I did what every decent 21st century women does - I googled it.

Therefore I hope, what I made is pretty close to what it should look like. Anyhow, it did taste excellent, but it was not too hard to convince me, because I adore shortbread. They are really my favourite kind of cookies. Because they are sweets, but more and the fat-and-a-tad-salty taste than on the complete sweet side. And that is just my cup of tea.
The cranberries match perfectly. I am glad I didn't switch to plums - my first intention. Because it is impossible to get fresh or frozen cranberries here. Only dried ones. Dried with a heavy load of sugar. But we have something similar, lingonberry-jam, which is served with deer. So that's what I used. I know, I know, I skipped making the jam myself. But honestly, you cant' really buy fresh lingonberries, only the ready-made jam. I mixed them with some of the dried cranberries, and ended up with a good mix for the filling.

Without the jam in the middle, the cake would be a bit too dry. All in all it was pretty, pretty easy to make (uhm, maybe only because I buyed the jam...) and fast and at least one of my colleagues (and me!) loved it!

You can finde the recipe on Jessicas page or on pages 208-209 of Dorie's book

Dienstag, 2. November 2010

TWD - Peanuttiest Blondies

OMG, Tuesday's almost over and I haven't blogged and it was not because I did work so much today (unfortunately). Some other thoughts just kept my far away from the computer...
But here we go.
I adore Blondies. I did already mention it one or two times: I haven't ever seen a blondie until February this year. No joke. Never. Doens't exist aorund here. But I fell in love with them immediately once I had my first bite at Amy's Bread in Bleecker Street in the Village.

And, I also mentioned one or two times (or a million of times) that I fancy, love, adore anything peanuts and in particular peanut butter.
So, absolutely nothing could go wrong with these  Peanuttiest Blondies chosen by Nicole of Bakeologie for this week's TWD. You can find the wonderful recipe in page 119 in Dorie's book or on Nicole's page.

I used only half the chocolate chips amount, and added the rest of the peanutbutter chips I had left. For the peanutbutter I didn't use Skippy's but indian peanutbutter. It is slightly softer than the ordinary peanutbutter, but it did work out fine. I like the taste of this kind of peanutbutter slightly more, because it is a bit more natural (I guess it only pretends to be...).

These were really excellent and wonderful, and because they are so easy to make, I will definitely do them again!

Dienstag, 26. Oktober 2010

TWD - All-American, All-Delicious Apple Pie

So here we go - this is my TWD-"birthday" entry, because I started just one year ago with TWD. Emily of Sandmuffin chose the All-American, All-Delicious Apple Pie (to be found on her page or on pages 300-302 in Dorie's book) for this special week.

For me, this is a wonderful "TWD-birthday"-pick, because I love apple pies.

I made it according to the recipe but did skip the tapioka, because it is hard to get round here and I didn't wanted to by 1 kg of tapioka for using just two spoons. I used some shredded nuts instead, but maybe should have taken more or some floor or anything else that holds the filling together, because it fell apart a bit.
I also included some raisins. (I know, there are raisin-haters out there, but I like it, and I am the baker here on this blog, so, harhar, I only just do what I want :o])

The pie is pretty easy made, you just need some preparation time for the pie crust. But once you are used to it, you get a routine for doing the dough and then it is no problem.
The name of the pie is no exaggeration - it is an all delish pie, indeed! And it is a perfect fall recipe. So I guess, this is a keeper. I can even imagine it, made as minis in small soufflé forms, as part of a christmas dessert plate.
P.S.: Wow, one year of baking. Who would have thought so. And so much did happen in this year. A lot of good things, some not so good. But over all, the balance sheet is far in the blacks. And I am pretty much happy for all the wonderful things that did happen to me and the great people I met.

Freitag, 22. Oktober 2010

364 days

I just had a look when I actually started this blog. I could only remeber that it must have been shortly after my return from my Paris-stay in October. And it turned out, that I wrote the fist enry on October 23rd, so tomorrow is my first annoversary.
My first TWD entry (in fact the reason why I started the blog, and still the almost single justification for it) was written in November 4th, the Sugar-Topped Molasses Spice Cookie.

Since then, I made 43 regular TWD recipes (i.e. in time, or at least almost), about 15 rewinds and a handful of recipes from other sources. All in all, I can say on average I did bake once a week.

My reason for participating in TWD was to get some practice, because my baking abilities were really low and I wanted to improve them. Now, one year later, I am still far far away from getting a good baker. But some things turn out well, already. I can find some leitmotif in it, but it is hard to explain why I find a common ground: Cookies (especially Shortvread/Sablés), Brioche, Biscuits, Brownies/Blondies as well as Cremes/Flans and icecream turn out really well. Cheesecakes and some chocolate cakes are fine. Muffins and Cupcakes are sometimes yes, sometimes no. Tartes and Tortes are still a bit of a horror, mostly due to my unability of making a good crust.

So, for my birthday entry this weekend I will do an apple pie, and I think that's a wonderful celebration recipe.

And for my first month in my second year we head over to:

Peanuttiest Blondies - big hooray for this recipe! I adore Blondies even more than Brownies, and Peanuts are my big love
Not-Just-for Thanksgiving Cranberry Shortbread - excitement for this. "Shortbread" is only a cookie for me, but as far as I understand it, this is more of a cake. Wonder what it will be like, and where to get cranberries...
Cranberry Lime Galette - and again the cranberry problem... But the combo sounds extremely good!
Devilish Shortcakes - and again the Shortcake/Shortbread-question. But here I have a picture in the book, that gives me a hint.

There is one week missing - because for November 23 we are free to choose a fall/holiday/Thanksgiving Dorie recipe. hat a great idea! I am already considering my options...

Montag, 11. Oktober 2010

TWD - Fold-Over Pear Torte

And another fall recipe this week... This month of October is full of them for the TWD-community with the Double Apple Bundt Cake last week and the Caramel Pumpkin Pie (can't imagine this one - sounds, uhm, special...) and the All-American, All-Delicous Apple Pie to come the weeks to follow.

But let's talk about this week. Cakelaw of Laws of the Kitchen selected the Fold-Over Pear Torte. Go to her page to have a look at the recipe, if you don't own Dorie's book (pages 348 and 349). But I recommend to have a look at her page anyways, because she is one of the few non-American-TWD'ers and I always find it very interesting how non-Americans find their way to TWD, and what they choose. I think they often choose the most typical-american of all, funnily. And (more important) - she is very supportive, always kind, leaves a lot of hints, tricks and comments and bakes wonderful treats.

I like pears and fall recipes, and I extremely like this Torte. Even though I think of it more as a pie than a torte, but maybe that's a language problem. The dough is wonderful. I could eat tons of it even without filling. But why should I, when I have additionally this tasty pear-filling?

I had way to much filling, so I made some minis. Unfortunately my torte didn't turn out very photogenous.I feel always sorry for not being able to picture the baked goods I like most in a way that comes up with their taste. But taking pictures of baked goods is maybe a bit like baking itself - the more often you do it, the better you get...

Montag, 4. Oktober 2010

TWD - Double Apple Bundt Cake

It's fall! I like fall. I love fall. Fall is my time. Maybe it has something to do with my red hair and pale skin, what makes me the "autumn type". Maybe it has something to do with the possibility of wearing boots with your short skirts, what makes me always more comfortable than with ballerinas. Or maybe it is because I just love walking with a cappuccino to go in my hand through the red and brown leaves in the parks of Vienna before returning home for making a big pitcher of chai tea just for myself.

One of my favourite songs from my favourite band is about why they love their wives and girlfriends and all their freaky nuttiness that makes them even more adoreable, and one line translates to "because you love fall more than summer". I love this line! :o]

So, let's talk about this week's Tuesdays with Dorie, the Double Apple Bundt Cake, which is chosen by Lynne of Honey Muffin. You can find the recipe on her page or in Dorie's book on  pages 184 and 185.
It's a "double" apple bundt because you use apple butter and grated apples - and therefore end up with a pretty moisty, soft bundt cake.
It's easy made, has a great consistence, is full of autumn-flavour thanks to the appels and nuts (I skipped the raisins because I halfed the recipe, and it wasn't worth opening a whole pack of rasins for not even a handful of fruits).

I halved the recipe and made12 minis and really, really liked them. The right cake for the right time of the year! (see on the right side: a flying mini double apple bundt cake :o])

I joined TWD not even a year ago, so there are a lot of recipes I didn't bake with the group. With some I try to catch up. We had a birthday girl in the office, so I tried my luck with the Peanut Butter Torte. It was one of the early recipes in TWD, and it is easy to see, why: Because it is just incredible! It has a crust made of oreos, the filling is a mix of peanutbutter, salted peanuts, a bit of bittersweet chocolate and whipped cream. I love anything peanut, and peanutbutter is my nemesis, so it was easy to cinvince me of this torte. I am pretty satsified with the taste and looks of it, but the cream didn't firm completely. Therefore, it turned out more as a spoon dessert than a torte. But who cares as long as it is an oreo-peanut-peanutbutter-with-a-tad-of-bittersweet-chocolate-spoon-dessert!

Dienstag, 28. September 2010

TWD - Tarte Fine

For this week of TWD Leslie of Lethally Delicious decided on Tarte Fine - go to her page to find the recipe, or flip through Dorie's book to page 315.

Tarte Fine is a french classic - the recipe says. When I read the ingredients and this introduction, I had a certain picture in mind. A picture of a very thin tarte crust (the "fine" part in the Tarte Fine, I thought), layered with apples. Well, the second part of my guess was right, but the "crust" should be puff pastry.

Unfortunately, I am not a big fan of puff pastry. It has a lot of fat and calories for not so enormously much taste. In this respect it reminds me very much on a croissant. When I see a croissant I always ask myself why I should eat something as fat and full of calories as a muffin, but without any taste of itself (despite, maybe, the taste of butter).
That doesn not mean I never eat croissants :o]
And it does not mean I didn't try the Tarte Fine...

The second point why I am not a huge fan of puff pastry is that it's not a good keeper. I always bake on Sunday and bring the treats to work the next day, so anything puff pastry is always difficult and never a big success.

The Tarte Fine didn't taste bad, but it had the looks of a cold Pizza and wasn't a big hit around here. Maybe it didn't help I used the jam as a bottom layer between the pastry and the apples...

So. Let's just not speak too much about this tarte and start thinkig about the next apple recipe, which is just one week ahead with the Double Apple Bundt Cake to come!

PS: Don't forget to visit Leslie's page anyways! She is one of the nicest, most helpful and most awesome bakers of all these awesome TWD-ers!

PPS.: Now that I had a look at Leslie's page and some other TWD-bakers I found out what the Tarte Fine should actually look like! And as I had some puff pastry left, I just tried it out. Looks much better! Now my colleagues will have to deal with another Tarte tomorrow...

Montag, 20. September 2010

TWD Rewind - Peanut Butter Crisscrosses

I am not going to leave my link in this weeks TWD-"Leave your Link"-section because I made a catch-up. I missed the cookies Jasmine of Jasmine Cuisine  picked two weeks ago. But I adore peanut butter (and anything peanut in general) so it was no question I am going to catch up with those one day. Additionally, I do not really like coffee-taste. Funnily, very often when coffee-including recipes are scheduled for TWD I nevertheless decide to follow them - and often they turn out great.


Two weeks ago I missed the Crisscrosses because I was in Paris (no misery, I know). And this week I was a bit in a hurry, because a close friend stopped by for the week, so there was no chance I am going to do both, the cookies and the Coffee Break Muffins Rhiani of Chocoholic Anonymous picked this week. You can find the recipe on her page or in Dorie's book on page 15.
And you can follow all the honest TWD'ers who made the right recipe for this week.

I got to say that I was as sorry two weeks ago not to bake along with Jasmine, as I am this week for not going down the road with Rhiani. Both are incredible bakers and have wonderful homepages! Additionally, Jasmine is one of the few European participants and I am always surprised they often chose recipes with very typical american ingredients, just like peanut butter. Strange, isn't it?

Well. The crisscrosses turned out just as expected. Incredible. In-cre-dible! Peanuts. Butter. Peanutbutter. Perfect.
The recipe gives a whole lot od cookies, about 40-50. My colleagues really loved them, and nevertheless there were some left in the evening. But be sure, it was not the falt of the cookies, but of the quantity.

Do it again, again, and again...

Dienstag, 14. September 2010

TWD - Peach Upside Downer

Cranberries are not very common in Austria. No, that's not completely  true. In fact, something very similar  (lingonberry or cowberry or lowbush/mountain cranberry - that's what the dictionary tells me is the correct translation for- what I have in mind) is very common as jelly to accompany game. But it is almost impossible to by fresh ones, and frozen are just not available. You can have them dried or as jam. But both are not suitable for the Cranberry Upside Downer, the recipe Sabrina of Superfluous chose for this weeks TWD. (find the recipe on her page or in Dorie's book on page 206).
So I had to opt for the Playing around version of this easy and fast-made cake, the Peach Upside Downer. It is the end of the summer, but just perfect to give it a last summerly treat - so I don't regret it a tad!

I enjoyed baking this one, because it was easy made and fast, and it looks very good because the combination of yellow-peach and strawberry jam for the glaze is a pretty combo. Essentially, it did remind me very much on a Tarte Tatine in the making (except you on't have a special pan for it).

On the next day it was very humid, because of the "wetness" the peches gave the cake, but still more than good.

P.S.: Can you see the steam on the one picture? I took it just a few minutes after bringing the cake out of the oven. Looks funny, doesn't it?

Dienstag, 31. August 2010

TWD - Espresso Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

Gosh, how did that happen, it is Tuesday again!
The last days just ran through my fingers like sand... it is already afternoon and I didn't realize until now, that I haven't made my blog entry for this weeks TWD...

This week it was Donna's turn to pick a recipe, and she opted for these fabulous sablés, the Espresse Chocolate Shortbread Cookies. Shortbread, or Sablés, are really one my favourites. And I am pretty satisfied with the result.
You can have a look at the recipe at Donna's blog Lifes is too short not to eat dessert first" (cool name, isn't it), or in Dorie's book at p. 125.

When I read "coffee" in a recipe I always think "Oh no, I don't like coffee flavour". But funnily, whenever I eat sweets with coffee flavour, especially when it is only a bit of it, and combined with chocolate, I like it quite a lot. Don't ask me why. I just have this image of coffee as not very tasty in my mind, but reality always proofs me wrong.
This time it was the same. I was very tempted to try the "Playing around" version with oats, but decided to stick with the original in the very last minute.

And I am really, really happy with it. And my colleagues were, too.

[If I could only find a way to picture cookies in a better way,  I would be completely satisfied]

Sonntag, 29. August 2010

TWD September Preview

 Hooray for the September Issue!

The schedule for the weeks to come looks like that:

September 7, 2010- Jasmine of Jasmine Cuisine selected Peanut Butter Crisscrosses on page 78. 

September 14, 2010- Sabrina of Superfluous opted for Cranberry Upside-Downer on page 206.

September 21, 2010- Rhiani of Chocoholic Anonymous picked Coffee-Break Muffins  on page 15.

September 28, 2010- Leslie of Lethally Delicious decided on Tarte Fine on page 315.

The Cranberry Upside-Downer and the Tarte Fine are perfect fall-recipes. And the Tarte gives me the chance to continue my effort to bring the "me vs. tarte crust"-story to a happy end one find day.

I am completely in love with Peanutbutter in any way (and I guess with peanuts in general), and was looking at the Peanut Butter Crisscrosses a lot lot lot of times in the recent months. Unfortunately I will not be in town the next week-end. (Fortunately, I will be in Paris for some days :o])
But maybe I will manage to pre-bake them (not very probable). And if not, I will for 100% certainty do a catching up!

The Coffee-Break Muffins don't sweep me off my feet, but I didn't do muffins for a very long time, so I am really glad someone picked muffins.  And I learned during the last 10 month of TWD that it's often the underestimated recipes that turn out to become keepers and all-time faves.

Not only that I am really looking forward doing these treats, but I think we have a good variety of choices here. And, I got to say that this month some of my favourite TWD'ers were called to choose a recipe - so, no wonder they did such a good job!

Dienstag, 24. August 2010

TWD: Crunchy and Custardy Peach Tart

I was on the road almost the whole day because I had to accompany my boss to a day at a summer think-tank in the Austrian mountains. It was an exciting and interesting day, but also an exhausting one. We have been on the road for 9 hours - 4 and a half each way.

Nevertheless, and also against all the work I had to to on the weekend for preparing today's event, I made the Crunchy and Custardy Peach Tart, chosen by Rachel of sweet tarte (have a look at her page for the recipe, or flip through Dorie's book to pages 346 and 347. and left it at the office at 6:30 am, before we left from there. I am a good colleague. :o]

This tart was great, wonderful, extremely tasty! I did not arrive to get a perfect crust, but it turned out the best crust I ever made (which is not hard...). Anayways, I can live with the result, and the tart itself is almost perfect.

Funnily, the fruits didn't taste like peaches, but more like apples. Maybe I left them too long in the boiling water during blanching, maybe I cooked them too long in the oven. But who cares as long as the result tastes as perfect as it did?

Did I mention I love Streusel? Well - I do!!

Montag, 16. August 2010

TWD: Oatmeal Breakfast Bread

I don't know how it happened - but I forgot to take pictures, so - sorry for the awful pics of the rest of the rest...
For this TWD-week, Natalie of Oven Love selected Oatmeal Breakfast Bread (you can find it on page 44 in Dorie's book or on Natlie's page).

I was really looking forward to making this, because it is chocolate-free and - I know, that's not the way how to make friends in a baking group ;o] - but in summer I do not need too much chocolate. And last week was already chocolate-packed.
I made some minor changes - a bit less sugar, some more fruits (about 1/4 cup more - still more would have been even better). Used dried figues and apricots (no good idea - usually I like it more to stick with one taste. And there is good reason for...). Then I recognized my "oats" (I wanted to use spelt, what I always have at home) were not useable anymore. So I had to substitute them for 1/2 cup shredded almonds and 1/2 cup flour, what worked out.

I had to bake the bread a bit longer (about 70 mins), and then the consistency was perfect, but the crust became too crusty - for not to say, briquette-like. I am exaggerating a bit. It was still ok. But far away from perfect. What is no problem, because most of my baking is always far away from perfect. But bread is something I master a bit better than the rest, because I bake bread for a comparatively long time, so it was a bit a disappointment.

Despite the bread was ok, I am not jumping and hooraying. It is fruit bread. A good one. But still fruit bread. I think of it as a good basic recipe. I can imagine it with creamcheese and jam. But when it comes to sweet (or at least not completely savory) breads, I like brioche based recipes more.

Montag, 9. August 2010

TWD: Chocolate Ganache Ice Cream

 Icecream - I really like making icecream! It's mostly a whole mess, because you always need various pots and bowls, spoons and whisks and spatulas. And it is still a miracle for me, how something so cold as ice starts with hot dairy.

Icecream was in fact at the very beginning of my "baking" history, as I first started with reading David Lebovitz' blog when I was working in Paris. And only got to know about Dorie Greenspan through him. And as he is a genius in icecream making, I took all my guts and started trying it out myself, even though I have no ice-machine until now. But believe me, you don't need it if you follow his instructions and tips!

Therefore, I am always happy if somebody at TWD opts for  icecream, as this week Katrina of Baking and Boys did (find the recipe at her page or in Dorie's book on page 430).

The only problem is that it is not that easy for me to take good pictures, as I bring everything I do for TWD to work. Therefore, I decided to try icecream-sandwiches and make some of David Lebovitz icecream-cookies. I made almond-cookies and chocolate-chip-cookies with chunks of bitter-sweet-orange chocolate.

But the main and most important part was the icecream, the Chooclate Ganache Ice Cream - a wonderful, tasty, chocolaty icecream, smooth and full of flavour. Plus: It tasts like frozen Mousse au Chocolat. It's really worth the mess in the kitchen!

And for the sandwiches - they turned out to be a perfect side-kick!