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!

Montag, 2. August 2010

TWD: Gingered Carrot Cookies (and TWD-catch-up: Chewy Chunky Blondies)

It's the last day of my holidays. I spent some days in Riga and some in Frankfurt, visiting a friend, and today I had a final day off back in Vienna, which I love, because it gives you the possibility to come back, wash your cloths, have a final day of relaxation. And to do your baking "duties".

So I am going to make it short and simple, what is even the easier, as the Gingered Carrot Cookies, chosen by Natalia of gatti fili e farina where really easy to make (find the recipe at her page in case you don't have Dorie's book). They came together faster than fast, they baked much faster than the recipe said (about 10 mins for the first rack and the later batches even faster). And they are oh-my-gosh-good!

Natalia is one of the few Europeans partcipating in TWD and I got some helpful and great tips and hints from her about how to adapt the recipes to European conditions - thanks a lot! I am always wondering how other Europeans made it their way to TWD and I am always curipus to see what my "fellows" are choosing.

Carrots and ginger might not sound like a summer recipe, but they are indeed! Now that I tasted them I even think they are a pretty good pick for summer, because they have no chocolate and are a mix between sweet and savory.
Love them!

I will make an even quicker catch up for last week's recipe, the Chewy Chunky Blondies. I was on the road last week but I pre-made them, not at least because I adore Blondies - I even like them more than Brownies. Can you believe that you can't get Blondies round here? I have so far never seen them in Austria, Germany or France where I spent most of the last years. And I ate my first Blondie in February in NYC. Really. Not kidding.

Those were just great and I will have do re-do and re-do and re-do them again and again. My collleagues loved them. I adored them. So, thanks a lot to Nicole of Cookies on Friday for chosing them - I didn't post them in time, but I baked along with you!