Dienstag, 27. Dezember 2011

TWD: Kids' Thumbprints

So here we are, at the very end of the book. There was obviously not much left to decide, but Dorie herself will be our host for this week - quel honneur!

She was also the person who made me start baking. I met her at a discussion at the American Library in Paris. To be honest, I was there because of David Lebovitz, in the first place. I was exhausting his blog (and his book on Paris that came out just when I was working in Paris for some month) and already a huge fan of his tips&hints, but also his recipes. I never really did bake or prepare sweets before but with David I started icecream-making (today, one of the few things I dare to say I master really well, even though I still have no ice-making machine). But when I heard Dorie at this event I was amazed by her and had to ask her for an autograph later on. And I asked her about this strange group I somewhere did read about, maybe on David's blog. She encouraged me to try baking and join the group as a good start. How could I not? She was so kind and endearing - everybody would have immediately bought the book and started baking right away!

I met her once again, because when I did visit a friend over in the States, almost two years ago, I just arrived the last day the pop-up cookie-store in NYC sold the fabulous Greenspan&Greenspan-cookies. What a treat! I came to the store, straight from the airport. Must have looked more than curious, some tired looking woman in jeans, hoodie sweater, sneakers and a huge suitcase, running down 5th avenue just do get some cookies...

I tried my best to get this recipe right, as it is "Dorie's" recipe. Unfortunately, my dough was either too crumbly or too sticky, can't decide. It was to sticky to form balls, and too crumbly to keep the balls together. However, I liked the procedure because it was very much like schnitzel-making. Germans make them a bit different, but we Viennese people take the cutlet, put it in eggwhites, and afterwards in a deep dish filled with very fine crumbs. Very similar, isn't it? It was fun doing, and the results were excellent in taste - but as so often with me, not looking the way they should. The molds didn't keep their shape, so I had barely no cookies with molds big enough to fill.
So, what I can give you are some cookies with a bit of orange marmelade and some with a bit of macadamia-cream and a lot of plain cookies. "Plain" is a slight understatement, because these fabulous cookies are made with peanutbutter - one of my all-time favourite ingredients.
Therefore, I was not dissappointed at all, although I wish I had managed to get just this last one recipe as perfect as Dorie would deserve it.

This, for sure, is the place to send out big thanks to all the people who initiated TWD, kept it alive and managed everything - a lot of work, done while having jobs, having children, having families. It is also the place to send out a lot of greetings and regards to all fellow bakers, who made such great treats week after week. And it is the place to send thanks to Dorie who gave us this amazing book, the first one with recipse I can handle! You can find the recipe for the "Kids' Thumbprints" on p. 163, or, I guess, on Dorie's page.

Hope to see you all for the new book!

Dienstag, 20. Dezember 2011

TWD-rewind: Rugelach (and Chipster-Topped Brownies)

We're on the finishing-line with the book and as there is only one recipe left (which Dorie herself did chose), we had a rewind-week. Rewind weeks are nice - on the one hand side. They give me the opportunity to catch up with one of the many, many recipe that were on the schedule long before I joined the group back in autumn 2009. But on the other side they leave you with at least one week of questions, doubt and indecisiveness. Which one is the one I really, REALLY want to try? Which one sounds the most appealing to me, is storable overnight and will please the colleagues at work?

One recipe that fulfills all the conditions are the Rugelachs, originally picked by Piggy of Piggy’s Cooking Journal for November 4, 2008. Find the recipe on her blog or in Dorie's book on p. 150-151.
I was tempted to bake them ever since I held the book in my hands for the very first time. What kept me away was the double chilling time in-between. I don't mind if recipe involve a lot of steps and need some time - as long as everything happens in one time-period. I am just too impatient to wait - even though some of my favourites are shortbread and brioche recipes.
But this time, the last rewind-week, I had to do them.

I made mine with orange marmelade, the one with large pieces of candied oranges in it. I used very finely chopped walnuts (and added some shredded nuts as well), swapped the raisins for dried cranberries and used much less chocolate (I took shaved bittersweet chocolate, the one you use for torte decooration). I had some problems rolling the dough into the right, kipferl-like shape. (Kipferl are sort of croissant in Austria. Maybe "crescents" are the most appropriate translation)
The turned out as one of the best recipes I ever made. They fulfilled every expectation and I am glad I made them "my" last pick. My colleagues were delighted, too. "One of your top-three. Ever" was one of the comments. And three people asked for the recipe. Asking for the recipe doesn't happen very often at my office and only for recipes that really, really did score well.

I also made a batch of Chipster-Topped Brownies, because I was just in the mood for. They, too, were a big hit and I am also very much in love with them. My brownies mostly turn out well, but I am unable to picture them adequately, so I spare you from ugly picture - just imagine a wonderful, soft and moisty chocolate bottom topped with a cookie dough layer with mixed in mini-chocolate- and mini-peanutbutter chips and some Reeses peanut-butter pieces. Sounds decadent? Then it sounds rigth! It was Beth of "Supplicious" who did choose this great recipe for TWD- if you are interested in the recipe, have a look at her blog or go to Dorie's book, pp 94/95.

What a great week, what great recipes!

Dienstag, 6. Dezember 2011

TWD: Honey Almond Fig Tart

I can't believe the Honey Almond Fig Tart took so long to be chosen. If I wouldn't be so timid when it comes to tart-shell-baking, I sure would have picked this recipe when it was my turn some weeks ago! Finally, Kayte of Grandma’s Kitchen Table opted for it. You can find the recipe on her blog or in Dorie's book on page 373.

Last week I made some more tart dough and put it in the freezer. Therefore I only had to make the cream this week, which comes together very quick and easy.
Figs and almonds are a wonderful combo, I think, and honey makes a perfect third part in this.

And I was not dissapointed. This is for sure one of the greatest tasting tarts I ever made. And whenever I am brave enough to try masterin tart dough, I will re-bake it!

I couldn't find any fresh figs but the florida-version presented in the "playing around"-option was not that appealing for me. So I used dried (but soft) figs and it worked out fine (even though I can imagine that fresh figs would be even more intriguing).

(Don't be misled by the pictures - the top was very dark brown, indeed, but not burnt at all!)