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. :-)

Dienstag, 15. Oktober 2013

TWD: Danish Braid - Prune Version

To make it short: I love this recipe!

It needs some preparation due to chilling and rising time, but besides that it is not too difficult and offers a lot of possibilities for variation.

I am not a big lover of Danish and things like that usually, because at work they serve for every meeting before 17 pm "Plunder" what comes very close to Danish. They are mostly prebaked in large factories and only re"heated" shortly before the meetings, they are always the same, odd and not a bit crunchy or flaky.

The more I liked these self-made braid.

I opted for a plum version od the Danish Braid with confectioners cream, infused with some almond extract. The cream stayed liquid, unfortunately, but I somehow managed to spread some over the prune-jam. I skipped the glaze because I don't like coffee-glaze but I don't think it makes a big difference.

I made two smaller braids, one was not width enough so the stripes didn't close / opened up during baking. While it doesn't look that nice it still tastes the same (=great!) The second turned out pretty good, I think. At least I am happy with it :-)

For the recipe, have a look at Dorie Greenspan's book on p. 205. And to find out about all the other (and for sure prettier) versions of the braid with different fillings, head over to the TWD-group!

Dienstag, 1. Oktober 2013

TWD: X-Cookies

I'm not a native english speaker, so the recipes we bake are sometimes challenging for me. Although I learned a lot during these past years of baking I still have troubles sometimes figuring out what the author wants to tell me. And while I claim to be as good a non-native can be when it comes to speak about politics, economy or football - I still have serious troubles in understanding the directions for shaping a dough. In this respect, while the recipe itself for the X-Cookies was no that difficult, this recipe was not made for me. Seriously, up to now I have no idea what I should have done with the dough and the filling.

Therefore (and because I am kind of clumsy anyways and shaping a dough nicely is not one of my strenght), at some point I decided to forget about X-es and do what I can: shape filled logs and cut them in rugelach-style.

I'm sorry I didn't even nearly do what I should have done, but I really didn't get it.

So, see here my version of X-cookies, the rugelach-way.

Oh, before I forget it: cookies and filling are excellent! A bit christmas-ish, already, with the figs, nuts, cinnamon and chocolate, but really excellent!

For the recipe, have a look at p. 318 in Dorie Greenspan's book "Baking with Julia". And to find out, what X-Cookies really should look like, turn to the other bakers blogs!

Dienstag, 17. September 2013

TWD: Espresso Profiteroles

I was not convinced about doing this recipe, as I really do not like Profiteroles or anything alike. There are some other german names for sweets made of the same batter: Windbeutel, Brandteigkrapfen or Liebesknochen (the latter have a different form but the same batter and filling) - and I like none of them. But one of my colleagues occassionally mentioned the she loves profiteroles, even the more when they are plain, unfilled and already one day old.

Well, I might not like profiteroles but I like experiments, so I made the recipe.

Doing it was a mess. I had the feeling the batter was way too liquid. I was not able to place it on the baking sheet as I thought I should. The batter made small "lakes" on the sheet. Unfortunately, I put the first sheet in the oven and decided to make some modification before waiting how this first sheet turned out. And while there was already almost one cup more flour included in the batter, the "lakes" started to firm and puff...

Anyhow, the second and third sheet were much easier to handel. I was able to make small "mountains" that did hold. But in the end, the profiteroles tunred out more in the shape of cookies and did not really puff or fall down again when I took them out the oven. I guess the excessive flour made the dough too heavy.

However, I brought them to work and my profiteroles-loving colleague enjoyed them. As most of them did not puff (in the pictures you see the only three or four that turned out fine) I did not cut and fill them but put some chocolate and vanilla pudding besides.

If you like profiteroles in general then for sure these Espresso Profiteroles are an excellent option. And - in the end they are easy and fast in the making, once you find out how it works and as long as you trust the recipe :-]
Therefore, have a look at p. 411 in Dorie Greenspan's book and/or see how the recipe turned out for the other bakers of the TWD-group!

Dienstag, 3. September 2013

TWD: Sweet Berry (and Plum) Fougasse

I really love fougasse - although up to now I only knew the original version, mostly with olives. The original is a very common bread in France, baked in a stone baking oven, coming originally from southern France. I ate about 3 tons when I lived in Paris for some months. Ok, slight exaggeration. Slight.

I made only quarter a recipe and as I hace now idea what pattern the recipe speaks about I should shape, I just made rounds and cut triangles. For half the dough I used raspberries and for the other half I used plums as the berry season is already almost over in Austria and plums are everywhere.

I made a bit more of the Streusel just because I like it but the amount in the recipe would be just as well.

In the end, you need some preparation as the dough has tweo (short) rising periods but needs at least 24 hours of chilling. But besides that, the Sweet Berry Fougasse is easy and made fast.

I can also imagine other fruits very well, as maybe a strawberry/rhubarb combo, because I know a very similar recipe (sometimes completed with a bit of vanilla pudding between the dough and the fruit), called Datschi.

For the recipe, buy Dorie Greenspans book and have a look at p. 194.

PS.: This week, we had the choice between this recipe and Blueberry Muffins. As I made the Blueberry Orange Muffins from our first TWD-book "Baking: From my home to yours" just a few weeks ago, and the recipe was more than great, I opted for the Fougasse because seriously, no Blueberry Muffin can be better then these: 

Dienstag, 20. August 2013

TWD: Johnny Cake Cobbler

I like Cobblers of any style. Despite I have no idea, why this one is called "Johnny Cake" Cobbler (is a Johnny Cake something I should know? As so often I am just desperate when it comes to american baking knowledge) - in the end i don't mind because I liked it.

It is easy in the making, as all cobblers, and great in taste, just the right mix between fruit and dough. I went almost exactly with the recipe (used only peaches, no plums) and made four individual cobblers in soufflé molds. They were served with some mango sorbet leftovers (not in the pictures, sorry).

Do it! It's great!
For the recipe, have a look at p. 389 in Dorie Greenspans book.

Dienstag, 6. August 2013

TWD: Eastern Mediterranean Pizza

 Great Pizza, easy dough!

The base for this pizza is a pita bread. For a yeasted bread I thought it's relatively easy to handle, two rising/resting periods not more. That's ok.

The Eastern Mediterranean Pizza comes with a tomato topping, some pine nuts and a lot of spices. I added some goat cheese, omitted the lamb (no meat in this house) and gave it some zucchini instead.

I made half the recipe and ended up with for smaller pizzas, just enough for four people for a soccer-
watching-snack. I had some dough-leftovers which I mixed up wit fresh spices and made plain mini-pitas from it (sorry, no pictures). Both - the pizza and the pitas - were really great in taste, even the day after.

Baking time was a bit longer than in the recipe, but maybe the 7,8 mins in the recipe would have even been enough.

To find out about the reciep, have a look at Dorie Greenspans book on p. 156!

Dienstag, 16. Juli 2013

TWD: Summer Vegetable Tart

I'm not sure if this counts as a TWD-post because I made so many changes to this "tart", it actually turned out another recipe.

Two problems arose: First, you can't keep this tart. I always bake Sunday and bring my baking goods to work Monday, so this was a problem. And it seemed to be very difficult to make smaller tartes as the dough is not that easy to handle.
Secondly, for me the vegetables in the recipe are no summer vegetables in any way. Maybe I am living in the wrong part of the world, but peppersweets are never in season round here and mushrooms are more associated with autumn in Vienna.
Oh, and a third problem: I really had no idea what the directions for dough treatment ment. As there is no picture of the tart I was absolutely  blank what the recipe wanted me to do. So I had to do a lot of improvisation.

I decided to make nests - my first try. I took smaller pieces of the dough and arranged them randomly in muffin pans. Next time, I learned, I would reverse the pans and put the dough around the "outside" to make sure it is through all the way and not only at the edges.

I filled the nests with a zucchini-tomato mix with a lot of fresh spices and "braid cheese", a very salted version of goat cheese (think dense salted haloumi in very small strips, arranged to a braid).

Like that, I liked it a lot. I served it with some spinach salad (with green beans and dried tomatoes), what made it a perfect summer dinner.

But, as I said at the beginning, I am really not sure this counts as TWD...

If you want to find out what the other bakers did (I do! I am really curiuos what it SHOULD have looked like!) go to the TWD-page. And if you are interested in the original recipe of the Summer Vegetable Tart, just have a look in the book by Dorie Greenspan on  page 436.

Sonntag, 7. Juli 2013

TWD: Baked Yogurt Tart

I am late, sooo late. It's Sunday and the tart was due on Tuesday. Honestly, as I always bake on Sundays, I am late one week. Sorry for that.
But here it is. One ordinary tart and some tartelettes, one in a heart-shaped mold. Like that, I culd use all the filling.

The filling is a yogurt mix, what means it has a comparatively low calories level. The recipe asks for non-fat yogurt what did surprise me, because usually dessert recipes ask for fat as a taste-means. And there is no butter in it. So, except for the sugar (with 3/4 c also not too much), there are no calories or fat in it.

If you are looking for a recipe that does not interfere with your bikini-figure this ia a perfect option!

I gave some lemon zest to the filling, but it made no difference in the end. I used blueberries because I really think they are best for all things baked, and gave some toasted coconut shreddes instead of the nuts on the tart. For decoration i Used red currants and made little starts from left-over tart dough.

The filling is really easy, easy, easier. If you have a pre-baked crust in the freezer or at least a ready made dough the tart itself will be ready very quickly!

For my part, I like the taste. But I have to say that I am a big yogurt lover! I prefer frozen yogurt over icecram not for diet-reasons but for the taste. And in summer I could live from yogurt and berries. But I am not sure of other people like the taste just like me. Additionally, the look tricks  you a bit because you might think it's a cheesecake . but it is totally not. And it is nor a very sweet tart. So - as much as I love this tart and yould do it ever and ever again, I can imagine other people wouldn't.

Dienstag, 18. Juni 2013

TWD: Cheese&Tomato (and Asparagus) Galette

Cheese and Tomato are fine, but asparagus is (still) in season and during this time of the year I could live from just asparagus and strawberries! So I made some changes and turned this galette into a cheese-tomato-aparagus galette.

Honestly, I did not only make some small changes but many bigger ones. But I think it still counts as a TWD-baking :o]

First, I made mini-galettes. I ended up with 5 pieces. Then I left out the Monterey Jack and spread the galettes with some buffallo ricotta I had left. Instead of fresh tomatos I used dried ones (the soft version), gave some leek and aparagus in small pieces on the dough, spiced it with lemon pepper and tarragon, and finished them with a thin aspargus head.
But hey - that's still a galette with cheese and tomato!!

I liked the dough already very much when we made the berry galette because it's a bit like a tart without tart-problems (like a dough getting to burnt or not enough brown). Here I used polenta, what is more or less the same as cornmeal in the end, but chrunchier.

The taste was just great, even the next day when I brought them to office and me and my colleagues nibbled them away. And I really like recipes that allow a lot of variations.

Try this recipe! It's fast, easy and tasty!

Dienstag, 4. Juni 2013

TWD: Savarin

Oh my, I'm definitely loosing track with the group. I'm a bad team-member. In the last weeks I either was on holiday, forgot to bake, forgot to take pics, forgot to blog (or to publish the text...) - or forgot to leave my link. But here we are - hooray!

The Savarin is relatively simple and done quickly. Just two short rising periods. Nevertheless I don't become good friends with this cake. I had to read and re-read and read again how it is assembled. Can it be you more or less just put the "filling" beside the cake? - Yes, it can.

Making the batter is also a bit unconventional for me, as you do not cream butter and sugar at first, but put in the butter last.

I had no ring-mold so I made some improvisation and used a usual spring form and put a small soufflée-form in the middle. That worked pretty well. But the dough did rise quite abit during baking and so I ended up with a too high cake. I split it in the middle, but that neither didn't look right. So I brought the two halves together again, spreading some orange jam inbetween the 'layers' to make them stick together. I am pretty convinced that my cake does not look like a Savarin at all.

The taste is ok, but not special and it was ok to try it, but next time I would prefer to do the Babas, which sound much more interesting! But what do I know. And I am sure the other bakers found wonderful ways to dress this cake up a bit more and turn it into something special!

For the recipe have a look at Dorie Greenspan's book at pp 415-416.

Freitag, 10. Mai 2013

TWD: Rhubarb Upside Down Babycakes

To make it short: It's not that I didn't bake in the last weeks. I just either had no time to post or forgot to take pictures. But here we are with 12 very small babycakes and an individual sized cake without the caramel. Both versions turned out great as the cake is very very moisty (I like!) and rhubarb is always a winner when it is in season.

I am just at the airpor, waiting for my flight to NYC, so writing is a bit of a horror, so I leave you with some pics.

Mittwoch, 3. April 2013

TWD: Rustic Potato Loaves

Pfew, long time no blog...

During Lenten Season I eat no sweets and unfortunately I am not able to bake and NOT taste it, so I had to stay away from following the club for some weeks... but I missed almost nothing as I catched up with the cookies (see below).

As I am a bit out of routine, it is alreday Wednesday where I live (in Vienna, Austria) - but in some parts of the US it is still Tuesday (at least in Hawaii ;o]), so it counts, I say. :o]

The Rustic Potato Loaves are great. For a yeasted bread, they are very quick in the making (only to relatively short rising periods) and really easy. I made them with sweet potatos (I know, that's not the original meaning of "rustic" but I had them at home) and half the batch with dried tomatos and some italian spices. I was wondering if the sweet potatos and the italian version match, but it turned out fine.

I like both versions really a lot and will for sure make this recipe again, with some other variations!

For the recipe, head over to the blog of Dawn: Simply Sweet, who is our host for this week. Or have a look in the book by Dorie Greenspan on p. pg 138.

PS.: Can you see the hidden animal in the left picture? Is it a snale? Or a hen? Or am I the only one who sees it??

PPS.: I catched up with the Mocha Cjocolate Chip Cookies. They turned out great with a mix of bittersweet, bitter and white chocolate and were a great hit at the office. Chocolate cookies are always hard to picture, in my view, so I let you with the image in your head of wonderful, overly rich chocolate cookies :o]

Dienstag, 12. Februar 2013

TWD: Boca Negra

Beware of this "cake"! Once you taste it, you will never be able to stop from taking another piece, unless everything is eaten. I'm really not sure if the name "cake" is even allowed for this delight, as it is more or less nothing else than chocolate, butter and sugar. Chocolate-in-cake-shape is maybe a more appropriate term. (but I doubt this name will make it's way ;o])

The Boca Negra is a wonderful chocolate creation. I used about 400g mixed chocolate (200g 75% chocolate, 100g 80% chocolate, 70g Dolfin coffee-chocolate (great chocolate!!) and 30g couverture - just what  had at hand). I found it very exhausting to stir in the butter, as the chocolate-alcohol mix is only slightly warm and cooles fast. After the second piece I was tires, and eight more waited to be included. I put the pot on my induction stove on the lowest level and that helped a little. Still, it takes long time until all the butter dissappears in the chocolate.

Baking time was a bit longer, but my cake-form is also slightly bigger than the recipe asks for, so I used a bit more of everything and the longer baking time did not come as a surprise.

Because I had leftovers, I decorated the Boca Negra with white chocolate flakes. In my view, the cake needs some decoration because the top itself  is not very pretty.

The result is a moist chocolate-"cake". I let it wait in the refrigerator until the next day and similar to chocolate-heavy brownies the texture changes slightly to more fudgy. Great!

The white-chocolate-cream was very good, but I had to beat it after it was could so it gets the consistence as in the picture in the book. Next time, I would use less chocolate because the cream is very, very sweet, alsmost too sweet for my taste, and the cake is sweet enougb for itself.

After all, this was an easy but time-consuming recipe, worth any effort, highly appraised from everybody at the office, a winner, a riskless cake for any occassion, birthday, new years eve, whatsoever. Go to grab the recipe at Cathys blog 'A Frederick Food Garden', who is our host this week, or buy the book by Dorie Greenspan and have a look at pp. 253/254.

Dienstag, 22. Januar 2013

TWD: French Apple Tart

For years, I had big troubles with tartes and pies, because I never managed to get the dough right. With the "new" book, it seems I finally found the one recipe I am able to master! I made the Flaky Pie Dough for the second time now, and for so far everything went fine. Good news, as I like tartes and pies. And - this recipe is also good for non-sweet tartes, so it is kind of a multi-tasking dough :o]

The French Apple Tart is a tart filled with kind of a home-made apple-sauce and the usual apple slices on top. It takes some time because additionally to the shell you also have to do the apple-sauce. But it is very simple and the result looks great!

I made half the recipe and got a small tart (but still about 8 slices or 12 very thin slices) and an individual tart. I could have used a bit more sauce - I used three apples, one very big one, two normal ones, and it was fine, but more would have been also ok.
Baking time was a bit longer than the recipe tells, what is unusual. It was more like 40 minutes. But I only slightly pre-baked the crust so maybe that's the point.

I brought it to the office the next day and absolutely everybody fell in love with it! I wouldn't say it looses over night, but for sure, a warm apple tart is always extraordinary as well.
If you want to find out about the recipe turn to Gaye's blog "Law of the Kitchen" or have a look at the book by Dorie Greenspan on pp 379-381.

Dienstag, 8. Januar 2013

TWD: Pizza with Onion Confit

The Pizza with Onion Confit is one of the reasons I like the "new" book (in fact, it is really not that new at all, anymore...) - making also savory dishes from time to time is really a nice change and after all the Christmas-sweets just right.

I made the Onion Confit with pearl onion, because I had leftovers from the New Years-eve raclette. I know, this is a bit like betraying, because I might be the only one without red swollen and tearful eyes. But the pickles had to vanish and if I find an easy way out - I confess - I take it.

It was pretty easy to cook, but takes some time, about an hour. The red wine and vinegar give the onions a wonderful, dark red/violet colour. Instead of wine-vinegar and cream de cassis I used cassis-vinegar. I felt really clever when I found the small bottle of cassis vinegar and had this smart idea. :o]

The pizza dough is not too difficult. It was my first pizza but turned out fine. I can imagine including some more herbs in the dough next time. Because I have a pizza function in my oven, the baking sheet has to go into the middle of it, not in the lower third. Something I learned...

For the topping I used the onion confit, sour cream, cocktail tomatos, black olive rings and salmon. And some seasoning, of course. How delicious!

I am eager to find out about all the different variations of toppings the group made!

Our host this week ist Paul of The Boy Can Bake - obviously one of the few men in the group. Head over to his blog to find out about the recipe, or buy the book by Dorie Greenspan! (it's on pp 159/160).