Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Cantuccini: TWD Baking with Julia

Tuesdays with Dorie: Baking with Julia - 55th installment. The recipe is Cantuccini.
Almond biscotti - can't get enough of them :-)  I didn't even have to shop to bake these -  I was able to make them with what I had on hand.   They were really easy, and I love the fact that the recipe made so many of them. I cut them to the 1/4" width recommended, which is on the thin side compared with some biscotti I have made. They are very crunchy, as described in the recipe - perfect for dipping in coffee or milk. 

Kneading the sticky dough on a board

I found the dough rather sticky to knead and shape.  After reading the P&Q on the TWD site,  I wondered if I should use two eggs instead of three eggs, but I stuck with the recipe and used three.  I used a lot of flour to knead and shape.  I'm not sure if it would help to use fewer eggs - maybe they wouldn't rise the same way.  I'm also not sure why the kneading had to be done on a board...maybe it folds air into them (?).

Logs after baking

The logs seemed a little flattish, but they sliced up and baked up nicely.  It was good advice to let the logs cool thorough, and it helps to use a serrated knife for slicing. 
Slices ready for second round of baking

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Potato Lefse: TWD Baking with Julia

Tuesdays with Dorie: Baking with Julia - 54th installment. The recipe is Potato Lefse.

Hard to photograph well (white on white), but easy and delicious!   You make the mashed potatoes, chill them overnight, and then add the dry ingredients.  You end up with a dense, but also somewhat light dough.  I was skeptical about the inclusion of sugar in the dough, but they really tasted great. 
Dough ball before rolling

I was amazed how thinly they could be rolled out.  I didn't have a linen-covered board, but I laid a floured towel out on my board, and made sure the pin stayed pretty well floured.  A few holes developed when the pin got stuck occasionally, but it was easy to patch.  

Dough just put onto the griddle
I wasn't always able to roll them out into neat circles, so some were irregularly shaped.  Having such a large pancake on the griddle made it more apparent that the griddle has sections that are hotter than others.  It was difficult to get them evenly browned.

We ate them as suggested, rolled up with butter, sugar and jam toppings.  Maple sugar and cinnamon sugar were voted the favorites.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Mocha Brownie Cake - TWD: Baking with Julia

Tuesdays with Dorie: Baking with Julia - 53rd installment. The recipe is Mocha Brownie Cake.
We all needed a chocolate fix, to help combat the feeling of endless winter (why was it still in the teens today?!), and this was just the thing.  It is very rich and densely chocolatey.  Everything went according to the recipe - I did bake it closer to the shorter time listed, to keep it more moist and brownie like.  It puffed up, and then collapsed a bit after cooling:
Puffed up right out of the oven...
Collapsed as it cooled

Interior surface after cutting the layers
It has a lot of chocolate - 12 oz. in the ganache alone.  This recipe needs a lot of time, with chilling the cake, cooling the ganache until it is the right consistency, and then chilling the assembled cake.  It's a good thing the directions call for the cake to chill before you cut it - it was challenging to cut in three equal layers, but the chilling firms it up and makes that easier.  It really was like a brownie in texture. The ganache could maybe be a bit stronger in coffee flavor to make it truly mocha.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Buttermilk Scones - TWD: Baking with Julia

Tuesdays with Dorie: Baking with Julia - 52nd installment. The recipe is Buttermilk Scones.

Check out my Union Jack tea cosy...
These were delicious!  I would definitely turn to this recipe again in the future - the recipe was easy, and they turned out great.  I loved the slightly airy quality of the baked scones - they were not at all dry or dense.

I followed the recipe (more or less) and made half of the scones as triangles, and half as a filled roll.  I mixed raspberry jam with dried blueberries for the filling, and then sprinkled sliced almonds on some of the spirals before baking.    The roll was kind of difficult to roll - it was more like a fold rather than a roll (maybe I should have patted it out more thinly?).  I've made many scones over the year, and this recipe is definitely on the rich side, so more of a special occasion than an every day scone.

Before baking
Berrry scones after baking

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Chocolate Mascarpone Cheesecake - TWD: Baking with Julia

Tuesdays with Dorie: Baking with Julia - 51st installment. The recipe is Chocolate Mascarpone Cheesecake.
Wow!  This was amazingly good, and not very difficult at all.  The family raved about it - we had it for our Valentine's Day dessert.  Talk about rich...cream cheese, sour cream, mascarpone cheese (why do we all seem to pronounce it 'marscapone'? :-)
After baking, before cooling
I followed the directions and it all went as described. I baked it in the evening, let it cool overnight, and then took it out of the pan in the morning.  I was glad I read ahead to see that it needed to cool completely and then chill completely after unmolding - it needs plenty of time for all that before serving.
It was interesting that the recipe has you bake the cake without any crust, flip over the unmolded cake, press the cookie crumbs onto the bottom, and then flip that onto the plate.  I used chocolate wafer crumbs.  The bottom was very loose because it was just crumbs, rather than a crumb crust.  We ended up liking that, and it kept it simple.  I always think of cheesecake as a big deal to bake, but this has me thinking I might make it more often in the future.   This is definitely a recipe I will make again.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Onion Bialys - TWD: Baking with Julia

 Tuesdays with Dorie: Baking with Julia - 50th installment. The recipe is Onion Bialys.
This recipe was very straightforward, and we liked the results a lot.  I was happy that I could start it in the early morning and still have it ready before noon - often breakfast yeast breads create a scenario where you're mixing them up the night before. We split and ate them with smoked salmon, cream cheese, capers and onions (yum!)

I used bread flour, and my pizza stone for baking - great crust.  The second batch baked quite quickly - the stone seems to get hotter as time goes on.

 With all that yeast in the dough, it had no problem rising.

These are the onion-topped rounds before baking - I am still wondering if they would be better if given a chance to rise before baking.  It would also be good if the recipe provided direction on what size circles to make - I think I may have stretched mine a bit thinner than was ideal. 

I sliced and froze the leftovers at the end of the day, as suggested by the recipe. We have since then pulled out a couple of them and toasted them in the toaster - they were quite good that way too!

(Someday I will become more proficient at layout of the photos in these blog entries ;-)

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Vanilla Chiffon Roll - TWD: Baking with Julia

 Tuesdays with Dorie: Baking with Julia - 49th installment. The recipe is Vanilla Chiffon Roll.

Chocolate walnut mousse!  Candied walnuts!  Soggy cake (?!?).  

This recipe seemed straightforward, and I think I followed it correctly...but something was definitely wrong with the cake.    I thought it was done, and got it out of the pan, spread on the mousse,
and then rolled it up. When I had rolled it up, and then trimmed off the ends, I noticed how dense and soggy it seemed to be.  It was wet, or maybe greasy, rather than cakey.  Possible explanations I came up with: 
  1. I took it out of the oven too soon.
  2. The layer of non-stick cooking spray (per the recipe) was too heavy and greasy, and it had a bad effect on the cake.
Boo hoo...although the mousse filling was fantastic, and I really liked the candied walnut topping, I actually disliked the cake so much that I threw the leftovers away after we all tried it.   Very disappointing.  Looking foward to seeing how others in the TWD group managed with this....