Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Best Ever Brownies - TWD: Baking with Julia

Tuesdays with Dorie: Baking with Julia - 21st Installment.  The recipe is Best Ever Brownies.
After the comments in the blog about gooey brownies taking a long time to bake, I braced myself, but as it turned out, my brownies went pretty well.  Maybe all the warnings made me pay more attention to following the recipe exactly.   After listening to a radio interview about how one can't multitask while cooking (or one will suffer the consequences), I decided that maybe this project is helping me to pay attention more directly while I bake.  Or maybe it's just making me realize that I don't always pay attention while I bake :-)

I also increased my popularity in my household by making brownies for "no particular reason" (usually it's for an event, and the brownies are whisked out of the house without a trace).  The brownies tasted great! 

This did seem like a lot of trouble for brownies, with the whisking of sugar and eggs, adding half of it to chocolate and then whipping the rest (getting out the Kitchen Aid mixer for brownies?!).  It seemed more like the method one would use for a cake. 
Eggs and sugar whipped for three minutes
Folding the whipped eggs into the chocolate

I also used my favorite chocolate/butter melting technique in the microwave.  I find it more foolproof than the stove.  You put the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl, and microwave it for a minute or two on 50% power, till the chocolate is getting soft.    At that point, you can add the butter,  and continue on 50% power for another minute or so, keeping an eye on it.  Stir it before adding the butter, and then stir again after the butter has a chance to melt. I'm much less likely to burn the chocolate when I use this method.

I did bake them longer than the recipe said - exactly how long, I can't tell you...I put them in for the amount of time in the recipe, decided they needed a little longer, and then promptly forgot to set the timer.  Luckily, a few minutes later, I remembered them,  ran to the oven and pulled them out right away.  Phew. 

Does anyone know the bio for the author of this recipe?  The name is Rick Katz, but there is no biography in the back of my "Baking with Julia" book.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Buttermilk Crumb Muffins - TWD: Baking with Julia

Tuesdays with Dorie: Baking with Julia - 20th Installment.  The recipe is Buttermilk Crumb Muffins
So many things I could say...
  • "Crumb" is right!
  • All that shortening, and they still wouldn't come out of the pan!
When I saw the description "flat topped muffin", I was a bit leery - often that means a wet batter than makes a muffin that won't release from the pan.  I really DID grease the pan, and followed the recipe to the letter (made a half recipe, but otherwise, did exactly what it said).  For the half recipe, I used one regular-sized 6 muffin pan, and another 6 muffin pan with small wells.

I started off optimistically - a recipe by Marion Cunningham, written and edited by Julia and Dorie - how could it go wrong?  I added some additional nutmeg (any baker who hasn't tried using fresh nutmeg should definitely give it a try - it is wonderfully fragrant).

The first sign of trouble was the fact that each muffin  was flat, except for a dent in the center, when they came out of the oven.

The process of attempting to remove them from the pans turned ugly - not a single one came out without the bottom sticking to the pan, and needing to be pulled out separately, as in this photo:
Good thing I wasn't making these for company!
They were very tasty and well-liked by the crowd, but unless I get a sense of where this went wrong, I may not make this one again. I will be interested to read other people's experiences with this recipe.

Halloween Diversion - Chocolate Linzer Cookies

Just a quick detour away from Baking with Julia....

I got a Halloween linzer cookie cutter as a gift, so I looked for recipes, thinking that there might be something other than the usual hazelnut cookie with raspberry jam (not that there's anything wrong with the standard Linzer cookie! :-)

The King Arthur Flour site has a Chocolate Linzer Cookie recipe, so I made that, along with some orange-tinted icing to fill them.  Very easy, and yummy - the icing is pretty basic, without a lot of its own flavor, but the cookies themselves are quite flavorful, and as they say, the effect is something like an Oreo (only better!)