Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Hazelnut Baby Loaves - TWD: Baking with Julia

Tuesdays with Dorie: Baking with Julia - 92nd installment. The recipe is Hazelnut Baby Loaves.
Thank goodness for simple recipes - a nice interlude between complicated ones.  This cake is delicious, and I will definitely add it to the roster.  I was lucky to have a family gathering that coincided with my baking time, since it makes 8 large servings.  
The cake is kind of reminded me of a pound cake, but lighter.  Butter and sugar beaten until fluffy, and then you alternately fold in the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt, and ground hazelnuts) with the wet ingredients (creme fraiche, almond extract).  
Looks a little messy when in progress, but it does come together. 

The recipe calls for mini loaf pans (4.25" by 2.5"), which I don't own, so I used some small square ceramic pans, plus muffin tins for the rest of the batter. The muffin shapes weren't as attractive as the little squares, but gave a good portion size. 

I think the portion size called for by the recipe might be a bit large - these squares are smaller than the mini loaf pans would be, and with the cream topping, it was plenty for one person.   I'd like to try making it in a larger pan, so the serving sizes could be variable.

You serve the cakes topped with a conbination of whipped cream and mascarpone cheese (mmmmm). The cake would be very nice topped with fruit as well.  

Raspberry Swirls - TWD: Baking with Julia

Tuesdays with Dorie: Baking with Julia - 91st installment. The recipe is Raspberry Swirls.
These are shown in the cookbook photo with chocolate/nutty side up, but I wondered if they were more attractive with the swirl showing.
This was the second recipe for October, and I got it baked (and eaten :-) but neglected to post about it.  November has caught me off guard, as my mind is still in August somewhere....
This was a fun one, and delicious as well.  It's included in the "Cakes for Occasions" section, and was a little bit fussy, but actually took less time than some of the more "casual" recipes.  I enjoyed the construction process.  
It starts with a basic Genoise (sponge) cake batter, which you bake in a greased and floured foil-lined jelly roll pan - this is the "Sheet Genoise" recipe from the "Batters and Doughs" chapter.  Once it's baked (8 minutes, because it's thin), you take it out of the pan and off the foil for cooking - peeling off the foil went OK, thanks to the grease and flour.
Once the cake is cooled, you cut it into four rectangles - each of these will be one roll.  The recipe calls for raspberry jam for the filling, and I did two rectangles with that, and two with our natural food store version of Nutella:

Rolled cake, not terribly round
Each rectangle gets rolled with a piece of parchment being used as a guide, and the baking sheet as a tool, you roll and press to get the roll wrapped firmly (hard to photograph - no free hands!).  Then, keeping the paper wrapped around the outside, you let the rolls sit for 30+ minutes. After they sits, you slice the rolls into inch-wide slices.  I am still wondering if I baked the cake too long - my rolls seemed kind of squashed, and the cake cracked significantly as a result of rolling - perhaps less baking would make it more flexible.
Slices ready for dipping

Each slice is dipped in a cocoa-based glaze (heavy cream, sugar, and cocoa in equal proportions!) and then in chopped pistachios and unsweetened shredded coconut.  The combination of vanilla cake, bittersweet chocolate glaze, crunchy toppings, and raspberry is wonderful.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Tourte Milanese - TWD: Baking with Julia

Tuesdays with Dorie: Baking with Julia - 90th installment. The recipe is Tourte Milanese.
 Another puff-pastry creation - this one was a fancy but also kind of rustic meat, cheese, vegetable and egg-filled pie called Tourte Milanese. The chef for this recipe is Michel Richard - I always love seeing those episodes with him and Julia together, as Michel Richard is so animated and funny, and Julia clearly is enjoying herself.
I used my own puff pastry for this, and assembled the ingredients  - the full pound of puff pastry, softly scrambled eggs (10 of them - yow!) with herbs,  roasted red peppers, sauteed spinach, sliced Swiss cheese and sliced ham.   Three-quarters of the pastry is rolled out, fitted into the buttered pan (8.5" springform), and then chilled to firm up.  The ingredients are layered in as a sort of mirror image, with eggs on top and bottom, spinach, ham, and cheese inside those, and peppers in the middle.  Pretty simple to put together, once you get all the prep work done.

Before baking

The remaining dough is fitted on top, and then egg wash applied.     You chill the assembled creation for 30-60 minutes, and then bake for an hour and a quarter (I think I went even a little longer), until puffed and golden.

After cooling for a short time, you run a knife around the edge and remove it from the pan.  I had a few struggles with this, as seen by the minor flaws on the edges of the unmolded torte, so perhaps this needed more butter on the pan (more butter?!).  Despite the imperfections (that's the "rustic" part :-), it was really quite yummy.  The tourte is big and would serve a crowd (we ate slices over the course of a week...) This would be a good choice for a brunch, since you can prepare it ahead, and use store-bought puff pastry as well.  The slices also have a bit of a "wow" factor with the different colorful layers.

Twice-Baked Brioche - TWD: Baking with Julia

Tuesdays with Dorie: Baking with Julia - 89th installment. The recipe is Twice-Baked Brioche.
The title of this recipe just made me wonder - it sounds kind of boring (is this just zweiback?), but it produced a delicious result.  I wouldn't say that my Twice-Baked Brioche looked gorgeous, but it tasted amazing.  
You start with the basic brioche dough - same as with Savory Brioche Pockets, Pecan Sticky Buns, and Brioche Tart.  One really cool side effect of this recipe is that now I've made brioche dough enough times that it is starting to feel more routine.  It really gives the Kitchen Aid mixer a workout, but so far the mixer's been able to handle it.  I seem to consistently need to add additional flour  (between 1/2 cup and 1 cup) to get the right quality in the dough, "slapping" the sides of the bowl as the mixer goes around.  I'm not sure what the story is with that - the recipe says you may need to add a small Iamount of additional flour, but I always need more. 
You make small loaves out of the dough, mixing in dried cherries.  The recipe called for sour cherries, but I only could find sweet cherries, so I used those.  I also made a couple of loaves with chocolate chunks and a couple with chocolate AND cherries.   The recipe calls for 10 mini loaves, in pans that measure 4" by 2" (!!!).  I have a few mini loaf pans (not 10!) and they don't have those dimensions.  Talk about a mismatch of might be good to provide more appropriate directions for the home baker, since even if you had the right size pan, you would likely not have 10 of them.  I used the mini loaf pans I had, plus some small ceramic square "mini cake" pans, and then just guessed at the amount of dough for each.  It worked out pretty well. 

The dough gets shaped, and then is given a rise in the pans, followed by baking until lightly browned, which would be slightly underbaked if you were just going to eat them.

The additional two components of this are orange sugar syrup (boil sugar, water, orange juice and vanilla) and almond cream.   The almond "cream" does not actually have cream - you mix butter, almond paste, ground almonds, eggs, flour and almond extract into a sticky paste.Next steps are cutting edges off loaves to square them, and then dipping each side of each loaf into the orange vanilla syrup, to moisten the bread thoroughly.  Here's the result of that step.

At this point, you "frost" each moistened loaf with the almond cream, and sprinkle with a few sliced almonds. Here they are, ready to go into the oven. 
Bake on a parchment-lined sheet until golden brown (about 20 minutes) and you're done.  Wow!  These were so delicious.  And now I finally understand what the magical flavor is in those yummy almond croissants.
The recipe suggests that you use the syrup/almond cream treatment on just a slice of brioche (tried that - yum!) or croissants (fresh or stale).  I have some syrup and cream left, so I may give that a try - it sounds fabulous.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Brioche Tart with White Secret Sauce - TWD: Baking with Julia

Tuesdays with Dorie: Baking with Julia - 88th installment. The recipe is Brioche Tart with White Secret Sauce.
This tart is delicious, and one of those desserts with a number of steps, although the result is not necessarily formal looking. The components are:

  • Brioche dough baked into a tart "crust" shape
  • White "secret sauce"
  • Fruit poached in carmelized sugar syrup
All this butter will be beaten into the dough!
This was a multi-day process - prepare brioche dough starter (yeast, milk, flour), let that rise, and then add in more flour, and mix up the dough, beating in lots of butter.  A power mixer is essential for this - the dough gets beaten for 15 minutes even before the butter is added, and then about 7 minutes to get the butter blended in.  The dough separates as you add the butter, but then magically comes back together. 

This dough rises for a couple of hours, and then you put it into the fridge overnight to continue rising.

The next day, half of this recipe of dough is made into a tart shape, which you then place inside a 10" ring (I used a springform pan, without the bottom panel).  The crust is allowed to rise for 45 minutes or so.
Next step is to pour in a custard consisting of creme fraiche and egg.  Onto that, you sprinkle sugar, which absorbs into the custard.  This is baked until the custard is set.  Myhich kind of crowded the custard into the center.

This is baked until the custard is set.  My crust puffed up quite a bit while rising, which kind of crowded the custard into the center.The toppings are a sabayon sauce-type sauce - egg yolks plus vanilla bean, whipped over hot water and then caramelized sugar syrup (with plenty of white wine is poured in and it is whipped further as it cools off.  Fold in some whipped cream, and that's the sauce.  Additional caramelized sugar and wine syrup is used to poach fruit - I used peaches, nectarines and plums, which were all available locally. 
I liked the opportunity to try something new - a bread dough used as a crust, and the syrup used for two purposes - poaching fruit and sweetening vanilla sauce.  A lot of work, but we really enjoyed the result. 
I used the second half of the brioche dough to make some loaves - one full size and one mini:

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Pita Breads - TWD: Baking with Julia

Tuesdays with Dorie: Baking with Julia - 87th installment. The recipe is Pita Breads.
I opened the book to the recipe for this week, Pita Breads, and found notes I had made from a previous time.  I think I must have baked this at the time I first got the book - I remember being fascinated by the video, seeing the way they puffed in the oven (more on that later....)
Sponge after rising and mixing in salt and olive oil
This recipe was very simple, although it needs time to rise.  You mix up a sponge using yeast, water, and whole wheat flour, and let that sit for 30 minutes to eight hours.  In this case, I didn't have eight hours, so I left it for three hours.  Once it's had time to sit, you stir in salt and olive oil, followed by all-purpose flour, and then a good 10 minutes of kneading. 

The dough rises for 2-3 hours, and then it's time to roll it out.  The batch of dough makes 16 breads, each about 6" or more.  You need to roll it fairly thin, but thanks to the long rising, kneading, and oil, this dough is fairly sturdy, and just needed a little flour to help keep it from sticking.  

I baked the rounds on the pizza stone, at 450 degrees, for just 3-5 minutes.  And I remember this from last time - some of them puffed wonderfully, and some did not.  I would love to know the secret of this so I can get it right every time!
We ate this bread wrapped around greek-flavored lamb and vegetables, and it was still good the next day for breakfast and lunch.  I stored it in a plastic bag to keep it soft.  Very good!  I would make this one again, although if anyone out there has got the secret to puffing pita bread, I want to hear it :-)

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Miniature Florentine Squares - TWD: Baking with Julia

Tuesdays with Dorie: Baking with Julia - 86th installment. The recipe is Minature Florentine Squares and/or Glazed Mini Rounds.
I almost got whiplash, going from Swedish Oatmeal Hardtack to these petit four-type pastries.  The surprise this week was how simple these actually were!   The pastries were really delicious, and it was fun to make mini cakes in two shapes, each of which had a different filling. 
These were two different variations on a tiny pastry, using the same cake as a base.  You bake a square or round cake out of Ladyfinger Genoise, which (apparently) is one of the sturdier Genoise recipes. It's the same batter you use to pipe out ladyfingers, and contained 2 eggs and 4 yolks, all within this 9" layer of cake.  It includes the step of beating air into the eggs+yolks until they "form a ribbon" - I have thought my ladyfingers were a bit flat in the past, so I took some extra time with this step to make sure the batter was really thick enough.  I wanted to try both shapes, so I baked a square (9") cake, and split it in two parts.
Once the cake is cooled, you split it horizontally into two thinner layers - I cut mine in half before that, so one half is designated for squares and one half for rounds.

Separate the two layers, and then brush the bottom layer of cake lightly with a mixture of sweet wine and sugar (I used an Apple "Ice Wine" that we bought locally).  Next, you spread on a layer of preserves, which had been pushed through a strainer to make it smooth (fussy, but I could see the reason for it).  The squares got red current jelly and the rounds got apricot preserves.

Put the top layer back on, so the preserves are now sandwiched in the middle.  The next step for the rounds is to cut 1 1/2" circles out of the cake (cutting rounds out of a rectangle left me with some cake scraps - really difficult to figure out what to do with those :-).  For both shapes, you apply a glaze made of white chocolate which has been melted by mixing in heavy cream which you've heated up. The white chocolate is so easily melted that you just pour the cream over and stir for a while, and you've got your glaze.  Spread the glaze over the rectangle cake, just on top, not worrying if a little drips.  For the rounds, you glaze each one individually, by putting some on the top and letting it run down the sides.  A bit more fussy, and my rounds don't look quite as polished as those in the cook book.  Once nice technique suggestion in the book was to put wax paper or parchment below, and scrape the dripped glaze up, push it through a strainer, and then use it to finish your glazing step - definitely less waste that way. 

At this point, you decorate and finish.  On the florentine squares, you pipe some chocolate in lines, lengthwise, and then draw an implement with thin points (I used a fork, but something as thin as a skewer would be better) crosswise to give the marbled appearance.  Once you've marbled the entire rectangle, you cut small squares out of it, using a very sharp knife and wiping it off between cuts to keep it as neat as possible.    With respect to the chocolate lines, the recipe called for melted milk and dark chocolates in alternating lines. My attempt to melt milk chocolate was a complete bust.  I tried to melt it in the microwave, and it just seized up and became hard and granular.  Applying more heat didn't help, and part of it actually burned.  I think my microwave method for semisweet chocolate (50% power for 2 minutes, checking and stirring as you go) needs some refinement when used for milk chocolate.  Having messed that up, I had no milk chocolate left, so I just piped dark chocolate.

The rounds get piped with lines or dots of chocolate, and decorated with candied violets.  I skipped that ingredient, although if we'd had violets in the yard, I might have been crazy enough to try candying them :-).

Swedish Oatmeal Hardtack - TWD: Baking with Julia

Tuesdays with Dorie: Baking with Julia - 85th installment. The recipe is Swedish Oatmeal Hardtack.
(Running late on this blog - I'm getting the baking done with the BWD group schedule, but not the blogging :-)
This recipe made a nice 'oatey', slightly sweet cracker, and I loved the change of pace of making something with very few ingredients.  They include shortening, butter, sugar, oats, flour and buttermilk, with a little salt and baking soda.
The method was quite simple - cream the shortening, butter and sugar, and then add the mixed dry ingredients plus buttermilk.  You chill for a half hour, and then roll out the dough on a greased cookie sheet.  I got a thickness of between 1/8 and 1/4 inch.

"Pebble" the dough with a hardtack rolling pin (ok, didn't have one of those :-) or a fork, use a pastry wheel to cut the dough into rectangles, and then bake for a total of about 10 minutes.

You need to watch carefully to be sure they don't overbrown - even rolling helps it brown evening, but inevitably, the edges get a little browner, which I like.    I will definitely make these again - they were wonderful with cheese, soup, salad, or by themselves as a snack.  I might try rolling them slightly thinner, as the middle pieces were more flaky/chewy than crisp, and I liked the crunchy parts the best, both for flavor and texture.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

White Chocolate Patty Cake - TWD: Baking with Julia

Tuesdays with Dorie: Baking with Julia - 84th installment. The recipe is White Chocolate Patty Cake.

I read the title of this and thought "oh, sheesh, white chocolate...", but then I watched the video and  it sold me on making the cake.  The interchanges between Julia and Marcel Desaulniers are very entertaining, and he just made the recipe look good.  We enjoyed the cake a lot - I might even make it again some time.
One thing that he emphasized was to get good white chocolate that contains cocoa butter.  I got a big block of Callebaut white chocolate, and wow - it tasted better than I expected.  Maybe I really DO like white chocolate :-)
The cake method was nothing really unusual - beat egg yolks (10 of them! yow!) and sugar, add melted chocolate and butter to that mixture and then fold in stiffly beaten egg whiles (6 of those). It baked in two layers and is a somewhat dense, rather than fluffy, cake.

You make a "raspberry crush" (love the name) of frozen raspberries in light syrup and lemon juice, and that is used to top each layer as you sandwich them together.  The whole thing is topped with fresh raspberries, making it look very special (hey, it's in the "cakes for occasions" section of the book...).

Now the wacky part - balloons coated with chocolate!  In order to make little chocolate cups, you blow up small balloons (I bought "water balloons" from the local 5&10) and dip them in a bowl of melted chocolate.

After chilling, pop the balloons and peel the balloon pieces out of the chocolate bowl. This worked OK, although it was pretty toasty in the house, so we needed to freeze the bowls before the balloon scraps would peel away. The suggested way to serve a piece of cake is with a chocolate bowl of raspberries along side, but it seemed perfect for a little scoop of vanilla ice cream under those berries.  Yum!


Savory Puffs - TWD: Baking with Julia

Tuesdays with Dorie: Baking with Julia - 83rd installment. The recipe is Savory Puffs.

This recipe was a twist on the normal cream puff recipe - a savory puff with savory fillings.  The cream puff recipe was very straightforward (beating eggs into the hot pan with a wooden spoon), with the unusual additions of onion juice, cucumber juice, and dill.  I made the juices by pressing shredded vegetables, since I don't have a juicer.
Here's the cream puff batter during mixing:

The puffs are piped onto a baking sheet in mini form - either eclair-shaped or round dollop.  I still find it a little challenging to manage the puff batter in a pastry bag - it always seems to sag more than I want, and the shapes are a little wacky and irregular.  Maybe I need more practice :-)

The puffs baked up pretty nicely, and then you split them and fill with savory fillings.  The book has recipe for smoked salmon mousse, and vegetable marscapone.  I like the salmon mousse filling, which was intense.  The vegetable marscapone was lighter - mine seemed a little wet with all the chopped vegetables.  The puffs definitely need to be served shortly after filling, so they don't get soggy.

Overall, a fun recipe, and I think I might try it again sometime for an appetizer course.  

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Fruit Focaccia - TWD: Baking with Julia

Tuesdays with Dorie: Baking with Julia - 82nd installment. The recipe is Fruit Focaccia.

I loved this bread, and will definitely want to make it again.  It also got rave reviews from family members who like dried fruit (the chocolate crowd didn't even try it :-)

The first step was to start the fruit soaking in hot water, for three hours, or longer if you like.  The suggested mixture is a total of 3 2/3 cups (wow!), two parts dried cranberries to one part golden raisins.  I used a mix of jumbo raisins in different colors (golden, red, purple). Then, the fruit soaking liquid is used to make the simple dough - yeast, fruit "juice" from soaking, flour, salt, orange rind, and honey.  After kneading the dough ingredients in the power mixer, you add a couple of tablespoons of butter, keep mixing, and then add the soaked fruit.  What a mess it was...I wish I had photographed it at its most unattractive.  But somehow, the fruit was eventually incorporated, and then the dough rises in a bowl for three hours.

After deflating the dough, the next step is chilling for 24 hours in the fridge.  After that, you press the dough out into a jelly roll pan, and let ir rise for three hours (long enough to come to room temperature and start to rise).  Brush with egg glaze so it will be shiny, and sprinkle with turbinado sugar (I got this at the grocery store, labelled "Sugar in the Raw").

Here's the finished bread - enormous!  Good thing it keeps well - it is still good two days later.  If there's still some left in another day, I'll try toasting it. 

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Cardinal Slice - TWD: Baking with Julia

Tuesdays with Dorie: Baking with Julia - 81st installment. The recipe is Cardinal Slice.

Apparently I am teetering on the edge of baking burnout, because I was kind of dreading the complexity of this one.  I am happy to say that I really enjoyed it, and it WASN'T THAT DIFFICULT!  This is a traditional Austrian pastry ("Kardinalschnitten").  I followed the directions, and it was relatively straightforward.

First - make an "Espresso Couleur" - an espresso carmelized sugar syrup.  The method for this was really quite amazing - warming and melting sugar in a large skillet, very slowly, until very darkly carmelized, followed by adding espresso to that and boiling again.  I used a non-stick skillet, and all went fine - glad I had the time to focus on this, since it's not something to do while multi-tasking.
Meringue stripes

Next - the cake layers.  You're making three layers of cake, 3" by 15" or so - you're going to end up with a long, high, not very wide cake.  Parchment and a pastry bag were essential for this.  You make meringue, and pipe out thin stripes of that onto three pieces of parchment.   

There is a lot of meringue left, which becomes the basis for a sponge cake batter, which is then piped in between the meringue stripes, to make a layer with alternating stripes of meringue and sponge.    
Meringue and sponge stripes - there are three layers here
These are baked for a long time (recipe called for 40 minutes, but I did about 30), at a very low temperatue with the oven door propped open with a wooden spoon.  
Layers after baking

Last element: whipped cream, flavored with Espresso Couleur.  Mmmm...this would be good on just about anything ;-)  The recipe just used a little bit of this - I have some left over, so it should be fun to figure out how to use it.

The cake was slightly challenging to assemble - the recipe suggests trimming the sides and ends in order to make the layers even, but I think my knife wasn't quite sharp enough, because it seemed to tear the layers more than cut them. I did a bit of work on the ends, but skipped the sides.  
Bottom layer before assembly
Then you spread the cream on top of cake layer one, add cake layer two, more cream, and then cake layer three, which you leave unfrosted. Use the rest of the cream to lightly frost the sides and ends.  I covered a piece of cardboard with foil to hold it - I can see that I "need" (ha!) some kind of couleur-sized plate for serving this shape of cake....
Assembled Kardinal Schnitte (Schnitten? is it one slice or plural at this point?)

Nutella Buttons - TWD: Baking Chez Moi

Another in my sporadic installments of Tuesdays with Dorie - Baking Chez Moi. The recipe is Nutella Buttons.

These are mini cupcakes with a dollop of Nutella in the middle - a simple concept, and very easy to do.   Everyone really enjoyed them!

The method to prepare the batter was rather different from what I've done before -  interesting to try a different method, after all the various ones I've already seen. It seems like there are an infinite number of ways to make a cake batter.

You whisk the egg yolks, and then add the mixture of dry ingredients to that, to form a kind of paste.  This recipe calls for confectioners sugar - I'm wondering if that helps to make the grain of the cake finer.  The next step is to add melted butter to the paste, and then beat it.  Next you beat the egg whites until they hold peaks, and fold a small quantity of that into the batter to loosen it, followed by folding the rest of the beaten whites in.

I baked them in foil mini-muffin cups.  You put a small quantity of batter in each one, followed by a 1/2 teaspoon of Nutella, topped with additional batter.  Bake them on a baking sheet, and that's it.  Time to pop them addictively into your mouth ;-)  We were so busy eating, I neglected to take a photo of what they look like on the inside.

I find Nutella a bit too sweet, so I used a chocolate/hazelnut spread from our local health food store - slightly thicker and less sweet.   I also dipped the top in chocolate ganache (one of Dorie's "Bonne Idée" sidebar suggestions) and that made them extra yummy.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Ka'kat - TWD: Baking with Julia

Tuesdays with Dorie: Baking with Julia - 80th installment. The recipe is Ka'kat.
Another flatbread recipe from Baking with Julia - so easy, and very good!  It's billed in the cookbook as 'Middle Eastern street food".  The recipe is a basic white bread, with a little bit of mahleb for seasoning.  Mahleb is a spice made from the ground stones of a cherry.  Sadly, I couldn't find it in my nearby stores (and with no time to spare, no time to search high and low), so based on a suggestion I found on the web, I substituted a combination of ground fennel seed and cardamom.  It's only a quarter teaspoon, but I think it helped the flavor.

First, make a sponge with yeast, sugar, flour and water, which you allow to rise briefly: 
Before rising
After rising - the spoon is diappearing...

Next, you mix in salt, seasoning (in my case, mahleb substitute) and then the rest of the flour, making a rather soft dough, which you knead for 10 minutes.  Let the dough rise for 1-2 hours, and then cut it into 32 pieces, roll each piece out into a long "snake", and then form rings on the oiled baking sheets.  These rise for 30 minutes, covered in plastic wrap. It's hard to tell from the photo, but these are just about 3 inches across.

 I should have oiled the plastic wrap - this was a little sticky, and I lost some "rise" when I pulled the stuck wrap off the rolls.

Coat with egg wash, sprinkle with sesame seets and bake.  They are kind of like mini bagels, although not as dense as that (no boiling step).  

These were very good warm, and kept well - I reheated them, uncovered, in the oven the next day, and the surfaces got crisp, which was very good.  I would definitely consider making this one again - I thought the recipe's comparison to soft pretzels was true (although they are sprinkled with seeds instead of salt!)