Tuesday, February 24, 2009

TWD - Caramel Crunch Bars

For this week, Whitney of What's left on the table? chose Caramel Crunch bars. Please see her website or pages 112-113 of Baking from my Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan (great book you should buy it if you don't already have it!). I made these Sunday and they were a big hit with my church's small group and my officemates. These are super easy to whip up and are phenomenal. I really liked that the caramel aspect of the bar was just Heath toffee bits. I am not a big caramel fan, but I do enjoy Heath toffee bits. Time is short this week, but I hope you enjoy the photos I took of the process. I think I followed everything to the letter this week, except that I didn't have the 9 total ounces of bittersweet chocolate I needed, but I did have a lot of unsweetened chocolate and semisweet chocolate. So I guesstimated...it isn't a one to one ratio, but bittersweet is somewhere in between unsweetened and semi sweet, so I used a mix :)

Next week: "Chocolate Armagnac Cake - The Cake That Got Me Fired"... I am interested in the story behind this cake ;)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

TWD - Devils Food White Out Cake

So this week's recipe, chosen by Stephanie of Confessions of a City Eater, is the cover recipe of Dorie Greenspan's Baking from my Home to Yours. Please see either Dorie's book or Stephanie's blog for the recipe.

This week is crazy busy, but I couldn't just not make the cover recipe... so I made a fourth of this recipe. And instead of making a cake (because a quarter cake would be hard) I make 5 cute little cupcakes.

The cake tastes great, but I couldn't get the icing to work out right. Probably because I had to hand mix it since I was only doing a fourth, I had to use just one egg white, and I couldn't very well whip that up by itself in the KitchenAid Mixer.

So I added some powdered sugar to thicken up the frosting.

I actually made 6 of the cupcakes, but I used the smallest of them for crumbling on top of the other frosted cupcakes.

All in all this was a fun recipe. The cake tasted great. Next time I will either use a different icing recipe, or make the full recipe (maybe it would work better in bulk in the KA).

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

TWD - World Peace Cookies (and those Corn & Pepper muffins I never posted)

It has been ages since I have posted anything...and I am sorry for that. Life has been a bit crazy here. I am trying to graduate this semester with my masters...and it is going to be a little close to defend my thesis by the deadline for May graduation (March 13). BUT...all things aside, you have to have life in balance...and I cannot work all the time...and in some of that remainder time, I would love to bake/cook.

Anyways, I digress. This week's TWD recipe pick was World Peace Cookies. Jessica of cookbookhabit chose the recipe this week, and should you want to make them, you can buy Dorie Greenspan's book Baking from my Home to Yours or get the recipe from Jessica's website.

Now before we start, I have to say that my husband LOVED these cookies. I will be surprised if there are any more of them by end of day tomorrow (and I wasn't done cooking them until Monday night around 11pm...see hilarious picture above...we had the munchies so we were cooking bacon and baking cookies all after 10:30pm). He kept saying he liked them but wouldn't come out and say he really liked them, but kept eating them...actually I took a bite of one and then set it down so I could finish cutting the cookies for the second batch...I turn around and he ate the rest of my cookie. Seems he can't keep his hands off them. He wouldn't even bring them to work to share because in his mind I hadn't made enough for us and them (even though I made a full batch).

So if all that didn't peak your interest. You should really make these cookies. They are great, especially with coffee in the morning...yum. I made these exactly to the directions and had no difficulty. Although I was looking through some of the other TWDers blogs and I saw one where they put some espresso powder and cappuccino chips...which sounds divine. So I might go with that variation next time.

Corn and Pepper Muffins
Also here are the pictures from the Corn and Pepper Muffins. They were alright...but as silly as it is...I am a Jiffy fan. I like my cornbread undefiled my extraneous ingredients. The muffins were good, it is just not what I think of when I think cornbread...and I was expecting cornbread. But thanks anyways to Rebecca of Ezra Pound Cake for getting me to bake outside my comfort zone. If you like stuff in your cornbread (and like sweet cornbread, this one does have sugar) then you should try this one out. Check out Rebecca's blog or Dorie's book for the recipe.

Turns out I thought I had a can of corn...but all I had was creamed corn. Sigh...such is life.

So my sweet husband strained the creamed corn for me (because I was quickly falling apart...halfway in the middle and super stressed out...and we have no canned corn??).

Also I used a cast iron muffin tins...I personally think cornbread belongs in cast iron.

And here is a pic of the muffins with the soup we had with it. Not chili...mainly because I didn't have any time to make the chili. I can't wait until school is over and I have more time.

Up next week: Floating Islands...hmm sounds intriguing.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

TWD - Coming Soon :)

I made the savory corn pepper muffins...but life is a bit out of control at the moment. I will post the pictures/etc as soon as I can.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Happy Birthday!

Sorry these pictures are a bit late. But here is a picture of the french pie tart fresh out of the oven...I think I maybe cooked it a few minutes too long. It was good, but I think I would have liked it better if the almond filling was a bit less cooked.

Some Birthday creating essentials...such as powdered sugar and a candle.

Picture before I lit the candle. I think the powdered sugar definitely makes it look better, you can't tell that the pears aren't symmetrical...and smooched in to one side.

And a picture of my officemate as she blew out the candle :)

I loved it, my officemate loved it...and my husband loved it (he is lucky he works nearby and got a piece at lunch ;). So all in all I would definitely make this recipe again.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

TWD - French Pear Tart

So this week's TWD choice was picked by none other than Dorie Greenspan herself. Dorie has graciously answered many TWDer's questions throughout the past year. She picked a French Pear Tart and says that this week's recipe is her husband's favorite. You can find the recipe on Dorie's personal website or on pages 368 and 369 of Baking from My Home to Yours (by Dorie Greenspan). To be honest, I had to tweak this recipe ever so slightly. I have never made a tart...and therefore do not have a tart pan. So instead I just used a regular Pyrex pie plate and made the edges look all pretty :)

Also I do not have a food processor (even though my mom gave me hers over Christmas break...and I decided...perhaps foolishly...to leave it behind until we move in May). And this recipe tells you to use a food processor twice. For the dough I attempted to achieve the same results in a blender...I ended up having to scoop it all out and do most of the work by hand. For the almond cream filling, I just used her suggested alternate method of using my mixer with a whisk attachment.

Slight problem is that when I was at the grocery store this evening, I forgot that I needed corn starch. And as it is Tuesday already (really need to start being more on the ball about this group) and I was already at home...I found a substitution for cornstarch as 1 tsp Cornstarch = 2 tsp Flour. And I didn't buy blanched almonds (also forgot them at the store) but luckily I had whole natural ones in the freezer. So I looked up online how to blanch them. And maybe everyone knows what that means and how to do it, but I did not. Definitely leave them in the boiling water for at least a minute, I pulled them out early the first time and it was kind of difficult to get the skin off, I had to do it a second time and they came off super fast.

Sorry for the bad picture of peeled almonds...it just took so much time I had to include it. Definitely make sure you boil them for a minute...it really should have been easy.

P.S. I also used the blender to grind up the almonds. Not sure if this is how I was supposed to do it, but it appears to have worked.

Here is the almost finished product.

So Dorie definitely says to use 6 pear halves...but in her post on her blog she only used 5 and everything is perfectly proportioned. As you can see mine are slightly smooched. And I am wondering if I shouldn't have pushed the pears into the almond filling...Dorie's pictures look a little different.

I am planning on giving this tart to my officemate tomorrow for her birthday. Her birthday was actually today, but she didn't say anything. I found out through facebook (silly I know). Also she is from South Korea, and I thought she needed something "birthday cake-ish". Oh and here is an interesting tradition I found out today. In South Korea they have a tradition of Birthday Soup. Apparently it is a tradition to give women who just have had babies a Seaweed and Beef Soup. It is super nutritious and helpful to new mothers. But it is also a tradition to eat the same type of soup on your birthday. It is called Miyeok guk in Korean, and here is a link to a site with a recipe. I think I might just have to give my hubby "birthday soup" for his birthday on the 25th.

It is late, and the pie wont be out for another 20 minutes or so...so I will post the finished product, and maybe my officemate blowing out the candle(s) tomorrow :) I promise it was finished before midnight central time...I am just too tired to wait til after the tart comes out to finish this post ;)

Next week's recipe is Savory Corn and Pepper Muffins...yum.