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Archive for November, 2013

Double Chocolate Cookies 024

Double Chocolate Cookies are really brownies masquerading as cookies. They’re super chocolatey, and I love chocolate and brownies, but I was a little disappointed that they didn’t surprise me with something new. They contain a full pound of chocolate and only a half cup of flour. And although they have a lot of sugar, they’re not very sweet. They are definitely a chocolate lover’s cookie…there is nothing subtle about them.

The recipe calls for refrigerating the dough before baking the cookies. That was great, since I like baking just as many cookies at a time as we’re likely to eat in one or two days.

The recipe is on pages 329-330 of Baking With Julia. To read about other bakers’ versions of Double Chocolate Cookies, you can find links to their blog posts at Tuesdays With Dorie.

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Blueberry Muffins 010

This rustic cobbler of seasonal fruits is topped with a biscuit dough rich with butter and heavy cream and spiced with fresh ginger. It gains added texture and crunch from cornmeal. I enjoyed the fresh ginger flavor with the peaches and plums…a good flavor combination.

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The recipe, from Baking With Julia, on pages 389-390, is imagined as individual cobblers baked in ramekins. I made one large cobbler in a baking dish, distributing the cornmeal biscuit dough in clumps over the fruit.

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More versions of Johnnycake Cobbler can be viewed by following the links on Tuesdays With Dorie.

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Blueberry Muffins 138

I baked this raspberry fig crostata back in August, so I’m a little sketchy on the details of the baking process. I’m sure we loved it. The crust is made from a sesame almond dough, rich with butter, almonds, sesame seeds, and eggs, sweetened with some sugar, and flavored with cinnamon, vanilla, and lemon zest. And that is just the crust.

Blueberry Muffins 013

The filling is a lush but simple blend of figs, raspberries, brown and white sugar, more lemon zest, and a bit of flour. Half the fruit is precooked on the stovetop with the remaining ingredients, bringing out the fruit juices and allowing them to thicken. The uncooked fruit is added before the crostata crust is filled.

Blueberry Muffins 134

I do remember that the lattice strips for the top crust were difficult to handle with a tendency to break and crumble. I just sort of stuck them back together, and it turned out fine.

The recipe is on pages 374-375 of Baking With Julia. Visit the Tuesdays With Dorie website to read about other bakers’ experiences and variations on the Raspberry Fig Crostata.

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Espresso Profiteroles

Espresso Profiteroles 014

For a few months, when the call for recipe suggestions went out, I put in a request for the espresso profiteroles, but was inevitably in the minority. So I was happy when profiteroles was one of the recipes for September. My photos don’t do justice to the profiteroles. The choux paste puffs are coffee scented, the ice cream filling is steeped in cinnamon, and the topping is richly dark chocolate. These three flavors blended wonderfully. I didn’t use a pastry bag to pipe the choux dough into rounds; I dropped spoonfuls onto baking sheets and tried to make them more or less round. I may have under-baked the profiterole shells…some of them were fairly flat.

The recipe is on pages 411-413 of Baking With Julia. You can see some much prettier profiteroles in the blog posts of other bakers who listed their links on Tuesdays With Dorie.

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X Cookies

X Cookies 026

These cookies are based on a Sicilian fig-filled cookies and are called X cookies. I think they turned out looking kind of like X chromosomes. They consist of an egg-rich shortbread like dough filled with a dried fruit and nut mixture. I replaced the dried figs with dates in one version and dried apricots in another. Combined and chopped with toasted almonds, candied orange peel, golden raisins, dark chocolate, cinnamon, apricot jam, and a little rum, a simple dried fruit filling gained complexity with varied flavors and textures in every bite.

X Cookies 003X Cookies 006

These were delicious fun-shaped cookies. The date and apricot versions were nearly identical. The recipe is on pages 318-320 of Baking With Julia. Find links to other bakers’ blog posts on the recipe at Tuesdays With Dorie.

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Pumpernickel Bread

Pumpernickel Bread 018

I learned a few things about pumpernickel bread while baking these loaves from a recipe in Baking With Julia. I had always thought that pumpernickel bread was made with rye and graham flours. Since this recipe didn’t require graham flour, I did some research and found that graham flour is actually coarsely ground whole wheat flour. Pumpernickel bread uses a coarsely ground rye flour. I used the only rye flour that I could find, Arrowhead Mills brand whole grain rye flour, which didn’t seem especially coarse.

I also learned that traditionally pumpernickel bread got its dark color from long slow baking at a low temperature in covered pans. This recipe uses several dark colored (and flavorful) ingredients to achieve a dark colored bread: espresso powder, dark unsweetened chocolate, molasses, and prune butter. These ingredients along with caraway seeds contributed a complex compliment of flavors to the loaves.

A third discovery was that pumpernickel originated in Germany and that its name comes from pumpern, meaning having flatulence, and nickel, a form of Nicholas and a term for the devil. So pumpernickel means “devil’s fart,” a name that came from its being hard to digest.

I didn’t have any digestion problems from eating this pumpernickel bread. I found its flavors very layered and interesting, and its texture dense and chewy on the inside, crusty and crunchy on the outside. It took a while to put the dough together with the varied ingredients. There were three rises, two in the bowl, one after forming into loaves. The technique of hanging the formed loaves in dish towel slings for the second rise was unique.

The recipe can be found on pages 95-98 of Baking With Julia, and you can read about other bakers’ experiences baking pumpernickel bread by going to their links on the Tuesdays With Dorie website.

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P.S. The bread makes surprisingly good toast.

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