Tuesday, June 28, 2011

TWD: Chocolate Sour Cream Cake Cookies

I don’t know exactly how many recipes are left, but Tuesdays With Dorie is getting pretty near the end of Baking. (And seriously, how sad will it be when we’re done?) You would think that we’d be at the at dregs of the book. It seems that every week, though, we’re like, “how was this amazing treat not selected already?” Until this week, when Josh saw what I was making, Chocolate Sour Cream Cake Cookies, and said something to the effect of, “I can see how that is one of the last recipes to be picked.” They just don’t look or sound very exciting. Luckily they have a nice cakey texture and are pretty tasty. It sounds like a lot of the other bakers filled the cookies with frosting or ice cream, which I’m sure would be awesome, but they’re getting eaten without any extra accoutrements (aside from the chocolate chips I added to the batter), so I’m happy.

Josh rated the cookies a 6.5 for Deliciousness and I gave them a 2.5 for Effort, for an EDR of 2.6. Many thanks to Spike of Spike Does Stuff for hosting this week; stop by her fun newish site for the recipe!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

TWD: Chocolate Biscotti

This week’s Tuesdays With Dorie Selection is Chocolate Biscotti. There are a lot of things I bake that I can merely sample a bite or two of and be happy to have others consume the rest. Biscotti is not one of them - I love it! I found this biscotti particularly delicious (though, I admit, I probably say that about most biscotti). The espresso powder and salt really bring out the chocolate flavor; the chunks of chocolate and almonds are also delightful. A lot of biscotti tends to be a bit dry; this one manages to have a nice crunch without being dry. Last week I mentioned that there are certain things I enjoy baking on weeknights, and I would consider biscotti more of a weekend bake. It’s not at all difficult to make, but since it bakes twice and has a rest between them, it’s nice to do when you aren’t in a hurry.

I rated this recipe rated a 9 for Deliciousness (the chewy cookie-loving husband was less enthusiastic) and gave it a 3 for Effort, for an EDR of 3. A big thank you to Jacque of Daisy Lane Cakes for giving me a chance to indulge in one of my favorite treats. You can find the recipe here on her site and visit the TWD site for more crunchy cookies.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

TWD: Blueberry-Brown Sugar Plain Cake

The great recipes just keep on coming for Tuesdays With Dorie. This week we made Blueberry-Brown Sugar Plain Cake! I do most of my more complicated baking on the weekend, but I generally bake on a least one weeknight (usually Wednesday) and this is exactly the type of recipe I like to make: something that can be put together in the time it takes dinner to cook, can be dumped into one pan, and does not need to be frosted. Something that will feed Josh breakfast for a few days is also often in the criteria for midweek baking and this will definitely do that. (In full disclosure, this particular recipe was actually made on Monday night.)

Anyway, since somehow I’ve managed a record three posts in 24 hours, I will not continue to yammer on too much about this cake other than to say we liked it! I’m actually considering forgoing my usual healthy breakfast tomorrow in favor of eating this cake, which says a lot about it. We rated this cake an 8 for Deliciousness and a 3 for Effort (though I was surprised that a "plain cake" involved whipping egg whites separately), for an EDR of 2.666.

Many thanks to Cindy of Everyday Insanity for selecting this lovely cake. You can find the recipe here on her site and visit the TWD site to see how the other bakers liked it.

ABC: Favorite Buttermilk Cake

This month the Avid Bakers Challenge Group made Favorite Buttermilk Cake from Baking for All Occasions. If you don’t have access to this fantastic book, the recipe can be found here. I haven’t managed to post an Avid Bakers Challenge recipe since January, though I have made a couple of selections since then, and I thought this was a terrific one to jump back in with. This is an excellent cake to have in your repertoire: simple, but very tasty and lends well to various accompaniments. I have in general been very impressed with the recipes from Baking for All Occasions. It reminds me a lot of Dorie's book, in the sense that there are a very diverse selection of recipes, that you can tell have been well-tested and have detailed instructions.

Since there was not a frosting or garnish assigned with this cake, I decided to go with chocolate frosting. I had planned to make one from Baking for All Occasions, but it had unsweetened chocolate in it and somehow I didn’t have any in my kitchen. Josh offered to go to the store. I decided that given the number of cookbooks and baking supplies I have, a trip to the store wasn’t necessary and I made a recipe from The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook, which proved to be a wonderful combination. We rated this cake an 8.5 for Deliciousness and I gave it a 3 for Effort, for an EDR of 2.83. I can’t wait to see the other combinations the ABC group came up with for this cake!

Chocolate Buttercream, from
The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook (I made a half recipe for an 8x8 cake)

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, very soft

1 tablespoon plus one teaspoon milk

6 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled to lukewarm (see note)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar

In a medium-size bowl, beat the butter until cream, about 3 minutes. Add the milk carefully and beat until smooth. Add the melted chocolate and beat well. Add the vanilla extract and beat for 3 minutes. Gradually add the sugar and beat until creamy and of desired consistency.

Note: To melt chocolate, place in a double boiler over simmering water on low heat for approximately 5-10 minutes. Stir occasionally until completely smooth and no pieces of chocolate remain. Remove from heat and let cool for 5-10 minutes.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Devil Dog

I think Eloise would be eager to tell you that the day before our wedding was the most boring day of her life – really, she’s dramatic like that – and she was being ignored. We both work, so we have a dog walker take her on an off-leash outing in the middle of the day and then after work we run her (and by “we run her” I mean Josh does, since she pulls me too much). Even though I was off work the few days leading up to the wedding, I had planned to have our dog walker come as usual, as I had a lot pre-wedding tasks to take care of. Unfortunately, our dog walker had a family emergency and was out of town that week. We managed to keep Eloise on her regular exercise schedule most of the week, but found ourselves a little short of time on Friday. Watch our dog go from mildly perturbed to absolutely incensed:

This is boring….pay attention to ME!!

Okay, good, someone’s petting me.

They’re both home, why am I not going for a walk!

Maybe if I push enough they’ll give in.

I’m going crazy!

She really does look kind of crazy there. I guess we learned what happens when she doesn't get enough exercise. It's a good thing we only get married once! And we did finally manage to take her on a run that day.