Tuesday, November 30, 2010

TWD: Devilish Shortcakes

This week’s Tuesdays With Dorie selection is Devilish Shortcakes. I will not lie: I was a little worried these would not get made. I had trouble picturing them on Thanksgiving table and they don’t appear to be a portable/shareable treat, since for the full shortcake experience you need accoutrements. Fortunately by Sunday, we were no longer completely overwhelmed with holiday sweets and it was a quick recipe, both in hands-on and baking time, so they got made. I made a half batch and got eight generous shortcakes, using a standard ice cream scoop.

I made them in the late morning, between breakfast and lunch, so the first shortcake actually became an errand-running snack (must keep the blood sugar up). Josh bit in and said it tasted like a chocolate scone. The chocolate flavor is fairly subtle, but nice and they have a lovely lightly texture. We enjoyed one with blackberries and whipped cream. Josh had one with ice cream (of course) and ate the remaining shortcakes for breakfast over the next couple days – we’ve done much worse for breakfast around here, trust me.

This recipe rated a 7 for Deliciousness and a 2.5 for Effort, for an EDR of 2.8. Many thanks to Tania of Love Big, Bake Often for giving us the opportunity to try chocolate shortcake, a fun spin on the standard biscuits. You can find the recipe here on Tania’s blog and visit the TWD site for more shortcakes.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

TWD: Chocolate Chunkers

This week Tuesdays With Dorie was treated to a rewind – any recipe that has already been selected, either something new or an old favorite. Fun! My method for selecting a recipe was to print out the list of recipes that had been chosen before I joined the group, check off the ones I have since made (not that many), and hand the list to Josh to make the decision. He thought cookies called Chocolate Chunkers were definitely worth trying. This recipe was selected by Claudia of Fool for Food in September 2008. I had a little trouble finding a direct link to the recipe on her site, but Dorie baked along that week and posted the recipe here. These are kitchen sink cookies: in total, they contain five forms of chocolate (powder, bittersweet, unsweetened, semisweet, and milk or white), plus nuts and raisins. And in writing this post, I realized that mine contained even more, because I didn’t notice the “or” in milk or white chocolate. Oops. I was a little nervous, since there have been a few mix-in heavy recipes that haven’t been big hits in our household, and also because the dough barely adhered all the goodies together.

My worries were unwarranted, though, because they baked up just fine and are yummy. They are pretty much candy; Josh likened them to Rocky Road. Yum! In the recipe notes, Dorie mentions that she made a version of these cookies called Chocolate Chubs (also an awesome name) at Sarabeth’s Bakery. Dorie recently posted a rave review (and a recipe) of Sarabeth Levine’s new book, Sarabeth’s Bakery: From My Hands to Yours, here on her site. Josh surprised me with a copy of that book the day before Dorie posted her review of it, and coincidentally I had bread from it proofing when I read the review! Anyway, it’s a splendid book and worth putting on your holiday wishlist.

This recipe rated an 8 for Deliciousness and a 3 for Effort, for an EDR of 2.66. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the bakers made!

I also rewound to one of our very favorites: Classic Banana Bundt, which is an easy and excellent use for old bananas, which I found myself with last night. This recipe was chosen by the Queen of Bundts, Mary the Food Librarian and the recipe can be found here. And, wow, it photographed much better when it was glazed and I had natural light!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

SMS: Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie

I’ve been busy the past couple weeks and have gotten behind on blogs – both updating mine and reading others, but I did manage to make and photograph this week’s Sweet Melissa Sundays selection, Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie. We had a Thanksgiving potluck at my office on Friday, and I was originally going to multi-task this dessert and bring it there; two people had already signed up for pecan pie, so it got delayed until this weekend. When Josh saw the pre-baked pie shell, I had to reassure him that it was chocolate pie dough and that I had not burned the dessert. It was kind of hard to tell how “baked” the dough was since you can’t see a dark crust browning, so I ended up tenting the pie with foil pretty early, just in case. I thought it was fun to make a chocolate crust and think it gives the pie a pretty contrast.

I try to at least taste everything before I blog about it, but I am sending the whole pie to work with Josh tomorrow. We debated whether or not we should sample it this afternoon, and thought having a slice missing may encourage people to go ahead and eat the pie when they see it (you know how no one ever ones to take the first or last slice of something?). There are plenty of other goodies around our house and we managed to resist the temptation. Many thanks to Jennifer of Oh, Sweet Day for hosting this week. You can find the recipe here on Jennifer’s site and visit the Sweet Melissa site to the other bakers’ links. If it gets rave reviews I may have to make it again.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

TWD: Not-Just-For-Thanksgiving Cranberry Shortbread

After last week’s diversion of peanut butter and chocolate, Tuesdays With Dorie continues to celebrate fall flavors with Not-Just-For-Thanksgiving Cranberry Shortbread. Cranberry jam and shortbread are two totally delicious foods that I never would have thought to put together – excellent idea, Dorie! The texture of the shortbread layers reminded me more of a big, soft sugar cookie than a typical shortbread. Whatever the texture, you can’t complain about jam sandwiched between two layers of buttery goodness. I also like the jam layer so much that I’m thinking of making another batch of it. I had a feeling this recipe would be a winner and went ahead and made the full recipe, and the two of us are doing a prodigious job of getting through it. This is the type of treat that makes you want to have a light dinner to ensure room for dessert.

We rated this recipe a 9 for Deliciousness and I gave it a 3.5 for Effort, for an EDR of 2.57. Many thanks to Jessica of A Singleton in the Kitchen for choosing this amazing dessert; you can find the recipe here on her site. Jessica is a talented writer, and does an excellent job of sharing her family and food memories – I always look forward to the stories that accompany her posts. I hope the other TWD bakers enjoyed this recipe as much as I did.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

SMS: Ginger Custard Pumpkin Pie

This week’s Sweet Melissa Sundays selection is Ginger Custard Pumpkin Pie. We’ve had a lot of pie recently, and pumpkin treats for that matter, so my initial inclination was to scale this recipe way back and just make a couple crustless ramekins since it sounded too good to miss completely. Josh assured me he was happy to eat more pie, though, so I ended up making a half recipe with a Biscoff cookie crust. I’d never made a pumpkin pie with a cookie crust, but I love crumb crusts, so I figured it didn’t hurt to try.

This recipe uses fresh ginger and cinnamon sticks seeped in cream for the spice flavoring. I’m not sure if I didn’t chop my ginger fine enough to thoroughly infuse the cream or if I just like a strong ginger punch, but I had to add some ground ginger to the custard in order to get the flavor to my liking. There have been a lot of sweets vying for our attention this weekend, so we haven’t really tried enough to rate it yet and tell if it will be a contender for a Thanksgiving dessert. I do know that the cookie crust was definitely a good idea. Many thanks to Debbie of Everyday Blessings of the Fivedees for hosting this week. You can find the recipe here on Debbie’s site and visit the Sweet Melissa site to see what the other bakers thought of this dessert.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

ABC: Pumpkin Ice Cream Profiteroles

It’s the first Tuesday of the month, which means it’s time for another Avid Baker’s Challenge and another intriguing recipe from Baking for All Occasions. This month the recipe of choice was Pumpkin Ice Cream Profiteroles with Caramel Sauce, aka the recipe that convinced me to join the ABC group! I have a long list of baked goods I want to try making at some point and profiteroles had been on that list far too long. They seem so fancy-schmancy, definitely restaurant caliber. I was happy to learn that they really aren’t so fussy. I did have trouble telling if the Pâte à choux (the dough) was mixed enough and was worried the profiteroles did not have enough height, but they were nice and airy after they were baked and, especially once they were filled, they were plenty tall. The profiteroles were supposed to have a cookie on top, but I skipped that part of the recipe.

I did make my own ice cream to fill them with, though. I had made pumpkin ice cream before, from this recipe on David Lebovitz’s site. He had adapted the recipe from The Craft of Baking, and I happened to be making something else from that book the same morning, so I made the ice cream directly from the book this time. In comparing the recipes, David adds a bit of liquor to the custard, which I did the first time I made the pumpkin ice cream, and I decidedly prefer it without. The butterscotch sauce recipe Flo recommends to go with the profiteroles contains bourbon, which is enough alcohol in one dessert. I made an entire batch of butterscotch sauce, which is fantastic, but I am not sure what I’m going to do with it all – you really don’t need a lot for the profiteroles.

I didn’t have a special occasion to make these for (I decided that I should have people over for dinner more often so I will be motivated to clean and so I have good reasons to make desserts like this), but I one of the great things about this recipe is that it stores very well. We aren’t great about saving and eating baked goods from the freezer, but the profiteroles keep beautifully, and you just have to take them and the ice cream out a little bit before you want to assemble them. This recipe rated a 9 for Deliciousness and a 4 for Effort, for an EDR of 2.25. The ABC group now has its very own blog so our lovely administrator, Hanaa, no longer has to run it from her site, so go check out how the other bakers liked this dessert.

TWD: Peanuttiest Blondies

This week Tuesdays With Dorie takes a break from fall flavors with Peanuttiest Blondies. Peanut butter and chocolate are a splendid flavor combination any time of year, in my opinion. I made these on Thursday evening so I’d be able to take some to work and clear the decks for the weekend, when I knew there would be a lot of treats around and other things on my baking list. In addition to enjoying recipes that involve peanut butter and chocolate, I am also a big fan of ones you can put together and get in the oven in the time it takes for dinner to cook, and this one came through on that account as well. I had leftover peanut brittle from Sweet Melissa Sundays that we had been a bit slow getting through, so instead of using peanuts, I chopped up the brittle and decreased the sugar in the blondies.

The blondies I brought to work were gobbled up quickly and we thought they were tasty. I don’t think they’re something I’d make again, but definitely enjoyable. We rated this recipe a 7 for Deliciousness and a 2.5 for Effort, for an EDR of 2.8. Many thanks to Nicole of Bakeologie for a great selection. You can find the recipe here on Nicole’s site and visit the TWD site to see what the rest of the bakers thought of this treat.

Eloise says go Giants and a belated Happy Halloween!