Tuesday, August 23, 2011

TWD: Golden Brioche Loaves

This week the Tuesdays With Dorie bakers made Golden Brioche Loaves. I used to live near a lovely bakery that sold mini brioches and remember being how surprised at how delicious such an unassuming little treat was, as it didn’t have cream or chocolate filling like many of its bakery counterparts. However, now that I have made brioche several times, I know the secret: butter, lots of it. Worth every bite, though. The dough came together easily and the first rise went well, but then when I shaped the dough the next day for its second rise, it didn’t get very puffy. Despite the fact it’s August, it is not very warm here, so that could have been a factor. Anyway, after nearly three hours, I decided the dough was not getting any bigger and went ahead and baked my loaf, and it turned out fine.

I recently learned that brioche dough lasts a very long time in the freezer. I had stashed half a batch of brioche dough in our freezer months ago, thinking that I would get around to making another treat just a couple weeks later. Somehow that didn’t happen. I don’t like to see food go to waste, so I took a risk and used rather old dough (it looked fine, no freezer burn or anything), which baked up fine and tasted great! I definitely plan to use the other half of my dough much sooner this time, but it’s nice to know that it stores well. My husband has threatened to clean out the freezer this weekend and I will have to make sure the brioche dough does not make it into the garbage when he does his purge. I am a little scared of what else he might find, though.

We give the brioche a 9 for Deliciousness and I rated it a 4.5 for Effort, for an EDR of 2. Many thanks to Margie of Tea and Scones for a delightful selection. You can find the recipe here on her site and visit the TWD site to see more golden, buttery goodness.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

TWD: Tropical Crumble

This week’s Tuesdays With Dorie selection is Tropical Crumble. This is one of those delightful always/never in-season recipes, since the fruit (bananas, mangoes, and in my case pineapple) does not grow around here. The selection totally makes sense since it is winter where this week’s hostess lives! Once again, I made mine at the last minute, which I blame on Josh this week because he bought a sampling of delicious cupcakes from Kara’s Cupcakes for us to enjoy over the weekend and we didn’t need extra dessert.

Fortunately, this recipe comes together really quickly, and I didn’t experience some of the problems (runny fruit, over-buttery topping) some other bakers had. I halved the recipe, but for the crumble topping, I left the entire amount of flour, which I think gave it just the right amount of butteriness - I mean, you don’t really want to see a big pool of oil on the top of your dessert. Josh was wondering why this recipe hadn’t been selected yet and I think maybe it has to do with the fact there are cooked bananas in it, which seems a bit odd. Intriguing, but odd.

The preparation and combination of flavors made for an excellent dessert. I generally think fruit desserts are best warm with ice cream - and this one certainly is great that way - but Dorie suggests serving leftovers cold, so I sampled it that way when I was photographing it this evening and thought it was wonderful that way too. We rated this recipe an 8 for Deliciousness and I gave it a 3 for Effort, for an EDR of 2.66. Many thanks to Gaye of Laws of the Kitchen for hosting this week. You can find the recipe here on Gaye’s terrific site and visit the TWD site to see how the other bakers fared.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

TWD: Spiced Carrot Muffins

I had been looking forward to the release of the Miette cookbook for a long time. Miette is a gorgeous bakery in San Francisco with exceptional cookies and cakes. I happen to work near the location in the Ferry Building and sometimes it takes great willpower to not buy their treats (or pretty cake stands). I was ecstatic when I received my copy of the book and could start baking through it - the book is as pretty as the store and has all their amazing recipes, including scones that are no longer available.

The first thing I made from the book was lemon shortbread, which I sent to my sister and she said she loved. The second thing I made, or rather attempted, was carrot cupcakes, which were intended to go to work with me. I say attempted, because the cupcakes didn’t exactly turn out as planned. I overfilled the pans and they ended up looking much more muffin-like than the cupcakes they were intended to be. I had also made a mini-loaf and dropped it on the ground, much to the delight of a certain Weimaraner. I got over the aesthetics of the cupcakes - I mean really, no one is going to care if the cupcake is a little big. However, the cream cheese icing I made totally did not turn out. For some reason it was completely thin and when I tried to pipe it on the cupcakes, it just ran off. I assume this must have been user error: I used reduced fat cream cheese rather than full fat.* At this point I was totally frustrated and decided the cupcakes would not be going to work.

Since the cupcake/muffins did not end up going to work with me, Josh and I ended up deciding we could call them muffins and ate them for breakfast for several days. Okay, so I’ll finally get to the point of this story: this week’s Tuesdays With Dorie recipe is Spiced Carrot Muffins, and since the failed cupcake incident and subsequent carrot muffin overconsumption was just a couple weeks ago, I wasn’t sure if Josh would be up for another round of carrot treats. Luckily he was, so I went ahead and made them.

I forgot to buy carrots when I went grocery shopping last weekend and didn’t get a chance to make the muffins until tonight, therefore I am unable to give them a rating, as we have not had an opportunity to try them yet. I will say they did not stress me out nearly as much as the last carrot treat. I have high hopes, though, and we still have a couple of the last batch in the freezer, so we might have an opportunity to taste the difference between a carrot cake and a carrot muffin. Many thanks to Nancy of The Dogs Eat the Crumbs for hosting this week, you can find the recipe here on her site and visit the TWD site to see what the other bakers, who may have actually tried the muffins, thought of the selection.

*I take full responsibility for the errors I made with the carrot cupcakes from Miette, but if you are considering buying this book, I would recommend waiting until October. I received an email (actually Josh did, since the book was purchase from his Amazon account) apologizing for the errors in the book and saying that I would receive an updated version when it has its second printing.