Sunday, February 24, 2013

Baked Sunday Evening: Malted Milk Chocolate Pots de Crème

This week’s Baked Sunday Mornings selection was Vanilla Bean and Chocolate Budino, which is essentially a fancy name for pudding. However, I did not make it. Instead, I made another dessert in the pudding/custard family that I had missed back in January, Malted Milk Chocolate Pots de Crème. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: desserts that do not pair well with ice cream are generally not requested by Josh, so I do not make too many of them. Of the two, I thought the pots de crème may be better received. I can’t say for certain that Josh wouldn’t have liked the pudding, but I can say that these creamy cups of chocolate decadence were quite a hit here.

This recipe called for milk chocolate, and with very few exceptions, such as m&m's, we definitely prefer dark chocolate and I almost always sub a darker chocolate for milk. I think the Baked boys may have me sold on milk chocolate in the appropriate contexts, though, as the pots de crème were just perfect. It probably helped that I used a high quality chocolate (they had one ounce bars of Valrhona chocolate at Trader Joe’s and I bought two to make a half recipe of the pots de crème).

You can find this fabulous, not to mention both easy and impressive, recipe here on the Baked Sunday Mornings site and this week’s actual pudding recipe can be found here.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Baked Sunday Mornings: Chocolate Ginger Molasses Cookies

I have been looking for ways to fit more hours into a day. Unfortunately, since that is seemingly impossible, I have taken it upon myself to make the most out of the twenty four hours a day we have. I had always been an evening exerciser; however, I have been transitioning to morning workouts (though I do still like to run with Josh and Eloise some nights). As a result, I have more time in the evening to make dinner and hang out with Josh and Eloise, which is awesome. Another result? I wake up early almost all the time now, and when I woke up at six on Saturday morning and didn’t need to be to Spin class until eight, I decided it was a good time to make the dough for this week’s Baked Sunday Mornings treat, Chocolate Ginger Molasses Cookies. I halved the recipe, which has gotten easier to do since I measure most ingredients in grams these days. When I saw how crumbly my dough was, I was concerned that my early morning brain had miscalculated an ingredient or two because the dough did not look good at all (I checked and it sounded like the other bakers had similar issues). I also generally do not love chocolate and ginger together, so I had pretty low expectations for this recipe. 

I was pleasantly surprised on two counts: the dough rolled out easily when I went to make the cookies yesterday evening and they were very tasty! I think I don’t like when a heavy chocolate base is saturated with ginger, but the flavors where well-balanced in these cookies. They were also nice and light in texture, perhaps as result of the shortening. I haven’t had a chance to make the glaze and decorate them yet - perhaps later today. I doubt I would make these again, but it’s nice that the recipe was not a total wash. My dad and sister always give me fun Christmas gifts and the squirrel cookie cutters were actually part of a dog biscuit set. I may not use the dog bones or fire hydrants for human treats, but squirrels are cute enough for human use. 

For the recipe and to see how the other bakers’ treats turned out, please visit the Baked Sundays Mornings site. And have a great Sunday!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Baked Sunday Mornings (Evening): Cheesy Focaccia with Carmelized Onions and Sauteed Spinach

I’m super late with this week’s Baked Sunday Mornings post!   (And last week’s for that matter, which I made but didn’t post about since I was busy making another cake last Sunday and I wasn’t all that excited about how it turned out – the cake or my photos.  It looked like a big piece of toast with Nutella on it.)  This week’s selection was Cheesy Focaccia with Carmelized Onions and Sauteed Spinach.  We have pizza for dinner almost every Friday here.  We didn’t this week, though, since in an attempt to see a few of the nominated films before the Oscars, we actually went to see Silver Linings Playbook (really good) on Thursday and I had to bump a planned dinner to Friday.  So this is my long-winded way of saying that we lucked out that this week’s recipe was rather pizza-esque and we essentially got to have pizza this week anyway – yay!

A while ago I decided the most difficult aspect of yeast breads was timing.  I’m usually pretty good at finding ways to work around rise times so I’m not just sitting around waiting, but I kind of felt like the focaccia (anyone else always mix up where the double-C is supposed to be in that word?) took over my afternoon.  I possibly misunderstood the instructions?  It seems like I could have done the final rise in pan while the oven heated, which by that point felt like it took forever.  Anyway, once I took the bubbling bread out of the oven and tasted the bread, I totally forgot about my frustration – it’s that good.  I have to say, although the bread is covered in two of my favorite toppings, I almost think it would have been better without them.  Next time!

I made the bread yesterday, and then I warmed it up in the oven and served it during the Super Bowl.  It reheated beautifully and everyone enjoyed it as much as I did.  I am looking forward to checking out more cheesy goodness via the roundup on the Baked Sunday Mornings site.