Monday, June 29, 2009

Ooh La La French Pastry class!

The List: (pics are random ordered)
Lavender Madeleines
Citrus Madeleines
Chocolate French Macaroons
Brown Butter Fruit Tart
Raspberry Financiers
Lavender Financiers

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Cookie vs. Cookie

I am a Tastebud! For Aleta's blog "Omnomicon", the recipe round-robin I participated in is for the Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe...
So I got to "test" two different recipes of amazing cookies!

One was called the "Monster Cookie" which included peanut butter, oatmeal, m&m's, and chocolate chips! It was like all the most popular cookies mixed together to be the "Monster" cookie that is it!!

The other was Sheila's recipe... which also used oatmeal! (This is actually new to me, to use oatmeal in chocolate chip cookies.)

After baking each recipe 2x... practice makes perfect... and after sharing these yummies with roommates/friends/co-workers... I got rave reviews for both kinds!

But I am personally a fan of the monster cookie. I mean, holy crap! PB, M&Ms AND Chocolate Chips? CRAZY. Plus I think the colors of the m&ms really just pop out!

This was a great opportunity to practice baking cookies in general. I know that there is a certain firmness the dough should be before baking... so I let it rest in the fridge for a bit. And then I've gotten to get more familiar with my baking pans too. I'm not a fan of my "cookie sheet". Sure, I can bake a few more cookies on it... but it bakes so unevenly! (This is also because of the oven... Lame.) I've also realized that I have to clean my scoop more thoroughly... I didn't realize that gunk got stuck on that little scoopy bar thing that, you know, scoops out the doughball with a easy squeeze of the hand. Now I'm much more concious of digging my fingernail under that bar to get each bit out.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

More for the collection...

On my latest "therapy" shopping binge... I bought a couple of cookie recipe books...

Indulgence Cookies - A Fine Selection of Sweet Treats


(both from the bargain bin baby!)

After flipping through these, I settled upon yet another recipe for jam thumbprints, from the Indulgence Cookies book. (Anyone tired of these yet?)
Nothing TOO much different than the previous recipes I've tried, except the use of powdered sugar as opposed to regular sugar, and also the addition of lemon zest which I skipped on since I didn't have any on hand.

The cookie itself was more like a sugar cookie - so I've been told - than the previous. A bit more crisp too. But not hard. This one is a winner for sure.
I also used the Superfruit Jam I bought on my last grocery trip to Trader Joe's... hmm not much a fan... but with the cookie it actually doesn't matter.

Friday, June 19, 2009

treats for the weekend

With much thanks to Reeni's yum-o-rama posts over at Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice... I am always dying to make everything and anything she makes!
Unfortunately, I don't always have the time... I do, however, bookmark all the ones I will HAVE TO try eventually... and tonight was one of those nights! Lucky me! and lucky those who will get some! With an early morning planned, and an afternoon of activity, these delish treats will hopefully be welcome...

Amish Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Whoopie Pies

This was definitely a fun new cookie recipe for me. Shortening!! I know so unhealthy... but whatevers. And then baking soda dissolved in boiling water... neato! When the wet ingredients were all mixed, the result was this lovely mousse like consistency. Light and fluffy!

The problem I usually run into with baking cookies... is that they sink! So then I think they're under-baked. I bake the next pan for a bit longer... it gets browner, and still it sinks. Just not as much. Hmmm. Lower temp for longer bake time? I don't know. I don't like flat sunken cookies. :(

Next up! The filling.
Egg whites. Check. Milk. Check. Vanilla. Check. Powdered Sugar. Check.
Beat, beat, beat, beat... and stop. The end.

As I was just beginning to make the filling, it lightbulbed to me that this was going to be raw egg whites in the filling. Um. I'm not all that appetized by that. I'm sure I've eaten something made this way... but making it for myself, roomies, and friends? I don't know about that... BUT I did continue to beat and beat and beat and beat to see if it would actually get "fluffy" before adding in the remainder of the sugar and shortening... nada. It MAY have thickened a little... but it was no where near fluffy. So, after about 10 minutes (maybe?) I just stopped. The cookies were good enough alone.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Blueberry Muffins

Back to baking!

From the Williams-Sonoma baking book I've been "borrowing" for some insane amount of months... I decided to use the last of my blueberries for some muffins!

2C AP Flour
2/3C Sugar
2.5 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1C Milk
1/2C unsalted butter, melted
2 eggs
1C blueberries (I used a 6oz. container)

Mix your dry ingredients.
Mix your wet ingredients.
Add blueberries and stir to incorporate.
Spoon into greased muffin tin, or cups, or whatever cups. About 2/3 full.
Bake at 400 for 15-20 min. Do the toothpick test.

I used a larger cup... and expectedly that took longer to finish baking. So, I let it bake up so that the top got golden... the jury is still out on if I should have let the other muffins bake a bit longer to get a golden top too.

This baking cup has instructions!! "Open"... hard to see, but its there on the top edge! So cool!

On another note... you watch a dog for one day, pick up his poop a few times...
and you get a mixed berry cobbler! Who knew??

AND, I went to trader joe's looking to get a new jar of jam for those thumbprint cookies... and found this neat stuff...

SUPERFRUIT Spread. OOOOOOOOOOOOOO. Cherries, Blueberries, Pomegranate... sounds delish~

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Berry and Peach Turnovers

From the remaining puff pastry dough I made earlier this week, I made more turnovers.

This time I used white peaches instead of yellow. And used raspberries in addition to blackberries.

3 White Peaches, pitted and sliced
1 C Raspberries
1 C Blackberries
1/2 C Sugar
1.5 Tbsp Cornstarch, dissolved in 1 Tbsp water

In a medium sized pot, or saucepan, combine fruits and sugar. Bring to a boil until peaches are softened. Then add cornstarch to thicken. Cool the mixture completely before using on puff pastry.

Roll out and cut puff pastry into 6" squares. This time I did 4", and it was too small... plus I overfill.

Almond Spread (optional - depends on your tastes)
7 Oz. Almond Paste
1/4C Whipping Cream

Blend until smooth in food processor. Spread a thin layer on each puff pastry square before adding chilled fruit mixture.

**When adding filling, keep in mind which direction you are folding and to avoid over-filling.

Beat 1 egg. Brush 2 sides of each square to "glue" the edges together when folding into triangle. Crimp edges with fork if desired. Cut slits to vent. Brush egg over each turnover; Sprinkle sugar on top.

**Remember to keep puff pastry dough cool. Let the turnovers chill in the freezer for 20 minutes before baking. I made random shapes with the left over bits of pastry.

Back at 375 for 30 minutes until golden brown.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Delayed to no end

Weeks feel like forever, but they still fly by like nothing.

I haven't even posted about my farmer's market trip, and it's already going to be here again!!!!
Just to blitz through it all (and since I don't have much else to post baking-wise)... here it is:

Italian Butter Rum Mini Bundt by Dolce Monachelli's:


The other version of pluots, but not aprium.

Curried Potato Foccaccia Pocket from Blackmarket Bakery

Berries! Blue, Straw, Rasp... thus completing my hobo bowl.

Delicious hummus! (First time I think I've really had hummus!)

Homemade Cannoli - with chocolate chips in the middle!

Since then, I've learned how to make my own puff pastry... and use said puff pastry to make peach and blackberry turnovers with almond paste, and then also made a Raspberry Tart with Creme Fraiche Wild Flower Honey Filling. (I forgot my camera.... LAME!!)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

ATTN: Handmade Aficionados!

Beautiful handiworks! Check this out!