Archive for the ‘TWD’ Category


Tuesdays with Dorie Finale: Kids’ Thumbprints

December 27, 2011

It’s the end of an era: the last Tuesdays with Dorie recipe, selected by Dorie herself. Peanut butter cookie dough, rolled in chopped nuts, and filled with chocolate chips (as I did) or jam. I made mine tablespoon size rather than teaspoon, but there were no complaints that they were too big.

I wish I could remember where I heard about TWD. I remember being in my hotel room during my week at Pastry Boot Camp, debating whether I should join the group. Then I saw that the group was going to be closing to new members, so in November 2008, I went for it. I baked Rugelach and I wrote a post about it. I haven’t baked every week, and haven’t come close to baking every recipe in the book, but I’ve stuck with it for over two years. I’ve baked a lot, I’ve learned a lot, I’ve had fun, and I’ve made some friends along the way.

My top five list? That’s too hard. But I’ll tell you this: if my copy of Baking: From My Home to Yours was on fire and I only had time to tear out one recipe, it would be Chocolate Oatmeal Almost Candy Bars. If you haven’t made these, make them!

When one book closes, another book opens. A new group is forming to bake through another Dorie Greenspan book: Baking with Julia. Keep your eye on the Tuesdays with Dorie site for more information on joining the new group. I hope a lot of you TWD bakers are joining the new group, and I look forward to meeting new bakers!

Please take a moment to read Dorie’s lovely post about TWD. She’s got the cookie recipe posted too!


Tuesdays with Dorie: Unbelievably Good Chocolate Blueberry Ice Cream

December 13, 2011

Ice cream in winter? Yes, please! The Tuesdays with Dorie bakers pulled out their ice cream makers this week to make the last ice cream recipe in the book. Honestly, chocolate and blueberry didn’t sound like a great combination to me, but the story that Dorie wrote for this recipe was too funny: she stopped dating a guy because he ordered blueberry pie with chocolate ice cream! She obviously changed her mind about the combination, so I thought I should give it a try.

Thank you Laurie for hosting this recipe! She has the recipe posted today (or look on page 433 of Baking: From My Home to Yours). I also want to take a minute to thank Laurie, our group’s founder, for all she’s done over the years. I’m not sure what I expected when I joined the group, but I know I’ve gotten 1000% more out of it than I thought I would. I’m sad that it’s coming to an end, but so excited about the new group: we’ll be baking from another Dorie book, Baking with Julia!

Since TWD is coming to an end, the group is doubling up on recipes in November. The other recipe for this week is Puffed Double Plum Tart, selected by Julie of Someone’s in the Kitchen. I didn’t have a chance to make it, but check out Julie’s blog for the details.

What I did: I used all whole milk instead of a combination of whole milk and cream; I refrigerated the custard overnight before churning.

How it went: Cooking custard is not my favorite kitchen task, but all went well. Every time I make ice cream, I marvel at how easy it is! The recipe is a chocolate ice cream base with blueberry jam added after churning and before freezing.

How it tasted: The jam I used had tiny blueberries in it, and finding a blueberry in a bite of chocolate ice cream was a nice surprise. My husband liked it a lot, but didn’t think the blueberry added much; he thinks it’s hard to improve on chocolate ice cream. The chocolate ice cream itself was delicious, so the recipe is a good one to try with or without the jam.

I am finally getting back into the swing of being in the kitchen, after being away for a month. I just returned from a trip to Antarctica, South Georgia, and the Falkland Islands, where we saw lots of these:

And when I say lots, I mean lots:

The brown ones are teenage penguins

Along with some ice…

…and a lot of other things! Travel posts will be coming, hopefully before too long.


Tuesdays with Dorie: Normandy Apple Tart

November 29, 2011

Normandy Apple Tart, this week’s selection for the Tuesdays with Dorie bakers, intrigued me. It’s a tart shell (made with Dorie’s awesome Sweet Tart Dough), filled with applesauce, topped with apples. Knowing that I wouldn’t have time to bake (or blog, or read blogs) in November, I selected a couple of the November recipes and baked them in October. I had to see what an applesauce-filled apple tart would taste like!

Thank you Tracey for hosting this recipe! Since TWD is coming to an end, the group is doubling up on recipes in November. The other recipe for this week is Sour Cream Pumpkin Pie, which sounds delicious. Check out Judy’s blog for that recipe.

What I did:

  • I made half the recipe in a 6″ tart pan.
  • I followed Dorie’s instructions to use a “mealy” apple in the applesauce – I picked Macintosh – and Golden Delicious apples for the top of the tart. Mealy sounds really terrible, doesn’t it? But the Macs cooked up into some lovely applesauce.
  • I added the optional vanilla and about a tablespoon of sugar to the applesauce and thought it was very tasty.
  • I baked my small tart for 40 minutes.

How it went: There are a few steps to this: the crust needs to freeze before baking, and then cool after partially baking, and the applesauce needs to cool after cooking. But with a little planning, it’s not a difficult tart to make. I had more applesauce than I needed, but I was happy to eat the extra.

How it tasted: This intriguing tart was delicious! It’s fresh apple flavor two ways in a crust (and I love crust). I prefer this to a custard-filled tart, and I will absolutely make it again. I also liked the fact that it doesn’t have cinnamon. I like cinnamon a lot, but it was a nice change to have an apple dessert without it. My husband also liked it a lot and said “the applesauce works.” He liked the contrast in textures of the crust, applesauce, and apple slices. I served this with whipped cream, which my husband declared essential (OK, it was Cool Whip, but whipped cream would have been even better). I think ice cream would be pretty great with this too.

Are you ready to bake your own apple tart? Open your copy of Baking: From My Home to Yours to page 304, or head over to Tracey’s Culinary Adventures; she’ll have the recipe posted today.


Tuesdays with Dorie: Bittersweet Brownies

November 15, 2011

I’ve made quite a few brownie recipes with the Tuesdays with Dorie group, and a few more on my own. I’m not going to scientifically rank them all, but I will say that these brownies are at the top of my list!

Chocolatey (of course), and tender with a crackly crust. Perfect with a cappuccino!

Thank you Leslie for this great selection! Leslie is a chocolate lover extraordinaire, so it’s fitting that she is hosting this recipe. Since TWD is coming to an end, the group is doubling up on recipes in November. The other recipe for this week, which unfortunately I didn’t get around to making, is Alsatian Apple Tart, selected by Jessica of Cookbookhabit. Be sure to check out her blog today if you want to know more about the tart.

What I did:

  • I made half the recipe in an 8″ square pan.
  • I used Jacques Torres 60% chocolate disks. Sadly, my discs are almost gone; I’ll be buying more though, because everything that I baked using this chocolate turned out wonderful!
  • I added the optional espresso powder, which enhanced the chocolate, but didn’t give them a coffee flavor.
  • I think I baked these for 22 minutes.

How it went: I melted the chocolate and butter in the microwave instead of on the stove, which I think is quicker and easier than doing it on the stove, though it’s important to go slowly and keep an eye on it. They were quick and easy to mix up, and pretty quick to bake. And they got a thin, crackly crust on top just like they were supposed to!

How it tasted: I really liked the taste and texture of these. They’re soft and tender, but not crumbly. They melt in your mouth! No nuts, chunks, or other flavorings; just delicious chocolate. My husband declared them “silky smooth.” I also gave some to our neighbor – he was helping to relocate a pile of dirt one day and he said “you owe me some vittles.” I know he likes brownies, so these had his name on them.

Want to give these a whirl? Open your copy of Baking: From My Home to Yours to page 90, or head over to Lethally Delicious to take a look at the recipe and see how Leslie’s brownies turned out.

I’ve got a lot going on in November! I’ve scheduled a few posts, but I won’t be getting around to everyone’s blogs this  month. I’ll catch up with you in December!


Tuesdays with Dorie Rewind: Snickery Squares

October 25, 2011

The Tuesdays with Dorie bakers made Snickery Squares before I  joined the group. I’m not sure where I first saw them – on someone’s blog or in the book, but I’d been wanting to make them for a long time. So when my husband needed a treat to bring to work, I knew this recipe would be the one. Buttery crust, a layer of dulce de leche with a sprinkling of caramelized peanuts, topped by a layer of chocolate and more caramelized peanuts. Sweet, creamy, salty, and crunchy, all in one bite!

What I did:

  • I made the full recipe with no changes.
  • I baked the crust and caramelized the peanuts one day, and then assembled the bars the next day.
  • I let them chill overnight and cut them into squares the next morning. After sitting out on the counter for a while, the chocolate was still pretty hard to cut, but the dulce de leche was pretty soft, so these were messy to cut and to eat.
  • Since they were messy and I don’t like messy, I put each square into a muffin liner, and then put them all into a plastic container to be transported.
  • I’m not sure how many squares I ended up with, but I cut them much smaller than what Dorie recommends.

How it went:  I was nervous about making caramelized peanuts, but it went great! The couple of times I’ve made caramel following Dorie’s directions, it has worked out well. There are a few components to this recipe, and with cooling time, it does take a little while, so I was glad that I split the tasks across two days.

How it tasted: It’s a miracle that I didn’t eat all of the caramelized peanuts before putting the squares together! They were SO good. But the assembled squares were delicious, and much better than a candy bar. They didn’t last long at my husband’s office!

You can find the recipe in Baking: From My Home to Yours, or you can find it here on Dinner and Dessert.


Tuesdays with Dorie: Apple-Toffee Muffins

October 4, 2011

The Tuesdays with Dorie bakers are kicking off October with Apple Muffin Cake, hosted by Katrina from Baking and Boys! Katrina is known for adding chocolate to recipes, so I’m wondering if she managed to add some chocolate to this one. I didn’t add chocolate, but I did make some changes. Read on to see how I changed Apple Nut Muffin Cake into Apple-Toffee Muffins.

Dorie explains that this was a muffin recipe that she ended up baking as a cake. I like muffins because they’re in individual portions that are easy to give away, so I turned the muffin cake back into muffins.

What I did:

  • I made half the recipe, which yielded 8 muffins.
  • Since I needed 1/2 egg, I used the white and cooked the yolk for the dog (she got the apple peel too).
  • I omitted the raisins and nuts and replaced them with 1/2 cup of toffee bits. After I threw those into the bowl I thought “that was too many toffee bits,” but it was too late.
  • I used paper muffin liners and sprayed them with non-stick spray. I like using the papers, but don’t like it when my muffins or cupcakes stick to the paper. Spraying them worked great!

How it went: There were a lot of things to measure out, but as with most quick breads, it was quick to mix up. I baked the muffins for 19 minutes; they got really brown, but that may have been all the toffee bits, which melted into the batter.

How it tasted: As much as I like raisins and nuts in muffins, the toffee version was really good! The bits melted into the muffin and gave it a sweet, toffee flavor, which was great with the moist chunks of apple. Did I use too many toffee bits? I don’t think so! My husband really enjoyed these and said they taste like something that’s bad for you. (Note that I never claimed it was a good-for-you treat…but it’s probably not as bad as a giant grocery store muffin.)

Open your copy of Baking: From My Home to Yours to page 37 and try Dorie’s version, my version, or your own version of this recipe! If you want to try before you buy, click over to Baking and Boys!; Katrina has the recipe published today.


Tuesdays with Dorie Rewind: Pecan Honey Sticky Buns

September 27, 2011

A few weeks ago, the Tuesdays with Dorie bakers made Golden Brioche Loaves. Well, that brioche recipe makes a lot of dough, so in addition to a loaf, I made Brioche Raisin Snails, and now I bring you my final installment: Pecan-Honey Sticky Buns.

Another brioche success! These were decadent and delicious. I timed my baking so that I could give away most of them – spread out the calories, as I like to say. By the way, Michele also baked some brioche and is posting it today. I don’t know the details, so I’ll be checking out how hers turned out and what recipe she used.

What I did: When I made the brioche dough, I took half of it and prepped it for the sticky bun recipe by rolling it out, spreading it with cinnamon filling, and rolling it up. Tightly wrapped, it stayed in my freezer for a few weeks. The day before baking, I put the dough in the refrigerator. The day of baking, I made the topping (butter, honey, pecans, and brown sugar), sliced the log of dough into rounds, and let it rise before baking. 

How it went: With the dough already made, this went quickly. Also, since the dough had been frozen, it was super-cold and easy to slice, which made my life easier. The buns are baked on top of the topping, so they need quick flip as soon as they come out of the oven. I’m happy to report that I didn’t burn myself or get any topping on the floor!

How it tasted: My husband and I each ate one warm from the oven and loved them. My husband liked how they were sticky on the outside but not soggy. Our neighbor reported that he put them in a bowl, chopped them up, and topped them with half-and-half. As long as he enjoys them, he can do what he wants. He gets points for creativity, and for making these even more rich.

Open your copy of Baking: From My Home to Yours to page 51 and get sticky! Or, you can find the recipe here.


Tuesdays w/Dorie (Rewind): Brioche Raisin Snails

August 30, 2011

I finally made Brioche Raisin Snails, the mysterious pastry that the Tuesdays with Dorie bakers made back in 2008. As a raisin lover, this has been on my radar for quite some time. When Golden Brioche Loaves were selected for last week’s recipe, it was the kick I needed to get going on the snails. If you remember back to last week, I divided my dough in half and used 1/3 of the 1/2 to make a mini brioche loaf. The other 2/3 turned into these lovely pastries.

I gave some of these to a friend, and right away she told me that she remembered eating brioche with me at Paris Las Vegas and I loved it and was wondering how I could make it at home. That was at least seven years ago and I don’t remember it. (To clarify, I DO remember the trip to Las Vegas, and I even remember eating at the Paris buffet; it’s just the part about the brioche that slipped my mind.) Even though I haven’t spent the last seven years dreaming about making brioche, I still think it’s pretty cool that I made it.

What I did: I made the brioche dough on day one You can read more about the brioche process here. I also made pastry cream on day one. On day two, I warmed up the raisins with some dark rum (I skipped the part where you set them on fire), rolled the dough, spread on the pastry cream, sprinkled on the raisins, rolled it up, and cut it. After some rising time, the snails went in the oven.

How it went: I’ve made pastry cream before using different recipes, and every time, including this time, I think I messed it up. But in the end, I didn’t scramble the eggs and I think it was fine. I’m not the neatest roller of dough or slicer of dough, but it all went pretty well. I should have remembered that trick of using dental floss to slice soft dough, but I never remember that at the right time.

How it tasted: Buttery, tender, studded with boozy raisins, drizzled with a sugary glaze. My husband, who does not love raisins, and doesn’t usually get past a courtesy taste of anything with raisins, loved them and ate several. My dad, who does love raisins, did not love these. He didn’t think they had enough flavor. I kind of see his point, as these are not a flavor explosion, but the flavors that were there worked for me. My friend loved them and told me to start writing my business plan, and my mom told me to open a bakery. For now, I think I’ll stick to my home kitchen.

This recipe was hosted by Peabody on March 18, 2008, and you can see her version of the recipe (she made some changes) here, or you can click here to see the version of the recipe that’s in the book. But wait, you have a copy of Baking: From My Home to Yours, don’t you? Just open it to page 56 and get your snails on!


Tuesdays with Dorie: Golden Brioche Loaves

August 23, 2011

This week’s recipe for the Tuesdays with Dorie bakers is Golden Brioche Loaves, selected by Margaret from Tea and Scones. A piece of brioche would be quite nice with a cup of tea, wouldn’t it?

I’ve eaten brioche just a handful of times, and every time I think I’m not going to like it that much and then can’t stop eating it. And once again, I thought, well, I’ll just make a mini loaf because I’m more excited about the other recipes that use the brioche dough. One bite of a mini slice from my mini loaf and I was wishing I’d made a large loaf! Ah, but nothing is stopping me from making this again.

What I did: I made the full recipe (with three sticks of butter!) because Dorie asks us very nicely not to reduce it. She also very nicely provides several other recipes that use brioche dough, and one that uses dried-out brioche, so there are a lot of options. I mixed the dough on a Friday night. Here’s what I did Saturday morning:

  • I took half the dough and prepped a batch of Pecan Honey Sticky Buns. The rolled-up and filled dough is in my freezer, ready to thaw and bake another time.
  • I took the other half of the dough and used 1/3 of it for a mini Golden Brioche Loaf, and 2/3 of it for Brioche Raisin Snails. This was a lot of math before 9am, but it all worked out.

How it went: The brioche dough isn’t particularly difficult to make. It’s a yeast bread, so if you’ve made bread, the process will be familiar, although most yeast bread doesn’t contain three sticks of butter! The butter gets mixed in slowly, and in the end, you have a smooth, silky dough. After rising, the dough goes into the refrigerator for the night. The next day, it gets a second rise in a loaf pan and baked, or it gets prepped for another recipe. Below is my 1/3 of 1/2 batch of dough baked into a mini loaf. I’ll tell you about the snails and sticky buns in separate posts.

How it tasted: My husband took a bite and said “It’s like a bite of spring air.” He went on to say “If it was any lighter, it wouldn’t exist.” I don’t think I can top those quotes, but I’ll say that I enjoyed it quite a bit and find it amusing that something with so much butter and eggs in it can be so light. It was delicious plain and even better topped with apricot jam.

Open your copy of Baking: From My Home to Yours to page 48 and get going on some brioche! If you want to try before you buy, click over to Tea and Scones; she will have the recipe published today.


Tuesdays with Dorie: Tropical Fruit Crumble

August 16, 2011

This week’s recipe for the Tuesdays with Dorie bakers is Tropical Fruit Crumble, selected by my favorite baker from down under, Gaye (aka Cakelaw) from Laws of the Kitchen.

What makes it tropical? Mango, banana, ginger, lime zest, and nuts (cashews in my case). What makes it a Jill dessert? A big dollop of fat-free whipped topping! Yep, I love it and refuse to be ashamed.

What I did: I made 1/4 of the recipe and baked it in a 5.75″ x 3″ mini loaf pan. I subbed cashews for pecans, because I didn’t have pecans, and aren’t cashews more tropical anyway?

How it went: This was quick to make, though I managed to generate a lot of dishes! One saute pan, two bowls, the mini loaf pan, a baking sheet and Silpat, plus various mixing and measuring devices. The fruit didn’t seem that juicy after cooking, but as the crumble baked, the juices bubbled up on top of the crumble topping. I drained some liquid off when I took it out of the oven, but the topping was pretty moist. Other bakers noted that their topping wasn’t crisp either. Maybe it wasn’t supposed to be? Maybe that’s why this is a “crumble” and not a “crisp”?

How it tasted: My husband and I both liked it, but agreed that it was just OK. The combination of flavors was tasty, but the crumble topping was soft, and the mango and banana were pretty soft too; I prefer the texture of an apple crisp, where the apples have a little bit of bite, and the topping is crunchy. I kept thinking about Dorie’s Double Crisp and how delicious that was.

If a topical fruit crumble is up your alley, look on page 481 of Baking: From My Home to Yours, or click over to Laws of the Kitchen; she has the recipe published here.

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