Wednesday, March 28, 2018

TWD/BCM: Apple Weekend Cake AND Pailles

The Apple Weekend Cake was a simple little snacking cake. 

Easy. Moist. 

Note to self: next time add nuts, skip the jelly glaze.

Pardon this interruption in our regularly-scheduled program. But the "weekend" in "weekend cake" reminded me of our adventure a couple of weekends ago. We made the trip to Plains, Georgia to hear Jimmy Carter teach Sunday school. It was amazing. The man exudes kindness. People were there from many many states and even some foreign countries. Truly a pilgrimage. I'm so thankful.

Pailles means "straws" in French. These fabulous little cookies are intended to look like a stack of straws. Whatever.

Dorie says that if you like to play with your food, you'll love making these. She's right.

Nothing stressful at all. This is puff pastry from the store!

Roll, brush with egg wash, sprinkle with sugar, fold, repeat. 

After some chilling time in the freezer, slice into 1/4" slices and press three or four together on a baking sheet. 

Bake covered with parchment paper and a cooling rack. These expand out instead of up. 

They're thin and crunchy. It's hard to go wrong with puff pastry.

I personally prefer to eat them open-faced
spread with something tasty.
Lemon curd is a good choice.

The other Tuesdays With Dorie bakers are here.

And now a shoe.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

TWD/DC: Sebastian's Remarkably Wonderful Brownies

No reason to beat around the bush.
These are FANTASTIC!
Remarkably Wonderful for sure.

I've mentioned in the past that we have our own family favorite brownie recipe. It's called Susan's Secret. My mother named it that when I came home from across the street (Susan's house) with the brownies and the title-less recipe. It's always been our go-to because of the amazing flavor and tender gooey-ish interior. But no matter the oven, they always came out with tough edges. Not just crunchy or chewy, but... hard. One year my daughter baked Susan's Secret to sell at the school Business Day. She invented a new product by re-branding the cut off edges as "Brownie Sticks". Brilliant idea. They sold out.

The reason I mention Susan's Secret is because these seemed like they might be similar. Thought I'd compare ingredients. Quelle horreur! The recipe has disappeared! This is a tragedy of mammoth proportions. Except...

Thank you, Jesus! (actually Sebastian! or Dorie!) These are very similar to Susan's Secret with much better edges. Every little bit was amazing. We gobbled them up quick. 

OK, I do have a question if anyone cares to respond. Do you see that scale? I have discovered that the volume measure of my dry ingredients yields way more than going by weight. I know the scale is correct because pre-weighed products like butter or packaged raisins are spot on. But my flour and sugar are just wrong. For instance, in the photo above I've only put in a little more than 2 cups of sugar and it's already at 503g. But the recipe says that 2 1/2 cups is 500g. That's a pretty big difference. I've been using too much sugar and flour in every recipe. Am I the only one who has noticed this? It makes me wonder how different other recipes would have turned out if I had a decent scale a couple of years ago. So, lesson learned. Weigh everything. 

Quite a large chunk was consumed while the pan was still pretty hot. I mean really, Dorie! What's the point of making fresh brownies if you're not going to eat them warm? We don't let that opportunity pass in this house!

There is one little thing. This recipe doesn't include nuts. My husband recently passed away and I could hear him fussing in my head that they needed nuts. He loved nuts in a brownie. It was a bit of an issue for him. So next time, these will have nuts.

The other Tuesdays With Dorie bakers can be found here.

And now, a shoe. We were arriving at the hospital last 4th of July. It was the beginning of the end but we didn't know it then. Michael spotted the shoe and pointed it out to me, walking ahead while I lagged behind to get the picture. Love you, honey. Until we meet again.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Tuesdays With Dorie Rewind

It's January and it's a rewind week.
Looks like the perfect time for my annual catch-up post.
I kept up until June of last year (2017) so let's start with July.

From Baking Chez Moi (BCM): Martine's Gateau de Savoie, a nice little sponge cake that was perfect with summer fruit

From Dorie's Cookies (DC), Classic Jammers

yes please

and Coffee Malteds

First time I ever used malted milk powder.
These were especially good with Dulce du Leche.
And guess what? It comes in a squeeze bottle!

July was a difficult month for us. After almost 5 years of chemo and other treatments, we discovered that my husband's cancer had continued to spread. We were out of options and entered hospice care. There was, however, a concert. After a lifetime of concerts, I'm glad that Michael's last one was to see Sir Paul. We'd seen him before, but we were all older, wiser, and a bit more sentimental this time.


DC: Crash-O-Cookies

I made these but can find no photographic evidence. Crunchy oatmeal chocolate chip with raisins and a little cinnamon. Similar to Cowboy Cookies without the nuts and coconut. (We do love some Cowboy Cookies.)

August was a time of visiting with friends and family. Even with declining health, Michael's social calendar was full. Lunches, dinners, a visit to the lake, bingo, and baseball. We made it to two games at the new Braves stadium.

And there was an eclipse!


The most difficult month of my life. I honestly believed that Michael would beat this. Even as it was happening right in front of my eyes, I did not realize what it would mean to lose him. If only we'd had a little more time.  I believe that real answers on cancer will come very soon. Brilliant people are out there working on it every day. There was no baking in September.


DC: Crumb-Topped Apple Bars

Good. Easy. In Season.

DC: French Snacklettes

The Snacklettes were little chocolate chunks. Here they are
on the stump of the 100-yr-old oak that hurricane Irma took
down 2 days before Michael died. Visual metaphor of our life.
DC: Pecan-Butterscotch Shortbreads, not assigned as a TWD recipe yet, but I needed shortbread for a reception after church on the day of the Kirking of the Tartans. Never dreamed that "butterscotch" was actually made from butter and scotch.


DC: Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

These were fantastic! The pumpkin cakes had
little bits of chopped fresh cranberries. The
filling was made from marshmallow creme
 and dulce du leche. 
On Nov 20, the Georgia Dome was imploded. It was much too young to suffer such a fate. So very sad to see it go. I watched it happen (in an instant) from a friend's office window.


DC: Princeton Gingersnaps
We've had our own Molasses cookie recipe for years, but I do believe these were better. I mean, three different kinds of ginger!?! (Fresh, crystallized, and ground) They stayed soft too. I'm sold.

perfect for a little eggnog ice cream sandwich
The Creme Brulee Project
I was listening to someone interviewing a famous chef and the question was "what is your favorite dessert?" At that very moment I realized that I do not know how to make my favorite dessert. If I'm in a fancy restaurant, I'm asking for Creme Brulee. So I made a New Year's resolution right then and there to learn about Creme Brulee. This will be an ongoing project. First up was Alton Brown's recipe. Good but oh so rich! We didn't even finish them all. Next time, half a recipe might be enough.

And finally,  January of 2018

DC: Chunkers
These cookies apparently have a bit of a cult following in NYC and I can see why. Two kinds of chocolate (3 if you count cocoa), cherries, and a large quantity of cashews.

Milk. You must have milk.
The REAL lesson from this recipe.
I have a wonderful new kitchen scale.
150 grams of sugar is NOT 3/4 cup - it's a little more than 1/2 cup.
I'll be weighing ingredients from now on!
BCM: Real Hot Chocolate
We've had some very COLD weather. Of course it was good.
Used my little creme brulee torch to toast those marshmallows.
BCM: Crunchy Granola

Perfect with that fancy new yogurt that comes in a jar.
Now, we move ahead. One day at a time. One shoe at a time.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

TWD/DC: Cabin Fever Caramel Banana Bars

I've spent many happy hours baking along with
the other Tuesdays With Dorie participants.
But not posting about it.
It's been a VERY long time.
There's a catch-up day coming.

For now, I'll report on the Cabin Fever Caramel Banana Bars.
The photo above doesn't do them justice.
We devoured them before I got a better one.
You can refer to the photo on page 66 of Dorie's Cookies.
Ours looked just like that. No kidding.

It's been COLD here in Georgia.
Instead of Cabin Fever, I had a case of
How's that for a recipe title?

Didn't have fresh bananas, but there were some in the freezer for smoothies.
Didn't have yogurt or sour cream, but there was leftover eggnog.
Close enough.

We loved the crunch of the peanuts in the bar.
I used bittersweet chocolate on top.
Daughter said "obviously the right choice."

So much has happened since my last post. For now, let's just say 2017 was not our best year. Life goes on. One step at a time. It's all a person can do. A cookie now and then helps.

Here's a shoe. Actually two of them.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

TWD/BCM: Les Whoopies

Two weeks in a row!
Let's pretend I'm not a day late.

No special whoopie pan. Little scoop worked fine.
Made the whoopies last night.
But ran out of peanut butter filling - quelle horreur!
Apparently I was overly generous. Didn't seem like it.

So I made the salted caramel this morning. Just for comparison purposes, you know.

Both fillings are amazing.
However, everyone here prefers the peanut butter on the whoopies.

But that caramel?
Get out a spoon.
Totally decadent all by itself.

Firming up in the fridge
The other Tuesdays With Dorie bakers are here.

And now a shoe. Actually a pair. Can't believe I was able to get this picture while driving. I'd seen these the day before and knew where they were, but there was too much traffic to stop. So I set the camera to "sport burst" mode, pointed in the right direction, and hoped for the best. Sometimes you get lucky.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

TWD/DC: Blueberry-Buttermilk Pie Bars AND Dorie's Newest Chocolate Chip Cookies AND MANY MORE

Do you see all those sticky notes?
Each one marks a completed recipe.
That I've failed to blog about.
SO there's some catching up to do.

Let's start with the current recipes from Dorie's Cookies.

DC: Blueberry-Buttermilk Pie Bars
We liked them best warm, with ice cream.
(What a surprise...)

DC: Dorie's Newest Chocolate Chip Cookies
Loved the spices and the texture.

BCM: Streusel-Topped Rhubarb Lime Tart

Didn't have a lime, but made do with some lime juice
and some True lime (a dried lime powder).
Made tiny ones in silicone cupcake liners.
They were good.

DC: Goat Cheese and Chive Cookies
turned out to be perfect with a sausage and kale dinner.
Can I say that cheese straws have long been a Southern
 favorite. These "cookies" are pretty close.
They'd be good with a little dab of jam too.

BCM: Lemon Meringue Tart A New Way
Used the little tart pans.
After 37 years of marriage, it took
this recipe for my husband to tell me that
he doesn't like "lemon pie".
OK then, more for me.

BCM: Plain and Simple Almond Cake
I added some bittersweet chocolate pieces.
And it was perfect timing for early spring strawberries.

My Mother's Strawberry Pie
Every now and then, you've GOT to have an old favorite.

DC: Lemon Sugar Cookies
Fast and easy. 
Note to self: try a little powdered sugar/lemon glaze next time.

Revisited Finnish Pulla
for Easter

BCM: Laurent's Slow-Roasted Spiced Pineapple
Easy. Good. Ice cream. Yes.

DC: Salted Chocolate-Caramel Bars
Oh. My. Goodness. These are amazing.
I highly recommend pecans retrieved from the yard of a friend.

DC: Rose-Hibiscus Shortbread Fans
Another winner. 

DC: Breakfast Biscotti
I always forget how much I love biscotti.
A little drizzle on top makes it that much better.

Actually, I'm pretty sure it was Bread-Machine
Bread from Baking With Julia. That recipe
with the buttermilk powder has become my go-to.

DC: World Peace Cookies
Chocolate and chocolate.
How can you go wrong?

DC: Double-Ginger Crumb Cookies
Not sure if these were "assigned" or if I went rogue.
Heads-up. They were good.

BCM: Olive Oil and Wine Cookies
Unusual and unusual-looking, LOL!
They grew on us after awhile. 

DC: Pfefferneusse
I seem to remember that they were... hard.

DC: Christmas Spice Cookies
A decent cookie-cutter recipe.

DC: Peanut Butter Change-Ups
Very good, nice texture, but not as
peanut-y as I expected.

Well, that's about it. I've been here, just haven't reported it. And there have been a few changes in our life. Our dear dog Lady passed away unexpectedly on the night of January 1st. It was devastating and still hurts terribly. She was well-loved and is very much missed. After a few months, a new dog found us. His name is Jack and he's a 6-yr-old border collie. He's fast, and silent, and doesn't have to eat special food. He's not Lady, but we love him already.

One of the last photos I have of Lady.
We were at the emergency clinic.

We actually met Jack for the first time in the hospital.
And here's a shoe. Since this post was all about looking back, how about a shoe in my rear-view mirror: