Tuesday, June 2, 2009
TWD: Cinnamon Squares
This week, in the Tuesdays With Dorie baking club (in which we are baking our way through Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours) Tracey of Tracey's Culinary Adventures chose the recipe on page 210-211--CINNAMON SQUARES!
In reading the TWD comments/questions on this particular recipe there seemed to be a lot of folks who do not like the combo of cinnamon and chocolate. It made me wonder if it would be another recipe like last week when, to me, the combo of brownies and chocolate chip cookie dough were two powerful forces that combined to a not-so-perfect dessert. (I liked it, but reported back that I thought the 2 amazing recipes sort of canceled each other out). Would this week's flavor combo--two other favorites of mine namely chocolate and cinnamon fall to the same fate?? The answer is....sort of. I'm on the fence, and think I need a reality check.
Let's back up to a year ago, before I joined Tuesdays with Dorie. I loved to bake, but kept things to a simple repertoire...though I did branch out and try my first 'from scratch' cake just prior to joining TWD. This led me to want to bake more, and perfect timing, it was very soon after that my college roomie Cathy approached me about TWD.
So I think that the past 2 recipes I have been hard on Ms. Greenspan--saying that desserts aren't ones I 'loved'--when really, when I step back and think about it, they really are amazing recipes. I think with desserts like the Pear Tart and the French Yogurt Cake, or Banana Cream Pie, and some of the others we've done--that have sent me off for days saying how amazing they are, that they are the 'best' recipes yet, and other such praise, that when a recipe does not garner THAT over-the-top reaction, I tend to say "eh, it's good, it's ok" as I did last week--and was about to this week! I tasted the cinnamon squares again tonight, with the mindset of me 365 days ago--and know that I really like these--and that I would make them for guests for sure.
I thought that I need to come up with a rating scale...because basically let's face it, when you get an "this is good" in a Dorie recipe, it would translate to anyone else used to the norm brownie and cookies made-from-a-box as "amazing/great/out of this world." I think I'm becoming spoiled by some of the more fanciful desserts Dorie's book has sent my way?!
So although I did not do cartwheels in the kitchen (which probably would have been a bad idea--if not impossible-- at 34 weeks pregnant), I DID in fact really like the cinnamon squares. Are they a French Pear Tart? No--but they're not supposed to be either.
I can see having these squares at the end of meal, when coffee drinks are being poured as the flavors certainly lend themselves to a cup of coffee (no doubt in part because of the espresso powder we added.)
This recipe came together rather easily--I must admit I love the 'just mix in a bowl' (or 2 as this case) as it means I don't have to deal with the big Kitchen Aid. You basically make the cinnamon cake batter, pour half in a square pan, top with chocolate chips and cinnamon-sugar-espresso powder combination and then top with the 2nd half of the cake batter.
It called for an 8" square pan, and I only had 8.5" so I baked it under the time called for.
After cooling out on the cooling rack, I put together the frosting....
"Look, ma, 1 hand!"--a.k.a me stirring while I snap an action shot:
And with a few swoops of the spatula--voila!
Changes to recipe:
I found I had only 2 oz left of 'bittersweet' chocolate--so my recipe for the frosting is mostly 'semi' sweet chocolate w/ just 2 oz of bittersweet (and the layer of chocolate that is in the middle--bittersweet was called for, but its all semi-sweet.) Still tastes fine by me..though I tend to have a sweet tooth.
So, Dorie--if you are out there in blog-land, I apologize for my lackluster report last week--and for almost doing the same this week. These really are fun, tasty gooodies that I would serve again. If anything it's because some of your other recipes I have had the good fortune of baking from your book are THAT amazing that it spoiled me for some of the others that are fine, just as they are. (There I go quoting Bridget Jones's Diary again...oh that Darcy)
AND IN OTHER NEWS....
Had my baby shower this past weekend--was fabulous!! Had lots of family and friends, and my sisters and sisters-in-law threw me a great celebration! The only photo I have right now is one of me and my 2 sisters, back at my house at the end of a long--but fabulous--day! So 6 weeks and counting...after this weekend it's really hitting home: there really is a baby moving into the house!!