Monday, February 22, 2010

TWD: Honey-Wheat Cookies

Wow, three weeks in a row with a Tuesdays with Dorie recipe completed and posted!

This week, I was happy to do the recipe for a few reasons-

1. It was chosen by Flourchild, whose blog I try to keep up with (but apologize that I have not lately, but now that I'm back posting--I hope to follow through and be back READING other blogs as well!) She is one of about 4 'followers' I have for my blog...and I can't help but think she meant to bookmark someone else's--but I truly appreciate her willingness to "follow" me on this poor excuse of a blog!

2. It did not have chocolate. I wanted to know I could branch out and enjoy a cookie that did not involve chopping, melting, or otherwise using (let alone eating) chocolate

3. It would be three posts/recipes in as many weeks...after a very long "maternity leave" (if only my maternity leave at work was as long as the one I took from this baking club!)

So...I put the dough together over the weekend and baked the Monday night. I was so proud of myself to be baking something that seemed very much un-Lisa like. I must admit reading the recipe I had hesitation....honey...wheat germ (I mean really, "wheat germ" and "cookie" in the same breath?)
My expectations were varied. One minute I thought "why am I doing this recipe" and the next I would think "wow, what if this becomes a new favorite!"

And so I baked 2 dozen, froze the rest of the dough for a rainy day....
tried them....
and as it turns out....
I have not found a new favorite.

I promise I'll bring them to work so I can try them with some tea in the afternoon, and maybe their appeal will change. They are not bad, they just are not for me. I know many will like this recipe, and my hats off to them, and I wish my taste buds have evolved past the age of about 11, but when i comes to sweets, I don't think they have! (Case in point: I thought to myself how much the rolled out dough, once rolled in a bath of wheat germ look so much like small Dunkin Donuts Munchkins--the coconut ones! But that very well could be because I gave up all things Dunkin for lent and I tend to see munchkins and donuts now in everything I see (see: "Whatever it is I think I see becomes a Tootsie Roll to me")

So here's what I keep's the whole letter of the law/spirit of the law routine. Are these a 'cookie' --sure, in that they are a round baked good, made with flour, sugar and other add-ins, and they can be eaten in 1-3 bites....but these fall short in that I'm not stealing tastes of the batter, nor thinking "wow, I can easily eat a whole cookie sheet of these" or "I better buy more milk." Am I glad I made them? Yes. Will I eat most of them? Of course, because really even a so-so cookie is still a cookie! And some day I'll circle back to the dough in the back of the freezer and give it another try and maybe feel differently.

Thanks, Michelle for picking this recipe!! It was fun to bake along with you and all the other folks once again this week!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

TWD: "My Best Chocolate Chip Cookies"

Short post so I can get it posted before Tuesday becomes Wednesday.

This week's recipe for us Tuesdays With Dorie bakers were Dories Best Chocolate Chip Cookies....and wow were these ever good....I love a crispy cookie--and chocolate chip to boot? Bring it.

I made mine with store bought chips---but only because I really wanted to size up the cookie--and to me I need to try all batters with the same chips to really measure up which 'cookie' I like.

I did however use the finely chopped walnuts called for, and I am not one for nuts in my cookies--but using such finely chopped walnuts was a welcome addition!

I would make these again...and again....the only caveat is to chill the dough prior to baking-I had not done that and these suckers spread out BIG time...I think I'd gain a chewier cookie if I chilled the dough for awhile first, but like I said I loves me a crispy cookie, so I had no problem polishing off way too many of these!

Thanks to Kait of Kait's Plate for this week's recipe pick! :)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

TWD: Rick Katz's Brownies for Julia

Hey, check it out folks! Dorie is opening up a cookie bar in NYC!! Right now she and her son have a pop-up shop within Mizu Salon, but plan is for their own storefront in NYC! Sigh...I never missed working in NYC more than I do right now!

I can't tell you how glad I am to be finding some little time to myself in the kitchen during the weekend napping of the Littlest Baker. And to have Brownies be one of the very first returning recipes I get to do for Tuesdays With Dorie?! Perfection! Thanks to Tanya of Chocolatechic for picking this recipe!!! Her blog is one I love to visit--and look forward to reacquainting myself with now that I'm back among the living/blogging! Her photos and write ups are both equally fabulous!!! It's no surprise she would pick such a classically chocolate recipe! You can't make brownies without chocolate, so perfect choice for our 'Chocolatechic' gal!

Brownies have crept up there in the line of 'favorite desserts' for me...they are neck and neck now with the simple, classic, chocolate chip cookie (and hello, take 2 guesses what next week's recipe is for the Dories?! Yep. That's right....I'm so excited!!)

Back to brownies-to me, no one had better home made brownies than my beloved great-aunt Margaret. She was the baker in our extended family, and although we lost her in the early 1980's, in our family her name is often mentioned whenever we speak of apple pie, brownies, tapioca, and any number of other yummy goodies she would drop off. As a kid, nothing was better than playing outside, and seeing her vanilla colored Duster take the ride up our driveway.

If it was an unexpected drop-by, we always knew it meant Aunt Margaret had something warm and gooey and tasty to share with us that was just baked. To this day I can't see a pie basket without thinking of her. My gram (her sister) gave me Aunt Margaret's cookbook and I cherish it to this day.

It's pages are worn--or more specifically the dessert pages are well worn/spilled on/etc. There were recipes stuck in side clipped from old Redbook magazines, or ripped from the newspaper, and even some things written in pencil inside the front pages....(Gotta love a cookbook from the 40's that uses lard in some cases--and talks about the "new" product on the market (Crisco) that could be used in its place! ha!)

Tangent, thy name is Lisa.
Ok, so bottom line, my Aunt Margaret made the best brownies.

I've been striving to find recipes that stand up to hers (because what I don't have is the recipe she used--it must have been done by heart, or by some other recipe card long lost...) I thought the ones we did with the espresso coffee added (Katherine Hepburn Brownies) were great in texture--to me they were not right in taste as I don't want coffee interrupting my way to finding the chocolate. (note to self I meant bake these again to try without the coffee).

So far, my favorite was a recipe for super duper fudgy brownies that I was told about last year that hit the ball outta the park...across the street, and probably broke a window somewhere.... They were for any fan (like myself) of that fudgy/moist texture...that you can break open, then stick back together, hold upside down, and they'll stay. Not wet and gooey-but between that stage and the cakey brownie.
The brownies we made this week--Rick Katz's recipe--are just as delightful. They are for those who like an inbetween of fudge-vs-cake. I think the 9x9 pan helps them keep a fudge-cake balance..(fakey? cudgey? what would you call that?)

What I can't tell is exactly how long I need to bake them next time. The baking time called for yielded soupy I kept putting it back for a few minutes...then Dear Husband wanted to get AT&T on the horn to get us signed up for DirecTV....but the baby needed attention, so then I took the phone to talk to the gal and I ended up turning the oven way down, and walking away for a good 15 min...then I just turned the oven off (because I was STILL on the phone with them) and let them stay in the warm oven. I thought they'd be in ruins, but when I was (finally) off the (half hour+) phone call, I took them out and tested the middle...seemed ok. And come to find out these were done to perfection! It will be tricky trying to time it next time, and I'll have to consult the other Dorie bakers to find out what time worked for them. (Also-no greasing was called for?? I threw parchment paper into the pan b/c I wasn't sure what to do-if it was a forgotten step in the cookbook, or if they really did not need greasing..having never made brownies without some sort of liner or butter in the bottom of the pan, I took the cautious route)

All in all a great week---made brownies, enjoyed them while watching one of the best episodes yet of Lost....and now officially have posted a 2010 TWD recipe!!

Having limited time, I only took the finish photo--and that was about 3 days after I baked forgive me the lack of a good 'play by play' blog this week!

Thanks, Tanya!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Is this thing on?? (a.k.a "Is There Anyone Out There?")

So...every week for the past several months, I think "this is the week...." and Tuesday comes and goes so fast (let alone the other six days of the week!!) and I admit defeat...and then think "maybe NEXT week..."

Turning the page on yet another month made me think "now or never"--let alone feeling the worry of being deleted from the club's blog roll! (Maybe I already am??) But I'm going to give it the college try...I'm back among the Tuesdays with Dorie throng! I knew it when I read the February recipes that February will be the month I get back into the swing of it!!

But understand it's been with good reason that I made such a break from the kitchen and our TWD baking club! And here he is!!

So since I'm not making this comeback on a Tuesday, I AM still posting a Dorie recipe-but not one from our 'bible' "Baking: From my Home to Yours"--instead I'm sharing one of her recipes that she wrote up in the Dec 09 issue of Bon Appetit, and one that I tried over the holidays! It was amazing!! In the issue, she made Pecan Sticky Buns with a spiced dough base--a dough that she describes is just as luxurious as brioche dough (brioche being the norm for her pecan sticky buns), but not as rich, and amped up with some spices. If you are even THINKING about trying this-do it. It was the first time I attempted Pecan Sticky Buns, and although it was a longish process, it was so.worth.the.ride....oh my Goodness...not since the French Pear Tart have I felt that feeling of "wow, did I REALLY make this??!"

Here's the play by play!!!

Once made and risen, here is the spiced dough all rolled up and nowhere to go!

wow, they could be twins....

Rolled up and cut up....ready for next rising....

the dough was all nestled, snug in their beds-while visions of sticky buns danced in their heads...
Above is post rising, pre baking...

....and here is post-baking, pre 'flipping' (and I really need to learn a graceful way of flipping a 9x13 glass dish upside down onto a cookie sheet..)

Post the stressful flipping...

Voila! mmmm...these were so amazing..I can't even begin to tell you. I felt SO PROUD to have made something so involved.....We did not finish them all only because I KNEW that they must have a week's worth of sugar/fat content in just one...(ya, one what? One BITE maybe?!)
Heaven on a plate!

THANK YOU DORIE! I'm loving that spiced dough and will use it for more things for sure!!