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Posts posted by skyflyer3

  1. I don't know if this is the same honey cake that people are talking about in this thread, but I recently tried some Russian honey cake this week. It was in several thin layers, with a sour cream frosting. Very tasty. Anyone had something like it?

  2. I have to second Dahlia bakery - the scones, coconut cream pie and the milk chocolate caramel ice cream are incredible!  I'm not fond of the croissants, though - Cafe Besalu, or the excellent Columbia City Bakery folks do them much better. 

    How are the croissants at Cafe Besalu different? I thought the croissant from Dahlia was good, but fully intend on going to Cafe Besalu on my next Seattle trip. :smile:

    They are light and crispy/flaky and ohh so buttery. IMO, I'm actually sorta surprised you thought the croissants at Dahlia were better than Senses.. I guess I need to try a Dahlia croissant! I always go for the bread when I'm there. The monthly breads are usually quite good, especially the corn bread which is the August special, sometimes spilling into September. The olive ciabatta is also great.

    IMHO, Besalu has the best croissants in Seattle. Be sure to go there next time, and get a ginger biscuit also. Sorry I didn't get to meet you Ling- too many things going on- hopefully NEXT time! (and hopefully next time you'll stay longer!)

    Yeah, I think the croissants from Dahlia are a little dry when I've tried them. Besalu does them very flaky and light - they are a standard when it comes to croissants. But Columbia City Bakery has flavor and flakiness, which is why I prefer theirs over Besalu's. They are very close to the ones made by Ken's Artisan Bakery in Portland, which are my favorite.

  3. You can also find Fran's chocolates at Whole Foods in the Udistrict, and Uwajimaya in the International District. I have to say, I don't feel Dilletante's chocolates are up to the quality level of Fran's (disclaimer: I used to work for Fran's, but I also used to work with people who left Dilletante's for Fran's). One thing that is worth trying at the Dillentante Cafe on Broadway is the Coupe Caramel - a caramel sundae that is out-of-this-world! But I prefer Fran's cakes over theirs. Try the tas de noix if you are going to the Fran's store in Uvillage, and the stuffed figs.

    I have to second Dahlia bakery - the scones, coconut cream pie and the milk chocolate caramel ice cream are incredible! I'm not fond of the croissants, though - Cafe Besalu, or the excellent Columbia City Bakery folks do them much better. Too bad CC Bakery isn't open yet - they would be well worth any drive, as their pastries and breads are fantastic! Best challah in town. Enjoy your stay, and please do report back on your trip!

    Edited to add - I hear Fiori Chocolates, carried by Motore Espresso, are the new up and coming chocolates to eat here in Seattle. They are made by a certified master chocolatier (certied in your Vancouver, no less!) fresh daily. Motore is on Stewart, I believe, which is in the downtown area.

  4. I rarely make chocolate cakes, and when I do it's always frosted with a chocolate ganache or whipping cream. Well, one of my co-workers has asked me to bake her a chocolate cake with thick white frosting. I have a feeling this isn't like buttercream, which to me is light as opposed to thick, so is this fondant? And is there a way to make this stuff so it's creamy and vanilla tasting, as opposed to super-sickly-sweet and chalky? Thanks!

  5. We had the 35th Street Bistro eggs benedict last Sunday, and it was lovely. The hollandaise is very smooth, they subbed the country potatoes for frites, the fruit on the side was great, and even the muffin tasted good. But Glo's still ranks highest for me - the hollandaise was too light at 35th Street, and the ham overpowered the dish. At Glo's, the hollandaise is substantial enough in flavor that it really compliments all components of the benedict, and the hash browns are much better than the frites at 35th street, which were dry. I will say that I had one of the best desserts ever at 35th street - a trio of white peach and raspberry sorbetto and pistachio gelato that was so intensely flavored, it was divine.

  6. To make it easy on yourself just do this:

    After you've mixed your dough, scoop it into balls THEN refrigerate!

    No sense scooping the dough AFTER it's rock hard. Scoop it while it's still nice and soft.

    I would do this as well, but when I tried that with the Alton Brown Chewy recipe, the dough is really too soft and mushy to shape before refrigerating. Has anyone else had this issue?

  7. I started testing out Alton's recipe a few weeks ago, and I have to say these cookies are splendid. However, it is easy to get a bland cookie if you aren't using dark brown sugar - like real dark muscovado, as opposed to what C&H terms "dark brown sugar". The former is very dark, almost chocolatey brown with a distinct stickiness, and the latter is a golden brown, a very subtle shade lighter than C&H's light brown sugar. Trying to find dark brown sugar that is truly dark is pretty frustrating, by the way. Usually Trader Joe's carries Billingston's brand, which is great, but when they are out only India Tree is available and I can't afford to ay $5 a pound for dark brown sugar. Hmpfh.

    Another thing to counter the blandness is to bump the 1.5 tsp of vanilla to 2 tsp, and to do a heaping tsp of salt, in addition to using salted butter. I also decrease the amount of chips to a heaping cup. and dish out smaller cookies. They stay excellent for a couple of days - if they last that long. I will say, they can be pretty greasy. Has anyone tried to bake these with a little oatmeal flour or whole wheat flour mixed in?

  8. I've been tweaking and testing a new chocolate chip recipe to me (Alton's The Chewy) and for a few batches I've been refrigerating a minimum of 2 hours in a cold bowl, to overnight, to three or four days in the fridge before baking. I've found the ones that taste best and keep their shape are the ones that stay in the fridge for at least a couple of days. They taste mellower, and don't spread as much, but those are the only differences I've noticed - and important enough to me that I regularly wait to bake them at least 24 hours later.

    I agree with you about the shaping - it's a pain to shape them when the dough is solid, so right after mixing I stick them in the fridge for a couple of hours, and when they are firm enough to shape but still a little soft, I roll them in balls, bag or tupperware them and then stick them back in the fridge. If you're in a hurry, chill in the freezer; although youll have to really keep an eye on them before they get way too solid.

  9. A few weeks ago I raved about Columbia City Bakery's Pain de Campagne that I had tried at Vios, and since then I've been hitting almost every Wednesday Columbia City Farmer's Market they've been at just to pick up that same loaf of bread. Actually, I've been blowing about $10 each time to try other lovely goodies they lay out on their table with generous baskets of samples. I've had the pain au chocolat (made with Valrhona, I think), a pistachio roll (kind of a sticky roll made with pistachio paste and pastry cream), chocolate chip cookies, a croissant, a macaroon, and probably some of the most fabulous challah I've had locally, if ever. I've really liked just about everything, and loved quite a few items - that challah is incredibly light and luscious, and the pain de campagne is real bread with character, truly the best loaf I've had in Seattle and almost to the quality of Ken's in Portland (although they got nothing on Ken's croissants). These guys really know their bread. Last I've heard, they're scheduled to open their storefront in October, but hopefully it'll be sooner.

  10. Ate at Vios for the first time last night, and it was really nice. We had the hummus, lamb chops with braised greens, and the chicken souvlaki, with a couple of Lake Champlain Honey Caramels for dessert. I really like the open feel of the room, and the coolers with different food selections. The servers were very nice, I was impressed with their selection of Bottega Italiana gelato, and the bread they featured with the meal was from Columbia City Bakery (so good!). What a wonderful neighborhood place - thank you all for the recommendations!

  11. Caffe Fiorenzi (sp?), near the Duomo, is excellent - we frequented this place much more than Vivoli. Everything there is great, but the "cookies" flavor is not to be missed.

    Funny, we did the pistachio test ourselves, as well! If it was an unnatural shade of green, run; if it was slightly greyish, it was great. We ate gelato three times a day in Florence - and we were there in December!

  12. I'd love to see more comments about gelato and its bases. Are there many gelato makers who feel they've achieved the secret to the stretchy texture, and intense flavor?

    Similarly, has anyone tried the recipes Saveur poasted a few years back when they did that gelato article? If so, please post your results.

  13. Other people have explained this better then I can...............but the bottom line is: recipes do not turn out exactly the same from one person to the next.

    One example that comes to mind is something I read in the book The Bakers Dozen. (Simplifing things) It was a group of serious ametuers and professionals in CA that met regularly to share baking info.. One of the items they tested was angel food cake..........and they got enourmous differences from each baker even though they all were using the same recipe.

    I got a little discouraged when I ran into that problem when we tried to do the "Best Of" series here. The same recipe turned out different in each persons hands here too. The best we could do was attempt to vote and count how many people chose which recipe was their favorite. I never really could declare a obvious winner in any of our testing. The majority was usually by a pretty close margin, barely able to be labeled a majority.

    I've made most of the cakes you did and I can honestly say I got different results.

    This is an incredibly philosophical statement. Of course it makes sense - there are at least ten ingredients in a cake recipe, sometimes more; you've got equipment to keep in mind, and then environment (temperatures, altitude). Combine all possible variables for all of these items, and then take into account the differences in people, and you're hit with one of the craziest realizations - that you'll probably never make something in a recipe the way the original author ever intended. Or one of the greatest mysteries - that food must be incredibly forgiving, for even the most complex recipes to work. Which must be the case - because the threads where we test different recipes and get very similar results exist. So either our standards are the same, or - ? I'd love to hear what people think.

    By the way, I love the threads where we test for the best recipe. It's like a Cook's Illustrated reality show, but more creative.

  14. Went in Dahlia's Bakery this Friday to see if there were any orange-cranberry scones, and walked out with a pint of caramel milk chocolate ice cream. What fantastic stuff! It's what I've always thought Fran's Burnt Sugar Ice Cream should be, but not as cloyingly rich. The bitter edge from the caramel is softly tempered by the chocolate, and all over it is smooth, barely pushing the edge of richness. A lovely golden-beige to behold in the container. Tempted to try other flavors, now - all at $4.25 a pint. So glad I don't work nearby.

    I also tried a croissant, which was good-looking but not to Besalu standards. And for me, Besalu's isn't as heartbreakingly good as Ken's in Portland. Again, lucky for me - I'd be at least two sizes larger if we had a Ken's up here, but oh, so happy.

  15. Mora Iced Creamery opened this week at Bellevue Square, and the product is very, very good. They're not billing themselves as a gelateria, but the materials and the way it scoops is very similar to gelato. There's quite a few entrancing flavors - pink grapefruit, five types of dulce de leche, a great lemon flavor and a better pistachio than Bottega Italiana's. Prices are a bit higher ($4.29 for a cake cone), but I think they're worth it.

    One thing to note - they don't do scoops, and they remind you of this repeatedly that whatever lumps of stuff they put in a bowl or cone, they are considered flavors, not scoops. It apparently takes skill to transport the extremely velvety-textured product from the canisters to the cones (their words, not mine), but it also takes incredible skill trying to determine how many scoops of ice cream you can get into a cone/bowl. We spent five minutes trying to get clarity about the non-scoopage system, while others around us asked very similar questions. It was quite amusing, actually, when it wasn't vaguely annoying. Anyway, very good product, worth the trip across the bridge.

  16. Tried the recipe today using Patrick's revisions for milk, except I only had cream on hand so I did it with cream, and I wanted to make cupcakes for a friend so they became cupcakes. Because of the extra fat, I added 4.5 oz of butter instead of 5 oz. Hm, I also used Ambrosia cocoa from Costco, only because I had some on hand I wanted to use up, King Arthur AP flour and Bakewell baking powder.

    Filled each paper to about 5/6 of the way to the top, baked for 30 minutes at 285, and there was some rising when I took them out but they fell after they cooled. I had some steaming in a plastic bag, some I popped into the freezer, and one I ate immediately. The one I ate right away was perfect - the crumb was fine (moist yet distinct), the texture slightly springy and the chocolate flavor was excellent. While I waited for the steaming ones to cool, I made up some Light Ganache Frosting from the Cake Bible, which I made with Trader Joe's Bittersweet chocolate bar (this turned out surprisingly excellent, by the way. Will be using this stuff over my usual Guittard, Valrhona or Callebaut next time).

    A couple of hours later, I frosted a few of the steamed ones and ate some plain as I decorated. The plain ones were very chocolatey, very compact and more of a brownie than a cake in texture - so moist, the crumb was almost indistinguishable. I loved the chocolate flavor the cocoa lent to the cakes, but it definitely could have been sweeter. Frosted, however, they were perfect. I wish I'd laid out some that I didn't shock, to see if they turned out like the one I ate right away - I preferred it that texture than the steamed ones. Will let you know later how the frozen ones turn out.

    By the way, has anyone tried to increase the sugar more to make it sweeter? I don't know how much to add that won't affect the recipe too much.

  17. Second those smoked salmon collars, and the Yukon salmon candy. Love the selection of loose teas, Strauss Family Creamery cheeses and whipped cream, Cowgirl and Roqgue Creamery products, Lake Champlain chocolates and Ciao Bella Blood Orange sorbet. I also second the La Brea bakery frozen baguettes, my family loves them. And somehow, I can never go wrong with strawberries from Whole Foods.

    The deli meats for me are so-so. I'd rather get Boar's head stuff from Thriftway.

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