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"Baking: From My Home to Yours" (Part 1)


rjwong
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The Applesauce Spice Bars recipe calls for unsweetened applesauce.

I had a bunch of apples on hand so I chopped all but one and cooked them with a cup of apple cider. When they were soft, I put them through my foodmill to get rid of the peels and seeds. Can't get much simpler than that.

We're not much for frostings or glazes so all I had to do was cook the bars.

Another winner.

If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe. - Carl Sagan

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Had to scrap my plan for a cake last night due to a late start. Flipped through for a shorter project and settled on the brrrrrr-ownies. Some of the peppermint patties oozed through the top crust making for an interesting patterned top. This is an unbelievably simple recipe that produced fudgy, but not dense, minty deliciousness. I had 3 requests for the recipe at the office.

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I made the apple coconut family cake (p. 214) this evening. This is my interpretation of what she calls a "sunburst pattern"! What you get when someone completely uncreative is left to her own devices with that sort of instruction.

I used 3 large Golden Delicious apples and I think the recipe may have called for a smaller apple? All those apples made for a wet batter. Instead of the 45-50 minutes it took ~1 hour to bake. I also found that I had to use the mixer to get the major lumps out when mixing the wet and dry ingredients. The recommended whisk/spatula was just not enough.

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I baked the Lenox Almond Biscotti today. The dough is a bit soft. When I dumped it on the baking tray, I had trouble getting a decent shape to it. In fact, I think I may have been short a little flour, measuring by dip and sweep. I will use a 4.5 oz cup the next time, and will work on trying to firm up the dough enough to shape properly.

At any rate, the taste is wonderful. The butter makes them rich, the cornmeal adds crunch and snap, the almond extract and almonds give them a deep flavor. They are really lovely.

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Well I am a few days late reporting, but I loved the Lemon Cream Tart. That lemon cream really is fantastic. I am really glad to have the recipe. No pictures I am afraid. I am now really looking foward to Christmas because I am making the orange cream tart with blood oranges.

This morning I made the Lemon Poppy Seeds muffins and the Coffee Break muffins. I am not of fan of cupcake disguised as muffins. Cake-like texture and supersweet is not a muffin. Dorie, yours are muffins! With their lovely holey muffin texture, and just sweet enough. I was a little worried about the Lemon/Poppy Seed ones, thought they might be cakey, but no. Perfect. The batter seemed really dry too, but they turned out great. I will be making these often.

My sister was looking through it this morning and has made me promise to make that chocolate cake topped with peanuts, that Patrick pictured upthread, for Halloween. I can't wait.

-Becca

www.porterhouse.typepad.com

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I baked the Lenox Almond Biscotti today.  The dough is a bit soft. When I dumped it on the baking tray, I had trouble getting a decent shape to it. In fact, I think I may have been short a little flour, measuring by dip and sweep.  I will use a 4.5 oz cup the next time, and will work on trying to firm up the dough enough to shape properly.

Somewhere, in either this topic or another topic on this book, it is mentioned that Dorie gets 5oz/cup using the dip and sweep method. You might want to up your flour a wee bit more.

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The Husband is finishing up baking a batch of Thumbprints for Us Big Guys. His suggestion is that they aren't big enough -- methinks he's feeling the fustiness of making dainty cookies -- not manly enough, perhaps? Here he is:

gallery_31100_3773_561820.jpg

You've gotta love a man with a timer around his neck.

And here is the result:

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These are filled with my homemade ginger peach jam. All family members pronounce them delicious.

~ Lori in PA

My blog: http://inmykitcheninmylife.blogspot.com/

My egullet blog: http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=89647&hl=

"Cooking is not a chore, it is a joy."

- Julia Child

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The Husband is finishing up baking a batch of Thumbprints for Us Big Guys. His suggestion is that they aren't big enough -- methinks he's feeling the fustiness of making dainty cookies -- not manly enough, perhaps? Here he is:

gallery_31100_3773_561820.jpg

You've gotta love a man with a timer around his neck.

And here is the result:

gallery_31100_3773_537927.jpg

These are filled with my homemade ginger peach jam. All family members pronounce them delicious.

Beautiful!

"Half of cooking is thinking about cooking." ---Michael Roberts

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I want to catch up on all the posts and the great pix, but I don't have bunches of time now. I'll try to post more later tonight, if I can, but ...

I agree with Lori -- you gotta love a man with a timer around his neck. Especially one who makes such good-looking cookies.

Sugarplum -- if I had included a diagram showing a sunburst pattern, it would have looked exactly like the one on top of your Apple-Coconut Family Cake -- it's perfect! I hope you like the cake -- it's very simple, but I think it's satisfying in a homey, comforting way.

Once again on weighing a cup of flour -- when I aerate the flour, scoop and sweep, the cup of flour weighs about 4.8 ounces or, as Patrick figured, about 5 ounces. Of course, with this method, a cup is sometimes a little less, sometimes a little more, but on average it comes in at about 4.8.

About hosinmigs' bittersweet brownies -- to everyone who posted about foil and baking stones -- you were right. My recipes were not tested with a baking stone. I've only used a stone for baking bread and don't have an idea of how it would affect cakes and brownies, which are so much more delicate and don't need the kind of bottom heat breads do. However, as others have said, it's my guess that if you've got a stone in the oven, you have to preheat the oven for a much longer time to be certain that the stone comes up to temperature. As for the foil, I use it to line the pan when I'm baking fragile brownies. It makes removing the brownies from the pan so much easier; ditto cutting them to size.

To everyone who has been baking so enthusiastically --

THANK YOU! THANK YOU! AND THANK YOU AGAIN!

Edited by Dorie Greenspan (log)
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Dorie, your book is well on its way to creating a monster. :rolleyes:

My husband, who works out of town during the week, arrived home on Friday night and the first words out his mouth were "What are you making out of Dorie this week".

He knows good things are in the offing when he sees "the book" open on the counter.

First up was the Amaretti Torte. I had my moments with it. I don't own and couldn't find a round 8X2 pan so I baked it in a ceramic 8 inch pie plate. I think that led the upper, tapering edge to be a bit over-baked - as well as the finish being less than professional looking. But, hey, it is home baking after all. The wild card was that when I broke the 3 eggs into the food processer, not one, but two of them were double yolkers. Mucho egg. Next time I'll break them into a bowl first. It took some extra time for the torte to bake because of that I think.

Regardless of the above, the torte was deemed "fantastic". The flavour is truly amazing, richly chocolate with the almond singing through. I was thinking about toasting the almonds before grinding them but the flavour is so intense I don't think that it could add a great deal.

Then, this morning, I made the Oatmeal Nutmeg Scones. They were a winner too.

Actually, almost my favorite thing so far. The bonus is being able to freeze half of the batch to bake when I'm lazier about getting up.

The great thing about this book, Dorie, is that you make things so accessible and friendly that everything seems, and is, do-able. I've made five recipes so far and all of them have been a success. The list of things that I want to try just keeps growing.

My husband will be happy.

Kathy

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I made the caramel, peanut topped brownie cake. It took longer to cook than the recipe indicated and it still was undercooked in the center. After that, I made bread which took about 1/3 longer than it was supposed to. My oven is definitely, suddenly off. The upside is, it was still great! Just a little fudgey in the center. Served it proudly to company yesterday with a little coffee ice cream. Everybody remarked that even though it looks like it will be over the top sweet, it was wasn't. So far, everyone who has tasted anything I've made from this book has run out to buy it.

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Well, I'm a little late with this, but...so I held a brunch party a couple weekends ago. I served omelettes, buttermilk waffles, and (from Dorie's book), lemon cream, raspberry coulis, choco-banana bread, buttermilk biscuits, rugelach, the blueberry crumb cake, and the cran-apple crisps. Unfortunately, I was too involved in the cooking to get pictures, so I delegated the camera to one of the guests, who utterly failed. So I only have a couple, which don't show much.

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This shows the remnants of a fruit plate, plus two of the cran-apple crisps (which I made both in the mini individual serving sizes and in a cake pan), and the lemon cream and raspberry coulis. Oh, and in the back you can kind of see the blueberry crumb cake.

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And this one shows the choco-banana bread, with rugelach kind of in the background.

Sooo the verdicts: the buttermilk biscuits (not pictured) were fabulous. Both ridiculously easy (and fast) and really delicious-they were too quickly devoured for a picture. The blueberry crumb cake was very good, although I think my oven has issues, because the middle sunk a little and the edges were dry. The cran-apple crisps were extremely delicious-the coconut and ginger in the topping are a touch you don't often see in crisp toppings, but I think they really added a lot. The lemon cream is the recipe I was already using before I got this book (found it on egullet!) and it was ridiculously delicious as always. I had some difficulty rolling up the rugelach-I think either I rolled it too thin or had too much topping, or some combination of the two. I've never been particularly good at that kind of thing. But they were presentable enough, and addictively delicious. I kind of modified the filling and used dried cranberries, walnuts, and chocolate, which I think worked very well-the flavors melded so nicely that people couldn't figure out what was in them. But we ran out of these the fastest. The cocoa-banana bread was probably my least favorite-not that it wasn't good, and my guests still raved over it. But I modified my favorite banana bread recipe a long time ago to be chocolately, and I think I like my version better-it's moister and more banana-y. I think the buttermilk flavor was a little too prominent for me, even though I normally love buttermilk things.

Oh, and I also made the applesauce spice bars, and the tarte tatin. The tarte tatin turned out delicious and was too quickly devoured for a picture-however, I had some issues unmolding it. But that was really my fault, because I'm working in a dorm kitchen and didn't have a serving platter to unmold it on, so I had to use a plate which was about the same size as the skillet and I spilled a fair amount of the caramel juices-alas!

The applesauce spice bars were incredible. I, like others, would not have tried these had I not read everyone's rave reviews. The entire sheet was devoured in under an hour by four people-that's how good these were. I think I cooked the glaze too long, though, even though I followed the directions. But I realized after looking at it that it kind of resembled the soft ball stage of caramel almost, and thus didn't spread very well. But it was delicious nonetheless.

I'm hoping to make the Russian Grandmother's apple cake soon, because my boyfriend's mother left him with 20+ apples for no apparent reason. They're "macoun" apples-anyone know if those are good to cook with?

Edited by juliachildish (log)
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Two more recipes from the book: the far breton (a prune "flan"), and the honey brownie. The brownie was spongey but dense (I beat the eggs quite a bit), very moist (presumably because of the hydroscopicity of honey), and had an interesting flavor. The far breton was custardy and delicious, pretty much exactly what I expected.

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I'm not sure what to make next, but I'm definitely going to add the thumbprint cookies to the list!

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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...

I'm hoping to make the Russian Grandmother's apple cake soon, because my boyfriend's mother left him with 20+ apples for no apparent reason. They're "macoun" apples-anyone know if those are good to cook with?

These are very nice apples for eating out of hand-crisp and tart. We had a tree growing in the backyard when I was growing up. We used them for baking also; I think they're tart enough.

Thanks for sharing your baking extravaganza, juliachildish. Pretty impressive you could do all that in a dorm kitchen!

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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Over the past few days, I baked a batch of peanut butter crisscrosses (p.78) and cinnamon squares (p.210). For the crisscrosses, I followed the recipe exactly--dividing the dough by level tablespoon--and wound up with over 50 2-2.5 inch cookies. The recipe says it would make ~40 cookies. They still took about 12 minutes to bake.

My cinnamon squares took about an hour baking time (at 350F) to fully set in the middle. I don't know what happened to my frosting for the squares. It ended up looking and acting more like a glaze. I have a sneaky suspicion that it had something to do with my amateur technique (I nuked the chopped chocolate and butter in the microwave instead of using a double boiler).

Both were delicious!

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I made the Milk Chocolate Mini Bundt cakes last night. They were so beautiful. My only problem was the glaze. I used Lindt bittersweet, I melted it in the microwave. I pulled it when it still had some unmelted chunks. I stirred until smooth, it was liquid and perfect, when I added the corn syrup it thickened up to a stiff frosting consistency. I spread it on. It wasn't pretty but it tasted great. Anyone know why?

I knew it was a hit when I heard my husband exclaiming from across the house. He doesn't really like bittersweet chocolate, (although he loved the Worldpeace cookies), so this milk chocolate cake was right up his alley. He also loved the walnuts. Very nice!

Edited by Becca Porter (log)

-Becca

www.porterhouse.typepad.com

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I made the Milk Chocolate Mini Bundt cakes last night. They were so beautiful. My only problem was the glaze. I used Lindt bittersweet, I melted it in the microwave. I pulled it when it still had some unmelted chunks. I stirred until smooth, it was liquid and perfect, when I added the corn syrup it thickened up to a stiff frosting consistency. I spread it on. It wasn't pretty but it tasted great. Anyone know why?

What temp was the corn syrup when you added it? The choc was likely warmer than the syrup, and I'm guessing the syrup "shocked" the chocolate into cooling down significantly; hence the thicker consistency. Next time, you might try adding the corn syrup during the melting process so that you've got a consistent temp throughout.

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Everyone is baking such lovley stuff, those thumbrints and the coconut apple cake look perfect. This past weekend I made the rum drenched vanilla cake. I made half a recipe for only one cake, but I think the whole recipe would still have been perfect to fill my loaf pan, this one filled about half. I did make the syrup and "drench" the cake with it. The funny thing is we had a couple of friends for dinner and they along with my wife remarked about how "ordinary" the cake looked...until they tasted it that is. Both texture and flavor were outstanding and went great with some whipped cream and strong espresso.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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I made the Milk Chocolate Mini Bundt cakes last night. They were so beautiful. My only problem was the glaze. I used Lindt bittersweet, I melted it in the microwave. I pulled it when it still had some unmelted chunks. I stirred until smooth, it was liquid and perfect, when I added the corn syrup it thickened up to a stiff frosting consistency. I spread it on. It wasn't pretty but it tasted great. Anyone know why?

What temp was the corn syrup when you added it? The choc was likely warmer than the syrup, and I'm guessing the syrup "shocked" the chocolate into cooling down significantly; hence the thicker consistency. Next time, you might try adding the corn syrup during the melting process so that you've got a consistent temp throughout.

Well actually before this batch I accidentally added the corn syrup before microwaving and it seized. For the second batch the corn syrup was room temp.

-Becca

www.porterhouse.typepad.com

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I made the Milk Chocolate Mini Bundt cakes last night. They were so beautiful. My only problem was the glaze. I used Lindt bittersweet, I melted it in the microwave. I pulled it when it still had some unmelted chunks. I stirred until smooth, it was liquid and perfect, when I added the corn syrup it thickened up to a stiff frosting consistency. I spread it on. It wasn't pretty but it tasted great. Anyone know why?

What temp was the corn syrup when you added it? The choc was likely warmer than the syrup, and I'm guessing the syrup "shocked" the chocolate into cooling down significantly; hence the thicker consistency. Next time, you might try adding the corn syrup during the melting process so that you've got a consistent temp throughout.

Well actually before this batch I accidentally added the corn syrup before microwaving and it seized. For the second batch the corn syrup was room temp.

I'm not sure why that is. A lot of chocolate glaze recipes have you melt the corn syrup and chocolate together, though I always use a hot water bath or a double boiler. Maybe the corn syrup promotes the scorching of chocolate when you use the microwave method. What I would have done in your situation, when the glaze turned stiff, is put it in the hot water bath, try to bring it up to 100F or so, and see if you can get it thin again. If that didn't work, I would add a little hot cream.

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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I made the Milk Chocolate Mini Bundt cakes last night. They were so beautiful. My only problem was the glaze. I used Lindt bittersweet, I melted it in the microwave. I pulled it when it still had some unmelted chunks. I stirred until smooth, it was liquid and perfect, when I added the corn syrup it thickened up to a stiff frosting consistency. I spread it on. It wasn't pretty but it tasted great. Anyone know why?

What temp was the corn syrup when you added it? The choc was likely warmer than the syrup, and I'm guessing the syrup "shocked" the chocolate into cooling down significantly; hence the thicker consistency. Next time, you might try adding the corn syrup during the melting process so that you've got a consistent temp throughout.

Well actually before this batch I accidentally added the corn syrup before microwaving and it seized. For the second batch the corn syrup was room temp.

I'm not sure why that is. A lot of chocolate glaze recipes have you melt the corn syrup and chocolate together, though I always use a hot water bath or a double boiler. Maybe the corn syrup promotes the scorching of chocolate when you use the microwave method. What I would have done in your situation, when the glaze turned stiff, is put it in the hot water bath, try to bring it up to 100F or so, and see if you can get it thin again. If that didn't work, I would add a little hot cream.

I agree, Patrick.

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I made the Milk Chocolate Mini Bundt cakes last night. They were so beautiful. My only problem was the glaze. I used Lindt bittersweet, I melted it in the microwave. I pulled it when it still had some unmelted chunks. I stirred until smooth, it was liquid and perfect, when I added the corn syrup it thickened up to a stiff frosting consistency. I spread it on. It wasn't pretty but it tasted great. Anyone know why?

What temp was the corn syrup when you added it? The choc was likely warmer than the syrup, and I'm guessing the syrup "shocked" the chocolate into cooling down significantly; hence the thicker consistency. Next time, you might try adding the corn syrup during the melting process so that you've got a consistent temp throughout.

Well actually before this batch I accidentally added the corn syrup before microwaving and it seized. For the second batch the corn syrup was room temp.

I'm not sure why that is. A lot of chocolate glaze recipes have you melt the corn syrup and chocolate together, though I always use a hot water bath or a double boiler. Maybe the corn syrup promotes the scorching of chocolate when you use the microwave method. What I would have done in your situation, when the glaze turned stiff, is put it in the hot water bath, try to bring it up to 100F or so, and see if you can get it thin again. If that didn't work, I would add a little hot cream.

Yeah, I thought about doing that but since it wasn't for company I didn't bother. It was just wierd the way it happened. Thanks :smile: .

-Becca

www.porterhouse.typepad.com

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Why do my cookies turn out flat??? Followed your recipie, Dorie, for chocalate chips. But I always have this problem. My cookies melt out, rather than puff up. I can tell you step by step what I've done, but thought you might have ideas before I went thru that. They're still tasy as heck, but thin, not mounded like yours. :wacko:

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Why do my cookies turn out flat???  Followed your recipie, Dorie, for chocalate chips.  But I always have this problem.  My cookies melt out, rather than puff up.  I can tell you step by step what I've done, but thought you might have ideas before I went thru that.  They're still tasy as heck, but thin, not mounded like yours. :wacko:

Do you start with a new (not hot) cookie sheet for each batch of cookies going into the oven? If not, the cookies will melt out before cooking. That has just been my experience.

Edited by FoodieNerd (log)
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