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


rjwong
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I too made the Maple-Cornmeal Biscuits mainly because there is no counter room when my husband cooks for me to roll out a biscuit. Delicious -- light and delicate, and very reminiscent of cornbread. Nice strong flavor. And, I only use Grade B syrup in cooking, so the maple came through just strong enough without being overpowering.

Cheryl, The Sweet Side
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Okay, so I was cleaning out my baking cabinet and I found an 8 ounce piece of El Ray white chocolate that I had forgotten about. I went on that Chocolate Guild site that was posted this week, and found out that it is a prized white chocolate.

Anyway so I made the Quintuple Chocolate Brownies. I used Lindt bittersweet and milk. I love their milk.

Oh my goodness! These are as delicious as they look. They are really fudgy. I used walnuts, because I was saving my roasted peanuts. Yum. I usually do not like white chocolate, because it is so sweet. The El Ray actually tasted like something though. Really good. Certainly a keeper.

-Becca

www.porterhouse.typepad.com

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Becca -- you just made an important discovery about GOOD white chocolate. So much of what we see sold as white chocolate is really confectionery chocolate -- something that contains no cocoa solids at all. But white chocolates like those from El Rey, Valrhona, Guittard and others, are "real" chocolate -- they don't have the high cocoa percentages of dark chocolates (and they shouldn't), but they are made with cacao and you can taste it. Really glad you liked the quintuples.

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Dorie: About how many plumped currants secure world peace?

I'm about to bake a double batch, adding currants to half and I've forgotten how many I mixed in last time. I know it's a matter of taste, but...

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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Okay, so I was cleaning out my baking cabinet and I found an 8 ounce piece of El Ray white chocolate that I had forgotten about. I went on that Chocolate Guild site that was posted this week, and found out that it is a prized white chocolate. . .  I usually do not like white chocolate, because it is so sweet. The El Ray actually tasted like something though. Really good. Certainly a keeper.

I agree with you -- El Rey is definitely one of the best white chocolates.

"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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Made the maple cornmeal biscuits last night.  Why?  Because I really wanted to eat biscuits and I didn't have a biscuit cutter.  These drop biscuits came together so fast and easy, and were just the right sweetness.  Great buttery flavor, but not too rich - just perfect.  Now if I can just find a biscuit cutter....

You're probably already aware of this but when you do use a circular biscuit cutter, make sure you don't twist the cutter as you cut the biscuits. It can prevent the biscuits from rising as high as they should.

Patrick S, your photographs are incredible! They make a great sales tool for the book (It's on my Xmas list :wink: ).

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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Patrick S, your photographs are incredible! They make a great sales tool for the book (It's on my Xmas list  :wink: ).

Thank you, Toliver!

"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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You folks on the flat cookie team should try the Chocolate Chunkers (page 70).  There's so much chunky stuff in these that there's no way they can flatten out.

I made them the other day and they're delicious.  I had some misgivings shortly after they came out of the oven.  I used salted peanuts (as the recipe suggests), and when I tasted a cookie I felt the saltiness of the nuts was overwhelming some of the other flavors.  I know both Dorie and Pierre Herme like to combine salt with sweet, but seeing as there's salt in the cookie batter already, it occurred to me that maybe there's a typo in the book and the peanuts should have been UNsalted. 

So then I asked my wife, who tried one and said I was being stupid, the cookies are unbelievably decadent and amazing.  As they cooled I didn't find the saltiness to be as out-of-balance.  But next time I might try it with low-salt or no-salt peanuts.

...

Thanks for the detailed description, SethG. The saltiness intrigues me as I like Payday bars, etc. These will be on my list to try.

Edited by ludja (log)

"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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Hey, The Baker's Catalogue (KA Flour) sells square biscuit cutters for those who have too much money to spend to cut their own squares by hand (which I think would be faster anyway).

I picked up a set of biscuit cutters aat the local $10 and under variety store. For $1.50 I got 3 sizes of circle and 3 sizes of square. They are plastic, and not especially attractive, but they have a decent cutting edge and work fine.

I've been making square biscuits on the "less scrap, less re-rolling" theory too.

Oil and potatoes both grow underground so french fries may have eventually invented themselves had they not been invented -- J. Esther
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Well...in the absence of answers, I tried it anyway.

I goofed when I mixed up the batch of dough yesterday afternoon: I put in the flour, noticed that the dough looked really dry and crumbly (more so than I expected), and then realized that the egg yolks, all nice and at room temperature, were still on the counter staring at me. :wacko: So I just tossed 'em into the mixer bowl anyway, figuring that the worst that would happen is that the cookies would get tougher than they should be. I formed the dough into rolls and let them sit and chill overnight.

This morning, I sliced the rolls into individual cookies and baked them. I didn't bother with the egg yolk and sugar on the outside of the rolls, figuring that if they turned out to be terrible, why waste the sugar? Anyway, I lined a couple of half sheet pans with parchment, put the dough pieces on the pans, and baked them in my oven with the convection turned on. I kept the temperature at 350, as instructed, and set the timer for 20 minutes. (That was based on the batch of tollhouse cookies I did a while ago, to prove to myself that it was in fact possible to bake on multiple racks in this oven, something I've never been able to do before with any success. The tollhouse cookies turned out fine, but I think I took them out before they were completely ready.) I did rotate the pans halfway through.

My results? No problems, as far as I can tell. I might have been able to leave the cookies in a touch longer (again), because the dough slices that were a little bit thicker didn't come off the parchment as cleanly as the thinner cookies. The only little bit of weirdness was that some of the cookies browned more on one side than the other; I think next time I'll try waiting a little longer to rotate the pans and see if that makes a difference.

As for when the next time will be, I currently have two more rolls of dough in the fridge, ready to bake either later today or tomorrow morning. This time, I remembered to add the egg yolks at the proper time. For this batch, I substituted about 2 ounces of hazelnut flour for about 2.4 ounces of flour (since one cup of flour weighs 4.8 ounces, and according to the label on my hazelnut flour a serving of 1/4 cup is 30 g or just a hair more than an ounce, and the Playing Around section of the sable recipe suggests swapping half a cup of flour for half a cup of finely ground nuts). I have some chopped hazelnuts for the outside also. I'll bake this batch all-at-once again, and see how it goes.

In the meantime, I also have everything I need for applesauce bars and their glaze. I'm going to be busy for a couple of days!

MelissaH

Speaking of baking cookies: I have egg yolks to use up, and I'm planning a batch of sables. I'm wondering if I can bake more than one sheet at a time in my convection oven. Any advice from those of you who have those beasts? I'm still learning, as I've only had mine about three months.

MelissaH

MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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My copy has just this minute arrived. I think I will initiate it this week with my gdaughter who visits me once a week to eat and cook. I need help with choosing what to make first.

As I'm snuffling away, trying to conquer my cold, drowsing away the cold pills, I look to your experience for suggestions for a recipe that will not only taste stunning, but be simple to make, and (maybe) not require me to make an ingredient run to the store. (Snuffle, snuffle).

An anecdote about my 11 year old gd: we were making the sauteed broccali leaf dish so popular on eG. Just before finishing it, I had her taste it to suggest what it might need to finish the flavor. Half expecting to hear sugar or salt, I was delighted to hear, vinegar.

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

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I made the flaky apple turnovers. These were great. I added some golden raisins and a little ground ginger to the filling, and drizzled a little caramel over them. I've eaten way too many of these.

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gallery_23736_355_91975.jpg

Flickr images:

#1

#2

"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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My second batch of sables, with hazelnuts, turned out beautifully. I made the "rolls" of dough square instead of round, to help distinguish them from the plain round cookies. They, too, were baked both sheets at once with convection on.

And the applesauce spice bars are as good as everyone says they are. My husband declared them to be the best thing I've made this week, but then again he loves spicy raisiny things. In his opinion, the caramel glaze is mandatory.

MelissaH

MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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After seeing all the lovely photos here, I ordered my copy on Monday, and it just came today (woo-hoo!). The weather forecast is for rain all weekend, so I'm just planning to curl up with some hot cocoa and plan what to try first. I'm very excited.

I'm gonna go bake something…

wanna come with?

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I made the applesauce spice bars last night and ran into some trouble, probably because I used a pyrex baking dish (it's the only one I had in the right size.) I lowered the oven temp by 25 degrees because of the pyrex, but it took much longer to bake than it should have and was still a bit soft even after it had cooled. (I did everything else by the book.) So I didn't even attempt to flip it back to right-side-up after I got it out of the pan, and just glazed the bottom instead. But even with all that, these things are so good! A neighbor came over and we devoured many too many, they go so well with a cup of tea. I had originally intended to bring the rest in to work today but decided against it. I want them in the house over the weekend! :smile: BTW -- when you guys made these, if you picked up a bar in your hand would it fall apart, or would you be able to eat it like that, or would you absolutely have to have a plate and a fork? IOW -- what should the texture be like? So a good 9x13 pan is next on my list I guess.

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I actually just joined EG, as I had been following this thread and finally got my copy of the book! :) I just made the "Rum Soaked Vanilla Cakes" last night (minus the rum, as I too have a little one), and they are AMAZING - simply the best pound cake I've had. The crumb is just perfect, they're sweet without being *too* sweet, and the overall flavor is just spot on. Thank you, Dorie! :wub:

I had a quick question for you all, though - when I was scraping my vanilla beans, I got some weird, gelatinous stuff. It looked like clumps of bean scrapings, but it was like they were bound in goo. These clumps never really broke up or dissolved - I would up scooping as many of them out of the batter as I could. The cakes were fine - but had I not removed the clumps they likely would have appeared in the finished cakes. Does anyone know why this happened? Could my beans have been the problem? I'd never seen this before.

Anyway - on to the Apple Spice bars next! :)

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I tried the dough for Flaky Apple Turnovers, being inspired by Patrick's perfect specimens. I'll have to try the dough again, couldn't make it come together at all.

I also tried Dori's Good for Everything PieCrust. It is the best pie crust recipe ever. I'm an experienced baker at lots of things, but pies (doughs specifically) have also eluded me. At any rate, this one is a winner, and when I get blind baking down pat, I'll be a happy camper.

This weekend, I must do Rum soaked Vanilla Cakes.

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I made the Holiday Bundt Cake last night & it's another winner!

Putting it together took a little longer than I had expected & by the time it was done, the clock was striking midnight. When it first came out of the pan it looked like it was on the verge of falling apart. After it cooled, I added the maple glaze & chopped pecans, covered it with foil, went to bed & hoped for the best.

The cake elves must have come during the night, because when I uncovered it this morning it had firmed up nicely. As usual, Dorie hit upon the perfect mix of flavors. The only problem with this cake is that it's a little too tasty. Everyone who has tried it ends up sneaking back into the kitchen to filch another piece. By tomorrow morning I fear there will be nothing left but crumbs & happy memories.

pat w.

I would live all my life in nonchalance and insouciance

Were it not for making a living, which is rather a nouciance.

-- Ogden Nash

http://bluestembooks.com/

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"Crumbs and happy memories" -- wouldn't that me a nice title for a book or a sweet short story or vignette. Thank you Pat W.

About the vanilla bean -- I've had thready, stringy pieces of vanilla bean that have been hard to break up. Does that sound similar to what you're describing as bound in "goo", sugarsugar? It might come from the podish part of the bean -- maybe we're scraping overzealously -- but I've always left it in on the theory that seeing a bit of vanilla is not a bad thing. Were your pieces just too big to be left in?

Sondra, I'm glad you were a success with the Good-for-Everything-Pie Dough. I tinkered and tinkered with that recipe trying to get it to behave and was finally convinced that it was doable even for people who were not old pie hands. Thank you for trying it.

More later --I'm in Chicago and have to rush out.

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"About the vanilla bean -- I've had thready, stringy pieces of vanilla bean that have been hard to break up.  Does that sound similar to what you're describing as bound in "goo", sugarsugar?  It might come from the podish part of the bean -- maybe we're scraping overzealously -- but I've always left it in on the theory that seeing a bit of vanilla is not a bad thing.  Were your pieces just too big to be left in?

Hi Dorie - thanks for replying! :smile: Yes, your description of thready, stringy pieces is right on (and a lot more pleasant than "goo"....the best I could come up with earlier :raz: ). The pieces were way too big to be left in - they were very obvious and dark - I feared they would taste too strongly if bitten into. After I fished them out, I added a quick glug of vanilla and everything was fine - I had enough beans in there to still see them, and the added vanilla covered any flavor that may have been lost.

I never considered that maybe I was scraping too hard - I'll have to watch that next time! Thank you. I :wub: this book - thanks for taking the time to write it!

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I tried the dough for Flaky Apple Turnovers, being inspired by Patrick's perfect specimens.  I'll have to try the dough again, couldn't make it come together at all.

Sorry it didn't work out for you, Sondra. The dough is still going to be pretty crumbly right after you make it, before you refrigerate it. But after you wrap it and it sits a while, the flour gets more evenly hydrated, and it will get more properly dough-ish. When you first make the dough, it should stick together when you pinch some between you fingers. If it doesn't, I would try adding 1T more sour cream, or some ice water.

"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 had a quick question for you all, though - when I was scraping my vanilla beans, I got some weird, gelatinous stuff.  It looked like clumps of bean scrapings, but it was like they were bound in goo.  These clumps never really broke up or dissolved - I would up scooping as many of them out of the batter as I could.  The cakes were fine - but had I not removed the clumps they likely would have appeared in the finished cakes.  Does anyone know why this happened?  Could my beans have been the problem?  I'd never seen this before.

Welcome to eGullet, sugarsugar!

This may be a stupid question, but did you try whisking the clumps into the batter? I mean, when beans are exceptionally moist, and you split them and scape out the beans, the beans come out all stuck together in pea-sized clumps, and you have to use a whisk to break up the clumps and evenly distribute the beans in the batter.

"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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BTW -- when you guys made these, if you picked up a bar in your hand would it fall apart, or would you be able to eat it like that, or would you absolutely have to have a plate and a fork? IOW -- what should the texture be like? So a good 9x13 pan is next on my list I guess.

When I made them, they were indeed very soft and moist, but still sturdy enough to pick and and eat out of hand.

"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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