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


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The Caramel Peanut Brownie Cake was beautiful, ColleenD. The texture was not gooey, even though it is in a chapter about gooey cakes. More fudgy than gooey, if that makes any sense. It is dry enough to crumble when I tried to cut a thin slice, but a thick slice stood tall and proud.

I did learn something funny about caramel (you can tell I am so inexperienced). I unmolded the cake at home after it had sat overnight. Had to cut around the springform mold and use a hot washcloth to set the pan free without stretching that pretty caramel right off of the cake--no big, that was easy. I had nutty caramel on top, and pretty clean sides, with a couple of those cool drips, just like the picture. But then, while I was grabbing wine and loading the car to leave, the caramel started to slump over the sides and puddle around the base. As we drove to our destination, the cake sort of frosted itself around the sides. I turned on the air conditioner even though it was a gnarly nasty day outside, but that caramel wanted to flow and it was gonna do what it was gonna do.

Anyhow, it was fine because there was plenty on top (perhaps I overdid it), but I did rush that cake into the fridge and out of the hot crazy Thanksgiving kitchen.

Now I am eyeballing the Rosy Poached Pear and Pistachio Tart. Has anyone played with that yet?

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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After reading all the raving reviews, I to, had to run out and buy this cookbook.

I am a very novice "baker" and have something to ask.

When making a recipe in a tart pan, what is the trick for removing the circular bottom piece before placing on the serving plate? I have always been afraid to do this and just cut the tart right on the metal bottom. Is this what you do, or are you supposed to removed it?

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After reading all the raving reviews, I to, had to run out and buy this cookbook.

I am a very novice "baker" and have something to ask.

When making a recipe in a tart pan,  what is the trick for removing the circular bottom piece before placing on the serving plate? I have always been afraid to do this and just cut the tart right on the metal bottom.  Is this what you do, or are you supposed to removed it?

This scared me at first too. I've made three tarts now thanks to the book (two lemon cream and one chocolate raspberry). Each time I've found a little place where a knife tip will nicely fit in a small gap between bottom and tart. Once I push a little, it makes the whole thing neatly pop off. All that butter certainly helps.

Thanks to my non-cooking sister-in-law doing the shopping, I found out the hard way that chocolate chips are really not the way to go for the chocolate raspberry tart. But it showed great promise if you'd make it with better chocolate! :biggrin:

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After reading all the raving reviews, I to, had to run out and buy this cookbook.

I am a very novice "baker" and have something to ask.

When making a recipe in a tart pan,  what is the trick for removing the circular bottom piece before placing on the serving plate? I have always been afraid to do this and just cut the tart right on the metal bottom.  Is this what you do, or are you supposed to removed it?

This scared me at first too. I've made three tarts now thanks to the book (two lemon cream and one chocolate raspberry). Each time I've found a little place where a knife tip will nicely fit in a small gap between bottom and tart. Once I push a little, it makes the whole thing neatly pop off. All that butter certainly helps.

Thanks to my non-cooking sister-in-law doing the shopping, I found out the hard way that chocolate chips are really not the way to go for the chocolate raspberry tart. But it showed great promise if you'd make it with better chocolate! :biggrin:

Thank you so much. I shall be brave the next time and try to remove it. Sometimes it's nice to bring a tart somehwere and not have to worry if the bottom piece is returned!

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I just made the Apple Cheddar Scones with polenta instead of cornmeal -- the extra crunch and grittiness is really nice.

About getting tarts off the bottom of the pan. You can use a knife, as Laniloa suggested, but if you've got two tart pans, you can use the bottom of one to loosen the crust from the bottom of the other. In fact, if you do this, you'll automatically transfer the crust to the other metal round and you can use this to slide the tart onto a serving platter. You can also do this with one of those cake-lifting gadgets. Another way is to gently run a long icing spatula between the pan and the crust, then slide the loosened tart onto a platter.

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I just made the Apple Cheddar Scones with polenta instead of cornmeal -- the extra crunch and grittiness is really nice.

About getting tarts off the bottom of the pan.  You can use a knife, as Laniloa suggested, but if you've got two tart pans, you can use the bottom of one to loosen the crust from the bottom of the other.  In fact, if you do this, you'll automatically transfer the crust to the other metal round and you can use this to slide the tart onto a serving platter.  You can also do this with one of those cake-lifting gadgets.  Another way is to gently run a long icing spatula between the pan and the crust, then slide the loosened tart onto a platter.

Thank you so much for those great tips. I spent the entire afternoon and evening just going through this new cookbook and can't wait to start baking. But the first project this morning is off to Fresh Market and Whole Foods to buy pure vanilla, a good grade of baking cocoa, some good chocolate, and then to Wlliams-Sonoma for a good bundt pan. Can't wait to get started!!

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This book has been hitting a thousand for me lately. On Monday night, when it wasn't quite time to start baking for Thanksgiving, but I was just itching to get started. So I pulled out this book and made the applesauce bars. If you haven't already heard enough praise for these, they were moist and light, sweet but complex in flavor, and just dog-garn good. They were a huge hit with the family and were gone long before Thursday. I overcooked the glaze a little and it became more like a frosting than a glaze but it still worked. Interestingly, though I have the far bigger sweet tooth, I thought the glaze was a little too sweet and would leave it off next time, while my boyfriend said "no! don't leave off the glaze!"

Then on Wednesday night I made the sweet potato biscuits. When they first came out of the oven, I was worried that they weren't the most attractive biscuits I've ever made (the book tells you not to be too worried about getting the tops even, and has you use a rather small cutter) and even after waiting 10 minutes, the flavor was good but not great. So I went to plan B and made my standard cream biscuits with cheddar cheese. By the time Thanksgiving dinner rolled around, the sweet potato biscuits had developed the best flavor - full of warm sweet potato and spices, and the essence of the holiday. So they went like hotcakes while the cream biscuits languished in the bowl. (We took leftovers to a small get together yesterday, and when all the biscuits were gone I said good! Now I have an excuse to bake more from Dorie's book!)

The Kitchn

Nina Callaway

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We hosted a martini party last night and I decided it would be apropos to serve Dorie's tiramisu cake (p.266). A boozy cake to go with our boozy drinks!

As for recipe notes, I wish I had been more liberal dousing my cake layers with the espresso syrup. I was concerned it would lead to a mushy cake but instead--as you can see with the picture--the syrup barely permeated. The cake layers are actually quite dry (or at least mine were) and so they could have done with a bit more moisture from the syrup.

I didn't use the 1 1/4 cups that she recommended for the filling as I was worried I wouldn't have enough. I probably used about 3/4-1 cup of the frosting between the layers and that gave me exactly enough to cover the rest of the cake.

What I enjoyed most about this cake recipe is that it's so unexpected. When biting into it, you expect to taste chocolate but the coffee flavour and tartness from the marscarpone are a wonderful surprise!

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Has anyone made the coffee break muffins? They sound good, but after the disappointing blandness of the allspice muffins, I am a little leary of the quick bread/muffin recipes.

i tried these, and was disappointed. they were dry, and i'm pretty sure i didn't overbake them. the flavor had potential, so i think i might try them again, with some creme fraiche or mascarpone for moisture. (if i don't just skip along to the next 50 things i want to make from this book!)

"Laughter is brightest where food is best."

www.chezcherie.com

Author of The I Love Trader Joe's Cookbook ,The I Love Trader Joe's Party Cookbook and The I Love Trader Joe's Around the World Cookbook

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I made the Cranberry Upside Downer last night. You can add my praise to everyone else's. I wasn't sure I'd like the combo of strong cinnamon and cranberries. I loved the whole thing. The cake was tender and soft, with a few delicious crispy edges. Then the topping was sweet/tart and crunchy from the nuts. I ate three pieces last night after my huge mexican meal, and I am about to go eat another piece for breakfast.

Btw, I prefer it when it is almost cool. It gives the cake a little more texture.

-Becca

www.porterhouse.typepad.com

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Has anyone made the coffee break muffins? They sound good, but after the disappointing blandness of the allspice muffins, I am a little leary of the quick bread/muffin recipes.

i tried these, and was disappointed. they were dry, and i'm pretty sure i didn't overbake them. the flavor had potential, so i think i might try them again, with some creme fraiche or mascarpone for moisture. (if i don't just skip along to the next 50 things i want to make from this book!)

You raise an interesting issue for me.

When you try a recipe, find it wanting in some dimension (even though you're sure you followed the recipe), do you fiddle with it? or move on and try one of the gazillion other tempting looking recipes?

One the one hand, I do find it a challenge to try to improve something that has potential. On the other, there's the challenge of all the untried. Perhaps it's age that leads me to say to myself, move on, try something else. So little time, so much else I could do.

The exception? I've tasted something and want to replicate that taste, knowing the goal and experimenting to achieve it. But not when starting with just a recipe, even from a book like Dorie's where so many of us have found so many real treats.

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

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Mott Mott raises an interesting question--try again, or move on? One thing to figure out when something doesn't come out right is whether it was the fault of the recipe, or of something about your own technique, oven, or ingredients. There are bum recipes out there, but these seem to be really well tested. I still dont know why my Cranberry Upside Down Cake ended up with the berries floating up into the cake. Several other folks here made it with great success, so the one thing I do know is that the answer is in my kitchen. I'd love to crack the mystery.

With the Coffee Break Muffins, at least two folks had trouble, but mine came out beautifully. The ones that came out "dry" could've been over-mixed, which is pretty common, even in bought muffins. When add my mixed wet ingredients to my mixed dry ingredients, I use a folding motion with wide rubber spatula, and give it maybe 12-16 turns, no more. The batter is fully moistened but still lumpy. Even though it is tempting to smooth the batter out, that turns out to be the wrong thing to do. Do you remember how you mixed them?

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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Mott Mott raises an interesting question--try again, or move on?  One thing to figure out when something doesn't come out right is whether it was the fault of the recipe, or of something about your own technique, oven, or ingredients.  There are bum recipes out there, but these seem to be really well tested.  I still dont know why my Cranberry Upside Down Cake ended up with the berries floating up into the cake.  Several other folks here made it with great success, so the one thing I do know is that the answer is in my kitchen.  I'd love to crack the mystery.

With the Coffee Break Muffins, at least two folks had trouble, but mine came out beautifully.  The ones that came out "dry" could've been over-mixed, which is pretty common, even in bought muffins.  When add my mixed wet ingredients to my mixed dry ingredients, I use a folding motion with wide rubber spatula, and give it maybe 12-16 turns, no more.  The batter is fully moistened but still lumpy.  Even though it is tempting to smooth the batter out, that turns out to be the wrong thing to do.  Do you remember how you mixed them?

In this case, I think it well worth while to try to crack the mystery because you have several accounts of success from others, some of whom have made it several times. It's a very distinctive cake both for flavor and appearance, something few muffins can claim (imo).

I made the cranberry cake twice. My guess is that you did one of two things. Firstly, you may not have cooked the sugar mixture enough to turn it into the glue that holds the cranberries together. Reread the recipe. Secondly, perhaps you were too vigorous when you spread the rather thick, viscous batter over the berry/nut layer, scooping some of them up into the batter.

In my case I actually used more berries and nuts than the recipe called for, but changed nothing else. I'm a do it in stages whenever possible sort of cook. Do a stage, take a rest, read a book, go online, then go back to the next one. Perhaps that extra time between the cranberry layer and the batter layer helped the cranberries set up. And I was very careful when I spread the batter layer, using a small offset spatula which I think gives better control than the rubber scraper/spatula I use for folding or scraping out the bowl.

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

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No need to defrost the sables before baking -- however, you shouldn't glaze and sugar them before freezing.

Sometimes, the frozen dough is easier to cut if you give the logs a little time on the counter, but it's not necessary.

Mottmott, your ideas for why the cranberries may have sunk are interesting. I've never had the sinking-cranberry situation, but this Thanksgiving, a West Coast friend of mine had a few cranberries that flip-flopped from the bottom of the pan to the top. Insufficiently cooked syrup, as you suggested? Maybe. Overzealous batter-flattening, as you suggested? Also possible. But, as others have pointed out, the cake was still delicious. Thank goodness.

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I made the Cranberry Upside-Downer yesterday using the almond flavor variation. Once again, the flavor was spot on. It has a lovely buttery, slightly sweet flavor with a perfume of almond essence, punctuated by tart cranberry power.

But I did have a problem. The cake is designed as an upside-down cake--fruit is placed on the bottom of the pan in a butter-sugar mixture, batter spread on top, then baked. When you unmold it, the bottom becomes the top. It is supposed to end up as a fruit layer on top of the cake layer, but in my case, the fruit sunk into the batter. Tastes great. Looks ugly.

I could fix it by making a cranberry compote topping, but I am trying to figure out what went wrong. I used a springform pan instead of a cake pan, because that was all I had in the correct size. It is a dark color, so not a favorite. Here are my theories:

1. The cranberries I used were fresh, and quite large. Bigger than any I've seen before. Maybe my cranberries produced more liquid than the recipe intended, and this made them mush in. This theory is supported by the fact that there was a lot of goo when I unmolded the pan (no berries left ont he pan though). Or,

2. My oven temp wasn't hot enough, so the batter didn't quite set. In support of this theory, my cake is not nearly as tall as the photo. It is maybe 1" high. Or,

3. I unmolded the cake too soon, and should have left it sitting bottom-side down for while to cool. The instructions dont actually say "let cool", and I took that as meaning unmold forthwith. Maybe I was wrong.

4. I could've coated the berry bottom/top with a dusting of flour like you do with blueberry muffins to stop them sinking, or perhaps set the bottom/top by baking it briefly before adding the batter. This is not in the instructions, but maybe it would help keep the layers separate.

Your thoughts and diagnoses are most welcome. I always learn more from "failures" than from easy successes. Meanwhile, I'll have another bite.

I made the cranberry cake twice. My guess is that you did one of two things. Firstly, you may not have cooked the sugar mixture enough to turn it into the glue that holds the cranberries together. Reread the recipe. Secondly, perhaps you were too vigorous when you spread the rather thick, viscous batter over the berry/nut layer, scooping some of them up into the batter.

MottMott--thanks for your thoughts. I posted a few theories about the Cranberry Cake upthread. I dont think that vigorous spreading was the culprit. Your idea about not heating the butter mixture is another one I'd considered, though two chefs I was lucky enough to speak with at the time leaned in a different direction. Mysterious, still. Since I have some "regular" sized bagged cranberries on hand, I think I'll just try again. Because the cake, as Dorie says, is definitely delicious.

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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No need to defrost the sables before baking -- however, you shouldn't glaze and sugar them before freezing.

Sometimes, the frozen dough is easier to cut if you give the logs a little time on the counter, but it's not necessary.

Mottmott, your ideas for why the cranberries may have sunk are interesting.  I've never had the sinking-cranberry situation, but this Thanksgiving, a West Coast friend of mine had a few cranberries that flip-flopped from the bottom of the pan to the top.  Insufficiently cooked syrup, as you suggested?  Maybe.  Overzealous batter-flattening, as you suggested?  Also possible.  But, as others have pointed out, the cake was still delicious.  Thank goodness.

I'd eat it if it were scrambled. :wub: That beautiful look is great for company, but if things don't work out as they're "supposed" to, as long as it still tastes good, I'd smile and pretend it was meant to be that way

Speaking of company. I made the tiramisu cake for dinner tonight. It's a tossup as to whether it looked or tasted better. I love making that sort of thing for company. I have a slice at dinner and send the leftovers home with the guests instead of to my waist. My thanks to someone above who cautioned it was a bit dry (sorry, too tired to check back to see who it was). I made extra coffe-kalua syrup to soak the cake. One thing to mention about this cake, while it's super rich, sumptuous even, it's not super sweet - a plus in my book

Also, for TDay I took a tart to my stepdaughter's banquet. I used the Herme book's recipe for the lemon cream tart. Raves all around, and my DIL's begging for a repeat. When I make that recipe I up the lemon zest by about 25% as I like it a bit more lemony, otherwise follow instructions scrupulously. It's very similar to the one in Baking with the addition of a glaze. I've made it with and without the glaze and must admit the glaze is well worth the extra work.

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

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It snowed all day today, so it was a baking day here.

I made the chocolate swirl sour cream bundt (not the proper name) and the coconut tea cake. I was going to make it a lemon coconut tea cake, and did add the lemon zest, but a friend was over and we were chatting and I got distracted and forgot about adding the juice. Oh well.

I haven't tried the coconut one yet, but my friend and I both tried the first and it is delicious! I was surprised at how thick the batter was though and had some problems with layering the swirl ingredients (so there's a lot on the bottom of the cake that keeps falling off). The recipe said to bake for 60-65 minutes. I checked at about 55 minutes and the tester came out clean. But when I sliced into the cake (after letting it cool, of course), it still looks wet. Is this right? Like I said, delicious, so I'll definitely try it again.

The coconut tea cake batter was more like what I'd expect in a cake batter. I should have spread it up the sides of the bundt pan a bit more though. But I'm happy overall. These were my very first ever bundt cakes! I just bought the pan on Friday (it's the fleur de lis Nordicware pan).

I'm gonna go bake something…

wanna come with?

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I've been meaning to make the Caramel Peanut Topped Brownie Cake since I first got the book.  Finally made it last night, to bring to a Thankksgiving today, so I  haven't tasted it yet.  It looks gorgeous.

I am expecting a hero's welcome at the holiday dinner.

Tamiam shared some of her Caramel Peanut Topped Brownie Cake with me and it was delish! I loved the contrast with the peanut and the caramel. Her caramel seemed to be really dark and had the most wonderful flavor. The fleur de sel on top was a nice touch. YUM!

I made the cranberry upsidedown cake and it turned out great. I did use frozen cranberries and perhaps the cool cranberries, congealing with the warm butter helped my cranberries stay in place. By the time the dough was ready, the butter/cranberry/walnut mixture seemed more of a solid mass and that seemed to do the trick.

I shared cranberry cake with a friend of mine today and he meant to take only a bite and save the rest for later....somehow he managed to polish it off on the spot. I've been invited to bring samples from THAT BOOK anytime! :laugh:

Traca

Seattle, WA

blog: Seattle Tall Poppy

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I made the apple turnovers for hubby. Seems like I had to add a little extra sour cream to the dough but I live in high desert country and my flour may be extra dry? Then after I had them all shaped and sugared I realized I forgot to dot the filling with butter, baked 'em up anyway and the missing butter was no big deal cause the pastry is so rich and flaky. These were so delish I thought we would eat them all at one sitting. Very dangerous gems to have around. An extra treat for us were the apples were from my friends organic trees. Guess I should make her a batch too

With the extra dough I made a small tart and filed it with apple butter. MMMMM

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I tried some of the coconut tea cake (for breakfast – ahem :wub: ) and of course it's delish. I was planning to take most of the baking in to the office to share with my coworkers, but I'm snowed in (I'm on crutches and snow + crutches = another broken leg). I might just have to eat it all myself!

I'm gonna go bake something…

wanna come with?

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Made the World Peace Cookies yesterday and it's good that Dorie warned they might be hard to slice prior to baking - they were! No photos - they look less than attractive but, so far, have got rave reviews - very, very rich- one is plenty! Mine turned out even larger than they should have - my 1/2 inch was off somewhat. :biggrin:

Edited to add:

I notice no one has posted a photo of these cookies and I am hoping Patrick will give them a go and show us how to make them attractive as well as delicious! :smile: Please.

Edited by Anna N (log)

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Made the World Peace Cookies yesterday and it's good that Dorie warned they might be hard to slice prior to baking - they were!  No photos - they look less than attractive but, so far, have got rave reviews - very, very rich- one is plenty! Mine turned out even larger than they should have - my 1/2 inch was off somewhat.  :biggrin:

Edited to add:

I notice no one has posted a photo of these cookies and I am hoping Patrick will give them a go and show us how to make them attractive as well as delicious! :smile: Please.

I froze the dough briefly and sliced it with a large chef's knife. Only one chunk of chocolate fell out from the whole batch.

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