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


rjwong
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The Orange Berry Muffins are delicious. Made 6 regular size and 3 large size muffins. I liked that they weren't as sweet as most muffins that I have eaten, just perfect.

Today I made the Double Apple Bundt cake. Smelled delicious. It is cooled, and hidden, ready to take to a Holiday party tomorrow night.

Love this cookbook!!

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Mystery solved?

I made the Cranberry Upside Down Cake again, and it came out perfectly. I used regular frozen cranberries instead of the big giant fresh ones, and I do believe that is what made the difference.

The fresh berry cake, where my berries all floated into the cake instead of staying separate, had a LOT of goo when I unmolded it. I think that there were fewer berries, and becasue they were so big, they exuded a lot more juice than "normal" berries. The added moisture must have changed their behavior in the cake.

(Oh good, I'm not a failure anymore :biggrin: )

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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I baked my brown sugar-pecan shortbread cookies yesterday. The flavor is not quite as deep as I would have expected from brown sugar and pecans, but they are tasty nevertheless. These cookies are also quite soft, and I thought they would have a little bit of snap to them.

My baking confidence is a little shaky after this recipe. I chose it because the photo is so striking, I like a plain-ish cookie, and I thought these would make a lovely addition to the Christmas cookie boxes I am assembling this year. I followed the instructions to the T--directing more time and attention to rulers and precise cut marks, etc. than usual--and didn't get the picture-perfect result that I wanted. I know that I am not a food stylist, but I did everthing possible with the cuts and tines and watching the oven, and my cookies did not turn out like the photo. I even re-chilled the squares before putting the cookie sheets in the oven, and still they oozed a bit and swallowed up my lovingly poked tine marks while baking. My experience looks very similar to the one that Lori in PA showed on page 1 of this thread.

I did buy more pecans so maybe I'll get back on the horse.

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I baked my brown sugar-pecan shortbread cookies yesterday.  The flavor is not quite as deep as I would have expected from brown sugar and pecans, but they are tasty nevertheless.  These cookies are also quite soft, and I thought they would have a little bit of snap to them.

My baking confidence is a little shaky after this recipe.  I chose it because the photo is so striking, I like a plain-ish cookie, and I thought these would make a lovely addition to the Christmas cookie boxes I am assembling this year.  I followed the instructions to the T--directing more time and attention to rulers and precise cut marks, etc. than usual--and didn't get the picture-perfect result that I wanted.  I know that I am not a food stylist, but I did everthing possible with the cuts and tines and watching the oven, and my cookies did not turn out like the photo.  I even re-chilled the squares before putting the cookie sheets in the oven, and still they oozed a bit and swallowed up my lovingly poked tine marks while baking.  My experience looks very similar to the one that Lori in PA showed on page 1 of this thread.

I did buy more pecans so maybe I'll get back on the horse.

Remember that shortbread flavors deepen as they sit. And when I make shortbread, I never get a perfect look, though I seem to do better with a cookie cutter (square, triangle work for me) than a knife. And I have put dough back in the fridge to improve shape.

Now get back on that horse.

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I made the Katherine Hepburn brownies again.  :wub:

312283184_6c48e18391.jpg

Nicely presented in the brioche tins. Lovely idea. Would you consider dressing it up by pouring butterscotch sauce (or some other equally decadent accoutrement) over it?? Or would that be too much of the gilding of the lily??

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^I would never turn down butterscotch! I always have some homemade caramel or chocolate sauce on hand, and either would be very nice with a warm brownie. :smile:

(I used the same brioche tins for the muffins...it's funny I haven't yet made brioche in those tins, but I will this week when I try Dorie's "Golden Brioche" recipe!)

Edited by Ling (log)
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^I would never turn down butterscotch! I always have some homemade caramel or chocolate sauce on hand, and either would be very nice with a warm brownie.  :smile:

(I used the same brioche tins for the muffins...it's funny I haven't yet made brioche in those tins, but I will this week when I try Dorie's "Golden Brioche" recipe!)

I am also baking Golden Brioche this week. There are so many uses for it over the holidays, I think I'll bake and freeze. I'll be sure to post notes on it.

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Yesterday I made the Breton Far. It looked just like the one Patrick posted way back when.

It's dead easy to make. Essentially it's just a custard put together in the blender, some flour added at the end to set it up a bit firmer than a custard would be. You refrigerate it awhile, preferably overnight, and before baking throw in some dried fruit that's been steeped to soften it. Next time I make it I may use dried cherries or cranberries in place of the raisins.

For me, this would be a perfect brunch dish, everything, even prepping the pan, can be set up the night before so you need only bake it the morning of. If you set the oven controls to start the preheating while you're still in bed, it could be ready about an hour after you wake up. :laugh:

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

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Finally got the cookbook just prior to Thanksgiving. Never did get the chance to bake anything from it for the holiday itself BUT made the applesauce spice bars the Sunday after. They were gone the next day...between my family and the folks at work.

I have never felt very comfortable as a baker but am trying. This morning I made the walnut and date loaf. My family enjoyed it but I felt it was a little dry, probably my fault since, as I said, I am only just learning to bake and don't yet have the "feel" of it. Figure, since it is a pound cake kind of thing, it will be better tomorrow. This evening, because I was still in the mood, I made the almost fudge gateau. Had a sliver a little while ago. Pretty doggone good!!!!! Had only an 8 1/2 inch springform pan (and I thought that would be better than a 10 inch when the recipe called for a 9 inch) so the finished product may be a little thicker than intended.

I'm anxious to try all of the wonderful recipes that you have all so beautifully described and photographed here.

I may try to post some photos of some slices of each tomorrow.

Thanks to you all for the inspiration.

Donna

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I am also baking Golden Brioche this week.  There are so many uses for it over the holidays, I think I'll bake and freeze.  I'll be sure to post notes on it.

I made the dough last night, and now am waiting for it to rise a third time in the loaf pan before I bake it.

Some notes--the instructions say to beat for 10 minutes after the butter has been incorporated, but because this brioche recipe seems to contain much more butter than other recipes I've used (French Laundry, Nancy Silverton), the dough was still very, very soft after 10 minutes. I turned the mixer onto 4 and continued to check on it until it had gone for an additional 10 minutes. The dough was still not coming together into a ball, or making that "slapping" sound Nancy tells you to listen for. So I added flour at 1 tbsp increments and let the mixer go for another 5 minutes. I added an extra 5 tbsp. of flour before it came together in a loose ball (it was still much softer than the other brioche doughs I've made).

So total mixing time (after the butter was incorporated) was 25 minutes, which wasn't too far off from the other recipes I've used.

After the overnight rise, it's seemed to have firmed up considerably and I have high hopes for the finished product! :smile:

Edited by Ling (log)
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The one clear miss - and it missed by a WIDE margin - were the Salt & Pepper Cocoa Cookies.  The only way to describe these is gawd-awful.  The problem was not with the additional of the salt and pepper, it was with the texture and the cocoa.  There wasn't quite enough sugar in the recipe to offset the bitterness of the amount of unsweetend cocoa powder used.  This is a shortbread cookie that uses powdered sugar instead of flour to provide most of the structure.  The texture turned out like sand, very fine sand.  I shared these cookies with 2 friends that are trained as and working as chefs; both of spit the cookies out  :laugh:. I'm pretty sure that the final cookie was not the result of my method or technique, especially in light of the success I've had with other recipes from the same cookbook.

That's funny, I really liked these cookies! Mine aren't very photo-worthy, I didn't decorate, but I love the pepper, the bitter cocoa, and the sandiness. I have two logs in my freezer for holiday gifts :smile:

I don't have a stand mixer, do you think I could still make brioche? (25 minutes!!)

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This afternoon I made the Chocolate Malted Whopper Drops. They don't exactly look like the photo but, boy , are they good!!

I apparently missed Dorie's comment that the baking temperature should be 350* and ended up baking them at 375*. The other thing I found was that 6 oz of malted milk balls was not 2 cups, whole or chopped. I used 6oz of chopped malt balls but it was only about a cup and a quarter to a cup and a half of product.

I got a deal on mangos yesterday and also made the Fresh Mango Bread. It's okay but not particularly outstanding. Mostly it just tastes sweet, not much flavor hit from the mangos. The notes say it improves with age and being wrapped in saran. I'm hoping that's what happens.

Edited by kalypso (log)
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This afternoon I made the Chocolate Malted Whopper Drops.  They don't exactly look like the photo but, boy , are they good!!

I made these tonight too. Mine don't look like the photo either -- flatter and paler. I really like them. I was expecting a heavier, fudgier cookie based on the batter but like the final lighter texture much better. It is more in keeping with the lightness of a malt ball.
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In an effort to use up some whole milk, I baked a few of Dorie's breakfast treats over the weekend. First up were her Allspice Crumb muffins. My only comment about this recipe was that it made too much streusel (for me). I had over half of it left over in the bowl after I generously topped my muffins with it. The flavour of the allspice was more subtle than I was expecting.

gallery_29268_3740_516593.jpg

Next, I made the Oatmeal Breakfast bread (p.44). What a hit! Unfortunately, the muffins were passed over in lieu of this. Very moist and delicious. I baked mine with dried figs. I will be definately making this recipe again and again.

gallery_29268_3740_826975.jpg

Finally, I had my first disappointment from this book. Honestly, I should have stopped at the bread because I blame the mistakes on myself being "baked-out". I made the Milk Chocolate Mini Bundt Cakes (p.188). First, I didn't grease my tin enough so when removing the bundts a few of them lost large chunks of their tops. Then, I ran into the same problem that Becca Porter did with the glaze. Once I added the syrup to the chocolate, the whole thing turned into a solid! Instead of re-reading this thread to sort out the problem, I tried twice to no avail. In the end, after running out of bittersweet chocolate, I just melted more milk chocolate in the microwave and drizzled it on top.

gallery_29268_3740_283535.jpg

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I have double batch of Choco-Banana Bread in the oven now. Initial report:

--A double batch makes for a full mixer bowl and generous splatters of both dry and liquid ingredients in the vicinity of the mixer. :-)

--The recipe makes an eminently lickable batter.

More later...

~ 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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In an effort to use up some whole milk, I baked a few of Dorie's breakfast treats over the weekend.  First up were her Allspice Crumb muffins.  My only comment about this recipe was that it made too much streusel (for me).  I had over half of it left over in the bowl after I generously topped my muffins with it.  The flavour of the allspice was more subtle than I was expecting.

gallery_29268_3740_516593.jpg

Next, I made the Oatmeal Breakfast bread (p.44).  What a hit!  Unfortunately, the muffins were passed over in lieu of this.  Very moist and delicious.  I baked mine with dried figs.  I will be definately making this recipe again and again. 

gallery_29268_3740_826975.jpg

Finally, I had my first disappointment from this book.  Honestly, I should have stopped at the bread because I blame the mistakes on myself being "baked-out".  I made the Milk Chocolate Mini Bundt Cakes (p.188).  First, I didn't grease my tin enough so when removing the bundts a few of them lost large chunks of their tops.  Then, I ran into the same problem that Becca Porter did with the glaze.  Once I added the syrup to the chocolate, the whole thing turned into a solid!  Instead of re-reading this thread to sort out the problem, I tried twice to no avail.  In the end, after running out of bittersweet chocolate, I just melted more milk chocolate in the microwave and drizzled it on top. 

gallery_29268_3740_283535.jpg

Egads another one to try! I have only had to book two weeks. Made the Double Apple Cake..very delicious; Applesauce Spice Bars x 2..very delicious; and the Orange Berry Muffins...very delicious. My list is so long of all the things to try. What a wonderful book!

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I enjoyed the Choco-Nana Bread, though all I've had so far was an end-piece. All the other dessert eaters were pleased and an unexpected guest asked for the recipe. I'm sending one to dd at college -- it seems like a good candidate for shipping.

~ 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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I had a hankering for brownies, and since I don't actually have an 8" square pan (the size seems to be fairly rare), I made the "bittersweet brownies." I used the Le Noir Valhrona chocolate that's cheap at Trader Joe's: some 71% and some 85%. It turned out well, though I

Like Dorie says, it makes a thin, very fudgy, brownie. It really is almost like a thick, solid mouse. Only thing I'd change in the future would be to cut back on the amount of instant espresso. I'm using the King Arthur powder, and the tablespoon called for in the recipe was too much, for my tastes. I'll try a teaspoon or a teaspoon and a half the next time round.

I need to get my hands on an 8" square pan. Just need to find one that's not non-stick...

-------

Alex Parker

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I've now made the Cranberry Upside-Downer cake 3 times and I love it! I almost panicked when I couldn't find cranberries at my local grocer.

Yesterday I was baking for a big group (100 people) and featured the Upside Downer as part of a collection of cookies and brownies. I tripled the recipe and baked it in a half sheet pan with a collar. The finished batch was cut into squares like brownies. YUM!

Earlier discussion about the cranberries creeping into the batter seems to be easily solved if you freeze the cranberries. Dorrie notes in the recipe that the frozen berries will cause butter congeal...not to worry. I find the congealed butter actually helps keep the cranberry & nuts in place as you spread the batter over the top.

Traca

Seattle, WA

blog: Seattle Tall Poppy

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It seems the brownies' texture has come together somewhat over the past few hours. They seem even fudgier and richer than when I tried them earlier. I think the extra time has really improved them. They're incredibly rich (how could they not, with those ingredients: Valhrona chocolate, Plugra butter, a little flour and a little sugar and a couple of eggs); I can only eat a tiny piece at a time.

We'll see how they fare tomorrow. I've also frozen 1/4 of it and will see how well it stands up to the freezing. Dorie notes that it should stay good for 2 months,

This book is a ton of fun!

-------

Alex Parker

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