Wednesday, June 29, 2011
What a neat challenge, Baklava! I enjoyed the challenge, although I did push it until the last minute!
Erica of Erica’s Edibles was our host for the Daring Baker’s June challenge. Erica challenged us to be truly DARING by making homemade phyllo dough and then to use that homemade dough to make Baklava.
See Erica’s site for the full recipe and directions to make your own phyllo and Baklava.
The dough was easy to pull together. Erica suggested to double the recipe to make sure you had enough dough for a 9x9 pan. I ended up doing a shallow baklava in a 8x8 pan, so I had extra phyllo dough, but that was better than too little!
Once the dough was made, I coated it in oil and covered the dough on a plate. It worked out so that I let the dough sit out overnight, which worked out perfectly fine.
The next morning, I rolled the dough into thin sheets, cut to match the pan, and started assembling the baklava. I had combined the nut filling the day before, which made assembly easy.
I layered 5 sheets of phyllo on the bottom, then added about a third of the filling. In hindsight, I probably added more than a third of the filling, and could have done with less. I assembled one more phyllo and nut layer before topping with the final phyllo layer. I think the phyllo layers could have been thinner, and will try that next time.
I cut the baklava, popped it in the over, and waited until the second thirty minute baking cycle to start the baklava honey syrup. Since I knew my baklava pan was smaller than the recipe intended, I reduced the syrup ingredients by about a third, and it worked out smoothly when adding the syrup to the baked baklava.
Once the syrup was added, I let the baklava sit over night. The final product was awesome. Such a sweet rich dessert, but I would definitely make it again, especially for guests!
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Just in time for Cinco de Mayo, these Garabatos (scribble cookies) are buttery and chocolaty, so good!
Garabatos, from My Sweet Mexico by Fany Gerson
3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
5 1/2 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
3 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Place the cookie ingredients in a food processor and pulse until combined. The mixture will be moist and a coherent ball.
2.Place the dough ball between two sheets of parchment paper and roll flat, to a thickness of 1/4 inch. Once the dough is rolled, use a 2-inch round cookie cutter to cut out cookies. Re-roll dough one or two more times if needed.
3. Place cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheets and place in the over for 15 minutes, rotating halfway through. Take the cookies out of the oven when the edges are golden brown.
4. While the cookies are cooling, place the 5 1/2 ounces of chocolate in the top bowl of a double boiler and melt fully. Once melted, take off heat and add the remaining ingredients for the chocolate filling to the bowl. Once combined and smooth, let cool to room temperature.
5. With an inverted spatula, spread a small dollop of chocolate on the bottom of a cookie, and then place a similar sized cookie on top, bottom facing down, to make a sandwich. Continue with all cookies.
6. Once the cookies are sandwiched together, let set for about an hour. When the cookies are set, warm the remaining chocolate filling in a small bowl for about 15-30 seconds, until melted and smooth. Place chocolate in a food-safe squirt bottle and drizzle ‘scribbles’ of chocolate on top of each sandwich cookie.
Hope you enjoy, Feliz Cinco De Mayo!
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
The April 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Evelyne of the blog Cheap Ethnic Eatz. Evelyne chose to challenge everyone to make a maple mousse in an edible container. Prizes are being awarded to the most creative edible container and filling, so vote on your favorite from April 27th to May 27th at http://thedaringkitchen.com!
This is going to be a quick post, so link over to Evelyne’s blog for recipe and instructions for the Maple Mousse!
I made a nut bowl for my edible container, and halved both the mousse and nut bowl recipes.
The nut bowl after baking, in a cute vintage star mold.
The mouse mixture, about to set in the fridge, before folding in the whip cream.
Finished product! Star-shaped maple mousse!
Sunday, March 27, 2011
March’s challenge for Daring Baker’s was a yeasted meringue coffee cake, hosted by Jamie and Ria. Another treat I have never made before, and it turned out enjoyable. Also fairly easy, compared to some drawn-out challenges.
I decided to half the recipe and make only one loaf of coffee cake. The dough was easy to pull together, adding the hot milk and butter mixture to the dry ingredients. Once all was combined, I opted to let the KitchenAid's dough hook knead the bread, and that worked out just fine.
Once the dough was kneaded, I placed it in an oiled bowl and covered to let rise. It worked out where I left the dough for two hours, and was at least doubled in size when I was ready for work with it again.
I decided to use Jamie’s traditional filling of the meringue with cinnamon and chocolate chips. I whipped up the meringue, and since I halved the dough recipe, I only used two egg whites, instead of three, and reduced the other ingredients accordingly.
When the meringue was ready, I rolled the dough out and spread the meringue over. The amount of meringue worked out perfectly with the half recipe. I used generous amount of cinnamon, much more than was called for, and appreciated the cinnamon flavor once the cake was baked. I sprinkled chocolate chips on top, but after tasting, I could have done without the chocolate.
The cake was then rolled up like a jelly roll, transferred to a baking sheet, and shaped into a ring. I used scissors to cut into the cake, cutting fairly deep. The cake then had to sit for an hour.
I then topped with chopped pecans and placed it in the oven at 350 for 30 minutes.
The cake came out looking great, and it tasted great too, a classic coffee cake flavor!
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Things have been busy! We’ve been out of town, bought an old truck, and have been enjoying Florida’s warm weather.
Hubs and the new-old truck. So much fun!
We are crazy dog people, and got Ducky a kiddy pool in anticipation of summer. He still needs to get used to it!
Beer and beer-y cupcake from Intuition Ale Works.
Husband and the brother-in-law, being friendly.
Hope everyone is having a great week so far!
Monday, February 28, 2011
February’s Daring Baker’s Challenge was Panna Cotta, paired with Florentine cookies. The challenge was hosted by Mallory of A Sofa in the Kitchen, with full recipes and info over at her site! I had never made either of these items, although I am not terribly fond of Florentine cookies.
I was surprised how quick I was able to make the Panna Cotta. For a dessert I thought was complicated, it really wasn’t. The gelatin was added to cold milk to soften. Then I heated the milk mixture, added the cream, honey, sugar and salt. After the mixture heated thoroughly, and the honey and sugar dissolved, I took it off the heat to cool a little.
While I was making the Panna Cotta, I also decided to make a strawberry gelee. I used the fruit gelee recipe from the challenge, which was to heat pureed strawberries with sugar, then whisk in softened gelatin. I am still a little weirded out by gelatin and it’s texture,especially with the gelee.
Once the panna cotta and gelee cooled, I spooned both into dishes and refrigerated overnight.
Later, I made the Florentine cookie dough and baked off the cookies. Another surprisingly simple recipe. The butter is melted, then the dry ingredients, such as flour, sugar and oats, are added to the butter. I spooned the cookie dough onto a cookie sheet.
The cookies baked quickly, in about 6 minutes. I think I could have baked the cookies longer, but they looked like they were about to burn, so I took them out a little early.
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Here are some Valentine’s Day treats I’ve been working on.
Vegan heart-shaped Oreos. I am so pleased with how these turned out!
Swirly colored mini cupcakes for Valentine’s Day, with classic buttercream.
And look at this awesome vintage cake carrier! I have a small booth at an antique mall, and found this in another booth. I am so loving it, with the bits of color left, but mostly rusty, I wonder what kind of stories it has.
French Onion Soup, that didn’t take a million hours, and is vegetarian too! Awesome!
I have been wanting to make a vegetarian French Onion Soup for a while, I even bookmarked a couple recipes, but just never got around to it. Looking through my Google Reader feed reminded me, so I started looking for recipes again. Since Cook’s Illustrated does great soups, I found a recipe, but it took 4-5 hours, and that seemed like a large time commitment. I went with their easier, quicker version, which still took 2-3 hours.
The recipe called for a combination of beef and chicken broth. Instead, I used the best quality organic vegetable broth our supermarket had.
The time-saving method of this recipe was to microwave the chopped onion for about 25 minutes, until the onions are wilted.
The onions are then sautéed in a dutch oven with butter until browned. Then we deglazed the pot and repeated the deglazing another 5 times,until the onions were very brown.
While the onions were deglazing, the husband had the good idea of making an onion paste/roux in a side pan, to add to the soup to add extra flavor, since we were subbing the meat broths.
Once the onions were browned, the recipe called to add sherry and cook until evaporated. We didn’t have sherry, and winging it, decided to substitute a 50/50 mix of dry vermouth and port, which ended up working excellently.
Then it was time to add the vegetable broth, bay leaf, and thyme. I didn’t have kitchen twine, so I added the thyme to a loose tea pod. The soup then simmered for another 30 minutes. While that was on the stove, I prepared the croutons and slices the cheese.
Once the soup was ready, I ladled some into soup bowls, added the croutons and cheese, and put the soup bowls until the broiler for several minutes.
The husband and I agreed that the adjustments we made worked out great, the end result was a great, flavorful soup!
Quicker French Onion Soup
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated
4 lb yellow onions, cut in quarter-inch thick slices
3 tbsp butter
2 cups water, plus extra
1/4 cup dry vermouth
1/4 cup port
6 cups vegetable broth, preferably premium organic
6 sprigs thyme leaves, trimmed and placed in a loose leaf tea pod
1 bay leaf
1 French bread baguette, sliced and toasted
Swiss Cheese, sliced
- Place the sliced onions in a microwave safe bowl and toss with a teaspoon of table salt. Place a plate on top of the bowl, and microwave for 25 minutes, stirring halfway through. Once the onions are wilted, drain the onions of any excess water. I squeezed the onion to make sure they didn’t retain too much water.
- Melt the butter in a dutch oven, then add onions. Cook onions for about 25 minutes on medium high heat, until the butter and other liquids have evaporated. Towards the end of the cooking time, the bottom of the pot will begin to brown and you need to make sure to stir often. Once the onions have begun to brown, add 1/4 cup water (I found 1/3 cup of water worked better) and deglaze the pan, scraping the brown bits off the bottom of the pot.
- Brown the onions for 6 minutes, and deglaze with water. Repeat the browning and deglazing process 3 mores times, until the onions are dark brown.
- Add the port and vermouth, and cook, stirring frequently, until the alcohol is evaporated.
- Now add the vegetable broth, thyme, and bay leaf. Stir, increase to high heat until soup simmers. Then reduce heat to medium, cover, and cook for 30 minutes.
- While soup is simmering, toast baguette slices in oven, then switch oven to broiler setting.
- Once soup is done, fish out bay leaf and parsley pod. Ladle soup into oven-safe soup bowls, place croutons and sliced cheese on top of soup.
- Place soup bowls in oven, under broiler for 3-5 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and beginning to brown around the edges.