Friday, July 31, 2009

Crunchy Chocolate Malt Cookies and a TWD Ice Cream Re-visit

I’ve been holding onto this recipe for awhile. I love the taste of malt as does my husband so when I found this recipe from a fellow blogger at Cooking During Stolen Moments, I knew I had to try it!

I didn’t follow the recipe exactly because I didn’t have a chocolate malt or Ovaltine (which reminds me…I need to buy some because who on earth doesn’t like Ovaltine!) . Instead, I used a plain malted milk powder, and combined cocoa powder for the chocolate flavor. Then I added crushed whoppers for some added texture and crunch.

I thought these cookies would go perfectly with Dorie’s ice cream I posted earlier this week so I was really excited to get started.

I normally have great success with cookies, and I am not sure what happened. Out of the oven, they were crispy on the outside, and very chewy on the inside (similar to a molasses cookie). Once cooled, they were very thin and very crispy (not at all chewy). Paired with the ice cream, they tasted very much like a waffle cone! So it’s not to say they were bad, they weren’t. But they weren’t what I expected, anticipated, hoped for.

Again, I blame myself for the flop. First, I realized, I added too much brown sugar (which I'm thinking is the culprate for the over crunch-less chewy cookie). It’s also possible my oven is too hot and I baked them too long, or it could be my change of ingredients because her cookies look simply divine: soft, chewy…my mouth waters every time I look at them! I think popping these in the refrigerator could help a bit too with the spreading.

I guess it’s back to the drawing board for me….and possibly a trip to the store for Ovaltine!
If you like a crunchy cookie, you’ll love this version, if not…head over to Kate’s page and try her soft and chewy version.

Crispy Chocolate Malt Cookies
Recipe derived from Kate at Cooking During Stolen Moments

1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar (I would only put 1/4 cup if you want these to be chewy--this was my mistake adding more by grabbing the wrong measuring cup! oops!)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups AP flour
¾ cups malted milk powder
¼ cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups Whoppers, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together flour, malted milk powder, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl, beat butter until creamy. Add sugars and beat until light and fluffy. Then add eggs, beating well after each addition. Then beat in the vanilla. Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture with the mixer on low. Mix only until just incorporated. Then fold in whopper pieces with a spatula. Spoon heaping tablespoons onto a cookie sheet lined with a silpat or wax paper. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

For other great malt recipes check these out:

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Day of Decorating Cupcakes

Some days should just be devoted to cupcakes.

Last week, my friend Shannon and I got together to work on our cake decorating skills since we have been playing hooky from practice all summer.

Truth is, I thought that I had totally forgotten how to even make a rose…and worried my 8 weeks of Wilton had just gone down the tubes. But after a little practice, I realized, it’s just like riding a bike.

The cake is a deep dark moist chocolate cake and I used my go to recipe. The frosting is also my go to frosting, for the recipe click here. The only alterations were that I added the seeds of a vanilla bean and omitted the chocolate of course. The decorating frosting was from Wilton, if you’re interested, contact me.

Not bad for a mid-week snack!

Stay tuned….I’m baking up chocolate malted cookies and there is a possibility of ice cream being involved!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

TWD: Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

This week’s TWD could not have come at a better time. First, its summer. Second, I absolutely love ice cream. (Chocolate and vanilla bean to be specific).

Despite how easy this ice cream was to make, I still put it off until the last minute. I’ll never learn. I bake under pressure. It’s just what I do.

I really enjoyed this ice cream. The only thing I changed was using 5 egg yolks instead of 6. I added the vanilla bean and planned on using vanilla extract in addition, but forgot in my haste to get this in the ice cream maker this morning.

I would definitely make this again. I think tomorrow this may go in between some cookies!

Thank you to Lynne of Cafe LynnyLu for hosting this week. Head over to her page for the recipe. Don’t forget to check out what the other TWD bakers were up to this week!
Chilled custard
Starting to churn the ice cream
Churned ice cream

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

TWD: Blanc-Manger

I always think about the ‘what if’s’. Like, what if I lost all my hair. Or what if I could live anywhere in the world.

I often leaf through Baking from My Home to Yours and think “What if I had my choice of TWD, which recipe would I choose?” The Blanc-Manger (pronounced blah-mahn-jay) topped my 'what if' list, mainly because of its creamy looking picture.

I was a bit disappointed this week, mainly in myself. I have been out of practice; I’ve been baking and making things I know how to do instead of broadening my skills. So it’s no wonder I made the simplest of mistakes. Dorie says in her book that this is a great recipe, especially for newlyweds learning to cook because it’s foolproof. Well, I am leaving the newlywed stage this August with my 2 year wedding anniversary…AND I bake…and this girl was totally fooled.

I have used gelatin many times before, and I never cease to have a problem. Even when heated, for some reason, I always find a gelatin clump somewhere. Ick. This time, I went too far in the cooling and the gelatin seized on me a bit. I know better. I should have put it back on the stove and put it back in the ice bath.

But it was 2:45. On Tuesday.

Yea…the day it needs to be posted. And I had to give myself cooling time, and get this photographed before dark (which didn’t happen due to a Costco run gone bad). So needless to say, I carried on, added the whipped cream and I had a mess on my hands. It was too late to turn back. So I folded in my beautiful, farm berries put it into my mini spring form pans and moved on with my day.

Thankfully I halved the recipe. But I’m just not a fan. Honestly, the gelatin portion was totally my fault and could be fixed and overlooked. But what throws me off is the texture of the ground almonds. I just don’t care for it. I usually leave any almond meal and the alike out of my recipes that are meant to be a smooth texture but in this case I really didn’t have much choice but to just go with it. I know many of the other bakers loved it so I figured; there is always a possibility of me turning over a new leaf. At least, that is what I hoped.

It’s such a shame because almonds ground or otherwise, are so good for you. I think I will just have to stick to whole almonds.

I will say that anyone that loves ground almonds would probably enjoy this. This recipe IS easy, despite my problems. I walked away from the chilling mixture for a few seconds too long. And I will say, hands on time, with assembly was less than 20 minutes. Just be sure to leave yourself 3 hours chilling time!

A special thank you to our host this week, Susan of Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy selected Raspberry and if you head over to her page you can get the recipe and see a much better photo of the finished product, and what it’s supposed to look like!

You can also check out what the other bakers were up to by checking out the TWD blogroll!

Next week’s TWD pick: Vanilla Ice Cream

Monday, July 20, 2009

Creme Fraiche Roasted Salmon

I’ve been quite absent from the blogging world, and I think I am just caught up in trying to enjoy summer. (Although, our summer in Michigan has been a bit cold.) Whomever said there was global warming clearly has never been to our state.

Regardless, I have been cooking/baking but I have been enjoying many of my old stand-by’s while trying to take care of our sick dog (who is feeling much better now).

I made this salmon a few months ago, and I found the recipe in Bon Appétit. It’s so easy it’s sickening. You basically get a salmon filet, season with salt and pepper, then slather a healthy amount of crème fraiche on it and in the oven it goes. Dinner couldn’t be easier! I love that.

It’s funny how many cooking magazines and cook books I have obtained over the years, but I have to say, Bon Appétit has been by far the best. I love the pictures, but they always have something new and inventive, and appetizing. My cousin usually emails me when she gets hers to tell me what she plans to make or “oooh…did you see the…” It’s always like Christmas at the mailbox when I get it.

So if you are looking for something easy to make…this is it.

For the recipe, click here.

Salmon on Foodista

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

TWD: Katherine Hepburn Brownies and Cafe Coco's 100th POST!

Wow, I cannot believe I have already reached my 100th post! I cannot think of a better way to ring it in other than TWD and Brownies!

I was really excited about this week’s TWD Katherine Hepburn Brownies. I have been on a brownie crave for over a month and have not made any because of the abundance of desserts hanging around my house. So I really had an excuse…

These brownies were extremely easy to make and came together really quickly, it’s a shame I hadn’t made these earlier. I left out a few things and made some changes. First, I left out the walnuts because one I’m not a ‘nut in my brownie’ kind of girl, and two, I have 3 people in my life with nut/walnut allergies. All of which would possibly be eating these. I left the cinnamon. I love cinnamon; I just don’t like it with chocolate. And finally, I used instant espresso instead of instant coffee granules and then cut that back to ½ teaspoon per some of the other baker’s comments. Hmmm…are these still Dorie’s brownies?

Regardless, these brownies, although very thin, were quite spectacular. I liked how gooey and chewy they were and they certainly are rich so a small piece is very satisfying. I used good quality chocolate disks from Callabaut, and my prized Valrhona cocoa to top off the richness. I used a 9 inch square metal pan, which was a bit large so my brownies were even thinner. I added 5 minutes to the cooking time since a few of the other bakers mentioned their brownies were a bit too gooey at 30 minutes. They came out of the pan, no problem.

I will say, that there is a strong possibility that food photography is NOT in my future by the looks of the brownie cuts. I was in a bit of a hurry to cut these…and getting out a ruler just wasn’t going to fit into my patience. I will just call these brownies, rustic and I assure you this did not affect the taste whatsoever.

I imagined what it would be like to be lucky enough to be sitting in Katherine Hepburn’s kitchen—drinking tea and eating brownies….and talking about life. I’d imagine I would probably mention the time I watched ‘On Golden Pond’ in high school psychology class and how I secretly cried towards the end and blamed it on an eye lash caught in my eye. But then again, I might have been completely star struck and just nodded stupidly to all of her helpful advice.

I would definitely make these again! Thank you Lisa from Surviving Oz for hosting this week. So be sure to check out Lisa’s site if you would like the recipe! You can also check out how the other bakers did this week by checking out TWD's blogroll. TWD is also accepting new members…so if you would like to bake with us on Tuesdays…send an email to tuesdayswithdorie AT Don’t forget to pick up Dorie Greenspan’s book “Baking From My Home to Yours”.

Wondering why in the world my brownie looks like I stuck my finger in the middle? Well this is the King Arthur fool proof brownie testing method for 'doneness'. Check it out on the site...its the first time I was able to test my brownies properly.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Summer Berry Fruit Tart

I always go overboard at Costco on the fruit. I don’t know if it’s the huge lots of fruit staring at me in the face…or the prices.

And I can’t stop at the 12 lbs of strawberries; I get the blueberries, the raspberries, and the blackberries. Then I get home and I realize I bit off more than I could chew…no pun intended.

Most times, I freeze the extra fruit we can’t eat, but if I have the time, I LOVE to make fruit tarts. I’ve made a few over the years….none of which I documented. I have no idea which crust recipes I have used….and I have no idea which custard filling recipe I have used. So this time, I had to start from the drawing board.

I used Dorie’s sweet tart dough, because I have used it before and I knew it was good. For the filling, I didn’t follow ‘fruit tart tradition’ and fill it with pastry cream. I’m not a huge fan of pastry cream. I’ve never done it right and every time it just tastes too ‘egg-y’ for me. Instead I made a cream cheese filling which paired with the fruit nicely.

Surprisingly, this is super easy. You could make the tart a day or two ahead of time, the filling comes together in minutes, and then top it with fruit. Voila…easy weeknight dessert!

I served this up for when my mother in law came over for dinner….and everyone loved it.

It’s the perfect summer dessert!
Berry Tart

2 ½ cups berries, washed and dried

Tart Dough:
Visit Dorie Greenspan’s blog for the recipe from when she hosted the French Pear Tart. I used her recipe. It’s TAH-DIE for!

Cream Filling:
4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
4 oz. mascarpone cheese, room temperature
¼ cup sugar
1 ¼ cups Cool Whip topping

Directions: Beat the cream cheese, mascarpone cheese and sugar until well blended. Fold in the Cool Whip gently and fill the tart shell with the mixture. (If you don’t plan on assembling or serving until the next day, you can fold the Cool Whip in the cheese mixture when you are ready to fill)