Tuesday, May 1, 2012

TWD - Hungarian Shortbread

This week's Tuesdays with Dorie, Baking with Julia recipe is Hungarian Shortbread. I am not really sure what makes this Hungarian, but everything in it made it delicious. The recipe calls for two layers of sweet shortbread with a tartly tasty layer of rhubarb "jam" made with rhubarb, sugar, water, and vanilla bean squished in between.

The recipe was pretty simple though it did require a few steps. First up, make the the jam.

While the rhubarb jam cools, then you whip up the shortbread, divide it into two balls and freeze for at least 30 minutes. I froze mine for about two hours and the consistency was just perfect!

Then, grate one dough ball into the bottom of a 9x12 pan. No need to butter the pan since the dough has a full cup (!!) of butter.

The book calls the layer the jam and the other half of the dough and bake altogether but some of the group's early birds suggested par baking the bottom dough before layering on the jam and top dough. I followed that recommendation, baking for 15 minutes before completing the layers. I was happy that I did the partial bake or the dough would have been way under done.

One great thing about this recipe is that it made quite a lot - enough to take some to work, some to monkey's school (teacher appreciation!) and have plenty to eat for dinner dessert.

Seriously, this shortbread was AMAZING! My coworkers were raving and the little one's teachers were big fans. I love how easy the recipe is to change up - you could use store bought or homemade jam of pretty much any flavor. I recommend something a little tart because the dough is quite sweet.

I highly recommend this recipe. You can find it here, or here, or buy the book here. If you'd like to see how all the other baker's fared, check out the Tuesdays with Dorie LYL post.

Until next time...bake on!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Irish Soda Bread

This week's Tuesdays with Dorie - Baking with Julia is Irish Soda bread. I was so excited for this recipe for a couple of reasons. First, the recipe is super simple and I knew the lil monkey could get in on the fun. And, I was excited to take a shot at making some really delicious bread that I haven't had in quite a while.

My husband and I traveled to Europe in July 2008 and spent a week of our trip driving across the gorgeous Irish country-side (on the left side of some VERY narrow roads). We found Ireland to be such a beautiful place with beautifully kind people. We stayed at Bed and Breakfasts along the way and made memories that I'll never forget. Here's me kissing the Blarney Stone:

That trip will forever hold a special place in my heart. And someday if you buy me a Guinness, I'll tell you the funniest story that happened on our trip. However, it's just not appropiate for a food blog. :)

One last Ireland photo, the Cliffs of Moher:

About this bread, not only is it pretty much the easiest bread ever made but it is really delicious. I baked it just as written without adding any dates or currents like some suggested. Instead, I just cut off big chunks, covered them with jam and savored every crumb. The only thing that could have made it any better would be to have some Clare Jam on hand and pot of Irish tea. (I only had English Breakfast on hand).

Here are a few pictures of the monkey helping. She loves helping and eating the results.

Kneading the dough and rockin' the bedhead.

Ready for the oven!

If you would like to make this easy and yummy bread for yourself, check out Carla and Cathleen for the recipe or buy the book. Don't forget to visit http://www.tuesdayswithdorie.com/ to see how all my buddy bakers fared this week.

Next up: Pizza Rustica on April 3. See you then (if not before)!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

TWD-BWJ Chocolate Truffle Tartlets

It's February, and that means one thing, CHOCOLATE! These chocolate tartlets have a buttery cocoa fluted shell and rich, decadent dark chocolate truffle filling with milk chocolate, white chocolate and biscotti chunks mixed in. I was excited to use my little fluted tart pans since I purchased them in 2009 for Tuesday with Dorie's poached pear tartlets.

The chocolate truffle tartlet recipe was surprisingly simple though it had several steps and required refrigeration between them but it went fast and I was able to knock these out during my kiddos nap. I took four tarts to a ladies game night, left one for the hubs and the monkey to share on their "daddy/daughter Valentine movie night" and took one to my boss. (I am such a kiss up!)

I had so much fun making these and I kept meaning to take photos, I really did. But, I was in a rush and couldn't find my camera. Then someone at game night promised to send me a photo and yet, I still don't have one. See my best replacement effort below.

Game night ladies, the hubby, the munchkin, and my boss all loved this dessert. I really liked it, too and (don't tell anyone) I'm not a huge chocolate fan.

I have really missed baking and am so thankful to be back in TWD. It feels great to spend some time creating something I can share with others. It is a much more productive activity than watching Real Housewives of Orange County and playing Word with Friends. (I'm tangerinetart on WWF, play me!)

This week's Tuesday's with Dorie - Baking with Julia is hosted by Jessica, Spike, Jaime, and Steph. You can find the recipe and some really impressive photography on their amazing blogs. See you next time as we tackle Rugelach.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

TWD - White Loaves

Wow! It has been a while since I blogged something I baked or cooked. But I am happy to be back on the bandwagon, baking, blogging and stuffing my face!

This week, Tuesday's with Dorie (the online baking group I joined in Feb 2008 and quit mid 2009) is starting over with a new cook book, Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan. The recipes in this book range from moderate to are-you-kidding-me difficult. But, as with all Ms. Greenspan's recipes, they are clear, concise and full of helpful tips. It really as if Dorie is in the kitchen guiding you each step of the way. I'm looking forward to tackling the recipes twice a month and sharing the results with you.

Up first, White Loaves.

This is the first time I made a real loaf of bread. Sure, I've made sweet breads, quick breads, biscuits and even brioche in my last go-round of TWD. But, this was the first "slice off a piece or two and make a sandwich" bread and it was delicious, but I'll get to that in a minute. First, it was easy. Really easy. I kept double checking the recipe to make sure I hadn't forgotten some key step. But, nope. I had it down. The toughest part was holding my mixer down so it didn't jump off the counter while beating/kneading the dough. My little mixer sure got a workout!

The first rise went exactly as described in the book. I was worried about the second rise since I only have one loaf pan and it was not the recommended 8.5x4.5 size. My pan is 9x5 so I used that and then another random sized Pyrex dish that was slightly smaller and more square than a loaf pan. I split the dough 1/3 and 2/3 and forged on as directed. The second rise went just fine so into the oven they went!

The smaller loaf baked for 35 minutes and the larger loaf for 45. I wish I had taken the smaller loaf out of the pan to let the sides brown up a bit but I'd forgotten to set a timer and was worried I'd overdone it so I just let it be as it was. The larger loaf received the benefit of a little extra tanning time and the crust was just perfect (if I do say so myself!).

Overall, this bread was easy, inexpensive to make , made the MOST delicious toast and would the perfect partner to a fully loaded BLT. My little monkey even loved it, though she skipped the crusts. What is up with all kids not eating the crusts?! I NEVER cut them off for her. How did she get the idea to not eat them?

Anyway, first week down, lots more to go. I can't wait to grow as a baker with all my TWD friends. Head over to www.tuesdayswithdorie.com to find a link to the recipe and to see what all the other bakers made. I hear some made their bread fancy!

Until next time...

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Is this thing on??

Hello, is anybody out there? This is my first post in over 2.5 years. Do you think that has anything to do with the fact that my daughter is now 2.4 years old? Hmmmm.

Anyway, Tuesdays with Dorie is heating up and diving into Baking with Julia, another one of Dorie Greenspan's collections of amazing recipes. I have really missed blogging with the group so I decided to jump in again. Stay tuned for bi-weekly posts featuring my wins and losses while I bake with Julia (and Dorie).

I hope to throw in some other topics about my life since so much has changed since 2009 and I need a place to lay it all out there.

All the best to you all and thanks for reading!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

TWD: Chipster Topped Brownies

Two words - Delicious Disaster.

This was supposed to be a layer of decadent brownie topped with chocolate chip cookies. Later, it would be covered two scoops of vanilla ice cream and smothered in hot fudge. But...

I heard tales of overbaked cookie/brownies so I shaved 5 minutes off the time. The result was gooey middle (part of which fell on the floor!). Oops. Oh well, the rest was YUM and got sent to school with hubs with a note that said "looks ugly, tastes great."

I think folks appreciated my hodge podge additions. I added all the random chocolate chips in the cupboard as well as half a bag of heath bits I had left over from something. I will make this again but will bake for the full time. Oh, the lessons learned...

I wish I had photographed it before I took it out of the pan. It was golden brown and gorgeous! Pay no attention to these photos:

Head over to TWD to see how all the other bakers fared. You can also find a link to this week's featured baker and the recipe for this gem.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

TWD: Tartest Lemon Tart

I made this week's lemon tart and man, the name is totally appropriate. You use the entire lemon (minus seeds) for the recipe. This was one tart tart! I've noticed that citrus things have tasted extra tart during my pregnancy so this was too tart for me. (Something that's never happened to me before.) But, I took the tart with me to Mother's Day dinner and it got eaten, burnt edges and all.

The recipe called for use of a fluted tart pan with removable bottom and mine doesn't have a removable bottom so I used my springform. I spread the crust too thin by pushing it too far up the sides and it got really burned. My sweet MIL claimed she liked things burnt. She is so good to me!
Head over to TWD and see how all the other bakers fared. Hope all the moms and moms-to-be had a great day on Sunday! I'll see you all next week with mango bread. Sounds fun!