Tuesday, December 9, 2014

TWD: The Rugelach That Won Over France

This week, for our third visit with Baking Chez Moi, we made the cookie that apparently caused a culinary coup: The Rugelach That Won Over France. They are indeed lovely. The dough is dreamy to work with, even when rolled out fairly thin, and it bakes up with crispy, flaky layers.

After reading a few comments at the rugelach P&Q thread, I decided that the filling needed to be really non-chunky, so I used mini semisweet chocolate chips, I chopped up the cherries, and I zapped the coconut and toasted pecans in the food processor. It was a little bit of extra work, but I think it was worth it as I had no trouble rolling up the filling in the dough, nor did I have any problems slicing the dough once it was chilled.

I am trying to make it a point to follow each recipe to the letter the first time through, but I opted not to freeze this cookie dough prior to baking it. I did put the unsliced rolls of dough on a cookie sheet on my enclosed back porch to chill (nature's refrigerator!) and felt that that did the trick, plus left the dough perfectly sliceable.

While these cookies are a bit of a production to pull together, I think they are worth it. The only real problem with them is that they are distressingly bite-size. It's far too easy to start eating them and then lose track of how many have been consumed (as I lapse into passive voice in an effort to not acknowledge the embarrassing reality of how many rugelach I have eaten today -- for research purposes, of course).

Full disclosure: This book won me over at the get-go!

Friday, November 28, 2014

TWD: Cranberry Crackle Tart

Our second dip into Baking Chez Moi is for the seasonally appropriate Cranberry Crackle Tart. It's basically a giant cranberry-filled meringue on a layer of jam in a cookie-like tart crust. I thought this was basically OK: didn't love it, didn't hate it. After I tried a slice of it, I started to think that maybe I should try a version of it with raspberries instead of cranberries. Plus, to get more buy-in on the home front, I will need to figure out a way to sneak some chocolate in there.

Also, I realized after I made it that I should have read some of the comments at TWD. Then I would have known to use my hand-held mixer to beat the egg whites instead of my stand mixer, to get better volume. Live and learn!

Finally, belated thanks to everyone who commented on my first Baking Chez Moi post. It ended up being a crazy point with work and home stuff, and I was a negligent community member both in responding to comments here and in checking out others' posts. I hope to make up for that with this week's recipe.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

TWD: Palets de Dames

With the arrival of Baking Chez Moi, it's time for more baking with Dorie Greenspan! I missed out on the bake-along for Baking From My Home to Yours and started out with best intentions to stick with Baking With Julia. Circumstances and schedules, however, left me falling far behind, and I ended up bailing on that endeavor. This time, I'm determined to stick with the plan and make my way through Baking Chez Moi.

Our first recipe is Palets de Dames. They're a simple cookie with a dough that is borderline cake batter and requires refrigeration to firm up before baking. After the cookies are baked, they cool and then are dipped in a simple glaze. The sprinkles are optional, but who am I to miss out on a chance to use sprinkles? The fairly unassuming nature of these cookies makes me think they could be a nice option for a holiday cookie tray to contrast with other more complicated offerings.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Chocolate Cupcakes

Apparently, I never get tired of making these chocolate cupcakes with chocolate buttercream from More from Magnolia.

Walnut Shortbread

After pulling out Magnolia cookbook No. 2 the other day to make cupcakes, I ended up making this shortbread instead. I subbed walnuts for pecans since I had them on hand and went ahead with the white chocolate glaze. All in all, very happy with how this batch turned out. I liked the recipe enough to start thinking about how much fun it would be to experiment with other nut/chocolate combinations. (Also, technically, I am not sure if purists would let this count as shortbread since the dough contains an egg.)

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Good Chocolate Chip Cookies

I tend to think of so many batches of chocolate chip cookies as failures; they tend to flatten out and not have a thick, chewy, chunky appearance. I felt, too, that I had tried nearly every trick in the book to get a good chocolate chip cookie (refrigerating the dough, using bread flour instead of all purpose, etc.). Whilst perusing Cookies for Kids' Cancer: All the Good Cookies, I found a chocolate chip cookie recipe that sounded worth a try, even though it made me wince a little as half of the fat in the cookie is solid vegetable shortening, which I'd read can help forestall spreading problems with chocolate chip cookies. (At least the other half is good old butter.) As much as I hate to say it, I really liked how these cookies turned out: not too much spread, thick and chewy, lots of chocolate chips. I still can't decide if I should be appalled about the shortening; I'd probably be more upset if the cookies had turned out badly.

Lemon-Poppyseed Angel Food Cake

After making a few batches of ice cream in the past couple of weeks, I had ended up with a surplus of egg whites, eventually enough to make an angel food cake. This recipe came from Cake Keeper Cakes by Lauren Chattman.