Wednesday, November 26, 2008

TWD - Thanksgiving Twofer Pie

Coming from page 321 of Baking, is this pie that is a combo of pumpkin and pecan pie. Now, I'm a huge fan of pecan, but not of pumpkin. This turned out to really be a pumpkin pie with some pecan goo on top. Not my style. But I took it to the in-laws house and it all got eaten! That's one in the success column to me.

Please go to La Casserole Carree by Vibi to view the recipe for this pie. You can cut two pies down to one this Thanksgiving and make everyone happy!

The only change I made to the recipe was to leave out the rum. No pictures this time - it all got eaten before I could get one!

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

TWD - Arborio Rice Pudding

This week's recipe was chosen by Isabelle of Les Gourmands d'Isa. It can be found on pages 412-413 of Baking: From My Home to Yours.

It's a very simple recipe, but I wasn't content to do simply vanilla or chocolate rice pudding - I added 1/4 up pumpkin and the typical spices. It was great!

The texture of the rice was awfully soft, a little more than I'm used to, and it was a little more soupy, but it was fine. I'm actually not a big fan of rice pudding, so I probably won't make it again.

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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

TWD - Rugelach

This week's recipe comes from Piggy of Piggy's Cooking Journal. Rugelach is a typically Jewish dessert made with a tender dough that uses both butter and cream cheese. They bake up very tender and flaky.

I made rugelach several years ago for Christmas from a Martha recipe, and I remember it being a drawn-out mess of a recipe that yielded a fantastic result. I believe we made it with apricot filling... Dorie's uses jam, cinnamon sugar, currants, nuts, AND chocolate. I cut out the currants because I didn't have any, and decided to get creative and use leftover Halloween candy for the chocolate part.

Dainty little pastries

I used Hershey's bars, Baby Ruth, Snickers, and Butterfinger bars, but honestly, when they baked up I couldn't tell much of a difference.

The dough tastes wonderful and very rich, but I didn't care much for the filling. I think I'd rather utilize a pure-fruit filling next time. I know, call me crazy!

The dough gets rolled into a 12-inch circle then cut into sixteenths. This made for very small crescents to get rolled up and I found it to be very fiddly. Next time I'd just cut them in 8 I think.

Not a bad recipe, certainly, but not my favorite.

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Saturday, November 01, 2008

Great Granola

I just about died when I saw the prices for granola in the store recently (and cereal in general). I came right home and scrounged up some recipes for homemade granola and made this one of things I like.

It turned out SOOO good. I've taken to giving some to my neighbor who pronounced I could "charge $12 a pound for this stuff!" I think that is a good endorsement, indeed.

Great Granola

2 cups regular or quick-cooking oats, not instand
1 cup sweetened dried coconut flakes
1 1/2 cup chopped nuts (I often do a combo of chopped pecans and sliced almonds)
6 T oil (something without flavor, like vegetable, canola, etc)
4 T honey
1/4 t salt
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment or foil. Mix all ingredients well in a large bowl. Sprinkle on the baking sheet.

Bake for 15 minutes, keeping your eye on it often. At halfway, stir the granola on the sheet, moving the outside pieces in. You want to really watch the granola, as it can go from golden brown to burned in no time. You want it to be just a light blonde, a little lighter than you'd think it would need to be. It will bake a tad longer in the time it cools. Cool on the sheet and then package in airtight container.

You can play with the sweetener - using maple syrup or a combo of maple syrup and honey. Feel free to play with the nuts, seasonings, etc. Add ginger, allspice, whatever!

After it's cool, feel free to add whatever dried fruit you like, but I often sneak it plain. I also enjoy it with dried cranberries and cherries on my yogurt.

Monday, October 27, 2008

TWD - Chocolate-chocolate cupcakes

Today's recipe is a chocolate cupcake with a ganache
icing. All hail the new favorite Dorie recipe! She describes them as being more for adult than child palates and I would have to agree - the cake utilizes cocoa and just a smidge of melted chocolate and the ganache is a deep dark, bittersweet glaze. They come off as not very sweet, and there is certainly no cloying buttercream here.

Many bakers commented they had dry cake and pulled their cakes out earlier than recommended, but I had no problems with either. They were great, and the smooth ganache made them easy to decorate.

"pumpkin-themed jimmies and orange sanding sugar"

These were also really easy to make, and an even dozen made it easy to get rid of them. They are on page 215-217 of the book, and were chosen by Clara of I Heart Food 4 Thought.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie-Pumpkin Muffins

This week's recipe is perhaps my favorite recipe so far - Pumpkin Muffins! I just love pumpkin in baked goods and savory things.

The recipe was picked by Kelly from Sounding My Barbaric Gulp and can be found on page 13.

They were incredibly moist and flavorful and were devoured quickly. I left out the nuts because some people are opposed to nuts (I know, crazy, right?!?) and added chocolate chips to half the batch (YUM).

The only thing about them was the cooking temp and time - 400 degrees for 25 minutes. I've never baked muffins at that high a temp and certainly for that long. I went ahead and cooked at 400, but only went for about 19 minutes. They were perfect!

Thanks Kelly for picking this perfect seasonal recipe.

Tasty split and toasted!

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

TWD - Lenox Almond Biscotti

Today's recipe is brought to you by Gretchen from Canela & Comino, and can be found on pages 141-143 of Baking: From My Home to Yours.

These were not at ALL like biscotti I have made in the past; the dough was very wet and they spread quite a bit on the baking sheet. Other bakers reported the same thing so surely I didn't do it by accident?? ;)

My Big Fat Lenox Biscotti

The biscotti are studded with sliced almonds and have a very strong almond/sweet flavor due to 1 1/2 teaspoons of almond extract. They also have an addition of cornmeal, which is very unusual.

I didn't care for either of those additions, finding the extract too cloying, even after baking, and the cornmeal was left in my mouth long after eating the biscotti. It just felt gritty. I really expected it to bake into the dough more.

I'll stick with my tried-and-true recipe that I always give out at Christmas time from Martha, Cranberry-Pistachio Biscotti.

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