Archive for September, 2009

Chocolate-Crunched Caramel Tart

Oozing ganache...

Oozing ganache...


Carla of Chocolate Moosey (cutest blog name!) selected this week’s pick for the TWD Bakers to attempt. Please visit Carla at Chocolate Moosey to read about her experience baking her TWD choice after waiting 16 long months! You can also get the recipe there too but I highly suggest you purchase Dorie’s book instead!

I’m going to separate this tart into 3 components and state that I had success on 2 of the components. First, the tart dough. I simply dread recipes with any type of dough because I never know when to stop the mixing and when I do stop, it’s usually too late. This time it was really successful! YAY! I can’t tell you how lovely it looked once I took the tart out of the oven! I’m such a goober, I forgot to take a picture of it.

Second, the caramel. First time making caramel and I don’t have an instant thermometer. I melted the sugar and noticed that some of the sugar formed clumps, kind of like rock sugar candy. Not looking good so far. It did end up having a nice caramel color after the addition of the corn syrup and cream. The rock sugar was still there so I just put the caramel through the strainer and hoped for the best. Success!! Here’s a picture of the caramel layer (notice that I didn’t see the part of the recipe that said to chop the honey roasted peanuts):

The 'Crunched' layer, soo caramel-y!

The 'Crunched' layer, soo caramel-y!

Third, the chocolate ganache. HAH! I figured this would be the easiest component since I’ve made chocolate ganache before with success. If you’ve been counting along, this would mean that this component is the one that didn’t succeed. I don’t know what happened, but it came out very liquid-y. You can see some of the ganache oozing over the edge in the first photo. Even though I dropped the tart pan a few times to get rid of the bubbles, some still came to the top after being in the refrigerator. I left it in the refrigerator for the 30 minute timeout but when I sliced into it, the ganache was too soft. I left the rest of the tart in the frig overnight and we had some for dessert that night. The texture was tons better but the crust was a little too crusty. Although I have to say, I LOVED the taste of the crust and especially the caramel! I’m soo excited about the caramel – I plan to make it whenever I want a caramel topping!

Too much refrigeration made the crust crustier...

Too much refrigeration made the crust crustier...

Last Week: Cottage Cheese Pufflets
Next Week: Split Level Pudding

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MTAOFC: Cold Water-cress Soup

Cold Water-cress Soup with a chive garnish...

Cold Water-cress Soup with a chive garnish...

My girlfriend Sandy gave me Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking for my birthday last month. Soo excited, although wishing the book had illustrated pictures alongside the recipes.

So for my first recipe, I tried a cold soup which sounded perfect for these super hot days we’ve been having lately. I’ve never had Vichyssoise so I thought I’d try that until I saw the variation of Cold Water-cress Soup (and I don’t know why ‘water-cress’ is hyphenated like that) which is simply Vichyssoise with water cress added in the last 5 minutes of simmering prior to the puree. The Beau and I loved this soup! I can hardly wait to try other recipes in the book!

Here are a few pictures:

Simmering the leeks and potatoes in low sodium chicken broth...

Simmering the leeks and potatoes in low sodium chicken broth...

Watercress simmering in the last 5 minutes...

Watercress simmering in the last 5 minutes...

Straining the puree took forever!

Straining the puree took forever!

Cold Water-cress Soup

For 6 to 8 people

3 c peeled, sliced potatoes
3 c sliced white of leek
1 1/2 quart of white stock, chicken stock, or canned chicken broth
1/2 to 1 c whipping cream
salt and white pepper
2 – 3 T minced chives
Chilled soup cups

Either simmer the vegetables, stock or broth, and salt to taste together, partially covered, in a 3-4 quart saucepan for 40 to 50 minutes until the vegetables are tender; or cook under 15 pounds pressure for 5 minutes; release pressure, and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes. Puree the soup either in the electric blender or through a food mill and then through a fine sieve.

Stir in the cream. Season to taste, over salting very slightly as salt loses savor in a cold dish. Chill.

Serve in chilled soup cups and decorate with minced chives.

Bon Appetit!

Cottage Cheese Puff(less)lets

Not much to look at, but sure packs a flavor punch!

Not much to look at, but sure packs a flavor punch!


This week Jacque of Daisy Lane Cakes selected Dorie’s Cottage Cheese Pufflets for the TWD bakers to bake. Definitely visit Jacque’s blog because she’s also a member of Cookie Carnival, Daring Bakers, The Cake Slice, and You Want Pie with That? so you’re sure to see a sweet you’ll want to bake!

Checking out the P&Qs, I found out that this dough would be difficult to work with because it gets soft quite quickly. When I first bought Dorie’s book, this recipe caught my eye because I love cottage cheese. I was disappointed there wasn’t an accompanying photo to go along with the recipe so I used my imagination. (Which didn’t exactly picture this:)
Where's the puffs?

Where's the puffs?



I rolled out a half recipe and yes, it sure was sticky. I thought I’d be clever and used those rubber band things you can put on your rolling pin that helps you to roll out the correct thickness. I put on the yellow bands for the called for 1/8″ thickness. Um, yeah, that worked out well. It seemed like I rolled it way too flat while last week for the flaky apple turnovers, I rolled it too thick. Dough just kills me sometimes (and by that I mean all the times I’ve made dough so far). I used a tape measure to exactly measure out 3×3 inch squares. Poor tape measure now needs to be cleaned since it’s all doughy now too. Crazy dough. That’s what this was. It was too sticky to foldover. I froze it for a while but then I broke it while trying to fold it over. And for being soo sticky, it sure didn’t seal very well at all! I didn’t bother poking steam holes in them since the dough was so stretchy I figured it didn’t need any. It really negated any dough skills I showed last week. Boo bah. I’ll have to try this again in the winter because even though it was a pain in my butt, I loved the taste of it!

The full recipe should make about 48 pufflets. My half recipe made 14, barely. The 14th one is a ball of dough wrapped around some raspberry jam. Well, it’s 11:24pm and I want to post this before Wednesday which is why I’m not taking any more photos either. See you next week! Yee haw. (I don’t know why I added that, I must be super tired…)

Last Week: Flaky Apple Turnovers
Next Week: Chocolate-Crunched Caramel Tart

Flaky Apple Turnovers

Flaky Apple Turnovers - lookin' good!

Flaky Apple Turnovers - lookin' good!


Jules of Someone’s in the Kitchen selected Flaky Apple Turnovers for the TWD Bakers to try out. Please visit her blog to see the life in her food, the food in her life, her life in food!

I was very hesitant about baking this recipe. I have no skills whatsoever in baking pie dough unfortunately. I forged ahead and came out with some pretty good looking pie dough if I do say so myself – and I just did! I should have taken a picture because you could see spotches of butter rolled out in the dough. Cool. And that’s about the extent of my success with this recipe this week. The End.

HAH – just joshing with you! (About ‘The End’, not about my success.) When I rolled the dough out and tried to lift the cutouts onto my silpat sheet, the dough kind of stuck to the wax paper. Not pretty. Then I added about 1 T of the apple filling and dotted it with butter. It looked pretty okay at this point. Until I noticed that some of the sweet apple juice was leaking all over. And when I tried to close the apple turnovers and the dough kind of stretched and ripped in places. And then I tried to patch it up with the leftover dough and then it really wasn’t looking too pretty.

O, well. So it didn’t look pretty, actually I took a picture of the 2 prettiest ones and they don’t look half bad. I only baked half the dough (the other half is still in the refrigerator). And out of the half dough that I baked, I froze 2 of the turnovers and they are the best looking ones. I’m releasing the bad ones at work tomorrow to my co-workers – HAH! Take that for laying me off! Not that I’m bitter about it or anything…

The deep freeze, good lookin' flaky apple turnovers...

The deep freeze, good lookin' flaky apple turnovers...



I ate the ugliest looking one and boy, did it taste GOOD! That is the best tasting dough I’ve had and the apple filling was nice, soft, and just the right amount of sweetness. I used a granny smith and a braeburn apple mixture. Love it! Can’t wait to roll out the rest of the dough for this! I have to take some to my mom too, she’s going to love it!

Check out the rest of the TWD Bakers to see how wondrous their Flaky Apple Turnovers turned out, you’ll be amazed!

Last Week: Chocolate Souffle
Next Week: Cottage Cheese Pufflets

Chocolate Souffle

Chocolate Souffle (Not Tea) for Two...

Chocolate Souffle (Not Tea) for Two...


Susan from She’s Becoming DoughMessTic selected Chocolate Souffle for the TWD bakers to bake along with her this week. If you haven’t visited Susan, please do! She has the most amazing photos of her sweet and savory goodies. I love her blog header and her play on words with her blog title. You can also find the recipe there too. But seriously, buy the book if you haven’t already, it’s loaded with fantastic recipes to bake!

Thanks to the P&Qs for the Chocolate Souffle, I quartered this recipe since it was just going to be dessert for the two of us. I’ve never made souffle before so was curious as to how it would turn out. I wasn’t sure how to half an egg white to I beat 2 egg whites and took out a portion of it before adding the sugar to it. Seemed to work out fine. I had never quartered a recipe before so it was kind of funny melting 1.5 ounces of chocolate and adding 2 T of sugar to it. Such small amounts. Everything worked out fine except I was hoping the coffee cups would have been filled to almost the top with the batter. It went maybe 5/8 up.

I didn’t want to make myself crazy by keeping a watchful eye on it to make sure it rose so I left it alone. I checked on it once and it rose quite a bit so I was pretty happy. Except when the timer went off and I went to take them out, they had already deflated! Bummer!

Souffle sunk in the oven...

Souffle sunk in the oven...

But does appearance really matter? The truth was in the pudding, so to speak. I served it to the Beau as is. Unfortunately I didn’t think to buy cream to add whipped cream to it or buy anything else to make a sauce alongside it. Next time (and there will be a next time, it was really easy amazingly). We let it cool a bit because the coffee cups were still quite hot. I have to say, I really really like this souffle! It was light and just sweet enough. Adding whipped cream or sauce would certainly enhance the enjoyment, but simply by itself was delicious!

but it doesn't matter... still tastes delicious!

but it doesn't matter... still tastes delicious!

As a side note, I’d like to apologize to the TWD bakers. I’ve been absent with my comments in the past couple weeks. I think the layoff notice kind of threw me for a loop there for a while. But thankfully, I’m out of the loop. In fact I went on 2 interviews and one of them was with a group I worked with before and they said they’d be happy if I came back. What a relief that was! I’m still exploring other possibilities but I’m grateful they’re willing to take me back after I left them to come to my current position. Thanks to all who sent me such kind reassurances, it was very much appreciated and really lifted me up when I needed a lift.

Last Week: Espresso Cheesecake Brownies
Next Week: Flaky Apple Turnovers

Espresso Cheesecake Brownies


The result...

Where are the pretty swirls???


Melissa of Life in a Peanut Shell selected this week’s TWD assignment of Espresso Cheesecake Brownies. Please visit Melissa’s blog to see her stunning take on the Espresso Cheesecake Brownies and to find the recipe. Melissa’s blog contains a LOT of BEAUTIFUL posts of all the goodies she’s baked. Your sweet tooth will be aching after browsing her blog.

I don’t drink coffee drinks because I don’t like the taste of coffee. However, I do happen to LOVE coffee ice cream and candies. I was lucky to have found instant espresso for an earlier Dorie recipe so I was glad to have a chance to use more of it.

Making the brownie part was easy. What wasn’t easy was spreading 3/4 of the batter in a 9×9 inch square pan. It was barely enough to cover the bottom and trying to spread it was a battle, I was worried that all the flour I used to dust the pan was getting absorbed by the batter as I tried to spread it around.

I forgot to bring my hand mixer with me to the Beau’s house so I ended up using the food processor to cream the cheesecake portion. Kind of messy but it worked. I wasn’t sure if it turned out too liquidy or not.

Toppin it with the leftover brownie was something else. Everyone mentioned how pretty the top was with the swirls in the P&Qs, they didn’t want to put the sour cream glaze on top of it. Not the case here. My drops were more like clumps. And trying to swirl clumps into liquidy cheesecake did not a pretty picture make. O, well. Here’s how it turned out:

Out of the oven looking a little creepy...

Out of the oven looking a little creepy...

Man, sour cream + powdered sugar = crazy happy taste buds. I had to use the sour cream topping to cover the moon like crater brownie/cheesecake, plus it was soo tasty! Here’s a bad picture:

Poor quality photo but looking a lot less creepy...

Poor quality photo but looking a lot less creepy...

The Beau released these brownies at work and he left me a message saying his co-workers loved them! YAY! I have yet to try a piece, but I’m pretty confident I won’t be disappointed!

Last Week: Creamiest Lime Cream Meringue Pie
Next Week: Chocolate Souffle