Archive for April, 2010

Chockablock Cookies

It's really too bad you can't smell them!

Mary of Popsicles and Sandy Feet decided on Chockablock Cookies for her TWD selection. I really, really was not looking forward to this one even though I really enjoy reading Mary’s blog – I love the name of her blog. It brings up summer time memories. I’m of the old school – you’ve got your peanut butter in my chocolate so the thought of dried fruit in my chocolate – bleah! But I was on a TWD roll and I had to go with it. Plus I happen to love the taste of molasses!
Boy, when Dorie says ‘Chockablock’ she’s not kidding! This cookie dough not only contains molasses, but the mix-ins are pecans, dried fruit (blueberries, cranberries, and cherries in my case), coconut (another bleah), and bittersweet chocolate (A LOT of it! Yay!). I didn’t deviate from Dorie’s recipe (how unsurprising…) even though I wanted to omit the coconut and the dried fruit, I even stuck with the shortening. I thought the addition of the shortening would add some crunch to the cookie – HAH! Here’s a picture of the mix-ins, and it really does look like stuff got mixed in with the chocolate:

Hey, who's got their nuts, dried fruit, and coconut in my chocolate??

It took a bit of arm muscle to get all the mix-ins mixed in with the cookie dough – maybe I should join Mary on her Insanity quest seeing as how I’m pretty wimpy, wimpy, wimpy. I had to put the dough in the refrigerator so I could rest up before I had to make rounded tablespoons of the cookie dough. Here it is:

Just enough dough to keep the cookie together...

I forgot my cookie scoop at my home so I used rounded tablespoons which yielded twice the amount of cookies. Since I hadn’t tasted them yet, I didn’t know if that was a good thing or not. Turns out that it was a VERY GOOD THING indeed! It smelled wonderful while baking, I love, love, love the smell of the molasses baking in the oven! Even though I LOVE these cookies, it’s really hard for me to actually taste all of the individual ingredients other than the nuts, molasses, and chocolate. There’s 12 ounces of bittersweet chocolate which is a lot of chocolate (not that I’m complaining) but can you believe it – I wonder how it would taste with less chocolate? I must be woozy or something… what am I thinking??

Just out of the oven...

So big THANKS to Mary for making a selection that I normally would not have given a second glance nor would I have bothered to taste it should it have been offered to me, knowing what was in it! Be sure to visit her blog to check out her Chockablocks and visit the other TWD Bakers to check out their creations too. Definitely put buying the book on your to-do list today!

Last Week: Sweet Cream Biscuits
Next Week: Burnt Sugar Ice Cream (Yikes!)


Sweet Cream Biscuits

My very first biscuits!

Melissa of Love at First Bite chose Sweet Cream Biscuits for the TWD selection today. If you haven’t visited Melissa yet, please do! Her blog contains many recipes, sweet and savory, for all of us to try out! And she even posts weekly menus – how organized is that?? And her sons are just so cute!
I waited until the last minute to bake these biscuits. I had never baked biscuits before, unless you count those ones you pop out of the cardboard rolls, then yeah, I’ve made biscuits before – quite often during college! I was tempted to skip this week, I was staying at the Beau’s house and did not have my rolling pin or cookie cutters with me. I did buy heavy cream so last night I decided to make do since I don’t know what I would have done with the heavy cream otherwise. Here’s what I used for my rolling pin and my biscuit cutter:

Handy kitchen tools!

Who knew that a bottle of cooking sherry and a Japanese tea cup could be such handy tools around the kitchen? I always have a lot of doubts when it comes to using pastry dough. I can never use a gentle touch for pie doughs and I knew biscuits needed a gentle touch or they’d turn out flatter than expected. Yeesh. But I forged ahead. This recipe used heavy cream in place of butter and I relayed this fact to the Beau and I have to admit I think my tone was kind of know-it-all since I had never made biscuits before (you know, not out of the cardboard container). We add 1 cup of heavy cream to the dry ingredients, use a fork to toss it around and add up to 1/4 cup more of the heavy cream by the teaspoonfuls. I kept adding the teaspoons and I think after the 6th one I forced myself to stop. How many teaspoons in a 1/4 cup? I didn’t have time to google it. I never baked bread before either (the kind that you have to knead) so wasn’t exactly sure what kneading was. I just kind of squished all the dough together because it wasn’t in a single blob. Squished it until it was a single blob then rolled it out with my handy-dandy bottle of cooking sherry. I went a little thinner than 1/2″ because I ended up with at least 18 biscuits. The last biscuit I just mashed all the scraps together. You can see it in the lower left corner:

Not bad for my first attempt, if I do say so myself - and I just did!

Since the biscuits were thinner, I was worried about the timing for the baking. I set the timer for 12 minutes instead of 14. When the timer went off, I checked the biscuits and was soo relieved to see that they had risen! Amazing. But I wasn’t sure if they were baked through or not so I asked the Beau – are these done?

Not exactly golden yet...

He said ‘Nope, they need to be golden on top’. Hey – how did he know that? I knew Dorie said that but still needed some validation. Back in the oven they went for another 2 minutes when they were indeed golden! We had some for dinner and it was the best tasting biscuits I’ve ever eaten ever! Not that I’m biased or anything…
You can get the recipe from Melissa here. Melissa’s biscuits turned out wonderful – so high and they look like they want to tell you a secret! And don’t forget to browse through the TWD Bakers to see how all of the Sweet Cream Biscuits turned out!

Last Week: Swedish Visiting Cake
Next Week: Chockablock Cookies

Swedish Visiting Cake

Swedish, Japanese, Philipino, you name it Visiting Cake!

Nancy of The Dogs Eat the Crumbs selected Dorie’s Swedish Visiting Cake for the TWD Bakers to try their hand at baking.

I was nice and gave the Beau one slice, the rest was all mines! HAH!

I had just finished cooking dinner, well actually, we had just finished eating the dinner I cooked, when I debated whether or not to bake the cake then. I felt like procrastinating, but it was already Sunday evening and really, who was I kidding – was I really going to bake this cake Monday night after a long day at work? Plus it looked really simple to get through since you don’t even need your Kitchen Aid or hand mixer! It seemed it was no time at all before we were having our slice of Swedish Visiting Cake. It was really pleasing! The cake batter was really really yummy. I love anything with lemon in it and this contained the zest of a whole lemon. I used the last of my almond extract and was glad I did since the top of the cake was sprinkled with sliced almonds also.

Lucky visitor! =)

This cake calls for baking in a 9″ cast iron skillet. I used a 10″ cast iron skillet and thanks to Nancy, was able to adjust the ingredient measurements. This cake is out of the oven in no time and more than likely you’ll have all the necessary ingredients in your pantry. So the next time you have unexpected guests, or need a cake in a hurry, no problem!
Be sure to visit Nancy to check out her Swedish Visiting Cake and to get the recipe so you can try your hand at it too! Definitely browse the TWD Bakers to see their variation of Swedish Visiting Cake!

Last Week: Mocha-Marbled Bundt Cake
Next Week: Sweet Cream Biscuits

Mocha-Almond Blobbed Bundt Cake

With a Chocolate Frosting-ish Icing/Glaze

This week’s TWD selection, Mocha-Walnut Marbled Bundt Cake, was chosen by Erin of When in Doubt… Leave it at 350. I can’t believe that Erin would ever have a doubt while baking, take a look at this, or this, and this! So I’m guessing she’s offering some pretty good advice for those of us who do have doubts in the kitchen…

Here's a slice of Baby Blob, Bubba Blob was a little too embarrassing to post...

I had left-over almond flour so I used that versus the finely ground walnut. That worked out really well. I LOVED the flavor of the cake batter! Usually I’m so anal that when a recipe says to use half, I measure everything out and use exactly half. This time I was kind of in a rush and the recipe called for a little less than half so I eyeballed it. I found out I’m in dire need of an eye exam… Had I known that the mocha batter would end up being a bit MORE than half I would have reversed it and used the almond batter to swirl. Ok, well, there’s always next time although I’m not sure there will be a next time because the marbling was more like um, blobbing. Not that pretty a sight. I kept swirling the knife around in pretty curves all over the bundt pan, wondering all the while how in the world was the mocha batter suppose to marble into the almond batter? HAH! There were a few slices that looked a teeny bit like the gingko pattern, but the majority was just huge blobs in the middle. It was tasty though! I added some chocolate glaze that kind of turned into a frosting-ish glaze/icing but it didn’t matter since any type of chocolate glaze makes everything good!

This one kind of reminds me of the alien popping out of John Hurt's chest...

Head on over to the TWD Bakers to see how well their marbling came out! I already saw some from last week that looked amazing! Thanks to CB, it’s a lot easier to see which TWD Bakers were able to participate in the baking selection of the week. Soo convenient and a real incentive for all of us to post our entries every Tuesday!
Last Week: Coconut Tea Cake
Next Week: Swedish Visiting Cake