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Dobos Torte – August Daring Bakers’ Challenge

August 27, 2009

The August 2009 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Angela of A Spoonful
of Sugar
and Lorraine of Not Quite Nigella. They chose the spectacular Dobos
Torte based on a recipe from Rick Rodgers’ cookbook Kaffeehaus: Exquisite
Desserts from the Classic Caffés of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague.

"finished" torte

Ok.

This recipe started out pretty well. We (Beth and I) mixed up the sponge batter.  Took a little bit to get the whites whipped due to a 6 qt. Kitchen Aid, but we managed. 

whipped whites

We split them into 6 pans, baked them up and set them to cool.

layers

Cake layers? Check!

We sat around for a little while taking care of my twins, talking, and watching TV. Once we had my girls settled we started to tackle the buttercream and the caramel. Now, I would like to preface this with the information that I have made buttercream dozens of times and caramel almost as many.

The buttercream seemed to be going ok.  We beat the eggs, added the chocolate to melt, and let it cool some before adding the butter. But the butter didn’t seem to want to blend. It was room temperature and soft, but cranky about joining the eggs and chocolate. We got it mixed, but it didn’t set up. We put it in the fridge for a 1/2 hour. Still didn’t set up. We put it back in the fridge for an hour. Still soup. *sigh*

buttercream soup

Buttercream? Check, but only if you like it REALLY soft…

Now the caramel… This was a stunner. I mixed my ingredients. Put it in the same size saucepan I always use. Put it on Beth’s electric stove and whisked.

whisking caramel

Whisking. Whisking. Whisking. Starts to bubble, I stop whisking and turn down the heat. Bubbles form. Lots of bubbles. Bubbles are rising…

bubbling sugar

Bubbles escape! Much hissing insues and the whole kitchen now smells like a burnt marshmallow. I pick up the pot. Swirl it around a bit, put it back on the heat. Bubbles start to rise again. Pick up. Swirl. Repeat.

I will mention at this point that I am holding my 6 month old daughter while doing this. She woke up unexpectedly so was joining us in our baking. In the midst of my swirling and lifting, I turn my head to kiss her on the cheek. Now mind you, this takes less than 2 seconds. As I turn my head back, I hear the hissing. Yup, boiled over again. As I lift the pot, something unexpected happens…

THE STOVE CATCHES FIRE!

view the aftermath…

burning stove

I have been baking a long time and I must say this was a first. After a few seconds of panic and a little fanning, I simply lean over and blow it out. Goes out just like a marshmallow. I guess sugar fires are one of the easier household fires to extinguish.

Now if I thought it smelled like a burnt marshmallow before.. WOO! It’s like girl scout camp all over again now! The entire house is full of smoke, the fire alarms are going off and we’re opening every window in the house.

Caramel? Umm… no.

So, for the very first time I have been roundly defeated by a DBC. You win Dobos Torte! You win! But I’ll get you next time! Muwahahaha! And your little dog Toto, too…

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Mallows and Milans and DBer’s! Oh My! – July Daring Baker’s Challenge

July 27, 2009

The July Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Nicole at Sweet Tooth. She chose Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies and Milan Cookies from pastry chef Gale Gand of the Food Network.

These were super fun to make!  Pic’s are on my friend’s camera, but I’ll add them as soon as he sends them to me!

*EDIT* Okay, between my hubby’s kidney stone and teething 5 month olds, I haven’t had a chance to update this post with more detail and pic’s. I’ll get it up soon! Keep checking!

Mallows(Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies)
Recipe courtesy Gale Gand, from Food Network website

Prep Time: 10 min
Inactive Prep Time: 5 min
Cook Time: 10 min
Serves: about 2 dozen cookies

• 3 cups (375grams/13.23oz) all purpose flour
• 1/2 cup (112.5grams/3.97oz) white sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
• 3/8 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 12 tablespoons (170grams/ 6 oz) unsalted butter
• 3 eggs, whisked together
• Homemade marshmallows, recipe follows
• Chocolate glaze, recipe follows

1. In a mixer with the paddle attachment, blend the dry ingredients.
2. On low speed, add the butter and mix until sandy.
3. Add the eggs and mix until combine.
4. Form the dough into a disk, wrap with clingfilm or parchment and refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to 3 days.
5. When ready to bake, grease a cookie sheet or line it with parchment paper or a silicon mat.
6. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
7. Roll out the dough to 1/8-inch thickness, on a lightly floured surface. Use a 1 to 1 1/2 inches cookie cutter to cut out small rounds of dough.
8. Transfer to the prepared pan and bake for 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Let cool to room temperature.
9. Pipe a “kiss” of marshmallow onto each cookie. Let set at room temperature for 2 hours.
10. Line a cookie sheet with parchment or silicon mat.
11. One at a time, gently drop the marshmallow-topped cookies into the hot chocolate glaze.
12. Lift out with a fork and let excess chocolate drip back into the bowl.
13. Place on the prepared pan and let set at room temperature until the coating is firm, about 1 to 2 hours.

Note: if you don’t want to make your own marshmallows, you can cut a large marshmallow in half and place on the cookie base. Heat in a preheated 350-degree oven to slump the marshmallow slightly, it will expand and brown a little. Let cool, then proceed with the chocolate dipping.

Homemade marshmallows:
• 1/4 cup water
• 1/4 cup light corn syrup
• 3/4 cup (168.76 grams/5.95oz) sugar
• 1 tablespoon powdered gelatin
• 2 tablespoons cold water
• 2 egg whites , room temperature
• 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. In a saucepan, combine the water, corn syrup, and sugar, bring to a boil until “soft-ball” stage, or 235 degrees on a candy thermometer.
2. Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water and let dissolve.
3. Remove the syrup from the heat, add the gelatin, and mix.
4. Whip the whites until soft peaks form and pour the syrup into the whites.
5. Add the vanilla and continue whipping until stiff.
6. Transfer to a pastry bag.

Chocolate glaze:
• 12 ounces semisweet chocolate
• 2 ounces cocoa butter or vegetable oil

1. Melt the 2 ingredients together in the top of a double boiler or a bowl set over barely simmering water.

Milan Cookies
Recipe courtesy Gale Gand, from Food Network website

Prep Time: 20 min
Inactive Prep Time: 0 min
Cook Time: 1 hr 0 min
Serves: about 3 dozen cookies

• 12 tablespoons (170grams/ 6 oz) unsalted butter, softened
• 2 1/2 cups (312.5 grams/ 11.02 oz) powdered sugar
• 7/8 cup egg whites (from about 6 eggs)
• 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
• 2 tablespoons lemon extract
• 1 1/2 cups (187.5grams/ 6.61 oz) all purpose flour
• Cookie filling, recipe follows

Cookie filling:
• 1/2 cup heavy cream
• 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
• 1 orange, zested

1. In a mixer with paddle attachment cream the butter and the sugar.
2. Add the egg whites gradually and then mix in the vanilla and lemon extracts.
3. Add the flour and mix until just well mixed.
4. With a small (1/4-inch) plain tip, pipe 1-inch sections of batter onto a parchment-lined sheet pan, spacing them 2 inches apart as they spread.
5. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10 minutes or until light golden brown around the edges. Let cool on the pan.
6. While waiting for the cookies to cool, in a small saucepan over medium flame, scald cream.
7. Pour hot cream over chocolate in a bowl, whisk to melt chocolate, add zest and blend well.
8. Set aside to cool (the mixture will thicken as it cools).
9. Spread a thin amount of the filling onto the flat side of a cookie while the filling is still soft and press the flat side of a second cookie on top.
10. Repeat with the remainder of the cookies.

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Bakewell Tart – June Daring Baker’s Challenge

June 27, 2009

The June Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Jasmine of Confessions of a Cardamom Addict and Annemarie of Ambrosia and Nectar. They chose a Traditional (UK) Bakewell Tart… er… pudding that was inspired by a rich baking history dating back to the 1800’s in England.whole tart in pan

I’m not feeling fantastic today, so it’s gonna be a short post… easy to put together, smells great, just came out of the oven.

I coated the short crust with bittersweet chocolate and used black raspberry jam.  The frangipane was difficult to spread over the jam but it was just enough to cover.

I’ll add pic’s of a piece once it’s cooled off a bit.

bakewell tart cut Bakewell tart piece

Edit: Now… I must say, this tart was SO tasty.  The chocolate added a touch of richness that just made the whole thing sing.  The frangipane was crisp and added some crunch to the tart.  Ugh. So good.

And having said that, I must admit… I went looking at other DBer’s tarts… Mine did not look like theirs… And I got to thinking about the ingredients I’d used.  And the more I thought, the more I began to realize I had forgotten three (apparently) very important ingredients…

eggsYup, that’s it.  Eggs. I completely forgot to add the 3 eggs.  So what was supposed to be a poofy, cake-ish top, turned out a crispy, flaky (and damn tasty) crust.  I encourage everyone to try it this way.  It was super!

I will definitely make this again to see how it was really supposed to turn out.  I’ll let ya know!

Bakewell Tart…er…pudding

Makes one 23cm (9” tart)
Prep time: less than 10 minutes (plus time for the individual elements)
Resting time: 15 minutes
Baking time: 30 minutes
Equipment needed: 23cm (9”) tart pan or pie tin (preferably with ridged edges), rolling pin

One quantity sweet shortcrust pastry (recipe follows)
Bench flour
250ml (1cup (8 US fl. oz)) jam or curd, warmed for spreadability
One quantity frangipane (recipe follows)
One handful blanched, flaked almonds

Assembling the tart
Place the chilled dough disc on a lightly floured surface. If it’s overly cold, you will need to let it become acclimatized for about 15 minutes before you roll it out. Flour the rolling pin and roll the pastry to 5mm (1/4”) thickness, by rolling in one direction only (start from the centre and roll away from you), and turning the disc a quarter turn after each roll. When the pastry is to the desired size and thickness, transfer it to the tart pan, press in and trim the excess dough. Patch any holes, fissures or tears with trimmed bits. Chill in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 200C/400F.

Remove shell from freezer, spread as even a layer as you can of jam onto the pastry base. Top with frangipane, spreading to cover the entire surface of the tart. Smooth the top and pop into the oven for 30 minutes. Five minutes before the tart is done, the top will be poofy and brownish. Remove from oven and strew flaked almonds on top and return to the heat for the last five minutes of baking.

The finished tart will have a golden crust and the frangipane will be tanned, poofy and a bit spongy-looking. Remove from the oven and cool on the counter. Serve warm, with crème fraîche, whipped cream or custard sauce if you wish.

When you slice into the tart, the almond paste will be firm, but slightly squidgy and the crust should be crisp but not tough.

Sweet shortcrust pastry

Prep time: 15-20 minutes
Resting time: 30 minutes (minimum)
Equipment needed: bowls, box grater, cling film

225g (8oz) all purpose flour
30g (1oz) sugar
2.5ml (½ tsp) salt
110g (4oz) unsalted butter, cold (frozen is better)
2 (2) egg yolks
2.5ml (½ tsp) almond extract (optional)
15-30ml (1-2 Tbsp) cold water

Sift together flour, sugar and salt. Grate butter into the flour mixture, using the large hole-side of a box grater. Using your finger tips only, and working very quickly, rub the fat into the flour until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Set aside.

Lightly beat the egg yolks with the almond extract (if using) and quickly mix into the flour mixture. Keep mixing while dribbling in the water, only adding enough to form a cohesive and slightly sticky dough.

Form the dough into a disc, wrap in cling and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes

Frangipane

Prep time: 10-15 minutes
Equipment needed: bowls, hand mixer, rubber spatula

125g (4.5oz) unsalted butter, softened
125g (4.5oz) icing sugar
3 (3) eggs
2.5ml (½ tsp) almond extract
125g (4.5oz) ground almonds
30g (1oz) all purpose flour

Cream butter and sugar together for about a minute or until the mixture is primrose in colour and very fluffy. Scrape down the side of the bowl and add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. The batter may appear to curdle. In the words of Douglas Adams: Don’t panic. Really. It’ll be fine. After all three are in, pour in the almond extract and mix for about another 30 seconds and scrape down the sides again. With the beaters on, spoon in the ground nuts and the flour. Mix well. The mixture will be soft, keep its slightly curdled look (mostly from the almonds) and retain its pallid yellow color.

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Strawberry Shortcake Cookies

June 25, 2009

Well I finally managed to participate in a Cookie Carnival!  I’ve been getting recipes for almost a year but I never seem Strawberry Shortcake Cookieto get around to participating in time!

Not this time though!  I was determined!  Plus, it’s strawberry season and any excuse to eat a super-sweet-in-season strawberry I’ll go for it…

I got my strawberries at a local farm, Huber’s.  It’s become more of an attraction over the years, but it’s a great place to go pick your own fruit.  I picked strawberries this month and I want to go back in July for raspberries, blueberries and blackberries!

The recipe is super easy to put together and I highly recommend using a cookie scooper.  The dough is very loose (like strawberry shortcake should be) and the mess that would ensue were you to use your hands, I think, would be epic. Now, of course, being able to EAT the mess once you were finished would be a bonus… I may have to rethink my position 😉

The cookies don’t spread very much so you can put a large number on one cookie sheet. They are best still warm from the oven when they have a lovely crisp outside and a warm soft, slightly chewy inside.  I don’t recommend storing these covered as they lose all their crispness and they taste best the same day, so make them when you’re really hungry or have somewhere to take them.

Recipe!

STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE COOKIES

MARTHA STEWART

These tender cookies are made with cream and studded with sweet strawberries for a portable version of a classic dessert.

INGREDIENTS:

Makes about 3 dozen.

* 12 oz strawberries, hulled and cut into ¼-inch dice (2 cups)

* 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

* 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

* 2 cups all-purpose flour

* 2 teaspoons baking powder

* 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

* 3 oz (6 tbs) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

* 2/3 cup heavy cream

* Sanding sugar, for sprinkling

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Combine strawberries, lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar. Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and remaining

7 tablespoons granulated sugar in a large bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter, or rub in with your fingers, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in cream until dough starts to come together, then stir in strawberry mixture.

2. Using a 1 1/2-inch ice cream scoop or a tablespoon, drop dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment, spacing evenly apart. Sprinkle with sanding sugar, and bake until golden brown, 24 to 25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool. Cookies are best served immediately, but can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 day.

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Peanut Butter Silk Cake

May 31, 2009

PB Cake close up

I am a peanut butter junkie.  No doubt about it.  There can be no questions regarding this fact.  The most difficult part of being pregnant was having to limit my peanut butter intake… I think I went through an entire jar in just a couple days after I delivered.

That being said, I am always on the look out for a good peanut butter cake recipe.  I’ve found that it is hard to get a good PB flavor once it’s spread through out a cake.  I’ve always used Jif before.  I’m a bit of a peanut butter snob when it comes to that.  It’s Jif or nothing for me.

Until I met P.B.Loco’s.  My first exposure to this nirvana was through a jar a friend brought back for me from NYC.  It was PB mixed with dark chocolate.  Pure. Heaven. I ate it out of the jar with a spoon… so did my hubby.

Needless to say the jar did not last long, so, being the internet junkie that I am, I promptly hit the net looking for a website, and naturally, they have one. I browsed around and signed up for their mailing list.  When I first went to their site, the chocolate variety was not available so I left empty handed.  A few weeks later, however, I got an email from them offering a free jar of their Dreamy Creamy when you I bought 3 other jars and this time they had the chocolate! Woohoo!

So, contrary to my usual snobbery, I’m going to try a cake I’ve made before with Jif (which had the previously mentioned small flavor) with P.B. Loco’s Dreamy Creamy!

Now before I go in to the differences between the cakes, I want to point out that when they are fresh out of the oven they both taste like a giant peanut butter cookie.  It’s when they’ve cooled that the Jif looses most of it’s flavor…

The P.B.Loco PB cake was divine.  I was, frankly, shocked at how much more PB you could taste.  I took this cake to a friend’s cookout on Saturday and stupidly forgot to take a picture before we left the house.

This is all that remained by the time we got home…

PB Cake aftermath Oh, the humanity! Such carnage!

It was a truly scrumptious cake, though, if I do say so myself.  I think I’m going to try a PB&J cake to take to work on Monday….

**note** the recipe calls for a box yellow cake mix, but I used the recipe here, instead.

Peanut Butter Silk Cake

Prep: 15 min       Bake: 38 min      Cool: 1 hr 10 min               Chill: 10 min        12 to 16 servings

1 pkg. Betty Crocker SuperMoist yellow cake mix

1 ¼ c. water

½ c creamy peanut butter

1/3 c vegetable oil

3 eggs

¼ c butter or margarine

¼ c packed brown sugar

1 c heavy whipping cream

½ c creamy peanut butter

1 recipe Creamy Chocolate Frosting (see below)

1 c chopped peanuts, if desired

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Generously grease bottoms only of 2 round pans, 8 or 9 x 1 ½ inches, with shortening.
  2. Make cake mix as directed on package, using water, ½ cup peanut butter, the oil and eggs. Pour into pans.
  3. Bake 30 to 38 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Run knife around side of pans to loosen cakes; remove from pans to wire rack.  Cool completely, about 1 hour.
  4. Melt butter in 2-quart saucepan over medium heat; stir in brown sugar. Heat to boiling; boil and stir 1 minute.  Remove from heat. Refrigerate 10 minutes.
  5. Beat whipping cream in chilled medium bowl with electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form; set aside. Beat ½ cup peanut butter and the brown sugar mixture in another medium bowl on medium speed until smooth and creamy.  Add whipped cream to peanut butter mixture; beat on medium speed until mixture is smooth and creamy.
  6. Split each cake layer horizontally to make 2 layers. Fill each layer with about 2/3 cup peanut butter mixture to within ½ inch of edge. Frost side and top of cake with frosting. Press chopped peanuts into frosting on side of cake. Store covered in refrigerator.

Creamy Chocolate Frosting

Prep: 15 min       12 to 16 servings, about 2 cups

3 c powdered sugar

1/3 c butter or margarine, softened

2 tsp vanilla

3 oz unsweetened baking chocolate, melted and cooled

3 to 4 tablespoons milk

  1. Mix powdered sugar and butter in medium bowl with spoon or with electric mixer on low speed. Stir in vanilla and chocolate.
  2. Gradually beat in just enough milk to make frosting smooth and spreadable. If frosting is too thick, beat in more milk, a few drops at a time. If frosting becomes too thin, beat in a small amount of powdered sugar.

* Generously frosts a 13×9-inch cake, or fills and frosts an 8- or 9-inch two-layer cake.

Recipe from Betty Crocker’s Ultimate Cake Mix Cookbook

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Sweet and Savory Strudel – May 2009 Daring Baker’s Challenge

May 27, 2009

1st berries and cream strudel Savory meat strudel Second berries and cream strudel

The May Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Linda of make life sweeter! and Courtney of Coco Cooks. They chose Apple Strudel from the recipe book Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague by Rick Rodgers.

I have to admit, coming into this challenge, I was not entirely sure what a strudel really was.  I mean, I’d heard of them.  They’re in the song from The Sound of Music and all, but I don’t think I’ve every actually seen one in person.  Well the joys of Google enlightened me as to what it was supposed to look like (plus all the finished products at the daring baker’s forum).

We, my friend Beth and I, opted to do a berries and cream strudel. You can find the recipes in this video. The berries makes a wonderful topping for toast or an English muffin, or heck, a spoon.  It’s super tasty without being super sweet.  The confectioner’s cream is a mild flavor but very creamy.  I think the next time I make it I’ll put a little more vanilla in.

The dough rolled out beautifully.  We used cheesecloth to roll it on and we were able to roll it out to the specified size.

1st strudel dough

Now, at the time, we thought this was great luck as we were both a bit nervous about the whole stretching process.

1st strudel dough close up

However, the end result was much too thick once it baked and broke off in chunks when you tried to eat it.  Looked like baked potato chips.

buttered dough confectioner's cream berries 1st flip rolling still rolling all done ready to bake1st strudel

Tasted lovely, but the texture was wrong.  We also forgot to put the breadcrumbs on it before we rolled it up, so there was no space between the layers to allow them to bake up and get flaky.

We’re going to try it again tonight!  I’ll let you know how it goes… we’re also going to try a savory one and put some potatoes in it too!

**EDIT** We made the second berries and cream strudel and the savory meat strudel last night.

Second berries and cream strudel Savory meat strudel

Wow!  What a difference a bit more filling, a little stretching and some breadcrumbs will do!  The second berries and cream strudel was sooo much better than the first.  It was full, flaky and just scrumptious!

Savory strudel fillingsavory strudel one side in Savory strudel 1st roll savory strudel almost rolled Savory strudel ready for the oven Savory strudel in the oven Savory strudel ready to come out Savory meat strudel

The savory meat strudel was so good.  Granted the fact that it was 10 pm before we got to eat it and we were all starving didn’t hurt, but it was still very good.  It was a little liquidy, so I think we’ll cook it a bit longer to let some of the juices evaporate next time.  It smells heavenly when it is cooking.  It nearly drove us crazy waiting for it to come out then letting it sit and cool off.  It was so worth the wait. This was my first adventure with savory as well.  I had no idea it was an herb; I just thought it was an adjective 🙂

Here’s the full DB recipe if you’d like to try your own!

Preparation time
Total: 2 hours 15 minutes – 3 hours 30 minutes

15-20 min to make dough
30-90 min to let dough rest/to prepare the filling
20-30 min to roll out and stretch dough
10 min to fill and roll dough
30 min to bake
30 min to cool

Apple strudel
from “Kaffeehaus – Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague” by Rick Rodgers

2 tablespoons (30 ml) golden rum
3 tablespoons (45 ml) raisins
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon (80 g) sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick / 115 g) unsalted butter, melted, divided
1 1/2 cups (350 ml) fresh bread crumbs
strudel dough (recipe below)
1/2 cup (120 ml, about 60 g) coarsely chopped walnuts
2 pounds (900 g) tart cooking apples, peeled, cored and cut into ¼ inch-thick slices (use apples that hold their shape during baking)

1. Mix the rum and raisins in a bowl. Mix the cinnamon and sugar in another bowl.

2. Heat 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high. Add the breadcrumbs and cook whilst stirring until golden and toasted. This will take about 3 minutes. Let it cool completely.

3. Put the rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a large baking sheet with baking paper (parchment paper). Make the strudel dough as described below. Spread about 3 tablespoons of the remaining melted butter over the dough using your hands (a bristle brush could tear the dough, you could use a special feather pastry brush instead of your hands). Sprinkle the buttered dough with the bread crumbs. Spread the walnuts about 3 inches (8 cm) from the short edge of the dough in a 6-inch-(15cm)-wide strip. Mix the apples with the raisins (including the rum), and the cinnamon sugar. Spread the mixture over the walnuts.

4. Fold the short end of the dough onto the filling. Lift the tablecloth at the short end of the dough so that the strudel rolls onto itself. Transfer the strudel to the prepared baking sheet by lifting it. Curve it into a horseshoe to fit. Tuck the ends under the strudel. Brush the top with the remaining melted butter.

5. Bake the strudel for about 30 minutes or until it is deep golden brown. Cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing. Use a serrated knife and serve either warm or at room temperature. It is best on the day it is baked.

Strudel dough
from “Kaffeehaus – Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague” by Rick Rodgers

1 1/3 cups (200 g) unbleached flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons (105 ml) water, plus more if needed
2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil, plus additional for coating the dough
1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar

1. Combine the flour and salt in a stand-mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix the water, oil and vinegar in a measuring cup. Add the water/oil mixture to the flour with the mixer on low speed. You will get a soft dough. Make sure it is not too dry, add a little more water if necessary.
Take the dough out of the mixer. Change to the dough hook. Put the dough ball back in the mixer. Let the dough knead on medium until you get a soft dough ball with a somewhat rough surface.

2. Take the dough out of the mixer and continue kneading by hand on an unfloured work surface. Knead for about 2 minutes. Pick up the dough and throw it down hard onto your working surface occasionally.
Shape the dough into a ball and transfer it to a plate. Oil the top of the dough ball lightly. Cover the ball tightly with plastic wrap. Allow to stand for 30-90 minutes (longer is better).

3. It would be best if you have a work area that you can walk around on all sides like a 36 inch (90 cm) round table or a work surface of 23 x 38 inches (60 x 100 cm). Cover your working area with table cloth, dust it with flour and rub it into the fabric. Put your dough ball in the middle and roll it out as much as you can.
Pick the dough up by holding it by an edge. This way the weight of the dough and gravity can help stretching it as it hangs. Using the back of your hands to gently stretch and pull the dough. You can use your forearms to support it.

4. The dough will become too large to hold. Put it on your work surface. Leave the thicker edge of the dough to hang over the edge of the table. Place your hands underneath the dough and stretch and pull the dough thinner using the backs of your hands. Stretch and pull the dough until it’s about 2 feet (60 cm) wide and 3 feet (90 cm) long, it will be tissue-thin by this time. Cut away the thick dough around the edges with scissors. The dough is now ready to be filled.

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Abbey’s Infamous Cheesecake – Daring Baker’s April 2009

April 28, 2009

This month’s Daring Baker’s challenge was care of the lovely Jenny of Jenny Bakes chose Abbey’s Infamous Cheesecake!

I have never made a cheesecake before, so I was really looking forward to giving this a go.  The rules were very lenient this month, so we could be as creative as we wanted..

Now I love me some lime, especially Key lime, so I couldn’t help myself.  It had to be a Key lime cheesecake. But did I stop at one Key lime cheesecake?  Heck no!  I tried two.  The first is a Key lime-coconut and the second is a Key lime pomegranate.

Key Lime Coconut Cheesecake

crust:
2 cups / 180 g graham cracker crumbs
1 stick / 4 oz butter, melted
2 tbsp. / 24 g sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

½ cup shredded sweetened coconut

cheesecake:
3 sticks of cream cheese, 8 oz each (total of 24 oz) room temperature
1 cup / 210 g sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup / 8 oz heavy cream
1 tbsp. lime zest, grated
2/3 c key lime juice
1 tbsp liqueur, optional, but choose what will work well with your cheesecake

topping:

1 1/2 cups shredded sweetened coconut

1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk

DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath.

2. Mix together the crust ingredients and press into your preferred pan (8 or 9 inch. I used a Springform). You can press the crust just into the bottom, or up the sides of the pan too – baker’s choice. Set crust aside.

3. Combine cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand-mixer (or in a large bowl if using a hand-mixer) and cream together until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg. Add heavy cream, zest, key lime juice, and alcohol (if using) and blend until smooth and creamy.

4. Pour batter into prepared crust and tap the pan on the counter a few times to bring all air bubbles to the surface. Place pan into a larger pan and pour boiling water into the larger pan until halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan. If cheesecake pan is not airtight, cover bottom securely with foil before adding water.

5. Bake 45 to 55 minutes, until it is almost done – this can be hard to judge, but you’re looking for the cake to hold together, but still have a lot of jiggle to it in the center. You don’t want it to be completely firm at this stage. Close the oven door, turn the heat off, and let rest in the cooling oven for one hour. This lets the cake finish cooking and cool down gently enough so that it won’t crack on the top. After one hour, remove cheesecake from oven and lift carefully out of water bath. Let it finish cooling on the counter, and then cover and put in the fridge to chill. Next, make the coconut cream.

6. Put the cream and 1 cup of the coconut in a small saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium-low heat, stirring almost constantly.  Continue to cook and stir until the cream is reduced by half and the mixture is slightly thickened. Allow to cool then spread onto the top of the cheese cake, and put in the fridge to chill. Once fully chilled, it is ready to serve.

Key Lime Pomegranate Cheesecake

crust:
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 stick / 4 oz butter, melted
2 tbsp.
1 tsp. vanilla extract

cheesecake:
3 sticks of cream cheese, 8 oz each (total of 24 oz) room temperature
1 cup
3 large eggs
1 cup / 8 oz heavy cream
1 tbsp. lime zest, grated

1/3 c key lime juice
1 tbsp pomegranate-flavored Pama liqueur

Pomegranate seeds for garnish

DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath.

2. Mix together the crust ingredients and press into your preferred pan (8 or 9 inch. I used a Springform). You can press the crust just into the bottom, or up the sides of the pan too – baker’s choice. Set crust aside.

3. Combine cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand-mixer (or in a large bowl if using a hand-mixer) and cream together until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg. Add heavy cream, zest, key lime juice, Pama and alcohol and blend until smooth and creamy.

4. Pour batter into prepared crust and tap the pan on the counter a few times to bring all air bubbles to the surface. Place pan into a larger pan and pour boiling water into the larger pan until halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan. If cheesecake pan is not airtight, cover bottom securely with foil before adding water.

5. Bake 45 to 55 minutes, until it is almost done – this can be hard to judge, but you’re looking for the cake to hold together, but still have a lot of jiggle to it in the center. You don’t want it to be completely firm at this stage. Close the oven door, turn the heat off, and let rest in the cooling oven for one hour. This lets the cake finish cooking and cool down gently enough so that it won’t crack on the top. After one hour, remove cheesecake from oven and lift carefully out of water bath. Let it finish cooling on the counter, and then cover and put in the fridge to chill. Once fully chilled, garnish with pomegranate seeds and it is ready to serve.

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Easter Cake Pops!

April 26, 2009

Well, my first foray into baking post-babies was to try out the Cake Pops from Bake-rella‘s lovely blog.  You can find the recipe and lots of examples there. She creates the cutest little pops for all kinds of occasions and I (and Beth) thought we’d try out her Easter concoctions!

Strawberry and Chocolate cake balls

We started out rolling all the cake mixture into balls.  Boy was that messy, but tasty!

Cake ball close up

You have to rinse your hands periodically or the cake just sticks to you rather than forming a ball.

We neglected to read the part in the recipe ahead of time that mentioned the need for refrigeration… So we opted for the freezer method… Unfortunately, many of our pops cracked, we figure from the contrast of super cold inside versus warm dipping medium.

Some needed “stiches”…

Stiched chick

We dubbed him “Franken-chick”

We made chicks, bunnies, easter eggs, cup cakes, white sheep, and black sheep.

chicksbunnieseggs and cupcakessheep

Though I must say, I think our black sheep looked more like porcupines.  What do you think?

Black sheep

Well, pretty or not.  Cracked or not.  Black sheep or Porcupines.  They were fun to make and darn tasty too!  I’ve had requests for turkeys at Thanksgiving, so we’ll see how that goes!

Cake Pop gathering

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And We’re Back!

March 29, 2009

Ok, folks! (If anyone even still comes to this blog…) It was a long break full of pregnancy exhaustion and general laziness on my part, but I’m determined to get back on the wagon and start posting again! I’m very excited to get back into my Daring Baker-hood, maybe some TWD, and I’m super excited to try out some of Bake-rella’s cake pops! Soo cute!

More to come soon! (I hope!)

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TWD – Chocolate-Banded Ice Cream Torte

August 26, 2008

This week’s recipe was chosen by Amy of Food, Family and Fun. And she chose the Chocolate-Banded Ice Cream Torte on pages 288-289.

This recipe was simple to make, but time consuming, if you followed the time guidelines in the recipe.  I cheated a little on the “set up” times but had to let it freeze for a long time for the final freeze (probably b/c of the previous cheating, heh)

For the ganache, I used Ghiradelli’s Bittersweet 60% chocolate chips and regualar eggs.  If you are concerned with the fact that the eggs do not get cooked, you can either get pasturized eggs, heat the mixture to 140 degrees for 3 1/2 minutes, or leave the eggs out.  The eggs are there to help the texture of the ganache at the cold temperture of the freezer.

For the ice cream filling, I used Edy’s Double Vanilla and frozen strawberries in syrup.  I would have preferred to use raspberry (which is my favorite) as the recipe calls for, but frozen raspberries in syrup, apparantly, don’t exist around me.

The ganache came together very well.  By the end it was getting very thick and hard to whisk!  I need to work on my whisk muscles!  The ice cream and berries was very tempting in the food processor… looked like one huge strawberry milk shake, but I managed to only eat a little >.>

When putting the layers together, I left the ganache to chill for the full 30 minutes, but the ice cream was stiff enough after about 5-10, so I was able to shave a little time there.

The end result is very pretty but VERY rich.  Small pieces dear readers!  Small pieces! Phew!

So, in closing, very worth it!  It is very rich so you can get several pieces out of it, so very good for dinner parties or family gatherings!