Tuesdays With Dorie: Savory Brioche Pockets

This weeks assignment was to make ‘savory brioche pockets’. Brioche pockets filled with carmelized onions, mashed potatoes, goat cheese, chives and asparagus tips.
I made the brioche on Thursday, let it rise overnight and made the ‘pockets’ on Friday and enjoyed one for lunch with a big salad on Friday.
The brioche is not difficult, I made it once before when we made the pecan sticky buns. I liked the brioche much better in this application than I did in the sticky buns. That was just TOO sweet and TOO buttery!

Make the sponge
let it rise
make the dough–incorporating all that butter never seems like its going to work
knead it forever
let it rise
Rest in fridge for at least 8 hours. Mine got at least 20 hours

I decided to make 4 pockets and turn the balance of the dough into loaves of brioche

The recipe suggests cutting circles out of the dough and forming them into circular pockets. I’m more familiar with making borekas, which are an empanada style pocket, and its all one piece. I went with what I knew
I cut off a piece of dough, rolled it out into a round (okay, they usually look like amoebas.) On one half of my amoeba, I layered onions, the potato/goat cheese/chive mixture, and two lightly cooked asparagus tips. Then, I folded the empty half over and sealed it up and put it on a sheet to rise. I made 4 in total and put three of them directly into the freezer for future good eating (tomorrow, perhaps, or maybe for dinner tonight)
When it had risen long enough, I brushed it with some egg wash and sprinkled on some poppy seeds and coarse salt. Into the oven it went. Out came deliciousness
I didn’t forget about the other 2/3 of the dough! I divided it into 12-roughly equal sized blobs and put 6 into each baking tin. I put both tins in my ‘proofing box’ (the microwave with the door cracked open so the light stays on)and popped them in the oven when I ran out of time. What came out were some of the most amazing bread I’ve ever baked. Really–more like cake than bread. One of those loaves went into the freezer too.
It was insanely delicious with butter. Insane!
You’ll be able to see other people’s work at the LYL (leave your link) post at Tuesdays With Dorie. Carrie at Loaves and Stitches is our host for the week, and you’ll be able to find the recipe at her blog.

And you should totally make this. It was a really satisfying-and fancy-lunch. It wasn’t difficult. If you’re not into the ‘pockets’ just make the brioche. It’s really good too!

Biscoff Oatmeal Cookies. Oh Yes. I Went There

So, back in April, David and Dorothy both participated in St. Anthony’s Triathalon. Its a huge event that pretty much shuts down most of our city for a few days. Dorothy ran the Meek and Mighty (for kids 7 and up) and David ran the full Olympic distance as he has for the last 10 years or so. In the bags that everyone got at registration we found these:
Two of them. One in each bag. I was actually mad about it. I had successfully kept this stuff out of my kitchen until late April. And now there were two jars to contend with! Have you tried it yet? Dude….it would be trouble to keep it around. I’d be sneaking spoonfuls at every chance I got.
But at least I read a few blogs, and some of these people have experimented with Biscoff Spread so that I didn’t have to do the work. Two Peas and Their Pod is a blog that I found recently and discovered that they have a recipe for Oatmeal/Biscoff cookies. Today was the day. I made two batches. It wasn’t dificult, I had all the ingredients in the house. I modified the recipe slightly by increasing the oatmeal and using white whole wheat flour instead of regular all purpose flour. I’ve been doing that in a lot of my baking lately. Sneaking in the healthier stuff. Right. Because this is a totally healthy recipe. Riiiiiight.
Biscoff Oatmeal Cookies
Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod
makes 45-50 cookies. depending on how much batter you eat

2 1/4 cups old fashioned oatmeal
1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons flour (I used white whole wheat)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup biscoff spread
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix oatmeal, flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl and set aside
Cream together the butter, biscoff spread and sugars
Add egg and vanilla and mix thoroughly
stir in flour and oatmeal mixture.
Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes

preheat oven to 350
drop spoonfuls onto parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes
let cool on pan for 5 minutes and then remove to a cooling rack.

try not to eat them all at once.

Tuesdays With Dorie: Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

I made this on a big baking and food day. I had been to my favorite blueberry farm to pick berries–I got 8 lbs. when I got home, I immediately threw together the dough for a batch of challah and then got to work on this cake.

It looked for baby cake pans, but couldn’t find any, so I decided to make it in my largest spring form pan–which is almost 11 inches across. And it worked out perfectly.

I made the caramel poured it into the bottom of the pan and then carefully laid the sliced rhubarb in concentric circles inside the pan. I set it aside and got to work on the cake.

The recipe makes sure tell the baker to cream the butter and sugar together for much longer than I normally would. Clearly, the next time I cream butter and sugar together, I’ll be doing it for much longer. I added the eggs and vanilla, and then I folded in the flour and sour cream. By the way, I used King Arthur White Whole Wheat flour in this recipe–you could NOT tell, but it did make me feel a little less guilty when I had a slice for breakfast.

I carefully put it in the pan over the caramel and rhubarb, and into the oven it went. Not difficult at all. About 50 minutes later, it came out of the oven and I upended it on a rack over a plate and then put it on my favorite cake plate.

i’ve never eaten anything with rhubarb before, and I’m sorry that it took 38 years for me to get my first taste. It was delicious. The cake was perfect, and the rhubarb gave a slightly tart flavor to the topping.
I know the next picture is blurry, but I had to put it in the post. When Dorothy heard that this was an ‘upside down’ cake, she turned it over, so the caramel was on the plate and only ate the cake. Foolish child–she left the best part behind! Not to worry, David and I were happy to finish it for her
UntitledThis recipe is hosted by When in Doubt, Leave it at 350, and also be sure to check out the Leave Your Link post at Tuesdays With Dorie. I know there will be lots of delicious examples from my fellow bakers.

Tuesdays With Dorie: Madeleines

There’s not a whole lot I can say about these cookies. I’ve never had a Madeleine before, and I may never again. They were not difficult to bake, and thankfully I didn’t have to buy a pan special for this. My friend Charlene had one I borrowed. It produced tiny Madelines. About the size of my thumb. So they were cute. But extremely dry. The only change I made to the recipe was to brown the butter. Because, really, who doesn’t like brown butter?
I ate a few and sent them to school with the kids. The boys didn’t eat them, and Dorothy enjoyed them for a few days, but I felt that they went stale very quickly.

Probably, there are lots of beautiful examples in the leave your link post at Tuesdays with Dorie, and at the host’s blog: counter dog

Hopefully I like the next recipe more!

Tuesdays With Dorie: Rustic Potato Bread

So, I made this bread a few days late. The post was ‘due’ on the last day of passover. So, I made it yesterday.

For such a beautiful loaf of bread, it was incredibly simple to bake. I wish I had read the instructions completely before getting started, because then I would have known that the dough starts out crumbly….like a pie crust….and then miracously comes together like a bread dough. I added a few tablespoons of water while it was still crumbly, and then ended up having to add extra flour while I was kneading it. No big deal. I don’t think it affected the flavor one bit. I halved the recipe and did the whole thing by hand. My mixer is much too big to bother with for only one loaf of bread. I didn’t mind, kneading it was my arm workout for the day–I couldn’t get to the gym since I was home with a sick child.

After two short rises, I ended up with this beautiful loaf of bread.
It was delicious plain, and with butter.
I’ll definitely be making this again. it was easy, delicious and impressive looking!

Check out the other loaves of potato bread that were produced this week at our Leave Your Link post. The recipe can be found at Dawn’s blog, Simply Sweet. While you’re there, make sure to look at the picture of the “high heeled shoe cupcakes” that she made. They’re stunning. She has the recipe for the bread, or you can find it on page 138 of Baking with Julia.

Passover Baking….a delicious cake!

We were invited to our neighbors home for an Easter Dinner, which fell at the end of Passover this year. We said we’d be there, and I told Isabelle that I’d bring something for dessert. I knew that it had to be delicious, and I didn’t want to go with my old standby–flourless chocolate cake. The chocolate cake is fine, but I’m a little tired of it.

The week before passover I saw that Smitten Kitchen had put up a recipe for a Hazelnut-Chocolate Torte. I knew that was what I’d bake. I’ve never had a recipe from Deb turn out badly, and this one was no different. Though I admit that I questioned her when it was time to melt the chocolate and coffee together. I was afraid it would seize and be gross and disgusting. I was wrong, and it turned out beautifully. I should have known….just trust the Smitten Kitchen.


Untitled      Untitled

At a first glance, it might look like a complicated recipe. There’s whipping egg whites and folding in the chopped nuts. But it is not complicated. Or time consuming. Do you believe me? Would I lie to you? Would Deb, of Smitten Kitchen?

I think not
Chocolate-Hazelnut Macaroon Torte

I think this served at least 12 people, with very small slices

Oil or butter for greasing parchment rounds
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (225 grams) granulated sugar
6 large egg whites
2 1/2 cups hazelnuts (about 12 ounces or 340 grams), toasted, then skinned as much as possible*
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract**

Chocolate filling
6 ounces (170 grams or the equivalent of 1 cup chips) bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon instant coffee or espresso granules (optional)

Whipped frosting and filling
1 1/2 cups chilled heavy or whipping cream
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon Frangelico or another hazelnut liqueur or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract**

A semi- or bittersweet chocolate bar for shaving (optional)

Make macaroons: Position oven racks in the top and lower thirds of oven and heat oven to 325°F. Outline four 8-inch circles on individual pieces of parchment paper. Turn each sheet of parchment over so your ink or pencil lines don’t seep into the macaroon, place each piece of parchment paper on large baking sheets, and very lightly coat each piece of parchment with oil or butter. (I sprayed mine with a cooking oil and wiped all but a sheer coating away with a paper towel.)

Place hazelnuts, 1 cup sugar and salt in a food processor and blend until finely ground. Using electric mixer, beat egg whites in large, dry bowl with clean beaters (or a whisk attachment) until soft peaks form. Drizzle in vanilla extract, then slowly add remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Beat until stiff but not dry. Fold nut mixture into egg whites in 1/3 increments (i.e. a little at a time so it doesn’t overtake the fluffy egg whites). Spread 1/4 of macaroon batter evenly within each circle, filling completely.

Bake macaroon layers until golden and dry to the touch — this takes 20 to 23 minutes in my oven. Cool macaroons on their sheets on a cooling rack. You can speed this along by placing them for five minutes each in your freezer.

Make chocolate filling: While meringues cool, heat half of chocolate, water, and coffee (if using) in a small heavy saucepan over moderately low heat, stirring until smooth. Off the heat, stir in second half of chocolate chunks until melted, which should also cool the mixture to lukewarm. Spread chocolate evenly over tops of meringue rounds; it will be just a thin slick on each. Cool until chocolate is set, a process that could take a few hours at room temperature or, again, could be hastened along by resting each disc in your freezer for five minutes, or until firm.

Make whipped frosting and filling:: Beat cream with sugar and liqueur or vanilla in a bowl with cleaned beaters until it holds stiff peaks.

Assemble torte: Gently peel the parchment off the back of each macaroon round. Arrange your first disc on your cake serving plate. If you like to follow proper cake-decorating protocol, you will insert some small strips of waxed paper under the edge to protect the cake plate while you decorate. If you don’t, hey, I too embrace cake imperfections. Spread 1/3 cup whipped cream over it. Repeat with second and third macaroon rounds, then top with final round. Frost top and side of torte with whipped cream. I did this in two parts, a thin “crumb” coat (after which I put the cake in the freezer for 5 minutes to “set” it, although whipped cream doesn’t really set) a thicker final one, with the remaining cream, which led to a neater final result.

If desired, use a vegetable peeler to scrape away curls from a chocolate bar for decoration. Remove waxed paper strips if you used them, and serve immediately or up to a day or two layer. Store in fridge.

Do ahead: Whipped cream confections are generally best on the first day, but we found ours to hold up just fine in the fridge for more than 24 hours. Macaroons alone, or macaroons with chocolate coating, can be baked in advance. Simply keep them separated with waxed paper in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two days. Humidity is the enemy of macaroons, so if you live in a humid environment, you’ll want to store them as little time as possible lest they become sticky.

**** in the end, we did not use whipped cream to frost this cake. My husband is lactose intolerant, and he wanted me to use something that he could eat too. I used this recipe for a 7 minute marshmallow frosting. It has corn syrup in it, so its not strictly kosher for passover. But it was worth it.

Tuesdays With Dorie: Croissants

I was so excited….SO excited to make this recipe, and am so dissapointed with how it turned out.

Last week wasn’t too warm here and I had finally found some fresh yeast from our local italian market, and so I got to work. I made the dough and encorporated the butter by rolling and folding, rolling and folding. Finally, FINALLY, it was time to shape and bake the pastries.

I cut them out and shaped them. Not very well I might add, and then I put them in the oven to rise. As instructed, I also included a pot of steaming water. And when I opened the door to the oven, I found this:
a lot of the butter had seeped out of the dough from the heat of the steaming water.

I pried three croissants out of the pool of butter and put them on a fresh pan and baked them. Fresh out of the oven, they tasted great, but as they sat they became heavier and more bread-like.
This was my first real culinary disaster….ever. I guess that’s lucky because I cook a lot, and most of it is more than edible.

I still had the other half of the dough sitting in the fridge and waiting for me. I ended up putting it in the freezer, thinking I would try again over the weekend. Guess what? I didn’t. and I tossed the rest of the dough yesterday. It was actually sort of freeing to toss it. Even if I avoided the puddle of butter again, I knew that the results were not going to live up to the ‘croissant in my head.’ and I decided that it was okay to quit.

Should you decide that you want to try to make croissants on your own (best of luck to you) the recipe can be found on page 185-186 of the book. You can also see how our host did at Girl + food + love, and the rest of the bakers links can be found here. I’m sure that many of them had a better time than I did!