The Rugelach That Won Over France

7 Dec

A couple of rules I should let everyone know that I have regarding recipes and baking:

  • The first time baking a recipe, follow it to the letter.  Can you really evaluate a recipe maker’s recipe if you make changes? (Well, there is the caveat that if you know your oven runs hot or cold to adjust for that, but that’s not what I mean here.)
  • I force my husband (or other outside party) to sample the finish product. Just like a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich is better if you haven’t made it yourself, eating your own baked goods right after you’ve spent the time to prep and bake them is, for me, something of a let down. I’ve been known to throw out batches of baked goods because I didn’t like them only to have friends say, “Really? You didn’t think to have an unbiased person give you feedback?”

With those rules in mind, I’ll probably make this recipe again. I loved working with the dough and I loved the flavor of the dough. Since I’m not a big fan of dried IMG_1038fruit, next time I’ll skip the dried fruit. I’m sure that on some level this is heresy for rugelach, but I really get no pleasure from it. I’ll double the melted butter and cinnamon sugar mixture or, better yet, substitute a nice jam or marmalade. Hey, that could be the fruit part, right? Loved the nuts, coconut and chocolate. I did have a few mini-chocolate chips that I used as part of the chopped chocolate and those worked very well. They may not be the highest quality chocolate, but they were pretty darned tasty in these. I froze them overnight (full disclosure – I was going to bake them after dinner last night but shared a bottle of wine with the husband referenced above and lost all ambition!). I did have a tough time slicing them – the roll kept falling apart. But, I only baked half the recipe – I still have two rolls in the freezer. I’ll try them later and see if I have more success. Oh, and the pesky little things kept falling over in the oven – but that’s not a deal breaker.

Hmmm…it just occurs to me that a spread of orange marmalade sprinkled with nuts and chocolate chips could be a Christmas Eve delight!

Cranberry Crackle Tart, part deux

25 Nov

I promised a second post to talk about how it tasted. Delicious! The entire family was expecting something very tart or bitter, and we were all pleasantly surprised. (I wasn’t entirely certain those firm, bouncy little fruits would actually cook – again, pleasantly surprised!)

I would definitely make this again – relatively easy to make (and, yep, I’ll add one additional egg white next time) with an impressive presentation.

Cranberry Crackle Tart

23 Nov

Yeah, I know this was supposed to be up last Tuesday, but since I need a dessert for Sunday dinner, it had to wait for today.

I must say this was much easier than the picture led me to believe it would be. I’ll be using the Sweet Tart Dough recipe again and again (this was one of the easiest rolling doughs I have EVER made!) And I think Dorie is right on – rolling it rather than pressing it into a tart pan looks so much nicer and gives a much more consistent thickness. I loved the idea of cutting the dough using a ravioli cutter – what a nice edge!

Now, I’ve told friends about this book (and recommended they buy it as their go-to book for French style desserts that real people can actually make!) and Dorie again demonstrated why: “…keep beating until the whites are shiny…droopy tips….they will look like marshmallow.” The perfect description of what this meringue looked like when ready! No need to guess – one more minute?…one minute too long?

I did think the 60-minute baking left the meringue looking pale, so I put it under the broiler – and, if you haven’t made this yet, beware! The meringue can go from pale to nearly burnt in seconds – a word to the wise!

We’ll be eating this tonight at dinner, so I’ll post a second time to let you know how it tastes – I’m really curious! My only experience with cranberries has been either sauce or relish, or Craisins in my oatmeal. I can hardly wait!

Cranberry Crackle Tart

Palets de Dames, Lille Style

11 Nov

If you haven’t made these yet, please be warned: do not taste them before you glaze them. You won’t have any left to glaze! These puffy little cookies really are more like little cakes – and yes, I did eat about half of them before they were cool enough to glaze. I’ll be making more, to be sure! I think my next batch will be made a tad bit larger – my scoop made for cookies just about the size of a Nilla Vanilla Wafer – and while that was fine, it’s far too easy to eat a dozen of them using the excuse, “Oh, well, they’re really small!” The smaller size also did cause me to adjust the baking time down to between 5 and 7 minutes rather than the 7 to 9.

Orange sanding sugar showed up better than the white. (In a shout out to Oregon State University, I tried to also do a few with black sanding sugar, but the black sugar really didn’t look appetizing!)

Palets de Dames, Lille Style

Maybe I do like cupcakes….

2 Nov

Dorie Greenspan is a genius! Never have I had a cookbook that was as explicit in its directions as this one. I love the fact that she tells you things like, “Stand at the stove and be prepared to whisk constantly – yes, constantly!”

This week’s dessert is taken right from her pages, Limoncello Cupcakes. I think they look just like the picture! And, may I say, they were as delicious as they looked. Everyone particularly enjoyed the surprise of marmalade in the center!

Limoncello Cupcakes

Limoncello Cupcakes

Baking Chez Moi? Mai Oui!

1 Nov

I just got my copy of Dorie Greenspan’s “Baking Chez Moi,” and find myself reading it like one would read a novel! And that would be a novel one can’t put down – Gone Girl has nothing on this! I’ve decided to work my way through it, one recipe at a time, so go out an buy your fat pants if you must, but it’s going to be a long and glorious ride!

First up – Limoncello Cupcakes. Yes, you read that right – cupcakes (and I don’t even particularly like cupcakes).

Who knew a burly, 6-foot-4-inch, 225 lb. fitness trainer would know what these are?

16 Apr
Madeleines, ala Proust

Madeleines, ala Proust

Well, I did it again. I decided I’d ‘workshop’ these cookies. And, it’s a good thing! My initial attempt at these made me learn that baking them at 400 degrees at ten minutes was at least two minutes too long. Attempt two (in a different oven) reinforced that 400 degrees was too hot (even at eight minutes they came out black!).

So, it was time to consult the oracle: Google. I found a you-tube video that explained making madeleines perfectly! And, according to the chef in the video, the batter isn’t necessarily as fragile as our recipe made it out to be. His recipe was baked at 350 degrees for 10 – 12 minutes. Rather than piping the batter into the pans, he scooped it, using a #40 ice cream scoop. Oh, and the chef in the video said for more ‘fluffy’ madeleines, use more butter (up to 1/2 cup) but that the madeleines made famous by Marcel Proust were dryer using less butter (better for dunking in tea). I’m thinking these are the ones we made.

Armed with this information, I decided to back off on the temperature (375 degrees), used an ice cream scoop and watched them like a hawk for 8-1/2 minutes! Perfectly done! And, when sampled by my fitness trainer, he deemed them exactly right. And now that I have this information, I will absolutely make them again.

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