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Pfefferneusse

8 Dec

pfefferneusseI have always loved to say, “Pfefferneusse”! As a child, I never knew what it meant or what pfefferneusse cookies were, but I loved the word.

As I wait for the cookies to finish baking, I’m looking outside my kitchen window at snow flurries that, while other parts of the country occur often and this year with great fervor, in Portland, OR, are a rarity – especially in December. When this storm was predicted last weekend, I decided I would purposefully wait until today to bake them – now if feels and smells like Christmas!

I used a #60 scoop and didn’t bother with rolling them in my hands to smooth the ball. The result is they’re a little rougher (I prefer “rustic”) than Dorie’s and I ended up with 36-cookies rather than the 40 she predicted. I also am not particularly fond of icing, so I merely sprinkled them with powdered sugar with great satisfaction.

Now, I’ve never knowingly eaten pfefferneusse, so this was a first taste for me. And, I rather liked them! I like that they’re crunchy but not hard as a nut, as Dorie described some recipes making. I’ve said it before, I believe people are (for the most part) either chewy or crunchy, and I’m definitely crunchy! I also liked that they were not overly sweet. The perfect accompaniment for a nice cup of Earl Grey tea!

Peanut Butter Change Ups

15 Nov

peanut-butter-change-ups

Ahhh…peanut butter…a staple of my youth, a staple of my children’s youths. And, I love peanut butter cookies. (Hmmm…upon reviewing my last post, perhaps I simply love cookies?) Honestly, my mother made, what I believed, was the best peanut butter cookie ever and I’ve never been able to recreate it (even using her recipe!). But, I’m about to reassess – this is may be the best peanut butter cookie, ever!

My complaint about peanut butter cookies has always been they weren’t “peanutty”enough. These are! I think the addition of the chopped peanuts really helped. (And, while Dorie’s peanut butter of choice is Skippy’s, mine is Jif, extra crunchy – I think it’s a regional thing!)

Now to the texture – it is heavenly. If I have a complaint it is that the sandy texture makes me want another…and another…and another…well, you get the idea.

Oh, and how much fun was it to see this recipe featured last week in our local newspaper. Dorie wrote about her #cookiesandkindness project.

Dorie’s Cookie Book arrived!

26 Oct

I am so excited: I got Dorie’s Cookies yesterday! I’ve looked at every gorgeous picture and decided that I would definitely participate in the next online baking parties. But, I’m also going to work through it on my own – it’s my birthday today, so the first bake is coming today! Happy birthday to me and let’s bake some cookies!

Fluted Carrot-Tangerine Cake

12 Jan

OK, so I’ve been away awhile. But, I’m back! (Christmas knitting pretty much ate up all my time – baking had to wait.)

quiche pan
This recipe excited me – a lot! First, it seemed relatively easy and quick to assemble (I’m notorious for not planning ahead!). Secondly, it gave me the chance to use a pan I’ve had for over 30-years (well, I’ve had it only about 25-years, but my mother had it for many years before), that to my knowledge, has never before been used. My sister-in-law made this quiche pan for my mother long ago and mama never used it. She gave it to me, and I always thought it too pretty to use. Dorie’s recipe seemed the exact right one to christen it!

I was right – relatively easy to assemble. If I have a bug-a-boo with this recipe it’s the “one medium carrot”. I hate that measurement – what does medium mean? Medium to a rabbit? Medium to a dieter? (Trust me, a medium carrot to a dieter is very large, indeed!) I would have preferred to have read “1/2-cup finely shredded carrot” – but I digress.

Fluted Carrot CakeAs always, Dorie’s description was spot on, “…an inch high.” I’ll let it rest over night and serve it tomorrow as dessert – won’t my family be surprised to find that Sunday dinner’s dessert has returned?!?

By the way – it is delicious! I passed on the glaze and opted for a relatively heavy dusting of powdered sugar instead. I’m not a real dessert fan – and this was spot on – not too sweet and delicately moist.

Tiger Cakes

13 Oct

Tiger Cakes

Decided that I needed a quick, easy dessert for this evening’s dinner – and this recipe filled the bill.

An easy mix-up. An easy bake! And boy, are they tasty! (Oh, and an added bonus: they look just like Dorie’s photo!)

Rewind: Bubble Eclairs

9 Sep

Bubble Eclairs w/chocolate pastry creamSo, I’ve done my rewind early – surprising, since I’m usually late on most of these things! I wanted a relatively easy dessert for this past Sunday, and I’ve never found paté choux particularly difficult. I filled them with chocolate pastry cream, and might I say, Dorie’s pastry cream is delicious!

I did have difficulty making the little “siamese triplets” staying connected. I’m not sure if I didn’t smush them together enough or they just weren’t sticky enough, regardless, all except about four of them split apart as “mini” cream puffs. Did not effect the taste, however! I’ll try again another time. Or, maybe just make cream puffs or long, thin eclairs!

My only “whine” is that I gave myself a blister on my little finger, stirring the bejeezus out of the paté choux. (Can’t whine too much – it earned me a kiss on the finger from my husband!)

Vanilla Mango Panna Cotta

29 Jul

Vanilla Mango Panna CottaWho knew panna cotta was really this easy? I needed a quick dessert for this evening; friends coming over on a Monday – now there’s a novelty – and this one just fell into my lap. The fact that I don’t have to heat the kitchen to make it is just an added bonus.

So, I don’t have the cute jar/bowls that Dorie has, but you know what works? 1/2-pint canning jars! Practical and inexpensive!

I loved the creamy top, not so much the mango puree. I’d like to try it again – this time with peaches.

Limoncello Cupcakes

4 Apr

So, I skipped the entire month of March – who knew a month that in the past, for me, seemed to be a 90-day endurance test, flew by in about 72-hours!

But, I’m back with April. These cupcakes were the very first thing I baked out of this book on the day it arrived! And, they are delicious! And, baking them on Passover/Easter weekend seems absolutely appropriate.

You’ll note that I use larger baking cups – I’ve always hated the look of a cupcake or muffin spilling over the top of the muffin paper (uh, thus the unflattering term for tummies falling over the top of blue-jean waists: muffin-top!), so I buy baking cups just a might taller. (This also allows for a slightly larger muffin when I bake them.) In the case of these cupcakes, it allowed for the syrup to be slightly more contained. I also dusted them with sanding sugar. My intent was to use yellow sugar and you’d think that being an Oregon Duck fan, I’d have tons of yellow – nope – nearly every other color, but no yellow! So, I settled for white.

Since I have a different dessert planned (and made) for Easter dinner, I’ll be delivering these to neighbors.

Happy Passover/Easter, everyone!

Limoncello Cupcakes

Marquis au Chocolat

1 Mar

Yeah, I know – only about two weeks late. I have a really good excuse (I hear all you teachers out there!) – my mixer was being repaired! Oh, and a word to the wise: if any of you use a flexible paddle beater with your KitchenAid mixer, know that if it’s not an authorized KitchenAid product, you are setting yourself up for burning out your mixer’s insides. The repairman said that was the issue – because the flexible scrapers were on both sides of the paddle there was too much stress on the sides of the bowl, translating to too much stress on the gear mechanism. So, I’ve discarded the flexi-paddle and bought an authorized KitchenAid model.  Now she’s good to go (after a complete rebuild of her insides) and she works wonderfully. But, back to the Marquis.

It was delightfully easy to put together – and the end product is among the most decadent things I’ve ever made! In addition to Dorie’s recipe, I have a recipe by Thomas Keller of Bouchon – amazingly similar. I served the Marquis last Sunday with creme anglais and pistachios. (Did you know last Thursday wasMarquis au Chocolat National Pistachio Day?)

Granola Energy Bars

12 Jan

First let mGranola Energy Barse say, “It’s game day!” University of Oregon meets Ohio State University for the first ever National Collegiate Football Championship (uh, that would be American football, for all of the international readers). Go Ducks!

And, for those of you wondering about my KitchenAid mixer saga – NO! – it is not fixed! I called the KitchenAid Hotline and after being instructed to turn the screw that’s used for adjusting the bowl, the dough hook hung up again on the bowl! In the middle of mixing calzone dough…for tonight’s game-time dinner! Thank goodness for a backup mixer! The big girl is now at the authorized KitchenAid repair shop having, as my husband referred “her screws adjusted”.

But, thankfully, granola bars need no mixer – WOOHOO! My only difficulty with this recipe was finding brown rice syrup. But I found it! And, I hope my family and friends like these bars, because the smallest jar appears to have enough for two or three more batches. I tasted this syrup, and I’m not sure I like it right from the jar (I think I prefer sorghum molasses), but I must say, they smell heavenly baking. I also opted for using an 8-x-8-inch pan rather than going to buy another baking dish, so mine will likely be a might thicker than Dorie’s.

So, it appears that these might be gluten free – am I right in this? I checked with a number of websites and it appears that the only iffy ingredient might be the oats, since they apparently are often processed alongside gluten products. If true, I may have a few friends happy that I can finally send treats to them.

OK, so, they’re out of the oven and sufficiently cooled – and my personal verdict is while they are are a pretty bar, I don’t think I’m a fan. I can’t tell if it’s the unique taste (even cooked, I find the brown rice syrup an odd taste) or the texture (I think I’ve mentioned before I’m not a fan of dried fruit). So, no, these weren’t my cup of tea and it’s doubtful I’ll make them again, but if everyone liked the same thing, there would be one recipe and we’d all be happy with it!

Addendum: Turns out they were a great hit with friends! To quote, “Hey, what’s the calorie count on these bars – we’re wondering if eating the entire box would blow our diets out of the water…” For the record, mine turned out to be about 172 calories per bar (18 bars to the batch).