When in Doubt…Leave it at 350

baking, cooking, and other adventures

Tuesdays With Dorie: Chocolate-Crunched Caramel Tart September 29, 2009

100_2365This weeks Tuesdays with Dorie was chosen by Carla of Chocolate Moosey.  She picked Dorie’s Chocolate-Crunched Caramel Tart which is located on pages 355-357 in Baking: From My Home to Yours.  Once you see the picture to these in Dorie’s book, you are going to want to make these.  On top of that there is caramel, honey roasted peanuts, AND chocolate.  You have to be crazy not to want to try these.

I haven’t had honey roasted peanuts in FOREVER.  I love them.  I remember when I was a kid and I would visit my grandparents there would always be a can of honey roasted peanuts.  I always had to be careful not to eat them all because they were also my grandpa’s favorites 🙂


I love these.  The combination of the dark chocolate ganache and the caramel and peanuts is AWESOME.   I made 1/2 a recipe and ended up making 5 mini tarts.  I used all the caramel, but I did have some left over ganache.  I would definitely make these again and they actually didn’t take very long too make.


The Daring Bakers’: Vols-au-Vent September 27, 2009

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daring-bakersThe September 2009 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Steph of A Whisk and a Spoon. She chose the French treat, Vols-au-Vent based on the Puff Pastry recipe by Michel Richard from the cookbook Baking With Julia by Dorie Greenspan.

When I read that we were going to be making Puff Pastry I was a little excited.  I have actually only tried my hand at it once and it didn’t turn out as nice as I would have liked.  I made the typical mistake.  I tried to roll out the dough when the butter was too cold and it broke into pieces and you didn’t get the beautiful flakes.  Well not this time.  It turned out perfectly and it only took me 2.5 hours to make the dough with all 6 turns. (more…)


Tuesdays With Dorie: Cottage Cheese Pufflets September 22, 2009

Filed under: Baking,Cookies,Tuesdays With Dorie — pastrybrush @ 8:44 pm
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100_2341This weeks Tuesdays with Dorie was chosen by Jacque of Daisy Lane Cakes.  She chose Dorie’s Cottage Cheese Pufflets which are located on pages 148-149 in Baking: From My Home to Yours.

Every time I saw the title to this recipe I kept thinking that it was something savory until I actually read the recipe through.  Like a lot of the members I had problems with this dough being a little sticky, and I even added a little more flour to the dough and covered my table in flour before rolling it out.  It was a little temperamental.  After messing up half the dough and throwing it out, I ended up rolling out really small quantities of dough to make it easier on myself.

I  filled these babies with homemade peach-blackberry jam.  The pufflets are very yummy and perfect when you want a sweet treat that isn’t crazy sweet.  You could probably fill this dough with just about anything and it would taste yummy, sweet or savory.


Tuesdays with Dorie: Flaky Apple Turnovers September 15, 2009

Filed under: Baking,Tuesdays With Dorie — pastrybrush @ 2:54 pm
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100_2318This weeks Tuesdays with Dorie was selected by Julie of Someone’s in the Kitchen.  She chose Dorie’s Flaky Apply Turnovers which are located on pages 316-317 in Baking: From My Home to Yours.

Apples, Cinnamon….what else in this world pairs perfectly together?

Yes, I know a lot of stuff.  But just let me imagine nothing else does 🙂

When I made the dough this afternoon, I thought wow this is easy.  While the dough had its rest time in the fridge I watched Buffy and had my rest time on the couch.  I got everything put together and the turnovers looked great before going into the oven.


I was brushing them with egg wash and a seam starts to come apart and leak yummy apple juice everywhere.  I reseal it and place them in the oven.  I checked the oven a minute later and all of the seams are opening and juice is everywhere.


Now I realize that there is nothing wrong with an ugly apple turnover.  As long as it tastes good, I am a happy camper.  But all of the thick apply goodness is leaking out and that is my favorite part.  While I waited for these to come out of the oven, I was dreading the sticky mess that was leaking all over the sheet pan that I would have to clean later :/ Thank God for Silpat

I ended up baking these bad boys for 25 minutes and they actually look pretty decent and all the filling didn’t completely come out.  I only made 1/3 of the recipe and I ended up with 6 turnovers.  Out of the six, one turned out beautiful it that “I am kinda messy but you can still see the beauty in me” way.  You can actually see the layers in the bottom half of the pastry and it puffed up beautifully.

The results, YUMMY!!!!!

FYI I wrote the end of this post 4 times and the first two times I loved what I wrote and wordpress didn’t save it right.  I swear it wasn’t user error.  I keep having to try to remember what witty comment I made and of course when you try to think back it never comes out as good as it did the first time.


Daring Cooks: Indian Dosas September 14, 2009

100_2312This months Daring Cooks Challenge is brought to you by Deby from The Healthy Vegan Kitchen.  She chose  Indian Dosas, the only rule we had to follow was to keep the recipe vegan (no animal products whatsoever).  If you read my blog you know that I dabble in vegan cooking and baking so this wasn’t too hard, and I actually had most of the ingredients on hand.

Or so I thought…..

I purchased all my ingredients last week and kept putting off making this because I kept getting home from work and being too tired.  Cut to Monday morning when I decided that I would make them for lunch for Mike and I.  I get all my ingredients out so that I can start chopping.  Then I realize that I don’t have any curry powder.  I swear I had some.  I guess I little gnome stole it.  Mike runs out and gets me some and then I start making the sauce and realize I am out of oregano.


There must be a family of gnomes running around my apartment stealing my spices and herbs.  Mike ends up getting that for me too, my savior 🙂

The recipe didn’t call for it but for the filling I sautéed the vegetables in 2 tbsp vegetable oil, and for the sauce I used 1 tbsp of vegetable oil to sauté the onion and garlic.  For the filling I ended up substituting one jalapeño for the hot banana peppers because I couldn’t find any.  Also, the filling ended up being a little THICK, so I added 1 cup of vegetable broth to thin in out a little.   I garnished the Indian Dosas with toasted coconut and slices of cucumber.

This were so tasty and I love them.  That actually reminded me of a bean burrito and the toasted sweetened coconut on top added a slight sweetness that was nice.  I really enjoyed making and eating these.  It actually didn’t take too long for the whole recipe to come together.  At most it took one hour from start to finish, chopping and everything.

I made these for lunch today, and I loved them.  I will post more about what I did to the recipe and my full opinion but for now the picture to prove I made them 🙂

Indian Dosas

Source: reFresh: Contemporary Vegan Recipes From the Award Winning Fresh Restaurants by Ruth Tal and Jennifer Houston

Dosa Pancakes
1 cup (120gm/8oz) spelt flour (or all-purpose, gluten free flour)
½ tsp (2½ gm) salt
½ tsp (2½ gm) baking powder
½ tsp (2½ gm) curry powder
½ cup (125ml/4oz) almond milk (or soy, or rice, etc.)
¾ cup (175ml/6oz) water
cooking spray, if needed

Dosa Filling
1 batch Curried Garbanzo Filling (see below), heated

Dosa Toppings
1 batch Coconut Curry Sauce (see below), heated
¼ cup (125gm) grated coconut
¼ cucumber, sliced

Dosa Pancakes
1.Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, slowly adding the almond milk and water, whisking until smooth.
2.Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Spray your pan with a thin layer of cooking spray, if needed.
3.Ladle 2 tablespoons of batter into the center of your pan in a circular motion until it is a thin, round pancake. When bubbles appear on the surface and it no longer looks wet, flip it over and cook for a few seconds. Remove from heat and repeat with remaining batter. Makes 8 pancakes.

Curried Garbanzo Filling
This filling works great as a rice bowl topping or as a wrap too, so don’t be afraid to make a full batch.

5 cloves garlic
1 onion, peeled and finely diced
1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
1 green pepper, finely diced (red, yellow or orange are fine too)
2 medium hot banana chilies, minced
2 TBSP (16gm) cumin, ground
1 TBSP (8gm) oregano
1 TBSP (8gm) sea salt (coarse)
1 TBSP (8gm) turmeric
4 cups (850gm/30oz) cooked or canned chick peas (about 2 cans)
½ cup (125gm/4oz) tomato paste

1.Heat a large saucepan over medium to low heat. Add the garlic, veggies, and spices, cooking until soft, stirring occasionally.
2.Mash the chickpeas by hand, or in a food processor. Add the chickpeas and tomato paste to the saucepan, stirring until heated through.

Coconut Curry Sauce
This makes a great sauce to just pour over rice as well. This does freeze well, but the texture will be a little different. The flavor is still the same though. My picture of this sauce is one that I had made, had to freeze, then thaw to use. It tastes great, but the texture is a little runnier, not quite as thick as it was before freezing.

1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic
½ (2½ gm) tsp cumin, ground
¾ (3¾ gm) tsp sea salt (coarse)
3 TBSP (30gm) curry powder
3 TBSP (30gm) spelt flour (or all-purpose GF flour)
3 cups (750ml/24oz) vegetable broth
2 cups (500ml/24oz) coconut milk
3 large tomatoes, diced

1.Heat a saucepan over medium heat, add the onion and garlic, cooking for 5 minutes, or until soft.
2.Add the spices, cooking for 1 minutes more. Add the flour and cook for 1 additional minute.
3.Gradually stir in the vegetable broth to prevent lumps. Once the flour has been incorporated, add the coconut milk and tomatoes, stirring occasionally.
4.Let it simmer for half an hour.


Tuesdays With Dorie: Chocolate Souffle September 8, 2009

Filed under: Baking,Souffle,Tuesdays With Dorie — pastrybrush @ 2:16 pm
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100_2306This weeks Tuesdays with Dorie is brought to you by the letter S.

As in Susan of She’s Becoming DoughMessTic.

She chose Dorie’s Chocolate Soufflé, which is located on page 406 in Baking: From My Home to Yours.

It has been awhile since I have made a chocolate soufflé or just a soufflé in general.  I actually remember the first time that I ever had a soufflé, it was at Carmelo’s back home in Houston, TX.  Since they make this to order you always had to order it before the meal so that they could time it to be finished baking right at the end of the meal.  We only would get it every once in a while because it is kind of a pain in the ass to get right.  As all of us have experience one time or another.  If I am remembering correctly it was a Vanilla Soufflé and it had a white dessert sauce with it.  It has been over 15 years, but I remember it being white in color 🙂  I do remember once that we ordered it and it fell before it got to the table so we were given it for free.  Which was nice and it still tasted fantastic.

The soufflé came together without too much incident.  I did have one problem.  I ended up wasting 3 egg whites because I was separating them and the yolk fell into the whites and I couldn’t remove it all.  Instead of saving the contaminated whites and making eggs later, I wasn’t thinking and threw them away :/  Oh well.

The soufflé ended up baking up perfectly and actually tasted very good.  It wasn’t too sweet and had the flavor of the chocolate.  I ended up serving it straight out of the oven with cool whip on top.  It was very yummy 🙂


Tuesdays with Dorie: Espresso Cheesecake Brownies September 1, 2009

Filed under: Baking,Cheesecake,Tuesdays With Dorie — pastrybrush @ 7:00 am
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100_2300This weeks Tuesdays with Dorie was chosen by Melissa of Life in a Peanut Shell.  She picked Dorie’s Espresso Cheesecake Brownies which are located on pages 104-105 in Baking From My Home to Yours.

I was pretty happy when I saw this recipe because who doesn’t like espresso cheesecake and brownies.  I was also a little worried that since I am changing my diet up because of my recent cholesterol results that I might not be able to enjoys these as much.   I decided to use  reduced fat cream cheese and sour cream to lower the fat and cholesterol content a little.  I contemplated only making half a recipe, but then decided to go ahead and make a full recipe.

Like everyone else I left the sweetened sour cream topping off.  It wasn’t so much that I didn’t want to try it.  It was because I was taking these to a friends party and I didn’t know how everyone would like the topping and since they might sit out for a bit, I didn’t want the topping to go bad.  I ended up dusting them with a little powdered sugar to pretty them up a bit.

Just a side tip, when trying to slice cheesecake sometimes it is better if it is slightly frozen so that you can get a clean cut.  We use this trick at work a lot.  For the brownies, once they were cool I just popped them in the freezer for a bit.  They were probably in there for a total of an hour and I popped them out of the baking dish and used a really hot sharp knife to cut them.  I was able to get them out of the dish fairly easy because I used a square springform pan and lined the bottom with parchment paper.  I think this would work fine if you use a regular square baking dish and lined it with parchment, but just remember to leave a little overhang because you might have to give the brownies a little help out of the pan.

I thought these brownies were perfect, but I am a complete coffee and chocolate person.  Everyone at the party loved them too, but it isn’t that hard to make a bunch of intoxicated people happy that are playing Rock Band 🙂