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baking, cooking, and other adventures

Tuesdays With Dorie: Mocha Brownie Cake March 18, 2014

This weeks Tuesdays With Dorie recipe is the Mocha Brownie Cake, which is located on pages 282-283 in Baking With Julia. This recipe is essentially a cake brownie that is filled and iced with a Chocolate Ganache. I decided to add a Saint Patrick’s Day twist to it and add Irish Cream flavoring to the cake and ganache. The idea was to serve it yesterday, but I started a little late in the day while running errands and running herd on 2 little ones.

So, yesterday, I baked and assembled the cake and this morning I reheated the ganache and iced the cake aka I poured the ganache over. Through the years I have become really good at pouring ganache over a cake.

How is that, you ask.

A few years back, I worked at a bakery and one of my jobs almost everyday was to pour chocolate ganache over our Chocolate Disaronno Cake and then decorate them. So, I actually got pretty good at it 🙂


Finally, the children are in bed and I have been able to slice into the cake (with a hot knife, of course) and taste it. I found it to be very good and the Irish Cream flavor was perfect. I ate this straight out of the fridge and the cake was firm, but moist and the ganache was smooth and melted once it hit your mouth. I would definitely consider making this for a birthday cake for anyone that LOVES chocolate, but remember to use a good quality chocolate.


Tuesdays With Dorie Catch-up: Hazelnut Biscotti and Semolina Bread July 17, 2012


Okay, I have actually been baking a long but I haven’t posted anything.

Imagine that happening.

During the week of July 3, the hosts were Jodi of Homemade and Wholesome and Katrina of Baking and Boys. They were chosen out of a hat to make the recipe for Hazelnut Biscotti. Which is located on page 315 of Baking With Julia.

I was thoroughly impressed by this recipe for hazelnut biscotti. First, I learned anew method of peeling hazelnuts using boiling water and baking soda. It was AWESOME and worked perfectly. I usually just toast them and rub the skins off but this was so much easier and it removed all the skins, unlike just baking them. Granted it is another step if you have to toast the nuts too, but it worked too well not to just take the extra step.

I was actually surprised by the recipe because I have made many biscotti recipes and this one contained no added fat except for those of the egg yolks and in the nuts. When I thought about it it did make sense because added fat will make the product more moist and you want dry biscotti. I have to say that this have to be one of the best biscottis I have ever tasted, if not the BEST. The flavor of the toasted hazelnuts was perfect along with the crunch of the biscotti; perfect with coffee.

This week the hosts are Renee of The Way to my Family’s Heart and Anna of Keep it Luce, and they were picked to host the recipe for Semolina Bread. Which is olcated on page 102 of Baking With Julia.

The only downside of this recipe was the time it takes to make the bread: 2 hour rise for the started, 2 hour rise for the dough, 2 hour rise after shaping, and 35 minutes baking. So as you see, a lot of time. Which explains why I stayed up until 1230 am making this bread, but it was worth it. The bread was actually really simple to make and doesn’t require any kneading. The flavor of the bread reminded me of a bread from my childhood.

Every time we would go visit my grandparents in Pittsburgh they always made sure there were a couple of loaves of Mancini’s bread and a nice stinky provolone in the house. Both are still things I seek out when I visit Pittsburgh or my Grandparents come visit me. One time in college the visited me and I received 2 loaves of bread, provolone on a rope, and pepperoni, yummy. The flavor of Mancini’s is perfect to me, slightly soft and very good toasted Italian Bread. The semolina bread has a slightly firmer texture (reminiscent of dry Mancini’s), and a little bit of a sour flavor (which I assume if from the started). But it will due when I have a craving for Mancini’s bread.



Tuesdays With Dorie: Coffee Ice Cream Tart April 5, 2011

Filed under: Baking,Ice Cream,Tarts,Tuesdays With Dorie — pastrybrush @ 7:00 am
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This weeks Tuesdays with Dorie was chosen by Jessica of Domestic Deep Thought of the Day.  She picked Dorie’s Coffee Ice Cream Tart which is located on pages 358-359 in Baking: From My Home to Yours.

My first thought when I saw this recipe was that I would finally get to use the heavy cream in my fridge, but then I realized that the recipe only called for premium store bought ice cream.  So, I decided to make my go to Vanilla Ice Cream via David Lebovitz and add 2 tbsp of Espresso Powder to the milk part of the recipe to make it coffee ice cream.

My other addition to the Vanilla Ice Cream recipe was 1 tbsp vodka (at the very end).  Mike had heard a trick about adding a little bit of vodka to homemade ice cream recipes to make them not harden up so much.  I had asked him how much to add since I can’t actually have alcohol due to the current symbiote occupying my body 🙂 but he had no idea so I figured 1 tbsp would be okay for 1 qt of ice cream.  The ice cream actually turned out perfect, the only thing that I could have done without was Dorie’s addition of ground almonds to the ice cream.  It gave the ice cream a gritty mouth feel, since I was expecting that it didn’t bother me too much.

The end product was very easy to put together.  Since I was making my own ice cream I just added all the additions to the ice cream straight to the base before I put it in the ice cream maker.  It made for less dishes in the end 🙂  The ice cream tart was very good, and I loved the combination of coffee and almond flavors.  FYI when cutting this tart, it is best to use a big knife so that you can get through the crust.  It is a little tough to cut through when it is frozen.


Tuesdays With Dorie: Coffee-Break Muffins September 21, 2010

Filed under: Baking,Muffins,Tuesdays With Dorie — pastrybrush @ 2:00 pm
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If there is one thing in this world that I cannot live without, it would have to be coffee.  I stopped drinking massive amounts, by that I mean approximately 6 shots of espresso a day.  I weaned myself off of it when I didn’t work for Starbucks anymore.  I might average a cup or two of coffee a week now, which is actually really good for me.

I would have to say that Rhiani of Chocoholic Anonymous choose well this week.  She gave me my bi-weekly dose of coffee in muffin form and who wouldn’t want that.  This recipe is located on page 15 of Baking: From My Home to Yours.

The muffins had a nice mellow coffee flavor and just a hint of cinnamon in the background.  By the second day the muffins were a tad dry, so I would advise to eat them the day that they are baked.  All around nice little coffee-break muffin 🙂


Vegan Muffins on 3 occasions and Vegan Adventure #28 July 21, 2009

Filed under: Baking,Muffins,Vegan — pastrybrush @ 7:00 am
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Lately, I have taken to making a weekly trip to Ellwood’s Coffee.  Each time I go I always get an Americano and muffin.  If you have read my blog before you know that I like to experiment with Vegan cooking/baking even though I am not vegan.  I find it extremely fascinating.  Ellwood’s Coffee carries a line of Vegan baked goods that they make in the Ellwood Thompsons Bakery, which is across the street.  Ellwood’s Coffee also makes vegan paninis and wraps.  Currently, I have only tried their muffins, but I am going to slowly branch out and try some of their other Vegan options. (more…)


Buche de Noel aka Yule Log December 31, 2008


After making the French Yule Log for the Daring Bakers’ December Challenge, I decided that I needed to make last Decembers Challenge too.  Which is the non frozen type of Yule Log.  I got all of my tools together and came up with a game plan.  I knew that this recipe was going to make a BIG log.  I decided to divide the log in half and ice one with Chocolate Buttercream and the other with the Coffee Buttercream that was recommended.  I filled both logs with a Chocolate Ganache that I lightened with Whipped Cream. (more…)