When in Doubt…Leave it at 350

baking, cooking, and other adventures

Tuesdays With Dorie: Cantuccini April 29, 2014

This month I haven’t been posting very much but I did make the recipe for the week of April 15th, but as usual I just didn’t have time to post.  While I type this up, I am about to punch my computer in the face because the spacebar doesn’t want to work so I keep having to push it more than once.

Funny thing is I can hear it click every time I hit it but it doesn’t register the action.


Okay, back to Tuesdays With Dorie and Baking with Julia.  The recipe for the week of April 15th was for Cantuccini, which is essentially a biscotti made with almonds.  Which is located on pages 113-114 in Baking With Julia.  I love recipes that are simple, especially when I have all of the ingredients. Best thing about this recipe is that there is no added fat with regard to butter or oil. Great biscotti recipe for those days when you realize that you just ran out of butter.  Which surprisingly didn’t happen to me this time, but I was out of one important ingredient, ALMONDS. I usually have all types of different nuts hanging out in my freezer and I had almonds just not nearly enough.  However, I did have plenty of hazelnuts and just substituted them in for the almonds. I didn’t peel or toast them or anything, just straight up raw hazelnuts from the freezer.

This recipe was especially appreciated because of how quick everything came together.  Mike took Emma outside to play and I was able to mix the dough up, form the logs, and put them in the oven, in less than 20 minutes.  Which was ideal since I was also watching Maureen, 11 months old, crawl around the kitchen and living room.  She was actually really well behaved and didn’t try to play with the dog food or the dog’s water 🙂 The biscotti turned out fantastic, slightly sweet with the perfect amount of crunch. They are especially good with coffee and just as good with tea.Image


Tuesdays With Dorie: Peach Upside-Down Chiffon Cake September 4, 2012


This weeks Tuesdays With Dorie is being hosted by Marlise of The Double Trouble Kitchen and Susan of The Little French Bakery. The recipe for this week is Nectarine Upside-Down Chiffon Cake, which is located on pages 241-243 in Baking With Julia. I actually had peaches on hand,so I decided to go with peaches instead of nectarines.

The are actually a few steps to this recipe: melting butter in a pan/adding brown sugar/placing the fruit, making/baking the crumb filling, and then making the cake batter and layering it with the crumb filling, and finally baking. I was actually really glad that I read the recipe through before tackling it because I would have completely messed up the recipe. I didn’t have any almonds on hand so I decided to use hazelnuts instead, which turned out great.

The cake baked up nicely except the center of the cake did this weird sinking thing, but it wasn’t too noticable when it was turned out of the pan. The cake turned out great. I loved the flavor, but the use of the peaches might have been a bad idea. Flavorwise it was perfect, but the peaches gave off A LOT of juice. It was almost like the cake had its own peach sauce poured over the top, so the top/bottom was very moist.

I would definately make this recipe again, but I would use the correct ingredients and see of that correctedany of the sinking/moist problems that I had.


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: Maple Nut Scones and Far Breton November 1, 2011

Filed under: Baking,Breakfast,Cake,Scones,Tuesdays With Dorie — pastrybrush @ 8:11 pm
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During the month of November there is going to be two recipes for each week for Tuesdays with Dorie.  I have decided that I am going to bake each option because Mike needs to gain weight 🙂  This will probably hurt me since I am trying to lose weight.  I am almost back to my  pre-baby weight, and then I have chosen to try to lose a couple more pounds 🙂  I am looking forward to the day when I can put back on my jeans and feel comfortable 🙂

So the two recipes chosen for this week were Honey Nut Scones, which I changed to Maple Hazelnut Scones, chosen by Jeannette of Whimsical Cupcake; and Far Breton chosen by Nicole of Cookies on Friday.  Both of these recipes can be found in Baking: From My Home to Yours on pages 31 and 202, respectively.

You ask why did I change the scone recipe, 1) I was being lazy and didn’t want to get the honey out, and 2) I was being lazy and I already had hazelnuts that were toasted (peels removed) and chopped.  It just made life so much easier.  The scones came together quite nicely, and baked up in no time.  I need to learn to not pat the dough out so thin.  I decided to dress them up a bit with some decorating sugar, which helped in the sweetness department.  Most scones that you come across today at coffee shops are doctored up to the nines in sugar, so it takes a little getting use to when there isn’t that much sweetness to a scone.  But I guess that is what toppings are for 🙂

I sat down this morning with some Irish Breakfast Tea and a Maple Nut Scone, and I was perfectly content with my choice.  I couldn’t really taste the maple, but the hazelnut flavor was very nice and the tea balanced everything out.  I had just enough time to eat my scone and drink half of my tea before Emma woke up and wanted feed.  I have to say, that it was very good timing.

The Far Breton, made my life so simple.  Especially since I was trying to make it the night before.  After I made the batter and placed it in the fridge, I decided that soaking the prunes and having them ready for today would make life easier.  So I walked over to the pantry, checked my bag of dried fruit, only to discover that I was mistaken and didn’t have any prunes…I had dates, CRAP!

I guess I will just have to drink the Earl Grey tea that I just made and wait until tomorrow since I really couldn’t/didn’t want  to do anything about it on HALLOWEEN.

Cut to this evening when my wonderful husband shows up with prunes for my recipe.  I promptly fix the tea, soak the prunes, and wait for them to come to room temperature.  The Far Breton just came out of the oven and smells FANTASTIC.  Now, it is time for the waiting game.  It must be the worst game ever when it comes to baked goods that have to cool before you can eat them.  The anticipation is excruciating, so I am trying to distract myself by writing this entry 🙂


Daring Bakers: Candylicious August 27, 2011

Filed under: Ganache,The Daring Bakers' — pastrybrush @ 9:10 pm
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The August 2011 Daring Bakers’ Challenge was hosted by Lisa of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drive and Mandy of What the Fruitcake?!. These two sugar mavens challenged us to make sinfully delicious candies! This was a special challenge for the Daring Bakers because the good folks at http://www.chocoley.com offered an amazing prize for the winner of the most creative and delicious candy!

This months Daring Bakers’ Challenge we were given the opportunity to try our hands at making candy.  The mandatory items were as follows:

You must make TWO candies

The first candy must be ONE of the following CHOCOLATE candies:

1) A truffle, dipped or not dipped in chocolate OR

2) A cut (square) dipped chocolate/bonbon OR

3) A filled chocolate/bonbon using a chocolate mold

The other candy can be any CHOCOLATE OR NON-CHOCOLATE candy you like

I wanted to try something new and maybe try my hand at the Fruit Gels, but they never came to pass.  Mainly because I didn’t have the right ingredients on hand.  Since we were given the option of a truffle and then any other chocolate candy, I decided to stick with the basics.  I made a basic dark chocolate truffle flavored with Kalua and rolled in cocoa power, and for my second candy I made the Milk Chocolate and Hazelnut Praline Truffles, but used dark chocolate instead 🙂

Both turned out particularly yummy, but the Hazelnut Praline Truffle was by far the favorite because I am partial to Hazelnut and Chocolate.  Can we say Nutella? (more…)


Tuesdays With Dorie: Chockablock Cookies April 27, 2010

Filed under: Baking,Cookies,Tuesdays With Dorie — pastrybrush @ 1:13 pm
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This weeks Tuesdays with Dorie was chosen by Mary of Popsicles and Sandy Feet.  She chose Dorie’s Chockablock Cookies which are located on page 86 in Baking: From My Home to Yours.  I guess you could consider this cookie a throw all cookie…as in you throw a bunch of random yummy stuff in the batter (dried fruit, coconut, oats, chocolate, nuts, etc.) and bake it up 🙂

I have to hurry up and write this entry because I need to leave for work in 30 minutes.  I baked up these little monsters in the oven this afternoon, and the last batch just made its way out of the oven.  For the filling I ended up using golden raisins, coconut, oats, chocolate chips, and hazelnuts.

Why hazelnuts?

They were sitting in my freezer and I needed to use them.

Before baking, the molasses flavor was very prominent in the batter, but after they came out of them oven I couldn’t even taste the molasses.  All I could taste was the wonderful combination of hazelnuts and chocolate.  These giant cookies reminded me of a high ended oatmeal raisin cookie with the added yumminess of hazelnuts and chocolate.  I am sure Mike will grab one of these off the counter when he gets home and not even realize that they have coconut in them 🙂

Thank you for picking these this week Mary.  They were quick and easy to make and they were yummy 🙂


I got little feet… July 15, 2008

I got little fee eet. I got little fee eet, yeah. :to the music of Jungle Fever:


I really can’t believe it.

My first try, first freaking try and my macarons have little feet (the little bubblies at the bottom of the cookie). I am extremely happy about this.

From all of the posts I have read about people trying to make French Macarons and all of the trouble they have gone through. I am completely surprised. I thought something was going to have to go wrong. But all three batches turned out perfectly with little feet. I need to work on my piping skills but man, that is awesome. (more…)