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Monday, July 27, 2009

July Daring Baker's Challenge

The July Daring Baker's Challenge was hosted by Nicole at Sweet Tooth She chose Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies and Milan Cookies from pastry chef Gale Gand of the Food Network.

We had the choice of either making one or both cookies and being the ambitious person that I am, I decided to do both. I love Pepperidge Farms Milano Cookies and have wanted to redeem myself in the marshmallow department. What a perfect way to do it, right?

First, let's start with the chocolate covered marshmallow cookies. The cookies recipe was so easy it was like cooking with your eyes closed and the marshmallows came out perfect. I am not sure if the recipe I used before gave others problems, but this recipe was flawless.

The only thing I might do differently is use tempered chocolate to cover the cookies in. The chocolate wouldn't hardened enough and it definitely melted in your hand when picked up. To solve this problem I had to put the cookies in the refrigerator until it solidified enough.

Now on to the Milan cookies, I didn't care much for this recipe. My girlfriend and youngest son loved them, but since I am the Pepperidge Farm Mint Milano queen of the house, the cookies didn't have the snap to them. They were just to chewy for me. I did however love the flavor and texture of the ganache filling.

All in all I would make both of these cookies again, but I will be on a search for a better cookie for the Milans.

A trip to Hilltop with a little bread on the side

You know how the story goes, you have egg yolks in the fridge, you look for a recipe to use it in and 'Wa La' you have Challah bread. I used Martha Stewart's recipe from her Baking Handbook and after three days I took the last about 12 oz. and made Tiramisu Bread Pudding with a coffee liqueur sauce. I wasn't able to get pics of that because it was gone so fast, but I will make some more this week and try to take pictures of it and this time i will measure all the ingredients and have a recipe to go along with it.Now this little beauty I found while on my trip to Hilltop Shopping center. There is a grocery store called "The Fresh Market" that is the only place I can find instant espresso. I always have to stock up on it while I am in there so I don't have to drive that way too much. While in the store my girlfriend and I came across this drink and decided to give it a try. I don't know what a frenchberry is, but the drink was mighty tasty. When you take your first taste it almost has a wine/winecooler like flavor, yet there is no alcohol in it.
These gorgeous strawberries were also at The Fresh Market and we couldn't resist purchasing them. They were so juicy and sweet with a bright red color to them. I never knew Driscoll had organic strawberries since I never came across them in the regular grocery store.
Let's talk about these cupcake liners now because when I saw them I knew that I would have to buy at least one package to try them out. They are a product of Sweden and they were purchased from The Kitchen Barn(another store that is a must for me when I go to Hilltop). The package said you don't need a muffin pan to bake cupcakes so that same night I went home and made some Red Velvet cupcakes to see how well they would hold up.

Here they are before being cooked

And after
This is what the paper did after cooling and sitting for a day. I'm not sure how well they would fare if they were used in conjunction with a muffin pan, so once I try I will let you know.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Tuesday's With Dorie

I know, I know I am a day late, but don't fret it is here now.

This weeks TWD was chosen by Susan of Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy and also happens to be an item on my to bake list.

It's the Raspberry Blanc Manger on page 398-399 of Baking From My Home to Yours.

I just admired how gorgeous the picture looked in the book so I knew I just had to make it. On top of the picture it also seemed pretty easy to manage. Well it didn't let me down, because this recipe was EASY and makes a dessert that would impress all your friends and family into thinking it took you forever to make.

The only problem I have with this dessert is that I am the only person in my house that eats foods like this so most of it will be thrown away unless I can get some of my neighbors to partake in this food venture.

I used blackberries instead of the raspberries, but the next time I make this(which will be a long time from now) I will make it plain and try Dorie's playing around technique with the pineapple on the side.

To get the recipe it's as easy as going to Susan's blog or just purchase Dorie's book and make all of her other wonderful recipes.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Espresso and muffins

Another gelato from the Bruce Weinstein book....Espresso Gelato

I absolutely love this darn book!!!!

These are Yogurt Honey Muffins and the recipe comes from the book in the picture below. I had some yogurt expiring on Sunday and I try not to waste anything. Luckily I bought this book from the thrift store and it contained a recipe perfect for my needs. I changed the lemon to lime juice since I had some fresh squeezed already in the refrigerator and I didn't worry about the zest.

Yogurt Honey Muffins
Makes 12
375 degree oven
4 tbsp. butter
5 tbsp. honey
1 cup plain yogurt
1 large egg, room temperature
zest from 1 lemon
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. grated nutmeg
1. Grease or use paper liners in a 12 cup muffin pan
2. In saucepan, melt butter and honey. Remove from heat to cool slightly.
3. In a bowl, whisk together the yogurt, egg, lemon rind, and juice. Add the butter and honey mixture.
4. Sift the dry ingredients on top of the wet mixture and fold in just to blend.
5. Fill cups 2/3 full. Bake until the tops spring back when touched lightly, 20-25 minutes.
6. Let cool for 5 minutes in pan and then unmold. Serve warm or at room temperature.

TWD: Brioche Plum Tart (revised)

This weeks was chosen by Denise of This was a wonderful pick and I do thank her for it. I decided to do a little playing around and used peaches instead, I also added cinnamon to the sugar.

I went to the grocery store to look for plum jam and when I saw the price of one jar I thought to myself, "Hey, I made peach jam and it's still some left and I have frozen peaches already in the freezer." It really gets my goat that when I go to the grocery store the "fresh" fruit looks so old. Since some of our produce doesn't come in season until next month and later in the fall, it would have defeated my purpose to drive a while to get to the farmer's market(insert sad face here).

All in all the Brioche Peach Tart turned out great and didn't last long at all. I'm not sure if I needed to cook longer than the time in the recipe or if the juices made the dough look undone, but it didn't seem to matter to me nor my girlfriend.

Before going into the oven

You can see in this picture how it looks sort of undone
After 10 minutes most was gone, and it was only being eaten by 2 people

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Supposed lazy summer days

I have been a busy little bee lately. Last Monday I won tickets to the 311 Unity tour with Ziggy Marley and then on Wednesday I won the upgrade tickets to move from the lawn to the seats. That concert was AWESOME!!!

I have been in the kitchen cooking/baking alot, spending many hours down at the beach getting tan( not like I need it) I would have to say this is the best summer since 2003.
Me and Some Guy Named Tias from Z104

Next week I will be going to the John Legend and India Arie concert, hopefully I will have some pics since the pictures from the 311 concert were horrible.

Mmmmm homemade biscuits, fresh out the oven!!!
Biscuits with Berry Slick''s this blackberry concoction that my grandmother made every summer we were in Alabama.

I had lots of egg whites and decided on a chocolate Angel Food cake since I usually make the regular one.

Chocolate gelato in a waffle cone
That's all for now