The 15th of this month rolled around much more quickly than I anticipated, even with some thoughtful planning. We were away the last week of May and first week of June, and I thought it would be just fine to get the second challenge for our fledgling baking group, Baking on the 15th, done after our return. The recipe for “Individual Chocolate Souffles with Crème Anglaise” is very straightforward, and I’m no stranger to soufflés. Anything made with chocolate is motivating. What possibly could interfere?
Another year has nearly gone since my last post. Each time I promise to write more often, everything else seems to be more important. Of course, cooking the easiest meals possible and baking nothing in months is an even better reason considering the main reason for this site is food.
In a recent jaywalk, I happened onto an announcement that the Daring Bakers had decided to call it quits. Although the website is still up and running, there will be no more challenges. My nostalgia has been strong enough to get me thinking about baking regularly again. Once a month certainly isn’t enough to keep me from anything I’m currently involved in (read supposed to be doing), and at this point in time, I believe I need and will benefit from the pleasant diversion baking provides. There is something about planning, gathering ingredients, and staying on a set course step by step to its conclusion. I miss it.
I also miss the camaraderie that comes when a community engages in the same task at the same time. I know Facebook isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it has allowed me to stay in touch with so many of the Daring Baker members I met ten years ago.
That said, I have an announcement!
I’ve decided to start a baking group for anyone interested. Everyone is invited to participate each month as personal tastes and calendars allow. The guidelines will be simple and as flexible as someone chooses to make them, experimentation will be encouraged, and hopefully, we’ll have fun while we learn something new.
If you’re interested, then head on over to read about the details on Baking on the 15th.
Our first recipe (should we choose to accept the challenge!) is Strawberry Choux Cake. Think giant cream puff and you might be close.
I guess this means I’ll be more diligent about writing here at least once a month.
I haven’t made brownies for a very long time.
Years as in, when my grown boys were very, very young. I suppose that after countless results of either raw in the middle crunchy on the outside, or serious qualifiers for hockey puck status, I gave up. Bear in mind that even box brownie mixes were beyond my ability. Thinking about this after my eighth or tenth failure, I decided that it just didn’t matter — there were plenty of other chocolate goodies I could make quite successfully. Some people have yeast phobias; I am a bonafide brownie flunky.
My avoidance could only last so long, however, when the sheer number of brownie recipes made with every variation imaginable are plastered all over the web — taunting me — reminding me that everyone else seems to be gifted in the brownie making department. Read: I was the last person chosen for the kickball team. Let’s face it. I’d been jinxed, so that meant I needed to take a different approach in solving this dilemma.
I’d make blondies. They look the same as brownies minus color, of course, chew the same, and also have quite a number of variations on a theme available to experiment with. If I could pull off a nice blondie, then it just might pave the way for passable brownies. And if I’m successful with the blondies, then I might be able to make my own rendition of a dessert I recently saw in a magazine: chunks of brownies, fresh fruit, and cream all piled artfully in a cup.
And then I discovered Elizabeth Franken and Demolition Desserts. Her blondies are, well, blondies, and they appear in a luscious combo of chocolate and ice cream. At some point in her book in a completely different recipe, there’s fruit and a syrup that is heavenly. I had the gelato, so splendor in a glass was born, and faith in my ability to bake your basic-baked-chewable-squares-no-matter-what-color-type-treat was given a very welcome reprieve.
It’s all water under the bridge, but perhaps now, I can produce a passable brownie. I’m thinking the key is to have a completely different purpose in mind for them from the get go than to just cut them in squares and slate them for the inevitable teeth sinking occasion.
I don’t know what I’d call what I ended up with, but it was truly amazing. Blondies and beyond?
Maybe. But you have to wait for the end result.
All you get now is Roundies — or Almond Blondies. Good blondies, but still.
Thursday: 8:10 am
I swore I'd not be late on this month's Daring Baker's challenge. I even mentioned to others I'd complete it two weeks into the month, but time has a way of passing so quickly these days and before I knew it, this week was upon me and bearing down hard.
Two days ago, I cut some forms for the tuiles we are to have made. And even yesterday, I retrieved some egg whites from the freezer to thaw so I could begin work. But did I? No. So here I am today just getting started.
I know what you're thinking. What a slacker. And you'd be right, but it's only a bit after 8am, and I've got plenty of time even with the refrigeration time that's required for the recipe.
I'm thinking that zabaglione or pots de creme should go with my tuiles. But I'll let you know. So come back later even though you've got hundreds of others to visit. I'll be posting in stages. This month's challenge is
brought to us by Karen of Bake My Day and Zorra of 1x umruehren bitte
aka Kochtopf. They have chosen Tuiles from The Chocolate Book by
AngÃ©lique Schmeink and Nougatine and Chocolate Tuiles from Michel Roux.
The good news is that it's still Thursday. Even better? I'm done with the tuiles! They're very easy to make, but do require a 30-minute refrigeration time before baking, and if you're me, then you forgot to turn on the oven and had to wait an addition period of time after the cookies were were already on the chilled baking sheets. It never fails…
Very few ingredients are needed to make tuiles: only 1/4 c. softened butter, 1/2 c. sifted powdered sugar, 1/2 c. sifted all-purpose flour, 2 large egg whites, and a splash of vanilla.
The soft butter and powdered sugar are mixed to a paste, the egg whites added gradually while stirring to bring the mixture together.
The flour is added gradually as well, stirring, but not over-mixing until everything comes together. A splash of vanilla is incorporated and then the whole mixture goes into the fridge for about 30 minutes. Line the baking sheets with parchment or silicone and chill them as well.
Use some cardboard to cut out the shape you'd like to use. I used corregated cardboard and then pinched the inside edges before using an offset spatula to spread batter over the forms.
If you'd like, add some of the cocoa powder to a small amount of the batter and mix well before spooning it into a decorators bag with a plain tip. Make whatever decorations you'd like and then put the sheets into a 350 degrees F oven for about 7 minutes or until the edges of the tuiles are barely brown.
Remove them immediately from the pan with a thin edged spatula and use wooden spoon handles or rolling pins to shape them. But you really have to hurry, because if you don't, then yours will be as flat and crisp as mine, poor little cute things.
Have some fun making other shapes, too, and maybe, just maybe, you'll be able to twist a few!
Okay, off to make the dessert they'll go in.
Yes, it's late. A lot later than I thought I'd be, but the goings on of a day tend to make some things take longer than I'd like. Especially this dessert which, by comparison, is very easy.
1 lg. egg
1 lg. egg yolk
1/3 c. sugar
zest of 1 orange
1/3 c. freshly squeezed orange juice
1 T lemon juice
For the dessert…
0% fat Greek yogurt
Prepare an ice bath in a bowl large enough to set the top pan of a double boiler.
In the top of a double boiler pan, whisk the eggs until foamy. Gradually mix in the sugar whisking until well combined. Add the juices and the zest, mixing well. Place the pan over a gently simmering pan of water and stir the citrus mixture constantly until the mixture thickens like a pudding. Place the pan in the ice bath and continue to stir until it cools.
To create a light dessert, section an additional orange and place the segments in a wide-mouthed glass. Make sure they're well drained or the juice will pool in the bottom of the glass. In a small bowl mix 1/2 of the chilled sabayon and 1/4 c. of the yogurt. To serve, mound the orange yogurt sabayon over the oranges. Don't forget to include the tuiles!
- The tuiles are surprisingly easy to make. Unfortunately, I baked mine for 7 minutes instead of 5 while I was looking for the browned edges and then didn't move quite fast enough to get them positioned over the rolling pin and wooden spoon handles. I did have a chance to try it with another batch, so know not to bake them quite so long.
- The sabayon is also easy to put together. If you wanted to fatten it up a bit, you could mix it with whipped cream and/or a bit of mascarpone.