Tuesday, April 27, 2010

TWD: Chockablock Cookies

Molasses, Oats, Cherries, Chocolate, Pecans, Coconut...Oh My!

Yes, folks, that is a lot of ingredients to pack into one little cookie. But let me tell you they are delicious.

Dorie's recipe uses a combination of both butter and shortening, I decided to take the lazy way out and just used all butter. She also gives a lot of room for creativity in this recipe. You can use any combination of nuts and dried fruit you would like. I opted for using dried cherries and pecans in additional to the oats, coconut and chocolate chips that were already part of the recipe. I loved the flavors together. They all complimented each other really well. The cookies were sticky in texture from the molasses and the the dough had a strong molasses flavor but in the end I didn't really notice a molasses flavor at all.

Thank you to Mary of Popsicles and Sandy Feet. You can find the recipe on her blog.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

TWD: Sweet Cream Biscuits

I bring FABULOUS news! As of yesterday afternoon, my oven has been fixed. Since only the glass shattered, they were able to just replace the glass (and my landlords don't have to buy me a new stove). Putting the door back on proved to be quite a challenge for both our handyman and my husband who was helping. Apparently we have an older stove and the door is heavy and the hinges are old so the heavy door on the old hinges was a bad combination. But after a few adjustments, I am back in business!

Since, my oven wasn't finally repaired until yesterday afternoon and last week was so successful, I decided to go back to my trusty toaster oven this past weekend. We had a house guest on Saturday morning so I decided to whip up a batch of biscuits for our brunch. And when I say whip up, I mean it! A few dry ingredients, pour in some cream and roll out the biscuits. These were so much easier than using a pastry cutter to cut cold butter into flour.

First Batch, 1/2" thickness

I followed Dorie's instructions and roll them to 1/2" thickness. I used a square cookie cutter and got about 10 biscuits. They didn't rise as much as I wanted them to but they weren't flat hockey pucks either. While the first batch was cooking (I could only fit 4 on my toaster oven stoneware pan) I went to the P&Q for this week and found many people mentioning Alton Brown's instructions to be very helpful. I hadn't seen the episode and couldn't find it online so I read the instructions of his recipe hoping for a couple hints. He mentions placing the biscuits close together on the baking sheet. Of course, I thought this way odd. When I make cookies, I always space them out for spreading. I decided to give it a try. When the second batch of biscuits went into the toaster oven, I placed them close together, expecting them not to rise very much since these were also the biscuits I rolled out second so they were worked a little more. And to my surprise, they rose! They didn't rise a ton but again I didn't have flat hockey pucks.

Second Batch, 1" thickness

I sent the extra biscuits from brunch home with our friend. And later that night I remembered I had bought strawberries that were on sale and had wanted to have strawberry shortcakes. Since the biscuits whip so fast and I still had 1 cup left of heavy cream. I decided to make another batch.

I had also noticed in Alton Brown's instructions that he said to only roll out to 1" thickness to prevent from overworking the dough. Since we were having strawberry shortcakes I thought thicker biscuits would be better. I only got a total of 7 out of the second recipe but the rose very nicely.

I know the key to making biscuits is not the overwork the dough and I definitely saw a difference. These were delicious and easy and will most likely be my go to recipe for biscuits.

Our hostess this week was Melissa of Love At First Bite. You will find the recipe on her blog.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

TWD: Swedish Visiting Cake

If you read last week's post about my oven. You heard my tale of woes. I won't bore you again with the details except to tell you I want to bake in the worst way. As luck would have it (and with my strong desire to bake) the buzz about this cake all week on Twitter and our P&Q was that this cake was easy and fabulous. I was disappointed to say the least.

When I opened my Google reader this morning it was filled with posts about the Swedish Visiting Cake and how wonderful and easy it was to make. One of the first ones I read was my friend Clara, IHeartFood4Thought. Even though being sick she was able to whip up a few MINI Swedish Visiting TARTS! And the light bulb went off. My toaster oven has a bake setting. Certainly my cast iron skillet wouldn't fit inside (actually, its home is on top!) but I could fit a mini tart pan in my toaster oven!

To say I was determined was an understatement. I went to work thinking about nothing except my plan. I couldn't wait to get home. And as luck would have that, I had a very short day at the account closest to my house.

I think this may be my most memorable TWD, The One With the Toaster Oven! And of course my friends on twitter did not disappoint. This cake was super easy to whip up. To quote our hostess this week, "If you can stir with a spoon, you've got this cake made."

Our hostess this week is Nancy of The Dogs Eat the Crumbs. You can find the full recipe on her blog. Thanks, Nancy, for a great selection to help me find the motivation I needed this week!

Edit: I was so excited to post this and tell everyone about my great experience I left out a few details. I made a 1/2 recipe and got 3 4.5" tarts. On the bake setting on my toaster oven I still baked them at 350 but only for 20 minutes since they were mini. And if you are on the fence at all about making this let me just tell you from start to finish, including taking pictures and writing this post, I think I used a total of an hour and a half of my day. And it tastes fantastic!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

TWD: Dulce de Leche Duos

If you came looking for a Coconut Tea Cake; you unfortunately will not find one here. I had a minor mishap last week and am without an oven...Until Further Notice! What is a girl to do?? Don't the oven gods know I have baking to do! I am may be alone in this fact but once I am told I can't do something it only makes me want to do it more. I want to bake something in the worst way and not even because I am craving a sweet but just because I want to bake.

However, even though I am disappointed that I don't have an oven. I will not disappoint my fellow TWD bakers and readers. I have a few recipes that I made and for some reason or another never got around to posting. I will post those until I have a new oven or a new glass door or whatever it is that my landlords replace my mishap with.

These sweet cookies were our TWD recipe a couple weeks ago. I took the advice of several TWD bakers and made the dulce de leche in the crock pot method overnight. I was pleased with the results however, I think it could have cooked a bit longer. It didn't come out in a dark caramel color. It was a bit lighter and to me still tasted like sweetened condensed milk. I loved the cookies by themselves. I ate several before I wrapped them up and froze them in order to save my waistline! Adding the extra dulce de leche in the middle to make a sandwich is still gooey and sugary and yummy but I love a good plain cookie.

Our host was Jodie of Beansy Loves Cake and the recipe can be found here. For tips on making your own dulce de leche you can see our TWD discussion here and here.

PS. If your heart was set on a Coconut Tea Cake head over to see Carmen of Carmen Cooks for the recipe!