Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sometimes Baking Mistakes Are Oh So Delicious

So have you ever been in a hurry when you are baking?  I mean you are just making the usual cookie which you've done a dozen or so times.  The dough doesn't feel quite right but, oh well, you just put it in the freezer(I prefer to freeze my dough before making cut out cookies - the dough is firmer and easier to roll and cut) for when you are ready to create?  But later when you thaw the dough , it well... won't roll.  I mean, its a DISASTER.  Yeah - I've been there.  But sometimes when that happens - you discover something even better.

Last week I participated in my first ever Craft Fair.  It was held in my hometown and was so much fun.  I had the fall cookies above and these adorable dresseses, my favorite chocolate chip cookies and ....

these -- my disasters. 

This incredibly soft as a pillow so the chocolate literally melts in your mouth cookie, was born from a disaster.  My cookie dough was both a fudgy and crumbly mess.  I could not roll it out.  I didn't want to throw away all of that dough so I rolled it into little golf balls and baked it.  The result - a true Chocolate Delight!  You have to try these, seriously.  My only warning, your hands will be a chocolately sticky mess after each batch.

Chocolate Delights
adapted from a recipe from Dog Hill Cookies

3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate 
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg

-Melt the semi-sweet chocolate in the microwave and set aside to cool slightly.  Follow the melting instructions on your package as heating levels vary.  Note:  chocolate keeps its shape when melted.  You have to stir with a spatula or wooden spoon to determine if it is melted.  Chocolate burns easy, so stir frequently.

-Mix together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt and set aside.

-Beat the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy.

-Add the chocolate and vanilla to the butter mixture and mix in. Add the egg and beat until incorporated.

-Add in the flour in three stages until all the ingredients are fully combined. Form a big ball and cover the dough with plastic wrap, refrigerating until fully chilled.

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

- Using your hands, form balls slightly smaller than a golf ball.

- Bake for 11 minutes and then let cool on a wire rack.

My pictures of these cookies really don't do them justice.  I like them because they are flat but remain soft.

Have you ever had a baking disaster turn into your delight?


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

TWD - Chocolate Crunch Caramel Tart

I really think Dorie Greenspan's Baking from My Home to Yours is an excellent primer for any baker as she really covers the gambit of home baking.  And I would never doubt her recipes.  If Dorie calls for 12 pounds of butter, I put in 12 pounds of butter (okay we haven't done a recipe with THAT much butter, but I trust her - my hips can't get bigger all by themselves).  But when I read "put 3 tablespoons of sugar over medium heat and when it melts, stir in more", well, I had to go to the internet to understand how and why sugar melts on the skillet ALL BY ITSELF.  I've made almost every cake imaginable, cookies till I see them in my sleep, a healthy number of pies, brownies and anything with chocolate in it.  But I never knew that you could melt sugar with little more than a non stick skillet and heat.  Sorry Dorie, I will never doubt you again.

This tart is the kind of tart you want to make for a special dinner.  Your guests will be all "You MADE this" and you will say, "oh yes - do you like it?  Cause I wasn't sure if you would want pecans (I did) or honey roasted nuts (will try next time)."  And they will forget polite dessert conversation about healthcare, Gossip Girl or if the Knicks really think Lebron James is coming to NY.  And ask questions like, how did you get this chocolate so smooth?  Did this take you all day?  Perhaps you could add more nuts next time?  I would have thought you purchased this at the fancy bakery down the street until I saw your crust (yeah... mine, kind of fell down the sides when blind baking - oh wells).

I will definitely make this again (maybe as mini tarts).  This week's recipe was chosen by Carla of Chocolate Moosey.  To see the recipe, visit her blog and then see how other bakers fared.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Summary of this Blog... Can you guess what's missing?

This is a word cloud summarizing this blog. Yep - makes sense. Oh wait, isn't there a word missing?

Yeah... that would be COOKIES. This is a blog about me, sweets, new delicious discoveries and well cookies. As in that's what I create, that's one way to express my love, that's what this blog is called. =) (Note to self: make it happen.)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

TWD Cottage Cheese Pufflets

Okay for my two readers, I'm sorry I haven't posted.  I've actually been... baking!  I have baked a TON in the past two weeks and have the photos to prove it but I left my camera cord at a friends house so I cannot get those pictures from my camera to you. But as soon as I do, I'll post like crazy.

One of the many things I baked during the last two weeks is Dorie Greenspan's Cottage Cheese Pufflets.  In short, I really liked these!  They are definitely on my things to make whenever I finally decide to have my friends over for brunch.  They are little puff pastries with a slight kick with a hint of sweetness being added by the jam.  For the jam I used Sarabeth's Strawberry Raspberry Jam.  I heart Sarabeth's jams.  They have two restaurants in NYC and I love having brunch partly for their biscuits and jam.  If they don't offer Sarabeth's in your grocery store.  Buy it on-line.  My favorite is Strawberry Peach. 

These pufflets are actually super quick to make.  Well okay if you want them to look pretty, they may take a little time because the dough is super sticky.  But I have no patience and care more about how food tastes than how it looks so I put those bad boys in the oven even though I could clearly see jam hanging out the sides.  Note:  If you see jam hanging out the sides of your pufflets, BEFORE you put them in the oven, your pufflets are most likely NOT sealed and may (WILL) open in the oven.  Oh wells - my memories of these lovelies is how they taste.

In the future, I will probably add more cottage cheese to the recipe as I wanted a tangy taste to contrast with the sweetness of the jam.  This week's Tuesdays with Dorie was chosen by Jacque of Daisy Lane Cakes.  Please visit her blog and then see how other bakers fared.

Update:  I halved this recipe so the puflets went quickly.  Here is a picture (note - not as pretty as my fellow bakers.  I'll definitely make these again!)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

NO TWD for me

Sorry folks - I'm busy baking but not this delicious looking souffle. I'm kind of bummed. I've never made a souffle and I LOVE chocolate. I will get to it soon.

This week Susan of She’s Becoming DoughMessTic picked Chocolate Souffle. Please visit her site and the other Tuesdays with Dorie bakers.

Check back later this week to see what I've been baking.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

TWD - Espresso Cheesecake Brownies

So despite my reluctance to make brownies from scratch, I was excited to try this week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe, Espresso Cheesecake Brownies.  I even went out and purchased espresso powder (I know it heightens the flavor of chocolate so I guess I'll throw it into future chocolate cakes) last week.  Yes here are the ingredients sitting on my counter.... 

So did I make brownies last week or even this weekend?  Nope.  Of course not.  I waited until the last minute to make them.  In fact, they aren't done.  They are currently cooling in the fridge.  Despite most TWDers not including the topping, I have decided to try it.

The recipe was super easy.  Instead of 4 oz of bittersweet chocolate, I added 5 oz to the brownie and since I had 1 more oz, melted it and added it to the frosting.  I didn't have enough chocolate to really make swirls.  So clumps it is.

Update:  Topping added.  Refrigeration done.  Brownie tasted. 

Meh.  Needs more flavor or texture.  These aren't bad, I've just had better.  I probably won't make these again but if I did I would add nuts to the brownie batter and something tangy to the cream cheese.  Perhaps I needed a better brand of espresso?  Don't blame my lack of enthusiam about these brownies on the recipe.  Remember, I can't bake brownies.  I've peeked at other baker's brownies and most had much more success than I did. 

To see a mouth watering version of this recipe visit Melissa of Life In A Peanut Shell.  Then please visit other Tuesdays with Dorie bakers for more versions of this recipe.