Thursday, June 28, 2012

ABC Weekend Baker Classic Fruit Tart

 Our new area has a quaint corner fruit market. I eyed this market when we drove into town and dreamed of going here for this recipe. Always a great time to visit local produce: especially when the kids can play in the mist!! The temp outside was 101 degrees.

 I also am using a gift from my friend, Jen. It does not have a removable bottom like the recipe calls for but it is the only tart pan I have. Isn't it lovely?

The recipe for this month Avid Baker's Challenge is Classic Fruit Tart from the Weekend Baker by Abbey Dodge.

 The dough was beautiful. I made the filling while the crust rested in the fridge.

 The filling was not looking like it should but I continued on...and tried really hard to get the lumps out. I would have pressed it through a mesh strainer but I haven't found that in my unpacking!

 Urgh...the dough!! A nightmare to work with.

 Very FRAGILE!!

 Making me quite upset...my first tart is failing. Drat!!

 The recipe says you can piece and pinch. So that is what I did. The crust is so TASTY.

 The crust baked up nicely and smelled wonderful.

 The filling was not smooth and reminded me of my salt clay recipe. It has lots of flour in it. It was not my favorite taste. I would like to try a pasty cream recipe for eclairs in its place.

 And since Independence Day is around the corner!! I used strawberries and blueberries.

The tart dough was a nightmare to work with but taste was worth every angry word I said under my breath. The crust was so flaky! The fruit was wonderful.

I will try a different recipe next time because I do love tart..especially a summer tart with berries. But, I do prefer a recipe that doesn't turn my hair grey and doesn't remind me of salt clay.

Hopefully, my fellow bakers had a better go of this recipe.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Pancake Tuesday BoP Challenge

In my simple mind I think that the BoP (Back of Package) recipes would be excellent. You want the best recipe so that consumers will buy your product. I always like to test out the back of package recipes. I have very high expectations.
I had a bad attitude going into this recipe because I have already found what I consider to be the best pancake recipes out there!
Imagine my surprise when this was pretty good. In fact my kids loved it! I do love how easy it was. I also love Greek yogurt.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Hiking Nevada and Cookies

A few months ago I found a recipe for a layered cookie. It seems that everywhere I go...I am thinking about those cookies and seeing layers and stripes all around me.

Anniversary Narrows Hike Lake Mead NV

Red Rock Picnic Area Lake Mead NV

Red Rock Conservation Area Las Vegas NV

Snow Canyon St. George UT

So I find myself with the opportunity to make them...finally! From one of my favorite cookbooks, BAKED. Everything I have made from this book is fun! and yummy too.

I love the way the cookbook is set up with pictures and cool fonts. The "Baked" notes on the side are very helpful or funny depending on the page. I found the recipe at Baking is my Zen.

For the cookie layers
1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
7 ounces almond paste (I used a small can)
 ¾ cup sugar
½ teaspoon pure almond extract
¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3 large eggs
Grated zest of 1 orange
Orange food coloring (liquid or gel)-I used Red, like the Red Rocks here in St. George
2 tablespoons dark unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted

For the filling
2/3 cup apricot jam
2 tablespoons amaretto liqueur (I used 1 TB and it was plenty)

For the glaze
6 ounces dark chocolate (60% cacao), coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon light corn syrup
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened, cut into cubes

MAKE THE COOKIE LAYERS

1. Preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit.

2. Butter three 8-inch square baking pans.

3. Line the bottom of each pan with parchment paper and butter the parchment.

4. Dust with flour and knock out the excess flour.

5. Sift the flour and salt together in a small bowl and set aside.

6. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the almond paste, sugar, and almond extract together until small crumbs form.

7. Add the butter and beat on high speed until the mixture is combined.

8. Scrape down the bowl and add the eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated.

9. Add the orange zest and beat until combined.

10. Add the flour mixture in three parts, beating on low speed after each addition until combined.

11. Divide the batter among three small mixing bowls.

12. In the first bowl, add a few drops of orange food coloring to the batter, and mix well.

13. Continue to add a few drops of food coloring and mixing until the batter is medium orange in color.

14. In the second bowl, add the cocoa powder to the batter and whisk until fully incorporated.

15. Leave the third bowl plain.

16. Pour each batter into a prepared pan and smooth the tops.



17. Bake the layers for 12 to 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of each layer comes out clean.

18. Transfer the pans to a wire rack and cool for 20 minutes.

19. Invert the cakes onto the rack, remove the pans, and let cool completely.

20. Remove the parchment.

MAKE THE FILLING
In a small saucepan over low heat, stir the jam and amaretto until warmed through and completely blended, 3 to 5 minutes.

ASSEMBLE THE TRICOLOR COOKIES
1. Place the chocolate layer on a serving rack and evenly spread half of the apricot jam over the top.


2. Top with the plain (or white) layer and spread with the remaining apricot filling. 

3. Top with the orange layer and let the layers sit in the refrigerator for 5 minutes (or while you make the chocolate glaze).


MAKE THE GLAZE
1. In a large nonreactive metal bowl, combine the chocolate, corn syrup, and butter.

2. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and cook, stirring with a rubber spatula, until the mixture is completely smooth.

3. Remove the bowl from the pan and stir for 30 seconds to cool slightly.

4. Spread the glaze over the top of the bar cookies, completely covering the orange layer (some glaze may spill down the sides of the cake). 



5. Place the tray in the refrigerator until the chocolate topping completely sets (about 1 hour).

6. Remove the tray from the refrigerator, wait 30 minutes for the chocolate to warm up, and cut into 20 individual squares or use a small cookie cutter to create your own shapes.

7. The bars can be stored in the refrigerator, tightly covered, for up to 4 days. MMMM good!!

Friday, June 1, 2012

ABC Weekend Baker Brioche

 In the mist of a move to another state, I am making brioche. I started to think about why I blog also. You know...because I don't have enough going on with a major family move and lifestyle change.

When I started to blog, food blogs were few and far between. Food photography...what was that? Now there are books about the subject.

I think I liked doing something that was cutting edge and new. Now that the web is overflowing with AMAZING food blogs, I wonder why I still do it.

It isn't because my blog is anything spectacular. But it is mine and gives me a feeling of accomplishment and organization in my baking. It is my cookbook and journal all in one. And the bonus is that I have made great friends, keep in touch with old friends, and remain social with fellow bakers.

Here is what I learned making Brioche this weekend:

1.  How to Clean an Oven Rack:
Lay your racks on a towel in the tub
Pour baking soda on your racks
Pour a 1/2 gallon of vinegar on the racks
Let it bubble and fizz
After it stops fizzing-add water to tub and soak
Scrub until looks like new

Why besides the move would I have to clean the oven? You just can't bake brioche in a dirty oven.

2.  Be patient
I way heated my milk because I was in a hurry...and had to wait until it cooled to 120 degrees. So I cleaned the kitchen while waiting.

3. Bread making is perfect for multitasking
Not only could I clean but I could pack also while making the bread!


4. Have Faith
Adding the eggs made an ugly mess. I was worried..no need for negative worry time!

4. Real Butter Rocks!!
Adding butter to an already rich dough took this to an entire different level. Butter makes everything better.


5. One piece at a time
Adding the butter one piece at a time was great. Take time to slow down and enjoy life. Our move has been one step at a time. First the girls school, then the house, and then the job. It all comes together.


6. MMM Dough. I LOVE IT
Once when I was younger, I saw a 911 show about a person who ate so much bread dough that his stomach was exploding. I have had a terror of eating raw dough ever since! But, this dough was so tempting and soft. I had to sample, a little. I am still alive!!

7. Braiding is easier with hair

8. I love bread

9. I love a clean oven
Isn't it amazing what a clean house can give you: peace of mind and inner joy.

10. The smell of fresh bread...nothing better

11. Number 10 is so bogus. 
The best thing is eating fresh bread!! This bread is spectacular. The flavor is wonderful and the texture amazing. The kids have all but devoured the entire loaf in 1 day. I thought I had over cooked the loaf because the bottom was a tad over browned. After some time in a bread bag, it was excellent. Can't wait to see what my fellow ABC bakers came up with this month.
And if you get a chance check out the author of this years cookbook, The Weekend Baker, Abby Dodge's Web Site.