Daring Bakers: Replay

DSC02284This week’s challenge was to choose an old challenge and redo it–such a fun idea! Unfortunately, time got away from me and I didn’t make any of the dozen fun ideas I had (yet–maybe tomorrow). So the only repeat challenge I made this month was simple: blueberry muffins from the quick bread challenge. It wasn’t even on purpose for the challenge, but my sister and I went blueberry picking and of course it led to lovely muffins!

Blog Checking Lines: In a “celebration” of past Daring Baker and Daring Cook challenges, Lisa challenged all of us to search through the Daring Kitchen archives and pick any one we’d like! The REAL challenge was picking which delicious recipe(s) to try!

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Daring Bakers: Pie

Blueberry Peach Pie

Blog-checking lines: Rachael from pizzarossa was our lovely June 2013 Daring Bakers’ host and she had us whipping up delicious pies in our kitchens! Cream pies, fruit pies, chocolate pies, even crack pies! There’s nothing like pie!

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Daring Bakers: Prinsesstarta

deliciousThis months challenge was…challenging. The recipe itself was simple, but when you need to beat the cake batter thoroughly and whip cream, it’s a bit of a problem to no longer have any variety of mixer. As it was, my arm got a workout with the whisk!
The dessert itself was very pleasant (I opted for blackberry jam) and you can’t go wrong with cake, custard, jam, whipped cream and marzipan. Still, I’m not sure it was quite worth the work!

Blog-checking lines: Korena of Korena in the Kitchen was our May Daring Bakers’ host and she delighted us with this beautiful Swedish Prinsesstårta!

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Daring Bakers: Savarin

Savarin–to be quite honest, I had no idea what that even was until the DB challenge came out. It’s pretty simple: yeast cake soaked in syrup and garnished as desired. Weird. But, as it turns out, tasty! I can’t say I’m totally won over to this as a favorite dessert, but it makes a fun change.

SavarinI followed the cake/bread (it’s not sweet on its own) recipe as required but decided that for the syrup and filling I’d go with simple and, from what I can tell, classic. Simple syrup with kirsche to soak, and sliced fresh strawberries to fill. It turned out quite nice and I think will be even better tomorrow when the flavors have had time to meld.
Syrup:
Boil 2 cups of sugar with 1 cup of water and a few slices of lemon zest. Remove zest, pour half of the syrup over the savarin, pour 1/2 cup of kirsche over, then pour on the remaining syrup.
Let soak in, then turn onto a plate and garnish with strawberries.

Blog-checking lines: Natalia of Gatti Fili e Farina challenges us to make a traditional Savarin, complete with soaking syrup and cream filling! We were to follow the Savarin recipe but were allowed to be creative with the soaking syrup and filling, allowing us to come up with some very delicious cakes!

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Daring Bakers: Hidden in Plain Sight

My initial feelings about this challenge can best be described as nonplussed. The challenge goal was to hide veggies in baked products. I’ve never been a fan–to me such behavior implies that it’s ok to be ashamed of openly serving vegetables and that picky eating is acceptable. No way. Eat your vegetables and be proud of it! Of course, I say this as a non-mother who doesn’t have to actually worry about getting small ones to consume a balanced diet.
My second raised eyebrow came on the brownie recipe option offered by the challenge host, the hidden “vegetable” being kidney beans. I don’t consider beans a vegetable, and I’d actually just had a debate earlier in the day with some fellow nutrition students as to whether it was appropriate to categorize pulses as vegetables in an epidemiological study. (The consensus, in case you care, was categorization would depend on the proposed mechanism of action hypothesized for vegetables; it would be a different story if you were investigating, say, micronutrients or fiber. Yeah, we’re nerds.) Anyway, I decided if I was going to stick beans in my brownies there had better be a good reason, and since the recipe already had a low flour content I decided to transform it to gluten-free. (I have several friends who won’t touch gluten.) I also halved it in case I didn’t like the result. So:

DSC02118Bean “Brownies”
8 oz (1/2 can) kidney beans
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup rice flour (if you don’t care about gluten, you can use regular flour)
1/4 cup cocoa
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
1/4 cup oil
1/2 tsp vanilla

Heat oven to 350. Puree the beans, then mix all ingredients and pour into a 8×8 pan. Bake 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Verdict: In my opinion, these still taste distinctly like kidney beans. Not unpleasant, just distinct.

As a result of low enthusiasm for the first round, I decided to make another batch playing with the ingredients a bit more and spicing it up to get rid of the kidney bean taste. This also got rid of the other half a can of beans.

DSC02117Chocolate Bean “Gingerbread”
8 oz (1/2 can) kidney beans
1/2 cup molasses
1/4 cup rice flour (if you don’t care about gluten, you can use regular flour)
1/4 cup cocoa
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 egg
1/4 cup oil
1/2 tsp vanilla
dash cinnamon
pinch of cayenne
chocolate chips and walnut pieces to sprinkle

Heat oven to 350. Puree the beans, then mix all ingredients except chips and walnuts and pour into a 8×8 pan. Sprinkle chips/walnuts on top. Bake 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Verdict: The molasses, cinnamon and cayenne covered up the beans a lot better than the first recipe had, but gave the dessert a distinctly gingerbready flavor. I think next time around I’ll try throwing in some actual ginger and see how that goes. The best addition was the chips, which kept the focus right where it belonged: chocolate chocolate chocolate!

Blog-checking lines: Ruth from Makey-Cakey was our March 2013 Daring Bakers’ challenge host. She encouraged us all to get experimental in the kitchen and sneak some hidden veggies into our baking, with surprising and delicious results!

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Daring Bakers: Laying low (ok, I mean flatbread)

This month’s challenge was crackers and flatbreads, and I had a great sesame cracker recipe to make. Until I realized I couldn’t find my sesame seeds–so flatbread it is! Hey, flatbreads go well with soup too, and it’s certainly soup weather. Or at least every other day it’s soup weather; around here it’s been alternating between sleeting and 60s with alarming regularity.
Normally, I point to the challenge poster’s blog for recipes, but I couldn’t find it on Sarah’s blog this month so here it is:

Herbed Flatbread
Servings: About 16 pieces

Ingredients:
1 cup (240 ml) warm water (about 110°F/43°C)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (2 ¾ gm) active dry yeast
3 cups (720 ml) (420 gm) (15 oz) all-purpose (plain) flour, plus more for rolling
3 tablespoons (45 ml) of extra virgin olive oil
coarse salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 large egg whisked with 1 tablespoon water for egg wash
sea salt, for sprinkling
1/4 cup (¼ oz) fresh rosemary or thyme

Directions:
Place the water in a medium sized bowl and sprinkle the yeast. Let stand until the yeast is foamy, about 5 minutes. Stir in flour, oil, 2 teaspoons coarse salt, and the sugar. Stir until a dough forms.
Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about 2 minutes. Use as much flour as necessary so it is not a sticky dough. Place in a lightly oiled bowl and roll the dough around in the bowl so that it is also lightly oiled on the surface. Cover with saran wrap. Let stand in a warm place until it doubles in volume, about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4. Divide dough into 16 equal portions and cover with plastic wrap. Roll out each piece to approximately 4″x10″ (10cm x 26cm) on a lightly floured surface. Transfer to parchment lined baking sheet. Brush with the egg mixture and sprinkle with sea salt and herbs.
Bake, rotating sheet halfway through baking, until crisp and golden, 18-22 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheet then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Actually, I thirded (is that a word?) this recipe since I didn’t quite believe the promises about long-term storage possibilities.

Blog checking lines: Sarah from All Our Fingers in the Pie was our February 2013 Daring Bakers’ host and she challenges us to use our creativity in making our own Crisp Flatbreads and Crackers!

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Daring Bakers: Gevulde Speculaas

I’m always pleased when Daring Bakers chooses a recipe I’ve never heard of; the adventure is what makes the whole group fun. That I can’t even begin to guess how to pronounce the dish’s name? Details.
Basically, the recipe is for a gingerbread/marzipan sandwich. Since I’m extremely fond of both gingerbread and marzipan, this is a very good thing! I did decide to substitute a hazelnut paste for the almond, the results were entirely satisfactory.
Blog-checking lines: Francijn of Koken in de Brouwerij was our January 2013 Daring Bakers’ Hostess and she challenged us to make the traditional Dutch pastry, Gevulde Speculaas from scratch! That includes making our own spice mix, almond paste and dough! Delicious!

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Daring Bakers: Christmas cookies!

Lovely, lovely challenge: make Christmas cookies!
I chose the recipe for Chocolate Hazelnut Crinkles, which were delicious. You should try them!DSC02066
Blog-checking lines: Holiday season is the time for sharing and Peta of Peta Eats is sharing a dozen cookies, some classics and some of her own, from all over the world with us.

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Daring Bakers: Napoleon

This month’s challenge was a Moroccan (!) recipe for mille feuilles. I always have loved them, but I still believe they’re one of those foods it’s worth just buying if a good bakery is handy: they’re a lot of work, which takes something out of the experience of luxuriating over a small but decadent dessert. And you wouldn’t want to eat a large quantity and they don’t keep, so…
Just my opinion.

Anyway, I’ve only made puff pastry once before, and this recipe was definitely for a far less “puffy” product than last time; intentionally squashing it seems counterproductive but works fine. If you haven’t tried it before, you should!

Our October 2012 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Suz of Serenely Full. Suz challenged us to not only tackle buttery and flaky puff pastry, but then take it step further and create a sinfully delicious Mille Feuille dessert with it!

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Daring Bakers: Empanadas

I’ve always thought empanadas had to look like little half circles, similar to calzones. Apparently not–Patri’s instructions were for square or rectangular full-pan sized emapanadas. Much easier that way, though less portable.
I made the dough according to Patri’s instructions, but I went a little crazy on the filling. I didn’t have the ingredients for Patri’s suggested recipes; in fact I didn’t have the ingredients for ANY recipe I could find. So I decided that empanada fillings are probably treated as a good way to get rid of whatever miscellaneous ingredients a cook has collected and acted accordingly.

Dough with fillingSplit Pea Empanadas
1 cup split peas
1/2 onion, diced
1 jalapeno, diced
1 clove garlic
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 bunch cilantro
paprika and salt to taste

 

Combine everything except the cilantro and boil until the peas are soft and most of the moisture has evaporated. Roll out half the empanada dough on a sheet pan, top with filling, then cover with the other half the dough and pinch the edges closed. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.

Patri of the blog, Asi Son Los Cosas, was our September 2012 Daring Bakers’ hostess and she decided to tempt us with one of her family’s favorite recipes for Empanadas! We were given two dough recipes to choose from and encouraged to fill our Empanadas as creatively as we wished!

DSC02020

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