zondag 27 mei 2007

Mother Bauer's buttered rum cookies

Next recipe in the cookie journey, picked beacuse I want to keep varying the types of cookies I make. These are rolled out cookies, filled with a rum flavored buttercream.

I have to confess I didn't follow the recipe exactly as written. The cookie dough calls for a small quantity of grated almonds (I used store bought ground almonds as they are a finer grind which I prefer texture-wise) and, to enhance the almond flavor: -gasp- almond extract. Well, almond extract will never make it over the footstep of my house, let alone the kitchen. I hate it with a passion. I have tried it on two occasions, and threw both batches of cookies I used them in, in the trash because I detested that horrible extract. I can smell it from a mile away. So I just left it out. You have to stick to your principles sometimes ;o). Be glad I'm not getting into my true feelings for nutmeg at this point, ha!

Back to the cookies. I loved making these. But then, I love the whole rolling and cutting proces. The fun starts when you begin to decide on the perfect cookie cutter for the task. My husband doesn't believe me, but I actually didn't have the cookie cutter that was used in the book, so I used a butterfly cutter, a VW beetle cutter and some undefined shape that I wasn't thrilled with when they were done.
The cookies look beautiful, are again very delicate and flavorful. I thought the filling wasn't a lot, so I skimped and then had leftovers. My rating of the cookie was 7 (out of 10), because I did find them a little too sweet. My husband rated them 8 out of 10.
We both decided that the next recipe will be one that has chocolate!

zaterdag 26 mei 2007

Birthday intermezzo

Not considering the fact that I turned another year older (well, technically it's only a day), I *love* my birthday. I love having a special day, I love doing something nice, and most of all I love going to see my mom and wish her a happy birthday as well, because we share birthdays. So yesterday was another lovely birthday, and in order to celebrate, I had to bake.

I decided that cookies weren't birthday-ish enough and wanted to make something else. I talked to mom, and we both agreed we need something with lots of whipped cream, and something that doesn't even come close to whipped cream, in order to please everyone in our (small) family. So I made the much requested hazelnut genoise filled with praline whipped cream, topped with caramelized nuts to please the cream lovers, and, as mom, my sister, my husband and I detest the whipped cream blobs, a lovely fresh strawberry pie. Granted, it is filled with vanilla pudding that was lightened with a bit of whipped cream, but there's no need to tell anyone ;o).

The cookie journey to be continued in the next entry!

zondag 20 mei 2007

Jeanne Bauer's Maple Macadamia Bars

Next stop in the journey: maple macadamia bars. I picked them mainly because I hardly ever make bar cookies. I think cookies need to be portioned, formed, dropped, whatever, but cutting just doesn't make the whole thing feel cookie-like. Oh well ;o). We love macadamia's, so that alone was reason enough to try them.

The recipe has you make the crust and the filling (nuts/caramel-syrupy concoction) separately. Crust was easy enough to put together, but after the first step, the blind bake, my foil that held the beans stuck to the crust, tearing pieces out of it. Oops. As well as I could, I got the stuck parts off the foil, put them back where they belonged and pretended I didn't know it happened. I though at this point the crust was very thin (as in too thin). I baked it some more, and prepared the filling. Sprinkled the nuts on the crust, poured the syrupy stuff all over it and baked some more. At this point, the whole thing looked quite suspicious. It seemed too dark brown, bubbled all over (as the recipe said it would), just looked funny. I took it out of the oven, let it cool, while worrying I would definately have to peel the foil that I lined the pan with off of the cookie, in tiny shreds. Also, I thought they'd become rock hard.

No such thing. The foil peeled right off (in one piece!) and they cut beautifully. The crust is buttery, flaky, yummy-ness. The filling is sweet, nutty, yummy-ness ;o). Yes, we both loved them and both rated them 8 out of 10. A definate winner !

donderdag 17 mei 2007

Rose's crescents

Was the next recipe to try. I picked these cookies because something plain, buttery and sweet most often turns out to be a favorite for me. Before mixing the dough, that called for a small amount of blanched, sliced almonds that had to be ground, I wondered if I should toast them. As the recipe didn't specify that, I skipped the toasting. The dough had to rest for two hours in the fridge, then had to be portioned, cut and formed into crescents. It was a bit time consuming, but fun anyways :o). The dough seemed to work better when chilled, so I stuck the cookies in the fridge after molding, waiting for their turn in the oven. I was a little suspicious because the little dough crescents didn't even resemble the picture in the book, but just carried on.

I baked them (specified time was exactly right), rolled them in superfine sugar combined with cinnamon as directed, and they looked as if they had come right out of the book. I personally found them delicious. One of the most delicate cookies I ever tried. Buttery, sweet, and a hint of almond (and I decided the cookie would benefit from toasting the nuts first, so I'll do that next time). I rate them 8 out of 10, but my husband labeled them 'good but a little dry' and said 7 out of 10.

Now off to pick out the next recipe!

vrijdag 11 mei 2007

Cocoa Brownies

I picked the cocoa brownies for round one of the cookie journey. Mostly because I had all ingredients on hand, they seemed pretty straighforward and simple to make, and because my husband loves brownies. I have never understood the brownie hype, but that might have something to do with the fact that brownies are just not very well known here in our neck of the woods.

But, back to the recipe. Preparation was as easy as it seemed, and the brownies baked up beautifully, making the house smell wonderful. I cut them a few hours later, and tasted a few of the unevitable crumbs. Let's just say I thought they were okay ;o).

My husbands coworkers on the other hands totally loved them, without being very critical and telling him what they specifically liked/disliked. I'm going to have to make them be more critical next time! But I guess that round one was a good one. Next up are crescents. They look like a wonderful, plain, cinnamon scented cookie. That one's for me :o)

dinsdag 8 mei 2007


I have been interested in baking for quite some time now, and was looking for a new challenge, a 'project' that would inspire me to do new things. I thought long and hard on what the project should be like, until I read a blog where a lady worked her way though a Maida Heatter cookie book. The idea was so appealing to me, that I started browsing through my own cookbook collection, looking for a book that somehow stood out to me. The winner was Rose's Christmas Cookies by Rose Levy Beranbaum. I have tried a few recipes out of the book, and liked the results a lot. An added bonus for me is, that all ingredients are listed in weights, and the author's approach to baking, eye for detail and precise descriptions fit me like a glove.
So I decided to give it a go myself, and try to bake my way through (at least most) of the recipes.

Now I will just have to form a test panel, to get some different tastebuds involved besides our own to achieve more objective ratings :o). I'll try to make a recipe each week, time permitting, and will post results and hopefully pictures here.

Stay tuned!