zaterdag 28 juli 2007

Big, FLAT cookies

I'd been eyeing the recipe for weeks. Wasn't hard to do, as there's a picture of the cookies on the front cover of the book (Big, fat cookies, that is). It looked like two deliciously thick and cakey brown-sugared chocolate chip studded cookie with a thick ganache layer in between. Heaven. So I started making the dough, and was anticipating greatness when just tasting the raw dough. Heaven indeed. Then I started to actually bake the cookies. The spread, spread, spread some more, only to end up flat as pancakes. No thickness, no cakey-ness, nothing. I chilled the dough. I chilled the sheets, I made the cookies smaller, I took them out of the oven earlier thinking I might have overbaked, all to no avail. I had the filling ready before all the cookies were baked or I would have given up. I sandwiched the cookies anyway (nothing wrong with the ganache), but the end result was *very* disappointing. I blame dutch sour cream consistency, which is supposed ot be thinner than the US kind. Or, maybe I should have just stopped after those first three winner recipes, and let it at that. Still deciding ;o).

Just because I didn't want to accept defeat, I turned some beauties of apricots into a simple apricot cake. It's a Bill Granger recipe. Simple, uncomplicated, and totally relying on the quality of the fruit. Which was fabulous. It didn't look all that sophisticated but was in fact, simply perfect. The tang of the apricots combined with the sweet soft cakey batter (this one did turn out cakey indeed, ha!), just delicious. *That* was worth a picture after all! On second thought, it will be once the site lets me upload the picture. Maybe tomorrow will be a better day all around ;o)

vrijdag 20 juli 2007

Truckloads of plums

A very nice coworker of Marco told him to stop by to get some plums, as he was drowning in them and didn't know what to do with them anymore. We went home with three humongous buckets of plums. They are really nice too and completely organic!
So I made plum tarts. It's one of my dad's favorite tarts, and I figured what would be a better occasion that his birthday to treat him to it? So I baked two, in an effort to use up some of the plums (still two buckets left, LOL!). My hands look like I've been working in a coal mine, but the house smells like cinnamon and life is good :o).

That powdery stuff you see on the plums is just the cinnamon sugar, not yet completely melted into the plums. I promiss it's not just icky flour that should have gone in the dough!

I got to make thank you cookies as an added bonus, for which I picked ' chocolate oatmeal cherry cookies' from Big, fat cookis (again) and they are wickedly big and nice. Still not serious competition for those chocolate cookies (will I ever stop swooing over these cookies?!), but nice nonetheless. Hope they like 'em!

woensdag 18 juli 2007

Big, fat cookies take 4

It's official, I can't stop trying out new recipes from this book. I let my husband pick this one, and he chose it because he wanted something 'different'. The lemon butter crumb cookies are basically crumbs that are baked into cookies, with a nice dose of lemon zest to add interest. I worried the dough might be to dry, but it baked nicely into buttery, crumb-y treats. The cookies are quite fragile as the edges tend to crumble off, but they are a nice change from the ordinary. I must admit they can't compete with the chocolate chunk mountains (still in awe over that recipe), but they definately are a nice change. I'm afraid my side track isn't over yet!

zondag 15 juli 2007

Jam session

I'm an avid jam maker. I don't know how I started this habit, but once I got my first jar made and tasted it, I was hooked for life. I use less sugar than commercial jams, and lots of fresh fruit. Nothing else. Yesterday at the farmers market I ran into some wonderful looking apricots and nectarines. And then I had some trifle berrries left over, that needed to be used. So I made two larges batches, one apricot/nectarine/strawberry and one apricot/nectarine/strawberry/blackberry. We slaved over a hot stove on a hotter than hot day, but the end result is worth it: 20 nice jars of summer in a bottle ;o).

zaterdag 14 juli 2007

A lot of baking

Somehow there were just many reasons to bake this weekend. Firs reason was, that my sister and her family were coming back from their vacation, and that calls for baked goods in our family. So I made a huge sheet of my mom's old fashioned apricot crumb cake. It turned out very well, but the picture didn't so I have to come up with a new one before I publish ;o).

Second reason was that we are invited to a dinner party and promised to bring dessert. After thinking long and hard, and avoiding a lot of ingredients that my pregnant friend isn't allowed to have, it came down to trifle. I made a lemon buttermilk cake from Maida Heatter, lemon curd, bought fresh berries at the farmers market, made some raspberry sauce, and voila, everything needed for a very nicy summery dessert.
THe cake is very fragrant and flavorful with a nice texture. I took te opportunity to use my very favorite rose Bundt pan just to show off ;o). End result in the pictures, reviews to follow!

I'm already browing to the 'big fat cookie' book again to try out something new too. Let's just say I want to maintain the wonderful smell in the house!

vrijdag 13 juli 2007

Big, Fat Cookies

I'm back in the saddle, but afraid I got distracted by another cookie book that this ' cookie journey' wasn't about. But the results are so great I had to include them here. I made the chocolate chunk mountains, out of the book by Elinor Klivans: Big, Fat, Cookies. And honestly, I was patient and waited a day to taste them, as the book suggested they are best the day after baking, but now that I have I can say these are fantastic. I could think of 10 other words to describe them, and they'd all come down to the same conclusion, that they are magnificent cookies. They are thick, big, extrenely chocolatey and the smell is intoxicating :o). How could they be anything but wonderful with 23 oz. of chocolate for a recipe that makes 23 cookies? I know these will be in my favorite cookie recipes of all time, at a high ranking ;o). I guess I'm not done making recipes out of this book yet!

zondag 8 juli 2007

Nothing much

In spite of the fact that I had picked out recipes, bought ingredients and was ready to bake, nothing much happened over the weekend. I did manage to make last week's biscotti again, this time with apricots and almonds, but that's as far as it went. I also reduced the sugar with 10%, the difference wasn't noticeable to me. We liked the cookies again, but I have to say I preferred the cranberry/pecan version. I'm not the biggest almond lover I guess! I will definately play around with the recipe more.
The chocolate cookies I had planned on will have to wait a couple days more, but that's what having a house on the market does to your cookie baking efforts...;o) Cleaning is a necessity!

zondag 1 juli 2007

Biscotti and Patties

I was having the hardest time deciding on what recipe to try next from the book. Somehow, I wasn't in the mood for anything I saw. So I put it back on the shelf and noticed another, very unused cookie book sitting next to it, and it was calling my name ;o). It's 'Big, fat, cookies' by Elinor Klivans. My husband commented that the cookies pictured on the front looked great, so I made them. Also, I came by a recipe for biscotti that looked interesting enough to try as well. So here's my report!

The biscotti recipe had many choices on add-ins, and I picked dried cranberries and pecans that I had just stocked up on. I love biscotti, but sometimes they are just a little too hard to my liking, mostly when they totally lack butter. I'm all for low-fat cookies, but not when they don't taste good because of it. This recipe called for a few tablespoons of butter, but still not too much. I didn't make them as big as the book directs you to, and I didn't bother with the complicated way of adding the dried fruit to the dough (just mixed everything right in). I have to say this might be number 1 on my biscotti list. They are truly delicious. Crispy, but not tooth-breaking hard. Studded with nuts and dried fruit, simply delicious. I'm going to try them with dried apricots and almonds next.

Next recipe I tried was called 'Peppermint patties'. Now I didn't have the peppermint extract called for, and my husband asked me to not make it peppermint no matter what I did, so I just made the butter/sugar filling a vanilla one. I made the cookies slightly smaller (two-fisted in size seemed a little excessive ;o)) than the recipe stated. The verdict: sweet, chocolatey, goodness. They are definately not a little in between snack, and are aslo sweet, but the chocolate cookies, chocolate glaze and buttercream filling blend together wonderfully. They are best when served cold, like the author suggests.
I'm thinking this book deserves further test baking and could become one of my favorites!