Tuesday, July 28, 2009

TWD:Vanilla Ice Cream

This weeks Tuesdays with Dorie recipe is Vanilla Ice Cream chosen by Lynne of Cafe LynnyLu. There are probably more people out there that love chocolate ice cream but I have always been a vanilla girl. Vanilla is subtle and not overwhelming. It is delicious plain or with any variety of toppings (Butterfinger is my fav!). I prefer to make mine with vanilla bean but I would never turn a bowl made with extract!


I made this over the 4th of July weekend at my parents' house. To go with, I made a homemade peach cobbler (my absolute favorite dessert!). Together they were fabulous. I probably could have eaten the entire container of ice cream AND the cobbler. By itself, the ice cream was very yummy. This one will definitely go into frequent rotation.

I forgot to bring my camera with me so all I had was my iPhone. The light wasn't great but the ice cream was gooood!

To see more vanilla ice cream, check out the TWD blogroll! You can find this weeks recipe at Cafe LynnyLu.

Sorry for the short post! Hopefully more next time!


Monday, July 27, 2009

Daring Bakers: Cookies!

Daring Bakers Logo- Vanilla Fairy

Our challenge this month for the Daring Bakers was cookies. We were giving the option of doing either Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies or Milan Cookies. Or we could do both. I had planned on doing both but time got away from me and I was working the day before the challenge was do so only one got made. I still plan on doing the Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies at some point however.

Making the cookie portion was fairly easy. The batter came together quickly and was ready to bake in no time. The issues started when I tried to pipe them out. I piped out 1-inch sections of batter and they spread but came out of the oven misshapen (and waaaay to brown).

Milan Cookies

For the next batch in the oven, I just used a spoon to dish out the batter. These came out better because they were bigger but still not the shape I wanted. For the last two trips to the oven, I just took a bunch of the batter and spread it out on the silpat then baked.

Milan Cookies

The next issue that came up was for the filling. This time it was all my fault. I had scaled down the recipe by about half but when it came time to make the filling, I put in the full amount of cream! grrr...I tried to pour out some of the liquid before the chocolate melted in hopes it would be okay. It wasn't. Even sticking it in the fridge to chill it down quickly, only slightly thickened it.

Having already wasted ingredients for the filling, I wasn't keen on the idea of trying it again. After searching through the pantry for a suitable alternative, I found nothing so I spread a tiny bit of the chocolate 'sauce' on one cookie and made a sandwich. It was tasty but I don't think I enjoyed it as much as I probably could have.

Milan Cookies

Sigh. Another fail when trying to follow the recipe as required by the challenge. Oh well, maybe next time will be better! At least the cookie portion was delicious!

Milan Cookies

To see more cookies by the Daring Bakers, check out the blogroll here!

The July Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Nicole at Sweet Tooth. She chose Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies and Milan Cookies from pastry chef Gale Gand of the Food Network.

Milan Cookies

Recipe courtesy Gale Gand, from Food Network website

Prep Time: 20 min
Inactive Prep Time: 0 min
Cook Time: 1 hr 0 min
Serves: about 3 dozen cookies

• 12 tablespoons (170grams/ 6 oz) unsalted butter, softened
• 2 1/2 cups (312.5 grams/ 11.02 oz) powdered sugar
• 7/8 cup egg whites (from about 6 eggs)
• 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
• 2 tablespoons lemon extract
• 1 1/2 cups (187.5grams/ 6.61 oz) all purpose flour
• Cookie filling, recipe follows

Cookie filling:
• 1/2 cup heavy cream
• 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
• 1 orange, zested

1. In a mixer with paddle attachment cream the butter and the sugar.
2. Add the egg whites gradually and then mix in the vanilla and lemon extracts.
3. Add the flour and mix until just well mixed.
4. With a small (1/4-inch) plain tip, pipe 1-inch sections of batter onto a parchment-lined sheet pan, spacing them 2 inches apart as they spread.
5. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10 minutes or until light golden brown around the edges. Let cool on the pan.
6. While waiting for the cookies to cool, in a small saucepan over medium flame, scald cream.
7. Pour hot cream over chocolate in a bowl, whisk to melt chocolate, add zest and blend well.
8. Set aside to cool (the mixture will thicken as it cools).
9. Spread a thin amount of the filling onto the flat side of a cookie while the filling is still soft and press the flat side of a second cookie on top.
10. Repeat with the remainder of the cookies.


Friday, July 17, 2009

Apricot White Chocolate Scones

Apricot White Chocolate Scones

I love scones. They make me happy. And they remind me of London. These scones are nothing like the ones I ate in London. Why? Because these scones are freakin' awesome! They are the make me RIGHT NOW of the scone world.

I saw these a few weeks ago on my reader via
David Lebovitz. And they sounded so good that I had to make them that morning for breakfast. His were white chocolate and sour cherry scones but he suggested that dried apricots would be a good substitution for the cherries and as I was on my dried apricot kick then, they made it in the bowl.

The dough is very wet. So wet that I had to add more flour to get it to a manageable consistency. I found that while I love the traditional shape of a scone, sometimes going non-traditionally and using a scoop is a lot easier on my sanity. Even though I added more flour, it was still a sticky mess after I rolled out and tried to cut the scones.

I absolutely fell in love with these scones. They were sweet, almost a dessert like scone (but I had just had to eat them for breakfast all week!). Perfect for those who like their breakfast on the sweeter side. They also froze beautifully. The batch made 8 scones and I froze most of them as soon as they cooled. Taken out and allowed to thaw as I drove to work, they were just like freshly baked.

A few of the guys at work were a little jealous that I didn't share these babies with them. I just couldn't. They were too scrumptious to share with silly stinky boys after all. They get muffins, I get out of this world scones. I think that's quite fair don't you?

The recipe below contains my revisions based on what I had in my kitchen and my method. For the original, see David's wonderful blog!

Apricot White Chocolate Scones

Apricot White Chocolate Scones

Adapted (with permission) from David Lebovitz

Makes 8 large scones

For the Scones:
1 large egg
about 1/2 cup non-fat milk
(You can use whatever milk you like, this is what I had in the fridge)
1 1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup ground almonds (
I had this left over from another recipe)
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled, cut into cubes
1 cup white chocolate chips (They held their shape very well in baking)
1/2 coarsely-chopped dried apricots

For the Glaze:
1 egg yolk mixed with 1 teaspoon milk

granulated sugar for sprinkling on the scones

Preheat the oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.

1. In a small bowl (or measuring cup as I do!), mix the egg and the milk.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, ground almonds, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

3. Using a a food processor, work in the cold butter into the dry ingredients until the pieces are about the size of corn kernels.

4. Add the egg mixture, stirring just until the dough is moistened, then add in the white chocolate chips and dried apricots.

5. On a lightly-floured surface, shape the dough into an 8-inch circle. If it's too wet and is very sticky, knead in a spoonful or two of flour on the countertop.
(Next time I would do the drop method, my dough was still very wet after adding extra flour!)

6. Divide the dough into eight wedges and brush the tops of each wedge with the glaze. Sprinkle the top of each scone with sugar then evenly space the scones apart on a baking sheet. (
Pay attention to the spacing part. They spread a lot! Some of mine ran together!)

8. Bake the scones for 25 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown. Enjoy!


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

TWD: Brioche Plum Tart

Brioche Plum Tart

Denise of Chez Us! chose the Brioche Plum Tart for this week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe. I had the tart made ahead of time but as seems to be my habit of late, waited until almost the end of the day to write up the post! I'm a lazy bum...I know...sorry!

I love brioche and plums so I was eager to try this recipe. I had a great success the last time I made brioche and even though it wasn't a super quick process, the flavor was definitely worth the time. This version of the brioche wasn't something that could be whipped up quickly either. I was still able to mix it up and bake in one afternoon however so it is doable in one day.

I was very disappointed with the tart. I was expecting something rich and buttery. The brioche was very dry. After cooling, the brioche had the texture of stale bread the day it was made! It also browned up a lot more quickly than I expected. This, of course, could have something to do with the dryness.

Brioche Plum Tart

Dryness aside, this was a beautiful tart. It looked really impressive Right out of the oven, the juices of the plums had released TONS of juice! I wish some of it had soaked up into the rest of the brioche and not just the top!

Brioche Plum Tart

For those who asked about Charlie last week, he's still here! I just didn't want to tempt him with the chocolate brownies last week! lol!

To see this week's recipe, see Denise at Chez Us. For more brioche plum tarts, check out the TWD blogroll! Sorry for the short post this week!


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

TWD: Tribute to Katherine Hepburn Brownies

Tribute to Katherine Hepburn Brownies

The Tuesdays with Dorie recipe of the week was the Tribute to Katherine Hepburn Brownies chosen by Lisa of Surviving Oz. Lisa was the winner of the new logo contest for Tuesdays with Dorie.


Pretty snazzy huh?

I am, as I have said many times, not a huge chocolate lover. But give me a warm, gooey, fudgy brownie and I am all over it. Or rather its all over my face as I devour each scrumptious bite. Unfortunately, its been pretty hard to find a decent homemade brownie that lives up to the delicious taste of a boxed brownie mix. In the past, none of them have managed to come close to the fudginess of the box kind. They either were too cakey or just plain blah.

This time, however, Dorie has an almost complete home run with this babies. While some mentioned that they had issues with underbaking (and I did too a tiny bit), for me, the under baking created that gooey fudgy brownie that I loved from the boxed mixes. They firmed up after chilling in the fridge overnight but that really didn't last long when I heated them up to get the gooeyness back!

I didn't add the nuts to the brownies this time. I was out and wasn't rushing to the store to get some when I had everything else. I like brownies with nuts so next time I'll try to throw some in the batter. I did add the cinnamon and I thought it was a delicious compliment to the chocolate. It was subtle and not overwhelming at all. By the way, mini chocolate chips worked perfectly in these! Most melted but a few stuck around and added a nice bit of texture to the brownie.

Tribute to Katherine Hepburn Brownies

Add another to the make again list! To see more brownies, check out the TWD Blogroll! You can also see this weeks recipe at Lisa's blog Surviving Oz.


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

R2R: Beef (Pork) Wellington

I'm almost embarrassed to admit it, but I've never had beef wellington before. Its not something that I choose when dining out and it always seemed to fussy and fancy for at home. Content was I to believe this until Madam Chow of Madam Chow's Kitchen chose Beef Wellington for our June Recipes to Rival challenge.

We were able to choose whatever protein we wanted to use for the challenge. I would have preferred to use beef since the dish is in fact called Beef Wellington. However, I had a perfectly sized bacon wrapped pork tenderloin medallion for an individual portion. But soon I would love to try with beef.

Pork Wellington

I was surprised at how quickly it came together. I seared the meat ahead of time and let in chill out in the fridge until it was time to cook. The duxelles were also prepared ahead of time and joined the pork in the fridge. As soon as the puff pastry was thawed, I rolled it out and assembled everything. Because I chose to do a single serving, it only took a portion of the time to bake. As I was doing this at almost the last minute I was happy it came together and baked quickly.

Pork Wellington

I can definitely see how this would be a show stopper of an entree for a meal. While the pork was okay, the beef would have been spectacular. I'm a sucker for puff pastry and definitely loved it this time. My duxelles were a big surprise hit with myself. I could have eaten just the duxelles with the puff pastry and been quite happy. I don't like mushrooms at all (its hard to make myself eat fungus) but recently I've tried shitake mushrooms and liked them more than other mushrooms because of their meatier texture. I'm still not a huge mushroom fan by any means but shitake's are infinitely more tolerable than the rest.

More than likely this will be a repeat recipe for me. Next time I will use beef and I'm sure I will love it. Sorry pork! You were just a little too bland for me!

Check out the Recipes to Rival blogroll for more Beef Wellington!

Beef Wellington

For the Duxelles:
3 pints (1 1/2 pounds) white button mushrooms (I used shitake mushrooms)
2 shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Beef:
1 (3-pound) center cut beef tenderloin (filet mignon), trimmed (I used a pork tenderloin medallion)
Extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves only
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Flour, for rolling out puff pastry
1 pound puff pastry, thawed if using frozen (follow directions on the package)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
8 ounces mousse pate, available in specialty cheese and appetizer cases of larger markets (optional)

To make the Duxelles:

Add mushrooms, shallots, garlic, and thyme to a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add butter and olive oil to a large saute pan and set over medium heat. Add the shallot and mushroom mixture and saute for 8 to 10 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper and set aside to cool completely.

To prepare the beef:

Tie the tenderloin in 4 places so it holds its cylindrical shape while cooking. Drizzle with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper and sear all over, including the ends, in a hot, heavy-based skillet lightly coated with olive oil - about 2 to 3 minutes.

Using a rubber spatula cover evenly with a thin layer of duxelles. Season the surface of the duxelles with salt and pepper and sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves. When the beef is seared, remove from heat, cut off twine and smear lightly all over with Dijon mustard. Allow to cool completely.

I made the duxelles and seared the tenderloin about 10 hours in advance, and refrigerated both of them. It is important that these items are cold because you will be working with puff pastry, and if they're warm, they may cause the dough to melt before you get it in the oven.

About an hour before you plan to serve the Beef Wellington,preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the puff pastry out to about a 1/4-inch thickness. Depending on the size of your sheets you may have to overlap 2 sheets and press them together.

Spread the duxelles mixture down in a column down the middle of the rolled out puff pastry. Thinly slice the mousse and cover the duxelles with it - every square millimeter doesn't have to be covered, but you're trying to make sure that every serving gets beef, duxelle, and mousse.

Remove beef from refrigerator. Set the beef in the center of the pastry and brush all the edges of the pastry with egg wash. Fold the longer sides over the beef, and seal. Trim ends if necessary then brush with egg wash and fold over to completely seal the beef - saving ends to use as a decoration on top if desired. Place the beef seam side down on a baking sheet.

Brush the top of the pastry with egg wash then make a couple of slits in the top of the pastry using the tip of a paring knife - this creates vents that will allow the steam to escape when cooking. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until pastry is golden brown and beef registers 125 degrees F (rare) on an instant-read thermometer. Remove from oven and rest before cutting into 3/4-inch thick slices.

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