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Tuesday
Dec162014

TBB - The Ischler

Well, it’s that time of the year, where you are bombarded by holiday music, packed malls, bad drivers on the road and the cookie overload.

So, it was no surprise that Marie chose a cookie recipe for the bake along – and hold-on to your hats, because next week is ANOTHER cookie – she is two for two.

But this week, it’s The Ischler.  A simple butter cookie with Almond in the dough and filled with chocolate ganache and Apricot Lekvar (fancy word for thick rich jam).

While the recipe is 4 pages long, they are not a big deal to make, I’m sure if Rose would not be the super-duper detailed oriented author that she is and we appreciate as bakers, this recipe can be summed up in 2 pages.  But for now let’s dig in.

The Cookie Dough

I made mine in the Food Processor, and since I had almond flour, I use that instead of sliced almonds – maybe that is why my cookies pictures do not show those specks of brown that I’m sure are the almond coat.  The dough came together pretty fast, then you take all that dough, put it in a plastic bag and use it to kneed it – I skipped this step (Raymond just sent me a virtual high-five – he knows, that like him, I like to cut corners when we can), I simply gave it a couple of turns and then quarter it, and wrapped it in plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator to chill out.

Apricot Lekvar

I know that I mentioned before, my like/hate affair of cooked fruit.  Well, when it comes to jams, I’m in the “like” side of things.  And the Apricot Lekvar is one of my favorites.  We used it back during the Heavenly Cake days, specifically for the Chocolate Apricot Roll so making this was pretty stress-free.  And guest what else I got to use?  The apricot brandy, which has been sitting in my liquor filled cabinet for over a year.

I made the full recipe, I knew that I was not going to use that much – at the end, I probably used less than 1/3 cup to fill the cookies, but the rest went into a jar that is going to be eaten by all of us in the house with anything that is toasted, here is Casa P is all about the jams.

Last, but not least, the Chocolate Ganache

If you all know my dislike for cooking fruit, you all know my love affair with chocolate – love the stuff, I can eat it (ok, I fest-up I DO EAT IT) every. single. day. And my adoration of dark chocolate is known far and wide.  The Ganache part of this recipe is what, took me the longest to do – simply because when I looked into my baking chocolate box, all the chocolate I had was over 70% cacao – I was totally in the dark side.  And since my husband and my stepson do not like that strong chocolate, I had to get in the car and stock up on the semi-sweet variety.  My go-to has always been IKEA chocolate, its cheap and very, very good baking chocolate.

Once you got all your different recipe component done, its time to build up this sandwiched cookie.

Rolling the dough for me was easy, before I did not understand the reason of quartering the dough at the beginning, but then as I was rolling the AHA moment struck me.  This way, the dough stays cold, since you roll out one disk at a time – duh!  I did add a step here, and it was to place my cut cookies into the freezer for about 5 minutes to firm them up before I put them in the oven to bake (old trick that never failed me yet)

Baking was easy, if there is one thing I know about cooking baking, is to keep a hawk watch over them once they are in the oven – they can go from light to dark in a blink of the eye.  I’m proud to say that I did not over baked one.  Yeah for me! (It’s the small victory people).

Filling them was the most time consuming part of this – once side the Lekvar, the other the ganache and this is where I, once more, confirmed that making cookies are a pain in the butt - I just don’t have the patience to do each one.

Taste test – I like them.  My favorite? Nope.  But that did not stop my husband, who is a cookie aficionado from eating 2-4 at a time.  Since I now work a night shift, we do most our communications via text during the times we are apart and last night, after I texted him “Did you eat the cookies” his response was “I just tried them. There might be an issue. Is there a limit on how many I can eat tonight?”

That pretty much sums it up.

Here is another early present for you all – this recipe has been posted in various media around the web.. so I can share it… you can find it in Amazon Blog - Omnivoracious

You want to see more cookies? The Check out the rest of The Baking Bible Alpha Bakers doing their stuff by stopping at the bake along blog.

Sunday
Dec072014

TBB - English Dried Fruit Cake

Almost everyone has a strong opinion about fruitcake.  It is one of those desserts that there is no in-between, you will find the “love them” group and “hate them” group in every bunch.  For the love them group, it as much a traditional part of the holidays as the tree, the holly and Santa Claus. 

Many cultures have a rich, fruit-filled cake that is baked only on special holidays. The Germans have their “Stollen,” the Italians their Christmas “pannetone.” In Russia it’s “kulich,” the Czechs make “vanochka,” to name only a few. Some are breads, with a yeast base; others are cakes. Some have lots of candied fruits, raisins and nuts, others not so much.

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Monday
Dec012014

TBB – Kouign Amann

Not too long ago, most people didn’t know what a kouign amann was, let alone how delicious this sweet bread is. If you were familiar with the pastry—a buttery Breton specialty that’s somewhere between a croissant and brioche, with a layer of crispy caramelized sugar on top—you probably couldn’t shut up about it, and you probably moaned the fact that they were, up until recently, rather difficult to find outside of the coastal region of Brittany, in the northwest corner of France. Make them at home? Sure, you can try, but it’s not a casual undertaking… as I learned when it was part of Rose’s beta test list.

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Wednesday
Oct292014

Back on the Baking van wagon - The Baking Bible

So, this came yesterday in the mail….

Which means that my new kitchen will go into over time starting December 1st.  I had the pleasure of participating in the “making” of this book.  Rose was gracious to reached out to some of the bakers bloggers who participated in the very succesful Rose’s Heavenly Cakes bake-along in order to help her beta test some of the recipes she was creating, which are now included in this beautiful cookbook (her 10th!).

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Sunday
Aug242014

Banana Nut Muffins and a Product Review

If you been baking for as long as I have, you have seen how throughout the years more and more improvements are being made with methods and equipments.  One of those have been the slowly and steady move from the traditional baking pans to baking with silicone made pans.

I have used silicone baking pans before and have mixed feeling about them.  Some worked, while others were complete flops.  I do have to be honest the flops were on the cheap end of the spectrum. But, my main concern was their general flimsiness and my visions of overflowing batter as the pan/cups folding unto itself creating a giant mess.  Can you imagine cleaning an oven full of spilled batter? No bueno.

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Monday
Aug112014

Cauliflower Fritters

I’m back!

With and easy peasy recipe which evolved out of necessity. This past weekend I was alone, hungry and too lazy to go out in the rain to hunt for food.  

So in the spirit of maintaining my laziness, I went on the hunt in the refrigerator and came up with leftover roasted cauliflower in a plastic container … as I was trying to remember what I has roasted the cauliflowr for, and idea struck me.  What can I do with this that was fast and easy and bang! it hit me…

Fritters!

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Tuesday
Apr292014

Frittata and Girlfriends

If you had been reading Sweetbites for a while, you know that I host a monthly brunch event with my girlfriends and I call it “Chica Brunch”.  We get together one Sunday of the month, everyone brings a dish and then we sit around and play catch up with everything that is happening in our lives.

6 to 10 (depending who makes it that month) interesting, accomplished and attractive women, who are flying solo for the afternoon - We’ve left homes, children, husbands/significant others behind to  share an lazy afternoon to celebrate another aspect of ourselves that I now value more deeply: our friendship.

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Sunday
Apr272014

Snugg as a bug in a rug

I have since upgrade my beloved iPad and traded it in for a slimmer and lighter white iPad Air.  I’m in love!

The only issue I had? I was back in the hut to find a cover to keep it all nice and clean and protected.

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Saturday
Mar292014

One bowl Chocolate Cake

I have been reading David Leite of Leite’s Culinaria since I found the great world of food blogging - about 6 year now.  I follow and read a lot of food bloggers and everyone has their own style - funny, serious, informative.  But David writing is just magical, his way with words is pure storytelling – when you read his post, which usually have a recipe in there, you loose yourself in it, forgetting – oh yeah, he is writing about biscuits here… he just has that ultimate ability of transporting you, his words are like a blanket that you wrap around youself for comfort. I had the pleasure of meeting him when I attended this event.

He was part of the speaker lineup and his topic was How to write Bigger, Better, More Badass Food Post.  If I’m truly honest with myself, the whole trip centered in meeting this man and soaking up as much information as I could from him.  And since then I have tried to follow everything he taught us that day, I can honestly say that my writing has improved.

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Monday
Feb172014

Caprese Salad Bowl

Simple.  

Life should be made up of simple pleasures and simple tasks. 

Unfortunately, for most of us its not.

So we have to compensate and try to find simplicity in some of the things we do.

For me its in the food.

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