I never make this kind of pastry. No laminating for me. It seems like lots of work, and like it will never produce a good result. Well, these delicious buns had me literally eating my words. They looked right, they were flaky, and they were delicious!
This was my first encounter with the recipe since I became and Alpha Blogger halfway through the first year of The Baking Bible bake-along. Still, I think the previous year and a half of weekly baking stood me in good stead with this recipe. Since it was a little intimidating, I was extra careful. I assembled all the ingredients ahead of time:
So few ingredients to make something so yummy!
Having read through the recipe a few times, I decided it was time to Just Do It.
I used bread flour, and I was planning to buy low-moisture butter but didn’t have it the morning I wanted to bake, so I used the plain old supermarket brand that was in my fridge. I think it came through the dough a little, but not much. I took pictures until my hands were so covered with sugar, butter and flour that I was afraid I’d gum up my camera.
I was so surprised and pleased with the way these turned out that I texted a picture to a few friends, and even posted to Instagram. An excellent finale!
This toffee qualifies for quick but not easy, I think. It might be easy after ten times or so, but I found the cooking process nerve-wracking. Lots of stirring and temperature taking and fretting that I’d let it get too hot and wind up with crumbly toffee. And honestly how do I know if my toffee is crumblier than it should be? It isn’t granular, but maybe it could have been smoother….
Anyway, enough of my insecurities. I produced chocolate covered toffee, and that’s what counts! There were surprisingly few ingredients. So few in fact, that I was inspired to take an ingredient picture:
After the almonds were toasted and chopped I cooked the toffee
You can see it’s hotter and more homogeneous in the second photo, but not by that much, which is why I kept the thermometer in my hand.
It poured out the way it was supposed to. The chocolate melted onto the toffee, I added almonds and let it cool.
It broke when I turned it over, but since toffee is always in pieces, I figured it wasn’t a problem.
Preparing these cupcakes went fairly smoothly, given the multi-part nature of the recipe. There’s something about being instructed to make something and keep it waiting while concocting something else, and combining various parts that stresses me out. I’m certain that I’ll leave out an important ingredient out, or forget to remove something from the oven or the fridge so it can’t be used and mess up the entire project. The upside of my fear is it usually causes me to read the recipe a few times so I understand the order in which everything should be made and the reasons for it.
So it was with trepidation and determination that I started making raspberry sauce this morning. None of the steps was difficult, but I was a little concerned about removing the seeds. I had vague memories of attempting to force raspberries through a sieve and finally giving up and including the mushed yet seedy whole berries in my sauce. This time however, I had the right tool for the job and that made all the difference. Once I figured how to assemble it, that is.
It was easy enough then to mix the raspberry pulp and reduced juice, and let them wait while I made the cupcakes.
Eggs and milk, flour, sugar, salt, baking powder all came together to make the batter on the right. I rarely make white cake, so I’m always surprised by how very white it really is.
Of course this batter also had a special guest star in the form of a 4 ounce bar of white chocolate which I melted and added to the batter. The cocoa butter added an extra level of creamy smoothness and a heavenly smell.
Now it was time for the mousseline, which offered a fresh challenge; how to whip the egg whites and beat the butter with only one mixer bowl and no other electric mixers in the house, my immersion blender attachment having given up the ghost last week.
After weighing my options I decided to beat the butter by hand. There was no way I was trying to beat egg whites to a stiff peak with a hand whisk, much less add and beat in boiling hot sugar syrup, so that left me with butter. It went pretty well, I think:
It helped that the butter sat out for a couple of hours beforehand
Here are the sugar syruped eggs and the butter, ready to combine.
The rose look didn’t work out so well for me. Maybe my tips weren’t quite right, or maybe it was because the top of my cupcakes was too flat, I don’t know But they looked okay, I’m not complaining. I even learned why Rose calls for an open star tip. Here are the tips I used:
It’s hard to see in the photo, but the tip on the right is more closed than the tip on the left. It, plus a small chunk of hardened sugar syrup were responsible for the squiggly cupcake at the top of my post. After I iced a few cupcakes with squiggles instead of nice spirals, I decided to examine my tip and found the culprit
I’m still learning, even as we approach the end of this bake along.
This pie looks so delicious in The Baking Bible, I was looking forward to making it, and even to practicing my piping skills with the meringue crust. I assembled the ingredients, and planned to make the crust before heading out on a walk with my sister. But I hadn’t seen that the crust needed to bake for two hours, so I postponed the pie-making until my return. Which was possibly Minor Mishap #1. The weather was damp, with grey skies and intermittent rain in the morning. I got home, ready to go, beat the eggs into peaks of perfection, then reached for my pie pan and couldn’t find it. I looked where it is supposed to be, I looked where it’s doesn’t belong, I couldn’t find it anywhere. (Minor?) Mishap #2. I used my old Pyrex pie plate, which is a perfectly adequate pie pan, but wasn’t quite deep enough for this project:
I figured I’d just put the extra chiffon filling in a couple of bowls, but it bugged me that the filling ratio would be off.
Melting the white chocolate and cream together was easy because I went rogue and combined the two in a bowl in the microwave. Heated, stirred, presto! No photo though. The multiple preparations were wearing on me, and my photographic skillz tend to decline dramatically when I’m stressed. I did snap the crust with its white coating, though:
There no cracks to repair, probably because my meringue was more like a cake layer than a pie crust. Making the pomegranate gel was straightforward:
I ran into some trouble beating the second round of egg whites, though. I attempted my tried-and-true method of beating whites with the attachment on my immersion blender, only to be foiled by an unidentified substance leaking into the whites and keeping them from forming peaks. After some investigation I determined that the trick I’d used to keep the whites in their bowl had ruined the beater attachment and it was leaking oil. Minor Mishap #3. Tossed those eggs and the attachment, beat the whites by hand. Now I was grumpy for real. Luckily I was also almost done. Cream beaten, both eggs and cream folded into the pomegranate gel, and into the crust!
and indeed I had leftover chiffon
I couldn’t get the crust out of the pie shell. I think I was supposed to take it out before filling it, but that wasn’t gonna happen. So I filled it in the pie pan where it looked just fine. Serving it was another story, though. It had to be scraped out like a baked pudding.
This was definitely not in my top ten recipes. The textures were great together, but it was too sweet and not particularly fruity. But I’ve never been a fan of chiffon pies generally, so I guess it’s not surprising.
These were another recipe I made in between doing other things, so I’m not sure if the ease with which they seemed to come together was because they were easy to make, or because of a few shortcuts I took, or because compared to the complicated dance of supervising college applications while not being overbearing makes most things look simple by comparison.
In the beginning, there was sour cream, and it was good:
Soon cocoa joined the party, drying and darkening things a bit
Next an egg arrived, bringing back the moisture
Still a little lumpy and bitter, so time for the dry ingredients
I have no madeline tins, and while a quick Amazon search revealed a likely candidate for under $10, my overflowing baking racks caused me to opt for mini-muffin tins instead.
I piped the filling in, and baked.
The only problem with madelines shaped like this is they look a lot like cupcakes. But never mind, we know their true identity.
Next came shortcut number 2, which was inadvertent. I plopped the right amount of chocolate chunks in a bowl and added cream. I should have chopped the chocolate up, heated the cream, and poured it over the chocolate, but instead I heated the mixture in the microwave, stirring periodically.
Lucky for me, it worked out.
Finally, inadvertent shortcut #3, since the madelines were smooth and small I dipped them in ganache instead of painting it on.
They say all’s well that ends well, and this adventure into madeline land definitely ended well!
Well, it’s a descriptive name, that’s for sure! I admit I didn’t tell anyone what the fruit filling this roll was. But then again, they didn’t ask. Above is a photo of the cake batter for the roll. This being the third time I made it, everything went smoothly and took only a little more time than Rose optimistically promises in the Baking Bible.
Making the sugar syrup was easy-peasy, Just mix sugar and water, heat until the sugar dissolves. Next up, caramel.
Here’s the sugar syrup in the pan. You can tell it’s the syrup for caramel not the syrup for brushing on the cake because it’s starting to develop a lovely golden hue. I wish I could show you the bubbling mixture after I added the cream, but I’m a one-woman shop, and I never think to grab the camera until the moment has passed.
However all went well, despite a moment when I was worried I’d overcooked the syrup again, and I got soft, deep brown caramel:
which I let cool while I put syrup on the cake and rolled it up:
I did all of this really early one morning, then rushed off to work for a few hours while everything cooled down. When I returned, I unrolled the cake, which seemed to be in good shape:
and got to work on the filling. There’s a Russian market in the next town over, so I stopped by for a jar of lekvar:
thus I only had whipped cream and ganache left on the to-make list. Whipped cream done, I chopped up some chocolate and heated up some of the caramel with cream:
I’m thinking as I type this that I’ve gotten things a bit out of order, as I made the cake a week ago. I’m pretty sure I made the ganache after everything else was taken care of. Anyway, the cake was unrolled and spread with lekvar, then caramel cream:
and then rolled up.
The edge view reminds me of a wrinkly-faced dog. Homely but appealing. Perhaps that was why I didn’t actually pipe the glaze on the cake, but opted to drizzle it from a fork, with decidedly homely results:
My 17-year-old sometime food stylist was upset I didn’t employ her services. Next time.
Definitely a homely look, but a much more sophisticated taste! I brought it to a party where it disappeared.
This bread was so good! Another time when I thought wow, I couldn’t have bought anything better. I remember watching Martha Stewart make monkey bread on TV years ago, and thinking I should try it, but it looked like so much work I was scared off. Then I bought a couple of varieties and was disappointed. At best they were re-imagined sticky buns. So when this recipe appeared in the Alpha Bakers lineup I was ready for the challenge. As it turned out, it wasn’t even traumatic to make. It took time and a modicum of patience, but the fiddle factor was negligible.
The flour, salt, yeast mixture is on the left, and on the right it’s mixed up and on top of the liquid ingredients, which are creating some seismic activity.
Next it’s all mixed together with the dough hook until it looks like actual dough.
The dough goes into a bucket to rise, and woo-hoo it actually rises -a lot! I’m always a little surprised when this step actually works.
After spending some time in the refrigerator the dough is rolled out and cut into squares
which are then rolled into balls, flattened and filled with chocolate chips. They were supposed to be filled with smaller chips, but I worked with what I had which I think made the process faster because I just grabbed a few chips and placed them in the middle of the dough, instead of measuring and arranging like I would have with smaller items.
Finally the balls were formed and filled.
They nestled in the pan, rose, and baked into the puffy bread on the right.
The baking happened while I was picking my daughter up at school, driving her friend home, buying cream to make caramel topping and picking up pizza for dinner. So it’s a minor miracle that the timing worked out.
The recipe in The Baking Bible is for cannoli, but delicious as they sounded, the combination of a fruity, creamy filling and a short shelf life didn’t seem like a viable option for my family, so I opted to make the cookies alone.
Here are the ingredients, first just butter and golden syrup, then everything together ready to cook in the microwave.
Now the boiled ingredients + flour on the left, and the batter ready to pour onto the cookie sheet.
Here are the cookies ready for the oven.
out of the oven
I even rolled a few just to see if I could do it. I got a couple to roll right, but it was tough. Eventually I realized that the raindrops spattering lightly outside might have something to do with my temperamental brandy snaps. Rolled or not, I found they go well with vanilla ice cream. If and when I have the appropriate dinner party I will make the filling and create cannoli!
Lemon and chocolate are a recurring theme in these Baking Bible recipes, that’s clear. I am glad that my kids both love chocolate, and one of them is particularly fond of lemon desserts, and tartness in generally. I realized just how much she likes tart foods when I brought her the baked extra filling from this tart and found her in the middle of finishing a bag of salt and vinegar potato chips. The lime-flavored tortilla chips were downstairs awaiting their turn on the savory snack list.
If you’re going to eat a lot of lemon-flavored desserts, this one should be on your list! I whipped through making the crust. Well, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration since I had to refrigerate the dough a few times, but everything came together with minimal stress and effort. Almost before I realized it, I was pulling the baked crust from the oven.
At that point I realized that I’d forgotten to put the pan on a baking sheet! Luckily no harm was done, and I remedied my oversight before adding the filling.
Sugar, eggs and lemon juice combined in the process of making the filling. Then it was time for the handheld mixer portion of the production, something that has caused me trouble before. Half a cup of heavy cream wasn’t that much, but it was more than I’d tried to beat with my new mixer and bowl combination to date….
I think I figured it out! It’s not a perfect solution, but it worked pretty well. I folded the top of the flexible silicone bowl over the cream as I whipped it. A little cream spattered, but it wasn’t the torrent I’ve dealt with before.
After the cream was folded into the egg mixture and refrigerated, I placed the crust in the oven and poured in the filling.
I saw the instructions for this cookie, which said (and I’m paraphrasing here) that making it look like the photo would require painstaking precision, and I thought d*mn, maybe I should just make little cookies, or skip the jam. Then I thought no, I just read Furiously Happy, and I’m going to make this yummy-sounding cookie, because I know it will taste delicious, and if it doesn’t look delicious because I lose patience with it, or I fail to read the instructions five times, That Is OK. I am going to make Rachel’s version of Rose’s Giant Jam Cookie, and everybody who eats it will enjoy it because let’s be honest, even a crumbling disaster of a Rose recipe is delectable.
So, on to the baking!
The colors are a little off, but this is the turbinado sugar before and after being whirled in the food processor. I really liked the slight molasses tang the sugar gave the cookie dough. Two weeks after I made this cookie I made pain d’amande, an almond shortbread cookie with straight turbinado sugar. Huge difference! The pain d’amande had sugar crunchies along with the almond crunch because of the giant sugar crystals. Delicious in the shortbread, but I’m glad I chopped them up before I made this cookie.
The dough was definitely crumbly after I mixed it in the food processor.
I had no raspberry jam, and my husband gets anxious when he sees too many half-empty jars in our fridge, so I used the strawberry and cherry jam that were already taking up door space to fill the cookie.
I forgot that the pattern was one hole, one cutout on top, one hole, one cutout on top.