Tuesday, June 20, 2017

TWD: Cookies -- Two for the price of one

Saturday was cookie-baking day, and it had to be done early before it got too hot.

First up were the Rose-Hibiscus Shortbread cookies.  I had made them several months ago with disappointing results.  This time, I had fresh rose water and fresh rose-hibiscus-cherry tea, so I thought I would try again. 

The cookies turned out fine, although the flavor is still too mild to notice.  I'll probably stick with regular or lemon-poppy seed shortbread.

Next was the latest version of chocolate chip cookies, My Newest Chocolate Chip Cookies.

I had made the dough on Wednesday, so it had plenty of chilling time.  I also halved the recipe because I didn't need to be tempted by 50+ cookies.  For the chocolate chips, I used a giant bittersweet chocolate bar from Trader Joe's, weighing out the appropriate amount and slicing off slivers with a serrated knife.  No big hunks of chocolate, but a nice distribution of chocolate throughout the cookie.  These baked up very nicely, the spices were subtle, so they shouldn't be terribly noticeable.  I'd definitely bake these again.

Now it's your turn to try them out.  Stop by the Tuesdays with Dorie website to see which cookies the other bakers made, and keep an eye out for the July selections.

The recipe for the Rose-Hibiscus Shortbread Cookies can be found on page 191; the one for the chocolate chip cookies on page 125 of Dorie's Cookies.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Bread with handles (Kaak)!

This month's creative bread is courtesy of Karen (Baking Soda) at Bake My Day!  She asked us to bake Kaak, a Lebanese bread with sesame seeds. It also has a unique shape.

The recipe I used was slightly different than the one Karen posted.  I did use buttermilk, but I also did the initial dough mixing and rising in my bread machine, saving the final shaping to do by hand.  Also, because I created the holes with a round cutter, I had 8 little bread disks, which made for excellent testing and snacking.

My kaak was more like a flatbread.  Perhaps the second rise wasn't long enough.  But, even so, they were delicious, worthy of baking again.

Stop by and see what the other Babes did, and feel free to join in as a Buddy.  Send your information to Karen by June 29 to be included in the roundup.

The Babes are:

Bake My Day - Karen
blog from OUR kitchen - Elizabeth
Bread Experience - Cathy
Feeding my Enthusiasms - Pat/Elle 

 Karen's Kitchen Stories - Karen
My Diverse Kitchen - Aparna
My Kitchen In Half Cups - Tanna
Notitie Van Lien - Lien

A Messy Kitchen – Kelly  
Thyme for Cooking - Katie
Life's a Feast - Jamie


1 1/2 cups warm reduced-fat milk
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups bread flour
1-2 tablespoons more flour for flouring and rolling
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 envelope rapid rise yeast
For topping
1 large egg
1/2 cup sesame seeds (1 tablespoon per kaak)

1. In the pan of an electric bread machine, add ingredients in the order recommended by the yeast manufacturer. Set for the dough cycle.
2. When done, remove dough from pan, cover with a clean towel and let rest for 10 minutes.
3. Divide into 8 equal parts, each weighing about 100 grams. With a floured rolling pin on a floured surface, roll each part into a large, 6-7 inch circle. Use a small, 2-inch glass to cut a small circle out, near the edge of each large circle:
4. Place rings on two greased baking sheets. Beat the egg and 1 TBS water with a fork. Brush each ring with the mixture and sprinkle with about 1 TBS sesame seeds:
5. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes, or up to an hour.
6. Heat oven to 200°C. Bake about 10 minutes, or until golden and puffed. Serve immediately. 


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

TWD: Blueberry Buttermilk Pie Bars

Getting back to baking for the month of June.  May flew by, mostly because I was traveling for several weeks on the East Coast, so being in the kitchen was put on the back burner, so to speak.

To start the month, I chose to bake the Blueberry-Buttermilk Pie Bars, page 62, in Dorie's Cookies.  For some reason, they took nearly twice as long as to bake.  After 45 minutes, they were still soupy in the middle, so I baked them longer, checking every 5 to 10 minutes, until the center was puffy and the edges were golden brown.

Once baked, I chilled them overnight, and gave them my stamp of approval.  They were much better than when freshly baked, probably because the custard-like top had time to firm up.

I also added more blueberries, just because.

Head over to the Tuesdays with Dorie website to what the other bakers thought.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

BBB: Shubbak el-Habayeb

I'm out of time.  Early in the morning, I head out on a cross-country trip (West coast to East coast), so this post is short.

This month's bread, Shubbak el-Habayeb, comes from Karen at Karen's Kitchen Stories.

My bread came out too dark, my fault entirely.  I accidentally set the timer for 17 minutes, and, rather than reset it, I thought I could check it before the timer went off.  Sigh.  I got caught up in the latest episode from Anthony Bourdain, a trip to Laos.  When the beeper rang, and I saw the dark brown rolls, my heart sank.  Should have reset the timer.

But, they were delicious in spite of being extra dark.

Head over to Karen's blog to get the recipe and be a buddy for May.  You won't regret it!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

TWD: Lemon Sugar Cookies

The second April cookie from Dorie's cookbook is filled with the taste and scent of lemon, Lemon Sugar Cookies.  I love anything lemon, and I am fortunate because there is a lemon tree in my backyard, loaded with lemons.

I must admit that I made these back in February, and they were a big hit with everyone who tried one.  One problem, though.  I forgot to take photos, or, rather, the cookies were eaten too quickly.  So, sigh, I was forced to bake them again.  Almost ran out the second time, too!

I didn't have too much of an issue with spreading.  Those most likely to expand were the last to be scooped out.  Maybe a bit of chilling would be helpful.

The only other thing I did a bit differently the first time was that I used the zest of two lemons instead of one.  They were really lemony.  And super delicious.

If you have Dorie's Cookies, you can find the recipe on page 171.

To see what the other bakers thought, stop by the Tuesdays with Dorie website.

Monday, April 17, 2017

BBB: Kare Pan

Lately, I’ve been having issues with following directions.  Call it creative departure.  Making this month’s bread was no exception.

Babe Aparna asked us to make Kare Pan, Japanese curry balls, for our April challenge.  (You'll find the recipe on Aparna's blog.) These are balls of dough, filled with a curried vegetable mixture, coated in panko, and deep fried.  I almost did that.

Upon doing a vegetable check, I determined that I had some but not all of the required produce.  Change number one:  I created a mixture of onions, garlic, ginger, kale, tomatoes, and potatoes, adding the various spices, which I did have.  I thought it turned out well, and there was enough left over to put in this morning’s breakfast omelet.

Change number two:  instead of deep frying the dough balls, I chose to bake them.  I searched for alternative recipes and did find one that gave me the specifics.  It's not that I have a problem with deep frying, but I had so much going on simultaneously that I didn't have the time to stand over a pan full of hot oil, hence the baking option.  I dipped the balls in egg wash, coated them with panko, then drizzled olive oil over each ball.  They went into a 390 degree oven for about 20 minutes.  I started checking them after 10 minutes, then increased the bake time by 5 minute increments until they were golden brown. 

The resulting bread was crispy on the outside  and soft on the inside with a tiny kick from the spicy filling.  As I was tasting them, I could imagine other fillings, both sweet and savory.

If you want to be a Buddy, bake your Kare Pan by the 29th of April, post the results, and let Aparna know. She’ll have the Buddy roundup ready shortly thereafter.  And, of course, check out the adventures of the other Babes.


Wednesday, April 5, 2017

TWD: Anzac Biscuits

Oatmeal cookies.  Mostly, I'm neutral about them. If there are raisins, I won't touch them.  If there are chocolate chips, I will.  If they are plain, it's a toss-up.

But, I have now discovered my favorite variety of oatmeal cookie:  Anzac Biscuits from Dorie's Cookies (page 159).  I've heard of them many times, but have never made them before.

They are a delicious combination of oatmeal, coconut, and golden syrup.  Easy to make, easy to eat.

I usually have some kind of container of golden syrup in my pantry because I never know when it will be needed.  Somewhere, and I don't remember where, I came across this squeeze bottle of golden syrup.  Had to have it!  And, it paid off with these cookies.

The other deviation I made was that I used unsweetened coconut -- the only kind I will use.  First, coconut is sweet enough on its own; second, sweetened coconut makes me gag.  Coconut-filled candy bars are safe with me, since I refuse to eat them.

That aside, these cookies are terrific.  If you have the book, definitely bake up a batch.

Also, check with the Tuesdays with Dorie website to read about what the other bakers thought of them.