Tuesday, May 20, 2008

TWD: Madeleines

Admission: I minored in English and consider myself to be fairly well-read, but I cannot name you one thing that Marcel Proust has written. And it's funny, because... you hear his name tossed around at cocktail parties a lot (okay, well not at the cocktail parties that I go to, but I'm sure that in cocktail parties in new york or paris they're comparing Proust to Camus while sipping absinthe). Thanks to wikipedia I was able to read up on him and now... the next time I'm at a swanky cocktail party (which is likely to be never) I can confidently throw out something about Proust's greatest work: In Search of Lost Time.

Strangely enough, though I didn't know a thing about any of his work, there is one thing that I've always known about Proust. He loved him some madeleines. Coincidentally... that's the only thing I knew about madeleines, also. That Proust wrote something about how magnificent they were. And now, thanks to wikipedia I know that he referenced them in In Search of Lost Time.

Wow, isn't learning fun, y'all?

Anyway... back to the cookies or are they tea cakes? I was pretty excited when Tara of Smells Like Home chose Traditional Madeleines because it's something I've always wanted to try, but since there's no chocolate or nuts and it requires a special pan, I'd likely never try to make. But, I'm so glad I did.

I didn't have any lemons, but I did have oranges, so I used orange zest instead of lemon, which made these smell heavenly as they baked. They were so light and airy, I couldn't help but continue to pop them into my mouth while I took pictures of them. So delicate and tasty. Yum.

I made mini madeleines and decided to go a little overboard and fill some of them with a cream cheese-orange zest frosting to make mini madeleine sandwiches and they were delicious, too. Although, honestly... the madeleines didn't need any frosting. They were brilliant on their own.

Another thing I now know of Marcel Proust... he had great taste!

Be sure to check out all the other bloggers Madeleines at Tuesdays with Dorie.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Brownie Peanut Butter Cups

Ohhhhh... Jennifer . I don't know you. But somehow... somehow, you manage to read my mind. Somehow you manage to post the most delicious looking chocolatey, peanut buttery, pecan-filled, hazelnut laced recipes and for that, I thank you. I also hope that you find imitation to be a form of flattery instead of a nuisance, since I tend to make the recipes you've blogged about and then immediately put them on my blog, as well.

Digressing... I know that I've gone on ad nauseum about how much I love chocolate and peanut butter together. So, I won't go into the fact that it's a veritable divine partnership of flavors. No, I'm just going to say that if you, too, like Chocolate and Peanut Butter together... then you should try this recipe.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Faux Skor Bars

When I was a kid... one of my most favorite places was the gas station. I know, I know... that sounds really weird, but its very true. The gas station was like this smorgasboard of sugar. Rows and rows of candy bars and soda... and anytime the whole family was in the car for more than an hour or so and my dad was driving... we'd stop at the gas station and get a drink and a candy bar. Which was a real treat in my family.

You see... my mom... she was kind of into health food when I was growing up. I mean, we ate roman meal wheat bread when it was the ONLY wheat bread available at the store. I can even remember the first time I ever had white bread... it was at a friends house and I was probably 8 years old and I thought it was the most disgusting thing, because it stuck to the roof of my mouth. I couldn't believe that people preferred that to the wheat bread I was used to. So, you can imagine... if we weren't eating white bread all the way back in 1982 or so... then, high fructrose corn syrup was a pretty big no-no in our house. If we wanted something sweet to eat... my mom would whip up a batch of Grandma Cookies.

So, it was a big deal to get a soda and a candy bar. Even if my dad had to go to the gas station on a saturday to fill up gas tanks for the lawn mower or tractor... my brothers or I always wanted to go so that we could pick out our sodas and candy bars... but, if we didnt go, my dad would just bring a bag of snickers and cokes home for us anyway.

One of the candy bars that I got quite often was a Skor bar. Yum. Chocolate covered toffee. I used to eat all the chocolate off the bar first and then savor the toffee on it's own. It seems like now a days... there aren't as many candy bars out there to choose from... and whenever I'm in line at Target or Harris Teeter.. I'm lucky if they've got candy bars in that aisle at all.. let alone a skor bar or a whatchamacallit, etc...

I've had this recipe printed out for awhile, but never had any saltines. I picked up a box of whole wheat saltines just to try this recipe out... and as soon as i had a bite of this... I was instantly taken back to my childhood... they taste exactly like a skor bar! Particularly since I used milk chocolate chips in my recipe. Who knew that you could make skor bars out of wheat saltine crackers???

Anyway... these are delicious and so simple to make!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

TWD: Florida Pie

Back from Oregon! And just in time to whip up something for mom on mother's day. How serendipitious that this weeks Tuesdays With Dorie Recipe chosen by Dianne of Dianne's Dishes was something that I knew my mom would love! (And she did, incidentally).

So... I love me some key lime pie. The mix of a sweet and crunchy graham cracker crust with the tart and creamy lime filling is something that I absolutely adore and when you throw in an layer of chewy, sweet coconut goodness between the two... I'm sold. One thing I'm not a fan of, though.... meringue. So, I skipped that and opted for some whipped cream. I loved this pie and would definitely make it again.

Happy Mother's Day Mom! I love you and appreciate all the big and small things you've done for me and I hope that one day I will be at least half as good of a mom as you are!

There always has to be one photo where we're squatting down for no reason. At Mt. Hood.
Happy Mothers Day, Mom!

Florida Pie
1 9-inch graham cracker crust (page 235), fully baked and cooled, or a store-bought crust
1 1/3 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups shredded sweetened coconut
4 large eggs, separated
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup fresh Key (or regular) lime juice (from about 5 regular limes) **
1/4 cup of sugar

Getting Ready:Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Put the pie plate on a baking sheet lined with parchment of a silicone mat.

Put the cream and 1 cup of the coconut in a small saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium-low heat, stirring almost constantly. Continue to cook and stir until the cream is reduced by half and the mixture is slightly thickened. Scrape the coconut cream into a bowl and set it aside while you prepare the lime filling.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl beat the egg yolks at high speed until thick and pale. Reduce the mixer speed to low and beat in the condensed milk. Still on low, add half of the lime juice. When it is incorporated, add the reaming juice, again mixing until it is blended.

Spread the coconut cream in the bottom of the graham cracker crust, and pour over the lime filling. Bake the pie for 12 minutes.

Transfer the pie to a cooling rack and cool for 15 minutes, then freeze the pie for at least 1 hour.

To Finish the Pie with Meringue: Put the 4 egg whites and the sugar in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan and heat over medium-low heat, whisking all the while, until the whites are hot to the touch. Transfer the whites to a stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, or use a hand mixer in a large bowl, and beat the whites at high speed until they reach room temperature and hold firm peaks. Using a rubber spatula, fold the remaining 1/2 cup coconut into the meringue.Spread the meringue over the top of the pie, and run the pie under the broiler until the top of the meringue is golden brown. (Or, if you've got a blowtorch, you can use it to brown the meringue.) Return the pie to the freezer for another 30 minutes or for up to 3 hours before serving.

** Recipe Note: I had just shy of a full 1/2 cup with 5 limes... so, you might want to have 6 limes just in case.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Baking Hiatus...

...but just for a week or so!

I'm leaving bright and early tomorrow morning to head to Oregon where I will be running the Eugene Marathon! I'll be gone till next Friday... so, no posts until next weekend.

See y'all in about a week!