Tuesday, August 26, 2008

TWD: Chocolate Banded Ice Cream Torte

The great thing about belonging to Tuesdays with Dorie is that every week (nearly), I’m making something that I most likely wouldn’t make on my own. Seriously. I’m not a super adventurous person (particularly when it comes to my sweet tooth) and if it’s not something that contains chocolate, cream cheese, peanut butter, caramel, or pecans… I’m not initially drawn to it. So, this is a great way to not only learn new baking techniques and get practice in the kitchen… but to also stretch my culinary brain.

Granted, I may not love every recipe, but I can assure you, I do love making every one of them.

That being said… this week’s recipe was chosen by Amy of Food, Family & Fun

She chose the Chocolate Banded Ice Cream Torte. Which is basically ice cream with frozen ganache layered in it.

I do love ice cream. And I have no problems sitting down with a bowl of ice cream, but I just don’t generally eat a lot of ice cream. So, this isn’t really a recipe that I would ever make on my own. My thoughts would be…. Why don’t you just buy some ice cream and pour some fudge sauce on it… voila… lazy man’s Ice Cream Torte. And then I tell myself… well, Amy… you don’t do that because that’s just not as pretty and interesting, that’s why. (Although, yes, my looks like crap… but more on that to come).

I found myself, grocery list in hand, wandering the frozen treats section of my grocery store (a section I never venture into, because I never buy ice cream). My intention was to buy a generic-y pint (hopefully) of vanilla frozen yogurt. Which apparently doesn’t exist. Seriously? People don’t buy pints of vanilla frozen yogurt? Ugh. I vowed to try another grocery store later in the week and walked out of the store sans frozen treats.

Later in the week, I got the idea… hey… why don’t I just make my own ice cream! I had just made my first batch of ice cream a few weeks ago and found how easy it was even without an ice cream maker. Since I didn’t care for the blueberry ice cream and threw it out, I thought this would be a great opportunity to try the homemade ice cream again in a flavor I would enjoy.

This is how you know it's the right consistency...

I made Dorie’s Vanilla Ice Cream recipe and to kick it up a bit, I added some crushed Oreo’s and some Bailey’s Irish Cream once the ice cream was softly frozen. I called this frozen concoction… Cookies and Irish Cream. The ice cream turned out delicious and it was pretty initially (until I tried to soften it to use in the torte with a hand-mixer and it quickly turned from a black and white marbled look to a muddled grey).

Everything's a little better with booze, right?

Now it was time to make the ganache. It’s funny. I sit down every week with my Baking: From My Home To Yours and read through the next recipe and write down all the ingredients that I need to buy… somehow… it completely slipped my mind that I didn’t have anymore chocolate chips until I was getting a bowl out of the cabinet to start the ganache. Crap. Obviously, I could run out and pick up some… but I rummaged around my baking cabinet for possible substutions… The first thing I thought of was that I could do a white chocolate ganache instead. And then I thought that it would not only be too sweet with the ice cream I made, that the color would just look disgusting with the grey interior… I dug futher in my cabinet and spotted some unsweetened baking chocolate. At first I thought it might even have some kind of conversion chart on it for adding sugar to make it semi-sweet, etc… but, it didn’t.

I decided to just go with it anyway and I used a boatload of corn syrup to sweeten it (maybe I could have used sugar, but I thought that corn syrup would be better for the consistency).

The rest of the recipe came together easily. I got lazy with the freezing and re-freezing (I mean, heck.. when you make your own ice cream without an ice cream maker and THEN you start all this additional ganache freezing you feel like you’re in and out of the freezer about zillion times) and omitted the middle layer of ganache. I halved the recipe and used a quart size glass mixing bowl to make it in.

It’s good. The ganache is tasty and the ice cream is awesome…. But, honestly… next time I’ll just scoop out some ice cream and pour some fudge sauce on it.

Check out Amy’s blog for the recipe.

I like to think of it as... rustic!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Peach Galette

Oh friends...

Can I be honest with you? Ever since I made the Peach Galette a few weeks ago, the glorious memories of it's taste has been occupying my thoughts on a daily basis. I would find myself reminiscing and daydreaming about the moment when we would be reunited.

Luckily, I didn't have to wait long. My dad bought a slew of peaches at the farmers market last week and gave me a sackful... and what did I do with those bad boys?? That's right... I made a peach galette again. And not just a half recipe this time... oh no... I made the full recipe and it was spectacular.

There was something funny about those peaches though... I mean, I think they had somehow been magnitized or something, because my fork just wouldn't stay out of it... Strange, huh?

Do yourself a favor and buy some fresh peaches, some cherry perserves and make this. You won't be sorry.

If loving you is wrong... I don't want to be right...

Ok, so you know it's damn good if it makes me sing a Barbara Mandrell song.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

TWD: Granola Grabbers

So, I always think that I hate raisins. Always, always, always. And then they’ll wind up in a cookie or a cake and I’ll be like… damn… that’s what a raisin tastes like? I remembered them tasting grosser than that. This weeks Tuesdays with Dorie recipe called for raisins. Granola Grabbers was the recipe chosen this week. A granola based cookie with raisins, nuts and wheat germ thrown in for good measure. Initially I thought that maybe I’d sub out the raisins for some dried cherries. Cause, I’m a fool for dried cherries. But, I didn’t anticipate liking this recipe… and I didn’t want to use my prized (and expensive) dried cherries in a recipe that might just get thrown out.

Yeah, it seemed like a LOT of ingredients...

So… I used up some golden raisins that I had lying around.

I also made a couple of adjustments to the recipe… I added some vanilla extract to the whole batch and then after the first batch came out of the oven, I decided to throw in some cinnamon to the remaining cookies and that was a great decision, because that really made them delicious.

These remind me of like a breakfast cookie. Very delicious. Moist and chewy, with just the perfect crunch from the nuts. I highly suggest adding vanilla and cinnamon to yours, though. They make these cookies irresistible.

For the recipe check out Michelle's Blog... Bad Girl Baking

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Chewy White Chocolate Chocolate Cookies

It would appear to you, my beloved blog readers, that I haven't really been baking much lately. And I guess that's true. I haven't been baking a whole lot, lately. And I'm not really sure why that is.

I'm sure part of it has to do with the fact that I'm in full training mode for my 4th marathon and I'm at that stage where I'm concerned about my caloric intake (every pound matters when you're running) because I'm not quite at the mileage yet where I can just eat whatever I want and not gain weight (give me about 2-3 weeks and there will likely be tons of fattening recipes I've been holding onto to try).

But, I couldn't resist giving this recipe a try for now. I had seen it on a ton of blogs lately and I'm always a fan of chocolate cookies and anything with the word "chewy" in the recipe name is going to grab my attention. This past weekend I went to Louisville to visit my friend Sara. Her birthday was wayyy back in June, so I was going to take her some of my newly appointed favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies, but I also decided to give these chocolate cookies a whirl, too. The dough was really salty and that worried me. I popped the dough in the fridge for a little bit, hoping that the salty flavor would mellow out a bit (I'm not even sure if thats actually possible, but it seemed like a good solution at the time).

After I baked these off, I thought... ehhhh... they're okay. They definitely weren't sweet enough for my tastes and they were more like a brownie cookie, than a chewy cookie. And, frankly, I've had better brownie type of cookies (oops I just realized there's still no recipe on that link. I'll fix that tomorrow, I promise!).

They are good. But they're not great.

(And jeez... sorry about the photo, my lighting must have been terrible... they did taste better than they photographed, that's for sure).

Chewy White Chocolate, Chocolate Cookies
from Picky Palate, but I first saw it here

1 3/4 cup flour
1 1/4 cup cocoa powder( Hershey's dark chocolate cocoa powder)
1 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. baking soda
1 cup butter
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt
2 cups white chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350F and grease cookie sheet(I used a silpat liner)
2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar and white sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well with each addition. Add the salt and vanilla.
3. In another bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, and baking soda and gradually add to the creamed mixture. Fold in chocolate chips. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheet.
4. Bake for 8-10 minutes until fluffy, but still soft. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

TWD: Blueberry Sour Cream Ice Cream

Dorie, Dorie, Dorie... you just love all your kitchen appliances, don't you? Most recipes call for a standing mixer or a food processor (neither of which I have). And this week called for an ice cream maker and a blender (yup, you guessed it, I don't have them, either)! I always seem to make do, though. And this week was no exception.

Doing things the old fashioned way is kind of right up my alley. I mean. Let's face it. I'm a low tech girl. My lack of kitchen appliances is nothing in comparison to my lack of now commonplace technological gadgets and gizmos. Take for instance the fact that I don't have internet at home. That's right, no internet and you want to know why? Because, I don't have a computer.

**crickets chirping**

Did you just fall over dead? That's right. I'm a blogger on two blogs and I don't even own a computer.

And I won't even get into the fact that my Zack Morris cell phone doesn't have even have a camera function...

So, technology be damned. I can make some ice cream the old fashioned way, dammit. All thanks to David Lebovitz. Because of him, I was still able to participate in this week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe chosen by Dolores of Chronicles in Culinary Curiosity: Blueberry Sour Cream Ice Cream (click on Dolores' blog to get the recipe).

On the one hand, I was super excited about this recipe. I mean, not only have I never made ice cream... I've never even eaten homemade ice cream. Ever. On the otherhand, I have recently come to terms with the fact that I don't like the flavor of cooked blueberries. Quite the conundrum, no?

I decided to give the cooked blueberries one more chance (plus, I had some frozen blueberries in the freezer...) and stayed with the recipe. (Big mistake for my tastebuds, but a lifesaver for my waistline).

The recipe was really easy. You basically just cook down some blueberries give them a good whizz in a blender (or in my case with your hand mixer, Betty).

And then you start the chilling process.

This recipe turned out awesome! The texture is great. The ice cream is so smooth and creamy. But, the flavor.... uggghhhh... it's official. I hate cooked blueberries (fresh ones, I adore, though).

I'm so glad I went through with this recipe though... because now I know I can make ice cream anytime I want (wait... is that *really* a good thing?)!!! I will be making ice cream again, just not blueberry flavored.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

TWD: Black & White Banana Loaf

I have this love/hate type of relationship with bananas. I go through phases where I love bananas. And then the love phase is immediately followed by a phase where I just don’t like them at all. And lately… it seems like the hate phase has been in full swing. Basically, the only way a banana sounds really good to me right now… is if it’s sliced into a bowl a cereal. I love bananas with my cereal. Mmmm.

So, when I saw that Ashlee of A Year in the kitchen chose Black and White Banana Loaf for this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe, I was less than thrilled. And then I read the recipe and saw that it had chocolate in it. Chocolate and Bananas, you say??? Now, that’s a recipe I can get behind.

This recipe is a banana bread with chocolate banana bread swirled through it. It calls for two things that I NEVER have in my kitchen… dark rum and nutmeg. Thanks to our knowing the recipes further in advance, I was able to actually borrow some dark rum from my parents booze stash awhile back and the nutmeg… well… it will continue to not step foot in my kitchen. Yuck. I hate nutmeg. My bread is sans nutmeg.

The recipe came together very quickly. Although Dorie kept saying in the recipe that the batter would be lumpy. But, mine was never lumpy. I’ll tell you one thing though, I felt like there were a lot of bowls. I mean, I know a lot of recipes use a lot of bowls, but this one I actually noticed… Jeez… this is a lot of bowls on the counter...
(and in the sink).

When it came to the swirling part… well, my bread batter was as thin as pancake batter. So, it basically just kind of all melded together, except there was a little middle spot that stayed purely chocolatey. The rest of the bread looked like muddled crap.

I halved the recipe and came out with one mini loaf and 3 muffins.

The results? Ehhhh… I liked the crispy/chewy edges and I liked the chocolate part of the batter. But, I wasn’t super thrilled with the rest of the bread. The white/banana part of the bread was very tough. I must have mixed it too much, but the chocolate part was tender, moist and fluffy.

If you’re a huge banana fan, then you’d probably like this recipe. The only way I’d make it again, is to make it all chocolate (because that marbling technique is just too fussy for me), and to make it MORE chocolate-y.

Be sure to get the recipe at Ashlee’s above linked blog and check out the other Dorie Guys and Gals at the link above.