Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Chocolate Truffle Tartlets

The Second Installment from Tuesdays With Dorie

This week, we made Chocolate Truffle Tartlets from Baking with Julia.

Here is a link to the recipe!

I can only describe it as a lot of work without the reward. There are many reasons why I did not love these tartlets. Here we go:

1) The Chocolate Dough made me feel incompetent (not that I actually have my act together). I made it in my food processor after watching the Baking with Julia episode where David Ogonowski admitted that it might be dry and flaky. I added extra water. I tried not to over work it. I wrapped it in cling wrap and put it in the freezer. Then, in a rookie move, I took it out of the freezer much later and tried to shape it. Yes, it was frozen into a rock. So, I put it in the refrigerator (like I should have to begin with) and tried again hours later. After proper refrigeration, it easily went into my mini-tart pans.

2) I poked the crusts with a fork and baked them. However, I think I made my crusts too thick and they took up too much of the pans so there wasn't enough room for truffle.

3) I am not a bittersweet chocolate fan. That is why I had unsweetened baking chocolate that expired in Feb 2010 in my kitchen. Was it no good anymore or is it that I just don't like the bitter experience? And, when your chocolate is a few years past its prime, it is hard to finely chop it.

4) Speaking of chopping chocolate, I didn't chop the milk and white chocolate small enough so when the tart finished baking, there were large pieces that didn't melt into the truffle.

5) What is with a recipe that makes you bake two other things first? I guess I shouldn't count having to make the Chocolate Dough as another thing, but it was on a separate page in the book and I'm already complaining...But to ask for 4 biscotti, like I have them lying around the house next to old gym shoes and expired unsweetend chocolate? I bought some Trader Joe's Almond Biscotti which I think defeats the purpose of baking from scratch.

In the end...we didn't love this. I thought it was because we rushed to eat it out of the oven. However, even the next day it wasn't great. We tried heating it so it would have a melted center and it was ok. Not worth all the effort.

They can't all be winners.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Vegan Cupcakes

Another reason to love the internet. When your kid has a playdate and you promise them that they can bake. However, the friend coming over is allergic to nuts and dairy and eggs. What is there to bake? How about some vegan cupcakes?

These were very easy to make and very tasty. The vanilla ones were from a recipe by Post Punk Kitchen. I like to use vanilla paste since I don't have any vanilla beans. It still gives flakes of bean in the cupcake without the cost of buying beans. Also, I used Soy milk instead of Almond milk (nut allergy!).

The chocolate cupcake recipe I got from Allrecipes.com. I used apple cider vinegar instead of plain vinegar.

After the playdate friend left, I made two different icings. A chocolate one for the vanilla cupcakes and a vanilla one for the chocolate cupcakes. Needless to say, there were no leftovers.

I adapted the icing recipes from Joy of Cooking:

Similar to their Quick White Icing:

Melt 4 tablespoons unsalted butter in a barely simmering double boiler. Remove from heat and stir in 2 cups of powdered sugar (2 1/2 if you are making the chocolate icing), 3 tablespoons milk and a nice dash of salt. Then put back on double boiler and cook 5 minutes. Stir now and then. Remove from heat and add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Beat for a few minutes until cooled and the consistency of icing.

I made mine earlier in the day, let it sit covered on the counter and stirred it together well before icing cooled cupcakes.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Baking with Julia: Part 1 The White Loaves

As I have mentioned in a previous post, my desire to fit in a group will be outweighing my natural urge to be a lazy bum. I need to post twice a month about my baking experience and experiments with Baking With Julia by Dorie Greenspan so I can hang out on the Internet with other bakers.

I have actually not missed the first deadline yet. Which is pretty impressive since I seem to be late at everything since I had kids.

The first recipe we baked as a group is White Loaves. I know the title and description knocks you off your feet and may actually cause drooling. After all, how often do you get to eat white bread, especially when it isn't a holiday or birthday or a leap year. (Big sarcasm here, plus it is a leap year).

Baking white loaves almost doesn't seem worth the effort. My kids take sandwiches to school multiple times a week and we fly through loaves of bread. Do they even care what bread they are eating? Isn't it just a way to transport peanut butter and jelly to school? However, making a loaf of bread from scratch changes the way any sandwich tastes.

Daughter M said that this was the only time she liked eating the crust on bread. Since the kiddies tend to bring home the crusts from their lunchboxes every day, that is high praise.

The recipe (on page 81 in the book), makes 2 loaves. Here is a link to it. Unfortunately, I am giving 1 loaf to the family that is entertaining my non-football watching child during the Super Bowl. That leaves 1 loaf for the whole family, which won't make it more that 1-2 days. I guess I could start baking bread every week.

And while telling someone about this group and recipe and blog etc. I realized that instead of adding 1/2 a stick of butter I added the whole stick. Which is probably why this bread is way more wonderful than it should be.

Enjoy the picture. This was very easy to make and might become a weekly occurrence in my house.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

2012 - The year I start baking more?

It is amazing the lengths one will go through to join a group. I'm not talking about Sorority Rush (although I have been through that and it was a positive experience).

I'm talking about me actually posting to this blog more than once every few years just so I can join a group of bakers. I had wanted to join these happy bakers a few years ago. However, I couldn't get my act together to post weekly (let alone yearly) about what recipe they were working on. So, since Baking with Dorie Greenspan has ended, I am going to try to join Baking with Julia. It should take a few years...and should get me to post more often. Hopefully it won't also include me gaining a few pounds. I'm hoping I'm not signing up for that too!