Thursday, May 24, 2007

It's cookie time, grab your salt lick!

Posted by BAKE-EN at 11:28 PM 1 comments Links to this post
Nick Malgieri has so many cookbooks we knew he would be a great resource for some interesting cookie recipes. The results of our recipe testing were, uh, needing salt. See below:

Alfajores: Crisp Sandwich Cookies Filled with Milk Caramel

From: A Baker's Tour

These cookies were tasty once they were assembled. The recipe didn't call for any salt in the dough, which to me, is sacrilegious. In went 1/2 teaspoon of Kosher salt. The milk caramel filling was a disaster, twice! I know that you can make dulce de leche by boiling sweetened condensed milk forever, but I thought I would try Mr. Malgieri's method. BIG MISTAKE!!!! The first time I made it, the filling became extremely lumpy while baking in the oven. This was not for lack of stirring though. I stirred that mixture so much so that I was afraid my eyebrows were going to bake off my face from the extreme heat of my oven. The second time I made the filling I undercooked it. Eventually, I cooked the filling down on the stove top to the correct consistency. Once assembled, these cookies were great. The cookie dough didn't taste too much of cornstarch, and the brandy flavor complimented the dulce de leche nicely. I'm not the biggest fan of coconut, so I put ground toasted pecans on the outside of half the cookies, and that was really nice. If I decide to make these cookies again, I'll definitely make them smaller. 2 1/2" diameter sandwich cookies are really big.

Lemonade Cookies (on right)

From: Perfect Light Desserts with David Joachim

Chocolate Almond Spice Cookies aka. Basler Brunsli (bottom left)
Almond Butter Disks (top left)

From: How to Bake

The lemonade cookies (picture on the far right) were pretty good for low fat. My husband didn't care for them too much, but that's because he's way more of a chocolate lover than a citrus guy. The cookies were tender and the lemon flavor was pleasant. These would be good cookies to reach for if you're having a sugar craving. Other tasters suggested adding more salt to the batter, and I agree. Next time, I'll add 1/2 tsp instead of 1/4 tsp of salt. The chocolate spice cookies were okay, though I'm not sure any of us would make them again after tasting. My husband liked them, but he thought they were gingerbread cookies. The chocolate flavor wasn't very strong. Both the chocolate spice cookies and the almond butter disks were lacking in the salt department (surprise!). The almond butter disks were nice little cookies. The almond flavor was nice, and they looked really cute sandwiched with a little strawberry jam inside.

Pecan Wafers

From: Cookies Unlimited

With the addition of 1/2 teaspoon of salt, these cookies are outstanding. They are incredibly easy to make, it only takes a few minutes to make the dough. Want to make these to die for? Make them a little smaller then pictured above, then sandwich them with vanilla ice cream.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Dorie and Julia-what a perfect combination!

Posted by BAKE-EN at 11:34 PM 0 comments Links to this post
I swear we're not obsessed with Dorie Greenspan! This will be the last time we review one of her books/recipes for at least one posting :) An overall favorite cookbook among us bakers, we decided to try some recipes from Baking with Julia written by Dorie Greenspan. For those of you who do not own this book, buy it! The breath of recipes alone makes owning this book worthwhile. It has everything from breads to pastries to fancy desserts (and everything in between). This would be a great book to give to a new baker as the recipes are very easy to follow.

Buttermilk Crumb Muffins

These are the kind of muffins that even the most pickiest eater would like. Sit down with a coffee, newspaper and one of these muffins. Life doesn't get much better.

Fresh Rhubarb Upside-down Baby Cakes & Sage Upside-down Cake

These cakes were truly delicious. The bourbon caramel and pecans complimented the rhubarb fantastically. The picture of the rhubarb cakes doesn't do them justice. When they were flipped out of the cake pans, they were a beautiful pink and glistening. For the sage cakes, I decided to cook down some pineapple juice, and use that in lue of the vanilla extract. The flavor of the sage and pineapple was nice, though the rhubarb cakes were the standout.

Hungarian Shortbread

If you love shortbread these bars are for you. Our baker used a strawberry jam instead of the rhubarb, and the results were great. The baker commented that grating the dough was time consuming and (I assume) grating on her nerves :) Also, the shortbread took much longer to cook than the recipe suggested.

Best-ever Brownies

The recipe name says it all. These were the best brownies ever. They were delicious both right out of the oven (who can wait?), and once cooled.


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