Saturday, February 27, 2010

Tiramisu This Month's Challenge from DB

This month's challenge is TIRAMISU! Everytime the calender gets close to the 27th, our posting date, I start to panic. Do I have everything....how long will it take...can I fit it in with my life. And this month, I say YES....Yes to those calories...and Yes to this dessert!

This divine Italian dessert translates to mean ‘pick me up’, supposedly referring to the ‘kick’ provided by the strong coffee, sugar and alcohol in it! The perfect Tiramisu is a balance of flavors of a sweet zabaglione, strong coffee, marsala wine, creamy mascarpone cheese and the dusting of unsweetened cocoa.


So when, where and how was tiramisu born?
Tiramisu is said to have its origins in Treviso (Italy), and there are quite a few stories about how it came to be created.One story traces the tiramisu as far back as the Renaissance claiming that it was first made in honour of the visit of Grand Duke Cosimo di Medici to Tuscany. Yet another one points to the tiramisu being an adaptation of the "Zuppa Inglese" referring to the sponge cake and cream layered English Trifle.However, experts in this area generally agree that the tiramisu as we know it today, was born in the ‘70s.Some believe that the Tiramisu was created in the the Le Beccherie (a restaurant in Treviso). Others suggest that Tiramisu was first made in 1971 by an Italian baker named Carminantonio Iannaccone in a small bakery in Treviso, Italy.



Who ever came up with this delectable dessert would have made a fortune if they were able to patent it. You will find it on most nicer restaurant menus. And they even now make tiramisu ice cream, packaged at the grocery store.





The challenge was to make everything from scratch, including the mascarpone cheese. Which unfortunately I skipped, because I ran out of time. I have made it before, but in this region of the country you can find it everywhere. But I did make the Ladyfingers this time.



You can pipe them out of a pastry bag like this which is very easy. And if you make guidelines on the paper to go by, it is easier.





Or you can just pick up a shiny new ladyfinger pan, so that you know everyone would be perfect! I have seen these at Homegoods for 9.99. I do not suggest buying one, unless you k at his site now you will use it more than once or twice a year.


And if your looking to make this delicious dessert from scratch, make sure you have enough time. Otherwise go the easier route and buy the cheese and ladyfingers. The challenge from scratch will take about 3 days. After assembling, you will want it to sit overnight in the fridge to get more flavorful!


I won't bore you with the long drawn out recipe, because I have made it before with Dorie, (which is a great recipe) But,there is a great tutorial with the recipe I used HERE and her site is so cute!
Good Luck if you take on the challenge!




The February 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen and Deeba of Passionate About Baking. They chose Tiramisu as the challenge for the month. Their challenge recipe is based on recipes from The Washington Post, Cordon Bleu at Home and Baking Obsession.


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Chocolate Crispy Treat

If you've read the blog before, you know that Rice Krispy Treats are a mainstay in our house. So easy to make if you have everything on hand. It it doesn't have to be just puffed rice cereal. You can use Flakes, Rice Chex, Pebbles...or whatever you may have on hand.

This particular day I was putting together a Birthday gift as a special request from my husband's friend. He just loves these chocolate covered krispy treats. He had them on the Christmas tray I had given him, and knew he wanted more! I got the idea after seeing them in HOME GOODS food department. I always check out that aisle when I'm there to see any ideas of sprinkles or flavorings they may have. Right before Christmas they had a bag of 4 or 5 of these sticks for $4.99. I thought wow, I can do it cheaper than that!

What you do is make the krispy treats as usual in a small jelly roll pan. I use a 9 x 13. When cool, I cut the treats in half lengthwise and then cut into small 3/4 inch strips. Then I dip just one edge into melted milk chocolate. After they have set up, I package into cellophane bags. They make great gifts to give away!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Honey Wheat Cookies

This week's TWD recipe was chosen by Michelle of Flourchild for this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie . It is on page 81 of Dorie Greenspan’s book Baking: From My Home to Yours. I had my doubts when I saw wheat germ in the recipe, but these cookies are really awesome. It has a honey lemony taste. Dorie suggest having it with tea, and I agree.

If you do not have lemons on hand you can certainly use oranges, like a lot of other TWDers did. I think that is how I will make them again. And yes, they were so delish...I would bake them up again. Don't let the wheat germ throw you off. Give them a try!!!


Honey Wheat Cookies
Ingredients:
1 3/4 all purpose flour
1 cup wheat germ
1 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbs lemon zest
1 stick butter, room temperature
1 egg
additional 1/2 cup of wheat germ for rolling

Directions:
**Combine flour, wheat germ, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Set aside.

**Using an electric mixer, cream butter. Add sugar, honey and zest and beat at medium speed until smooth and creamy. Add egg. Continue beating until fluffy.

**Add the flour mixture and reduce the speed. Beat until just mixed.

**Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 2 days. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350F.

**Line baking sheet with silicone mat or parchment paper. Divide dough into 1 inch balls. Cover with wheat germ by rolling each ball on a bowl filled with 1/2 cup wheat germ. Place balls on prepared baking sheet, one inch apart.

**These will not spread much so taking a glass or measuring cup, press each ball flat.

**Bake for 10 minutes or until firm. Cool on wire rack. These will keep at room temperature for 3 days or up to 2 months frozen.


We give this 4 glasses of milk.......
for utter goodness!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Dorie's Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

Probably my most favorite sweet treat ever, is the focus of today's Tuesdays With Dorie! This week's Tuesdays With Dorie baking challenge is Dorie's My Best Chocolate Chip Cookies, chosen by Kait of Kait's Plate .



I read that a lot of TWDers didn't enjoy them and said they were too thin. I decided to switch it up and add half butter flavored Crisco. I know, I know most of you hate Crisco. But if you want that thicker cookie, that is what it take. Dorie states that they a similar to Toll House, and they are. She reduced the flour a quarter of a cup.
I myself loved them! Of course, there are not many I do not like....as long as they are nice and chewy. So pour yourself a large glass of milk and enjoy maybe one, two or five......
Thanks to Kait for selecting this week's TWD baking challenge. Please check out Kait's blog for the detailed recipe and be sure to take a peek at fellow TWD's to see how their recipe came out!
We give this 5 glasses of milk,
for uttergoodness!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Fat Tuesday and Paczki!!!

Tomorrow is Fat Tuesday, and where I come from that means Paczki Day, pronounced "Poonch-key". Paczki Day precedes the beginning of Lent, and the baking of paczki is traditionally a way to use up all of the fat, sugar, and fruit in the house--things forbidden during the strict Polish Lenten season.

Paczki are flattened sphere-shaped deep-fried dough pieces that are filled with custard,lemon, prune,raspberry,blueberry, cherry, and my favorite when available, chocolate custard. The Paczki are finished with a rub of powdered sugar or they may be iced with a powdered sugar glaze.
Although it says lard, the ones we made at our bakery were made with butter and eggs. This made them stand out from the ordinary Jelly Doughnut. Plus they were a good 6 ounces in weight. We would sell 1000's leading up until this special Tuesday. It would take all of our family to pitch in almost around the clock the last 2 days.

Paczki can be time consuming, and you would need a deep fryer. So if you live near a Polish town, it may be better to buy them. But, if you don't and want to be a Daring Baker, then give this old recipe a try!

Remember all ingredients should be room temperature.
**Step One Dissolve:
1 pkg of yeast into ¼ cup warm water and ½ quart warm milk

**add to the yeast and warm milk 3 cups flour and let rise for about ½ hour to create what is called a sponge.

**Step Two Put together:
½ quart warm milk, ¼ lb. Butter, 2 tablespoons shortening ,½ cup sugar,1 tablespoons vanilla

**In a mixing bowl with a dough hook,mix both of the above steps with 6 eggs, pinch of salt, 9 cups flour and mix until you get a really good textured dough.

**Let the dough rise until double in size, cut the dough into 2 ounce pieces and form balls.

**Place the dough balls on a well oiled flat pan, let them rise for about ½ hour to about ¾ hour.

**Fry dough balls in 350 degree oil until well browned on both sides then put them on a brown paper bag to drain the oil form frying.

**At this point is when you can fill them with the filling of your choice. Take a pastry bag with a large plain tip, poke it right in and fill until it gets heavy. It will feel like your holding a large Hamburger.....

These are Paczki with a light glaze on them.


And these are the ones with a powdered sugar rub.
They are best when just coming out of the fryer,
rolled in a cinnamon sugar mixture.

Yummy!

Enjoy Fat Tuesday!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Heart Shaped Krispies

What kid doesn't like a Rice Krispie Treat?

Here in our house, it's a staple. I make these at least once every week. They're easy, cheap, and not bad when it comes to a healthy snack. I mix it up a little each week by using chocolate crisp rice, fruity pebbles, coconut, or chips - butterscotch or chocolate...whatever suits my fancy!
This time it's a little added food coloring and cutting them into heart shapes for my little sweethearts of course.
So if you haven't made these before here's the recipe:

INGREDIENTS
1/2 stick Margarine or butter
10 oz bag of miniature marshmallows
6 cups of crispy rice cereal


DIRECTIONS
* Butter a 9 x 13 pan and set aside

* In a large saucepan melt the margarine, then add the marshmallows while continuously stirring, as not to burn. Until they melt .

*Add the crispies and continue to stir until it is incorporated, turning off the heat.

* Take a buttered scraper, and scrape into the pan and flatten out

* After allowing to cool , cut out the heart shapes.

***If adding color, add during the marshmallow melting time.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Raspberry Linzer Hearts


These are a repost of what I made last year, and what I'm baking off today. I simply love these cookies. I'm off to finish my Valentines.....Have you finished yours???

These are a wonderful cookie at Valentines or any other time. Linzer is a name for a nut shortbread cookie or tart, usually sandwiched together. They can be made with a heart shape or a nice round crinkle cut cutter. They can be time consuming, so make sure you give yourself enough time to make these great cookies.
I especially enjoy these with a cup of tea. The hint of raspberries and almonds, is a wonderful combination. After you make them it is best to let them sit overnight before packing, so that the jam can dry like glue to hold them together.

Ingredients:
1-1/4 cups butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon almond extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cups ground almonds
Raspberry jam
Confectioners' sugar

Directions:
**In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add in Almond extract
**Combine the flour, soda, salt, and cinnamon, gradually add to the creamed mixture and mix well.
**Stir in almonds.
**Refrigerate for 1 hour or until easy to handle.
**On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/8-in. thickness. Cut with a 3-in. heart-shaped or 2-1/2-in. round cookie cutter. From the center of half the cookies, cutout a 1-1/2-in. heart or round shape.
**Place on ungreased baking sheets.
**Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes or until edges are golden brown. **Remove to wire racks to cool.
**Spread 1/2 teaspoon jam over the bottom of the solid cookies; Sprinkle cutout cookies with confectioners' sugar; carefully place over jam like a sandwich.
Yield: 3 dozen

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Julia's Prep Chef's Specialty.....Brownies



I think this month, is a Month of Chocolate.......

This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie is all about the gooey goodness of brownies made by pastry chef Rick Katz as chosen by Tanya of Chocolatechic on page 91 of Dorie Greenspan’s book Baking: From My Home to Yours



Dorie writes “In 1995, when I was working with Julia Child filming the PBS series Baking with Julia and writing the companion book, Boston-based pastry chef Rick Katz was running the prep kitchen in Julia’s basement. Working between the washing machine and the dryer, Rick was in charge of getting the recipes of each of the twenty-six visiting chefs ready for their close-ups. An ordinary human would have had his hands full, but superman Rick always found time to make us extra little goodies, among them these very dark, very fudgy brownies. The way he prepares the batter is different from any other brownie recipe I know. Half of the eggs and sugar are mixed in with the chocolate, while the other half are beaten until they double in volume and are as light as a sponge. Whipping the eggs creates the surprisingly creamy, soft and definitely fudgy texture"

Keeping with the Valentine theme of the week, I decided to cut the brownies into heart shapes. I waited for them to cool in the fridge completely before making the cuts. So you will see that mine are not as ooey gooey has they could be. But, boy were they good.....delish for sure! I would make these again for sure. They did a little bit more effort than the usual way, but really no time at all. Check out the recipe HERE.


We give this 5 glasses of milk,
for utter goodness!



Monday, February 8, 2010

Mixing Up Some Loving......


In honor of Valentines Week, how about mixing up this cute little batch, of a loving spoonful, of a kid. This is my first son, in one of our large mixing bowls, I think he is asking "when is the sugar going to be added?"

This week, I will be making a lot of sweet items to hand out on Friday. I know I have people who look forward to it, so I must not disappoint, right? Cookies, Candy, Chocolate covered Pretzels, and yes lots and lots more chocolate.....It is great having the Dollar Tree so close, they have the cutest holiday packaging. Can't resist those heart cellophane bags.
So I'll keep you posted on my Valentines Extravaganza as I go along. Now I'm off to bake up some of those World Peace Cookies again and freeze them for my packages. They were so yummy and chocolaty.....

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Beignet Tribute to the Saints

Will you be watching the game tonight?
We will be in this house, thanks to the hubby. Will we be rooting for the underdog like the rest of the nation. Of course, it would be nice for New Orleans if they win. But we'll probably be betting on the Colts to win. As former HomeTown Boy: Dungee Fans (he came from Jackson, MI), we tend to root for the Colts, when not rooting for our Patriots. And since Tom is busy with his new little family, we will not be a contender this year.......

So since we are big dessert fans too, I thought I would throw together a tribute to the Saints. I have never been to New Orleans and would love to go. If for not the food alone. And I hear that Beignets are a mainstay in that area.

These are what I would call a "French Donut", since the dough is like brioche dough. This recipe is super duper easy, except for the fact that you have to fry them. If your not big on frying , you might not take on the challenge. But give them a try, they are delish for sure!!!!


Beignet Dough (or Brioche Dough)
- 3/4 Tablespoon dry yeast (A bit under 1 packet)
- 3/4 cup warm water
- 4 eggs lightly beaten
- 1/4 cup honey
- 3/4 cup melted butter (1 1/2 sticks)
- 3/4 Tablespoon salt
- 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

* First combine the yeast, water, eggs, honey, and melted butter. Mix in a bowl with a dough hook or paddle.
* Add in the salt, then gradually add the flour until it comes together. The dough will be wet.
*Let this dough rise in the bowl at room temperature for at least 2 hours. It will at least double in volume and you’ll end up with the above picture.
**You can punch it down a bit at this point and then cover and chill it for at least one hour. Then you can use it right away or store it in the fridge well covered for up to 10 days. This is why the recipe is so great because it lets you make the dough when you have time and cook it when you need it.
*After chilling, using generous amounts of flour, roll it out.
* Then take a knife or, even easier, a pizza cutter, and slice up the dough into 2X2 inch squares. Let the dough rest for 20 minutes after you cut it. This will let the dough relax a bit and come to room temperature. Very important.
*Then just drop them in a pot of oil at 350 degrees. If you don’t have a candy thermometer to get the temp exactly right, just test the oil with a single Beignet. It should quickly rise to the surface and brown nicely on one side in about 2 minutes. After you get confident you can do a few at a time.
*Two minutes per side is all it takes for that lovely golden brown. Take them out with a slotted spoon and transfer to a paper towel to drain quickly. Then dust with powdered sugar. Use a heavy hand here.
Serve while warm!
Enjoy the game!


Friday, February 5, 2010

Just a Little Love......



I was changing my decor over from Snowman to something Valentine-like, and was wondering what I could do. Since I have alot of scrapbooking supplies on hand and foam board for school projects,this is what I did:

**I printed out the outline of a letter, then traced onto the foam board, and cut it out with an exact-to knife, (I would have preferred thin wood)
**Then I cut out the same letter in scrapbook paper and glued it on. Then modge podged.
**When it dried, I added embellishments.
**The I posted them up in a piece of wood trim, with a groove down the middle.

Doesn't look too bad on the mantle for a first timer.....
maybe I should invest in a jig-saw!



Thursday, February 4, 2010

Valentines for your children's class...



No store bought cards in this house!
With those school parties just a week away....it's time to get going on those classroom giveaways. My children go to one of those schools now, where they celebrate some holidays. And these parties can not contain any candy or treats. Gone are the days when you could send in cupcakes or cookies.....Nutrition and allergy issues, I guess.

So each year, I try to come up with a creative way of giving each student a little gift with their Valentines. And thanks for the Dollar Tree, it makes it possible for an affordable giveaway. Plus, they are so darn cute!



What I do is design a great graphic for a business card. Then I punch holes at the top and bottom to put the pencil in. I slide the pencil in so it is in the back.


And, tadda, you have a great card with a cute giveaway, with each costing around 12 cents with card and printing. What a bargain for happiness....
Here is the graphic for you to copy to your file!