Tuesday, November 30, 2010

{TWD} Devilish Shortcakes

In the past few months, chocolate recipes have been scarcer than hen's teeth in the baking lineup of the Tuesdays With Dorie group. We've enjoyed a wonderful selection of seasonal fruit-based recipes; there's definitely been no lack of apple and cranberry sweets. But a little chocolate is good for the soul, so I was happy to see this week's selection, Devilish Shortcakes. I've never heard of chocolate shortcakes, but I was willing to give them a try!

n.o.e.'s notes:

- We can thank Tania of the blog Love Big, Bake Often for selecting the shortcakes this week, and her post contains the recipe.

- I halved this recipe, and ended up with 6 large shortcakes. I think that next time I would make smaller ones, like biscuits.

- To boost the chocolate flavor of this recipe, I used Double-Dutch Dark Cocoa powder from King Arthur Flour.

- The recipe comes together easily (Thank you, Tania). Although Dorie prefers to use her fingertips to combine the flour and butter, I have much better luck using a pastry blender.

- I gave a little taste when these came out of the oven and discovered that they are actually not very sweet or assertive in flavor; so I made a quick compote with frozen blackberries to serve as a filling with sweetened whipped cream.

the verdict:

I love serving shortcakes to my book group, because we can all assemble our desserts to our own tastes. These shortcakes were not a rich chocolate dessert in themselves, but they did make a lovely vehicle for filling and topping. They could definitely take a warm chocolate or caramel sauce but I was glad to go the fruit and cream route.

Blackberries are my favorite fruit to combine with chocolate. The mild cakes paired nicely with the bright acidity of the blackberry sauce, and the whipped cream unified and smoothed out the flavors. The shortcakes were generally well-received, although many of us had half a cake because they were so large.

Other shortcake recipes I've baked and posted:

Ginger Peach Shortcakes
Strawberry Shortcakes

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Overnight Oven Stock and Turkey Leek Soup

It has always been m habit to make stock with the remains of my Thanksgiving turkey (I previously posted my stock recipe here). I freeze most of it, and usually give some away. A couple of days after Thanksgiving last year Michael Ruhlman posted two recipes. The first was his Turkey Stock: Oven Method and the other was a Turkey Leek Soup that could be made with the stock. I prepared both recipes, and address them separately, below.

n.o.e.'s notes, overnight turkey stock:

- You can find the stock and soup recipes here.

- There are several advantages to using this method for cooking stock. First, it is cooked on very low heat for a very long slow cooking time. Ruhlman says 8 to 16 hours in the oven. That gives a lot of flexibility and does not keep you tied to the stove, to wakefulness, or, indeed even to your house while the stock cooks. The temperature is low enough that you can sleep or run errands without the fear that the house will burn down in your absence.

- Perhaps my favorite part of this recipe is that it begins with bones plus water, that is all. Eventually, after the pot has a long stint in a slow oven, at your convenience you add some aromatic vegetables and seasonings. Then you can return the stove to the oven for several more hours, or you can finish it more quickly in the conventional manner on top of the stove. This suits me because for some reason I'm always very pressed for time when I'm trying to make stock, and find it difficult to find the time to chop and peel the vegetables at the beginning of the process of stock-cooking.

- I always add all of the optional flavoring ingredients to the stock.

- One tip: your oven might decide to turn itself off after a certain number of hours, so if you are heading out the door or going to sleep, I'd advise turning the oven off and re-starting it.

the verdict, stock:

Although I love my usual stock recipe once I made Ruhlman's stock with last Thanksgiving's turkey carcass I have not used any other method to make chicken or turkey stock in the intervening year. It is a far easier and more flexible way to cook stock, and the end result is as tasty as my previous recipe.

n.o.e.'s notes, turkey leek soup:

- As long as you have some leeks on hand, you can make this soup easily with leftover turkey meat and your wonderful fresh stock. You can also make it with stock you've stashed in your freezer, and an poultry scraps you might save, and leeks, of course.

- This soup was a snap to make, which was quite welcome after all of the cooking involved in Thanksgiving dinner.

the verdict, soup:

Leeks, the well-mannered, refined members of the onion family, lend a subtle note to this soup. It made a lovely light dinner served on Thanksgiving weekend with bread and salad on the side (and a little leftover pie to finish it off!)

Happy Thanksgiving to all who are celebrating today!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

{TWD} Ginger Fig Cream Cheese Torte

I jumped aboard the Tuesdays With Dorie train in its 30th week, and have baked every weekly choice since that time. While I have managed to keep current with the recipes chosen for the group, I have not made much progress in baking the recipes that I missed in the early weeks of the group. This week, however, the TWD bakers have a built-in catch-up day: we are free to bake any past recipe of our choosing.

Perusing the first 29 recipes on the "Completed Recipes" page of the TWD website quickly led me to the Hidden Berry Cream Cheese Torte: a slim cheesecake with a layer of jam or preserves between the crust and the cream cheese filling.

n.o.e.'s notes:

- This torte was chosen in the third week of the group. You can find the recipe on this post of our TWD founder Laurie of the blog Slush.

- An 8" springform pan is perfect for making 3/4 recipe.

- This recipe is fairly easy to put together; first you make the crust in the food processor, then use the food processor to make the filling from cream cheese and cottage cheese. It ends up beautifully smooth, and much more pourable than regular cheesecake filling.

- I have jams for nearly every occasion, so it took me a while figure out which type to select for the torte. It finally occurred to me to use some fig preserves, as I'd recently stocked up on them, not realizing I already had some in the pantry. The biggest glitch in my plan is that my husband has a spotty relationship with figs. He generally dislikes the taste of figs, but he has been known to enjoy some dishes that contain fig preserves.

- I spiced up the preserves by adding powdered ginger, nutmeg, cloves and black pepper. Both Laurie and my buddy Leslie mentioned that the amount of jam in the original recipe was barel perceptible in the finished torte, so I increased the jam layer, adding probably 3 times as much as the recipe called for. Fig is fairly subtle and I wanted to make sure it was noticeable. Oh, and from an aesthetic perspective, a different flavor/color of jam would have been more attractive; the color of the fig preserves blended with the color of the crust.

- Dorie calls for some cinnamon and nutmeg in the cheese filling and I added a pinch of ginger as well.

- Leslie also passed on some baking hints, so I tented my torte with aluminum foil for the entire time that it was in the oven, and it turned out creamy and perfectly baked.

the verdict:
Numbered List
I was in a bit of a rush to get the torte photographed while it was still daylight, so I cut it before it had full cooled. The jam layer was just a bit oozy After taking pictures I then - of course - had to taste the torte while it was still slightly warm. I loved the flavors and textures of this torte: the spicy jam with a lush creamy filling and sweet crunch of a cookie-like crust. I later found that the torte was also good chilled And at room temperature, for that matter.

Despite my efforts to spice up the fig preserves, this torte fell squarely in my husband's "dislike" camp; the fig flavor ruined it for him. I was left with an entire torte and without my trusty sweets-consumer to help me. I forced fed offered the pie to friends of my daughter. They were very polite; each tasting a tiny sliver, and murmering their approval. One even said that she doesn't like cheesecake and liked this.

The ginger I added to the jam and the filling turned out to be quite popular with my tasters. My daughter said it tasted like "pie spices" - exactly! What do you expect when you bake a torte in Thanksgiving week?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Perfect Green Beans with Walnut Vinaigrette

Considering how many hours of my childhood were spent sitting in front of a plate of cold green beans that I refused to eat, it's pretty ironic that I'm posting a recipe for green beans. Luckily, time passes, tastes change, and I'm thrilled to share this recipe with you in time for Thanksgiving. It's elegant enough to serve to company but simple enough that it won't stress you to do so. Really, it's a perfect recipe for any ordinary day as well.

The recipe for the green beans is Ellie Krieger's, and she calls it Green Bean Salad. I call it "perfect" though, because it is. For the past two months I have not made green beans any other way.

n.o.e.'s notes:

- You can find the recipe here.

- I begin this dish by steaming the beans and toasting the walnuts at the same time, each for 4 minutes. In that time the rest of the recipe - chopping red onions and flat leaf parsley, whisking a simple vinaigrette, can be made in the 4 minutes that it takes to steam the green beans.

- Walnut oil is delicious in the vinaigrette, but I also have used olive oil and it is quite tasty.

- The walnuts and onions are so good with the beans that I usually measure them generously.

- The beans can be enjoyed warm, cold, or at room temperature. I've served them at all three ways with equal success.

the verdict:

These beans are quite simple to make, and have a subtle, sophisticated fall flavor from the toasted walnuts and walnut oil. I plan to serve these with my holiday turkey and hope you will also!

Other green bean recipes that I've known, loved, and posted on the blog:

Dramtically Seared Green Beans With Garlic and Chile from Mollie Katzen
Green Beans with Shallots and Clementine Zest from Cottage Living Magazine

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

{TWD} Cranberry Lime Galette, and Gluten Free Tart Variation

This week's Tuesdays With Dorie recipe is Cranberry Lime Galette, and yes, that makes two cranberry recipes in a row for the bakers of TWD (and three cranberry recipes in the past four posts for the readers of The Dogs Eat the Crumbs!) This bothers me not a bit because I adore cranberries. I always have a jar of homemade cranberry sauce in the fridge (see this post and this one), and I buy bags of fresh cranberries for as long as the local markets sell them, and squirrel them away in the freezer for the times when I can't find fresh berries.

Cranberries are a wonderful, bright counterpoint to roast meat or buttery baked goods. And speaking of buttery, I'm going to resist comparing this recipe to last week's because, well, they're as different as apples and oranges - literally, since last week's cake paired oranges with the cranberries and this week it's apples that join the cranberries.

n.o.e.'s notes:

- Whitney, April, and Elizabeth of Celestial Confections chose the Cranberry Lime Galette, and you can find the recipe on their blog today.

- A galette is a free-form pie, baked on a cookie sheet. Rolled-out pie dough is pulled up and tucked like a blanket around the fruit filling mounded in the center.

- I made a full recipe of the cranberry mixture, and divided it into a small galette with regular pie crust, and a medium tart with a gluten/grain free crust.

- My freezer had a half-single recipe of pie crust, which rolled out to a 7 inch circle. I marked the inner circle at 4.5 inches, and ended up with an adorable little galette.

- For the gluten/grain-free tart, I used a variation of the nut crust that I posted here, this time with pecans, almonds, and coconut flour.

- The filling for this galette contains fresh cranberries, lime zest and juice, apples, chopped fresh ginger, jam, and, optionally, plump dried cranberries. I didn't have any of those on hand, but I did have some plump dried Montmorency cherries from Trader Joe's, which I used instead, cutting them in pieces first. Continuing the theme, rather than raspberry jam, I used black cherry jam.

- An 8 ounces bag of cranberries yielded 2 cups, once I discarded a few soft cranberries

- The 1.5 inch piece of fresh ginger specified in the recipe produced nearly 1/4 cup when chopped. Did you know that you can throw ginger root right into the freezer and it will peel and grate perfectly when frozen? Another tip: scrape the ginger with the edge of a spoon to peel it easily. I did let the ginger thaw before chopping it; didn't want any knife accidents.

- My lime was pretty large, so I probably ended up using extra lime juice.

- To balance all of the tartness, I used a bit more chopped apple - 2 smallish ones. I don't know what kind of apple they were, since they were from my farm box, but they were fairly sweet.

- I didn't want to use bread crumbs in the tart since I was keeping it gluten/grain free, so I used a mixture of coconut flour and ground hazelnuts to line the dough. Because I was lazy, I used the same mixture for the galette as well.

the verdict:

I served the galette with whipped cream at the end of our family dinner on Sunday. My husband was bowled over by the flavors, and happily welcomed a generous second helping, saying, "This might be the best pie of any sort I've ever eaten; and I've eaten some good pies, too, if you catch my drift."

I'm well aware that his is not going to be the universal response to this galette. It is brash and bold, fresh and tart. The flavors are strong, but quite balanced. The cranberries are straight-out bitter/tart. The apples add the sweet note, the dried cherries amp up the flavor, and the jam combines with the lime and the ginger and the sugar to make a vivid, sweet glaze. The whipped cream (I used unsweetened) was a perfect accompaniment to the galette; it performed the welcome job of mellowing the flavors.

We enjoyed the tart also; the strong taste of the cranberry filling stood up nicely to the sturdy nut crust. All in all, this recipe was a winner, one that I wouldn't mind seeing on the Thanksgiving dessert buffet.

Another way to prepare this recipe would be to bake it as a one-crust pie, and add a streusel topping, which would moderate the tartness of the filling somewhat.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Apple Triple Ginger Streusel Bundt Cake

Last week I baked two apple cakes.

The first one was a failure. Not a spectacular, "I can't stand the taste" type of failure, nor an "I made a huge error baking this cake" failure. Even worse, it was a "ho hum" failure. Although (homemade) applesauce and autumnal spices went into the cake, it ended up with little detectable flavor. To add insult to injury, "even the texture is bland," in the words of my husband, who hit the nail right on the head. I didn't even bother to photograph that one.

The next cake - Apple Ginger Streusel Cake - was my choice for National Bundt Day, (which is today, November 15) so my fingers were crossed that this one would turn out well. Mary, of the blog The Food Librarian, is again marking the holiday by posting 30 bundts in 30 days, culminating today. I figured the least I could do was bake one cake. Food blog events with a once-a-year posting requirement are just about my speed!

When I choose a recipe for National Bundt Day, I look for one that's primarily intended to be baked in a bundt pan. It's true that most loaf cake and quick bread recipes can be doubled and baked in a bundt pan (and the reverse is always true; any bundt can be baked in two loaf pans) but for such an august occasion, I go for a true bundt recipe. Last year I baked a bundt with blackberry jam, which I posted here. For this year's I selected an apple coffee cake that is shown in bundt form, although the recipe says that it can be baked in other pan sizes. I bookmarked this recipe many months ago; National Bundt Day was the perfect excuse to try it out.

n.o.e.'s notes:

- The recipe for this cake is from Fine Cooking; you can find it here.

- The cake consists of a ginger-spiced buttermilk batter, into which crystallized ginger and apples are stirred, and a streusel which is layered in the middle and on the top (which becomes the bottom) of the batter in the pan.

- I made a full recipe, but divided it into two different pans: a small metal bundt-ish pudding mold (that I only filled about half full) and a loaf pan. We kept the bundt cake at home and I brought the loaf to my buddy Audrey, who I finally met in person last week. If ever there was a lover of apple cakes, it's Audrey (I'm pretty sure that sentence is not grammatical, but I can't figure out how to fix it. If you have any ideas, let me know!)

- I was a little worried that the cake wouldn't deliver the spicy ginger-ness that I anticipated - and wanted. So I heaped the measure of dry ginger, and added about a teaspoon of freshly grated ginger to the batter. Erring on the side of too much spice is a good gamble for me; I've rarely met a spicy cake that I didn't like.

- Toasted walnuts give a much better flavor to bake goods than the plain ones, so I toasted mine in the oven before chopping them very finely for the streusel.

- I used a honeycrisp apple for this cake, since that's what I had. Because it wasn't a tart apple, I cut the sugar a bit to compensate.

- There wasn't a ton of streusel when compared to the amount of cake batter. By the time I divided it for the two layers, it was more dotted than continuous, so it didn't make a swirl as it baked; rather it became little balls of streusel randomly throughout the cake. Seeing as the bundt cake gets inverted when it comes out of the pan, the streusel that was on top of the batter became the bottom of the cake and totally lost any decorative value. On the other hand, the top of the loaf cake stayed the top once it was taken out of the pan, so the streusel looked very nice. Next time I bake this as a bundt cake, I'll add all of the streusel in the middle of the cake, rather than splitting it into two parts. I'd also consider increasing the amount of streusel.

- Since this is a coffee-cake it would be perfect for a brunch, or for Thanksgiving morning.

the verdict:

The first day, the cake had a lovely crunchy crust and a moist crumb. The ginger flavor was subtle but definitely present, and it made a pleasant underpinning for the apples. The next day the cake had softened considerably, and the flavors had married a bit more.

Audrey's cake was a day or two old by the time it was delivered and served. Nonetheless, Audrey and her tasters gave it favorable reviews: "I would say FANTASTIC combination of flavors."

Mary will post a round up on her blog of all those who celebrate National Bundt Day, so keep your eyes out for that post; there are sure to be some great recipes. In the meantime, you can find Mary's bundts:
I Like Big Bundts 2009 (30 different recipes here!)
I Like Big Bundts 2010 (30 different recipes here!)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Cranberry Sauce with Apricots and Meeting Dorie Greenspan

All of the stars aligned this week, and I was able to combine a trip to Massachusetts with a drive on Thursday over to Madison, Connecticut to attend an event at the fabulous bookstore R.J. Julia: Dorie Greenspan spoke of her life in Paris and read from her new cookbook Around My French Table.

Even though I sat in the very back of the house, Dorie's personal warmth filled the room and her engaging stories kept us all captivated. As she signed books afterward, Dorie left us feeling that each of us was the most special one in the room!

Dorie baked us sable cookies - they were fantastic! Thanks to Tracey of Tracey's Culinary Adventures for taking this picture of Dorie and me.
An added bonus of the evening was meeting Dorie's charming husband Michael, and also fellow Tuesdays With Dorie and French Fridays With Dorie bloggers Tracey of Tracey's Culinary Adventures, Audrey of Food From Books, Mary of Popsicles and Sandy Feet, and Rebecca of Cooking Lucia Cara.

And now for a recipe from Dorie for Cranberry Sauce With Apricots that will be a great addition to your Thanksgiving menu (and one that you can throw together in under 15 minutes to boot!)

n.o.e.'s notes:

- Dorie featured the cranberry sauce on this 2009 entry on her blog and you can find the recipe, along with tempting Thanksgiving recipes from other chefs, in this article from Parade Magazine.

- The basic process is to cook fresh cranberries with orange juice, jam, sugar, powdered ginger, and chopped dried apricots on top of the stove until it becomes a thick sauce.

- 1 pound of cranberries makes 2/3 recipe of this cranberry sauce.

- For the jam, I used Stonewall Kitchen's Peach Amaretto jam. Stonewall's jams always sound wonderful, but once I open a jar I find that they tend to be too sweet and oddly low on flavor. To compensate I halved the sugar in the recipe and added a generous squeeze of lime juice. The level of sweetness/tartness can be adjusted as needed while the sauce is simmering.

the verdict:

This cranberry sauce was as delectable as it was easy to make. I loved that it was tart, but not too tart, and that the flavors of the different fruits came through. This is a definite addition to my Thanksgiving table this year, and beyond that, it's a good one to have on hand to garnish roasted meat or a sandwich, or even stir into yogurt.

Support your local independent bookseller!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

{TWD} Cranberry Shortbread Cake

After nearly two and a half years of baking weekly from Dorie Greenspan's book Baking From My Home to Yours, one would think - really, one would know by now - that the book is filled with surprises. There are the recipes that sound improbable but turn out to be wonderful. And then there are recipes that somehow escape notice, even though I have read and re-read the book, have gone through it page-by-page, and have studied both the table of contents and the index. This week's recipe for the baking group Tuesdays With Dorie is one of those sleepers. Until my very good baking buddy Jessica, of Singleton in the Kitchen, chose the Not-Just-For-Thanksgiving Cranberry Shortbread Cake I didn't even know it was in the book.

n.o.e.'s notes:

- Jessica will have the recipe on her site today.

- This is one of those fabulously versatile recipes; it is two layers of buttery shortbread-like cake, with a filling of cranberry "jam" that can be whipped up on the stove top in minutes. But the cake filling could also varied to suit the season or your mood; so it could be sauteed cinnamon apples, or any kind of jam that you fancy and/or have in the pantry. I was excited to make the first cranberry dessert of the season, so I went that route.

- In making the filling, I used the minimum amount of sugar Dorie specified, since she said to add more if it was too tart. But even with the smallest amount of sugar the filling was too sweet for me, so I added some lime juice, which helped, although it was still on the sweet side.

- I made 2/3 recipe in fluted deep tart pan rather than a springform pan. I didn't roll the dough quite big enough for the pan, so ended up spreading the dough with my fingers. I was worried that it would look patched and rough, but as it baked the cake rose and filled in all the little gaps in the dough. A little powdered sugar on top when it was cool and none the wiser!

- It was difficult for me to gauge the done-ness of the cake. The knife was fairly clean from early on in the baking time. I ended up waiting for the cake to be golden on top but at the same time not look dried out.

the verdict:

There was a split of opinion when I served this this cake. Not on the general merits of the recipe; everyone who ate the cake loved it. The real question was whether the cranberry jam filling was tart enough. One of my tasters, JT, and I thought "no, too sweet," daughter JDE, through puckered mouth, said it was plenty tart, thank you. Hubs was so busy helping himself to a third piece that he wasn't quibbling over the finer points.

The shortbread layers were wonderful, buttery, and just sweet enough. The cranberry jam was fun to make, and provided a nice tart counterpoint to the sweetness of the cake.

If you are not wed to pie on Thanksgiving (we definitely are) then this would be a great addition to the dessert table. It is absolutely festive in appearance, and wonderfully seasonal in flavor.

As for me, I plan to serve this as part of our Christmas celebration, probably with the beautiful red cranberry jam again. I also am dying to try some other versions of this cake, using different flavors of jam. I'm most excited about the prospect of using citrus marmalade; I think it will be the perfect sweet/tart combination.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Apple Tart Cake

There's a good chance, if you will be hosting Thanksgiving dinner at your house, that you are struggling with menus right about now. Allow me to make a suggestion, or two. In an effort to be a helpful, seasonally-appropriate blogger, over the next several days I will share some wonderful Thanksgiving-appropriate recipes.

First up is an apple dessert that I tried for the first time just last week. Not only did the members of my book group love it, the general consensus was that this would be a perfect addition to the Thanksgiving table, better even than apple pie!

n.o.e.'s notes:

- This wonderful apple dish is from Orangette; you can find the recipe is here. The directions are precise and quite easy to follow. There are some additional helpful notes in this blog post.

- This tart/cake consists of a crust/cake layer that is quickly made in the food processor, layered with apple slices and baked. Then a [edited to add: very thin layer of] custard-y topping is added and the pan is returned to the oven until the custard is set.

- One thing that makes this an easy apple dessert is that it only calls for 2 apples (rather than the 6 cups of peeled and chopped apples that are required by most apple pies.

- I cut the amount of sugar to 3/4 cup, and use even less next time - unless I were to use very tart apples.

- I added 1/2 tsp of almond extract to the custard layer.

- Whipped cream would make a nice companion to this cake/dessert.

the verdict:

This is a perfect apple dessert for serving to guests. Not only is it pretty as can be, it has great structure and wonderful flavor. True to its name, it is a cross between a tart and a cake. The crust becomes nicely browned at the tart/cake cooks, and the apples and custard are beautifully tender.

You can make it ahead; in fact, it is better made a day or two in advance. I would probably use a tarter variety of apple next time, but, honestly, my tasters were not complaining!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Roast Chicken for the Lazy Types

Roast chicken is the blue chip stock of the cooking world. For an investment of very little effort, and usually very few ingredients, you can pretty much guarantee a decent return: about an hour later savory perfection emerges from the oven. I roast a chicken (and/or a turkey breast) a couple of times a month, often experimenting with a new recipe (my previous roast chicken blog posts are listed below). This week, I used the recipe for Roast Chicken for Les Paresseux (the Lazy Ones) from Dorie Greenspan's new book Around My French Table.

n.o.e.'s notes:

- I made this chicken for the French Fridays with Dorie group - hundreds of cooks world-wide who are working their way through Around My French Table and posting on Fridays. The group members are not posting recipes from the book, so if you like what you see, I'd recommend purchasing the book, or borrowing it from your library.

- The chicken sits on a bed of thick bread as it roasts. Even though this recipe claims to be for lazy folks, I think I was a shade too lazy. I didn't read far enough ahead in the recipe to note that the bread itself becomes a delectable treat. Consequently I used an old bread-end from the freezer, which was definitely improved by sitting in wonderful chicken pan drippings, but starting with a great piece of bread would have been a much better plan.

- I went ahead and trussed the chicken because I ordered a lifetime supply of butcher's twine, and even a lazy person can wrap some string around a chicken and tie a bow.

- My wide, shallow enameled cast iron Dutch oven was perfect for this recipe.

- After the chicken was in the oven for 45 minutes I followed Dories suggestion and added vegetables to the pan (carrots and onions this time) and roasted them for an additional 45 minutes or so, until the chicken is cooked and the vegetables are nicely caramelized and tender.

- Dorie suggests that after the chicken is cooked, it should rest for awhile upside down on a platter so the juices collect in the breast meat, keeping it moist. Being the lazy type that I am, I decided to rest the chicken in the roasting pan so I wouldn't get a platter dirty. The chicken sat in the pan juices, which kept the white meat plenty moist, but the crispy skin got disappointingly soft.

the verdict:

Dorie's recipe produced a perfect roast chicken for a family dinner. We loved the vegetables, especially the onions, which were sweet and nicely browned.

My previous roast chicken posts:

Jamie Oliver's
Roast Chicken in Milk
Ad Hoc
Roast Chicken with Root Vegetables
Thomas Keller's My Favorite Simple Roast Chicken
Martha's Perfect Roast Chicken
Union Square
Herb Roast Chicken

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

{TWD} Somewhat Peanutty Blondies

I've baked fancy blondies and I've baked plain blondies, but this week's recipe for the Tuesdays with Dorie baking group, the Peanuttiest Blondies, is the first peanut butter blondie recipe I've seen. I was intrigued by the promise of a chewy peanut butter bar with chocolate accents.

n.o.e.'s notes:

- Nicole of Bakeologie chose Peanuttiest Blondies on page 119. Find the recipe on her post.

- I made these according to the recipe with one exception: I left out the chopped peanuts. Additionally, I chose the smooth rather than the crunchy peanut butter option. Thus my blondies were definitely not "peanuttiest" but only "somewhat peanutty."

- For a pan I used a 9" silicone pan which I lined with parchment only on bottom. The blondies released perfectly.

- I found that testing these blondies for done-ness was tricky - but luckily mine turned out to be baked just about right.

the verdict:

The blondies were thick and chewy and just peanutty enough. I loved the bit of chocolate in them; it's such a natural combination with peanut butter. The next time I bake these, if I omit the nuts I would probably increase the salt. That is what my baking buddy Caitlin of the blog Engineerbaker (she's getting married this Saturday!) did with her blondies, and she reports that they were perfect that way.

I'm glad to add this recipe to my blondie repertory.