Tuesday, May 17, 2011

TWD: Maple-Cornmeal Drop Biscuits

Not much to look at, but mighty tasty nonetheless.

Many thanks Lindsey from A Little Something... Sweet! for selecting this week's TWD recipe: Maple-Cornmeal Drop Biscuits.

Think cornbread, think scone, then think of them merged together. Yes, that's it! That is what these little gems taste like. Crumbly and soft with just a hint of sweetness. Very good. Too good to eat just one.

Thanks, Lindsey, for a great selection.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

TWD: Pecan Shortbread - Fiasco

I was in a mood for shortbread, so I decided to try out Dorie Greenspan's Pecan Shortbread.

Should I describe my attempt as a failure? A fiasco? An unmitigated flop?

I don't know what I did wrong, but whatever it was, my "wrongness" was major.

Too much butter?

Not enough flour?

I thought I measured everything correctly, but apparently NOT.

Instead of nice, sharp edged squares, everything spread into one thin sheet of butter, sugar, pecans, and flour. It tasted good (like pecan taffy), but it was definitely unappealing.

Oh well, file this one under "misadventures".

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

TWD: Brown Sugar Bundt Cake

This week's Tuesdays with Dorie selection of Brown Sugar Bundt Cake was made by Peggy from Pantry Revisited. The recipe actually calls for pears and prunes (neither of which I'm found of), but the "Playing Around" options said to omit the pears and prunes and stir in chopped nuts. Yes. I loooove nuts. So here is my Brown Sugar-Nut Bundt Cake.

Very soft and tender texture, and extremely moist to boot.

Thanks, Peggy, for a great pick.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

TDW: Basic Marbled Loaf Cake

My Pick!!!! My Turn !!!

After 1-1/2 years, it is finally my week to host TWD. I selected Marbled Load Cake because it just begs to be fiddled with. Dorie offered several "playing around" suggestions, and I went with the white and dark chocolate variation. Other suggestions included orange, peppermint, cardamon, coffee. I can't wait to see what amazing flavor combination the creative bakers at TDW come up with.

My Marbled Load Cake saga started out well. I didn't panic when my batter curdled, cause, Dorie, the baking goddess told me it might happen.

Marbling the batter was fun. (Although I ended up eating a lot batter before it made it to the pan. Hey I had to catch all the batter that dripped from the spoon.)

And the final swirls made it look so pretty.

But alas my oven is having serious problems, and is causing be no end of grief. I really think it is inhabited by demons or other such mischievous beings. The temperature goes up and down on its own, and sometimes even shuts itself off on occasion. I really believe the thing is toying with me. It is trying to destroying what little baking confidence I have/had.

Case in point: I only baked my marbled loaf for 55 minutes (and not the suggested 80-90 minutes), and still I ended up crispy edges.

But I didn't let a cruel oven and burnt edges stop ME! I just did a lot of edge trimming, slathered each slice with chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream, and ate Chocolate Marbled Load Cake until every last crumb was gone.

Everything is better with chocolate, even extra crispy cake.

Here is the recipe from page 230 of Dorie Greenspan's BAKING from My Home to Yours:

Basic Marbled Load Cake

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup whole milk )
Choice of flavorings

1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. Butter and flour an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2 inch loaf pan. Place the pan on an insulated baking sheet or on two stacked regular baking sheets.

2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.

3. Working with a stand mixer, preferable fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl,beat the butter on medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the sugar and beat for another 2 to 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. Don't be concerned if the batter curdles and stays curdle--it will be find.

4. Reduce the mixer speed to low and alternately add the flour mixture in 3 additions and the milk in 2, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, just until each addition is incorporated.

5. Divide the batter equally into two bowls. Add the flavorings of your choice to each bowl of batter.

6. Dollop spoonfuls of each batter randomly into the prepared pan. Plunge a table knife deep into the batter and zigzag the knife through the batter a few times. Be careful not to over mix the batter as you'll lose the marbled effect and end up with a muddy-looking loaf.

7. Bake the cake for an hour and then check on it. If it looks like it's getting too brown but needs more baking, cover the bread loosely with a tent of foil. The cake may need up to 30 minutes more to bake, depending on your oven, how dark your baking pan is and what additions you've made. The cake is done when a thin knife or cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.

8. Transfer the cake pan to a rack to cool for 15 minutes and then remove it from the pan and continue to cool it (right side up) on the rack until it's room temperature.