You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘TWD’ category.

madeleines

I’ll confess: I made these today. Like, this morning.

This is not something I normally do for the Tuesday and Friday cooking assignments, but this past week – these past two weeks, really – have been a struggle as far as focus is concerned. Check out yesterday’s post, and you might understand why.

But I made them, I got them done. I still need something to occupy my time and my mind, and baking and cooking still seems like a pretty good way to do that. When I can, anyway – who knows what kind of food aversions may pop up in the next few weeks, but so far so good. There’s nothing in madeleines that seems likely to offend.

Okay, and now I’ll be honest: my madeleines were just okay.

I’m not sure how many madeleines I’ve actually eaten. Not many. I don’t remember anything about them, whether I liked them or not.

Really, the only thing I’ve ever known about madeleines is that they’re soft, kinda cake-y cookies that have their own little pan. Oh, and they’re French. Obviously.

That’s about it, really. Not only do I not know much about madeleines, I don’t have much to say about them. I know how to make them now, and I know that I don’t think they’re terrific. I liked the financiers I made last week better. Those had a more nuanced flavor, a hint of nuttiness that accompanied the egginess. They were way more interesting to eat.

Also, I think the baking time was off. My first batch burnt at seven minutes. I kept an eye on my second batch (pictured above) but they still got a little on the brown side. I realize they’re supposed to get a little browned, but probably not that browned. And I don’t think I was under-filling the cups, because the batter was almost overflowing when I spooned it into the molds. So, once again, this book and my oven don’t get along. This time around, however, it’s too much time; usually, it’s not enough.

I don’t know. It’s not that I dislike the madeleines – I did like them. But I didn’t love them. And I probably wouldn’t go to the trouble of making this recipe again. I’m wondering if I just need a different recipe. A lot of the recent recipes from Baking with Julia have been rather underwhelming for me lately. These didn’t do it for me. Maybe a different recipe would. Or maybe a variation on the recipe. I’ve seen flavored madeleines out there, and maybe that’s something I need to try. Because, by themselves?

Meh.

Maybe with coffee. I realize tea is more traditional, but I don’t drink tea, so it will have to be coffee. Maybe that’s what it’s missing.

Again, this might just be me. To see how the other Dorista bakers feel about these madeleines, check out the Tuesday with Dorie links, especially our hosts at Counter Dog, who made very lovely madeleines indeed. Don’t give up on madeleines on my account! I’ll give them another try in the future. Happy baking!

I’m not going to draw this out: I didn’t like these cookies.

I wanted to. I tried. I went into it with an open mind, even though I wasn’t especially keen on making them. I have my own reasons for that, but I was determined to make these. Call it therapy. But these just didn’t work out for me.

Mocha Chocolate Chip Cookies with Dried Cherries

Mocha Chocolate Chip Cookies with Dried Cherries

The flavor was okay. I didn’t mind the flavor so much. But I didn’t think it was great either. What you’ve got here is a chocolate chip cookie (supposedly with huge chunks, but I went the lazy route and just threw in some over-sized chocolate chips) spiked with instant coffee. Thrown into the mix are dried apricots – I substituted dried cherries, because that’s what I had on hand.

That all worked together rather well. I replaced some of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat, which gave them a extra dose of complexity, and I liked that too. The cookies had a very deep flavor, much more nuanced than a typical chocolate chip cookie. And I liked that.

What did I not like? How freakin’ flat they were.

This is how they looked coming out of the oven, which is how I would have liked them to stay. But as they cooled, they deflated and got crispy, and that ruined them for me.

This is how they looked coming out of the oven, which is how I would have liked them to stay. But as they cooled, they deflated and got crispy, and that ruined them for me.

It's hard to see from this picture, but you can get an idea of exactly how flat they were. Some of them also had holes (not very big ones) so you could see right through the cookie, and that is one of my biggest pet peeves about cookies. I want solid cookies. Solid, soft cookies.

It’s hard to see from this picture, but you can get an idea of exactly how flat they were. Some of them also had holes (not very big ones) so you could see right through the cookie, and that is one of my biggest pet peeves about cookies. I want solid cookies. Solid, soft cookies.

I do not like flat cookies.

Well, I’ll amend that. I do not like flat cookies that have bumpy textures to them. I like flat cookies that are hard and have crunch to them. I do not like thin, chewy cookies or thin, crispy cookies; I prefer soft, moist cookies that are ooey and gooey and maybe a little on the underbaked side.

In other words, I like a cookie that has more brown sugar than white sugar, plus a little shortening mixed with the butter to keep the cookie from thinning out and crisping up.

When Geordie got home, he immediately tested one and said he liked them. But, he added, they probably weren’t for everyone. To which I replied that I agreed, because I didn’t like them at all. That kinda surprised him a little, maybe because he had just inhaled three of them, which I didn’t realize until after he told me. It didn’t surprise me that he liked them, because one of Geordie’s major food groups is coffee. He wasn’t sure about the dried cherries, but not so unsure that he wasn’t going to eat any more cookies.

Just to further prove that I was in the minority about these cookies, he took all two dozen of them to work and returned home with none. Granted, he said that the people who didn’t like coffee didn’t try any (and I can’t blame them), but most everybody who had a cookie liked it.

I’m willing to accept that these are good cookies, if you’re into the flat, crispy cookie thing. I’m not. I didn’t like them, and I won’t be making them again.

Our lovely host this week was Galettista. To see how the other bakers felt about these cookies, check out the links at the Tuesdays with Dorie site.

Not croissants. Sorry.

Except, I’m not that sorry. Today’s assigned recipe is croissants, and I didn’t make them. It’s not that I don’t want to make croissants. I do.

No, actually, I kinda don’t. For a lot of reasons, the main one being that I really don’t like croissants all that much. I mean, they’re okay, and they’re great when they’re filled with almond paste. But I don’t get cravings for them, I don’t feel tempted by them, and it would probably take me weeks to eat any leftover ones that are stuck in the freezer. I still have foccacia hiding in the freezer. Until last week, I still had three gingerbread baby cakes left forgotten in the freezer. If I bake it, and it gets put in the freezer, chances are that it’ll get thrown out before it gets eaten. The only exception to that has been the bagels, and it took nearly a month to eat those up.

What I’m saying is: yeah, it’d be fun to say that I made croissants, but I probably won’t eat them. Even if these are the greatest croissants in the world, I’m trying to be very good about what I eat right now, and croissants just seem like empty calories to me. I do want to make them in the future, but I’ll wait until I have a lot of people to share them with. No way do I want to be stuck with a freezer full of croissants I’m not going to eat.

Also, when I read the recipe(s) for croissants, it did not look like an easy project. It’s a two-day thing, and the recipe(s) cover a number of pages. After the difficulties I had with the February recipes, the last thing I wanted to do was struggle my way through another long and convoluted baking process. I need to watch this process on video a few more times before I attempt it.

So, I put the croissants aside and went looking for something I’d missed to make up. Something that would serve for dinner, something that wasn’t too complicated, something that would get eaten unless I totally screwed it up.

I found this:

pizzarustica

Pizza rustica.

As you can see from the picture, this is not your typical pizza, not pizza as we have come to know it. It’s more of a pie that’s stuffed with meat and cheese. It’s also called an Italian Easter pie, which just goes to show that I’m a little early off the block for this one. That’s okay. I’ve already got ideas for Easter supper, and this never even made it on the radar. I’m going the traditional baked ham route this year, so let’s just say that I made pizza rustica to celebrate the end of February. Works for me.

This starts with a pie dough, a surprisingly sweet pie dough. I made it,I knew what went into it, and it still surprised me a little with its sweetness. It wasn’t bad, exactly, but it didn’t seem to go with the filling, which was thoroughly and completely savory. By itself, the dough was pretty awesome. I ate all the scraps. I couldn’t help it. It was also a very easy dough to put together by hand (instead of in a stand mixer as the recipe dictates). I made it earlier in the day, formed it into a ball, and put it in the fridge to wait for dinner.

The filling is – as I said – cheese and meat, but mostly cheese: ricotta, Pecorino-Romano (I used Parmigiano-Reggiano, because I always have that on hand anyway), and mozzarella. It comes to nearly a pound and a half of cheese. Then you add in a quarter-pound of prosciutto and a few eggs. Season, and that’s it. Simple, rich, and very decidedly not healthy. I served this with a spinach salad, but if I made it again, I’d try to find a way to get some fruit or veg in there. It felt exceedingly irresponsible to make this pie. I can see why it would make a good end-of-Lent meal.

The only problem I had with this was the baking time. The recipe says 35-40 minutes. It took closer to 60. I dunno, it seems to me that, no matter how long the recipes in this book say to bake, I have to bake 10-20 minutes longer. That doesn’t happen with recipes from other books or the internet. The part about cooling it completely before serving was my oversight, though. I let it cool for 15 minutes. That was all the patience I had.

pizzarusticaslice

Honestly, it was fine warm. Delicious, actually. No problem!

We enjoyed this. Geordie thought the dough was a little too sweet, and I can’t argue with that. It could benefit from less sugar. Or by adding a little something sweet to the filling; Geordie suggested pear or apple, which sounds like an interesting idea. I think a little sun-dried tomato would go nicely too. Or some well-squeezed spinach. Or something! I love meat and cheese, yes, but this needs something. Having a salad with it helped, but it’d be nice to have a little healthy mixed in with the meat and cheese.

It’s something I’d make again, with just a bit of tweaking. Less sugar in the crust, and maybe some experimentation with the filling. If you approach it as an Italian-style quiche, it opens up a lot of possibilities. Because it is easy to make, can be baked ahead of time, and serves a lot if you cut small slices, it’d be a great dish to take to a pot-luck or a family get-together. It’s a little bit on the rich side, but it doesn’t feel too over-indulgent.

In other words, I liked it, and I’m glad I made it instead of the croissants.

For the recipe, check out one of the hosts for this selection from nearly a year ago. And if you’re curious about the croissants, check out today’s host for the recipe/process and some lovely pics of pastry!

Sara

I am a daughter and a sister, a wife and a friend. I am a reader and a writer, a dreamer and a realist, a teacher and a learner. I am the mother of a baby born sleeping. I am on a journey of healing, walking a path paved with tears and grief and hope.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 146 other followers

landmarks

memorial

Lilypie Angel and Memorial tickers
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 146 other followers