Baking Chez Moi: Double Chocolate Marble Cake

My cake ended up being more of a single chocolate marble cake. My white chocolate was just not cooperating as far as melting timely and properly and I don’t even really like white chocolate so I just moved ahead with a chocolate and vanilla marble. Simple ingredients that I have on hand are always nice and it’s fun to see how much opportunity there is in my kitchen.

Luckily my semi sweet chocolate melted just fine.

I didn’t even really swirl or zig zag too much since alternately the batters looked pretty neat as it was.This smelled pretty great baking up.Really loves the finished look. Each slice was a little different and unique. Something about the swirls really make it worth the little extra effort to divide the batters. Overall this turned out pretty great and the white chocolate wasn’t missed at all.

-Christie

Advertisements

Baking Chez Moi: Toasted Buckwheat and Chopped Chocolate Sables

Mm, so excited to see buckwheat cookies. I love buckwheat pancakes and this seemed simple and a little different.

I didn’t have the weight in chocolate already opened so I made it up with some cocoa nibs.

The smell of the buckwheat flour toasting was heavenly. I didn’t even realize toasting flours was a thing. What an easy and simple thing that makes such a difference. I saved my leftover buckwheat flour and am going to try it in pancakes.

I only baked up a couple cookies and saved the rest of the dough in the fridge so I can bake them fresh for the next few days. These came out really great and I think I may keep the cocoa nibs if I make them again. Possibly one of my favorite recipes from the book so far.

-Christie

Baking Chez Moi: Banana-Chocolate Chaussons

This was sort of a tasty fail for me. I can’t seem to get them to seal right. Maybe I’m just too overeager in my filling. They tasted fab anyways.

Besides the puff pastry I tend to have everything needed for these.

My bananas were probably a bit ripe for this recipe but they made a super nice caramel like sauce.

The nutmeg was also a nice touch, added a little something.

So they totally burst during cooking but they still tasted really great.

-Christie

Baking Chez Moi: Almond Stripes and Dark Chocolate Mousse

Sugar can be so many things: grainy and opaque; crunchy and well browned; clear and steaming. From the softest, creamiest caramel to the crunchiest brittle, sugar can transform our desserts into something spectacular and complex. Sugar is also a kitchen trickster that will crystallize, burn and send you into a sweet nightmare seemingly without provocation.

I’ve worked on my sugar sensibilities the past few years and pride myself on finding ways to get it to behave consistently. If I used cane sugar in testing a recipe, only cane sugar will do from then on. I learn to trust my eyes and intuition. Being present, aware and consistent seems to be the key.

The title of this post may declare I made a dark chocolate mousse but more accurately I epically failed at making a mousse and instead made a chocolate chip marquise. I got the funny feeling that my temps and prep for my sugar weren’t right but plowed ahead anyways and started a chain of events that changed what I ended up making.

So the beauty of this mousse is I routinely have all the ingredients on hand. My new chickens are laying beautiful eggs and it’s lovely to see them in my kitchen.

So everything was going to plan. My chocolate melted beautifully, my cream was whipped and lovely, and my egg yolks were broken up.

Then I started melting the sugar. Things didn’t feel right but I plowed ahead instead of trusting my gut-mistake one. The desert temps can change rapidly this time of year and I was aware that I was attempting this at an hour my ingredients may not be happy with. My pan was too wide for the amount of syrup if I wanted to use my thermometer and I didn’t prepare any cold water for the ball test if I needed it. I was watching my sugar and I could tell that it was ready and instead of trusting my gut I tried to read them temp and then rushed for some water to test. Pulled it off too late and when I went to add it to my eggs it crystallized on the way him. I heard the ca-chunk ca-chunk in the mixer and my heart sank. Ok. Start my sugar and eggs over. I had cool water ready but I pulled it when I could sense it was ready. Pour it in my eggs and got them whipping and it whipped up beautifully. Success!! Except my cream had gotten super chilled in the extra time and my chocolate had gotten a bit too cool and my room temp had dropped. My first dollop if cream mixed in well but then I could tell my chocolate started partially turning into little chips just like when I make mint chocolate ice cream and pour my melted chocolate in.

So do is start over with my cream and chocolate? I had burned my finger pretty bad on my second batch of sugar and couldn’t imagine starting again. So I went ahead and mixed it with my whipped egg and sugar mixture and stuck it in the fridge. I’ve tried to make almond stripes before but have never been really happy with the result so I was happy to try Dorie’s recipe.A quick mix and my piping bad was filled and ready to go.Like many of the other bakers I had issues piping and my wonderful icing extruder broke last year and I haven’t replaced it. So I loaded up a little ball of dough into the piping tip and used my clean thumb to push out the cookie. Repeat and the sheets were filled and I was very happy with the result.Some dips in chocolate for some and I would up with some delightful little coffee cookies.

Now to figure out what to do with the mousse. I wasn’t happy with the finished chippy texture but the taste was good. Thinking of my ice cream I realized the mousse was basically a marquise recipe and thought I’d give a try freezing it in some molds. It turned out really cute and I’m happy with the end result. So maybe didn’t end with what I thought I would but it turned out lovely and tasty and what more can you really ask for.

-Christie

Baking Chez Moi:Gâteau Basque Fantasie & Chocolate Cream Puffs with Mascarpone Filling

Decided to make both of the recipes at the end of the month.

For sure my favorite of the two is the chocolate cream puffs. DSC_0081.jpgSimple ingredients and pretty easy to make.  I made about half my puffs and froze the other half. DSC_0083.jpgIt was super fun when mixing up the hot dough you could see the steam rising from the mixer.

DSC_0086.jpgI used a small cookie scoop and they came out perfect.

DSC_0089.jpgA little eager to try these so the pics aren’t perfect but these were great.  I used rose extract and I loved the flavor.  I also experimented with freezing the extra filling to use on some of the frozen puffs. Just spooned a little bits out on parchment and froze them.  Once I brought to room temp it was only a couple minutes till they started getting creamy.  Glad we’re going to have these on hand.

The basque fantasie was something else.  When I saw this in the book it reminded me of fruitcake and sure enough it tastes like a fruitcake in a lot of ways.DSC_0094.jpgI really regret not changing up the ingredients, I mean I have a whole bag of fresh cranberries in my fridge.  I knew this combo wouldn’t be my fave and despite it being really clear in the recipe that you could do what you want I forged ahead anyways.DSC_0095.jpgDSC_0097.jpgIt really does look curdled as described in the recipe.DSC_0101.jpgOnce the flour was mixed in all was well.

DSC_0103.jpgDSC_0106.jpgThis smelled pretty good while cooking.  It was interesting to make an apple filling on the stovetop for something that was going to look like a pie.  This reminded me of apple turnovers.DSC_0107.jpgDSC_0109.jpgI didn’t fuss with some of the fancy criss cross topping but it turned out looking pretty good anyways.  I really like the cake/crust/cookie thing the pastry part of this has going on.  This filling was not the right combo for my particular taste but it wasn’t hard to imagine about a billion different ways to make this.  Pears, cranberries and crystallized ginger; peaches and cream; strawberry and rhubarb; maybe even roasted butternut squash with maple sugar and some toasted pumpkin seeds.  This seems like a really good base to play around with some different flavors.

All in all, it was a good month to try and get on track with baking and I had fun making everything.  Hoping to keep this momentum up through December.

-Christie

Baking Chez Moi: Le Cheesecake Round Trip and Cold Salted Caramel Sauce

I am desperately trying to get back into my routine with baking.  It’s been a rough go-around but hopefully as the weather cools and hopefully my health comes back I’ll be able to keep going.

I enlisted my husband Scott to help out since he is excellent at making cheesecake and I just couldn’t manage to stand for that long.  Luckily I was feeling up to making the caramel and despite a near disaster I ended up making it work.

I didn’t have spice cookies on hand and I was really feeling like graham crackers so I subbed those in for the cookies.  Kind of funny considering Dorie subbed the cookies for graham crackers to make this.  This cheesecake kept flirting with disaster when we realized we hadn’t boiled quite enough water for the bath and then my caramel sauce went super topsy turvy for a bit before coming around.  In the end, it all turned out.

I really liked the texture and flavor of this cheesecake and it was perfect with the caramel sauce.  Although now I have extra caramel sauce and I also have spoons that fit right in the jar I’m keeping it in so that may be a problem.  DSC_0783.jpgDSC_0784.jpgDSC_0782.jpgDSC_0789.jpgDSC_0788.jpg

 

Baking Chez Moi: Smoothest, Silkiest, Creamiest, Tartest Lime Tart

This is the kind of tart that my mom would declare outrageous.  I can almost hear her say ‘Christie, this is outrageous!’ as she takes another bite with wide eyes.  This is her way of saying that something is good in an unusual and addictive way.  Sadly she isn’t here to enjoy it and I don’t think she has a particular fondness for limes but it makes me think of her all the same.

DSC_0774

The actual process of putting this tart together reminds me quite a bit of a classic lemon meringue tart recipe I have.  Similar way of putting the ingredients together and then adding in the butter afterwards.  All in all it is deceptively simple for the result.

This is in fact very tart and also very creamy and rich.  I’ve never cared much for lime tarts but I couldn’t resist a couple extra tastes of this filling.  I think my prior experiences lacked the tartness and texture that make this particular tart so great.

DSC_0778.jpg

-Christie

Baking Chez Moi: Double-Butter Double-Baked Petit Beurre Cookies

I was still recovering from my vacation this past week and having some health issues so Scott really baked these cookies as I took on more of what you’d call a supervisory role until it came time to roll the dough out.  I’m really grateful he helped out because I’m definitely needing it lately.img_7135-copy.jpg

These cookies were really fascinating.  Just a few simple ingredients made in an unconventional way.DSC_0033.jpgA few ingredients get mixed together until you have what looks like a great crumb topping.DSC_0034.jpgDSC_0037.jpgThe crumbles then go in the oven until they are golden.DSC_0039.jpgDSC_0041.jpgThe crumbles cool and then…you make the crumbles into a dough.  Yeah, crazy right?  The crumbles get mixes in with some butter and rolled out and chilled.DSC_0047.jpgThen cookies are cut out and baked up.

DSC_0048DSC_0052While we were making them it felt like there was no way for it to work.  And then it totally did.  Amazing.DSC_0058.jpgThe cookies are slightly sweet and very buttery and crumble apart in your mouth.  Scott thought ahead and froze some of the dough for the next recipe.  I want to crumble a few of these over some strawberries and cream.  Definitely one of the more interesting cookies.

-Christie

Baking Chez Moi: Cheesecake Alsace Style

This cheesecake is pretty easy to make and a bit lighter than your typical New York style. I ended up using a black cherry rum to soak our raisins and it was great.  I’m not sure why we didn’t just sub with dried cherries but sometimes you think of these things just a little too late.  We were baking this last minute and late and managed to get it all done from crust to cooling.DSC_0646.jpgI got some serious cracking on my tart just as Dorie had warned.  The texture was so creamy and smooth and perfectly tangy with the cherry rum flavor adding some extra punch.  I would love to try this with chopped, dried apricots or dried cherries and Scott and I even talked about experimenting with a chopped maraschino cherry version.  The texture was fairly soft which proved difficult to cut pretty wedges until I realized the freezer would solve that problem. This was tasty and fairly easy and I have a feeling we’ll end up making it again.

DSC_0648.jpgDSC_0654.jpgDSC_0651.jpg

-Christie

Baking Chez Moi: Chocolate Creme Caramel

Sometimes you really luck out and a recipe is simple, elegant andreally easy.DSC_0049.jpgThe chocolate creme caramels called for the simplest of ingredients that are pretty much always in my house.DSC_0050.jpgThe only trick was making sure that the caramel didn’t burn.DSC_0054.jpgDSC_0055.jpgAfter getting it into the cups I was a little worried because it set so quickly.DSC_0059.jpgDSC_0060.jpgI moved on ahead and got the cholately goodness into the cups and water bath.DSC_0062.jpgOnce chilled in the fridge they didn’t look too spectacular.DSC_0076.jpgIt’s crazy how elegant these look after plating.  The caramel melted perfectly.  These were pretty intense with the early gray flavor, chocolate and caramel.  The size was perfect and I love that you can make them ahead.  I was also worried about getting them out but after a little coaxing they came out just fine. These would be great for a dessert with friends and a little espresso.

-Christie