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

 

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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.

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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.

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-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.

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-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

Baking Chez Moi: Real Hot Chocolate

We got a rare bit of rain in the Phoenix desert this week and it seemed perfect to make Real Hot Chocolate.DSC_0051It was so simple and so satisfying.  A little milk, dark chocolate, sugar and a pinch of salt was all that was needed for a very satisfying drink.DSC_0055.jpgNotice the fancy marshmallows topping of the hot chocolate.  These are courtesy of my husband Scott who decided to make some giant vanilla marshmallow squares to top this off.DSC_0062.jpgThe hot chocolate was great and I really appreciated Scott going the extra mile and I think the marshmallow’s really made this special.

-Christie

Baking Chez Moi: Soft Salted-Butter Caramels and Cocoa Linzer Cookies

So with a lot going on lately I used the few extra days off to make both December recipes.

The caramels were probably one of the biggest hits that I’ve made so far from this book.  I was worried initially making them that the amount of effort wouldn’t have as big a pay off but I was totally wrong.DSC_0062.jpgDSC_0083.jpgThe ingredients for caramels were super simple and didn’t require any store trips.  I even had some sel gris that a friend had given me to use.  I was extra excited to finally use the copper candy pot that Scott had bought for me a few years ago.  DSC_0064.jpgDSC_0071.jpgI was pretty nervous that this wouldn’t turn out but keeping a careful eye and making good use of my candy thermometer helped.  The copper pot also worked out great.  It’s tall and narrow and was so much easier than the regular short or wide pots I’d used in the past.DSC_0080.jpgDSC_0081.jpgDSC_0079.jpgThe caramels turned out really tasty and some of the friends we shared them with find them a little addictive.  The instructions said not to scrape the pot but I just couldn’t let it go to waste. After I had poured most of the caramel into the pan I took my wooden spoon and scraped out the excess in clumps onto some paper.  I shaped those into some more homely pieces that were just as delicious for us to try and taste.  I think caramel making may become a tradition after this year.  I’m hoping to try a few different kinds of salt next time we make these.DSC_0059.jpgThe cocoa linzers had a more interesting ingredient profile and I was so glad Scott was able to find the cacao nibs for me at the store.  I loved them in the cookies and I’m finding I like to eat a little bit on their own as well. I was really lucky that Scott helped me out a bit with this recipe since he’s becoming quite the cookie expert.DSC_0054.jpgDSC_0055.jpgThe cookies were basically a cocoa spice cookies with little cacao nibs in them.  I think these may be my favorite spice cookies that I’ve tried from either Baking Chez Moi or Dorie’s Cookies so far. DSC_0077.jpgDSC_0078.jpgDSC_0076.jpgI decided to fill with both chocolate ganache and cherry jam.  The flavor profile was really interesting and satisfying.  It felt right for a winter holiday with the spice notes and something that could have been put away in the cupboard during peak cherry season.

-Christie

Baking Chez Moi: Desert Roses

This has got to be the least amount of work for the biggest payoff in this entire book.DSC_0016We’re not supposed to publish the recipes for this book but I feel like it’s impossible to talk about this without doing that.  Melt the melty stuff, toss with the other ingredients and then scoop it into some mini paper cups.  DSC_0019DSC_0021 (1).jpgThese are delicious and actually end up looking fancy, or at least way fancier than the effort it took to make.  They’re also kind of addictive so be sure to share.

-Christie

Baking Chez Moi: Rewind: Plain and Simple Almond Tart

So glad a rewind day came up because while I’ve not been terrible about baking along I’ve been really terrible about writing about what I’m baking.

DSC_0095.jpgI was excited for this recipe because I tend to find most gluten free baked goods awful but so many people seem to want them.  This had the simplest of ingredients and I usually have these on hand.DSC_0099.jpgI went full-on gluten free and used almond flour for the pan which turned out just fine.DSC_0101.jpgDSC_0104.jpgThis recipe made good use of the eggs to add texture and keep a light almond batter.DSC_0106.jpgDSC_0108.jpgThe real trick to this cake was mixing gently and keeping the batter nice and light.DSC_0111.jpgDSC_0115.jpgDSC_0119.jpgThis cake looked fabulous and simple on the cake stand with a little powdered sugar.  I got mixed reviews on this cake.  Some people thought it was way too plain and some people were absolutely over the moon.  I liked it but thought it was slightly plain.  It is definitely something I would make again as a gluten free treat and maybe add a side of fruit or some of the spiced hibiscus syrup we originally made to go with the coconut tapioca.

-Christie

 

Baking Chez Moi: Simplest Plum Tart

Couldn’t believe my luck when I found some Italian plums at my local store.  Perfect timing for this simple tart.DSC_0242.jpgThere really wasn’t much to this tart.  After the crust was made it was a matter of slicing the plumsand crushing the cookies.DSC_0249.jpgDSC_0252.jpgI took the optional route and added a little cinnamon to my sugar.  I love cinnamon so I probably could have added a bit more.DSC_0265.jpgDSC_0262.jpgDSC_0267.jpgMy plums were ripe but they had a slightly tart flavor even after baking. It ended up being a really nice balance with the creme anglaise and cookie crumbs. I think if I make this again I will pack my plums a bit more since they shrunk a bit.  Overall the tart was really simple and made a great feature for the plums.

-Christie