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.




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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



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.


Baking Chez Moi: Double-Corn Tea Cake

DSC_0221.jpgCorn has been important to people living on Turtle Island past and present. We’ve been growing a garden with seeds from Native Seeds and trying to grow corn as part of a three sisters garden much to some lucky wild rodent’s delight.  Earlier this year I watched Seed: The Untold Story on PBS that featured Native Seeds/SEARCH that focused on crop diversity and the use of native seeds and had a great portion on corn.  If you get the opportunity to watch it I would highly recommend it while also caution some common sense on a few portions where some dubious scientific research is mentioned. I’ve been trying to learn about the variety of three sisters (corn, beans and squash) available to grow as well as eat.  It was great to bake a recipe that only used corn flour, an item I wasn’t even aware existed.DSC_0229.jpgDSC_0230.jpgThe recipe was a simple loaf with buttery goodness, corn and a hint of spice from coriander.  Once my corn kernels were cut and steamed in the microwave it all came together pretty quickly.  We were out of baking spray so this became completely gluten free with butter and corn flour used to grease the pan.DSC_0234.jpgI got a large dent in the middle of my cake and the corn kernels seems to have sunk to the bottom of the loaf so I was a little worried.DSC_0237.jpgDSC_0240.jpgDSC_0236.jpgIt ended up slicing up a beautiful sunny color with great flavor and texture. I’m completely intrigued with what else I could use the corn flour for and can’t wait to come up with some items.  I really enjoyed this as a summer time treat although I might skip the fresh corn next time.


Baking Chez Moi: Lavender Galettes

So I’ve been being along lately but terrible at posting.  Trying to get back on track this week with the lavender galettes.

DSC_0171.jpgI pretty much had all the ingredients this called for with the exception of the orange or tangerine.  They didn’t look so great at the store so I substituted a white grapefruit from my backyard.  I’m probably going to keep it with the grapefruit peel if I make it again.DSC_0172.jpgLavender is one of my favorite herbs and I tend to keep some around.  I’ll never forget the amazing lavender creme brûlée I had at the now defunct Bistro Soleil.  It’s such a distinct and delicate flavor that tends to common whatever it goes in to.DSC_0173.jpgThe olive oil made me a little nervous.  It seemed like a lot and isn’t the typical cookie dough binder.DSC_0176.jpgMashing the dough together was fun.  It was nice how it all came together.DSC_0182.jpgDSC_0183.jpgThe olive oil with parchment made these pretty easy to roll out and get done.IMG_5069

Pretty much the only thing I found a little vexing at the end of this was the amount of parchment paper this recipe uses. I wish I had read about cutting the papers ahead of time and placed them in a heavy book for a day or so.  I started joking about ironing them out and Scott decided to try it.Wouldn’t you know it worked out great.  No more curly cookies.DSC_0191.jpgDSC_0189.jpgI used rose sugar for my topping since my neighbor had gifted me some she had made from her roses.DSC_0195.jpgDSC_0197.jpgDSC_0193.jpgThe cookies were somewhere in between a sweet cracker and a cookie.  I like the thin and crunchy edges and the flavor was great.  I ended up really enjoying these.  I wished they lasted a bit longer than a day.


Baking Chez Moi: Laurent’s Slow-Roasted Pineapple

So I’ve actually made this slow-roasted pineapple a few times since I first bought Baking Chez Moi.  Fortunately I remembered to have Scott take pictures during the winter months I was making this as it’s already pretty hot here in Phoenix. The thought of having my oven on for a few hours is pretty unpleasant.DSC_0071.jpgPretty simple ingredients and oranges are in season here in the winter so I didn’t have to purchase anything except the preserves and pineapple.  Pineapples are always pretty cheap here in colder months.DSC_0073.jpgI ended up with pretty groovy pineapple slices since the eyes were pretty deep and I didn’t want to cut off too much of the good stuff. DSC_0079.jpgDSC_0088.jpgDSC_0116.jpgDSC_0119.jpgYou can see the pineapple start to soften and change colors as it roasts.  The house has smelled absolutely heavenly every time I’ve made this.  Love all the spicy, sweet smells wafting around.DSC_0145.jpgDSC_0143.jpgDSC_0138.jpgServed with some vanilla bean ice cream the pineapple is fantastic.  I really enjoy this recipe both for it’s simplicity of ingredients yet complexity of flavor.  I tend to have bulk spices around, especially around the holidays and it’s fun to try different ones.  The only things that is really a pain is processing the pineapple.