I’m a little out of energy this week but I did manage to get the madeleines done. I decided to brown my butter because I love the smell and find it oddly comforting. I liked how these turned out and they were a pretty great portion size. I called these chocolate lime madeleines to everyone who wanted to taste them since I thought that was a bit more accurate.For some reason Scott only shot the backs of the madeleines so it’s hard to see how pretty they came out even if they were a little full. It was a rough weekend so I’m glad this recipe got done and it tasted good too.
I’ve been kind of dreading making granola cake since I first got Baking Chez Moi. For some reason it just didn’t seem very appetizing. So glad my fears were completely misplaced for this one.This recipe had a bit more ingredients than usual with the strangest being granola. Fortunately I had recently made a batch of Garland’s granola from Sharing the Table. It is so, so good and simple to make.I tried to break up the biggest clumps in my granola and I used the unsweetened coconut flakes you can get at Sprouts. I love the unsweetened flakes, they have a great taste without the scratchy texture of sugared and shredded coconut.Everything came together pretty quick and I was starting to feel hopeful about the taste because everything smelled so good. My batter was the consistency of a chocolate chip cookie dough.I was pretty nervous after getting this into the pan because I really had to spatula the batter into the pan rather than pour it.I took the cake out before the timer went off because it just smelled ready to me. It kind of looked like a giant cookie in the pan.The cake came out of the pan looking a lot more like a cake or maybe kind of like a bar. I had it with some early gray tea and the cake was so good. Dense and chewy texture with great flavor. Almost like a brownie in a way. This recipe will definitely go into my rotation for when I have some homemade granola hanging around.
This time of year is always jam packed for us. Phoenix weather finally cools down and the aspen and oak trees start to put on a show up north. It was nice to have a homey recipe that was familiar with a twist.Everything was pretty standard except for the almond flour as far as ingredients go.Pretty standard cookie recipe again with the exception of adding almond flour near the end. I’ve never made chocolate chip cookies with a stand mixer and it went well. The golf ball size dough balls were quite a bit bigger than my standard recipe and I was a little worried. The smell of fresh cookies even roused our senior French Lita to come and see if she could grab a bite. Even after 12 years she still thinks we’re going to let her eat chocolate. Hope springs eternal.The flattening of the dough balls was strange for me. Not something I’ve ever done with chocolate chip cookies. I was pretty worried at this point but also relieved that the dough hadn’t spread to large.I liked the little bit of crackle the flattening gave the cookies. Although they kind of reminded me of something you’d pull out of a package since they all stacked so nice and flat.These were pretty great. I would love to make these anytime I had to package up cookies really neat. I really liked them best the day they were made. They were pretty intensely chewy by day two but still tasted good.
I have a love of right-from-the-box popsicles and icy treats. It was nice to make a fudgy homemade version for a change.Luckily I already had some molds and the ingredients were pretty simple.
This recipe called for a lot of different bowls and mixing but was overall pretty simple. Scott has been baking lately so I had him help me out with this one so he could practice folding. Considering the final result I think he did a pretty great job. We used the food processor to chop the chocolate.
Filling the molds was easy and mine made quite a few pops since they were rather small.
The pops were smooth, almost reminiscent of a pudding pop with the chocolate chips adding contrast. Our pops didn’t have a strong liquor flavor. Maybe because coffee is such a nice complement to the dark chocolate it ended up being more of an undertone. Nice little treat for the summer.
Life has been busier than usual and I’ve found myself dog piling both my monthly recipes into one post. I caved in and bought a Kitchen Aid mixer and I’m finding there is a bit of a learning curve.
Betty’s Chocoholic Cake
This recipe called for a ridiculous amount of butter and made for a very rich cake.The batter was a fairly simple mix of mostly butter, egg and chocolate.I’m definitely learning how powerful a stand mixer is the hard way. My layers baked up quite bubbly. Luckily after assembly with the chocolate ganache it wasn’t all that noticeable. White chocolate curls seem to cover a multitude of bubbly sins.I was worried this would be too rich and I would prefer my slice with a little dollop of sour cream. However, the taste testers seemed to have no problem making their way through and it got pretty rave reviews. I would definitely save this for a special occasion.
Everything about this cake was simple yet luxurious. I think it’s worth keeping the cupboards stocked with orange-flower water and pearl sugar so this can be made through the summer.I love tend to love yeast-risen baked goods and this cake was no exception. The batter was quite thick and it would have been quite the challenge to make without a stand mixer.This cake was perfect to make on a warm Arizona day. My house is the perfect temperature to rise dough and when it is time to make the cake it doesn’t take all that long in the oven.My baked cake turned out beautiful and I even cut it easily. Things went a little awry after filling when I put the cake top turned to the wrong side. Trying to correct it only made things goofier. Luckily the great taste and texture overcame the wonky visual result.We loved this cake. The crunchy pearl sugar and flavored cream were perfect with the brioche dough. I feel like I will be making it several times this summer.
Sometimes recipes bring about confessions that would otherwise remain unsaid. Mine is that I don’t particularly care for macaroons. So while not particularly excited for this recipe I was very excited about the simple ingredients, all of which I already had in my house.The batter for the merge cookie portion turned out to be quite a bit easier to make than I had anticipated. A few ingredients sifted together and folded into some meringue.Even the piping wasn’t as bad as I had thought. I was very grateful that this recipe had a picture as otherwise I would have been obsessing about how imperfect the cookies were.The ganache turned out to be simple as well. I actually made it in the microwave and used the refrigerator to cool it down. After piping ganache onto the cooled cookies I decided to take a taste of the leftover chocolate. It was so delicious it seriously diminished my guilt over just eating straight frosting.When the ganache sandwiched in the cookies firmed up I wanted to try one to give my honest review so decided to split one with Scott. To my surprise I really liked it. The crunch and subtle almond flavor went really well with the rich and creamy ganache. We decided they were the sandwich cookie that you wish you got in packages from the store. One of the great things about baking through this book is the surprises I get about my own palate.
February was all about chocolate. I’ve been hit with a horrible flu so Scott truly made these for me while I supervised and briefly stepped in a few times to assist. It’s funny how much he loves taking pictures of baking but really doesn’t like the baking itself. Regardless he did an excellent job at making these as they both turned out great. I was lucky to have my older sister bake along with me on one of these as well.
Soft-Centered Chocolate Teacup Cakes
These little chocolate cakes were pretty amazing in their simplicity. I typically have some version of these ingredients in my cupboard.
These were pretty straight forward with melty chocolate and fluffy eggs. The only tricky part was folding them together. I got a little worried about deflating the eggs but in the end it came together pretty well.
We ended up placing the chocolate closer to the top third than the middle which made a really pretty presentation from the first spoonful.
These were pretty tasty and a bit easier than we both expected. While I really liked the favor I’m not sure I would make them again. They are pretty reliant on timing if you want to serve them hot and are also readily available in restaurants.
Hot Chocolate Panna Cotta
When we picked these recipes in January it was still cold in Phoenix and I was pretty bummed that the hot chocolate panna cotta was a winter pick. Despite the name it’s actually a cold dessert that doesn’t require the use of an oven. Luckily, my sister Julie lives in New Zealand where it’s the middle of hot, hot summer so I convinced her to make it with me.
Christie & Scott:
I can’t wait for summer to make these again. For me, this is a perfect Phoenix dessert. Rich and chocolatey but cool and comforting and I never have to turn my oven on.
I flavoured it with a mild chai tea. I only strained it once, due to the chocolate not being in a big enough container to put all the liquid in there. If I did it again I would melt the choc in a bigger one. It smells delicious! Very hard to ‘discard’ the strained milky chocolatey goodness!!
So, it is like mega hot today and I am really looking forward to eating one of these after dinner! Not only that, but there was no added sugar (just the sugar in the choccie) so they are kinda compliant with the higher fat/lower carb diet kick we are on (I know, I know, but it’s better than sugary pavlova or something like that).
I had mine with blueberries a splash of Bailey’s Irish cream on top. Yum!
Paul (Julie’s husband) thought the form and texture was really good, smooth and not gluggy. We couldn’t taste the mild chai tea flavour in the end, so would recommend something a little stronger (85% chocolate is pretty strong). All in all, it was a great treat for a hot summer’s day and definitely satisfies a chocolate craving!
-Christie, Scott and Julie
Finally getting back on the baking track and I somehow managed to pull off both my December recipes at once.
Stained Glass Cookies
The idea of crushing candies to create a stained glass window effect was interesting. Excepting the candy I had everything on hand. A dear friend had made me some rose sugar and I thought this would be perfect for sprinkling on top.
The dough for this was a breeze. A basic sugar dough that came together nicely and was fairly easy to work with. Up until the cutting portion. I found this a little finicky although I started figuring out the feel of this dough by the end.
Crushing the candies and filling up the cookie was pretty fun although a little nerve wracking on the first batch. My whole kitchen smelled like fruity candy which was a little strange. My favorite candy was a mango organic sucker I picked up in the checkout lane at the grocery store.
I loved the look of the herbs and rose sugar topping. If I make these again I will definitely experiment with more types of herbs. I also used my cut out pieces to make little sugar cookie nibbles.
The stained glass cookies were beautiful looking and way less hassle than I was expecting. I would really like to re-try these for Valentine’s Day with more herbs and seeds and with violet candies. These would be a perfect fit with the rose sugar. The fruit candy flavors I had available didn’t fit with my idea of the holiday and while the cookies were interesting they weren’t my ideal flavor palette.
Chocolate-Chestnut Tart with Chestnut Vanilla Syrup
I had never tried a chestnut prior to this recipe. My first bite of one was quite the surprise of texture and I ended up spitting it out. I forged ahead with this and I’m glad that I did because the sum of its parts was certainly better than the piece of chestnut that I tried.
The tart was fairly simple: tart shell, candied chestnuts and chocolate ganache all baked up. I had made the tart shell a few other times for recipes in this book and at this point I’ve got it down.
The candied chestnuts were pretty straight forward and simple. My stovetop did most of the work once the vanilla bean syrup was going. I found I liked the chestnut taste in this quite a bit. For those of you who haven’t tried them a roasted chestnut has the texture of a baked potato. I was expecting somewhat crunchy nut and got something completely different.
I was nearly ready to scrap the recipe at this point but I decided to forge ahead and figured the chestnuts could be eaten around if needed. An easy ganache is made and poured over everything and baked till firm.
Luckily the finished product is actually quite good. I haven’t met a lot of chocolate I didn’t like and the chestnuts flavor was great and the texture was less noticeable next to the silky chocolate. I didn’t have the time or meal planning to serve this with ice cream and chestnut syrup as intended. I do have the syrup saved for some ice cream later this week.
The heat of the Phoenix summer has finally hit. Normally I wouldn’t be trying out brownie recipes this time of year since the weather seems to call for fruity and cool. Since the group decided on chocolate-cherry brownies I went ahead and made them.
The ingredients for this were pretty simple and generally things that I already have on hand. The recipe had called for chopped bittersweet chocolate but since I had some good quality chips on hand I subbed them in for a portion of the chocolate.
The cherries are cooked briefly in some wine which makes them super plump and moist. This wasn’t really appetizing for me while they were cooking but they tasted pretty good in the final product.
The chocolate gets just melted with the butter.
Added sugar transforms the velvety chocolate into a grainy texture. Eggs are added one at a time and bring some of the lovely smooth texture back to the mix.
Salt and black pepper are added which give some oomph to this brownie. A little bit of flour gets added in as well. The final step would be adding chopped chocolate but I took the easy route and used good quality chips instead.
On the advice of Dorie I may have left these slight under baked since I was worried about overdoing them. They turned out pretty fudgy but I think that’s ok.
The one nice thing about these brownies was that you can put them in the fridge without drying. It makes them so much nicer on our hot summer days.
So while these turned out great I wasn’t necessarily a fan. I love brownies but it’s not exactly something I look to put dried fruit into no matter how moist and deliciously flavored. Scott brought these to work and apparently they were well received. Given that’s the case I may try these again during the holidays and add some orange zest to the mix.
For the first time since beginning the Baking Chez Moi adventure I decided to make a half recipe. Typically I love to share but I only serve recipes with raw eggs in my own house and I was feeling a bit too under the weather this week to have a dinner. Marquise is basically a frozen mousse. The ingredients aren’t complicated and neither is the flavor.
Chocolate and butter is just melted together and then left to cool.
Once the chocolate cools down a bit a mixture of whipped egg yolks and sugar is added in.
Finally some whip cream is gently folded in.
The mousse mixture is placed into prepared molds and frozen. The recipe called for a loaf shaped pan but since Valentine’s Day was coming up and I’d made a half batch I opted for something a little different. At this stage you can layer in some cookies and I opted to make one of my hearts with a graham cracker crust.
The final product looks nice and is easy to dress up a bit.
While this was really simple to make and the flavor was good it was really just frozen mousse. That’s not a bad thing I guess but it isn’t necessarily something I will remember to make again.
Big thanks to my Scott this week. Doubt I would have gotten this done without his assistance and encouragement.
A note on raw eggs: Personally, I’m not super fussy about eating raw eggs. I accept the risk and I have a few neighbors who come over and it doesn’t bother them at all either. It does limit the shareability of a dish since I would never serve an item with raw eggs outside of my house. I think it’s funny that the recipe calls for fresh, organic eggs-this has no bearing on whether your eggs will be contaminated with salmonella. I have my own chickens who are healthy and they are good layers. My eggs are about as fresh as you can get but they could still contain salmonella as I’ve never had my girls tested. It’s a risk I accept and am not too worried about.