Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Cocoa-Nana Bread (TWD)

I need to quit this habit of JIT (just-in-time) blogging. Hopefully, I'll get this post up before the day is out.

Fortunately for me, this week's Tuesdays With Dorie selection of Cocoa-Nana Bread was mercifully easy, and I was able to bake and photograph the goods before I polished off my last cup of coffee this morning.
This quick bread recipe is intended as a breakfast treat that combines the flavors of chocolate and banana. You've got to love a recipe that slips in a healthy dose of chocolate into breakfast food.
I was a bit underwhelmed with the final results. The look of this dark brown loaf is deceiving, as the chocolate flavor wasn't very intense, and you could barely taste the two bananas that went into the batter. Still, I did appreciate that it wasn't overwhelmingly sweet, so it wouldn't assult the taste buds first thing in the morning.
Of course, I had my sous chef Siena hovering in the kitchen looking for some crumbs to fall:
Sorry girl...
Please visit Steph's blog, Obsessed With Baking, for the full recipe.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Chocolate Oatmeal Almost Candy Bars (TWD)

This week's Tuesday With Dorie recipe for Chocolate Oatmeal Almost-Candy Bars is diet breaker for sure --- and we're only 19 days into the new year!

With a chewy oatmeal-peanut layer on the bottom, a rich, fudgey chocolate layer that is studded with peanuts and raisins (or dried cranberries in my case) in the middle, and a crunchy oatmeal layer on the top, a small slice of this cookie will tame the most ferocious sweet tooth.

I halved the recipe and baked it in a 9x5 loaf pan (the full recipe is meant to bake in a 9x13 baking pan). I think I goofed and should have baked this in a bigger pan, but nonetheless the recipe turned out just fine --- the layers are just a bit thicker than what the recipe probably intended. After a couple of hours in the fridge, these cookies are ready to be sliced and served.
Chewy, nutty, chocolatey --- delicious! I'm glad that subbed the raisins for cranberries, as the tartness from the dried cranberries definitely helped to balance out the richness of these bars.
For the complete recipe, please visit Lillian's blog, Confectiona's Realm. Also, please make sure to visit the TWD blogroll, as I know there will be many decadent versions of this recipe to oogle.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Tarte Tatin - Happy 2nd Anniversary TWD!!!!

Happy 2nd Anniversary to Tuesdays With Dorie! Who would have guessed that after two years that TWD would be going strong with 300+ bakers and with 95+ completed recipes from Dorie Greenspan's fabulous cookbook Baking: From My Home To Yours. Even more surprising to me has been my own commitment to bake and to post weekly on my ole blog (you see, I'm a huge flake when it comes to my personal hobbies). Pastry has always been a passion of mine, and it's been a gratifying experience to bake and share with so many groovy people in the blog-o-sphere. I'm looking forward to another sweet year of delicious baking in 2010!

To mark this auspicious occasion, the TWD group went the democratic route and voted on a recipe. After the votes were tallied, we were given a choice of Tarte Tatin or Cocoa Buttermilk Cake (or both, for some ambitious bakers). I've never made a Tarte Tatin before, so I was looking forward to making my first.

After reading over the recipe, I eyeballed the short ingredient list and noted that most of the prep and baking is done in a single tatin pan or skillet. I'm already loving this recipe! I opted to make a mini tarte tatin, halving the recipe and using a 6 inch cast iron skillet.

Peel and core the apples (I used Fuji)...
Melt butter in the pan, add sugar, then take off the heat. Arrange the apples decoratively in the pan, then cook on the stovetop until the butter/sugar mixture caramelizes.

Once caramelized, its time to set the pan on a baking sheet and seal with a crust of some sort. This skillet was HOT! Check out the bubbling brown butter/sugar goodness...
Seal the fruit with a crust. The recipe is pretty flexible giving puff pastry, pie crust or tart crust as options. I went with a pie crust...
Once the tarte is baked and nicely browned in the oven (my mini version only took 20 minutes), remove from the oven. Silpat was an essential kitchen tool, as the caramel created a sticky burnt mess...No time to wait. It's time to flip the tarte out of the pan to see what lies beneath. Drumroll please...
Yipeee...tarte tatin success!
The delicious smell of this tarte had Siena hanging out in the kitchen. Sorry girl, this tarte is for the hubs and me...
If you're a tarte tatin neophyte like me, you have to give this classic recipe a try. Click here for the complete recipe. It isn't that difficult to make, and you will be rewarded with a gorgeous dessert. Next time, I can't wait to make and serve a full size version to dinner guests...or just for me.
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