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Posts from the ‘Desserts’ Category

Crispy-Topped Brown Sugar Bars | BCM | Tuesdays with Dorie

Who knew these would be so easy to make. I had four pages of information set before me and two recipes to make and I was done in a little over half an hour. I could make these little treats anytime on a whim because the ingredient list calls for items I regularly keep in stock in my pantry: chocolate, butter, flour, salt, vanilla, baking powder. There is just one item I may not have but will most likely add to the grocery list now to have for the “just in case” needs and sweet cravings.

A simple shortbread, then a layer of chocolate, and finally topped with… caramelized rice crispy treats. This may be my new “happy place” a buttery shortbread- gooey chocolatey middle- and crispy topping with caramel balances taste and texture.

You may need to find this sweet little treat and make some yourself!

Caramelized Crispy Bars

Buttery shortbread, Chocolate, and Caramelized Rice Crispies = Taste & Texture Balance Achieved!

Lemon Madeleines | BCM | Tuesdays with Dorie

My youngest walked into the kitchen while I was prepping my work station for the latests Tuesdays with Dorie scheduled treat from her book Baking Chez Moi. Curious, she wanted to know what I was  going to make. “Madeleines!” I said with excitement.  I’ve never made these tasty little treats and I was looking forward to trying something new. I could see she was searching for the image to fit the name in her mind. Then she said, “You know Mom, the name Madeleine is so similar to the name of the character Madeline, the lute Mandolin and the slicer Mandoline I didn’t know at first what it was you were making.”  Now, each time I think of these little shell shaped cakes, my mind scrolls through each of those images and I giggle.

 

A petite Madeline mold buttered and ready for batter

A buttered petite Madeleine mold awaiting the batter…

Later, when she sat down to taste one of the Madeleines, she said she remembered eating these after school for goûter when we lived in France. I am amazed at how our senses bring back memories so vividly. “The sight of the little madeleine had recalled nothing to my mind before I tasted it.” ~ Remembrance of Things Past (À la recherche du temps perdu), Marcel Proust

My youngest was on to something. Indeed those little Madeleines did have a lineage. Historically these little cakes were believed to be named after a young maid, Madeleine, who worked for the Duke of Lorraine, Stanislas Leczinski in the late 1700s from the French town of Commercy. Once these petite cakes were introduced to the court at Versailles they found their place in the heart of the French.

Mother and daughter strolling the Green Carpet- Versailles

The Green Carpet- Versailles

With my first batch of Madeleines, I didn’t notice the “bump” that Dorie described in her recipe but I specifically looked for it on my second batch. The “bump” is the gold seal symbol or as she equates it to the holy grail, that one has decidedly mastered the Madeleine and there it was, a large bump on my petite Madeleines. I wouldn’t say I’ve mastered them but I do thank Dorie for spilling her learned secret with me and the rest of the BCM bakers.  Her long history of making these and then learning the holy grail secrets from Phillippe Conticini of Patisserie des Reves and Fabrice Le Bourdat of Bel Sucre in Paris makes all of us feel great from the start!

Madeleine's with a "bosse/ bump"

Madeleine’s with a “bosse/ bump”

If you would like to try your hand at making Madeleines at home so you may enjoy a little afternoon goûter, here is the recipe. Alternately, she has shared her Lemon Madeleine recipe here.

Tuesdays with Dorie and Baking Chez Moi is an open group of bloggers having fun baking their way through Dorie Greenspan’s books. Go check out what the other Doristas are doing!

 

Crocus the First Flowers of Spring

Spring is here!

Head Shot of Rachelle K Weymuller

 

Rachelle @ Caramelize Life

Making Life a Little Sweeter through Food, Travel and Community

 

 

Marquise au Chocolat | TWD |Baking Chez Moi

Last week I left the grocery store with a stack of thin chocolate bars, for the Marquise recipe, and they felt like what I image little gold bars to be. While prepping for the desert each time I peel open the shiny foil wrapper of the chocolate bar, I fell back into the excitement I felt as kid, reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

“But there was one other thing that the grown-ups also knew, and it was this: that however small the chance might be of striking lucky, the chance is there. The chance had to be there.”
Ronald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factor 

 This time the excitement for me was trying a new recipe and hoping for the chance that it turns out because I’ve gone and decided to make a new recipe for a special birthday dinner, and I don’t have a back up in the freezer! So, I do believe in luck when executed correctly ;0)  And thank goodness Dorie Greenspan writes beautiful recipes that will make me look like a rock star on the first try.

A frozen chocolate birthday mousse

“Cakes are special. Every birthday, every celebration ends with something sweet, a cake, and people remember. It’s all about the memories”. ~Buddy Valastro

Making this cake was a snap. It has six ingredients; butter, bittersweet chocolate, fresh room temp eggs, sugar, fleur de sel and cold heavy cream. For a chocolate lover one can’t go wrong with this combination and for those of us who enjoy baking or in this case freezing, because you don’t bake this cake, folding the whipped egg and cream mixture into the chocolate creates a decadent marbled effect that makes me smile.

Chicken had shot

Happy Chicken

There was some chatter of concern on the Tuesdays with Dorie site by fellow Dorista’s about the use of room temperature eggs and making a cake that has raw eggs in it. Dorie makes a highlighted note in her recipe to use” very fresh eggs, preferably organic and/or from a trusted local source.”  We were lucky here, since our local source lives in the hen house out back and is named Clucky. Along with her friends they provided the four eggs I needed for my Marquise au Chocolat, bright and early the morning of my cake making. That’s as fresh as you get. Coop to Cake!

Backyard chicken eggs fresh today

From clucky with love

However, if you are pregnant, a young child, have a compromised immune system or if you are concerned about eating anything with raw eggs, you can still make this recipe by using pasteurized eggs or bringing the eggs to 160º. Do this while mixing the eggs to keep from scrambling, in a heat proof bowl over simmering water. Another idea I saw that Peggy from Pantry Revisited substituted greek yogurt for the eggs and was happy with the results.

Chicken tucked into bed

not all hens have a clean coop like clucky

Once you’ve made your decision on which way to proceed with the egg choice it’s as simple as mixing and pouring everything into a loaf pan to freeze. While the cake was freezing I searched for a fun topping option. Dorie made me laugh with her side column “Bonne Idée” where one line reads “Crack Chocolate Sauce” as a good idea to drizzle over the marquise. It’s the way the type was set and those three words stand out as one line but of course the real name of the sauce is Hard-Crack Chocolate Sauce. Think ice cream sundae chocolate sauce that goes from liquid to solid once poured atop a bowl of ice cream. This is exactly the sauce I had to make, mainly because the name, it must be that good!

 

coconut oil in a glass dish for Hard Crack Chocolate Sauce

coconut oil + chocolate = happiness

Again her recipe for the sauce was straight forward and easy. With two ingredients; bittersweet chocolate and coconut oil mixed and melted together in a heat proof bowl then poured over the marquise. The cake, just went from two stars of decadence to four. Add a bit of Whipped Cream to top it off  and I confirm it was that good!

No bake Chocolate Cake

It’s all about the cake…

 

This rich no bake chocolate cake can be made ahead of time, kept in the freezer and pulled out ready for serving. Or it can be made in individual ramekins and dressed up with fresh berries. There are so many creative ideas to tweak this chocolate cake that I’ll need to make it again and again to test them out. I’m sure my family won’t complain.

 

 

 

From our kitchen to yours!

Head Shot Rachelle Rachelle @ Caramelize Life
Making Life a Little Sweeter through Food, Travel and Community

Brown Butter and Vanilla Bean~ Weekend Cake| TWD

 

I would like to share a slice of Brown Butter and Vanilla Bean Weekend Cake with you but there’s none to be had, it was that good. I am not sure how this can be called a weekend cake, I might aptly rename it the 12 hour, if we are lucky, cake. Because that’s how long it lasted in our home before it disappeared.

Buttered black nonstick loaf pan ready for cake mix
Buttered loaf pan awaiting a dusting of flour

The texture of this Brown Butter and Vanilla Bean Weekend Cake reminded me of my grandmother’s pound cakes I devoured as a child. The stand out difference  between the two is Dorie’s addition of vanilla beans, pure vanilla extract and dark rum. These ingredients are an intoxicating combination that had my family sneaking in for just one more paper-thin slice.

Loaf Weekend Cake on Cutting Board

One hour into the life of the Brown Butter & Vanilla Bean Weekend Cake

We found this cake to be the perfect après ski Sunday afternoon goûter/ snack and fitting, because it reminded me of family to be served on my Grandmother Ruth’s china with tea if you are me and bourbon if you are my husband.

Brown Butter and Vanilla Bean Cake Served Up on Maple Leaf China

Sweet Memories Through The Senses

Just today, Tuesday, my daughter asked if I would make this lovely cake again, she suggested, tomorrow. I tried to tell her about how Dorie named it a weekend cake after the French gâteaux de voyage (travel cake) and that it was far from the weekend so she would have to wait the four (well, three now) long days until the weekend and I would mix up another. I won’t mind when I do because the aroma of vanilla fills the house making it feel even more like home.
The butter (beurre noisette) is caramelized to bring out it’s nutty flavors, and I used my homemade pure vanilla extract letting it work its magic as a flavor potentiator. Complete the experience with coffee, tea or rum as recommended by Dorie as an accompaniment. I might make two next time so we can share it with friends on the ski hill and have a picnic.

 

Tuesdays with Dorie Greenspan and Baking Chez Moi is an open group dedicated to baking through Dorie’s latest books. If you would like to learn more about how this recipe turned out for the group you can find them here at Tuesdays with Dorie.

Happy Baking!

Head Shot of Rachelle K Weymuller

 

 

Rachelle @ Caramelize Life

Making Life a Little Sweeter through Food, Travel and Community

 

 

Making Divinity On A Snowy Day

 

Sunlit snowy day

 

Today was going great. I was well into my day of holiday treat making with Dorie Greenspan’s Truffles resting in the refrigerator when I thought to myself “why not try a new recipe? I’m on a roll right?” I have had The Casual Baker’s Divinity recipe printed out for just the right moment, and reading through the ingredient list I was pleased as punch with myself finding that I was well stocked. So off I went into the land of Divinity.

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In my own defense, there was no way for me to know what was in store for me. I laugh at myself right now, perched at the kitchen bar typing away after making the whimsical decision to make divinity. Glancing over with a heavy sigh at my green marble countertops and previously spotless stove-top now covered with Divinity guts. A sticky, gooey mess; I’ve gone and candied my stove-top. My youngest, the ever happy soul that she is, has set to scooping up the goo and has turned it into her own candy project; far be it from her to let sugar, water and organic corn syrup go to waste.

What happened, you ask? All was going just fine; I was cruising along solo in the kitchen (read: without distractions).  I find that I need a distraction free space while making candy, but somehow it didn’t dawn on me that making candy was exactly what I was doing (Yes! I did read the recipe thoroughly but was thinking more meringue than candy). I’ll blame it on the absence of a second cup of coffee.

In walked D2 (Daughter #2) who set about to do her English assignment at the kitchen bar. “This is great,” I thought to myself, bursting with pride “she is self-motived and getting her work done.” …until the questions started rolling in. Distraction number one. Next, my husband walked in and started a great conversation (distraction number two) which took me away from the stove-top. Have I provided enough foreshadowing for you to guess what happens next in our holiday tale of woe? From the other room where I was in deep discussion, I heard my pot boiling over…”Oh, SUGAR!” I rushed back to the stove and it looked like a mad scientist’s bubbling mushroom spilling over the sides; an oooey-gooey syrupy monster. 

I tried to save it. I really did. I grabbed the printed directions and the candy thermometer to get my bearings. The temp read 253º, not 255º as required but I couldn’t get it higher without it growing into another bubbling monster so I poured it into my previously prepped foaming egg whites poste-haste which, as you may have surmised is not exactly how Sheena S. of the Casual Baker had envisioned the optimal scenario. I put the hand held blender to work, but two minutes into the seven called for it became readily apparent that this was a bad idea. I was splattering Divinity monster guts everywhere. It was supposed to be thick, but after double the time called for it looked just as runny as ever. I switched to a bigger bowl and stationary mixer as a last gasp effort to save my Divinity. Too little too late; nothing would save our stickily intertwined fates from a fall from grace of epic proportions.

stay-puft-marshmallow-man1

So what’s a girl to do? I peeled away my printed directions that were now at one with the counter and started to read the comments after the recipe directions. And here it was that I learned from the Divinity lovers community that Divinity is a fickle creature. Some even purported that if it is raining outside she refuses to take on the task because that subtle amount of moisture can make the difference “between bites of divinity and a puddle best consumed with a spoon” (KitschenBitsch). Others go on to say that 255º (let alone 253º!) is a tad low and they like to wait until the candy reaches 350º.

Well Kitschen Bitsch, you are correct. It is snowing lovely large flakes of frozen rain outside and I have a big fat puddle inside. Once again the weather has ruined my attempts and it has nothing to do with the distractions. Thanks for the easy out, until a sunny day when I’ll attempt it again!

Wishing you wild adventures from our kitchen to yours,
Head Shot RachelleRachelle @ Caramelize Life
Making Life a Little Sweeter through Food, Travel and Community

The Rugelach That Won Over France – Tuesdays with Dorie

 

This was Eva and my first time making rugelach so of course, I searched google images to get a better idea of what we were setting out to create.
The images were enticing and we both were excited to make a new sweet treat. Once our eyes curiosity had been met, of course we then wondered where, in history, did rugelach originate? Yes, I’m one of those people who own books like A History of Food and The Deluxe Food Lover’s Companion  and those books have been known to take up residence on my nightstand. Silly, I know, but I have found myself laughing out loud to some of past superstitions.  So, of course, I am going to research the roots and cultures who brought this treat to us and to top it off, it’s a great teaching moment for homeschool.

My highlight from the research is learning that rugelach can be spelled so many ways. Sweet news to me so I can stop, rechecking how to spell this word once and for all!  Karen Hochman shares that it’s known to be spelled any number of ways; rugelah, rugalah, rugelach, rugalach, rugulah, ruggelach, and ruggalach. She also gives the best historical view into the land of the European Jewish pastries that I could find. If your interest is peeked even a little you should check it out here .

At first read, I noticed Dorie wrote of peanuts being part of her rugelach, that won over the Air France attendants so I set out peanuts, only later to frantically re-read again and again the ingredient list looking for the peanuts we missed. There are none in this recipe, instead Dorie calls for pecans. Since pecans are not my or any of my family’s favorite nut I swapped them for almonds.

RKW_0605 RKW_0613 Dough at "curd" stage. BCM 12-9-14

RKW_0612

I measured all ingredients meticulously but in the end, I was left with over a cup of unused filling.  I think we may not have rolled the dough thin enough. This was apparent because we only had one revolution making a circle and not multiple spiraling layers as we had seen on google images. We did find, using the Wilson pie mat, like a sushi mat, made the dough easier to roll allowing us to keep pressure on the nut mixture and prevent the dough from cracking. Now all we need to do is make more! Which we’ve already started and there’s another batch chilling in the fridge for later.

RKW_0091

The finished product!

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The texture combination of gooey interior, flakey exterior and crunch made these taste pretty good and yes, even this non-coconut lover had seconds!

If you would like to make these royal treats just like Dorie does you can find the recipe over at Leite’s Culinaria. If you would like to read about how this recipe worked for Dorie’s group Baking Chez Moi here’s the link, maybe you’ll want to join us? Before I finished making my rugelach, I found myself reading the groups posts and found Mardi’s experience to be super helpful thanks Mardi!

Happy Baking!

Next up for Tuesdays with Dorie is a Gingerbread Bûche de Noël.

Rachelle and Eva

p.s. This is unrelated to the post other than I would really like to figure out how to get my smaller photos to line up horizontally rather than vertically. On my edit page they show up beautifully sequentially left to right  If anyone has any info on how to do this I would love to know!  Merci.

Cranberry Crackle Tart- Tuesdays with Dorie

Cranberries come twice a year and in my mind are associated with turkey and all the fixin’s. Would I have picked this recipe and said “that’s what I want to make!”? Probably not. This is why I am enjoying the Tuesdays with Dorie group right from the start. In life, it’s great to try new things. Eating my own words as a parent “try it, you won’t know you don’t like it until you try it.” Eva asked me if I like meringue; yes I do. Then, if I liked sweetened cranberries; yes, I do. So she said “Why not put them together and try it?”

The timing was apropos for cranberries, it is Thanksgiving in the US, one of the two times a year I think about these little red bursts of flavor. And we did need to bring a special dessert to our gathering, so this is it.

Winter storm arrives

Eva and I set about pulling our ingredients from the pantry and preparing our crust.  Little did we know (or even our National Weather Service let on they knew) but winter decided to arrive all at once. Heavy, wet snow sticking to itself like packing peanuts to a fleece shirt. As those fat wet flakes congregated on wispy willow branches and fruit trees we paused our work in the kitchen. We donned our hats and rain coats and headed out to save our favorite trees from the weight of the new fallen snow. Like bears looking for honey, we shook the base of the trees as best we could to relive the branches of their heavy load. Sometimes one of us would shake it just right to get the other full of snow. That, Eva thought was the best! However, we paid careful attention to not be in their path as the branches sprung back up as though they were happy to be free.

After we were satisfied that the tree branches would make it we returned to our baking task but quickly noticed our power was out.

BCW Galette Dough

 We set aside our dry ingredients and went about lighting candles and finding headlamps.

Galette Dough Ingredients

Funny things happen when distractions changed our direction. We had put our “ice water” in the freezer to chill however, when the power went out…

Ice water/ Frozen water BCM

 Now that we have “frozen water” we prepped the dish for the crust.

Thankful -buttered dish

 I couldn’t help myself.

Galette Crust

Still thankful under the dough.

Beans for weight!

 Our first time using beans as weights for galette crust under candlelight.

Cranberry Crackle Tart

I have to agree with Dorie in her opening description about Americans in Paris, Thanksgiving, and finding all the ingredients that confirm our nostalgic senses that it is this time of year.

It reminds me of a wonderful Thanksgiving we spent in Paris. Our French hostess, married to an American, set out to make a traditional American Thanksgiving meal for her international guests. She had emailed her Mother in-law for all the family recipes and without knowing what the dishes were supposed to look or taste like she busied herself to tracking down the exotic ingredients. Our gracious hosts went so far as to borrow a friend’s flat that was large enough so they could accommodate our three families. She made many trips bringing all the provisions from it seemed, almost every arrodissement of Paris, which I thought was a feat in itself, let alone preparing the whole meal singlehandedly. Of course I am not surprised, Pascale is a Superwoman. As I write this post, I just found out that she has written and published a cookbook!

Cranberry Crackle Ingredients

The ingredients are straight forward and few.

Cranberry Crackle Tart

The finished Tart!

Cranberry Crackle Tart

This Cranberry Crackle Tart traveled well and was devoured by a large group of ski racers during our Thanksgiving Ski Camp held in Canada this year.

New traditions, trying new things and being thankful no matter where we are this time of year.

~In gratitud Rachelle and Eva @ Caramelize Life

Making Life a Little Sweeter through Food, Travel and Community

Palets de Dames- Tuesdays with Dorie

What fun we had making these little treats.
I have a new baking and blogging partner this year and she writes about her experience over at Jumpin Bean.

We just joined the Baking Chez Moi, Tuesdays with Dorie Group  as part of her homeschooling adventures and a fun way to spend some quality family time together. We are looking forward to sharing our new experiences with you and baking our way through Dorie Greenspan’s new cookbook Baking Chez Moi as well as learning from our new blogging community!

 

Little Treats

We have cooked with Dorie’s recipes before and have always found her recipes to be clear and concise, so Eva took the lead both in baking and with the camera. I fell to as the prep chef and camera help for this recipe.

Flour starting out

 

We used King Arthur flour this time but next go we decided we would play around with Bluebird Grain Farms Einka Flour and see how it turns out. Eva wanted to do this because she knows Einka flour is packed with nutrients and that could potentially sway me when she asks “just one more, please?”

 

All lined upI am doing my job here as prep chef.

Mix it up

This is Eva’s favorite part, mixing it up and adding the ingredients.

Palet de Dames

The Palets de Dames are ready for the oven. Sadly we don’t have a photo of the finished product, not one. They were eaten so fast and shared with friends that we forgot to snap the shot. We will leave you to your imagination or if you just can’t handle not knowing you can peek at our new blogging communities posts and I am sure you’ll see a final photo there!

happy baking,

 

Head Shot RachelleRachelle and Eva @ Caramelize Life
Making Life a Little Sweeter through Food, Travel and Community

 

Happy Mother’s Day!

Thank you to all the wonderful Mothers in the world who make life sweeter for everyone.

Lilac Sugar

To keep the sweet aroma of lilacs after their bloom is done, and around our house that happens quickly, gather some lilac flowers now and layer them in a jar with sugar alternating sugar and flowers. Set the Lilac Sugar in a cool dark place for 2-3 weeks and then you will have a lovely scented sugar to use in tea, baking or sauces! I think using the sugar to make cupcakes with candied lilac flowers would be superb!

Whistler me 2010  Rachelle Weymuller @ Caramelize Life
Making Life Sweeter Through Food, Travel and Community

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