Tuesday, January 26, 2010

TWD: Cocoa-Nana Bread

There are some weeks at Tuesday's with Dorie that feel like the weight of the world is resting on your shoulders. Where one bad decision could upset the balance of nature. Like this week, where TWD bakers the world over wrestled with the age-old question, "do chocolate and bananas really go together?"

One look at this deep, dark, chocolatey bread and I can hear you saying "what bananas?"

Oh, they're there all right... exactly as dictated by this week's TWD recipe, Cocoa-Nana Bread, chosen by Steph of Obsessed with Baking.

Yep, I decided to defer the decision and potentially life-altering results by baking the recipe exactly as written.

Thank goodness.

I thought this bread was fantastic, very chocolatey with just the right hint of banana flavor. Moist too. (You should try it toasted, with butter... oy vay!)

Here's the one thing I did change up... I down-sized my loaf pan and made half batch. (I thought I was very clever, until I remembered that I stole this idea from Audax Artifex, a Daring Baker.)

Anyway, check this out, it's cool...

I took a piece of cardboard and cut it down to the same size as a cross-section of my pan (or just a tiny bit larger, so it will stay put), then wrapped it in foil.

I wedged it into the pan so it made two equal sized sections.

Then I lined the pan with parchment so the batter wouldn't leak underneath the wall.

I scooped my half-batch of batter into one side, and then wedged something in the other side to keep my cardboard wall from scooting over under the weight of the batter (a small cake pan, in this case).

Then I baked as normal. It seemed to take as much time as a full size loaf would have.

And voila! A perfect little cube of cocoa-nana bread!

OK, you'll have to excuse me while I go pour a big glass of cold milk and pop a thick slice of this cocoa-licious bread into the toaster.

Until next week... you can find the recipe at Steph's blog or Dorie Greenspan's book "Baking: From my Home to Yours".

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

TWD: Chocolate Oatmeal Almost-Candy Bars

This week's Tuesday's with Dorie recipe was Chocolate Oatmeal Almost-Candy Bars, chosen by Lillian of Confectiona’s Realm.

These appeared to be quite popular amongst the TWD crowd and I have to say that I whole-heartedly agree. They were REALLY tasty. And definitely candy bar-ish... chocolatey, chewy, and substantial.

There was a lot of talk on the TWD forum about the raisins, whether to add them, substitute another ingredient, or leave them out all together. (It seems like raisins are among the most-talked-about ingredients, and one of the most disliked... lots of raisin-hate goin' on) I left them in and really didn't notice them that much, but then, I like raisins.

Definitely will make these again. (Although, I say that and I never make anything again, come to think of it. I'm always making something new or trying a different version of the same thing. So, I guess I should say that someday when I'm old and done experimenting, I'll make these again :) )

OK, that's that, and you know the drill from here... if you'd like to see the recipe, stop by Lillian's site, or find yourself a copy of Dorie Greenspan's book "Baking, From my Home to Yours".

Friday, January 15, 2010

TWD: Mrs. Vogel's Scherben

For this week's Tuesday's with Dorie recipe, Teanna of Spork or Foon? selected Mrs. Vogel’s Scherben. Which is fancy-talk for fried dough.

Yessiree, it's Friday. Not Tuesday.

Yep, it took me 3 days to actually deep fry these babies. Somehow, setting a pan on the stove, filling with oil, turning on the burner and monitoring the temperature on a candy thermometer, and then adding strips of dough once it reached 350 degrees seemed like this huge task.

It wasn't.

At all.

Nothing to it. Took all of 10 minutes.

A minute or two on each side. Sprinkle on cinnamon sugar.

Then powdered sugar.


Well, except for the crunching and munching.

Thanks so much to Teanna for helping me overcome my fear of deep frying.

If you'd like to see the recipe, stop by Teanna's site, or find yourself a copy of Dorie Greenspan's book "Baking, From my Home to Yours".

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

TWD: Tarte Tatin

Hurray! It's the the 2nd Anniversary of Tuesday's with Dorie! Thanks so much to Laurie of slush, founder of TWD, for this week's pick, Tarte Tatin. And many thanks to Laurie for keeping all of us TWD bakers on track every week too.

Tarte Tatin is yet another French dessert that sounds like an intimidating opponent in the kitchen, yet in reality was a breeze to make.

And it was to die for!! I would make this every week if my thighs could stand it.

Here, let me show you how easy it was. I mean, it's even easier than it's American counterpart, apple pie (and dare I say... better?).

First, grab the cast iron skillet that you bought years ago for this very purpose but were too scared to tackle on your own. Melt a stick of butter.

Add sugar. I tossed in a bit of cinnamon, although the recipe didn't call for it. (Can't do apples without cinnamon, now can we?)

After that cooks for a bit, add the apples. I used smallish Jonathon apples, which worked perfectly. In the end they were nearly applesauce-soft, but still held their shape.

Now for some caramelization. Mmmm....

... and just a wee bit more bubbly, caramelly action.

Then take the pan off the heat and lay a piece of puff pastry that you've pre-cut to size over top. If you're super lucky you have some leftover homemade puff pastry in the freezer from a not-so-long-ago Daring Bakers challenge.

Bake, and then... sit back and admire the loveliness.

Aaaahhh.... But wait, we're not quite done yet. Still need to flip this baby over onto a serving plate. A few deep breaths and a silent prayer later and voila! Tarte Tatin!

She's quite a beauty, if I do say so myself. Even with the darkened apples in the middle (which thankfully didn't affect the flavor or texture).

Seriously, you've got to try this. It is so easy and out of this world good.

Thanks so much to Laurie for allowing us to pick between the Tarte Tatin and that cake I didn't bother remembering the name of because I knew there was no way I was making it over this. If you'd like to see the tarte tatin recipe, click ---> HERE. If you'd like to see the cake recipe, please stop by Laurie's site, or better yet, get yourself a copy of Dorie Greenspan's book "Baking, From my Home to Yours". Believe me, after baking 100 recipes out of this book, I can say with confidence that this is a top-notch baking book.

Here's to 2010 and another year of baking with Dorie!