Monthly Archives: December 2014

Baking Chez Moi: Rugelach Redux, Plus Palmiers

A better batch, but oddly reminiscent of beef en croute with mushrooms.

A better batch, but oddly reminiscent of beef en croute with mushrooms.

After my last post, about the Baking Chez Moi cookbook bake-a-long, where I posted about baking the Rugelach-That-Conquered-France (yes, that`s the real title in the book), I was a bit frustrated. Finicky recipe! So frustrating to work hard and then have the final product fall apart, albeit in a tasty manner.

And then I went to the Baking Chez Moi LYL (leave your link) site, and went to all the other blogs and read about their experiences. Was gratifying to realize that others had the same experience. Some, anyway. Others had rugelach that looked photoshop perfect, but were obviously real and non-professionally-baked-and-food-styled. I came away both bolstered and inspired, and decided that I HAD to try again! I would not let this recipe win! If others could do it, so could I! (In other words, my ego was piqued. *grin*)

The filling finely blended. Ish.

The filling finely blended. Ish.

The trick is to apparently pulse the filling in a food processor. I, having no more kitchen space, and being of the mind that I can chop and dice just as quickly myself, do not have a food processor, so I used a blender. Which was ok-ish. The chocolate chips didn`t really blend well, but the filling did hold together better this time. And the other tip was to roll out the dough SUPER thin. Which I think makes the dough a bit less flaky. But, hey, if that`s the recipe…oh, who am I kidding. I`m totally not going to roll out the dough this thinly next time! Up with substitutions!

Speaking of substitutions, I had to try using the dough to make palmiers, as I talked about in my last post. I just spread the melted butter and cinnamon sugar from the rugelach recipe in between the layers. And voila!

Palmiers in the house! Flakelious-style!

Palmiers in the house! Flakelious-style!

The palmiers turned out awesome! I need to perfect the folding, but in terms of the dough, it worked out well. Very delicate and buttery and flaky. Who needs puff pastry — not I!

The scant survivors of my midnight munchies, packed away.

The scant survivors of my midnight munchies, packed away.

I`ve packed the cookies (at least the ones that managed to escape my midnight nibbling) for a road trip I`m taking with some friends this weekend. They`re such delicate little bites, that they`re really more suited to tea cups and talk about one lump or two, but I`m kind of proud of how delicately they turned out and want to show them off. That, and I didn`t have time to make the caramel corn that I said I would bring on the roadtrip. Because besting this rugelach recipe was obviously more pressing. You understand!

Next Post: That tapas recipe for veggie croquetas that I`ve been promising! Probably.

Baking Chez Moi: The-Rugelach-That-Conquered-France Recipe Review

 

I’ve been planning to bake some cookies this week to send into work with the DH. I like to do that occasionally because that way all the delicious things aren’t sitting in my home singing their siren song of temptation to me. I mean, the obvious answer is just not to bake as many delicious things, but where’s the fun in that? {Blog-Reading Chorus, a la Greek tragedy: “NONE!”} I know, right?

Today’s recipe is another from the Dorie Greenspan cookbook, Baking Chez Moi. I posted a previous recipe from that book here. I’m taking part in a bake-a-long with other food bloggers (notice how I include myself in that esteemed group? Branding. I haz it!) and every two weeks we bake another recipe from the book. Today’s recipe is called The Rugelach That Conquered France. Ah, but shall it conquer the DH’s office mates? Let’s find out!

[interruption to actually bake] 

Previous dough was rolled more square-ish. At this point, I knew it wasn't going to work out and just wanted to get it over with. And into my mouth.

Previous batch of dough was rolled more square-ish. At this point, I knew it wasn’t going to work out and just wanted to get it over with. And into my mouth.

Ok, so the first batch of these is in the oven, and I’m taking a sip of tea and a deep breath, because I did NOT like working with this dough. It better taste unbelievably good, is all I have to say. The recipe says that a flight attendant raved over the flakiness of the dough, and given that there is more cream cheese and butter than flour holding the dough together, I can imagine that. At least that’s what I thought when reading the recipe. Whether that bears out, time (in this case the timer on the oven, which should go off shortly) shall tell!

Why didn’t I like working with the dough? Well, mostly I think there just wasn’t enough dough for the filling. (Although, of course, I modified the filling, so that it was semi-sweet chocolate chips, dried cranberries, and chopped pecans.) I actually followed the directions (the verrrry long and verrry detailed directions) and rolled out the dough to the appropriate squares and cut the appropriate cuts and brushed the butter and sprinkled the cinnamon sugar and pressed the filling into the dough. The dough, by the way, is super-sticky and definitely needs to be frozen (or, as Dorie says, stuck in the freezer while the oven heats up) before slicing. That was a great tip, I have to say.

Breaking News: I took the cookies out of the oven! The dough looks awesome! So flaky and buttery! If it tastes as good, I’ll be keeping the dough recipe! Am waiting anxiously for them to cool enough for me to eat them with minimal burns to my mouth.

Flaky flaky flakiness. With more flaky. To go with the flaky.

Flaky flaky flakiness. With more flaky. To go with the flaky.

More Breaking News: They cool off incredibly fast (actually, I just wrote they cook off incredibly fast, which is also true, as I only baked them for 10 minutes as opposed to the 15-17 minutes that Dorie talks about) so I’ve eaten half of the first batch already (What? They’re small! And tasty.)

Final Verdict: Great dough, but…I don’t think it’s the best recipe unfortunately. Great flavours but I think you need to basically double the amount of dough to be able to roll up the rugelach rolls into any sort of spiral shape. So finicky. Meh. I feel bad saying that, as I really wanted to love the recipe, and I don’t want to be boo-ed by the pro-Dorie (I am too, really, I am!) food bloggers who are also taking in part in the Baking Chez Moi bake-a-long. But…this is my opinion, you know? They do make delicious mouthfuls, I have to say. (They just don’t have the best presentation.) I wonder how the other bloggers fared?

The best of bunch. Not quite enough to bring to work, but just enough with a cup of tea, for meeee!

The best of bunch. Not quite enough to bring to work, but just enough with a cup of tea, for meeee!

My Future Plans For This Recipe: Keep the dough recipe! And use it to make palmier-type cookies (aka Elephant Ears)! Because this is essentially a puff pastry dough without the effort.  And then I think I’ll send those cookies into work with the DH. (Assuming they work out! *crossing fingers and rolling pins*)

Next Post: Palmiers a la Dorie! Or the Chai Tea or the Croquetas recipes I’ve been promising. Too many delicious things to post! (I’ve got 99 problems, but not-enough-delicious-things ain’t one! With apologies to Jay-Z.)

Parmesan Cheese Crisps and Classy Snacking

Potato chips made out of cheese. Yes, please!

Potato chips made out of cheese. Yes, please!

I made these Parmesan Cheese Crisps last night when I had a friend over for dinner, and served them with wine as an appetizer. My friend doesn’t eat gluten, so I wanted something that was tasty, hearty, and gluten-free. Also, I was grating cheese to top the quinoa-crusted pizza that I was making, and I thought, huh. Cheese crisps. I wonder how hard they are to make.

The answer? EASY-PEASY! Two ingredients, two utensils, and you’re done!

Not sure what they taste like? Think potato chips made out of cheese. Yeah. That pretty much sold you right there, right?

Let’s get snacking!

Two tasty ingredients.

Two tasty ingredients.

Parmesan Cheese Crisps

  • 2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1/8th c. grated parmesan cheese

Grate cheese. Sprinkle mozzarella on an un-greased baking sheet, in thin piles about the size of the bottom of a water glass. Sprinkle a pinch of parmesan on top of each pile. Bake in pre-heated 450 degree oven until fully melted, it looks like lace, and the edges are starting to change colour. Take them out and quickly use a spatula to pry them off the sheet. Cool on a plate. If they get stuck on the baking sheet, pop the tray back in the oven to heat for a moment more, and then pry off the remaining ones. Eat and be classy! Makes 12 crisps.

Honestly, these are a super-easy, rather fancy appetizer/snack to serve, and really nice with wine. That said, I’m snacking on another batch right now, as I sit on my sofa and drink a glass of lemonade, and they’re just as tasty. Excuse me while I got eat one from the platter I set aside for the DH. *a minute later* Ah, that hits the snacking spot. *grin*

Next Post: The Chai Tea recipe I’ve promised. Good recipe for a chilly Sunday night, I think. Or a final tapas recipe, for Vegetarian Croquetas. Any preferences? Let me know in the comments!

Memories of Meals Past: Wine-Glazed Mushrooms & Orange-Glazed Baby Carrots

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I’m trying out Bloglovin’, and I had to put a link just below this title. And then since it’s throwback Thursday, I’m going to link to a past post, wherein I reference trying to increase my blog traffic. Link to previous post = throwback, right? No? How about a pretty food pic?

I heart my veggies!

I heart my veggies!


So my real throwback Thursday thing is Memories of Meals Past, as you know. I made this meal over a year ago, I think, and the DH has wanted to eat mushrooms and carrots the same way ever since.

The wine-glazed mushrooms dish (drool-worthy, really, especially if you aren’t a mushroom fan like the DH) is really easy to make. It’s a Heather Christo recipe, and uses up leftover wine. And we all know how anti-food-waste I am!

As for the orange-glazed baby carrots, it couldn’t be easier! Take a bag of washed baby carrots, and boil until tender. Toss in a frying pan over medium heat with a tbsp. of melted butter, when looking glaze-y, add in a tbsp. of frozen orange juice concentrate and toss until glaze-y again. If you like sweeter carrots, toss in a tbsp. of brown sugar and toss (I seem to be liking the tossing today, huh?) until sugar is caramelized. Serve sprinkled with chopped fresh parsley. Voila, tasty veggie side dish!

Next Post: Chai tea and Camping Outside in Winter. Bring on the cold!

Chocolate-Covered Honeycomb Candy, and Why I Heart My Greens

In all its chocolate-covered honey-licious glory!

In all its chocolate-covered honey-licious glory!

I’ve referenced this in a couple of posts, i.e here and here, but I’ve been working on making some toffee/brittle/honeycomb candy. I currently have two containers sitting in my fridge (the DH and I ate the third one), all full of honeycomb candy, some chocolate-covered and some not. It is, and I hesitate to say this, too much candy for me. *waits for stunned disbelief of blogging audience to wear off* I know, is there such a thing? Yes, yes, there is.

Which means that this recipe is great to bring to work, give out as gifts, and make for parties! Because everyone loves sugar. And chocolate. And chocolate-covered sugar.

Shall we honeycomb?

Bubbling over with baking soda. A pot of sugary sweetness!

Bubbling over with baking soda. A pot of sugary sweetness!

Chocolate-Covered Honeycomb

  • 1 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1/4 c. honey
  • 1/4 c. corn syrup
  • 1/4 c. baking soda, sifted
  • 1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Mix sugar and water together and stir in honey and corn syrup. Boil until golden amber, and a spoonful of syrup dropped in a cup of cold water will harden and break when touched (i.e. boil to a hard-crack stage). Stir in SIFTED baking soda. Be warned, the mixture will bubble more than you can imagine, so be prepared with your cookie tray lined with wax paper. Pour the bubbly mixture onto the wax-paper lined tray and let cool. (I stuck mine in the freezer. I want results!) When cool, spread melted chocolate chips over the sheet of honeycomb candy. Let cool. (Again, I stuck mine in the freezer. Patience is over-rated.) When chocolate is hardened, break candy into chunks with a fork. Eat, crunch, and enjoy! Store remainder in fridge in an air-tight container.

Bubblicious!

Bubblicious! Ignore the pockets of baking soda. This is why I say SIFT your soda!

This recipe makes a very honey-tasting honeycomb. If you want a thicker honeycomb, use a tray that is smaller than the cookie tray that I used, and it will spread out less and result in a thicker candy.

Pro Tip: Sift the baking soda! Seriously, sift it. I read a few recipes that said to use sifted soda and I was all, pffft! Ain’t nobody got time (or more like inclination) for that, but if you don’t, you’ll end up with lumps of baking soda in your honeycomb candy, and ain’t nobody likes chowing down on chocolate-covered baking soda. So sift it! Or enjoy your chocolate-covered sodium bicarbonate.

Next Post: Either Chai Tea (baby, it’s COLD outside!) or Stir-Fried Bok Choy (because sugar needs to be balanced out with greens. And garlic.)