Tuesday, March 21, 2017

TWD: Salted Chocolate-Caramel Bars

Slump (geological):  a form of mass wasting that occurs when a coherent mass of loosely consolidated materials moves a short distance down a slope.

Have you ever had a week where everything you bake isn't quite 100%?  That's been my week so far (and it's only Monday night).

My second cookie for March was the Salted Chocolate-Caramel Bars.  Easy to do.

 I was very organized, having chopped, toasted, softened, measured, prepped.  As soon as I walked in the door from errands and lunch out, I turned on the oven and began to create.  By the time I had to leave again, the cookies were totally finished, cooling on the counter.

Upon my return (once again), I checked the caramel, which was still fairly soft, so I put the pan into the refrigerator.

Somewhere along the line, the pan was slightly tipped over.  Much to my horror, I discovered that the caramel topping had shifted, moving en masse to the other side of the pan.  Slump.  (see above)  Well, I thought, I'll just tip the pan the opposite way, and the caramel will re-place itself.  Sigh.  I waited too long (slow as molasses it was).  The topping had indeed reversed, going all the way to the other side of the pan.  By now, the topping had warmed up considerably, so I manually played with the pan, tipping it this way and that, watching as the caramel oozed its way across the cookie base, and stopping when it had successfully settled into an even layer.  Back into the fridge it went, on a definite flat surface this time, with no chance of being dislodged.

I did manage to sneak a piece, spreading some of the wayward caramel over the top.  Nice and chocolate-y.

This recipe can be found in Dorie's Cookies on pages 42-44.  Take a look at what the other bakers did this week by going to the Tuesdays with Dorie blog.

Friday, March 17, 2017

BBB: Cinnamon Raisin Struan Bread

Struan:  a special bread made from all the grains harvested during the year

This month, Elle, of Feeding My Enthusiasms, was our Kitchen of the Month.  While organizing her cookbook collection, she came upon one that 'called' to her:  Sacramental Magic in a Small Town Cafe, written in 1994 by Peter Reinhart.  That particular book shared a recipe for Cinnamon Raisin Struan Bread, and, in turn, Elle shared it with us.

The bread has tons of flavor from the various grains:  coarse-grained cornmeal (or polenta), rolled oats, cooked brown rice, and wheat bran.  Since I don't store large quantities of wheat bran, I went to my local Smart & Final store, where I browsed the bins.  As luck would have it, I found coarse-grained polenta in addition to the bran, so, after purchasing small amounts of both, I was ready to bake.  I usually keep cooked brown rice in the freezer, and always have rolled oats (and buttermilk) on hand.

I used golden raisins in the bread -- a personal preference, but I suspect other dried fruits would work as well.

The original recipe makes three large loaves. Because I only have two 9x5 pans, I made one-third of the recipe, calculating all the ingredients as precisely as I could (lots of 2 tablespoons 2 teaspoons!).  It all baked up just fine.  I suspect some of the other Babes did a similar thing, so check their blogs for other versions.   The original recipe can be found on Elle's blog, so you can decide which one to bake.

I also used my stand mixer to knead the dough for the suggested fifteen minutes.  Saves the hands and frees you up to do other tasks.  My initial rise took a bit longer than an hour, closer to two, but the second rise was right on target.  It's probably because my kitchen/house is on the cooler side.

Before I rolled the dough, I brushed it lightly with melted butter, then sprinkled on the cinnamon sugar.  I did add some on the top of the loaf, however, I would skip that next time and just add more to the inside.

If you wish to bake along this month, send your photos and story to Elle by the 29th to be included in the Buddy Roundup.

And, since I still have some polenta and wheat bran remaining, I suspect I'll be baking this delicious loaf again.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

TWD: "Corked" Breton Galettes

Over the years, I've accumulated a bowlful of corks from various kinds of wines.  I never quite knew what I'd do with them, but enjoyed reading the names/messages on the corks themselves.

Well, that all changed the other day when I made the first March cookie from Dorie's Cookies, the 'corked' Breton galettes (page 291).  I suppose I don't need this many corks, and I'm wondering how the champagne corks would work with their handle-like tops.

I made a batch of twelve for the first round.  Because it's a slice-and-bake cookie, you can easily bake them on demand, storing the dough cylinders either in the refrigerator or the freezer.  I have to admit that I ate most of them without filling (easier to store that way).  The filling I did use was Dutch apple jam that I had picked up from a Nebraska-only store the last time I was in Lincoln, Nebraska.  I debated using lemon curd or chocolate ganache or cherry jam, but those are for the future, especially since I didn't bake all the cookies at once.

These cookies are also handy if you need either a variety or flexibility of fillings.  I do have friends that don't like chocolate (gasp!), but I would be able to accommodate all tastes, chocolate and non-chocolate alike with these galettes.

All in all, these cookies were a great success.  Hop over to the Tuesdays with Dorie website to see what the other bakers did.