Sunday, June 29, 2008

Danish Braid - Daring Bakers' June Challenge!

Cherry Cream Cheese Danish

June's Daring Bakers' Challenge - Danish Braid.

This is a lovely and versatile recipe - for the complete text see Kelly of Sass & Veracity, and Ben of What’s Cookin’? Thanks to them for being the host and hostess this month - the recipe was well written and the explanations were great, with one exception. You cannot make this "on the counter" if you don't have a mixer - it will be a huge stinkin' mess! You have to just put it in a bowl and mix it up by hand - the dough is not that big, and it can be done in a large mixing bowl with a wooden spoon with no problem.

I made it twice - once with lemon and vanilla in the dough, once with orange rind. Both times I made sweet and savory versions - cherry cream cheese for the sweet, but oh the savory ones were fabulous - the sweetness of the danish dough is a great counterpoint to the saltiness of a savory filling.

Below is the individual danish with goat cheese and carmelized onions. I also did a cheese/tomato/basil braid, and a shrimp braid. All of them were so good! Though I can't say that eating an entire recipe of this dough in one weekend is really wise . . . .

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Lemon Glazed Cake

This cake is a delight - very verstatile to change the flavors around - lemon, orange, almond, rum - you get to be creative with whatever is around. And frankly, I haven't baked it in a while - confession - this is an OLD picture. But I get tired of seeing the same old thing on my page, and I am flat out of time this week, so here ya go! Z and I are baking tomorrow, so there may be tartlettes to post later this week. Then, the Daring Bakers' Challenge gets posted on Sunday the 29th - whee!!! It's a good one!

Lemon Cake

3 cups flour
1/2 t. soda
1/2 t. baking powder
1 t. salt

1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 t. vanilla
Grated rind and juice from one lemon
1 cup buttermilk

Sift dry ingredients together, set aside. Cream butter and sugar, add eggs, vanilla and lemon. Beat with an electric mixer 3 minutes. Add dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Pour batter into a very well greased and floured tube or bundt pan and bake 60-70 minutes or until golden brown and cracked on top. Do not remove cake from pan until it is completely cool. It should come out perfectly.

Lemon Glaze: Mix confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice to make a thin glaze. Brush/pour over cooled cake.

Monday, June 16, 2008


I don't really like graham crackers - never have - I think it has to do with their early pairing with lukewarm milk out of the carton in grade school. Anyway, they're ok in a cheesecake crust, but that's about it . . . .

So, I have been feeling like I am significantly missing out on the "s'mores" phenomenon, but overall not feeling too terribly deprived, what with the entire other universe of desserts out there . . . . But still, in the back of my mind - you know . . . .

Yesterday at Trader Joe's (god I LOVE that place - now there's a place that should deliver) they had the whole little s'more set up - swiss chocolate, artisan vanilla marshmallows, cinnamon graham crackers, etc. I almost fell for the whole package, but I had a chance conversation with a woman in there when we almost backed into each other, and her solution was pure genius - just use a different cookie. (doh!) well, of course. Patrolled the cookie displays for 15 minutes - shortbread? gingersnaps? almond biscuits? All have promise, but finally I settled on the TJ brand of butter waffle cookie - an amazing little confection made of pronounceable ingredients!

It's pretty simple really - chocolate on one cookie, halved marshmallow on the other, a few seconds under the broiler, smash them together, let cool sufficiently to avoid second degree burns on the roof of the mouth, and then consume. They are sublime! Yes, all you 70%-er's out there, you can use dark chocolate! No campfire necessary. And I still have most of the ingredients left, so it's looking like s'mores again tonight. . . . .

Maybe I can get the macro function to work and get a clear picture!! But you pretty much get the idea from this one.

With macro functioning. . . . .

and just for fun, one more

Friday, June 13, 2008

Molten Chocolate Cake

OK, first, I have to thank Ann at Velvet Lava for the inspiration for this dessert. I mean, her whole blog is inspired by the lava cake and the chocolate velvet cake, so after a few months of reading her posts, I finally got off the dime and made this recipe, which truthfully has been in the house for five years! It was in the newspaper in 2003 - well, what can I say, it's been busy around here . . . .

And I am way late posting, because I made these many days ago. But they are so very cute and so very delicious! The recipe - one of probably 127 of the recipes out there - is at the end of the post. There are lots of variations on how much chocolate, how much butter, etc. But I love it that you can make them early in the day and keep them in the fridge until the last minute and bake them cold. The one picture that didn't come out so well was the one I took after the kitchen towel caught on fire when taking these out of the oven! YES, full on flames! Crap. I stood there like an idiot, pizza pan in my hand with the little ramekins on it, thinking, hmm, is the pan steaming? why is my hand so hot?? I did't drop them though. Apparently, with an oven at 500 F, you don't need much towel contact with the heating element for it to ignite. I suppose there's a lesson there about using pot holders, but it's a lesson I will probably never learn.
Anyway, the recipe says to serve these in the ramekins, but I liked them baked for one or two extra minutes so they would pop out and be served on a plate - the lava effect is so much better if it flows across the plate. . . .

Molten Chocolate Lava Cake

3 1/2 ounces (7 tablespoons) butter
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 large egg yolks
2 large whole eggs
3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
7 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
Additional confectioners' sugar, for garnish
Whipped cream, for garnish
Have ready 4 half-cup ramekins.
In a double boiler, melt the butter and the chocolate together. Meanwhile, lightly beat the eggs and egg yolks. In a separate bowl, sift the confectioners' sugar together with the flour.
When the chocolate has melted, whisk the egg mixture into it, blending well. Gradually stir in the dry ingredients, until they are just incorporated into the batter.
Divide the batter evenly between the four ramekins, and refrigerate until ready to bake.
Before serving, preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until each cake has a high rounded dome and a single crack that oozes a bit of chocolate.
Dust with confectioners' sugar, and serve with whipped cream on the side.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Almond Cake

Just thought I would share a lovely little almond cake recipe that is divine with berries! More recipes to come . . . .

325°F 50 minutes

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 ½ cups sugar
1 ½ cups flour
2 tablespoons milk (or orange juice)
pinch of salt
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon almond extract
(grated zest of one orange, optional)

Preheat oven. Butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan. In a large bowl cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add flour, alternating with milk, in two additions. Add salt. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Stir in almond extract and orange zest, if using. Pour into prepared pan and bake approximately 50 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool on a rack before removing from pan. Dust with powdered sugar to serve.

Variation: Orange almond cake. Use the orange juice instead of the milk, and add the orange zest with the almond extract.