February 2012

I had an invitation from Lisa the other day. An invitation for

    Bread Baking Day #47.

When Lisa said it was CHOCOLATE BREAD I knew I had to participate.

So…I give you…

    “Cheater’s Chocolate Challah”

I called it “Cheater’s” because it was ‘braided’ more like a streudel than a challah bread.

After rolling dough into a rectangle I sliced the sides and spread the center portion with a chocolate butter filling, sprinkled in some chocolate chips, coconut, and chopped pecans.

I let the bread rise for about 90 minutes then brushed with a egg wash and sprinkled on some Danish Sugar Pearls (Thank you, Di!)

After baking the bread for 25 minutes I allowed it to cool and then drizzled some chocolate ganach and caramel (Dorie’s recipes) over the braid and sprinkled on some chopped pecans.

You think the drizzle and pecans was too much?? No!! Neither did I!!!

What I ended up with was a sense of chocolate in the bread with a sweet chocolately crunchy filling and a wonderful enhanced chocolate flavor from the drizzle.!! The caramel just added that extra UUMMPH!!


    I simply made a white bread dough (use your favorite) to which I added 1/4 cup coco powder.


      1/2 cup butter, softened
      3 Tbl coco powder
      1/2 cup cream cheese, softened
      1/2 cup sugar

    Mix all ingredients together until creamy.

O! MY! I don’t know whether to count this as a bread or a decadent chocolate dessert. Either way it was WAY over the top..because I could!! And I am glad I did!!

AND I will do it again…because I can!!!!

Please check back with Lisa of Parsley, Sage, Desserts, and Line Drives who will put up a round-up of the Chocolate Breads after 1 March. I am sure there will be more decadence!!

Bread Baking Day #47(last day of submission March 1, 2012)

Did you notice the title. EASY Apple Tart. That is an understatement. It should be Super Duper Esy Apple Tart because tht is exactly what it is. If you have an apple and some puff pastry you can whip this baby up in about 15 minutes including the baking.

You can have all that deliciousness in a snap. Seriously!! A Snap!! Slice your apples. Toss with cinnamon, sugar and melted butter, place on a square of Puff Pastry and BAKE!! That’s IT!!!

And if you want it really over the top, put a small large scoop of vanilla ice cream on top!!!
And if you really want decadence, sprinkle some cinnamon sugar on top. Or would that be TOO much?? NOT!! (I thought of that AFTER we had eaten the tart!)

You can find Donna’s Easy Apple Tart on her webpage.

And check over with Kayte, Chaya {our newest participant}, and Gaye and see what they did with their Super Duper Easy Apple Tart!

I hate to admit this, but I am chocolate-d out!! So much chocolate over the last two weeks. Between BwJ’s Chocolate Truffle Tart, and this week’s catch-up for Tuesdays with Dorie I am ready for something Non-chocolate. I KNOW!! But that’s how it is.

This week’s catch-up is Dorie’s Almost Fudge Gâteau which first appeared February 19, 2008, and was picked by Nikki of Crazy Delicious

Nice and chocolatey!! NICE and chocolately!!

I made 1/2 of the recipe {complete with 2.5 eggs} and baked it up in a 4.5″ springform. It was just the right size. I did, however, make the full recipe of the OPTIONAL {YEAH!! Right!!} chocolate glaze. Topped with a sliced strawberry it made an elegant looking dessert which was gone in about two nights. (There is that about minis!)Mine was a little dry but that was baker error. I baked it just a tad too long. The ganache on top was wonderful.

Nancy of The Dogs Eat the Crumbs made the gâteau and simply sprinkled it with powdered sugar which lovely.

Leslie of Lethally Delicious also made the gâteau for catch-up. Her’s looks so pretty with the glaze on top.

You can find the recipe on Nikki’s blog and on Lauri’s as well

I love fries. I could devour eat them with just about any thing. Hamburgers, of course, steak, fish, anything.

And these aren’t fries. They are ‘fries’. Meaning they are baked rather than fried. And very very tasty. Lots of gah-lic!! And that’s a good thing!! So much better for you, but then it is Ellie after all. Thanks, Ellie, because this is the way I will make ‘fries’ from now on.


The way these are done is to heat some minced garlic in a pan with some olive oil. Strain out the garlic. Then cut your potatoes and in a large bowl toss the potatoes with the oil and some salt. Bake at 450 for about 35 minutes. Then toss them again with the reserved garlic, some chopped parsely, and salt. Um UM!! Good!!!

Visit the other CEinMB members to see what they did this week.

Oh, and by the way you can find the recipe HERE. Or on page 265 ogf Ellie’s The Food You Crave.

This is the group recipe for February and chosen by Danica of Danica’s Daily.

I had made these back in 2010 and decided to just repeat the post. Only because I just ran out of time to make them. No, I don’t know how that happened.

In the South today is Mardi Gras or “Fat Tuesday”. The day when you enjoy all the decandence in life with none of the guilt.

I woke up this morning and decided to make a King Cake. The first one in DECADES!! I just had a feeling I needed to make one.

I used a recipe from David Haydel that I have had forever and have no idea where I got it. The dough is his:

For the King Cake:

    1 cup milk (at room temperature)
    1 tsp. flavor (lemon, orange, vanilla, or butter)
    4 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
    1/3 cup granulated sugar
    1 tsp. salt
    1/2 cup all-purpose shortening
    2 large eggs, beaten
    4 cups all-purpose flour
    Vegetable oil
    Cinnamon sugar
    12 tbsp. granulated sugar
    Purple, green, and yellow food-coloring

Put the milk in a small bowl and add the flavoring. Dissolve the yeast in the milk
and set aside for a few minutes until foamy. In a large bowl, cream well togeth-
er the sugar, salt, and shortening. Add the beaten eggs and continue creaming. Blend
in the yeast mixture and add the flour slowly, kneading constantly until the
dough is smooth and pliable, about 10 minutes. Allow the dough to rise in a
warm place for about an hour and a half or until double in size.

Roll the dough out in a rectangular shape-and brush the surface with vegeta-
ble oil. Sprinkle liberally with cinnamon sugar. Seal in the sugar by folding the
dough in half lengthwise. Cut the dough into three even strips, sealing the edges,
and then braid the strips together. Form the braided dough into a circle and let it
rise until double in size. Preheat the oven to 370 degrees and mix the purple, green,
and yellow food-coloring pastes with 4 tablespoons of sugar each; put the colored
sugars on the cake just before it goes in the oven. Bake for 12-15 minutes.
An alternate choice is to frost the baked and cooled cake with white icing and then sprinkle on the colored sugars. Serves 10-15.

I filled half of the cake with a heavy handed cinnamon sugar mix.

And half with a pecan praline filling.

Pecan Praline Filling:

    I cup roasted, broken pecans
    2/3 cup brown sugar
    1 tsp vanilla
    1 tsp cinnamon
    pinch salt
    4 Tbl Cane Syrup

Mix all the ingredients and spread on the rectangle of dough.

We are now ready for a SUGAR HIGH!! Enjoy.

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Already the 2nd Tuesday for the New Baking with Julia? Where did last the two weeks go?

SWOOSH!! Gone!!

But even though we had two weeks since the last BwJ I didn’t get to this tart until Monday. If I had know how easy it really was I would have made it weeks ago.

Actually, I did know, I just didnt’ have any biscotti and I didn’t want to make it with other cookies, although it would have worked just fine.

The filling for this tart {Baked by David Ogonowski} is a simple “bittersweet creamy chocolate truffle concoction” that has crunch added in with the bits of biscotti. I didn’t have time to make any so I picked up a bag of biscotti bites and they worked fine. I only made 1/4 of the filling recipe and that filled, well, one 4.5″ tart. (I made the full pastry recipe knowing I could use it for SOMETHING!!)

The differing textures of the cookie in the creamy filling was interesting. The added in white chocolate bits and the milk chocolate didn’t stand out but did add to the richness of the flavor.

You can see that it was a creamy filling (unless I undercooked it!) and it was GOOD!! And I am so glad it is now GONE!


Spike of Spike Bakes and Steph of A Whisk and a Spoon were the hosts for this week’s TWD:BwJ so you can find the recipe on their pages. And their’s are beautiful!!

You can also find it in Baking with Julia on page 382/383.

Cookies!! Fingerfood!! A little bite of sweet when you don’t need a BIG bite!!

    Honey Peanut Wafers

How about a little bite of sweet with honey roasted peanuts and honey. A simple little wafer cookie with plenty of honey flavor.


    1 cup flour (spoon flour into a dry-measure cup and level off)
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 cup sugar
    1/2 cup honey
    1 large egg
    3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
    1 1/3 cups (about 6.5 ounces) honey-roasted peanuts, finely chopped (but not ground)

Position oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with silicone liners or parchment paper.

Combine the flour and baking soda on a sheet of wax paper or parchment paper.

Gently whisk together the sugar, honey and egg in a medium mixing bowl, trying not to create any foam or froth. Then whisk in the butter.

Add the flour mixture; use a large, flexible spatula to incorporate it. Then add the chopped peanuts and mix well to distribute the nuts evenly throughout the dough.

Drop tablespoon-size pieces of the dough onto the prepared sheets, spacing them about 4 inches apart. Flatten each mound of dough with the tip of a water-moistened finger (to keep it from sticking). {I didn’t flatten one sheet and they came out the same as the flattened.}
Bake both sheets of cookies for about 5 minutes, then rotate them top to bottom and front to back. (If you know that your oven gives strong bottom heat, use a third baking sheet to insulate the cookies as they bake on the bottom rack.) Bake for 5 minutes or until the cookies have spread and are evenly golden.

Slide the silicone liners or parchment paper onto wire racks to cool the cookies. As soon as you can pry the cookies off the mats, rinse the mats and repeat the baking process. The cookies should be cooled completely before storing.

When the cookies were still warm, they were nice and chewy, but as they cooled they crisped. Equally good both ways. Theis one can be put together lickity split when you just have a few minutes to make cookies. Dangerous, I know!!

I am putting in the recipe because I found it already on the net HERE. The recipe is in Malgieri’s the Modern Baker on page 280.

Other MB members have made them:

    Abby and it was her pick so her post is on the MB Challenge site!

And if you want to join in to finish up cookies {and then Cakes beginning in June} just stop by the Modern Baker Challenge Home Page.

Whole Wheat bread is NOT something our family eats very often. I know it is better for you than white bread and I often add whole wheat flour to other things I bake – quick breads, etc. I actually like Whole Wheat bread but I am really the only one. Which is why when I made this last basic bread from Reinhart’s Bread Baker’s Apprentice I only made enough dough for one small loaf.

Reinhart’s bread had a wonderful rustic texture and a nice nutty flavor. It was good toasted and plain. Nice bread.

I used my “Nancy Pan” which is long and narrow. It was actually a little long for just one dough recipe so I put a ‘stopper’ on one end.

That kinda-sorta worked but the bread did not rise much over the edge of the pan. But it is just fine for me and small sandwiches.

There are only two breads left in the BBA book. We should finish them by mid-March. So follow along with me, Kayte, and Nancy as we finish the breads.

BYOB Badge

Another month, another chef. And all female chefs for the first 6 months of 2012. We started out in January with Donna Hay which was Kayte’s Pick. And now it is Nancy’s turn with Delia Smith. Delia is an English cook and the author of many basic cook books. She likes to teach people HOW to cook which is what her books are all about.

There are hundreds of recipes on her site so it was difficult to finally come up with just one. But I have been wanting to make gnocchi for ages and it seemed like the perfect time.

    Gnocchi with Sage, Butter and Parmesan

Now you have to know that gnocchi are not easy to make. Boil Potato. Peel Potato. Whip Potato. Cool Potato. And THEN you make the gnocchi.

    10 oz (275 g) King Edward potatoes (about 2 medium-sized potatoes)
    3½ oz (95 g) plain flour, sifted, plus a little extra for rolling
    1 large egg, lightly beaten
    salt and freshly milled black pepper

For the sauce:

    8 fresh sage leaves
    2 oz (50 g) butter
    1 large clove garlic, peeled and crushed {and I diced mine small}

First place the potatoes, with their skins on, in a suitably sized saucepan, almost cover with boiling water, add some salt, then put a lid on and simmer for 20-25 minutes, until tender. Then drain well and, holding them in your hand with a tea cloth, quickly pare off the skins using a potato peeler. Then place the potatoes in a large bowl and, using an electric hand whisk on a slow speed, start to break the potatoes up, then increase the speed and gradually whisk until smooth and fluffy. Now let them cool.

Next, add the sifted flour to the potatoes, along with half the beaten egg, season lightly and, using a fork, bring the mixture together. Then, using your hands, knead the mixture lightly to a soft dough – you may need to add a teaspoonful or so more of the egg if it is a little dry. Now transfer the mixture to a lightly floured surface, flour your hands and divide it into quarters. Now roll each quarter into a sausage shape approximately ½ inch (1 cm) in diameter, then cut it, on the diagonal, into 1 inch (2.5 cm) pieces, placing them on a tray or plate as they are cut. Cover with clingfilm and chill for at least 30 minutes, but longer won’t matter.

After that, using a fork with the prongs facing upwards, press the fork down on to one side of each gnocchi so that it leaves a row of ridges on each one; at the same time, ease them into crescent shapes. The ridges are there to absorb the sauce effectively. Now cover and chill the gnocchi again until you are ready to cook them. To cook the gnocchi, firstly bring a large, shallow pan of approximately 6 pints (3.5 litres) of water to a simmer and put the serving dish in a low oven to warm through. Then drop the gnocchi into the water and cook for about 3 minutes; they will start to float to the surface after about 2 minutes, but they need 3 altogether.

When they are ready, remove the gnocchi with a draining spoon and transfer them to the warm serving dish. For the sauce, melt the butter with the garlic over a gentle heat until the garlic turns nut brown in colour – about 1 minute. Next add the sage leaves and allow the butter to froth while the sage leaves turn crisp – about 30 seconds – then spoon the butter mixture over the warm gnocchi. Sprinkle with frshly grated Parmesan.

Despite all the work involved I would definitely make these again. So good with the browned butter and sage.

Visit Delia’s site and drown yourself in her wonderful recipes.


We love cake!

Especially with ice cream!

And this cake was perfect for ice cream. Why? You need a reason besides the fact it is CAKE??

What you are looking at is a little mini taste of yum!! A white sponge cake with four layers of cake and three layers of filling.

There are two layers of Chocolate Mousee filling and one of White Chocolate Whipped Cream. The same whipped cream that frosts the cake.

The Chocolate Mousse was TDF – To Die For!!! I have, eh, had some left over and it was great just by itself. The white chocolate was barely discernable but was there. {Which was fine with NANCY!!}. Nancy and I started this together about 10 days ago, but life got in the way so I had to put the cake layers in the freezer. I made 1/2 of the cake recipe, 1/2 of the chocolate mousse, and the complete white chocolate filling. Past experience has taught me to make more frosing than you think you need. The cake was made in Wilton’s oval pans (8″ x 5 1/2″)so 1/2 of the cake gave me two small layers which I cut into two pieces and had 1/2 of a 1/2 of a cake!!

This pick was originally from February 5, 208 and was chosen by April of Abby’s Sweets. You can find the recipe on April’s blog or on page 258 of Dorie’s Baking from My Home to Yours.


AND on February 12, 2008, the Bakers made…..

…hosted by Jaime of Good Eats and Sweet Treats . This is the creamiest cheesecake I have ever had. And lightly flavored with apple cider it is a definite keeper.

What you have is a Gingersnap crust {I used Le Petit Beurre because that is the only cookie I had in the house.}with a layer of cheesecake covered with a layer of caramelized apples and topped with another layer of cheesecake. **SIGH** Thank goodness I only made a small 5″ cheesecake because I know I would just sit and eat the whole thing!!!

Yes, it IS that good!! And THEN I decided it needed something else so I added a small amount of caramelized cinnamon apples on the top!!

You can find the recipe on Jaime’s blog. Go there! NOW!!

Check out Nancy’s and Leslie’s CheesseCakes. They are also doing the catch-up on TWD.

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