Baking with Julia

I mean really! BEST-ever. Doesn’t every brownie claim that? BEST!

Oh! My!

    Oh! Oh! My!

      Oh! My! My!

Yes, indeed!

    Rick Katz did not lie when he called these Best-Ever!!

Unless you don’t LIKE OOEY GOOEY, crispy-on-the-outside, not your granny’s brownies. But if you do — back away cause these are MY Best-Ever Brownies.

Even after making a major mistake they came out perfectly. Recipe says to mix just 1/2 of the sugar with the melted chocolate and then beat the other cup with the eggs into a mixer and beat until thick and pale. Nope, didn’t read the instructions and poured both cups of sugar into the melted chocolate. I was worried they would fail, but they came out PERFECTLY DELICIOUS!

Monica of A Beautiful Mess is hosting this week so the recipe will be on her lovely blog.

Rick’s Best-Ever Brownies are on page 231 of Dorie’s Baking with Julia.

You are welcome to join in on the fun. Just grab a copy of the book and bake with us twice a month.

The recipes are always listed on the website.

Muffins are easy.
Mix, bake, no frosting.
Good for breakfast, good for snacks, good for dessert.
For that reason, when they showed up as the next Baking With Julia selection I knew I would make them. I mean, really, why skip something THAT simple.

And these were super simple. And super tasty. They are topped with part of the dry ingredients – flour, brown sugar, and shortening {and I was wondering how butter would be…..} which was kind of interesting but gave the muffins a nice crispy crust. I made 1/2 of the batter and ended up with 4 Texas Sized Muffins. They were done in about 32 minutes. Look on page 207 for the super simple recipe.

If you want to join in with Baking with Julia read THE RULES and turn on your oven.

This week the Baking with Julia group made bread. Whole Wheat Bread. And it is good!

Since I have made Whole Wheat Bread many times over the years I decided to play around with this one a little.

    I used White Whole Wheat Flour instead of regular WWF.
    I left out the malt extract.
    I added in one Tbl of Italian Seasoning.
    I made a round loaf in this….

    which I rescued from the house this weekend before it was sold in a garage sale. {Anybody remember these from the late 1980s?}

So glad I did. I love the loaf it made. Round and perfect. While the bread is supposed to be longer one half of the recipe was not enough to fill the tube. I think it would really take 1 1/2 to make the whole round loaf

We really liked the mix of Italian seasoning and the chewy texture of the WW Bread. I think next time I will add more of the seasoning and maybe a little Parmesan cheese. Maybe. It will be good toasted with some pasta later this week.

The recipe was contributed by Craig Kominiak. The hosts this week were:

You can find the other baker’s breads on The Baking With Julia Website.

I guess every cook/baker has a list of dishes or treats that they haven’t made because they are intimidated by them I know I have a list. Crème Brûlée is one, Pudding, Custard of any kind. Over time, and baking with The TWD group I have conquered all them. Some well, some not so much, but conquered none the less.

But there is One More – POPOVERS!! I have been collecting recipes for years but never had the courage, yes, courage, to try them. Thank goodness for Baking with Julia.

This weeks ‘assignment’ was…


And I could not believe how EASY they were. And I cannot understand why I had put them off for so long!!! I always thought I would have to have a pop-over pan to make them. Not so, Grasshopper!! A simple regular sized muffin pan is perfect. And they came out perfectly. YAY!!

Popovers are hollow and lend themselves to being filled with honey and butter, or syrup

The American answer to the Sopapilla, the Beignet, the Pate Choux {those were also somewhat conquered!!}. They are really tasteless so they allow the flavors of the filler to come through. Knowing they are so easy I plan to make them often for Easter Dinners, Christmas Dinner. I made 1/2 of the recipe and ended up with 5 popovers.

Popovers are on page 213 of Baking with Julia and is hosted by Paula of Vintage Kitchen Notes and Amy of Bake With Amy. The recipe is on their blogs.

If popovers are on your ‘Intimidation’ List. Make them. Make them soon. EASY!!!

For some reason, I don’t make a lot of pies. It’s not because we don’t like them. I mean, what’s not to like. Flaky crust, yummy filling of fruit or custard or nuts. I can make a pie crust. And I dont’ mind if they don’t look like the pictures. I just don’t make pie. My Nana made Pies all the time. And cookies. My Mom was more of a cake and brownie lady. I don’t know! Really!!

Fortunately for The Hubs, who actually loves pie, the TWD group made pie this week. Blueberry and Nectarine Pie.

A double crusted Blueberry and Nectarine Pie to be exact.

Okay, I have to admit mine isn’t ALL Nectarine. Seems like someone ATE my Nectarines and all I had left was a salvaged 1/2. Not to worry. Nectarines and Peaches are very very much alike so I used the Nectarine to cook down with the Blueberries and then used sliced peaches on the bottom. Leslie Mackie, who contributed this recipe to Baking with Julia had us taking 1/2 of the fruit and cooking it down for juice, adding in the remainder of the fruit after cooking the other and then putting into the pie. I cooked down the Nectarine and Blueberries and then placed a layer of thin peach slices on the bottom and poured the cooked fruit and juice over it. Came out just fine. I actually liked the layer of peaches on the bottom rather than mixing it in. But that’s just me!!

Besides using part peaches I also made the pie sugar free. I used Splenda instead of sugar and while I probably didn’t get as much juice it still was good eating. And I could have some since I am trying NOT to eat sugar. (Try that and baking!!!)

I made one little 4′ mini pie (using about 1/4 of the recipe). One night’s dessert and gone. With Vanilla (sugar free) Ice Cream. PERFECT!!!

Thanks to Hilary of Manchego’s Kitchen and Liz of That Skinny Chick Can Bake for Co-hosing the last selection for July. You can find he recipe on their blogs.

Or…on page 384 of Baking with Julia

I definitely see more pies in our future.

Sitting in my pantry is a clean PB jar filled with something. I thought I knew what it was, but I wasn’t sure. I had forgotten to label it. There was a piece of paper in the jar with a number. Just a number. 5087.

    What Are You??

I knew where I had purchased it so I called Whole Foods, gave them the number and they confirmed what I thought I knew – semolina flour. PERFECT!! NOW I can make …

    Nick Malgieri’s Semolina Bread

This was supposed to be a free-form loaf but it started to spread so much I slipped it into a loaf pan, which partially deflated it. I thought the bread would be dense and inedible but the crumb was just perfect.

The dough is a very wet and very sticky and can be difficult to work with. Rolling the into a cylinder on a floured surface was just enough to bring it under control (I thought).

Having never made bread with semolina flour I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was delightfully surprised to have a chewy, crunchy, slightly salty loaf of bread. Even though it only has 3/4 cup of semolina flour it has less than two cups of flour so I was expecting more of a cornbread like texture. Which would have been just fine, too.

Anna of Keep it Luce and Renee of The Way to my Family’s Heart were the co-hosts this week and the recipe for the bread is on both of their blogs. Thanks Ladies. Now I have a new bread to bake. Regularly!!

And please visit Tuesdays with Dorie for the other member’s lovely loaves. If you Have Julia Childe’s Baking With Julia it is on page 102. Contributing Baker was Nick Malgieri.

When I was a teenager there was a funny show on TV that we watched every week. Rowan and Martin’s LAUGH-IN. It was comedy show with small vignettes with characters that are hard to forget. Goldie Hawn was a giggly binkini girl. There were several celebrity guest appearances including a couple of presidents. One of my favorite was the German Spy played by Arty Johnson.

So what does all this have to do with Shortbread?

Arty’s major line was, “Verrry Innnteresting!” And that is exactly what I said to myself when I read the process for making this Wonderful Shortbread – Very Interesting. And VERY delicious.

What makes this dessert interesting is how the dough layers are put down. The dough is SHREDDED!! Yes! Shredded. Make the dough. Divide into two balls, freeze lightly and then shred the dough over the pan bottom.

Put down a layer of jam and then another layer of shredded dough. How interesting is THAT!!

Between the two layers of shred is a thin layer of jam. Gale Gand, who contributed this to Baking with Julia, suggests Rhubarb jam but I didn’t have any rhubarb, it hasn’t arrived in the stores yet, so I used some Cinnamon Pear Jam. Perfect!!

The top of the Shortbread is heavily dusted with Powdered Sugar while still warm and that forms a lovely little soft layer.

You want to make this. You have to make this. THIS is too good to pass up! And you can find the recipe for Hungarian Shortbread on our hosts website – Lynette of 1smallkitchen and Cher of The Not So Exciting Adventures of a Dabbler…

Oh! And stop by Baking With Julia to see the other shortbreads.

Thanks to Norman Love, who contributed this recipe, this week’s BwJ is a lovely lemon loaf. With lots of Lemon zest (3 large lemon’s worth) there is lots of lemony flavor.

The cake only takes about 5 minutes to put together so it is easier than some. And it doesn’t require a mixer, just a spatula, a whisk, and a strong arm.

While good right after cooling it is equally good toasted. Buttered. Or served with a dollop of lemony whipped cream.

One hint, let the toasted loaf cool a smidgeon before dolloping it with whipped cream lest the whip cream MELTS!! Sprinkle with a little lemon zest. Perfect dessert. Or maybe breakfast!

This is a great little cake. Definitely worth making again. And again… And again….. And…

You can find the recipe on our hosts’ blogs: Treats by Truc or The Beauty of Life by Michelle. Or you could just break down and get your own copy of Julia’s Baking with Julia and find the recipe on page 252.

And be sure to visit the TWD website and check out the other Lemon Loafs in homes around the world.

THIS is not your everyday tomato sauce and pepperoni pizza. In fact, it it NOTHING like the American Pizza we eat. This is ITALIAN pizza. “A savory pie with a sweet crust…” is how Nick Malgieri described it when he contributed it to Baking with Julia, the new book for Tuesdays with Dorie. It is full of cheese but no sauce, no mushrooms, no double thick crust.

I have to admit I was a little leery of this one. I am not a fan of ricotta cheese and it was the main ingredient in the filling. But with the mix of ricotta, mozzarella, and Pecorino-Romano it was quite tasty. There is also prosciutto in the pie.

I made only one change in the pie and that was to use a blend of AP flour and whole wheat. The crust is a little sweet, more like a crust for a sweet pie, but in conjunction with the savory cheese filling it was perfect. Just like Nick said it would be.

One third of a recipe was just enough for a 6.5″ pie plate.

The lattice crust on top was perfect. And fun to do!

Our hosts this week were Emily of Capital Region Dining and Raelynn of The Place They Call Home. The recipe will be on their blogs. It is on page 430 of Baking with Julia.

And you can drool over the other pies at the TWD website.

With St Patrick’s Day only three days behind us this month’s 2nd pick for Baking with Julia was PERFECT!

This is not my prettiest bread it is so buttery delicious that the looks just don’t count in this case. I never knew just how good bread made with TONS (well 2 cups) of buttermilk could be. Don’t bother to put anything on the bread, just eat it plain!!

This bread has a wonderful tight crumb with a silky texture and a wonderfully crusty exterior. I cut a huge slice and shared with it with The Hubs just plain – no butter, no jam. Delicious. And this morning for b’fast = toasted. With just butter. Close your eyes and you are back in the old country – kinda. Well, not really, but you wish you were!!

I have to admit, I was a little fearful of making this bread. The last time I made Irish Soda Bread it was AWFUL!! (Same ingredients, but….!!) I had been wanting to try another one (only took me 4 years!!) and this one was the right one. Definitely a keeper. And quick – about an hour. So if you need a buttery, crusty quick BREAD try this one. Soon!!

I was a little hesitant that this bread would turn out. The dough was very, very wet and very, very sticky which is why it was quite difficult to make the cross on top…

So the next time I make this – like next week – I will add the buter milk gradually. But in the end it was great bread.

This week’s hosts are Cathy of My Culinary Mission who topped hers with Gruyere and Carla of Chocolate Moosey who added dried cherries to hers. You can find the recipe on either of their blogs.

And then check out all the creative breads made by the rest of the Baking With Julia group. I know there will be some delicious and wonderful variations out there. If you like what you see why don’t you join in. Find out how!

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