August 23, 2011

TWD- Brioche

This TWD recipe is particularly nostalgic as it's one of the first I made from the book. I remember being a little nervous making it myself and especially nervous once I saw how hot my beloved KitchenAid was getting! I carefully held frozen veggies to the mixer and prayed she would be alright. I'm sure that wasn't remotely effectively but she's lived to mix many more batches of deliciousness and the brioche raisin snails (a favorite recipe to this day) were amazing. My husbands favorite Dorie remains the pecan honey sticky buns. You can't go wrong with brioche it appears.

I've posted the recipe before so I'll include it again. It's so easy to be intimidated by 'fancy' treats that end up being not nearly as difficult as I'd thought before. You can also see the recipe over at Tea and Scones (thanks for the awesome choice!)

By the way- a sweet friend helped me switch over to my own domain last night (I've only owned it for two years and done nothing... lame). If there's any hiccups please excuse them, but you should be able to get straight to now from my old blogspot address. Yay!

Golden Brioche Loaves (see the brioche raisin snails and pecan honey sticky buns here)
2 packets active dry yeast (or about 2 1/2 teaspoons per packet)
1/3 C. just-warm-to-the-touch water
1/3 C. just-warm-to-the-touch whole milk
3 2/3 C. all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/4 C. sugar
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature but still slightly firm

To Make The Brioche: Put the yeast, water and milk in the bowl of a stand mixer and, using a wooden spoon, stir until the yeast is dissolved. Add the flour and salt, and fit into the mixer with the dough hook, if you have one. Toss a kitchen towel over the mixer, covering the bowl as completely as you can-- this will help keep you, the counter and your kitchen floor from being showered in flour. Turn the mixer on and off a few short pulses, just to dampen the flour (yes, you can peek to see how you're doing), then remove the towel, increase the mixer speed to medium-low and mix for a minute or two, just until the flour is moistened. At this point, you'll have a fairly dry, shaggy mess.

Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula, set the mixer to low and add the eggs, followed by the sugar. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for about 3 minutes, until the dough forms a ball. Reduce the speed to low and add the butter in 2-tablespoon-size chunks, beating until each piece is almost incorporated before adding the next. You'll have a dough that is very soft, almost like batter. Increase the speed to medium-high and continue to beat until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 10 minutes.

Transfer the dough to a clean bowl (or wash out the mixer bowl and use it), cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature until nearly doubled in size, 40 to 60 minutes, depending upon the warmth of your room.

Deflate the dough by lifting it up around the edges and letting it fall with a slap to the bowl. Cover the bowl with the plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator. Slap the dough down in the bowl every 30 minutes until it stops rising, about 2 hours, then leave the uncovered dough in the refrigerator to chill overnight.

For complete directions for the Brioche Raisin (or in my case Chocolate) Snails or the Brioche loaves, check out these previous posts.

August 9, 2011

TWD- Carrot {Cake} Muffins

Does anyone really know the difference between a muffin and a cupcakes? My favorite part of either is the frosting so... when I read this week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe (Carrot Muffins) I knew I would have to include the cream cheese frosting. I was out of coconut (bleh!) so I added a little oatmeal instead.

With the spices, pecans, Craisins, and frosting- these were the best carrot cupcakes muffins I've ever made. They came out with the perfect rise (flat muffins kind of bother me!) and took only a couple minutes to whip together. Don't forget to use paper liners to remove the muffins easily and to set the muffin tin on top of a cookie sheet to keep bottoms from burning (no one likes that!) You could easily sub in half whole wheat flour and no one would be the wiser- then you might not feel as guilty topping your muffins with cream cheese frosting! See the recipe at Nancy's awesome blog here or buy the book on Amazon.

August 3, 2011

Wednesday Want- The Perfect Scoop

I haven't featured a cook book for the Wednesday Want before but with temperatures continuing to rise around here, I have to give this amazing book a little shout out. The Perfect Scoop is tried and true and I've never heard a bad thing said about it (except maybe for it's skinny-jean consequences!) A nice ice cream maker (like my Cuisinart) is surprisingly affordable and compact. I scored mine of Craigslist but they are all over Amazon, garage sales, and even thrift stores.

David Lebovitz also explains some techniques for making ice cream without an ice cream maker. See some ice cream inspiration here and pick up a copy of The Perfect Scoop already- once you start making ice cream, I think you'll be surprised how fun and delicious it can be. If you're intimidated, I'd recommend starting with a sorbet (Pineapple is my favorite and strawberry of course!) With the heat and amazing summer produce, there's no time to start like now (well, as soon as I clear a spot in the freezer for the bowl again- am I the only one with that problem?)

PS See some more great ice cream from these lovely ladies, but consider yourself warned- it's going to make you hungry!
Di (with homemade Magic Shell- I can't wait to try this!)

August 2, 2011

TWD- Cocoa Almond Meringues

Are you having a lovely summer? We've been relaxing and doing all sorts of super important things like hanging out with our friends, going to swimming lessons, eating popsicles, going to the movies, and folding laundry (never a vacation from that!) It's ridiculously hot right now. So hot, I can count on one hand the number of times I've turned on the oven in the last month- that's a new record for me. I did a couple marathon Tuesdays with Dorie baking sessions at my mom's and, you know, with our busy schedule didn't even post them. Maybe later. Ahem.

These meringues take just a minute or two to whip up- nothing time intensive, no weird ingredients, no slaving over the stove. I ground the almonds in the food processor with some of the powdered sugar, pulsed in the cocoa powder, whipped the egg whites, folded in the dry team and the chocolate, and we were good to go. A little time on 300 then an hour on super low heat and we were eating these babies right out of the oven.

Before I fancied these guys up with some melted chocolate and chopped almonds, I tried to snap a quick picture. Two adorable blondies emerged from the sandbox and quickly attacked these 'chocolate cookies'. With their crunchy outside, sweet soft inside, and great flavor combo I couldn't blame them- Dorie wins again! These are even gluten free for my wheat-free friends (pretty awesome!)

Please come back tomorrow for the Wednesday Want and check out Mike's awesome and funny blog to see the recipe and the rest of the TWD crew here.