Daring Bakers January 2010

27 01 2010

Did it. Loved it. Am sick. Information later.

The January 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Lauren of Celiac Teen. Lauren chose Gluten-Free Graham Wafers and Nanaimo Bars as the challenge for the month. The sources she based her recipe on are 101 Cookbooks and www.nanaimo.ca.


Daring Bakers Challenge – December 2009

27 12 2009

The fine print:

The December 2009 Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to you by Anna of Very Small Anna and Y of Lemonpi. They chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ everywhere to bake and assemble a gingerbread house from scratch. They chose recipes from Good Housekeeping and from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book as the challenge recipes.

More like a daring mess. Things did not go well. I didn’t have the ingredients when I had time to do it and then I forgot it had to chill so I was in a time crunch and didn’t do half of what I wanted to do.

When I saw the challenge I was excited I wrote out ideas, searched websites and planned out this awesome beach house. And then life intervened. I turned it into a beach shack. I put it together and raced for the camera, hoping it wouldn’t fall apart before I got a snapshot. And surprise of surprises I think the darn thing is indestructible. I’m a bit ashamed, okay a lot ashamed, of the tiny and sad beach house but I’m trying to think of it as a house that would be on such a spectacular beach that the inhabitants would be so bowled over by the beauty of the beach that they wouldn’t even notice what the sad, sad little house looked.

Darings Bakers – November 2009

28 11 2009

The November 2009 Daring Bakers Challenge was chosen and hosted by Lisa Michele of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives. She chose the Italian Pastry, Cannolo (Cannoli is plural), using the cookbooks Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and The Sopranos Family Cookbook by Allen Rucker; recipes by Michelle Scicolone, as ingredient/direction guides. She added her own modifications/changes, so the recipe is not 100% verbatim from either book.


Late. Again. No excuses. Also, no pictures. Computer is down. On old computer. Screen is held together by black electrical tape. Stylish.

Like the recipe. Needs to be cooked in tubes. I cooked them flat. They puffed up like well … puffer fish. Smothered them with powdered sugar and devored them.

I still have half the dough left. I have plans for it …

Daring Bakers Challenge – October 2009

28 10 2009

The 2009 October Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Ami S. She chose macarons from Claudia Fleming’s The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern as the challenge recipe.

Oops. Day late. At least I did it.

Followed the recipe, did a frosting type filling with cherry flavorings. It’s yummy but I’m not so sure it lives up to the hype.


August 2009 Daring Bakers Challenge — Dobos Torte

27 08 2009

More like a Daring Disaster but more on that later. Or maybe not. But first, the fine print: The August 2009 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Angela of A Spoonful of Sugar and Lorraine of Not Quite Nigella. They chose the spectacular Dobos Torte based on a recipe from Rick Rodgers’ cookbook Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Caffés of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague.

Full disclosure: I suck at following recipes. Always have. This time was no exception. The story is long and I come out looking really bad so I’ll keep it to myself except to say I only ended up with three salvageable layers, went completely rustic, ran out of eggs so I had to half the buttercream recipe, which wasn’t enough and the caramel was a complete and utter disaster. The pictures will illustrate. I’m kind of afraid to taste it.



I think I’ll try it again another day and pray for a brain.

July 2009 Daring Bakers Challenge – Milan Cookies

27 07 2009

The fine print: The July Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Nicole at Sweet Tooth. She chose Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies and Milan Cookies from pastry chef Gale Gand of the Food Network.


One word: addictive. I absolutely could not stop eating these. Thank the gods above that they’re tiny and I can consume more than one without guilt. The ganache was delicious, I added lemon instead of orange because that’s the kind of rebel I am. The only thing that annoyed me was the endless piping. I think endless piping is an understatement but I would certainly make these again.


The recipe:

Milan Cookies
Recipe courtesy Gale Gand, from Food Network website

Prep Time: 20 min
Inactive Prep Time: 0 min
Cook Time: 1 hr 0 min
Serves: about 3 dozen cookies

• 12 tablespoons (170grams/ 6 oz) unsalted butter, softened
• 2 1/2 cups (312.5 grams/ 11.02 oz) powdered sugar
• 7/8 cup egg whites (from about 6 eggs)
• 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
• 2 tablespoons lemon extract
• 1 1/2 cups (187.5grams/ 6.61 oz) all purpose flour
• Cookie filling, recipe follows

Cookie filling:
• 1/2 cup heavy cream
• 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
• 1 orange, zested

1. In a mixer with paddle attachment cream the butter and the sugar.
2. Add the egg whites gradually and then mix in the vanilla and lemon extracts.
3. Add the flour and mix until just well mixed.
4. With a small (1/4-inch) plain tip, pipe 1-inch sections of batter onto a parchment-lined sheet pan, spacing them 2 inches apart as they spread.
5. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10 minutes or until light golden brown around the edges. Let cool on the pan.
6. While waiting for the cookies to cool, in a small saucepan over medium flame, scald cream.
7. Pour hot cream over chocolate in a bowl, whisk to melt chocolate, add zest and blend well.
8. Set aside to cool (the mixture will thicken as it cools).
9. Spread a thin amount of the filling onto the flat side of a cookie while the filling is still soft and press the flat side of a second cookie on top.
10. Repeat with the remainder of the cookies.

June 2009 Daring Baker’s Challenge – Bakewell Tart

27 06 2009

Getting the fine print out of the way first: The June Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Jasmine of Confessions of a Cardamom Addict and Annemarie of Ambrosia and Nectar. They chose a Traditional (UK) Bakewell Tart… er… pudding that was inspired by a rich baking history dating back to the 1800’s in England.

I was excited about this challenge, something new but nothing too taxing. Of course that was before I realized that today with the 27th. The thing about my life in limbo – between school and work – is that I usually only know if it’s a weekday or a weekend, not what the date is.

Whipped up the tart this evening, made some changes, used a pie pan because I don’t have a tart pan. I have the feeling I’m the only one. I also did a split in the jams. I used 1/2 raspberry pomegrante and, being the rebel I am, didn’t strain it, and 1/2 peach apricot. And I omitted the extra almonds on top, I guess I have a textural aversion there. Otherwise I followed the recipe, adding in the almond extract.


Can’t wait to see what is next month’s challenge…

June 2009 Daring Cooks — Chinese dumplings/potstickers

14 06 2009

After the disaster of last month’s challenge – I still don’t want to even say the word ‘ricotta’, much less explain the disaster that was – this challenge boosted my culinary confidence. I was really impressed with the ease and deliciousness of the potstickers. The dough took half a second to make in the food processor and any excuse to knead dough gets my vote.

I didn’t have much in the house for fillings, I ended up with minced baby bok choy (the best veggie ever!), onion and mushroom. For dipping I used sweet chili sauce and soy. I did a hybrid cooking method, boil and then saute until crispy. This is definitely going to be a make often recipe in my culinary repetoire but I still need pleating practice.



Daring Bakers – May 2009 Apple Strudel

27 05 2009

Ymm. I need to practice some more to really be good at it.



The May Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Linda of make life sweeter! and Courtney of Coco Cooks. They chose Apple Strudel from the recipe book Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague by Rick Rodgers.

More IT problems so details later.

Daring Bakers Challenge – April 2009

27 04 2009

The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey’s Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.

Yummy! I love cheesecake almost as much as the Golden Girls. I used organic eggs so the yolks were this unbelievably bright um, yolk color. The addition of Meyer lemons provided such a bright, sweetly sharp taste and a smell that made me nostalgic.
The recipe was perfect for a finals addled brain and a perfect celebration dessert for graduation.