Texas and then some

I went to La Grange, TX last week to visit my dad:

My dad is a man who knows how to enjoy a cookie!

(a man who knows how to enjoy a cookie!)

I brought him Rose‘s Chocolate Chip cookies, as he was cheated out of his birthday cookies. Can you see any of the cookie under the ice cream and syrup? No? They were good, and I especially liked her use of  browned butter, a technique I plan to steal for my own chocolate chip cookies!

I had a wonderful visit with my dad, had lunch with one of my favorite people, went to Yarnorama (spoiled thing that I am, wait ’til you see what I was gifted there from my generous father! But that’s another post), and even found some weaving time:

(Have Hokett loom, will travel)

Since my return, there’s been some other baking:

Triple Layer Brownies

Triple Layer Brownies

Rose calls these “the perfect expression of chocolate.” Well, I’m not so sure about that claim, but these dense brownies with nuts (pecans instead of walnuts for mine), topped with white chocolate buttercream and finished with a dark chocolate ganache were very, very good. My apologies for the awful picture.

And for anyone who was concerned about my son having one cold foot:

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Ravelry link 

 

Baking and Birthdays

We have two September birthdays* in our family, and I baked from the book for both.

Actually, first there was a peach galette back in August sometime for no reason whatsoever:

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Went so fast, I couldn’t get a picture of it whole!

These were intended for my dad, whose birthday is the 14th:

The Dutch Pecan Sandies

The Dutch Pecan Sandies

As I’ve said before, any cookie whose name begins with ‘The’ appeals to me. And these definitely appealed to me! I can usually bake cookies, have one or two out of the oven, and leave it there. These I could not stop eating! A bit salty, not too sweet, and very delicate. Too delicate to mail, actually. I think my dad would have gotten a box of crumbs had I tried, at least that’s what the guys here said. Maybe they just wanted to eat them… Sorry Daddy, I owe you a batch of cookies!

But most importantly, the 10th was the 28th birthday of this guy, son #2:

Dan, the birthday boy on the left, Brent, soon to be married!, on the right

Dan, the birthday boy on the left, Brent, soon to be married!, on the right

He googled to figure out the most complicated recipe in the book**, and this was his choice:

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White Chocolate Cupcakes with Raspberry Mousseline

The white chocolate makes for a wonderful cake, the topping seems light (I know what’s in it, trust me, it isn’t actually light), and the tartness of the raspberries keeps it all from being too sweet. Definitely worth the trouble!

*oops, sorry Kristyn! 

**ok, I made that part up. He probably just went by the picture and title. Maybe.

Baking

There’s been some baking going on, of course from The Book.

Back in April, we enjoyed the brilliantly modeled (by sons #2 & 4, how handsome are they?) Polish Princess:

The Polish Princess

The bottom layer is sponge cake, brushed with Tea Vodka syrup. The middle layer is a cocoa pastry buttercream (omitted the walnuts), the final layer is vanilla pastry buttercream (skipped the raisins), topped with grated bittersweet chocolate. What’s not to like? Nothing, it was amazing and very pretty!

Then in May, the fabulously named Double Damage Oblivion:

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Double Damage Oblivion

Rose describes this as “my ultimate flourless chocolate cake sandwiched between layers of my ultimate deep chocolate passion layer cake.” We opted for the jam instead of ganache to hold the layers together, seemed like there was enough chocolate already. Not that you can really have enough chocolate, can you? It doesn’t have the visual impact of the Princess, but was very, very good.

And finally, earlier this month, Chocolate Pavorati with Wicked Good Ganache (RLB is nothing, if not modest. See quote above… But she’s also right. No one bakes or writes recipes that come anywhere near hers!)

Chocolate Pavorati with Wicked Good Ganache

Chocolate Pavorati with Wicked Good Ganache

Now, what to bake for our upcoming visit from Woman of Letters (and her Mr., I’m sure she’ll share). The summery Perfect Peach Galette or the decadently chocolate Posh Pie?

Catching Up

Catching up a bit here, let’s start with baking. I haven’t abandoned The Baking Bible project, though it would have been a far better idea when I had all four boys living at home! Now, I have to figure out who I’m going to feed, I can’t very well expect my husband to eat an entire cake. Note to self: Get to know the group of dudes who live next door in B’more…

Mango Bango-less Cheesecake

Mango Bango-less Cheesecake

This is the Mango Bango Cheesecake, minus the mango topping (long, boring story of my own stupidity there). Following Rose‘s instructions, I ordered the mango pulp from Amazon (what don’t they have?).

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This was possibly the creamiest cheesecake I’ve ever had, much less made. I swapped the sponge cake crust for a crunchier vanilla cookie crust from another recipe in the book. Even without the topping, there was plenty of mango flavor, though I think the extra would have been better.

Has anyone ever taken any courses from Roubxe.com? One of my favorite food bloggers, Olives For Dinner, is in their Plant-Based Professional Certification Course. They also have a boatload of courses designed for the home cook. You can get a free 7-day trial, so of course, I did. Despite a slight wheat allergy, I started with the Wheat & Gluten course. (On top of the Baking Bible Project. Perhaps not my smartest move). We were forced to eat pancakes (best ever) and pizza (four different ways) in one day.

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I also did part of a couple of other courses before running out of time. Might join this in the future…

A bit of art,  mid-March, son #2 and I went to the National Gallery. We visited the Vermeer’s, always my first priority, so lovely, and got lost in the maze that is the Main Floor galleries. I took a few very bad photos, only this is worth sharing:

Oddly, if you follow the link, the picture on the website is reversed.

It was interesting to see so many tapestries and modern mixed-media textile pieces now, after doing so much research for the OCA course. I feel I have a deeper understanding of influences and techniques, as well as a better appreciation for the skill involved. It is a bit intimidating, however.

After, Dan took me out for a belated birthday/Mother’s Day lunch at Oyamel. The Col de bruselas estilo San Quintín (Crispy brussels sprouts with a chile de árbol sauce, pumpkin seeds, peanuts and lime), Papas al Mole, and Ceviche con citricos (Striped bass in a pineapple-habanero marinade with citrus, jicama and fresno chiles) were especially good. And, of course, a cold Dos Equis in a frozen glass. Good food, even better company, it doesn’t get much better than that!

And last, but certainly not least, thanks to everyone for their kind words about my beloved big dog, I miss him so much.

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BlueRhu Pie

Luckily, bad lattice work does not affect taste!

Obviously need to work on my lattice skills. Luckily, it does not affect taste!

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Looks much prettier cut…

I used frozen blueberries and rhubarb, more than called for just to use up the whole bags. Worked out fine. The Perfect and Flaky Cream Cheese Pie Crust lives up to its (rather long) name!

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And just for fun, my RLB collection. The top one is The Cake Bible, my first Rose cookbook and brave dog-attack survivor. It’s still in use over 25 years later!

More Baking

More recipes from The Baking Bible.

Two weeks ago, I made the Heavenly Chocolate Mousse Cake:

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First, you make a sponge cake, very lovely and light, which is used to line a loaf pan. Then a chocolate custard (seriously, I could have stopped right there and just eaten that), cooled and folded into stiff egg white for the mousse. Fill the pan, and a layer of cake to seal, and voila!

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Very good, though I think if I made it again, I’d layer the cake and mousse. I’d like a higher ratio of cake and think it would look prettier.

This morning, Irish Cream Scones:

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I’m not a huge scone fan, but these are quite good and make me look forward to baking the other scone recipe, especially as it has a raspberry butterscotch sauce.

Non-baking related, but fun, my Meyer Lemon Tree only produced three lemons this year, so I didn’t want to waste them. I used the peel to infuse olive oil  (the Dragon Blood) and the juice to make a simple syrup for cocktails (the Snake Oil):

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A Christmas gift from #4 (and youngest) son, I absolutely love these fabulous bottles!