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

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?

Super Bowl Baking

We did not have a Super Bowl party, but #2 son was over (hi Dan! This is a test to see if you’re reading my blog…), so it seemed like a good excuse to bake two recipes from The Book.

For the main course, Pizza Rustica:

Fresh out of the oven

Fresh out of the oven

It called for a lattice-top crust, but I ran out of flour and so used 1/4 c. corn flour, which made my dough a bit crumbly and hard to work with.

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The filling is made of eggs, ricotta, mozzarella, pecorino and dried sausage (I used sopressata). It’s kind of a cross between a quiche and a calzone, maybe? The crust is a bit too sweet for my taste, even if it weren’t a savory filling. I am glad I went to the Italian market for the higher quality meat and cheese, as that’s what makes the dish!

For dessert, Luxury Oatmeal Cookies:

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In typical Rose fashion, first you make homemade granola, instead of just using oats. I love her attention to detail, and think that step was absolutely worth it. These granola/raisin/chocolate chip filled cookies are very, very tasty!

Babka

Last weekend, I made Babka, and it is very addicting! I had to instantly freeze what wasn’t eaten immediately, as I knew I wouldn’t be able to stop grabbing a slice every time I walked through the kitchen.

Of course, I forgot to take a picture before cutting...

Of course, I forgot to take a picture before cutting…

Couldn’t find my Bundt pan, so had to rig one:

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Springform pan, with ramekin in center

Worked fine, though since it wasn’t rounded at the bottom, I should have put the dough in seam-side down, as I didn’t flip it over after it was cooked. Purely aesthetics, though, it tasted wonderful! The dough starts with a biga, and I love any recipe that involves multiple days, so I followed all the overnight rising options, for the biga and the dough. It’s a lovely, sweet dough, that baked up very tender. It could be used in so many forms. I loved the almond filling, and would like to try it again with both the Chocolate-Almond and Apricot-Cream Cheese options!

Hungry now?

Hungry now?

Cook the Book

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A Christmas gift from #2 son, this is the latest in my collection of Rose’s cookbooks. I love them all, and since this one covers a variety of baked goods, I’ve decided to, a la Julie Powell, cook the book. (Not terribly original, but fun, and I’m not the only one to tackle it)

I started on 12/26, with Kouigns Amann, (that’s the pastry on the cover, and it was fabulous!), as well as the Molasses Sugar Butter Cookies, which I can’t wait to make again! I used the same Kouigns pastry recipe for a savory version on 12/29, with a goat cheese, mushroom & leek filling that was very good. That same day,  I also made the Classic Brioche, which I used for the Sugar Rose Brioche (not a favorite, a bit dry and bland) and the Caramel Buns (minus caramel, just cinnamon roles, but really good ones!). That’s when I decided to  make a recipe each week, until I’ve made them all, and blog about it.

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English Dried Fruit Cake

1/3: made 4 mini-loaves, with enough batter left for 7 muffins, omitted the rum. This is nothing like what you think of when you hear ‘fruit cake’. It is very, very good! I froze three of the small loaves, and the one that we’ve thawed was just as good as the fresh one. It makes a wonderful breakfast bread, and I’d like to try a GF/dairy-free version.

The Ischler

The Ischler

 1/11: What’s not to like? Tender almond shortbread-style cookies, yummy chocolate ganache filling and a great name! If I write my own cookie recipe, it will definitely have ‘The’ in front. The only change I made was accidental. I overcooked the apricot jam when reducing (causing my measuring cup to melt!), so they are missing that. My brother is going to be happy about it, but I think they would have been better as written. Of course they would, it’s Rose. She always knows best…