French Frdays with Dorie

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Caramel Crunch Bars

All I could think of when I was reading this recipe was those cookie/snacks you make by melting the butter over the saltines, then melting the chocolate chips on top and covering that with chopped nuts! I love that cookie/snack, but I am delighted to report that these Caramel Crunch Bars bear little resemblance to them!

It is so nice when a recipe can just about spring to life on its own. If not for the chopping of the chocolate I think everything could be ready for this recipe in about five minutes. If I weren't so anal about chopping finely I suspect most people could have it ready in ten or fifteen minutes. I am sure it took me about 30! On the other hand, I had chocolate dust to add to my batter. Which means my shortbread base is very chocolaty indeed!

I so wanted to use plain Heath(r) bits for this recipe but all I could find were the ones with that stupid milk chocolate attached to them. I used them anyway and my only regret with this recipe is not correspondingly reducing the chocolate on top to offset this.

At this point, my chocolate has still not set firmly, so perhaps in the morning the cookies will have a less prominent chocolate taste and the caramel taste will come through more cleanly. Right now, it is more like a buttery after-taste in your mouth. Delicious but subtle - not a bad thing at all - but I would like it to be a bit stronger.

And, of course, my bag of Heath(r) bits was more Heath(r) dust than bits so bars were not as clearly defined as Dorie's were. The bane of the photo - you so desperately want one so you know if your food came out properly than you berate your food if it doesn't match precisely.

These cookies are definite keepers - I only hope most of them make it to work so I don't keep them as added weight - something I definitely don't need - but I could easily eat the entire batch - and I did make the entire batch.

My thanks to Whitney of What's Left on the Table for choosing the recipe. You can find it on her website or in THE BOOK, pg. 112-113.

Devil's Food White-out Cake

I was so late finishing my cake last week that I never got it posted. I finished it about midnight but I was just too tired to comment on it and I hadn't tried it yet, so I decided to wait until this week to discuss the "Cover" girl.

We can thank Stephanie of Confessions of a City Eater for finally making this fabulous choice. She has posted the recipe here or of course, you could buy THE BOOK and keep it forever as your very own!

I thought this was a really easy recipe. The cake came together with no problems whatsoever - I just got started late. I wasn't crazy though about the execution of the final decorating. I got too carried away with using up the crumbs. First off, let me say that I am not fond of vertical stick-ons! I hate smashing stuff into the sides of my cakes. Plus, my cake had so much icing on it, that when I smushed on the crumbs I ended up really whacking my cake out of shape!

Next time I make this cake, I will steal a little cake from the layers and save that to crumble delicately across the top of the cake, leaving the rest a pristine white!

Trust me, I'll have enough to ice four layers easily if my icing yield is anywhere close to what it was this time. I saw that a few bloggers felt this recipe did not produce enough icing. I can't imagine the size of their cakes or perhaps their icing just did not explode like mine did. I must say I love that reaction.

I looked in the bowl and the egg whites were whipping along, but not really taking up all that much of the batter bowl. Then I began pouring the stream of sugar syrup into the bowl. Poof! All of a sudden I was thinking, is this bowl big enough? Everything was fine, it did not overflow, but it was close to an inch from the top of the bowl. Apparently I know my stuff when it comes to marshmallow fluff! Too bad I don't like the taste of it! It is very pretty though.

I had so much icing remaining that I made eighteen cupcakes the next day and gave them the royal marshmallow fluff treatment and still had close to a pint of the white stuff left!

The cake was well appreciated by the folks at work. Some of whom tried to create a small mutiny by harrassing the folks who did not receive a slice of cake. Those folks did not recieve a cupcake the following day!

Monday, February 23, 2009

I was browsing the web today looking at some quilting websites and I saw a link to this site. Gin1906 runs this website which features handmade quilted purses and lunch totes. She is having a give-away until next week of one of her beautiful bags. Follow the link above to the site to enter yourself in the contest. The bags are absolutely divine and certainly worth a trip across the world wide web, after all, you can do it in your PJs!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

World Peace Cookies

This week's recipe was selected by Jessica of Cookbookhabit and can be found here or in The Book.

I don't know if I believe these cookies would bring world peace, but they are certainly satisfying. I definitely know they wouldn't be bringing peace to those who baked them. No, those folks would find themselves frustrated by the rambunctious reluctance of the dough to come together in a cohesive log and stay that way!

The recipe is an easy one to mix. I used Hershey's Special Dark cocoa, so my cookies are dark as midnight. However, my dough was quite crumbly. I did what I could and turned it into two logs of the same weight, but different diameters.

I chilled the logs overnight in the fridge and what I thought were round logs on Monday turned out to be somewhat less circular on Tuesday! I had a bit of a crumbling problem when I tried to slice these babies. I'm not sure I trust that these should be sliced into 1/2 inch rounds. My yield was 26 cookies, but I concede my second log was probably closer to 2" in diameter than to 1.5".

Regardless, the cookies are melt in your mouth delicious and certainly worth making again. I don't think I will chill them for quite as long the next time and I may add a tablespoon of butter to see if I can get them to hold together better.

Though they cracked and split while I was cutting them, I really had minor issues getting them back into a roughly circular shape. As individual cookies they yielded pretty readily to the warmth of my hands and I was able to reshape them fairly quickly. I will cut them slightly thinner next time, but will allow my logs to be about 2" in diameter. I like the size of that batch best.