French Frdays with Dorie

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

All in One Holiday Bundt Cake

I loved making this cake. It was almost as easy to pull together as a dump cake. I did my mise en place before starting and I have to admit, slacker than I usually am, life is so much simpler if you practice mise en place. No stuttering between steps, just a smooth transition from one part of the process to the other.

I thought my basic bundt pan was the size Dorie suggested, but it is apparently a bit smaller. I baked the cake in the classic bundt, but had batter remaining that would not fit into the pan. I put that into a small bowl from my life with Pampered Chef and the mini-cake baked up very nicely indeed. Surprisingly the cakes were both done quite quickly. The mini-cake took no more than 25 minutes and the regular bundt no more than 45. They both "depanned" with no issues.

The bundt was given to a friend of mine who is moving this week and my sister and I shared the mini-cake. I quite like this cake and will definitely keep it in mind for the future.

This recipe was selected by Britin of the Nitty Britty. She will post it sometime this month or you can find it in the book!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Cran-Apple Crisp

I love crisps - they are so easy and they have crumble toppings! Does it get any better than that? I do not think so. This one was particularly tasty. I made mine with granny smith apples and for many people it would probably border on the slightly too tart side - in other words - pucker up - but I like it that way. I would use the same apples the next time, but I just might use half brown sugar and half white sugar.

I did use double the spices putting them in both the topping and the apple/cranberry mixture. I was fortunate enough to be able to find fresh cranberries and loved using them. I used raisins as the add-in to the body of the crisp after that. I had found a raisin medley some time back at one of the warehouse stores and I love them. It contains red, yellow, green and normal raisins but they are all on steroids. No joke - they are all at least 3/4 of an inch long. They fascinate me.

I made my crisp in one large pan and it made a very thin layer. I liked it but will also switch to a different pan the next time - just to see how it tastes with a thicker layer of apple/cranberries. I liked the thin layer, I just want to experience a thicker one before I decide which way to make my own. I love the idea of individual layers and if I make this at Christmas, as I very well may, I will probably give that a try. I am definitely rolling this out on a regular basis, moving forward. The recipe can be found in the Book or at Em's.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sugar-Topped Molasses Spice Cookies

Putting these cookies together was quite easy and always being on the look-out for my childhood favorite, the gingersnap I was quite looking forward to these. The finishing touches were a bit too fussy for me. I favor the version where you roll the cookie in the sugar and it flattens as it bakes, giving you a slightly thicker cookie with more pronounced crevices. The cookie of my childhood has a darker hue as well and I have come to learn that in general it will be entitled the molasses chew and not a gingersnap, but when I was growing it, my mother always called it a gingersnap and when she made it, it involved pinched off rounds of dough rolling them in sugar and having them miraculously flatten into dark disks of deliciousness. Ahh, I remember them well.

She always used regular granulated sugar it always had the courtesy to appear on the top of the cookies as a pronounced decorative accent. I rolled these cookies in my sparkling sugar and had I not the cookies would have had a decidedly different appearance after their time in that dessert oasis we like to call the oven! I know this because for the last six cookies I had to resort to regular granulated sugar and my last six cookies lost that sparkling scintillating appearance of the others. Next to the other cookies they look almost Amish! They still have the lovely little crannies of the earlier batches but they bear no shiny plumage to catch the light - they do not sparkle and shine.

Mind you they taste mighty fine - they just don't beckon you to bite them, rather they are chosen simply because they are next up on the plate rather than because the sun has hit their enticing granules of taste. Having said that, when I tried the first of these cookies, I wasn't entranced. I found the sparkling sugar taste far too pronounced and was sorry I had used it so liberally. I wished I had dipped my glass in granulated sugar or rather had not dipped my glass at all. But, I knew that I had I tried pressing these flat without dipping the glass that I would never have been able to remove it from the cookies at all. The cookies I pressed with the glass dipped in regular granulated sugar released the best of all - of course all the cookies released with the glass that did not have the inverted bottom released the best - live and learn, people, live and learn! I find that the spice flavor in these becomes more emphasized the more these sit and that the sugar coating becomes less so, so I like these more as time goes by. The recipe is a definite keeper and can be found in the the Book or at Cookies with Boys.