French Frdays with Dorie

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Coconut Tea Cake

When I saw Dorrie's suggestion that we bake this cake in our Kugelhof pans I gave a small cheer. This makes the second or third time that I have used this pan in the 15+ years I have owned it. Truth be told I've probably owned it for closer to 25 years. I'm pretty sure I bought it when I lived in MD and that was 17 years ago. Time definitely flies.

Alas, when I attempted to remove the cake from the pan it stuck again! I had the same problem with my Kugelhof. This is extremely frustrating, but it was the only issue I had with this recipe. Well, the second issue - the first one involved my memory - or lack thereof. I made this coconut cake without the coconut! I measured it out and then promptly finished mixing the batter and pouring the cake into the pan without ever adding the coconut to the batter. Oh well, I don't like coconut away, so for me that was a plus.

Without the nasty flakes of coconut this cake is not half bad. It still has a mild coconut flavor, from the milk, but it is not overwhelming and you don't have those little flakes sticking to your mouth to gross you out!

Unlike Dorrie I pretty much always think a cake is better with some form of icing. I did not do this, but I think this cake would be very interesting if it were split and filled with lime or lemon curd. Then a thin glaze made with the juice of a lime or lemon would be a very nice addition, I think.

The cake was very moist and all of my tasters were very pleased with what they felt was a delicate hint of coconut.

Our friend, Carmen of Carmen Cooks selected this recipe and has it posted on her blog. You can also find the recipe in the Book!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Dulce de Leche Duos

Yum. I contemplated ending my post at Yum, but that is just not like me - way too concise. On target, but too concise.

I am very VERY fond of dulce de leche. I purchased some from Amazon several months ago and I have made it by boiling the can of condensed milk as well. I am not sure which I prefer - they were both thick and luscious.

I was quite concerned that my cookies would not be round enough to sandwich, but in fact they turned out quite nicely. I used a regular spoon to scoop mine and some of them were on the large side. I think I ended up with just under 60. My cookies turned out very thin and somewhat dark - I like a well-done cookie so that works for me.

I used the remainder of my jar of dulce de leche to fill most of the cookies, but I ran out of leche before I ran out of cookies. I filled the remainder with Nutella. I actually wasn't crazy about that combination. I found it difficult to spread a very thin layer of Nutella and I think it overpowered the caramel taste of the cookies themselves.

I adored the scent of this dough before I formed the cookies and found that baking the cookies a tad more enhanced this flavor.

Excellent choice for this week by Jodie. She has posted the recipe here and of course you can also find it in the book!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Thumbprints for Us Big Guys

These cookies remind me very much of the Linzer Sables we made a few months ago. This could be because I made mine with ground almonds instead of ground hazelnuts - but I am certainly not complaining about the similarity.

I was shocked by the recipe - could there truly be so few ingredients? No eggs - no liquid, other than the piddling little extracts? Careful rereading showed this to be true. So, I beat and blended and was happily surprised. I suppose I could have done a better job of blending in the nut/flour combo - some of my cookies were rather dry when I was forming them - but all of them (at least the ones I have tried so far) have been excellent to taste. One of the cookies was so dry it just fell apart while cooking. It was, because of this, far more brown the other cookies. As I expected, I liked this very much. Hey - I eat singed toast it should not be a surprise.

I made my cookies a tad on the larger size at first and then realized how low my yield would be so on the last two sheets I made the cookies considerably smaller. I ended up with about 52 cookies, so I did all right in that regard.

I have never made thumbprint cookies before and was wary of pushing a hole through the dough. This concern caused me to make my initial holes too shallow and while baking the cookies rose to make the indentation very faint. While they were cooling on the sheets I went back through them and pushed the dough down to make a deeper indentation. That worked quite well and on the last batch I did much better.

When I was younger my mother would make a cookie called the split second which is very similar to this cookie. There is some difference in the amounts of butter, flour and sugar used, but the recipes are very similar. The main difference between the split second and thumbprint is that you take your split second dough and separate it. You then form each section of dough into a log. Then you press an indentation into the log and fill that indentation with jam. I don't remember my mother ever heating the jam - and these cookies were filled before baking. They are sliced on the diagonal when they come out of the oven. They look like little jewels when they are done. She always said the name came from the speed with which the cookies came together. I found this photo of those cookies on the Taste of Home website.

Jam-filled treats are not my favorite but I filled these with some fantastic blackberry preserves and some three-fruit marmalade so they are rather tasty. I tried melting some chips into one batch (as Dorie did for the small guy thumbprints) but they did not really melt. I think I will make a ganache tomorrow and refill those cookies. I would also like to try some made with a different extract (other than the almond) and fill the cookies with a correspondingly flavored jam. And, of course, I deeply regret not filling any of these with lemon curd. I did think about it, but decided to stick with the fillings I previously discussed. Lemon curd would have been so much more successful than the chips.
This week's recipe was selected by Mike and can be found at his Ugly Food website. Despite his protestations I am not buying that he is, in fact, an ugly dude. All of the recipes are neatly organized and contained in BFMHTY, a book all should own.