Tuesday, January 27

Tuesdays With Dorie: Fresh Ginger and Chocolate Gingerbread

Well, let's try this again and hope for no blue screens...

Firstly, I just have to share and say that the reason I didn't post last week is because I was in Chicago being touristy and enjoying inauguration festivities. See below:

(The shirt says "Obama in the house")

On to the baking...

This week Heather of Sherry Trifle chose the Fresh Ginger and Chocolate Gingerbread. Silly as I am, I had made Dorie's flan recipe the night before I was planning on making this gingerbread, so in order to stave off some guilt I decided to make a half recipe. I love ginger and was excited about all the types included in this one, although I didn't have any ginger in syrup and left it out. This was a pretty straightforward recipe, though after I baked it and got a taste, it reminded me a lot of one of my favorite bakery's pumpkin chocolate chip muffins. I guess the muffins are less pumpkiny and more spicy like the gingerbread. I'm always very happy when Dorie puts in little tips like, "Don't worry if your mix looks curdled here,"which is comforting when you're mixing and mixing and it still looks weird. I followed what I am seeing as general wisdom for halving things with odd numbers of eggs and used 2 eggs, resulting in a very moist cake. I have no problems with moist. (haha though I did have a teacher in high school who HATED the word moist)

The icing...mmm. I think the coffee helped give the icing that something extra. I made the full recipe of icing for my half recipe cake and might have just eaten the rest of it. Hm...where are my workout dvds?

Be sure to check out the blogroll and see what everyone else is up to!

Tuesday, January 13

It's not a dessert! (This week's TWD)

As much as I have enjoyed all the delicious sweets we've made in the past couple months, I was definitely looking forward to having a savory item about which I could feel moderately less guilty after I eat half of it. (Thank you Rebecca, of Ezra Poundcake - love the blog name) These corn muffins tasted pretty good despite the fact that my brain was elsewhere while I was making them.

Since my dad just kind of scoffs at cornbready type things that aren't made in a cast iron pan, I decided to forgo the muffin aspect of the recipe and just bake it in my skillet. The amount is just fine for that as well if you like your cornbread nice and thick, especially since everyone seems to be eating chili this week. Though I consider myself a true-blood southerner (also someone who's worked at a "soul food" restaurant that served a sweeter cornbread), I like my cornbread on the sweet side. I think I have literally spat out non-sweet cornbread before because I think it tastes like dirt. There may be a time and a place but I haven't found it yet.

Anywho, the recipe was pretty simple to throw together; this made for a quick dinner with a pot of chili. However, I completely forgot to add the chili powder and I used creamed corn instead of regular corn. To try to equalize the wetness, I cut out about a 1/4 C of buttermilk, especially because I added a little more than the 1/4 C of corn called for. I also had to make do with self-rising cornmeal. For this, I just cut the baking powder to 1 Tsp and only put in 1/4 Tsp of baking soda. It worked out just fine and my cornbread did not have the texture of a brick. Hooray.

I remember some people mentioning in the P's and Q's that their muffins were very crumbly and didn't hold together. I tried to eat a slice about 15 minutes after I took the pan out of the oven and this is what happened. Tasted great though. By the time I went for the next slice it had cooled off more and so held together a lot better. I'm not actually sure if I would want to add the chili powder the next time I make these - I like the sweetness of the corn and peppers.

(I feel like my pictures are outrageously yellow, but I bake at night mostly and the light is not good. )

As Rebecca said, if you want to follow the "Great Corn Muffin Debate of 09" check out the rest of us here. Party on!

Tuesday, January 6

Bonne Annee and TWD!

I was so excited to find out the recipe for this week was chosen by Dorie herself! (I'm sure most of us were, really who wouldn't be?) What I found to be ironic is that I immediately realized how the pears were intended to be sliced but yet had some confusion about the almond cream. In my mind's eye it was supposed to be fluffy and smooth, but mine felt like I was spreading soft cream cheese. Next time I will probably process my almonds a little finer; in heeding the advice about not making nut butter I might have stopped grinding them a little early. The dough was delicious. I only had an 11' tart pan but I just pressed the dough out as well as I could and it worked out great. No cracks and no appreciable shrinking.

It's pretty funny that the standard ingredient for this in France is canned pears, but after poaching mine and trying a slice or two, the texture is way similar so I can see why that is the case.

Getting ready to go in the oven:

Here's my baked tart:

If Dorie herself happens to stop by here, I just want to say thank you thank you for providing such great recipes! I've always been a confident baker but the regularity of TWD (thanks Laurie et al) has just made it all the better. I'm a much cleaner baker too now, which probably makes other people more happy that it does me haha. Stop by the blogroll to see how everyone else's tarts turned out!