Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tuesdays with Dorie: Oatmeal Spice Shortbread

Mmmmm ... shortbread! This week Donna of Life’s Too Short Not to Eat Dessert First chose Dorie's Espresso Chocolate Shortbread Cookies. Having made these before (and loved them!) I decided to do the variation which was Oatmeal Spice Shortbread.

Honestly these would probably be a more appropriate pick for Christmas because with all those spices the house smelt wonderful!

Last time I didn't have any ziploc bags and did have problems rolling out the sticky dough. This time though the bag worked a treat and I ended up with perfect little rectangles of shortbread with minimum fuss.

These are a little plain jane in the looks department but the flavour more than makes up for it. I will definitely be making these again and playing around with different flavour combinations.

Thanks for a great pick Donna! You can find the recipe on Life’s Too Short Not to Eat Dessert First under today's date.

Monday, August 30, 2010

White Choc Honeycomb Mudcake

In one of those freaky but awesome coincidences my husband and I have the same birthday. So happy birthday to us today!! While he unfortunately is off to uni as usual, I have the day to myself with Oscar off at daycare every Monday. As soon as I drop him there I am off to the hairdressers.

Tonight we are going to the lovely Bretts Wharf for dinner. For the Aussies out there, you may know head chef Alastair McLeod from Ready Steady Cook.

This year I told hubby to choose whatever sort of cake he wanted and we would make it together. After a little searching he came up with the truly gluttonous sounding White Chocolate Honeycomb Mudcake from taste. Now if that doesn't sound like a celebration cake I don't know what does!

White Choc Honeycomb Mudcake

Recipe from taste.com.au

250g butter, chopped
180g white chocolate, roughly chopped
1 cup milk
1 3/4 cups caster sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 3/4 cups plain flour, sifted
1/2 cup self-raising flour, sifted
2 x 50g Violet Crumble chocolate bars, chopped

White chocolate ganache:
180g white chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup thickened cream

Grease a 6cm-deep, 22cm (base) round cake pan. Line base and side with 2 layers of baking paper. Place butter, white chocolate, milk, sugar and vanilla in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until smooth. Set aside for 25 minutes to cool. Preheat oven to 160°C/140°C fan-forced.

Whisk eggs and flours into chocolate mixture. Fold in half the Violet Crumble. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour 45 minutes to 2 hours or until browned and a skewer inserted into centre of cake comes out with crumbs clinging (cover cake loosely with foil if over-browning during baking). Cool in pan.

Make ganache. Place white chocolate and cream in a heatproof, microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high (100%) for 1 minute, stirring with a metal spoon halfway during cooking, or until smooth. Set aside for 15 minutes to cool. Whisk ganache gently to thicken. Spread over cake top. Sprinkle with remaining Violet Crumble. Serve.

(I left the honeycomb pieces out of the cake and used them to fill it instead.

I used 220g white chocolate and 300ml thickened cream to make enough ganache to fill and ice the cake. Chop up the chocolate and place into a heatproof bowl. Place the cream in a small saucepan and stir over medium heat until almost boiling. Pour over the chopped chocolate. Leave for 30 seconds then stir until smooth. Refrigerate until cold. Using an electric beater, whip the ganache until soft peaks.

Slice the cake in half. Place about 1/3 of the ganache mix into a small bowl and fold through some chopped violet crumble. Use this to fill the cake.

Smooth the remaining ganache over the top and sides of the assembled cake. Scatter over more chopped violet crumbles and serve.)

The verdict? ... Delicious but sooooo sweet. I mean seriously SWEET. If I were to make this again I would cut the sugar by half and use plain whipped cream to decorate rather than a ganache. The recipe says it will serve 12 but I think it would be more like 20+. Still a success overall though!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tuesdays with Dorie: Crunchy and Custardy Peach Tart

This week's TWD pick was chosen by Rachel of Sweet Tarte. This recipe was actually on my shortlist when it was my turn to pick back in June but I decided against it because I couldn't get fresh peaches. Unfortunately it is still winter here so no fresh peaches!

This is essentially a sweet pastry base topped with custard, sliced peaches and a streusel topping. Just as the name says it is a 'Crunchy and Custardy Peach tart'!

This was a breeze to make and as always I am grateful to have discovered Dorie's Sweet Tart Dough recipe. It has forever cured me of my aversion to making pastry.

I did stray from the recipe slightly. I used the original tart dough, no almond essence (blech!) and pecans instead of almonds in the streusel. All of which could account for ...

The taste test ...

It was - nice. There was pastry, custard, peaches and streusel. All tasty. But there was definitely something missing and I think it was juicy, flavour packed fresh peaches. My canned peaches tasted quite peachy on their own but they were totally lost in this tart making the whole thing a little too sweet and a little bland. So disappointing!

Thanks to Rachel for a great pick. Sorry I couldn't do justice to it! You will find the recipe on Sweet Tarte or check out what the other TWDers got up to here.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tuesdays with Dorie: Oatmeal Breakfast Bread

This week's Oatmeal Breakfast Bread was another hidden gem. Well not hidden exactly, but I had certainly never noticed it until it was picked by Natalie of Oven Love!

It also falls into the ugly but delicious category because try as I might I could not get a decent photo.

Let me just say that I loved this bread. Made without any butter it is incredibly moist from the apple puree and buttermilk and the house smelt amazing while it was baking. Because it was so moist it was a little hard to tell when it was done but in the end it was perfect. I used raisins and dried apple in mine and it was fabulous.

I found the streusel topping a little hard to manage, as in most of it fell off every time a slice was cut. Next time I might skip the topping altogether so that I can toast a piece straight from the freezer.

Thank you to Natalie for hosting this week. Wonderful choice! Make sure you check out her blog Oven Love for the recipe.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Tuesdays with Dorie: Chocolate Ganache Ice Cream Sundaes

This week Katrina of Baking and Boys chose Dorie's Chocolate Ganache Ice Cream. My first thought? Drooooool. My second thought? Damn ...

While I am a lot more relaxed with food this pregnancy the raw/undercooked egg thing still spooks me. So rather than make a batch of what I am sure is truly awesome ice cream that I won't eat, this time around I just made the ganache.

I turned a lovely, creamy vanilla ice cream into rocky road by adding chopped marshmallows, chocolate covered peanuts and a few jelly babies and topped it all off with lashings of gorgeous chocolate ganache.

The taste test ...

This was sweet, rich and very naughty! I'm sure it doesn't even come close to the deliciousness of the original recipe but we enjoyed it anyway.

Thanks to Katrina for a great pick! It is now top of my list for post-pregnancy baking. Incidentally I finally got around to ordering The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz so I predict a lot of ice cream this summer!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Tuesdays with Dorie: Gingered Carrot Cookies

After all the brownies and blondies we've had, finally a cookie for us redheads! Dorie says she created these cookies by accident but I say making carrot cake in cookie form is pure genius :)

While carrot cake can be a stodgy, oily disaster, these were fantastic! Plus they were a breeze to make and we had everything in the pantry already which I love. I used 1/2 teaspoon of mixed spice (cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice) in addition to the ginger which gave them a lovely warmth and perfectly complemented the nuts and raisins.

I only made half a batch and got 16 decent sized cookies. I also whipped up a quick cream cheese icing for some while the rest of the batch ended up in the freezer.

The taste test ...

Umm, it's carrot cake in cookie form so of course they were tasty! They're not special occasion cookies but for everyday I would definitely make them again. That's really all you need to know.

Thanks to Natalia of gatti fili e farina for this week's pick! You can find the recipe on her blog.
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