Archive | August, 2010

Daring Bakers August 2010: In which I am reminded of the virtue of patience and the sin of procrastination.

28 Aug

 

The August 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Elissa of 17 and Baking. For the first time, The Daring Bakers partnered with Sugar High Fridays for a co-event and Elissa was the gracious hostess of both. Using the theme of beurre noisette, or browned butter, Elissa chose to challenge Daring Bakers to make a pound cake to be used in either a Baked Alaska or in Ice Cream Petit Fours. The sources for Elissa’s challenge were Gourmet magazine and David Lebovitz’s “The Perfect Scoop”.

Of the two options I chose Petit Fours. Of course, I waited until last night to even start which turned out to be an awful idea. For some reason, I was just exhausted this week and aside from rehearsals, I couldn’t really get my motivation up.

The good? They taste ok and I got a nice picture.

The bad? The pound cake was…odd. It wasn’t cake like in how it baked. I’m not sure if that is because I didn’t whip the butter enough, or because I used Splenda for sweetener… Both of these could have been corrected if I had the time.

The ice cream was also a Sugar free creation, and wasn’t terribly ice creamy in behavior. It was like melted, then refrozen ice cream. Not inedible, but not 100% right.

One area where U had plenty of time but no patience was coating the Petit Fours. The ones that were fully coated in chocolate held together well enough, but I had just topped some of the others with the melted chocolate, and when I checked on them an hour later, the tops had slid off to the side. Meh.

At least I got a fairly pretty picture:

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So I have learned my lesson; Challenges will get their time and will be done as far in advance as possible. Which means I need to get cracking on my next Daring Cooks assignment.

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Daring Cooks: Pierogies

14 Aug

Well, here it is. My first Daring Kitchen Post

The August 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by LizG of Bits n’ Bites and Anula of Anula’s Kitchen. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make pierogi from scratch and an optional challenge to provide one filling that best represents their locale.

Now, when I started this endeavor, I planned to do one savory and one sweet pierogi. Then I got busy (with the whole directing a musical thing), so I settled on the sweet pierogi – apple pierogi! (I just like saying “pierogi.” Pierogi. Pierogi. Pierogi.)

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One of the finished Apple Pierogies.

Of course, Washington State is known for apples and the house we rent has a apple tree in the backyard that has been dropping apples this whole month.

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The Two Apples destined to be grated into Pierogi Filling.

I also was hoping to use a low carb baking mix, as my husband is diabetic. I whipped up the first batch of dough using Bob’s Red Mill Low Carb Baking Mix. Unfortunately, the dough smelled… funny. And didn’t really behave like dough. So I sighed, and then decided to go for the regular flour. After some calculations, each pierogi should only have about 30 carbs. Currently, we’re aiming for 45-60 carbs per meal. The pierogies were an after dinner treat, and dinner was fairly low carb (chicken and green beans), so it was all good.

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This low carb baking mix sucked for pierogi dough. Not recommended.

Did I mention he’ll be the only one eating these? I don’t care for apple desserts because they usually have cinnamon and cooked apple just is weird to me. So they definitely needed to be husband friendly.

Here is the recipe I used. Very simple. It made 5 – 6” pierogies for me. I could’ve done one more probably if I was more efficient with the filling and the cutting.

Ingredients

Dough

  • 1 1/2 cup Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 teaspoon Sugar
  • 4 tablespoon Butter cold
  • 1 large Egg
  • 1/2 cup Sour cream

Filling

  • 2 each Apple granny smith, peeled, cored, cut into 8 pieces [*for this, I used two apples from my tree and grated them instead of slicing]
  • 1/4 cup Brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1 dash Nutmeg

Preparation

Prep Time: 10 minutes (30 minutes if making dough by hand)

Resting Time: 1 hour

Baking Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Oven Temp: 400F / 200C / Gas Mark 6

1. DOUGH: Put the dry ingredients and butter into a processor and pulse 3 or 4 times. Mix the egg & the sour cream and add to the bowl, letting the machine run until the dough forms a ball around the blade. Remove and knead the dough on a floured board until smooth, then chill for about an hour.

2. When the dough is cold, roll out to 1/4″ thickness (or a bit thinner if you can). Cut into 6″ rounds. Also – preheat oven at this point.

3. Place one piece of apple and some of the other filling ingredients onto the center of the dough [I placed about a fork full of the pre mixed filling], brush the outer edge of the dough with some water, fold the dough over the filling and, using the very tip of the tines of a fork, press down along the edge of the dough to seal the edges together.

OPTIONAL: If you want a shiny finish on the pierogies, give them an egg wash, made with 1 well beaten egg and 1 tablespoon milk.

4. Place pierogies on a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown. Remove from tray and serve.

As far as looks, I’m happy with the final result.

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Leave it to late afternoon sun to make anything look heavenly…

My husband’s remarks after eating one were:”They taste fine. They taste like apple. I wish I can eat them more often.” He hates being put on the spot for quotes, if you couldn’t tell.

So all is well after my first Daring Cooks’ Challenge – however, I am looking forward to one without so much flour in the future.

Stay tuned for my Daring Baker’s Challenge – the reveal date is August 27th, so very soon! I think my cast will be the beneficiaries of the challenge as our first big group meeting is August 23rd.

The Daring Kitchen

1 Aug

In an effort to expand my cooking repertoire and force myself to learn about alternative ingredients (to bring down carb counts in recipes), I decided to join The Daring Kitchen.

The Daring Kitchen is an online community of (mostly) bloggers. Two women who wanted to push their culinary boundaries decided to challenge each other to make biscotti and it grew into a large and thriving community.

I applied and was accepted as both a baker and cook. The two categories are exactly as they sound. Bakers’ challenges are usually desserts or breads. Cooks can be anything, but usually are some type of main entrée or fancy side dish. Each group gets one challenge a month, though the two groups are staggered.

There is some flexibility with the recipes. Substitutions to allow for special dietary needs are ok (vegan, low-carb, gluten free, etc). The main idea is to stay true to the spirit of the recipe. There are usually a few rules for each challenge (i.e. make x from scratch, x ingredient must be used), but nothing too strict.

My first cooks challenge is due for a reveal on August 14th, and my first baking challenge will be revealed on August 27th. I’m super excited to get going, and hope my readers enjoy seeing a few dishes from my kitchen!