July 2008 Baker's Stash
July 2008 Baker’s Stash
Canada Day Recipe!
Apple Fritters with Warm Toffee Maple Sauce Oh Canada! Serve warm with a maple-tinged caramel sauce. Big chunks of apple in a golden batter with a touch of spice. Great for breakfast, brunch or a summery, post BBQ dessert.
July 4th Recipe!
White chocolate, raspberries, and chocolate covererd (or regular) blueberries for the Red, White and Blue spirit in you - on July 4th or any other time you have a sweet tooth married with a patriotic urge. The chocolate covered blueberries are available at times, from LL Bean but you can also look online. But if you don't have them, you can leave them out for a still-stellar, red/white/blue crunchy biscotti that merits flag waving.
One of those easy but delicious treats you can make ahead, serve when you want, and satisfies a crowd after a BBQ or beach day.
When stress rules, I self-medicate with a newly invented sundae at a local ice-cream shop. My standard is hot fudge with raspberries but just as often, I create or ‘cook’ up my own sundae by playing with the toppings. The last one was inspired. It was soft vanilla ice-cream, of course, swirled with sucre a la crème, heritage Quebecoise fudge much like Southern penuche, puddles of creamy marshmallow sauce and a puree of rhubarb rivered through it. It was so good, I got dizzy. When I came to, my only thought was, I have to make this something less ephemeral than a melt-into-memory sundae so someone else can experience it. I can capture it in a cheesecake! Quel solution. Thus this sweet, tart, exceptional cheesecake was born. I made this cake twice and had some 30 people tasted it. Last I heard, they were still walking around, eyes shut in bliss, fanning themselves. It’s better than S…said one friend who asked to be nameless. That’s high praise for something that is not chocolate. This is, without doubt, the best cheesecake possible (excluding my Chocolate Eruption one and some other choices). It is a cheesecake like that movie, Simply Irresistible, where the baker gal makes caramel cream puffs and the world around her melts in love? This is that sort of cheesecake. Maybe I should call it Fall in Love Cheesecake. Btw – the fudge is easily whipped up in like, 15 minutes so don’t get balky and think this is too much work. That’s like saying the Sistine Chapel is a chore. This is magnificence. It is also my Happy Canada Day Cheesecake – as it contains the ingredients Canucks know well – especially in these parts.
This is really more of a brown sugar tea cake than a bread, but what’s in a name, as they say. Butterscotch bread sounds more interesting. It is a light, moist, deeply caramel tasting cake, with a ¼ inch soft sludgey layer brown sugar fudge topping. A one layer pan cake that is a nice change from chocolate. It is so good that minus the icing, it still disappears in a day or so. It is the perfect crumb, sweetness, height and taste.
This recipe calls for a cup of brewed chai tea. You may use any spice and orange tea, or a standby like Bigelow's Constant Comment or my preference, www.Harneys.com for their superb Oregon Chai tea blend. A touch of vanilla is what makes this 'Oregon', but the orange tones, in this golden, moist, fragrant cake is what pulls it all together. One of my most hit on recipes.
I must have got this more than decades ago from Cosmopolitan Magazine. Yes- how weird is that. It is but four ingredients and makes the most amazing, crisp, flavorful chicken, good hot or cold you will ever taste. The coarse or rock salt, as well as the high oven temperature, crisps the chicken and seals in the flavor. I serve this with wild rice.
Vintage Fruit Cocktail Cake Vintage baking at its best – a low slung, butter coffee cake with an amazing glaze. Easy, satisfying, family style cake that has 50’s goodness with 2008 flair.
Famous Basque Butter and Cream Cake
A rich, dense, buttery shortbread bottom with a pastry cream topping – all baked together for a unique, European tart. This needs an overnight refrigeration but the result is a rich, yet delicate torte that is somehow light, delicate, and elegant. The pastry cream, as with many Euro-style desserts, bakes into the shortbread like bottom and top crusts and in the end, you have a symphony of butter, craem, and vanilla.
Inspired by the movie, Simply Irresistible (another food dvd you have to rent), these are luscious little éclairs. Make these small enough to serve 2-3 per person. These are delicate but decadent miniature éclairs, filled with silken pastry cream and a unique caramel topping. Bakeries use either commercial coffee flavored fondant or caramelized sugar. This novel approach gives you the ease of fondant but retains the nice caramel notes that make the whole concept come together.
Tons of butter, golden raisins, cranberries and cream make these the most tender, moist scones ever.
Almond Poppy Seed Muffins
Somewhere, some Costco or Sam's Club in the land is selling oversized lemon, almond, poppy seed muffins. I was intrigued by the flavors and created this recipe on request, and as per the description of the resplendent almond and poppy seed originals. When I make these, I also add a teaspoon of lemon extract and a touch of lemon juice for a bouquet of flavor.
Fantastic Granola Cookies
These are funky, chunky, chewy, buttery and wonderful. They are also easy, making them summer vacation relaxing. Great picnic packers. Despite the healthy name, these are not heavy or dense. They sprawl out in crisp puddles of cookie. If you want them heftier, add a touch more flour and chill the dough .Nothing but nothing beats the flavor and texture of these cookies. A winner from my early days, baking career. Use store bought granola or the easy B& B Maple Vanilla Honey (Nut Free!) Granola.
Thai Iced Coffee
Add the cardamom and it is Thai iced coffee; leave it out, and it is Classic Iced Coffee. A pretty cool chilled coffee, with outdoor, seaside bistro cachet, brewed to creamy perfection. Just the thing alongside a batch of biscotti.
Rich, Dark, Fudgey Classic American Brownies
Big, fat, chocolatey brownies with an approach that makes them either chewy or cakey – as you wish.
Chicago Deep Dish Stuffed Pizza
No two Chicagoans will tell you exactly the same thing about deep-dish pizza, but these are the basics – three layers of dough, spicy sausage filling, topped with sauce and cheese. Great hot or cold.
Greek Restaurant Vinaigrette
1042 people downloaded this in the past two months. What are you waiting for? I make quarts of this – it suits almost any salad you toss at it.
Bagel dough fashioned into a twisted loaf, stuffed with golden Vidalia onions and roasted garlic. This is an ‘everything’ bread, like an everything bagel. It makes a great sandwich slicing loaf, toast, or is simply satisfying, pulled off in hunks to nibble on with cheese or cream cheese spreads. (p.s. the garlic gets slow roasted in the pan with the sautéed onions)
Famous Terre Etoile Oatmeal Cookies
Terre Etoile Oatmeal Cookies. The Story
I often refer toone of my first jobs, as a creative baker/manager at a health food store café, called Terre Etoile which lived briefly in Montreal in the mid 80’s. There was a bookstore, a stunning architecturally gorgeous sky lit café, health food ingredient store and a little nook that was my bakery. Left there, free to invent whatever I wanted, was unleashed creativity in flour that never seems to have left me. Terre Etoile was the most beautiful place you can imagine and it drew everyone from new age types, to those who knew great California styled sandwiches when they found it and city groupies, in a manner of speaking, who realized early on, this was the place to be. Not surprisingly, despite the dramas (Lawsuit Muffins et al), people I didn’t know I knew then, I became friends with later in life –never realizing we walked alongside each other at Terre Etoile. Others who worked there, I am still in touch with. Sometimes we consider having a Terre Etoile reunion. I’ve talked about Lawsuit Muffins but there were romances aplenty at TE, and other escapades that need their own book. But the cookies? Ah, those were also special.
I was asked to create David’s Style, big, chocolate chunk cookies. I did –and they sold like wildfire. I also made wonderful, oversized oatmeal cookies (wherever there is chocolate chip, one must serve oatmeal). To give us a baking head start, we began making and freezing extra batches of dough, and used magic markers to label the parchment paper packets, so we would know which doughs were which. For some reason, one batch of pens transferred their ink onto the dough. We neatly avoided any problems by just shaving off the pen marked doughs and discarding it. But one day, a few customers saw the pen marks on the dough, as it sat out on the bakery counter, prior to baking and before we had a chance to scoop off the offending black writing. “What IS that?” said one customer. Oh, I said, it’s a vegetable dye, totally edible. Nothing to worry about”.
One of my bakers heard me say it and ended up on the floor, in snickers and convulsive chuckles. He’d heard my baking stories before. The other time was then the blueberries stained the lawsuit muffins and over zealous mixing turned the batter totally greenish blue. Oh that, I explained, that was organic blueberries and they react different with the buttermilk (actually, all blueberries, if you mix too much and a soda-leavened batter will stain the batter).
These days, I still wrap up packets of oatmeal cookie dough to bake when needed. I still mark the packets with big, black writing so I can see at glance what something in the freezer is. And I still smile, thinking of the infamous ‘vegetable dye markers’ I invented. Oh the stories one tells when on the spot. This is a wonderfully, classic oatmeal cookie. Not dense or soggy soft. Not too crisp or hard. Just perfect. Golden, caramel taste with a wee kiss of cinnamon and vanilla. Like Lawsuit Muffins, this cookie helped create my baker’s legend. Famous Terre Etoile Oatmeal Cookies