Tuesdays with Dorie…My First Biscotti!

Its true – I’ve never made biscotti before. In fact, I’d only ever eaten it a couple of times. I have to say, I’ve never been a big fan of biscotti – I know you’re supposed to dunk it in your coffee and all, but its just too crunchy and hard for my taste. Those chocolatey kind at Starbucks aren’t half bad, but its not something I want to spend money on. I wasn’t thrilled about this week’s choice – Lenox Almond Biscotti, chosen by Gretchen of Canela and Comino, but I really wanted to give it a chance, especially since last week’s recipe was such a bust.

After all was said and done, I actually really enjoyed these. They weren’t too crunchy and really were excellent with my coffee! I will say, though, the cornmeal kinda threw me off a little….but not enough to cause a problem! These were great and I’ll most definitely be making them again!!

If you want the recipe, visit Gretchen’s blog! These are really great – give ‘em a try!!

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Tuesdays with Dorie…yuck.

As I sit here, listening to my husband’s rantings about the “dadgum @#%$%^&*#  round cake pan thingie (springform pan) that is impossible to clean” (hey, but its nice to have help in the kitchen, right?), I’ve come to the conclusion that I really dislike caramel…and peanuts….on top of a brownie cake. In fact, I hate it. It was so bad, I threw the whole thing in the trash – there’s no way I would’ve sent that to work with hubby tomorrow – nuh-uh, no way.  However, it was most likely completely my fault. I think I overbaked my cake – thus making it dry; I think I over cooked my caramel, thus giving it a funky kind of flavor. Not a tasty cake.  I’m very glad I made it, though – I almost skipped TWD this week…again. I’m glad I didn’t, though – I’ve been dying to make the Caramel-Peanut Topped Brownie Cake (chosen by Tammy of Wee Treats by Tammy), and now I know that I don’t like it – which is really disappointing, but at least now I know!

And yes, I know, once again my pictures are total and utter doo-doo. I waited until the last minute to make this and had to take my pictures at night….again. All these hideous photos are starting to really bum me out….

If you would like the recipe (don’t worry – I’m sure yours will most definitely turn out better than mine), go visit Tammy’s blog. Maybe next week I’ll be more responsible and not wait until 8:00 the night before to start baking….maybe.

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So you’ve all seen the lovely picture of our new house in one of the posts below…yay, shiny new house! We’ve been living here for almost two weeks now and its really become a “home” – all the furniture’s moved in, the rooms are painted, the pictures are hung, the hideous 80’s-esque sliding mirrored doors in the bathroom are gone (thank the Lord for that!). Everything is near perfect….except when it comes to photographing my food!!! In our old apartment, I had a perfect picture-taking area in my dining room; there was a window that provided exactly enough natural light – perfect for an amateur food blogger with little to no photography skills. So now I have my wonderfully large, formal dining area in my lovely new house- perfect for hosting a large dinner party….but there’s no place to take good pictures! I have plenty of windows, but by the time I get finished making dinner/baking for TWD, there’s not enough light coming through them. All I get is shadows. Boo!! Now I know I’m probably being a tad dramatic (its what I do best), and I’m sure after lots of experimenting I’ll eventually find an ideal spot for my food pics! Until then, I guess I’ll go ahead and post these fugly pictures….please don’t judge me.

Ok, I’ll get to the point of this post, which is obviously, my first TWD in my new kitchen!! YIPPEE!!  So, Dimply Plum Cake, chosen by Michelle of Bake-En…this was “WOW-OHMYGOSH-BLOW-ME-AWAY GOOD!   Here’s the gist of the cake: sweet juicy plum halves are nestled down in a cake batter with brown sugar, orange zest and lots of vanilla…..sound good? Oh trust me, it is!

As I was reading through the recipe I was sort of thinking to myself, “oooh, you know, I bet the actual cake part of this won’t have a whole lot of flavor…hmmm, maybe I should add something to it…hmmm’“. I thought long and hard about adding a little something extra to the cake batter to give it some oomph; but in the end I decided not to because well, um, its Dorie, and she’s a freaking genius. Good thing I didn’t – the cake part (minus the plums) could’ve stood on its own two feet as far as I’m concerned! The orange zest and vanilla added so much flavor – and it was super moist! Oh-so-yummy!! The plums on top only added to the deliciousness – they got all soft and juicy…mmm. I loved this cake, people – LOVED it. In fact, I think I’d go so far as to say this is my favorite TWD recipe so far!

Its just too bad my pictures are so funky looking. All shadowy and weird. Promise you won’t write my blog off because of the steady stream of bad pictures that are inevitably headed your way….just accept me in spite of my hideous photo-taking skills. Don’t worry, they’ll get better – I promise!

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This week’s recipe was Chocolate Malted Whopper Drops chosen by Rachel of Confessions of a Tangerine Tart.   Ok, now, I have to confess – when I first got Dorie’s cookbook, Baking From My Home to Yours (aka: the book that changed my life!), I immediately saw this recipe and did a mental, “BLECH!” I’m sorry, but these cookies were one of the firsts on my  “probably won’t try” list. I’m not a huge fan of whoppers to begin with, so when I found out Rachel had picked these for TWD this week, I wasn’t really enthusiastic about making them. Buuuut, I figured I’d give them a try for variety’s sake and also since my dad really likes whoppers.

Ok, believe it or not, I really liked these! I mean, I don’t know if I liked them enough to make them all that often, but at least now I’ve tried them and know that they’re really not bad!  Here’s a run-down of some of the main ingredients: chopped up whoppers, malted milk powder (I used chocolate), chopped bittersweet chocolate and cocoa powder (to name just a few). As they bake, the whoppers inside the cookies sort of caramelize and come out really chewy and toffee-like. (I really liked that!) The cookies were super moist and chewy, almost like a brownie.

I will say, though, I stored these in a ziploc bag overnight and the next day the cookies tasted totally different. I didn’t like them at all the next day – in fact, I ended up having to throw them out.  Warm out of the oven was a totally different story, though – I think I ate about 10 in one night!

If you would like the recipe for these funky whopper cookies, head on over to Rachel’s blog and check it out!

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Well, the title really does say it all. These cookies should not be in existence right now….I should be in Playa del Carmen with my smiling husband, sipping frozen drinks, lying on a sunny beach, enjoying a temporary escape from our busy, dramatic and chaotic life…not blogging about these cookies. Obviously Hurricane Gustav had other plans for our little vacation. Soooo, as it turns out, I had plenty of time to bake, photograph and blog about these delightful cookies for this week’s TWD.

This week’s TWD recipe was Chunky Peanut Butter and Oatmeal Chocolate Chipsters (what a mouthful!), chosen by Stefany of Proceed With Caution.  These reminded me of a monster cookie (one of my favorites!), but had a few small ingredients that made them a little different. We really enjoyed these – I froze the leftover dough to save as a nice treat for everybody who will be helping us move into our new house in two weeks (yaaaaaaay!)

A few of the ingredients included: Peanut butter (I used Natural because some of the girls suggested trying it if you wanted a more “peanutty taste”), chocolate chips, old fashioned oats, cinnamon (this gave a really nice flavor!), grated nutmeg and brown sugar to name a few. I cut the recipe in half and still had a ton of dough. These were a great cookie (although they didn’t taste quite as good as a trip to Mexico) and if you would like the recipe, visit Stefany’s Blog.

** On an separate note, I would like all of the people in the areas affected by Hurricane Gustav to know that you are in our thoughts and prayers.

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Well, let me just start off by saying- I’m thrilled. Really. Not only do I absolutely adore baking cookies, eating cookies, decorating cookies, giving cookies and everything possible to do with cookies, but I’m finally getting to bake cookies for Tuesdays with Dorie! This is the first real “cookie” recipe chosen (well, unless you count the very first TWD recipe, which was Shortbread…I guess you might count that, but I choose not to)!!! Groundbreaking!! Spectacular!! And what a doozy of a pick – Granola Grabbers, chosen by Michelle of Bad Girl Baking!! Honestly, I wasn’t expecting much….I mean, how good can they be? Granola…eh. Nuts…eh. Coconut…eh. Raisins…YUCK. You can see my attitude toward these cookies was less than positive…..at first!

I decided to give these cookies a shot – of course I substituted chocolate chips for the raisins, duh! And they were delicious….hubby loved them!! The granola I used had a touch of cinnamon that went perfectly with the chocolate chips and peanuts! Incidentally, I did NOT send these cookies to work with hubby the next day…nope, these babies stayed safe at home with mama this time! In case you’re curious as to what’s in these, I’ll give you the gist: granola, chocolate chips, wheat germ (my first time using this – surprisingly a pleasant addition!), coconut, salted peanuts and almonds – really tasty combo, really. I was lucky enough to have my very good, long-time friend, Susan stop by for a visit the day I made these and she was kind enough to sample them and give her opinion. Her response was, “Mm, these are good! Good call leaving out the raisins..really good call.” Coming from Susan, I was thrilled.

This is a fantastic cookie recipe, really! Do me a favor and head on over to Michelle’s blog and get the recipe. You won’t be sorry – your kids/grandkids/parents/best friends/neighbors/boyfriends/girlfriends/whoever will be oh-so-glad you did!! Thanks Michelle, you bag girl baking, you! ;-)

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…but this cake is!! Tee hee, there’s my sad attempt at a little humor……ok enough of that! This week’s recipe was the Black and White Banana Loaf, chosen by Ashlee of A Year In The Kitchen, and I gotta say – the more I thought about it, the more I decided this was a fantastic pick! Way to go, Ashlee!! It seems like an awful lot of the picks lately have either been chocolatey and richer than rich or a fruit cobbler or some sort. (Don’t get me wrong, I love rich and I love me some cobbler, but I can only handle so much, right?) This cake..loaf..bread..whatever you want to call it absolutely hit the spot! It was slightly chocolatey, but not knock-your-socks-off-go-into-a-sugar-coma chocolatey – just a hint of chocolate, and it was the perfect amount. And the banana flavor was just strong enough, but not too strong – again, perfect. Both hubby and I (and hopefully my parents – I left half of the loaf with them!) thoroughly enjoyed it – it was the perfect amount of sweetness and really moist!

I got lucky and my marbling somehow turned out perfectly (well, in my opinion it did, at least!). Some of the folks at TWD had said their batter was too runny and that there marbling didn’t quite turn out, so naturally I was afraid the same thing would happen to mine, but I guess the baking gods were smiling upon me and my loaf!

If you want the recipe, head over to Ashlee’s blog and check out her take on the Black and White Banana Loaf. Also, check out our TWD site to see all the other fabulous bakers’ versions of this weeks’ recipe!   I’m just gonna tell you right now – you want this recipe…its stinking GOOD.

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Tuesdays with Dorie…

This week’s recipe was Dorie’s Summer Fruit Galette (delicious!) chosen by Michelle of Michelle In Colorado Springs. Lately, over at TWD, we’ve started doing things a wee bit differently; for instance, now we’ve started being informed of the chosen recipes for the entire month, instead of one week at a time. I think I’m the only person out of the entire group who doesn’t really cozy up to this idea. Call me crazy, but I enjoy finding out one recipe at a time – its like a little weekly surprise! It sure makes Mondays a little more enjoyable, I’ll say that! But, I understand most of the members’ reasonings for wanting this new method- going to the grocery store sucks. Let’s just come right out and say it. Nobody likes to go more than they absolutely have to, so by finding out the whole month’s TWD recipes, it allows us to go the the store one time and get everything we need for the whole month of baking. I get it.  No judgement here, ladies. That’s why I didn’t make a peep when the idea was proposed…I’m just one of those weird people who like the spontaneity, I guess. I don’t have to have it, though….therefore, no gripes from SingForYourSupper!

Anyway, this galette rocked, in my fruit-and-pie-crust-lovin’ opinion! It starts with Dorie’s perfect Pie Crust, followed by apricot jam, graham cracker crumbs, plenty of fresh sliced summer fruit, such as nectarines, plums, apricots, peaches…(whatever your heart desires! I used nectarines and apricots), then topped with a surprisingly yummy pastry creme and baked….pure delicious, people! If you would like the recipe, and trust me, you do, you can visit Michelle’s blog and she’ll fix you right up! As always, you can see TONS more galettes on the other TWD members’ rockin’ blogs here.

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I hate to say it, but this was the first recipe of Dorie’s that I just flat out did not care for – at all! I thought the day would never come when I would dislike, hate even, one of Dorie’s recipes, but there really is a first time for everything, I guess.

This week’s recipe was Cherry Rhubarb Cobbler, chosen by Amanda of Like Sprinkles on a Cupcake. To start with, I wasn’t too enthusiastic about another biscuit topping “cobbler” (not that it matters what I think – all that matters is the person who chose it, and if she wanted cobbler, than by gosh, cobbler is what she’ll get!), but its a cobbler containing rhurbarb….I think I’ve actually seen rhubarb in person once in my whole life around these parts….but not now apparently – the stuff is darned near impossible to find – so it would be a cherry rhubarb cobbler minus the rhubarb. Maybe that’s why mine was so unappealing – who knows. (At least it looks good, right?)

I bought a truck load of fresh cherries at my farmers market and was all excited to get home and start on my cherry cobbler. Until I realized I had no cherry pitter thingie. Great. I read on the TWD website that you could use a chopstick instead….so there I was in my kitchen, using a chopstick to try to pit my cherries. Five minutes into the process, it looked like I had murdered a small animal or something – bright, red cherry juice – EVERYWHERE. My face, my hair, my clothes, my walls, my hands – my fingers are still stained!- but I managed to get all those @#$%^&! cherries pitted, alright. During the whole process I kept thinking, “this had better be the best cherry cobbler known to man, or else I’m going to be really upset!” Against my better judgement, I decided to go ahead and make the biscuit topping instead of using a different topping like I did last time (the TWD gods were not amused at that), and hope for the best. I pulled it out of the oven and it looked delicious – juicy and red with a nicely browned crumbly topping. The taste, however wasn’t near as good as it looked. Both hubby and I were disappointed in the topping – it tasted like flour and nothing else – and the cherry filling was just “ok”. Now that could be due to the lack of rhubarb – so I won’t judge that part too much. Either way, it didn’t get eaten. And I was disappointed that I made something of Dorie’s that I didn’t care for. I guess it happens though – she can’t make everyone happy 100% of the time. So, there’s always next week (Summer Fruit Galette) and I’m particularly excited about it! Stay tuned!

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This week’s recipe was Dorie’s Double Crust Blueberry Pie, chosen by Amy of South In Your Mouth. I think pretty much all of us at Tuesdays With Dorie loved this pick and thought it was perfect for the 4th of July Holiday! I was really excited to try this recipe for two reasons: 1.) I’ve never had a blueberry pie before and 2.) I’ve actually never made my own piecrust! I couldn’t wait to get started…..only there were hardly ANY blueberries to be had in my grocery store. I don’t know if there’s a “blueberry shortage” or what, but it was near impossible for me to find fresh blueberries (unless I was willing to spend a fortune…which I wasn’t, thank you very much!). So, I had planned on using frozen blueberries; that is, until my good buddy Jessica, over at My Baking Heart invited me to come blackberry picking with her and her mother! YEE HAW! I’d never gone pickin’ for anything before, so I decided fresh blackberries would be delicious!! We got TONS of ripe, delicious blackberries (sorry, Jess sent me the pictures, but I couldn’t figure out how to get them onto my blog, so if you want to see pics from our little outing, go visit her blog – she’s got ‘em up!) and came home and made our pies.

Unfortunately, I had a bit of trouble with my pie crust. I don’t know if I didn’t let it chill long enough before baking or what, but something just didn’t seem right as it was in the oven (as you can see by the picture above!) My crust was MELTING OFF!! It was the strangest thing! Not only that, but it burned rather quickly, too, even covered with foil. However, it was still delicious! I took the pie to my mom and dad’s house for the 4th of July weekend and the crust was a big hit. The blackberry filling was good…just very, very, VERY runny. I guess blackberries weren’t the wisest choice here. We ended up having to eat it with spoons! However, it was still pretty tasty with my mom’s homemade vanilla icecream over the top of it!

Sorry for the crappy pics….I didn’t get ANY good ones of the inside of the pie, mostly because its “innards” were running all over the place and hardly looked suitable for a close-up. Regardless of the appearance of this pie, it was really tasty and my whole family enjoyed it! Nex time, I’ll definitely try it with the fresh blueberries, though!

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