Tuesday, April 16, 2013


T U E S D A Y S   W I T H   D O R I E
Special thanks to this week's host:  
Katie & Amy of My Culinary Mission 

"They're Madeleines. No, I didn't buy them from Madeleine's (the French patisserie down the street from my office). They're called Madeleines. No, Madeleine's didn't bake them. I made them. No, they are not named after little Madeline."

This Baking with Julia recipe "Ladyfinger Genoise" batter is courtesy of Flo Braker, contributing baker. Madeleines are a light, sponge cake cookie, a simple genoise batter - made from cake flour, sugar, eggs, egg yolks, a touch of vanilla  and melted butter. Piped into madeleine molds, they are delightfully simple to prepare. No time to bake? Simply keep the batter chilled overnight and bake them the next day or so. Flo recommends baking immediately after preparing the batter, but I say "pashaw" (with a French accent). These came out light, puffy and perfectly baked in just 10 minutes - right from the refrigerator.

C'est chic, little Madeline-approved.

– mike

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Malted Milk Pots de Créme

F.   Is it any wonder my high school French classes haunt me to this day? A quintessential French classic, pots de créme is classified in my recipe book, as easy-to-make, easy-to-bake. A piece of cake. It felt more like French Finals week.    

BAKED'S inaugural recipe for 2013, Malted Milk Pots de Créme, is made with one of my favorite ingredients: malted milk powder. A base, similar to ice cream, is made with milk chocolate, egg yolks, heavy cream, sugar and malted milk powder. Poured into custard cups and baked in a bain marie (hey, I'm using French!) or simply put, a "water bath", it transforms into a thick, custardy confection. Sometimes. Even after chilling for one day, a spoon was not necessary, more like a straw. The piéce de résistance is a garnish of crushed malted milk balls - hardly necessary at this point. I plan to use the chilled Malted Milk Pots de Creme in my trusty Cuisinart (also French) ice cream maker for extra credit. Or at least try to elevate it to a C.

To get the recipe, venture on over to BAKED SUNDAY MORNINGS.

–  mike

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Classic (Salty) Shortbread

Short.  A neighbor friend would always leave pie-shaped shortbread cookies at my door during the holidays. Wrapped in plastic wrap, tied with ribbon, I appreciated the homemade gesture of friendship - until I was over at her house recently for coffee. Sipping, chatting, wrapping Walkers shortbread in plastic wrap, tied with a ribbon.   

BAKED'S finale for 2012, Classic Shortbread with Fleur de Sel, is something simple, short and definitely homemade. Aside from the traditional shortbread ingredients of butter, sugar (with BAKED'S choice of either confectioner or granular sugar), an egg yolk and a dash of salt, they include a small amount of rice flour. Rice? Ok, I'll give it a shot. Tender, buttery cookies that stand up to whatever shape you choose. Most shortbread recipes spread, making me wonder why rolling and cutting in cute, fanciful shapes is even necessary. These heavenly squares, sprinkled with fleur de sel, put any store-bought shortbread to shame.

To get the recipe, venture on over to BAKED SUNDAY MORNINGS.

–  h a p p y   n e w  y e a r !     mike

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Soft Salted Caramels

Kraft.  I always thought, who in their right mind would go to the trouble of making their own caramels? They're readily available on the shelf and who would know the difference? I thought it ranked right up there with 'make your own graham crackers' or 'make your own vanilla wafers'.   
BAKED'S creation, Soft Candy Caramels, are proof that it's worth going the extra mile.

Soft, candy-like - but all grown up. A sprinkling of fleur de sel on top gives them that salty-sweet flavor that was - and is - still popular.

Of course anything that features boiled sugar, corn syrup and condensed milk can't be bad. Speaking of bad, I failed with the first attempt, but am glad I tried, tried again. This batch turned out considerably better. They are headed to the office tomorrow. I hope they are a nice variation to the already-stuffed counters of holiday bakery goods.

I'll just tell them I removed the plastic Kraft wrappers and used my own.

To get the recipe, venture on over to BAKED SUNDAY MORNINGS.

 –  h a p p y   h o l i d a y s !     mike

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Spicy (Chili) Brownies

 Ho Ho Hot.  I started off the proverbial holiday baking bonanza with these spicey brownies. I figured they might stand out against all the other office-baked goods - baked by people who never bake during the year, but feel obligated to in December. Sugar cookies with canned frosting, topped with sprinkles. 

BAKED'S creation, Spicy Brownies, are right on target.

They get their spicy "zing" from not only a heaping tablespoon of ancho chili powder, but from a healthy dose of both fresh grated and ground ginger which really gives them a kick. Fresh grated cinnamon tones down the spiciness - and brings it into a holiday treat, in my opinion. Dense, fudgey, a perfect holiday brownie.

They were a hit at the office. What set mine apart were the sprinkles - which I begrudgingly added - just so I fit in.

To get the recipe for this unique breakfast treat, venture on over to BAKED SUNDAY MORNINGS.

 –  h a p p y   h o l i d a y s !     mike

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Scones

 "Hey, you got peanut butter in my scones". Sunday's Morning's BAKED breakfast starts off with a roaring dose of oatmeal. But wait, something looks a little unique about this breakfast. Something odd, but with a familiar flavor. Let's take a bite and find out. 

BAKED'S creation, Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Scones, is truly a one-of-a-kind creation.

They start off with your traditional lineup - flour, butter, salt, oats - with a sugary kick of dark brown sugar - and mixed with an egg yolk and buttermilk. Oh, and a non-traditional one-half cup of peanut butter. Based on all the other scone recipes I've made, which have a ratio of 2 cups flour to 1 tablespoon baking powder, I added a second teaspoon of powder in addition to the baking soda - just for good measure. I figured all that peanut butter and oats would need a little extra nudge to rise and shine. Rather than cut them out into individual triangular scones BAKED recommends scoring and leaving it in the round. I'm not sure why, but I'm up for new adventures in baking.

Did I have these for breakfast? No. Would I? No. These were tasty - who can't help but love the combination of PB&C - but there was something odd about chewing a scone with the flavor of a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. I found myself searching for the traditional cream, currants or jam with every bite.

Should you try them? Certainly. You might just love the collision of chocolate and peanut butter for breakfast!

To get the recipe for this unique breakfast treat, venture on over to BAKED SUNDAY MORNINGS.

 – mike

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

French Strawberry Cake

T U E S D A Y S   W I T H   D O R I E
Special thanks to this week's hostesses:  
Sophia of Sophia's Sweets & 

Génoise. Genoese. Genovese.  Funny how our French cake is actually an Italian sponge cake, named after the city of Genoa. Feeling somewhat confused and desiring the need for more more clarification (along with a baker's quick how-to), I consulted my Julia DVD for some génoise cake-education. 
Strawberry Cake
This Baking with Julia recipe is courtesy of Flo Braker, contributing baker. What Flo refers to as a "French Strawberry Cake" reminds me of an American "strawberry shortcake" recipe, minus the shortcake. In true French fashion, this génoise cake is the star. Less rich than a butter cake, this version uses whole eggs and a smidgen of melted butter for its flavor and leavening. In between the génoise layers are sliced, macerated strawberries and fresh whipped cream -  flavored with a touch of sour cream and vanilla. I brushed each layer with a simple syrup made with kirsch and some of the strawberry juice (a trick I picked up during my Julia consult). Light, summery and deliciously Italian (er . . . French).

Special thanks to Sophia and Allison for hosting this week's recipe - visit their blogs to get the recipe.

– mike