honey nut scones

Of all the tasty treats I bake, scones are my favorite. I often bake them right before my kick-ass group cycling class on Saturday mornings. A time when I wake up a little too early, but not super early.  They’re perfect, because, with scones you don’t have to wait for room-temperature butter, the ingredients come together quickly, and they’re unfussy.

Honey Nut Scones were baked by the Tuesdays with Dorie bakers in November of 2011. Jeannette of The Whimsical Cupcake was the host and you can find the recipe HERE or in Dorie Greenspan’s Baking…From My Home to Yours.

a trip of cookies

What do you call a group of cookies? A gaggle, a cache, a bunch of goodness? A group of goats is called a trip. I learned that from a Snapple Fact. Another cool Snapple Fact: Snails have teeth.

Over the past several weeks I’ve baked a bunch of cookies for baptismal parties, for birthday parties, or for just plain eating.

Bittersweet Brownies–A plain, simple brownie with a wallop of amazing chocolate flavor.  Made without nuts because sometimes I don’t feel like a nut. The Tuesdays with Dorie bakers made these in November 2011. Leslie of Lethally Delicious was the host and you can find the recipe HERE.

Drunk Cherry Chip Cookies–A delicious twist on the traditional chocolate chip cookie made with white and semi-sweet chocolate chips and dried cherries soaked in cherry liquor. I’ve blogged about these cookies twice before , baked them multiple times, and now I’ve renamed them again. You can find the recipe HERE.

Earl Grey Madeleines–I had some Earl Grey tea bag samples from a conference I attended and decided to bake these traditional French butter cookie. I liked the infused flavor of the tea and bought a tin of Earl Grey the next time I was at the tea shop.  Baked by the Tuesdays with Dorie group in December 2011 and hosted by Nichi of Bakeologie. You can find the recipe HERE.

Homemade Thin Mints–An easy recipe for the Girl Scout classic. Tasty, crunchy, and minty. You can find the recipe HERE.

Homemade Samoas–Another Girl Scout classic. Coconut, caramel, and chocolate on a shortbread cookie base. Taste better than the door-to-door variety. You can find the recipe HERE.

Peanuttiest Blondies–Made with both peanut butter and peanuts, they really are peanutty. The addition of chocolate chips and cinnamon make them out of this world delicious. Perfect on their own or with vanilla ice cream. Baked by the Tuesdays with Dorie group in December 2010 and hosted by Nichi of Bakeologie. (I had no idea I baked two recipes hosted by the same blogger until I started writing this post!). You can find the recipe HERE.

photos by paulrus

Dairy Milk Cupcakes

In pursuit of the perfect English chocolate cupcake, I present to you my third attempt. Although not perfect, I now know the next few tweaks that will get me closer to my goal. The frosting on this version is still the whipped ganache I used for version #2. We really like it. It’s not too sweet and it’s simple: melted chocolate and heavy cream. Unfortunately, I over-whipped this batch.  The base cupcake is Dorie Greenspan’s Chocolate Chocolate Cupcakes with Dairy Milk substitutions. My first attempt at English chocolate cupcakes also used Dorie’s recipe and that has been our favorite over this course.

In the time since baking these, I baked a 4th version using a “perfected” chocolate cupcake recipe I pulled out of Food & Wine magazine  a few years ago and relegated to my magazine stack until now. I am sparing you all not sharing that version because although tasty, it wasn’t close to perfect. Until next time…

Photos by Paulrus

Pain a l’Ancienne

Before I took a loooooooong blogging break, I was a member of the BBA Challenge group and baked my way through most of The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. I’m finishing what I started and following along with the few remaining  formulas.

As it happens, once I decided to do this  my stand mixer decided to break. It broke soon after I bought a new hand mixer. My old hand mixer broke soon after I bought my stand mixer 4 years ago. I’m thinking there is a strange vortex in my house that doesn’t allow mixers  to mix with each other. Anyway, all this means is that I am now kneading all my breads by hand. Yes, kneading dough is a wonderful relaxing experience. Yes, it’s a good workout for the arms. But, darn it, I miss being able to do things while the machine did the work.

I encourage you to read Peter Reinhart’s story of Pain a l’Ancienne in The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. It reads very cloak and dagger (for bakers) in the streets of Paris and how the flavor of this bread is amazing because the delayed fermentation method allows the release of more sugar (flavor!) from the starches than typical bread making methodologies.

It’s true, this bread is full of flavor. It’s also not a lot of work when you don’t have a mixer. You combine the ingredients and then stick in the refrigerator. Not a lot of kneading. :)

You can find the recipe for this bread on page 191 of The Bread Baker’s Apprentice.

{twd} Irish Soda Bread

In less than two months, Paul and I are exchanging vows and rings in a simple, casual backyard ceremony. After a semi-meltdown over invitations, I’ve realized  our nonwedding-wedding is slowly turning into a wedding-wedding. Ack! Our guest list is expanding, mothers are coordinating their dresses, and I’m threatening elopement.

After taking a few deep breaths and focusing on peacelovehappiness , I’m back in my zen state of simple and casual. Invitations are en route, I’ve ordered my dress, and we’re still doing it barefoot.

On this note, I’m excited to report that this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe–Irish Soda Bread–remained simple as promised.  In fact, it is so easy, I’ve made it twice.

The hosts for today are Cathy of My Culinary Mission  and Carla of Chocolate Moosey. Visit their blogs for the recipe or buy the book.