{sms} Bee Stings, omg

Bee Stings, a brioche-like doughnut filled with vanilla pastry cream and dipped in a caramel honey glaze, was this week’s recipe selection for Sweet Melissa Sundays.

I was stung. I followed the recipe {i thought} and my results were disastrous. Maybe disastrous is too strong of of word. Instead of cute little doughnut-like puffs I got hockey pucks. The taste was there, but the they were flat and dense. Into the garbage they went. This was were I planned to end it. I tried and failed.

First batch--dense hockey pucks

First batch--dense hockey pucks

Then I took a shower and ate lunch {it’s amazing what food can do!} and felt re-energized. I read the brioche section of The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. In a side bar, Peter Reinhart writes it is especially important to allow the dough to rest to allow for gluten development before adding the fat. It turns out that the fat coats the protein and can prevent or hinder the gluten from developing which is bad when you need to help yeasted breads.

I decided to try to make the Bee Stings again. In between I made the Middle-Class Brioche dough for The Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge. The brioche dough came together like butter {ha ha}. I decided to apply the techniques from the BBA to the Bee Stings.

Here are my tips for successful Bee Stings:

  • Mix milk, sour cream, egg, vanilla, & half of flour using the paddle attachment for your stand mixer (not whisk).
  • Add rest of flour, sugar, yeast, and salt and mix using the paddle attachment. Do not switch to dough hook. Once ingredients are well mixed and hydrated. Turn machine off and let dough rest for at least 5 minutes to allow for gluten development.
  • After rest, turn mixer back on to medium speed and add butter in tablespoon chunks one at a time. Make sure each chunk is fully incorporated before adding the next.
  • Continue using paddle attachment and turn machine to medium-high. Mix for 10 to 15 minutes (could be longer), occasionally scraping down sides.
  • If you follow these steps, the dough will come together and not stick to the sides. Whatever you do, Do NOT Add more flour. You will get dense hockey pucks if you do.
  • When the dough is ready, it will be smooth and shiny and elastic and want to stick together.
  • Also, I would make the pastry cream using the direct method as opposed to the double-boiler method used in the book. It took way too long to make using the double-boiler.

Thanks to Jaime of  Good Eats and Sweet Treats for selecting this tasty treat. Once I got it right, they were wonderful! If you would like the recipe, please visit Jaime’s blog.


‘quick’ puff pastry and palmiers


If this was the quick method for puff pastry, I’m not sure I want to ever attempt the authentic method of making it. Actually, it was fairly quick. I just had to have a lot of faith while rolling it. The recipe for Quick Puff Pastry comes from Cindy Mushet’s The Art and Soul of Baking.


I have now learned that puff pastry is butter with a little bit of flour. Similar to croissant dough, but without yeast, puff pastry requires three turns–rolling, folding, and refrigerating. The ‘dough’–Cindy even uses dough with quotes–is shaggy and doesn’t form a smooth mass until the final roll. She says to trust her. And trust her I did. You can find the recipe for Quick Puff Pastry HERE. I’ll warn you before you look; it uses 4 1/2 sticks of butter.


Palmiers, or elephant ears, are crisp cookies made with puff pastry rolled in sugar.  They are simple to make once you have puff pastry.  You roll out the dough in lots of sugar and then you roll the ends up into each other. Refrigerate it for a bit, then slice, roll in more sugar, and bake.  The secret of getting nice and crispy palmiers is to allow enough time for the sugar to start caramelizing before flipping the cookies over. You want a nice golden color around the edges which is a sign that the sugar is doing its thing.


Because of the way they are cut and baked, palmiers puff out not up. I was so excited when I saw that my puff pastry was actually puffing. I did a happy dance in the kitchen. Then tweeted about it.

I made plain palmiers, but you could use vanilla sugar or add some spices to the sugar.They’re great on their own, but even better with ice cream. They supposedly keep up to two weeks. I wouldn’t know anything about that; they didn’t last that long!



Adapted from The Art & Soul of Baking
  1. Generously sprinkle sugar over work surface. Place puff pastry in center and sprinkle top with more sugar completely covering it. Roll dough out to a 16 by 10- inch rectangle, sprinkling top and bottom as needed to prevent sticking.
  2. Starting at each short end, fold over the first two inches. Repeat, folding the dough over the next two inches. When the two sides meet in the middle, fold one over the other.  When you are done, the ends should look like a heart. Wrap roll in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Place rack in middle and preheat oven to 350 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat. Pour some sugar in a small bowl. Take roll out of refrigerator and cut 12 1/4-inch thick slices, dip both sides in sugar, and place 2-inches apart on baking sheet. Rewrap roll and return to refrigerator. Bake the cookies for 7 to 10 minutes or until golden at the edges. Flip cookies over and bake for 9 to 12 minutes longer, until they are a deep golden brown. Transfer to rack and cool completely.  Repeat with remaining dough. You could also freeze it for baking on another day.

Vegan Bacon-Cheddar Burger with Sautéed Mushrooms


I made my own bacon! Okay, it was Tempeh Bacon and it didn’t really require much work. Just slice the tempeh, rub it with crushed garlic, and marinate it in a mixture of soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, and tomato paste. The recipe comes from  Vegan with a Vengeance and you can find it HERE.

I just sautéed the mushrooms in olive oil and cheese comes from Vegan Gourmet. It says it melts, but I haven’t actually witnessed that yet.

The Veggie Burger is also a recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance and uses TVP (textured vegetable protein), which I’ve never used before. TVP is dehydrated, defatted soy protein. Using it helps create a ground-meat texture. In addition to the TVP, the burger also has finely chopped onions, carrots, and mushrooms.

My dessert for Vegan Tuesday was that monstrosity you see in the post below. I didn’t use butter, just oil.

Go over to Veggie Num Nums and see the Barley Soup with Grilled Bread and Tomatoes Michele made for Vegan Tuesdays.

{db} strudel


The May Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Linda of make life sweeter! and Courtney of Coco Cooks. They chose Apple Strudel from the recipe book Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague by Rick Rodgers.


I had decided not to make this month’s challenge. I had too many things going on both in the baking/blogging world and the real world.  So, of course, shortly after I publicly announce I’m not going to participate this month I go ahead and make it.


The strudel was easier than I thought it would be. The instructions were a little intimidating. All the stretching and pulling and holes. I made a 1/4 of the recipe and instead of the traditional apple filling I used fresh blueberries and cherries.


The end result? It looks horrible. My strudel reminds me of Necron Slime. I don’t know what Necron Slime is exactly–just something from a cartoon I vaguely remember from childhood.  I now think my strudel looks like a psychedelic sea cucumber. I think it fits my baked strudel.


Update: I also realize I over-stuffed it, which is a problem with me and burritos. Now that I know how to do it right. I’m definitely making again.

{twd} chipster topped brownies topped with gelato


A brownie topped with a chocolate chip cookie. How more decadent can it get? Add Gianduja Gelato!

This week’s Tuesdays With Dorie, Chipster Topped Brownies, are brownies baked with a layer of chocolate chip cookie dough on top. In my case, instead of chocolate chips, I added the mini peanut butter cups they sell at Trader Joes.

I made the brownies for a Memorial Day BBQ at my brother’s house. For some reason, my timing was off and these came out of the oven just as I should have been getting ready to leave my house.  Ever since I’ve started this baking/cooking thing, I’ve started arriving late to parties. And it’s not just the baking, it’s the rushing around taking pictures of what I baked because it’s my only chance before I give it away.

I dumped the still warm brownies out of the pan and cut it into squares. I don’t know if the slices would have been prettier if I had let the brownies cool, but I’m going with that story. In the end, it doesn’t matter that they weren’t the neatest squares–people gobbled them up.

And, of course, I brought ice cream. This week I made Gianduja Gelato from The Perfect Scoop. It’s a hazelnut-milk chocolate bit of heaven. You can find the recipe HERE. To all my friends with ice cream makers: make this the next time you make ice cream.

Thank you to Beth of Supplicious for picking this recipe as we bake our way through Dorie Greenspan’s Baking…From My Home to Yours. It was a great choice! If you would like the recipe please visit her blog.