{TWD} Coco Loco

coconut butter thins

This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie selection was the oh so delectable Coconut Butter Thins. These cookies are so delicate that Dorie Greenspan almost didn’t include them in her book Baking…From My Home to Yours. That would have been a tragedy. These cookies are so buttery with a great crispy texture. These are the kind of cookies you can eat and eat until you are only left with crumbs.

Coconut Butter Thins are a shortbread cookie flavored with coconut, lime, and lots of butter. There is also a hint of coriander which knocks these cookies out of the stratosphere. I don’t recall ever baking with coriander. Now I’m going to add it to my baking repertoire. It paired well with the other flavors and brought them all to the next level.

coconut cookie scraps coconut butter thins ready to bake

Instead of squares, I used my round cookie cutters and made little circles. Because of the circle shape, I had dough scraps which I reshaped and made more round cookies until I didn’t have any more scraps. Although these scrappy cookies didn’t hold their shape too well {even after refrigeration} and were a little “ugly”, they were still mighty tasty.

ice cream sandwich

This week I also  made Toasted Coconut Ice Cream from David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop and created little ice cream sandwiches. No surprises, the ice cream was great. It’s a custard-based ice cream in which the cream is infused with the flavor of toasted coconut and a scraped vanilla bean {from Tahiti–my supply is getting low, oh no} with a hint of rum. You can find the ice cream recipe HERE.

toasted coconut ice cream

Thank you to Jayne of The Barefoot Kitchen Witch for selecting this recipe. It’s another winner! Please visit her blog for the recipe.

{TWD}Chocolate Armagnac Cake with Chocolate Truffle Prune-Armagnac Ice Cream

Say that 10 times fast!

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This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie selection was the cake that got Dorie Greenspan fired from  her first professional pastry job. Not because it tastes awful–it doesn’t, it’s completely awesome–, but because it was not what the owner and customers were used to. Some people just can’t handle change well.

The original recipe used whiskey and raisins. Dorie’s recipe uses armagnac and prunes. Yes, prunes. I actually love prunes. I think they are mighty tasty, so I had no problem using them for the cake. Armagnac is similar to cognac, but from a specific region in France (Armagnac, actually) and distilled using a slightly different method.

The cake was relatively easy to make. I love setting things on fire {not in the psycho-way, of course}, so flambé-ing   the prunes with armagnac was fun. I used Valrhona Guanaja 70% for the cake. It took a little longer for the cake to bake, probably close to 40 minutes.

Once the cake was baked and cooled, I topped with a glaze made of chocolate, butter, and confectioner’s sugar. I decided to serve the cake with ice cream, of course. For those of you who know, you know I love all sorts of ice cream and am always looking for/making new flavors. Which is weird, because as a child I would only eat plain vanilla. I was a boring eater when young and I’m so glad I’m adventurous now.

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Flipping through David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop, looking for an ice cream recipe that uses prunes–I happened upon Prune-Armagnac Ice Cream. So, of course, I had to make it. David’s Perfect Pairing suggestion was Dark Chocolate Truffles, so I made those too and folded them into the just churned ice cream. Because of the alcohol content of the ice cream–you don’t flambé the prunes*–the ice cream stays on the softer side.

*While you don’t flambé the prunes, I did accidently set them on fire. The recipe says heat the prunes and aramagnac until it just starts to bubble. Well, the liquid just started to bubble and I took the pan off the burner and turned it off. Then I thought, maybe I should let bubble a little more and went to place the pan back on the stove. At the same time I was lighting the burner and the flame must have got a whiff of the alcohol and caught fire. No biggie, I just placed the lid on the pan and flames went right out.

The ice cream tastes super-boozy and it is not one you would take a big spoon and eat a whole pint in one sitting while watching TV. Not that I do that, ever. 😛 I’m glad I added the dark chocolate truffles to temper the taste.You can find the recipe for the ice cream here.

The cake was a success. Because it is so rich and adult-tasting it can actually serve a lot of people. My husband and I had some–P said he liked it until I told him there were prunes in it and then he suddenly didn’t like it. I don’t know how that works. I took some to my parent’s house. They had a couple of out-of-town visitors. All four of them liked it. One actually moaned. And then, I took the rest to work. All from one little 8-inch cake.

Thank you to Lyb of And then I do the dishes {and there were a lot of dishes to do with this recipe!} for selecting the Chocolate Armagnac Cake as this week’s choice as we bake our way through Baking…From My Home to Yours. Please visit her blog for the recipe or buy the book.

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{DB} Flourless Chocolate Cake and Coffee Ice Cream

The Daring Bakers challenge for this month is a flourless chocolate cake and ice cream.

The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE’s blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef.
We have chosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge. You can find the recipes on their blogs.

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Although the hosts suggested vanilla ice cream, we had the option of making any flavor. I’ve made vanilla ice cream countless times, so I decided to make Coffee Ice Cream {and yes, I used it in this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie selection too 😛 }.  The ice cream recipe comes from David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop and you can find it here.

For me, the star was the ice cream. The texture and taste were perfect. As for the cake, I didn’t like the texture. It was too soft and light. As for taste, I felt it was missing something. Maybe salt? I halved the recipe and used Guittard semi-sweet chocolate.

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{TWD} Fleur de Sel Caramel & Cardamon Crunch Bars with Coffee Ice Cream

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I’m eating way too many of these bars while watching the Red Carpet and the Oscars. They’re so good, the bars. The Oscars, I’m sure will be long and drawn out. But I’ll watch the whole show anyway.  And eat these bars–with Coffee Ice Cream!

This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe, from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking…From My Home to Yours, is Carmel Crunch Bars.

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The bars were quick and easy to make and bake. The cookie base is a brown-sugar shortbread with finely chopped chocolate {I used semi-sweet}. The original recipe called for cinnamon. Because I was feeling lazy and didn’t want to grind cinnamon, I substituted cardamon. Plus I thought cardamon would pair well with the espresso powder {and Coffee Ice Cream!} and chocolate  in the recipe.

Once the base is done baking, it is topped with more finely chopped chocolate {semi-sweet again} which melts for a couple minutes in the just-turned-off oven.

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Instead of using Heath Toffee Bits for the topping, I chopped up some  homemade Fleur de Sel Caramels I had left over from November’s Daring Bakers challenge.  This created a nice caramely layer over the chocolate.

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The Playing Around suggestion with this recipe is to make Caramel Crunch Ice Cream Bars. I love making {and eating!} ice cream, so of course I would take up the suggestion. I made Coffee Ice Cream! from David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop. You can find the recipe here.

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Thank you to Whitney of What’s left on the table? for selecting these absolutely wonderful bars. You can find the recipe on her blog. YUM!

Ice Cream Flavor of the Week: Sweet Potato with Maple-Glazed Pecans

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For Thanksgiving, I was in charge of responsible for bringing the rolls and dessert. My family knows I’ve been learning how to cook and bake for most of the year and were excited to try some home-baked goodies.

I used Peter Reinhart’s formula for white bread variation #2 (made with buttermilk) from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice for the rolls.  I’ve made these rolls a few times already and they are now my go-to recipe for party rolls. They’re fairly simple and are always a big hit.

As for dessert, my mother requested traditional pumpkin pie. This did not excite me. I don’t like pumpkin pie. I made a recipe for Pumpkin Cream Pie I found in the November 2008 issue of Everyday Food. People seemed to like it. I also made a brown-sugar apple cheesecake from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking…From My Home to Yours. It was a past Tuesdays with Dorie selection and one I could cross off my list of completed recipes. It was very delicious and a big hit, but it was the ugliest cheesecake I’ve ever seen.

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I also brought ice cream. Rather than bring plain vanilla ice cream, I decided to make Sweet Potato Ice Cream with Maple-Glazed Pecans. One thing (out of many, many) I love about David Lebovitz is his descriptions at the beginning of {almost} every recipe in The Perfect Scoop. In the one for this ice cream, he encourages the reader to use brightly colored sweet potatoes with a vibrant orange color. He mentions that sometimes he will even scratch off the peel a bit with is fingernail before purchase to ensure the color quality. So there I was in Trader Joes, scratching the surface of sweet potatoes looking for brightly colored ones.

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The ice cream was a  success. At first my mother was skeptical about the flavor. She loved it and talked about it the next day, the next day, and maybe again today–I haven’t talked to her yet. Too bad she never tasted the Basil Ice Cream I made over the summer. 😛