Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Dorie's Tall and Creamy Cheesecake.....

Well here is the last recipe for the year, Tall and Creamy Cheesecake on page 235 from Baking from my home to yours, picked by Anne of Anne Strawberry. This sounded so good, I used the gingersnap crust and the orange filling, very yummy sounding, I love cheesecake and I couldn't wait to make it for Christmas Day dessert at my SIL's. Well, it smelled great cooking and tasted wonderful, but the texture was way too creamy for a cheesecake. Very difficult to cut cleanly unless it was frozen, my picture of the cut piece looks beautiful but it had to be frozen to make a nice cut. Everyone liked the taste just not the texture, no one finished their plate; not what I was expecting for this crowd. After reviewing other cheesecake recipes there seems to not be enough eggs and some recipes add a small amount of flour. Verdict: Not the best cheesecake but great ideas for different flavors. I will be making another cheesecake for a New Year's Eve party using my mom's recipe with Dorie's additions and will post on how this new one comes out.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Chocolate Crackle Cookies from Martha.....

I was reading Nichi's blog Bakeologie and she welcomed anyone to join and bake some of Martha's cookies, well why not? Cookies are easy for me to give away, I always have takers in the gym. These are some seriously good cookies from Martha Stweart's Cookies book. I have made them before and you really need to refrigerate the dough at least 2 hours like the recipe indicates; overnight would be better. This is a super stickey dough so having it cold helps rolling into balls. Martha's dircetions are very detailed, of course, but you can cut a few steps out. These are soft inside and slightly crisp on the outside. They never last long so I made a double batch this time and put half in the freezer to bake next week.

I am late posting, Christmas shopping got in the way, sorry!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Flurry of Baking.....

After reading how many recipes we needed to make this month I decided to have an afternoon of baking and try to make as many I could. Whew, I got four done in one afternoon; it's amazing what you can do with no distractions and have total concentration to the tasks at hand. I made the Real Butterscotch Pudding, Grandma's All-Occasion Sugar Cookies, Linzer Sables and the Buttery Jam Cookies. While the sugar and linzer cookie doughs were chilling I made the pudding; while the pudding was chilling, I made the jam cookies (really easy). All in all it took a few hours but certainly not an impossible task.

It does help when DH isn't at home and if MacGregor (the cat) is in his kitty condo.

The Linzer dough came together easily, I had everything on hand including the almond flour because I have been making macarons (tartelette's directions from Desserts Magazine #2). The dough is very easy to roll out between wax paper. I read the comments and most indicated they preferred 1/8" thickness instead of the 1/4" Dorie suggested; I tried both thicknesses and feel the 1/4" was easier to cut out. I have one of those adjustable pastry boards to roll out dough to an exact thickness, I know anal, but my dad was an engineer and, well, if a recipe calls for 1/4", it will be 1/4", LOL. I filled them with raspberry jam and lemon curd, very good with both! I would suggest cutting out the center of the cookie after you have placed the cut out cookie on your sheet, much easier; also the dough warms up very fast and I had to keep putting it back into the freezer to make cutting out easier. Verdict, would I make Linzer cookies again, maybe; they are labor and time intensive, because you need to keep putting the dough back into the refrigerator. Since they freeze well, I would probably make them a month ahead of time and not in the middle of the holiday rush.

The Jam cookies were OK, very easy to put together, no chilling or rolling, just drop and bake. I used raspberry jam and could barely taste it in the final cookie; the ginger came through and that is what you taste first. DH will take what are left to work tomorrow; he loves raspberry anything and he could not tell me what I used in this cookie. Verdict, probably not make again, too many good recipes out there to make this one again. If you are pressed for time and make changes, maybe add some coconut and use pineapple jam, or another interesting combination this might be the recipe for you.

Grandma's Sugar cookies were very good! I would definitely use this again but only as a slice and bake sugar cookie. The dough is VERY soft and wanted to stick to the wax paper, I remedied this with flouring the top and bottom of the dough prior to rolling out. Since this dough puffs and slightly spreads during baking you lose the sharp edge of your cookie cutter, not worth the time to roll out, chill, cut out and bake. I used a fluted round cutter and the edges were not crisp or well defined. So if you had an intricate cookie cutter this dough might not work for you. Verdict, will make again, they are delicious!

The Butterscotch Pudding was very good! My dad loved it, and said he could taste the scotch, which if you don't like scotch is not a good thing! I like scotch and enjoyed this pudding, it had a subtle taste and not at all like the "out of the box" stuff I have had before. This is the real deal, and would be great in a trifle with gingerbread and some blackberries. Verdict, would make again.

A big thank you to Heather for the Buttery Jam Cookies, Ulrike for the Sugar Cookies, Noskos for the Linzer cookies and Donna for the Butterscotch Pudding. It's so nice to have a large portion of my holiday baking done. The cheesecake will be dessert on Christmas Day, so I hope all goes well with that recipe!