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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Daring Tuiles

What better to start the new year off than something totally different for the January Daring Bakers Challenge! Karen aka Baking Soda at Bake My Day! (from the Netherlands) and Zorra aka Kochtopf at 1x umrühren bitte (originally Swiss now in Spain) gave us this creative challenge.

I have worked with Tuile before in school but both times they were in combination with a jaconde cake base layer, more of a cake, less of a delicate cookie. So instead of using a stencil like I always had, I decided I would try it using my ever so unused pastry tips and bags that I brought for a competition at school. There were both pros and cons I found in using tips rather than a stencil. It was definitely more time consuming using tips because I piped my butterflies using lines. So basically I piped all the vanilla tuile batter first, leaving gaps for where I wanted the chocolate tuile batter to go. I hope that makes sense. What I found was that the details were definitely more delicate in a way, less uniform but more delicate and unique. The other problem I had with using the tips was that the tuile batter was not as thin as it needed to be in order to form it into shapes and such after baking. The very last picture shows a better view of the tuile shaped at an angle for the wings. I had fun with it for sure and as for the taste, I definitely didn't like the intense butter flavor. It left my mouth with an unwanted aftertaste.
“The Chocolate Book”, written by female Dutch Master chef Angélique Schmeinck.
Recipe:Yields: 20 small butterflies/6 large (butterflies are just an example)
Preparation time batter 10 minutes, waiting time 30 minutes,
baking time: 5-10 minutes per batch
65 grams / ¼ cup / 2.3 ounces softened butter (not melted but soft)
60 grams / ½ cup / 2.1 ounces sifted confectioner’s sugar
1 sachet vanilla sugar (7 grams or substitute with a dash of vanilla extract)
2 large egg whites (slightly whisked with a fork)
65 grams / 1/2 cup / 2.3 ounces sifted all purpose flour1 table spoon cocoa powder/or food coloring of choice
Butter/spray to grease baking sheet
Oven: 180C / 350F
Using a hand whisk or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle (low speed) and cream butter, sugar and vanilla to a paste. Keep stirring while you gradually add the egg whites. Continue to add the flour in small batches and stir to achieve a homogeneous and smooth batter/paste. Be careful to not overmix.Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to firm up. (This batter will keep in the fridge for up to a week, take it out 30 minutes before you plan to use it).
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or grease with either butter/spray and chill in the fridge for at least 15 minutes. This will help spread the batter more easily if using a stencil/cardboard template such as the butterfly. Press the stencil on the bakingsheet and use an off sided spatula to spread batter. Leave some room in between your shapes. Mix a small part of the batter with the cocoa and a few drops of warm water until evenly colored. Use this colored batter in a paper piping bag and proceed to pipe decorations on the wings and body of the butterfly.
Bake butterflies in a preheated oven (180C/350F) for about 5-10 minutes or until the edges turn golden brown. Immediately release from bakingsheet and proceed to shape/bend the cookies in the desired shape. These cookies have to be shaped when still warm, you might want to bake a small amount at a time or maybe put them in the oven to warm them up again. (Haven’t tried that). Or: place a bakingsheet toward the front of the warm oven, leaving the door half open. The warmth will keep the cookies malleable.If you don’t want to do stencil shapes, you might want to transfer the batter into a piping bag fitted with a small plain tip. Pipe the desired shapes and bake. Shape immediately after baking using for instance a rolling pin, a broom handle, cups, cones….

Fly away butterflies, Fly!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Gone Fishing

It is way later than I had wanted to post this but this post is for the Brandon and Sean. Sean, Brandons younger brother was able to come visit us this past Christmas and despite the fact that Brandon had to fly and that Corpus isn't exactly the place to "be" they were able to get some brotherly bonding in. What better than to go ... FISHING!

We froze most of the fish cause they caught quite a few and I made fish and chips last night for Brandon. He said the batter was good, but the fish wasn't too great. It's weird, supposedly it is a tilapia but it was so crumbly and it kept breaking apart. Eh?
While Sean was here, we visited the USS Lexington and it was definitely alot cooler than I thought it would be but it was SOOOOOOOO dirty. Like there were so many stairs in this thing and they were mega steep with these nasty old ropes to hold on to while you go up and down them. Of course, I had to go and wear a skirt and high heels. Go figure.

Sean and Brandon. Are they pretending to read or actually reading???
Who really reads the information boards?

I hate taking pictures. Can you tell?

Sean and I. Ugh, I HATE pictures. hahahaha.

Brandon begged us to go and sit on this machine gun thingie but no one wanted to, so he had to.

Sean got arrested while on the boat.
and his accomplices...

Yeah... I guess we never grew up huh?

Don't ask me what we're standing in cause I still do not know.

I'm still puzzled as to how Sean fit into this thing.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Bling bling scones

Growing up in New Zealand I enjoyed afternoon teatime with cucumber sandwiches and english scones with my cup of tea. Here, unless you make it yourself english scones are not heard of. So what does a girl do but try to find a good American scone recipe since I can't seem to find an english scone that I like. I don't really have an issue with american scones but that they are on the drier side and like everything not homemade, you never can tell what's inside.

So, I flipped through my "bread bible" book and found a scone recipe that didn't require me dragging my post-Christmas body to the grocery store. I made half with chocolate chips and half with blackberries. Have you guys noticed the price of blackberries?????? So although they are not million dollar berries, they are quite expensive for the number of berries you get. Aside from the price they were delicious but this is the last fattening recipe that I will be gobbling down myself. I'm going to try to bake healtheir in 2009!!!!!
FLAKEY SCONES - The Bread Bible
Rose Levy Beranbaum

Unsalted butter, cold - 1 C
All purpose unbleached flour - 4.5 C
Sugar - 1/2 C
Baking powder - 2ts
Baking soda - 1/2 ts
salt - 1/4 ts
heavy cream - 2 C
currants (I used chocolate chips and blackberries) - 1 C

  1. Cut butter into 1 in cubes and place in freezer for 10 minutes
  2. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add butter with fingertips until size of small walnuts. Stir in cream to just moisten flour into large clumps. Stir in chocolate chips and knead together. (For blackberries I added them when I shaped the dough)
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F 30 minutes prior to baking and have baking stone inside oven as it preheats.
  4. Flour top of dough and counter lightly and roll out into rectangle 1 in thick. I added a few blackberries on the dough now. Then fold dough like you would croissant dough. (Fold right side to the center and then the left side ontop) Repeat 2 more times adding blackberries everytime you roll out dough.
  5. Cut the dough into triangles and place onto parchment time baking stone and bake for 15-20 minutes until edges begin to brown and tops are golden brown and firm enough when pressed lightly with a finger. Let cool.