Friday, October 24, 2014

FFWD ~ Cannelés, Chocolate Cream Puffs and a Birthday Celebration for Dorie!

Happy Birthday Dorie! Cannelés for the Celebration   

Today, French Fridays is celebrating Good Times! Birthdays, new books and anniversaries!
Happy Birthday, Dorie!!  Congratulations on your new book, “Baking Chez Moi”!  It will be released October 28th! I can’t wait to get mine, and start baking some delectable new goodies! However, just for Dorie’s Birthday, she and her publishers have let us preview four amazing recipes.  Our French Friday group is happy to share them with you today!  We had the option to choose one, or all four of the recipes for our Birthday~Book Launch Party! I choose to bake the Mini Cannelés, and the Chocolate Cream Puffs for our celebration.

Chocolate Cream Puffs! These were an amazing treat!

I’ve been baking Cannelés for years. Their name comes from the copper molds that they are traditionally baked in. They are ridged or channeled, hence the name Cannelé.  The cakes themselves are a small pastry, with a soft custardy center, and a dark thick caramelized crust. This little cake is a specialty of the Bordeaux region of France, but can be found in Patisseries all over the country. 
In case you haven’t noticed, I have a slight obsession with baking! About 10 years ago, Williams-Sonoma distributed a catalog, with a silicone Cannelé mold and recipe. I never heard of them before, but it was love at first sight. I quickly ordered the mold, and made the recipe that came with it. They became a favorite around here. I would make them for ladies luncheons, showers, and quite honestly for no reason at all. I so enjoy having a few with my cup of tea!  I’ve even invested in several of the copper molds. Beautiful, but a lot more work than the silicone. I was eager and delighted to try Dories recipe. They did not disappoint!  The thin batter for Cannelés is similar to a crepe batter. After it is made, it should rest at least 12 hours in the fridge. The next day, butter your molds and place them in the freezer for at least 30 minutes. Then pour in the batter and bake. These were luscious! I loved the flavor of the rum, subtle but noticeable!  I know I will be making them quite often! Thank you Dorie for sharing such a winner of a recipe!

Chocolate Cream Puffs…who knew?

My second choice was for Chocolate Cream Puffs. Dorie’s recipe calls for a Mascarpone filling. I choose to serve mine with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce…aka Profiteroles! It was my first time making a chocolate choux pastry. Who knew? A fabulous treat, whether you serve them with ice cream or Dories Mascarpone filling.  My hubby loved these! They can be made in advance, and placed in the freezer to bake later. Great for a party!  I can’t wait to try them with the mascarpone filling, which Dorie flavors with a touch of rose water. They sound amazing, don’t you think?

Lastly I would love to wish all my fellow Dorista’s a happy anniversary! Four years and counting!! Here’s to more fun, friendships and cooking adventures in the next year!  Happy Friday everyone!

I love my copper molds…but I’m not fond of brushing them with beeswax.
The silicone molds are easier to prepare and I use a baster to fill them…makes it pretty easy
So join us in celebrating Dories Birthday and new book
Bake yourself a batch of Chocolate Cream Puffs
Or try your hand at Cannelés

If you’d like to get a copy of Dorie’s new cookbook, Baking Chez Moi, you can order it now on Amazon. Click the icon. I’ll be baking from Baking Chez Moi, twice a month with the Tuesdays with Dorie group, maybe you’d like to join us!

Please check out what my fellow Doristas chose to bake for Dorie’s Birthday! Then bake something for yourself!

Mini Cannelés…recipe

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Apple Pie in an Apple…a Fun Recipe

Delectable Apple Pie in an Apple

In case you haven’t noticed, fall is here!  Where I live, that means apples, lots of apples! There is nothing quite as tasty as biting into a freshly picked apple.  The crispy crunch, and sweet taste of juice as it sprays into your mouth, heavenly! 

In my house, the next best thing to a fresh apple is apple pie!  When apples are in season, I immediately start to crave apple pie!  A whole pie would be considerably more than we can eat. I thought small cobbler, or baked apples, and then I found this Apple Pie Baked in an Apple…with a crust!  How cool is that! I don’t know the origins of this idea but these baked apples are all over Pinterest.  The recipe is pretty straightforward. To whoever came up with this fun idea…thank you!  

Mouthwatering baked apples with a crust

Apples conjure up memories of my mother. She was the pie baker in our family. I don’t remember a holiday or celebration where she didn’t bake a pie.  In the summer, black raspberries, blueberries and peaches were just some of the fruits that filled her wonderful pies. When my kids were younger, we would visit her in the summers, and pick colanders full of black raspberries. She would then perform her magic, using those gorgeous berries, to make the best pies ever! Her pies were always mouthwatering, but her specialty was apple pie!

That first Thanksgiving, when we realized she was no longer able to bake her apple pie, was a difficult time for the family. Who would bake mom’s apple pie? A task no one wanted to take on! Finally my daughter stepped up, and volunteered to bake the apple pie with one caveat  "no one better compare it to grandma’s”.  She did a wonderful job, and her pie would have made her grandmother proud! Since then, I have even learned how to bake a pretty good apple pie! I don’t think mine will ever be as special as my mom’s, hers were filled with all the love she had for her family!  As I baked my little Apple Pies in an Apple, I thought of how my mom would love this idea!  Enjoy!!

Cut the tops off the apples, remove the core without going through the apple, and scoop out the pulp 
Mix the scooped apple pulp with the cinnamon, sugar, flour
Fill the apple, dot with a bit of butter, and add the lattice crust
Brush the crust with milk and sprinkle with a little sugar and cinnamon (if desired)
A wonderful way to conquer your apple pie cravings 

Apple Pie in an Apple                                                      
Serves 4


4 medium apples
1/4 cup white sugar
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Lemon juice
• about a tablespoon of butter, cut into chunks (to place on top of the apples before baking)
• Milk for brushing the dough
• sugar for sprinkling
Chilled pie dough, rolled out about 1/8 inch thick

Preheat the oven to 350°

1. Wash the apples and pat dry.  Set on cutting board.
2. Cut and remove the tops off each apple. With a small sharp knife, carve out the core and seeds (without piercing the bottoms of the apples). I used an apple corer to remove the center, without going all the way down.
3. Using a small spoon or melon baller, carefully scoop out the insides of the apple until an apple cup is formed. Save the pulp in a small bowl for the filling. Spritz or rub a small amount of lemon juice on the insides of each apple to prevent them from browning.                                                                        
4. Peel and dice the lids and mix the peeled and diced lid bits into the pulp bowl.                              
5. Mix the sugar, flour and cinnamon into the apple pulp until well blended.                                      
6. Spoon the filling back into each apple. Fill the hollowed out apple, and then top with 1 or 2 butter chunks.                                                                                                                                                  
7. Using a pastry cutter or knife, cut strips of pie dough, and lay them onto each apple, lattice style. Brush the crust with milk and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.                                                    
8. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 30-40 minutes or until slightly tender and crust is golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes. Serve warm! Enjoy! I like mine with a scoop of ice cream!

Friday, October 17, 2014

FFWD ~ Roasted Jerusalem Artichokes with Garlic

FFWD ~ Roasted Jerusalem Artichokes with Garlic
One thing I’ve learned, from our recent repertoire of recipes for French Fridays, is “don’t judge a book by its cover”!  This week we are seeing yet one more ugly star of a dish! Jerusalem Artichokes, sometimes called Sunchokes, are in no way attractive! They rival the Celery Root for ugliest veggie!

If you have never heard of the Jerusalem artichoke, you are not alone. When I asked my produce man if he had any, or if he could get some for me, he looked puzzled. Then he told me, he had never heard of such a veggie, and had never seen them offered by their suppliers! OK then!! I decided to get a bit creative, and search the Internet. To my surprise they were selling them on E-Bay! Really?? I truly believe that you can find just about anything on E-bay!

They really were quite good
According to Wikipedia, the Jerusalem Artichoke was first cultivated by Native Americans, long before the arrival of the Europeans. The French explorer, Samuel de Champlain, found domestically grown plants at Cape Cod in 1605.  He then brought the plant back with him to France. The Jerusalem artichoke had become a very common vegetable, for human consumption in Europe and the Americas, by the mid 1600s. The French, in particular, were especially taken with this ugly root vegetable. It reached its peak in popularity by the turn of the 19th century.  The 2002 Nice Festival, for the Heritage of the French Cuisine, chose the Jerusalem artichoke as the “Best Soup Vegetable”.  Who knew?

The recipe that Dorie shares is quite simple.  The worst part of the preparation, was the peeling of these very knobby roots.  Honestly, this is pretty much a non-recipe.  Place chunks of peeled sunchokes into a pie plate with a few tablespoons of olive oil, a few sprigs of rosemary, a few sprigs of thyme, salt and pepper. Then slice several cloves of garlic very thin, and add them to the pan. Roast twenty minutes at 400°, turn and roast another twenty minutes. That’s it! I really enjoyed these! They were different, sweeter and softer than a potato, but quite good. The best part was the roasted sliced garlic. Yum! And did Bill like them?  He didn’t appreciate the sweet taste and texture. I'd like to try them in soup some time, and see why the French chose them as “Best Soup Vegetable”.

Although this has been a month of ugly, for French Fridays, I have enjoyed our adventures in trying new things! Things I would have never tried without Dorie! Happy Friday everyone!

                                                              The ugly sunchoke root looks a bit like ginger root                              file photo
Peeled and ready for the oven
Roasted and ready to eat
I actually enjoyed this new adventure in eating
 My morning visitor

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Pumpkin Scones (Starbucks Copycat)

Starbucks Copycat Pumpkin Scones
Fall has arrived in the northeast! The trees are ablaze with vibrant reds, golds, and yellows; especially beautiful when the sun shines down on them! Travel down most of the country roads in my area, and you will find farm stands filled with beautiful crisp apples, pumpkins, winter squash, gourds and apple cider! Apple picking is in full swing! The sight of golden pumpkins is a sure sign that autumn has arrived! Soon they will be carved and decorated to greet the throngs of trick or treaters, who will be descending upon us for Halloween.  Although they make wonderfully spooky Jack-O-Lanterns, they also add some great flavor to the foods we love to eat. Especially baked goods!

I have a whole repertoire of wonderful pumpkin recipes that I have been saving for years. These scones are one of those fabulous recipes. Have you ever enjoyed the pumpkin scones at Starbucks in the fall? They are one of their seasonal treats!  Heavily spiced, and perfect with your cup of coffee or tea! I love them for breakfast, but they’re pretty wonderful for an afternoon snack, too!

Dripping with deliciousness
If you’ve never made scones before, the secret to a great scone is cold butter. It needs to be cold, so those specks of butter can create steam pockets. That’s what helps your scones rise.
Don’t over mix or over work your dough. A light touch will keep your scones tender. Mix just until all ingredients are combined. If you handle the dough too much, the warmth of your hands will affect the texture of your finished scones.

These were so melt in your mouth luscious….perfect for breakfast, brunch or snack
Go ahead and make some…you know you want one!! 

Pumpkin Scones (Starbucks Copycat)

Yield: 8 scones
Prep Time: 30 min
Cook Time: 15 min
adapted from Todd Wilbur


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼  teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½  teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½  teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½  teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼  teaspoon salt
  • ½  cup (1 stick) unsalted COLD butter, cut into cubes
  • ½  cup pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
  • 3 tablespoons milk or half and half cream
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup 

    For the spiced glaze
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat; set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, baking soda and salt. Add cold butter, and using a pastry blender work the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles coarse crumbs. You want to see some very small pieces of the butter.
  • In a large glass measuring cup or another bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree, cream, egg and maple syrup. Pour mixture over dry ingredients and stir using a rubber spatula just until a soft dough forms.
  • Working on a lightly floured surface, knead the dough a few times until it comes together.  With lightly floured hands, pat the dough into a rectangle measuring roughly 7x9.  Using a large knife or a pizza cutter, cut the rectangle in half lengthwise, then cut into 2 even pieces crosswise, making four rectangles. Then cut each each rectangle into two triangles, making 8 triangles. 
  • Place scones onto prepared baking sheet. Place into the oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. 
  • To make the spiced glaze, combine confectioners’ sugar, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg and milk. Whisk until smooth.
  • When the scones are done, cool for 10 minutes, then drizzle the glaze over each scone, and spread with back of spoon.
  • Allow glaze to set before serving.
  • These scones freeze beautifully.  So save some for later!

Friday, October 10, 2014

FFWD ~ Scallops with Double Carrots

FFWD ~ Scallops with Double Carrots

This week our recipe for French Fridays is...Monkfish with Double Carrots. A recipe I seriously thought of skipping. I have never eaten monkfish, but have seen pictures of them (one ugly fish)! I then thought of one of my all time favorite fish recipes from AMFT.  Remember the skate?  Another not so pretty fish, which was a delicious surprise!

Finding Monkfish, in the grocery stores in my area, proved impossible.  I decided to go with Dorie’s Bonne Idee, and use scallops (much better looking, too). The carrot part of this recipe can be prepared several hours in advance, making this mouthwatering dish, dinner party worthy!! 

A really special dish that you would expect to eat in a four-star restaurant
The carrots are cooked in carrot juice, hence the name double carrots! To begin, peel and slice a pound of carrots and place in a saucepan, where the carrot juice, butter, and rosemary have been brought to a boil. Lower the heat, cover and cook until tender. That folks, is the beginning of this wonderful meal! Who would have thought such humble beginnings, would reap such a pleasurable gourmet dinner? 

Finishing this dish takes less than 15 minutes. Brown bacon on both sides, wipe out the pan, then using 2 teaspoons of the bacon grease and a tablespoon of butter, brown the scallops. About 2 minutes on each side should do it. Dorie suggested serving with mashed celery root or mashed potatoes. I opted for the potatoes, a great choice! This dish was amazing! Bill gave it two thumbs up! This excellent meal is something you would expect to be served in a four star restaurant! Thank you Dorie for another wonderful recipe! Happy Friday everyone!

You can find this recipe in Dorie’s cookbook, "Around My French Table”, or here where it has been published. To see what the other Dorista thought of this dish, check it out here.

We loved this one…a keeper for sure
Totally delicious and dinner party worthy!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Sea Salt Caramel Biscotti

 Join the salty caramel craze with this delectable biscotti
Has anyone noticed the salty caramel craze? Everywhere you go, you see it! Salted caramel cookies, pudding, fudge, cupcakes, and my indoctrination into the craze…sea salt caramel gelato! Talenti Gelato, to be exact. If you see it, you have to try it. It’s nirvana! In full disclosure, I’m not getting free Talenti from this post. It’s just the best thing I’ve ever eaten. That’s when my obsession with salted caramel anything started!

Sea Salt Caramel Biscotti
A few years ago we were in Florida, and my cousins were visiting. After having a wonderful dinner, we decided to take a walk, and get some gelato. There is the cutest little gelato shop in the town where we stay! But at five dollars for one small scoop, it’s a bit extravagant!  So, one does what one needs to do, to enjoy those important little things in life! Buy it! 
The next day, while we were in the grocery store, we noticed that you could buy two containers of Talenti Gelato for 5 bucks ON SALE!  Each of us picked a flavor, and brought this wonderful stuff home. My husband and cousins picked flavors like chocolate, pistachio, and butter pecan. I chose Sea Salt Caramel! It intrigued me! I love salty sweet! They all laughed at me, and said it sounded terrible! I didn’t waver…Sea Salt Caramel was what I wanted. When we arrived home, we decided to sample each other’s flavors, and they reluctantly tried mine. That’s when the strangest thing happened…they really loved my Sea Salt Caramel! Mine was gone by the end of the evening, and their containers stayed in the freezer. Fast-forward two years, and you can find salted caramel anything, anywhere! 

Recently, while I was browsing Pinterest, I saw salted caramel biscotti. That’s when it happened! Total inspiration!  I decided to take my favorite biscotti recipe, make some changes to it, and experiment, ending in wonderful sea salt caramel biscotti!  The results were absolutely fabulous!

Caramel bits from  I love this place!
My obsession turned into a delicious treat
Lovely with your coffee
They may become an obsession!

Sea Salt Caramel Biscotti
recipe by Bakeawaywithme

3½ cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼  teaspoon salt
1½ sticks softened, unsalted butter 
1 cup sugar
½ cup packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1½ cups caramel bits, mine are from (if you can’t find them you could cut up regular Kraft caramels)
½-¾ cup chopped toasted walnuts
1 egg white, slightly beaten ( for egg wash)
12 oz. bag of chocolate chips
coarse sea salt for sprinkling
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line two large baking sheets with parchment or Silpat.
  2. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk to blend.
  3. In bowl of mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar until smooth. Add eggs, and  extract. Beat just until smooth and well blended. Add flour mixture, and beat at lowest speed (or stir by hand) just until dry ingredients are moistened and incorporated. Add caramel bits, and chopped walnuts and mix until they are distributed throughout the dough. 
  4. If the dough is too moist you could add a bit more flour a tablespoon at a time to make it easier to handle. On a lightly floured surface, divide dough into quarters. Then form each quarter into a flattened log about 14 inches long and 2 inches wide, and 1 inch thick. Put two on each baking sheet. Brush with beaten egg white.
  5. Bake logs until lightly browned, about 25 minutes. If baking both trays at once, rotate your pans between oven shelves halfway through baking. Logs should be somewhat firm at the sides and center. Cool logs for 30 minutes, then transfer to a cutting board. Cut each log on a slight angle into 3/4 inch pieces. Keep pieces together as logs are sliced, then slide pieces together to reform logs. Transfer logs to baking sheets, and then separate slices, leaving about 1/2 inch space between each slice.
  6. Bake biscotti again until golden brown, about 16 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool.   
  7. Place chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl, and melt...starting with 1 minute at 50% power, stir and return to the microwave for 30 seconds at 50% power intervals until melted.
  8. Dip the cooled biscotti into the chocolate and set on a parchment lined pan to set. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt while still wet. Then place the pan in the fridge to harden.
  9. Transfer to airtight container. Makes about 6 dozen.