Tuesdays with Dorie – Baking with Dorie – Carrot Muffins

Carrot cake is my favorite so I looked forward to baking (and eating!) these muffins. They did not disappoint.

Dry ingredients, save the brown sugar, are whisked in a large bowl. Liquids and eggs go in next, followed by brown sugar and grated orange peel, and finally grated carrots and dried fruit (I used dried cranberries.) They were done after 20 minutes in the oven.

These made a nice mid-morning snack on spring forward Sunday, making the loss of an hour a bit more tolerable. Popped in a ziplock bag, they were just as moist and delicious the next morning for breakfast.


Tuesdays with Dorie – Baking with Dorie – Swedish Fika Cake

A glance at the ingredient list of this lovely cake tells you it is going to be rich. Fourteen tablespoons of butter in the cake and seven tablespoons in the topping render this cake a moist and crunchy delight.

Sugar and room temperature eggs are beaten by mixer for three minutes, followed by vanilla and milk, then slowly added melted butter. The batter is very runny at this point and mine sloshed out of the mixer, even at a reduced speed. I covered the top of the bowl with plastic wrap and continued mixing. (I think a shield for my bowl may be in order!) Finally, flour, baking powder and salt. The batter goes into a buttered and floured 9-inch springform pan and into the oven for about 30 minutes.

The topping comes next. Butter, sliced almonds, sugar and a bit of flour and milk go into a saucepan, and the mixture is cooked and stirred constantly until thickened. Now here is the part that forms the crunchy top: when the cake is firm enough, the topping is spread on top and the cake goes back in the oven until a tester comes out clean and top is golden brown. The recipe suggests another 15 minutes for this to happen, it took another 25 for my cake.

The resulting cake had the richness and texture of pound cake with an Almond Rocha-like topping (my husband pointed out the Almond Rocha likeness.) Our family of three enjoyed this cake with coffee, with tea and with milk. The cake graced my domed cake stand for five days and kept well. We thoroughly enjoyed the Swedish tradition of taking a break for a sweet snack.

Tuesdays with Dorie – Baking with Dorie – Coffee-Anise Stars

I have a confession. I don’t like making roll and cut cookies. Or decorating them. Consequently, I rarely bake them. However, these cookies are what we are baking this month, so I baked them. I found by rolling, cutting and baking one day and decorating the next, I actually had fun.

The dough came together quickly. There are two unusual ingredients in the recipe: spelt flour and ground star anise. Following Dorie’s suggestion, I ground whole star anise in a spice grinder. These two ingredients are whisked together with all-purpose flour, espresso powder and cinnamon.

Butter, brown sugar, turbinado sugar and salt are beaten until creamy. An egg is beaten in, followed by molasses and vanilla. The dry ingredients are mixed in and the resulting dough is divided in two and patted into disks.

Each disk is rolled out between pieces of parchment to a thickness of 1/8th inch and refrigerated for 3 hours or frozen for one hour.

The dough was a bit stiff after an hour in the freezer so the first few stars were a bit tough to extricate, but it got easier as I went along. I baked the cookies for 9 minutes and they were perfect. (As I cut out the stars, I discovered the dough in the middle was thicker than the 1/8th inch I had measured on the edge, so perhaps that is why my cookies took the maximum baking time indicated in the recipe.)

The stars were very tasty without frosting. (Had to try them!)

The next day it was time to decorate. I was mailing a dozen as part of a cookie package to a family member who won’t be joining us for Christmas, so I frosted as another type of cookie chilled. It took longer than I excepted to make the glaze and decorate the cookies, so I’m glad I started when I did. The glaze is made of egg white, confectioner’s sugar and melted butter. Mine was stiff so I added warm water in drops as Dorie suggested. Even so, it was hard to spread. But the cookies are very sturdy and none of them broke as I spread the glaze. I sprinkled sugar sprinkles as I went.

The glaze complemented the cookies nicely and it was well worth the effort. A dozen went off in the Christmas cookie mailing, another I brought to my in laws the next day. Another dozen is in the freezer (unglazed, I will glaze after defrosting) for a little birthday celebration later this week. A lot of Christmas cheer from one batch of cookies!

Tuesdays with Dorie – Baking with Dorie – Pear Gruyère Tart

Tasty, lovely and easy to make, what’s not to love?

The base is Dorie’s All-Purpose Tart Dough. Comprised of flour, sugar, salt, cold butter pieces, an egg and water, it comes together easily in the food processor. I added a little extra water at the end, due to it being a very dry day. The dough rolls out well, but I had trouble with it falling apart as I rolled the dough over the rolling pin to transfer it to the tart pan. But I patched it together and it turned out fine. After a short stay in the freezer, I blind baked the crust for 20 minutes with pie weights and a few more after removing the weights.

I baked the crust the day before, so I was ready to assemble the tart the next morning. I spread Dijon mustard over the bottom. The custard filling consists of heavy cream, eggs, pepper, salt, grated nutmeg and grated cheese. The original recipe called for Comté, but I had Gruyère on hand, so that is what I used. Half the filling goes on top of the mustard, then pear pieces, then the rest of the filling. I left out the option cheese pieces and walnuts.

The tart was the perfect light lunch to welcome my son and his girlfriend when they arrived for a week’s visit. The Dijon adds a bite of sharpness which combines well with the sweetness of the pear.

Tuesdays with Dorie – Baking with Dorie – Java Mini Mads

These madeleines don’t require a special baking pan. If you have a mini muffin tin, you are good to go. Be aware you need to plan ahead. The eggs need to come to room temperature and the dough needs rest in the refrigerator for five hours.

The dry ingredients are flour, espresso powder, cinnamon and salt. Whisk.

Whisk sugar and two eggs for two minutes, add vanilla then the flour mixture. Finally, mix in melted butter. It seems at first that the butter won’t incorporate, but it gradually does. Plastic wrap goes right on top of the dough and then into the fridge.

After the rest in the fridge, I used a small cookie scoop to measure the dough into the mini muffin pan. It seemed like such a small amount of dough, but the cookies expand in the oven.

My mads were ready in 11 minutes, complete with the signature bump. The combination of coffee and cinnamon is a winner.

Tuesdays with Dorie – Baking with Dorie – Scones Pudding

I love bread pudding. I have made many versions over the years using various kinds of bread: hot dog buns, brioche, even croissants. But I never considered scones as the “bread”. So even though leftovers scones are not a frequent occurrence at our house, it’s nice to have a new twist on and old favorite.

I made scones on Sunday morning so I’d have leftovers for the pudding. My husband didn’t want to believe that yes, I really did need five, not four scones for the pudding, but I managed to make it to Monday with five scones.

I buttered the pan and started cutting the scones in thirds. I saw that I was not going to have enough slices to make two layers, so I switched to getting four slices out of the thicker scones. First one layer, brushed with lemon curd, then a second. (I found an open jar of Bonne Maman lemon curd in my fridge, so I used it instead of making my own.)

Next, I made the custard. Heated milk, cream, lemon zest and ground cardamom in a pan until the edge formed small bubbles.

Then I whisked sugar, eggs, an egg yolk and vanilla, to which the milk mixture was gradually added. Then I poured the custard over the scone slices and popped the pan in the fridge until dinner time.

Time for baking: apple slices tossed with lemon juice top the custard. Melted butter brushed over the apple slices then sugar mixed with cardamom sprinkled on top. The pan is placed in a water bath and into the oven. The recipe suggests 45 minutes in the oven, but my pudding took an extra ten minutes because I had refrigerated before baking. Once the pudding was puffed up and a tester came out clean, it was ready to come out of the oven. More lemon curd brushed on top.

After a thirty minute rest, the pudding came out of the pan cleanly. The creamy texture of the custard complements the slightly crispy apples and the chew of the scones. The curd adds a gentle lemon flavor and I loved cardamom as the spice. All in all, a winner!

Tuesdays with Dorie – Baking with Dorie – Tomato Tart

Tomato tarts make a wonderful light summer meal. This one has a lovely mustard honey base, cheese and of course, tomatoes.

The pastry is Dorie’s galette dough, which I found a pleasure to work with. After rolling it out, the dough goes in the freezer for two hours. It cracked a bit in places when I pushed it in the tart pan, but I had dough to spare and was able to patch it. The dough is partially baked before filling. It baked up beautifully and I was happy for the opportunity to use my rectangular tart pan.

Dijon, grainy mustard and honey spread over the tart bottom, followed by grated cheese. I had a hunk of Gouda hiding in my fridge, so on it went, followed by sliced red and yellow cherry tomatoes. The recipe calls for slices of larger tomatoes, but cherry tomatoes were what I had on hand.

Can a tart be rustic and delicate at the same time? The answer is yes. The delicate crispy crust melds well with the tangy sweetness of the mustard-honey base and the juicy burst of tomato and melted cheese. (Cherry tomatoes were a worthy substitute for tomato slices.) I will be baking this again.

Tuesdays with Dorie – Baking with Dorie – Buttermilk Scones

Whether you pronounce them “scons” (like Paul Hollywood) or “scones”, these baked treats are nice with tea in the afternoon or with your morning coffee.

I gathered my ingredients:

Then whisked together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Mixed in bits of cold butter with my fingers until the flour was coated.

Cold buttermilk and an egg get mixed in. I added dried cranberries at this point and patted the dough into a circle and cut it into eight wedges. After 18 minutes in the oven, the scones were golden brown.

We enjoyed these with tea on a Sunday afternoon. The leftover scones reheated nicely in a toaster oven the next morning.

I can’t end this blog without giving credit to my baking assistant, Lola. She is one of three kitties I recently adopted. She kept me company and supervised my work. Thanks Lola!

Tuesdays with Dorie – Baking with Dorie – Crumb-Topped Ricotta Coffee Cake

I will admit I’m not a big fan of coffee cakes. They look so good, but I usually find them unspectacular when I take a bite. As Prue from The Great British Baking Show says, it needs to be worth the calories. Here at last, a coffee cake worth the calories.

First up: the crumb topping. It needs to chill so plan accordingly. Flour, cornmeal, sugar, brown sugar and salt go into the stand mixer for a whir, then chunks of butter are added. Mix until you have crumbs that hold together when pressed. Then in goes a little vanilla and it’s off to the fridge.

I needed ricotta and berries from the store, but first I measured out the ingredients I would need for the base of the cake: flour, baking powder, and soda in one bowl and sugar and salt in another. Eggs were on standby at room temperature and melted butter was cooling. Off I went to the store and after unpacking the groceries, etc., two hours had gone by, enough chill time for the crumbs. It would be so easy, I thought, everything is measured out, just need to throw it together.

I whisked the flour mixture, whisked the eggs one at a time into the sugar then added the melted butter and added the sugar mixture to the flour. I spread the mixture into the pan and then whoops! I realized I needed a 9 inch pan, not an 8. Okay easy enough, I got the mixture into the right pan. I checked the instructions at this point and realized that I had not added ricotta. You know, the ricotta in the title of the recipe? Nothing to do but put the mixture back in the bowl, add ricotta and move forward.

Now with all the ingredients on board, I spread the mixture into the correct pan, plopped on the blackberries (lovely berries from a berry farm north of Seattle) and finally the topping. It was ready to come out of the oven after 55 minutes.

After a three minute rest, a knife arrives und the edge, then another rest for ten minutes. Then invert out of the pan then onto a cooling rack right side up until just warm. I was worried the crumbs would fall off when the pan was inverted, but they remained intact. The cake slices neatly into squares.

So, here’s a lovely, delicious coffee cake that can handle a few mishaps along the way. We enjoyed it in the afternoon with tea and again with coffee the next morning. I’m a coffee cake convert!