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What are you baking these days? November 2011, part 2

Hi everybody, here we go with the second part of November, when things usually get hot and heavy in the baking department. What are you planning in the way of holiday treats? What are you keeping your cookie jar and cake keeper full of? Let's discuss.

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  1. I've been baking cake.... for a class I teach. The theme was Classical era, so I did my version of a Mozart cake, inspired by those chocolates. It's a bottom layer of chocolate/hazelnut, middle layer of vanilla/almond, and top layer of pistachio. It had a creamy chocolate filling, and the whole cake was covered in ganache.

     
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        1. Does anyone have a good link or reference to laminating dough in a somewhat easy fashion? I know it colder in most places given the season, but I don't know if that helps keeping the butter cold.

          Along those lines has anyone ever used a pasta machine for something like this or for something other than pasta?

          3 Replies
          1. re: burgeoningfoodie

            You should have a look at "quick puff pastry" on the "Canadian Living" magazine site - they show a very interesting technique that could be adapted to yeast dough if that's what you're making. I'd link it but for some reason am having trouble with the site.

            1. re: buttertart

              I've seen that before but thought laminating dough was slightly different. Want to try my hand at a great croissant and eventually pain au chocolate.

            2. re: burgeoningfoodie

              I use the Joy of Cooking recipe/method and find it reliable and awesome as long as I use Plugra or Kerrygold butter. I tried a domestic high butterfat "European style" butter once and it was terrible. I've also used the Tartine formula and that was so awful that I'm certain there must be a misprint. It calls for way less butter in the lamination than any other recipe I've seen.

              The thing about laminated dough is that all the talk makes it out to be much harder and time consuming than it really is. Just get out your rolling pin give it a try--it's faster than making cookies. Just be careful! Homemade croissants are quite an addiction. I always, always make a double batch for freezer stash.

            3. Just renewed my relationship with the best dessert book ever, Richard Sax' Classic Home Desserts. This weekend witnessed Austrian Walnut Torte with Coffee Whipped Cream and Lemon Icebox Crumbles and the Ginger Oatmeal Shortbread (completely addictive). That is a spectacular book for baking inspiration.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Splendid Spatula

                Must have another look at it. Walnuts go over big at our house.

                1. re: buttertart

                  Thanks for the tip Splendid.. will add to my library hold list. Ginger Oatmeal Shortbread sounds wonderful...

              2. I'm making a peanut butter cheesecake with chocolate topping and pumpkin whoopie pie with a maple filling.

                3 Replies
                1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                  Those are both MAGICAL combinations... I just tried my first whoopie pie while in NYC this past week-end.. maple with a cream cheese salted caramel filling. Very yummy...

                  1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                    I actually decided to give Smitten Kitchen's Chocolate peanutbutter cake a try. It came out okay. The two snags I hit were a very soupy batter and the choco/peanutbutter ganache wound up setting more like a frosting and less like a dripping ganache. Looks aside, I'm sure it will taste great.

                    The Whoopie Pies will be a hit too I'm sure for those that are anti peanutbutter or anti pnutbutter and Chocolate.

                    1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                      I have looked at that recipe many times.. the key is an event with enough people to eat it! Haven't gotten around to it yet. As I've said before, too many recipes, not enough time!

                  2. Just finished up my fruitcake for the season. Will be traveling over Thanksgiving, and am working later this week, so wanted to get it done. I use a pound cake based quite loosely on James Beard's recipe, but didn't use as much sugar or butter, or flour (about 3/4 of the recipe), used whole wheat flour, and dried fruit soaked in brandy.... apricots, cherries, cranberries, blueberries, dates. Spiced it with cardamom, cinnamon, and allspice. I made some mini cakes, mini loaves, and a couple of other medium sized loaves. I dunked them in a warmed jelly, a mix of what was in the fridge, seedless strawberry and raspberry, apple jelly with vanilla, and brandy. Used walnuts and some hazelnuts.

                     
                     
                    7 Replies
                    1. re: wyogal

                      That sounds amazing! (the fruit cake) I one of those people that loves fruit cake, not all, but freshly made like this, yum!

                      1. re: chef chicklet

                        I have always wondered - is it okay to call someone who loves fruit cake a fruit cake lover, or can that be misconstrued?

                      2. re: wyogal

                        A friend and I made fruitcakes yesterday as well. We used Emeril's recipe, I think it's called Creole Christmas fruitcake, and is similar to the one you described, using a white pound cake base, with lots of dried fruits soaked in simple syrup, Gran Marnier ( we substituted Orange Patron Liqueur, because we aleady had some) and bourbon. Then we poked holes, soaked cakes with more of the syrup stuff, wrapped them in cheesecloth, and they are to age three weeks, being "fed" with more of the syrup stuff every couple of days. There is also a whiskey/cream sauce in the recipe to serve over them. We made Martha Stewart's cranberry shortbread bars, and lemon poppyseed shortbread as well. And I have dough made for gingersnaps and almond crescents.

                        1. re: sunflwrsdh

                          Never before has anyone's description of a fruitcake make me wish I could try some until your post just now. WOW. Love almond crescents, too. You've left me with a recipe or two to google. Thanks!

                          1. re: kattyeyes

                            Thanks, Kattyeyes. It's my first attempt at fruitcake, and I don't really like the traditional kins with candied fruit, so am trying this, And, much like bacon, bourbon always makes everything better:). Almond crescents are my husband's favorite cookie, the recipe I use is an old one from his Swedish grandmother, let me know if you don't find one and I will share. I also dip the ends in chocolate.

                            1. re: sunflwrsdh

                              HA--right there with you re bacon and bourbon! A dear friend of the fam used to make almond crescents. I'll ask my mom if she has that recipe--else I'll be knocking on yer door again. Thank you!

                        2. re: wyogal

                          love the sound and looks of your fruitcake.
                          years ago for a newish job I'd taken I went all out to impress with (of all things) home made fruitcake. I dumped everything into many huge pans and even included (hold on to you hats) gumdrops. so much butter/dark brown sugar/chocolate chips/nuts of every size and shape/dried fruit galore, turned out amazing.

                          Brava wyogal!