Friday, January 23, 2009

You win some, you lose some

Daring Bakers January 2009 Challenge: Tuiles

Recipe from: “The Chocolate Book” by Angélique Schmeinck

I apparently had trouble understanding the recipe for this month’s challenge. I mixed the ingredients as listed – this part was easy – and did the necessary chilling steps, exactly as described. Then I set out to create the cookie shapes. This was where the misunderstanding occurred. The recipe said: “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 baking sheet and use an off sided spatula to spread batter. Leave some room in between your shapes.” Now, I don't think it's just me -- it never says how to actually make a shape! Maybe it is obvious to someone who has made tuiles before, but I was thoroughly confused how you use a stencil to make a cookie. I decided I would spread out the batter on the inside of a heart shaped cookie cutter. I spooned a small amount of batter into the heart, and then spread it around with a knife until the entire inside of the cookie cutter was filled with a thin layer of batter. I tried to make it as thin as possible.

I baked at 350. I peaked in at them after just a few minutes, and to my horror, discovered this:

I had used all of the batter and was expected at a baby shower with the tuiles in less than 30 minutes, so I had to make the most of what I had. I cut the giant cookie into reasonable sizes and then draped the irregular shapes on rolling pins to cool and solidify.

The collection of twisted polygons looked more like bad potato chips than the beautiful tuiles I had seen online, but they still tasted sweet and had acceptable crunch.

I took them, along with fresh whipped cream dyed pink with a few drops of red food coloring (the soon-to-be baby is a girl) and a bowl of blackberries and strawberries to the baby shower. I can’t say introducing these mutated tuiles to the group was my proudest moment, but I’ve done worse. We all enjoyed them.

This month's challenge is brought to us by Karen of Baking Soda and Zorra of 1x umruehren bitte aka Kochtopf.
They have chosen Tuiles from The Chocolate Book by Angélique Schmeink and Nougatine and Chocolate Tuiles from Michel Roux.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Pizza Pizza

Daring Bakers October 2008 Challenge: Pizza Dough

(Basic Pizza Dough Recipe from The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering The Art of Extraordinary Bread by Peter Reinhart)

I’m going to let the pictures tell most of the story this month. The task was to make pizza dough from scratch, actually toss it to stretch it into shape, and then to top it with both a sauce and toppings. I have to be honest – my dough didn’t turn out very well. I had a hard time getting it to the right consistency to begin with, and then it simply did not rise in the oven. So the five people I invited over for a pizza dinner and I ate delicious toppings off cracker-like crust. I think the biggest hit was the dessert pizza I made at the end with a puff pastry crust! But here they are, one by one, in all their non-rising glory….

Pizza 1 -- Sauce: Olive Oil; Toppings: Herbes de Provence and Garlic

Pizza 2 -- Sauce: Pesto; Toppings: Mozzarella and Spinach

Pizza 3 -- Sauce: Tomato Sauce; Toppings: Pepperoni, Artichoke Hearts, Mushrooms, Mozzarella

Pizza 4 -- Sauce: Caramelized Onions; Toppings: Pear, Gorgonzola, Walnuts

Pizza 5 -- Sauce: Tomato Sauce; Toppings: Breaded Chicken Cutlets, Tomatoes, Mozzarella

Pizza 6 -- Sauce: Caramelized Onions; Toppings: Portobello Mushrooms, Goat Cheese

"Pizza" 7 -- Crust: Puff Pastry; Sauce: Whipped Cream; Toppings: Raspberries and Strawberries