DB Challenge: Tiramisu

I liked this challenge for many reasons. I haven’t made tiramisu all from scratch before (as far as I know, most of the other Daring Bakers liked this challenge for the same reason.) It was quite a challenge, especially with all of the components.

I have made lady fingers and pastry cream before, but I haven’t made them since school, so that was a good way to practice. Also, I have never made cheese before, so that was a fun experience to see the whipped cream thicken up to a smooth marscopne cheese in only 24 hours. I was worried (like the challenger) that I had not cooked the cream enough, but sure enough, once cooled, you could definitely tell it was going to be okay.

Overall, I think this challenge was easy because all of the ingredients were easily accessed and the components necessary were easy to make, but to make a plan and know what components have to be made in advance was a challenge that I never really thought that way while making a dessert before.

The February 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen and Deeba of Passionate About Baking. They chose Tiramisu as the challenge for the month. Their challenge recipe is based on recipes from The Washington Post, Cordon Bleu at Home and Baking Obsession.

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links for the last week of February

Can you believe that this month is over already?

Here are links to some articles that I read this past week (Feb 22-26):

NYC’s secret steak on NYPOST.com

The Great Ice Cream Robberies on theatlantic.com

Whoopie pies: A down-home classic goes upscale – baltimoresun.com

Better Bread With Less Kneading – nytimes.com

From Contracts to Cupcakes: A Wall Street Career Change -WSJ.com

Learn to bake like a pro, slopeside -burlingtonfreepress.com

I went coco-nuts!

Is that title cheesy, or what?! This post (or rather, this dessert) is chock-full of coconut. As you know, I am looking for ways to use up my left over ingredients from the past couple of months. I already used the graham crackers in the Chocolate Cream Pie, and now the coconut is gone with these Black-Bottom Coconut Bars.

These bars were found on another blog, called Bake or Break. I had most of a 14-ounce bag of coconut, and the recipe called for 7 ounces, so I used some coconut in the brownie part and I sprinkled a lot on top. I haven’t tasted them yet, I tried them, and but hopefully the coconut is not over powering. The brownie part really comes through. (Sorry to those of you who are not coconut fans, maybe you’ll like my next dessert better!) Also, these were rather easy to make. I know, I say that for EVERYTHING, But this time I really mean it. No special equipment. No electric mixers necessary. It is really just whisk everything together and pour/press into the baking dish. Okay, so you have to melt the butter-in the MICROWAVE. Seriously, I think this is the quickest, easiest dessert I’ve made in a while.
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links this week (Feb. 15-19)

The headlines that caught my eye this week:

(2/15) Move Over, Cupcake: Make Way For The Macaroon

(2/16) Drink what the Mayans drank

(2/17) Wedding cakes, and the people who make them, relish spotlight

(2/18) Park Slope baker will bake 100 cakes from ’30s and ’40s era and chronicle efforts in blog

(2/19) Passion of the crust: How to make the perfect pie

Chocolate Cream Pie

I needed to start using the leftovers from, oh, about a month ago, so I used up the leftover graham cracker crumbs for the crust in this pie. It was a really rich chocolate-y pie, and I think I would’ve liked just eating the filling by itself, because it was basically just homemade pudding, some might even say it is ganache-like. I have to start finding recipes that use up the other ingredients I have left, but luckily, those don’t really go bad. Also, I have a few cookbooks and recipes saved that I am sure I will find one that works for me.

This recipe is saved from Gourmet and is called Chocolate Cinnamon Cream Pie, but really, the only cinnamon in it is from the crust and the whipped cream that you may or may not dollop on top. So, really, it is just a chocolate pie, with a graham cracker crust. But nonetheless, it was simple and good.

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links this week

What I’ve been reading (and watching) this week (Feb. 4 – Feb. 12):

from WSJ.com – Alice Waters Dishes on the Food Scene

an article and video about: “The Biggest Snack Food Stadium Ever”

a video that shows “Anthony Bourdain Schooled By A Young Fan”

a long, yet very interesting article called: “Everyone Eats …But that doesn’t make you a restaurant critic”.

an article that’s called: “One Bowl = 2 Servings. F.D.A. May Fix That.”

good thing I can write this at home: “Cafe owner asks patrons to log off, talk

“Growing appetite for low-cal foods: Some restaurants are providing their diners with healthier options

Whole Wheat Muffin, the Remix -from The New York Times

Beignets: Fried treats popular in New Orleans worthy of indulgence on Fat Tuesday -from baltimoresun.com

The secrets of restaurant dishes that endure from sfgate.com

Desserts that fall from the sky from washingtonpost.com

St Valentine’s Day: Mozart with your mosel? music + wine = nice atmosphere

Recipe Redux: Chocolate Caramels, 1881 - “In 1881, when this recipe ran in The Times, chocolate was a more unusual ingredient than the molasses that sweetens it.”

A Michelin-starred chef quits over his “too poncey” food. So what are the telltale signs? 10 ways to spot a pretentious restaurant

Revising the Classics: Culinary Sin? from The Atlantic

dulce de leche cookies

In the original recipe, these cookies

are actually called “Melting Moments”. But I amended the filling to be dulce de leche, so I also changed their name. The cookies themselves do melt in your mouth, and the dulce de leche add a nice flavor contrast. The original recipe (which will be provided) includes chocolate butter cream, which would be more melt-y and of course would add a different flavor contrast, as well as a color contrast between the cookie and the filling. You could pretty much choose any flavor for these. Perhaps strawberry for Valentine’s Day? They are pretty easy to make, but I would keep an eye on them because they bake quickly. Although all ovens are different, I don’t think they really need the full 30 minutes as is called for in the recipe. Even though I baked two sheets at once, they still came out dark. For those of you that are new to the site, and/or if you are interested in making more things with dulce de leche, you can check out the dulce de leche brownies recipe that I have and this link will lead you to more information about dulce de leche. Follow the jump for the cookie recipe.

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