Sunday, July 27, 2008

Volcano Cookies

These cookies were good but next time I make them I am going to sub chocolate chips for the nuts.

Volcano Cookies
recipe from Dorie Greenspan’s “Baking: From My Home to Yours”

  • 1 cup blanched almonds (whole, sliced or slivered), coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 2 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder

1. Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.

2. Spread the chopped almonds and walnuts out on one of the baking sheets and toast the nuts in the oven. They will need 10 minutes or less to turn golden brown, so keep a close eye on them and stir them at least twice. When the nuts are toasted, remove them — with the liner — from the baking sheet and cool the sheet. Transfer the nuts to a plate, then reline the sheet and use it to bake the cookies.

3. Put all the ingredients, including the nuts, in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. Set it over medium heat and stir constantly with a silicone or wooden spatula until the ingredients are just warm to the touch. Remove from the heat.

4. Drop the batter by slightly rounded teaspoonfuls onto the baking sheets, leaving about an inch of space between the mounds.

5. Bake the cookies for about 20 minutes, rotating the pans from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point. When properly baked, the cookies will be puffed, cratered, shiny and dry. Remove the cookies from the oven and let them remain on the sheets for 5 minutes before gently prying them from the liners and transferring them to racks to cool to room temperature.

Storing: Kept in a cool, dry place at room temperature (they should never be refrigerated), the cookies will hold up for about 3 days. As with all meringues, humidity will make them go soggy and sticky.

Makes about 36 cookies

Creme Brulee

Baking: From My Home to Yours

Creme Brulee

recipe from Dorie Greenspan’s “Baking: From My Home to Yours”


  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 3 la rge egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • About 6 tbsp sugar for topping


Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 200 F.

Put six shallow (an inch high and 4 inches in diameter) baking dishes on a baking sheet.

Bring cream and milk to a boil, remove from heat.

In a 1- or 2-quart glass measuring cup (works much better) or medium bowl, whisk egg yolks, sugar and v

anilla together until well blended.

Still whisking, drizzle in one quarter of the hot liquid and temper the yolks. Pour in the rest of the liquid, mix and strain it into the baking dishes.

Bake the custards for 50-60 minutes or until the centers are set. Tap the sides of the dishes and the custards should hold firm.

Let the custards cool until they reach room temperature. Cover each with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 3 hours. Sprinkle each custard evenly with 1 tbsp sugar. You can use a blow torch to brown the sugar. I used a creme brulee iron.

Perfection Poundcake

I went to Borders bookstore on Friday to buy the latest copy of Jen Lancaster's book. I read her first two books and they were hilarious so I am definitely looking forward to reading this one. While I was at Borders I browsed through the bargain shelves and saw a copy of Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan. I have heard wonderful things about this cookbook. There is also a blogging group dedicated to baking recipes from this book. The book lists for $40 but Borders had it for $7.99. At that price I couldn't resist. It is a beautiful book with over 500 pages and 300 recipes. When I got home I looked through the book and found several recipes I wanted to try. I made three of the recipes this weekend. I don't think I've ever made that many recipes from any of my cookbooks. The recipes are very easy to follow and use common ingredients. The first recipe I made was Perfection Poundcake. It had a really good flavor and nice yellow color with slightly brown crust. However it was a little dry. Jamie from Good Eats & Sweet Treats had a good suggestion. She made strawberry shortcake out of her poundcake. If I had strawberries or the energy to go to the store and buy some I would definitely do that.

Perfection Pound Cake
from Dorie Greenspan, Baking: From My Home to Yours

2 cups all-purpose flour (or 2-1/4 cups cake flour)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter a 9x5-inch loaf pan or an 8-1/2 x 4-1/2-inch loaf pan. Put the pan on an insulated baking sheet or on two regular baking sheets stacked one on top of the other.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar on high speed until pale and fluffy, a full 5 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and beater and reduce the mixer speed to medium. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 to 2 minutes after each egg goes in. As you're working, scrape down the bowl and beater often. Mix in the vanilla extract. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour, mixing only until it is incorporated - don't overmix. In fact, you might want to fold in the last of the flour, or even all of it, by hand with a rubber spatula. Scrape the batter into the buttered pan and smooth the top.

Put the cake into the oven to bake, and check on it after about 45 minutes. If it's browning too quickly, cover it loosely with a foil tent. If you're using a 9x5 pan, you'll need to bake the cake for 70 to 75 minutes; the smaller pan needs about 90 minutes. The cake is properly baked when a thin knife inserted deep into the center comes out clean.

Remove the cake from the oven, transfer the pan to a rack and let rest for 30 minutes.

Run a blunt knife between the cake and the sides of the pan and turn the cake out, then turn it right side up on the rack and cool to room temperature.

Wrapped well, the cake will keep for 5 to 7 days at room temperature (stale cake is great toasted) or up to 2 months in the freezer.