Baking Powder Biscuits

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I am bummed I missed the Poppy Seed Torte, but it wasn’t because I didn’t try!  Even though we are not big poppy seed or apricot eaters in this house I still wanted to make it.  I even figured out where to buy bulk poppy seeds!…two full cups!   I think I would have taken the stores whole supply if I had bought the full amount though so I opted to halve the recipe.   I came home ready to bake and very soon realized I had once again failed to “fully” read the recipe.  I needed to “grind” the poppy seeds.  Well how do you do that?!!  We don’t drink coffee so I don’t even have a coffee bean grinder.  Since I had waited too close to the deadline to figure something out, Poppy Seed Torte did not happen.  I did see the posts, and I guess we missed out…everyone loved it!  Who knew?!!

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I was really happy the baking powder biscuits were so easy…5 ingredients, a mix, a knead, and 12 minutes baking time.  I even opted to “brush with butter”!  Super easy.  I can’t say I am a huge biscuit fan but I did try them and they tasted like…biscuits!  If I needed to make biscuits, I would use this recipe but I just don’t see myself making them again. :)

Vanilla Pound Cake

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This recipe would be called a “fail”.  Interesting after all the recipes we have baked…some of them quite involved…THIS would be the one, I mean a POUND CAKE: Cooking 101.

The ironic twist in all of this was my husband and I pulled off a gigantic save only two days before!!  We were down at our beach house for the fourth of July weekend and my son had a few friends join us.  I had been making dinner…mind you these are very hungry 18/19 year old boys…I go to put the pizza spaghetti casserole in the oven and nothing!  The oven will not turn on.  After panicking for a few moments my husband says “lets just put in on the BBQ and get it indirect heat”.  So we do, and it works perfectly…so perfectly that we decide to try it with my chocolate bundt cake that I was suppose to be making as well.  I can tell you I did not have as high of hopes for the cake as the casserole…I mean so many things could go wrong with this idea….BUT it worked!!!  It tasted the exact same as when I bake it in the oven.  It was amazing.

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So two days later I am at home, I guess somewhat underestimating this recipe.  I used the same bundt pan and…here is the problem…I only sprayed the pan with Pam like I always do and opted to not butter and flour.  I have used this pan I don’t know how many times…this doesn’t happen.   As you can see, it was a disaster.  I will have to say, although it looked terrible, it did taste fine…and I learned, if it says butter and flour, I will! :)

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Phylloccine Ice Cream Sandwich

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This recipe, although similar to the Tropical Napoleons, was it’s own creation.  All of my tasters agreed the truly fantastic dessert would be to combine the two.  Keep the meringue and tropical fruit from the Napoleons and add the raspberry puree and ice cream from the sandwich.  They said THAT would be perfection!  My tasters take their job seriously haha!

This recipe gets its name from the phyllo dough getting cut into ribbons which look very much like fettuccine…hence the name phylloccine.

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The phylloccine then gets placed into mounds and sprinkled with butter and sugar and baked until golden brown.

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While they are baking, you whip up some raspberry puree and homemade whipped cream.  It is really easy to assemble these…although I tried making the fruit skewer to come out of the top and it just wouldn’t stay up.  After the first one, we just put the fruit around the ice cream sandwich and that seemed to work out just fine. ;)  It is a keeper!

Savory Wheat Crackers

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It probably was not fair to do these crackers after the Tropical Napoleons…but who knew. ;)  I mean after all, the Napoleons were one of the grandest looking desserts we have made and were loved by all. To have a simple cracker to follow…even a good one would be hard to get excited about. :)   They were easy, I will say that…but other than that, not much to say.  They weren’t good or bad…just ok.  I think if we wanted crackers I would just buy some.  They reminded us of pita chips but not as good.  On a side note, I have already made the Tropical Napoleons again…for a dinner party of 12.  Everyone LOVED them.   That recipe is a keeper…this cracker one, not so much.

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Tropical Napoleons

 

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This recipe was a surprise!  We all thought it looked so gourmet but didn’t expect it to taste THAT amazing.  It is a pretty simple recipe…meringue wafers layered with whipped cream, berries, and tropical fruit, but something magical happens when it is all put together.  My husband kept saying he thought it was the best recipe we have made so far but couldn’t figure out why it tasted so good.  That was exactly everyone’s response who tried it.  They simple loved it!

This one looks hard, but actually is quite easy.  There are basically three steps, all which can be made ahead of time which I love.  Then you can construct the towers when you are ready for dessert.

The first step is making the meringue wafers.

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It was super easy to whip up the meringue and then add some coconut.  The recipe calls for making a plastic template.  I thought that sounded like it would make the whole process harder and messier.  I just eye-balled the round circles and made them all the same size…sprinkling them with the extra coconut and sesame seeds after I had a pan full.  I figured it didn’t matter if they were all a little different.  I used an off-set knife and had no problems.  I think my wafers might have been a little thicker than what is called for in the recipe but in the end I believe that is what everyone loved the most and it made it a little easier to remove them from the pan.

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I think the hardest part was removing the wafers from the pan.  I made sure I liberally buttered and floured my pan and did exactly as the recipe stated…pushing the spatula against the pan.  I didn’t put the pan on the oven door but just left it on the rack.  It was a tricky process.  I just made sure to circle around the wafer, lifting it from all around and then with one swipe tried to grab it.  The good news is that the recipe is a bit rustic so if they aren’t perfect you can’t really tell. :)

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So while these are cooling onto step #2…whipping the cream

I did make a little change to the whipped cream and omitted the rum.  I didn’t have any so I just added more vanilla and some milk to make up the difference in the liquid.  I also doubled the amount of the whipped cream so we had plenty when I made the desserts up.

The last step is making the Napoleons

This was actually fun for me…kind of like doing an art project. :)  You have all the pieces and then put it together.  I used raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, kiwi, and mango in ours.  I think you can use anything you would like on this dessert.  Everyone thought it was beautiful and then didn’t quite know how to eat it.  Boy it becomes a mess really fast haha!  Everyone loved this so much, I made more of the meringue wafers the next day since I had so much fruit and whipped cream leftover.  They were such a hit. This recipe is definitely a keeper!

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Cantuccini

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Two weeks ago I was wondering if I would be able to pull off the lefse with no special gadgets and then we come to this week’s recipe and it is about as easy as you can get!…literally: measure, mix, and shape. We are making classic biscotti which are called cantuccini.

This variation uses almonds, cinnamon, and vanilla.  It took all I had not to add a little bit of chocolate in there but I figured maybe I shouldn’t mess with it the first time around.  I have to say I am glad I went with the traditional recipe!  I, of course, have mine in the freezer for after Easter, but everyone else who has tried them has loved them!!…some even without dunking!! ;)  These were worth making because the house smelled SO good while they were baking!

My dough was a little sticky but I just added flour as I kneaded.  I would have to say the hardest part of this recipe was cutting the biscotti and keeping them all looking pretty.  Otherwise…super easy!!  It’s a keeper!

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Potato Lefse

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So you ask, what is potato lefse?  I had no idea either until I made this recipe. Turns out they are a very thin, crepe like flat bread from Norway.  The really interesting part is that they are made almost entirely from potatoes.  Talk about resourceful…potatoes that get turned into a flat bread that can be used for bread or a dessert.  Who knew!  Haha!

These potato lefse come with their own cooking utensils…some from Norway…a dowel for lifting and turning, a round disk for rolling the dough out and sleeves for the disk and rolling pin.  I have none of these things and was wondering how I would mange.  I don’t even have a potato ricer which they recommend using as well.   I am very grateful to my fellow bloggers who answered my post on the P & Q page to help me out a bit.  They posted video and encouraged me to improvise..which I did and had amazing results so thank you!!

The dough is pretty basic to make…boil 3 medium potatoes, finely grate (which I used the small holes in my grater which worked perfectly), add heavy cream, sugar, salt and butter.  Stir into a smooth mixture which looked a lot like mashed potatoes. :)  This is put into the fridge over night un-covered.  The next day you add a bit of flour to create the dough.  I was a little apprehensive of how sticky the dough would be with all the necessary “sleeves” for everything but I found the dough to be really easy to work with.  I just kept my work area well floured and had no problem.

The dough gets divided into 12 balls and then rolled out and cooked on a skillet or griddle.  I used my stove top griddle and just a regular spatula..no problem.  Instead of the dowel to pick them up I just used my rolling pin the same way you do for a pie crust.  These are cooked much like pancakes..just wait for the bubbles and some browning and turn.

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photo4As you cook them you are to keep them warm in a towel covered with plastic wrap.  I thought that was a little strange but I did it anyway.  These are to be eaten warm.  They suggest with butter, sugar, and cinnamon which we did.  My son also tried one with Nutella on the inside.  We all thought they were good…interesting.  It is hard not to expect it to taste similar to a tortilla since it looks so much like one but it has it’s own taste and texture.  I thought these were a lot of fun to make and I enjoyed the challenge.  Not sure I would make them again…but if I had a bunch of leftover potatoes I would now know what I could make to use them up. ;)