Caramel Tart

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I decided to add this recipe to my Thanksgiving dinner so I didn’t make last week’s blog role  Thank goodness for the extra rewind Tuesday this month.🙂

I did have some trouble with this recipe…

  • Although this sweet tart dough is easy enough to work with, I am still having trouble with cooking it in my oven.  I lowered the temp to 375 this time AND tented and it still over baked in my opinion.  I couldn’t release the tart from the pan.
  • I skimmed the froth off of the caramel before pouring it in and after, since others had issues with it changing the look of the final product.  After my tart cooled I went to cover it with plastic wrap, and right away it fell to the middle and appeared to pull up the center.  I was like…OH NO…. Interestingly though, it was pulling up the froth layer that did in fact bake on top. So I continued to pull up the rest which revealed this nice caramel filling.  The only problem was, I couldn’t get it ALL pulled up…especially right along the edge of the crust.  I was already making the chocolate sauce to go with this so I thought what would be the harm of adding mini chocolate chips along the edge of the crust…it would add some flavor, add some interest and texture, and solve my problem haha!
  • My tart took longer to cook than the 24 minutes suggested…more like 34.

None of these issues were really bad or impactful to the final product but trouble nonetheless…especially the day before Thanksgiving as I was very busy with preparing the meal.

The reviews on the tart were sort of varied.  Everyone loved the addition of the mini chocolate chips and said they would have preferred them over the whole top.  They also said the flavor of the tart seemed to grow on them the more they ate…at first bite, not so sure they liked it.  To me, the caramel tasted a little like butterscotch.  All in all, everyone enjoyed trying it but in the end I think it was unfair of me to put it up against the classic Thanksgiving desserts…those being pumpkin and apple pie in our house.  🙂

Peanut Butter Change-Ups

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Here we are again…I am not sure I will be able to keep up this pace with weekly baking/blogging.  Thankfully I made these when I did the apple crumble last week.

These were good, everyone enjoyed them…regular peanut butter cookies with a twist.  They are not flattened and criss-crossed as your traditional cookie, but rather rolled in a ball and left alone.  This makes them crispy on the edges but more cake-like in the center.

This recipe packs a strong peanut butter punch!!  It not only has peanut butter, but you also add a cup of chopped peanuts as well.  To me, the cookies seemed to be begging for chocolate, so I added some chocolate chips into the last part of the batter.  Surprisingly, you couldn’t taste the chocolate at all…the peanut butter flavor was that strong!!  I guess I should have left things alone haha!

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Apple Speculoos Crumble

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Speculoos…you might wonder…what is that??  They are a type of spiced shortbread.  My only connection to the word was that I had read about cookie butter with it at Trader Joes.   They did taste familiar when I tried them, so maybe I have eaten them without knowing what they were.

I took Dorie’s advice and looked for the Lotus/Biscoff brand of speculoos cookies at my local grocery store…not even a specialty store…and surprise, surprise there they were.

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I have never seen these, or tasted them…until now.  They do remind you of Christmas time and are very good.  I could see myself buying them again to eat plain.🙂

This recipe is actually very simple, two steps really.

  • Prepare the apples…peel, core, and cut and then mix in sugar
  • Prepare the crumble…break and crush the cookies and then mix with softened butter  and shape into a ball

It is literally that easy.

Spoon the apples into the pan and top with broken off pieces of the cookie “ball”.  This smells so good while cooking.

While everyone loved this, we were all a little surprised at the consistency of the apples.  Most all of us were expecting firm apple pieces and in fact there were some, but there was also some that became more like an applesauce filling.  Not sure if that had something to do with the apples I chose, or if that was intended in the baking.  Either way, we all enjoyed this one…my Dad even requesting the recipe!🙂

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Chocolate Creme Sandwiches

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Exciting things going on with TWD…we have added another cookbook and will be spreading kindness with cookies!!   We will continue to be cooking twice a month out of Baking Chez Moi and now will also add two recipes a month from Dorie’s newest cookbook, Dorie’s Cookies.  This will be my third cookbook I have tackled with this baking group.  We have just recently finish Baking with Julia which was my first cookbook with this group…hard to believe in a few short months I will have been cooking with this group for 6 years!!!  I remember being nervous about starting up…especially the blogging part, but wow, I am SO glad I joined.  This group and the baking has brought me so much joy…I would say my tasters are very glad I joined as well haha!

I am such a book person/nerd…apparently even a cookbook person.  I couldn’t wait to flip through the newest one and check out all the great recipes we will be baking through.  I can see that a few jump out as possible favorites with me already.  Hopefully, these new recipes won’t be too time consuming so I can keep up with both books.

Our recipe this week is a sandwich cookie, one she says that might remind us of an Oreo but is not supposed to be as sweet. I have to admit, these were a little time consuming.  You make up the dough, which was super easy to work with, and then roll, chill, cut, bake…continuing with the process until you have used up your dough…very similar to making sugar cookies.

While those are cooling to room temp, you whip up the creme filling.  Dorie suggests that we can make up a double batch if we want to have  a thicker filling.  I decided to do this since my cookies were a little bigger than the 2 inch suggested and didn’t want to run out.  I ended up getting 20 sandwiches out of the recipe which was really good since she suggested that it makes approx 22.

Very interesting results from my tasters…I for once liked it, maybe since it is chocolate and somewhat simple, but out of 10 people trying these, only 3 liked them!!  The others said they were ok, they weren’t complaining, but they all said the same thing…that they were TOO sweet!  Isn’t that weird??  The recipe says people might think they aren’t as sweet as an Oreo but all these people trying them at different times, told me they were too sweet.

My daughter who liked them said, isn’t dessert suppose to be sweet?…and I said, exactly haha!!

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Apple Tart with Crunchy Almond Topping

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We are in the midst of a fall heat-wave…98 degrees the day I baked this tart.  Not exactly the fall baking experience I was looking for but what can you do?  I certainly won’t complain about our great year-round weather but it would have felt more like fall, baking an apple tart, in lets say maybe something in the 70’s haha!

This tart recipe is pretty simple…basically three steps.

  • The crust is not new to us.  We have used it in previous recipes and comes together easily.
  • The apples, which I subbed for the pears, are sautĂ©ed in butter and then some sugar.  I had never done this and I am wondering why??  They looked so good as they browned up on random edges and sides.  I could have eaten them plain, just out of the pan.
  • The almond topping is just egg whites, confectioner sugar, and almonds.

Seriously, very simple recipe and yet quite elegant looking.  I would say very good for a brunch or luncheon.  All my tasters agreed that this was delicious!  They loved it!

Personally, I preferred the plain apples.🙂

 

Custardy Apple Squares

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Dorie calls this a “Back-Pocket Recipe”; one that you can use when you need something quick and easy.  The recipe uses ingredients that you would normally have on hand…apples, flour, baking powder, eggs, sugar, milk, butter, and vanilla.  Nothing too fancy, but easy to pull off.  I did not have a mandoline, which she suggested to make the slicing of the apples easier and more uniform…oh darn, had to go get a new cooking gadget!  Funny thing is, I have used it three times now (and sliced my thumb!!)  since I bought it so I guess it was a good purchase!🙂

Everyone really enjoyed this dessert.  I added a bit of cinnamon because I just couldn’t help myself.  I am not sure it really made that much difference though.  Overall, this was a good, easy recipe but in my opinion, a bit bland.  I think it was actually better later, chilled.  Quite a few people said it reminded them of the restaurant The Original Pancake House’s apple pancake.  Not a bad comparison!

 

 

 

Edouard’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

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It is good to be back…and what a good recipe to return to.  I mean, who doesn’t love chocolate chip cookies, right??

I hadn’t planned on taking any time off as I really enjoy baking ALL of the recipes but as schedules had it, just not possible so I sat out August.  Throw in also a case of real, go to the doctor, food poisoning for my son while at a business conference and that made me, the already scared one to use un-cooked eggs, for sure sitting out the ice cream recipe…even if I am just being paranoid.🙂

I have a really good, chewy, bakery type chocolate chip cookie recipe so I was interested as I read Dorie’s intro to the recipe how this would compare.  She was saying these were that type of cookie and probably because of a unique ingredient.  This recipe uses almond flour in addition to the regular all-purpose flour.  Interesting!  My recipe uses ground up oatmeal in addition to the regular flour.

I ended up using Trader Joe’s ground almond meal rather than almond flour so you can see some of the chopped up almonds.  These cookies were good…I mean very satisfyingly good!!  My tasters have all had my chocolate chip cookies and no one could say which was better…it was like they were the same, but different.  These were a bit more dense and “richly chocolately” but not as chewy.  We all agreed I just need to make both types now…and I will.  They are definitely a keeper and one that I will keep in my personal rotation.