Tarte Tropézienne

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This dessert certainly has the “wow” factor…and I have to say it is ALL about that Swedish Sugar on top!

As I was reading through the recipe, I was so thankful Dorie included where to buy the sugar…I went right to the King Arthur’s website and there it was, and not too expensive.  I decided if I was making this recipe, I had to go for it….and I am so glad I did!

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The hardest part about this recipe, is finding the time.  I broke the recipe down into parts and spread it over two days and that didn’t seem too bad…but definitely not the type of recipe you whip up for a dinner party.

had read about others having trouble with their mixers handling the brioche dough, but thankfully mine was fine.  My frustration came with the pastry cream…which shouldn’t have been that tough.  Mine seemed to thicken way too fast and too much.  I wasn’t sure if I should continue with it or not but I remember other posts stating this pastry cream was to die for so I saved it and hoped for the best.  The next day, it was too thick to whisk it so I put it back into my mixer to loosen it up a bit.  I ended up adding more whipped cream to it than the 1/4 of a cup but you know what…everyone loved it.  Phew!

After baking the dough, it was just a matter of slicing it and layering the cream in the middle.  Everyone agreed, if I was to make this again, adding fruit would take it over the top.

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My daughter says it looked just like the picture in the cookbook…yay! (although at this point it was half gone)..and that it tasted great too!  What more can you ask for?

 

I think all of my tasters were very intrigued and excited by this dessert.  No one had ever had anything like it so they didn’t know what to expect.  They all thought the sugar looked like pretzel salt so it was a nice crunchy surprise to have it be bits of sugar….which complimented the not so sweet dessert.  It was fun watching them taste it because everyone started out cautious, not knowing what this would be like…and then everyone went on to finish it and rave about it!  They all say…it is a keeper!

Betty’s Chocoholic Cake

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I think think the recipe’s name says it all…this is a chocolate lovers dream.  I had one taster say this was the best thing she had ever eaten…now I think that might have been a slight exaggeration…but…everyone did love this!

I made this for Mother’s Day and made the raspberry coulis to go along with it.  Interestingly, some people loved the cake with it, and others loved the cake plain.  I personally think if I was to make this again, I would use ice cream between the three cake layers like one of the options stated.  I think that would be amazing! :)…I am already thinking chocolate chip and mint chip!!

One thing I did like about this recipe was that I could make the cake layers a few days ahead and freeze them.  This makes it a perfect “taking to a party” kind of cake.  The day of the event you can pull out the frozen layers and make your ganache and frost.  It came together very easily and looks quite impressive.  The only trouble I had was making the white chocolate ribbons and I think that was probably because of the chocolate bar I used.  Mine turned out more like shavings than ribbons.  I couldn’t find a thick slab like I was picturing in my head, but had to use a white chocolate bar which was too thin and made it difficult to carve out the ribbons.  It still worked ok, but I would change how I did that next time.

This is a “one small slice” kind of dessert…a little goes a long way.  It is so chocolately and decadent you don’t need much.  That…and the fact it uses 3 and 1/2 sticks of butter…you only need a taste.:)  I think it was unanimous with the tasters, this one is a keeper!

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Cocoa Crunch Meringue Sandwiches

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I finally got them done!  Two days late, but I did it.  :)  I knew they would be good since I had seen postings from fellow bakers, but had some trouble scheduling cookies that take 3+ hours.

I will keep it short and sweet…

These were not hard to make, but the meringue cookies do take some time in the oven.  These are then sandwiched with chocolate ganache.  They are an interesting combination with the crunchy, wafer cookies and the fudge-like filling.  They were loved by all.  I made a double batch to make sure I had all my tasters covered…I mean 8 cookies per batch is not a lot. Even at a double batch, I only got 13 cookies out of it.

Not sure these would be a go to recipe  for me since I was maxed out in my oven at 26 cookies on my two baking sheets…it would be 3 more hours to make any more….but they were delicious and a hit with everyone!

 

 

Jammer Galette

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Jammer Galette…fun name; fun desert.  The “Jammer” is a vanilla sable topped with jam and circled with streusel…simple but fancy and delicious at the same time.

This is a recipe to play with, so the possibilities are endless.  I happened to have blackberry jam and orange marmalade from previous recipes we have made..and couldn’t decide which to make…so, I made two!  I figured with all of my tasters, one might not be quite enough anyway, so two seemed perfect.

I didn’t have two tart pans so I used one tart and one springform pan and it worked out beautifully.

This is the kind of recipe that would work out great for a gathering…simple, but seems like a fancy dessert.

  1. Make the crust; chill
  2. Make the streusel; chill
  3. Assemble and bake
  4. Dust with confectioners’ sugar

Seriously easy!

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This recipe was loved by all…and interestingly everyone loved both but at the same time had a favorite…which was mixed.  There was no clear winner.  I am guessing any jam you choose to use would be a hit.  I personally liked the orange marmalade one best.:)

After my parents had theirs with coffee, my dad sent me a text and said he will now be using a “top 20” list because there are too many great ones to contain to a top 10.  :)…and after over 4 years of baking with this group…we do seem to be on a roll with this new BCM cookbook!  Fun times and fun memories!  I have loved every minute of it and I believe my tasters have too!:)

 

Matcha Financiers

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This recipe is a perfect example of why I have loved my last four years participating in this TWD group.  If I had been flipping through a cookbook on my own, I would have never made this particular recipe.  I didn’t know what matcha was, or a financier for that matter and the picture of a green mini muffin would not have been enough to arouse my curiosity….BUT…now in this baking group, this is exactly the type of recipe that gives me, and my tasters an adventure.

Because of this recipe I now know what matcha is, I have been to Teavana, experienced the kindness of genuinely nice worker, and can now say I have tasted matcha!

So what is matcha?…a Japanese powdered green tea; one that we are told is bold, expensive, and not readily available.  I looked at my local stores and didn’t have any luck.  I was asking around and a friend of mine suggested going to Teavana in the mall.  Not being a tea drinker, I had never heard of this place.  I headed over and right away found the matcha, but only in a $25 canister (which probably held a cup) and then a box of 10 individual packets sold for $19.  So, neither were a good choice as we only needed a tsp.  I chatted with an employee asking if I could buy just a teaspoon worth of the matcha.  She told me they didn’t sell that one in bulk.  Such a bummer I told her, as I am in this baking and blogging group and only needed the amount that would be in one of the individual packets sold in boxes of 10.  She looked at the display, which had a box open showing the packets and said here, take a few.  I was so happy and asked what I should pay her for them and she replied, nothing…since it is a display, we will have to throw them out anyway.  I am glad to be able to help with the baking.  HOW COOL IS THAT??  to come across someone so genuinely kind that they just make your day!!  It seriously did make my day.  I love when you come across people who are just kind!!

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I was more energized to get to the baking after scoring the matcha…baked them on St. Patrick’s Day quite by accident but that was totally appropriate and I think people were more willing to try something green that day.:)

The actual recipe was super easy.  You mix up the ingredients until you have a “pea green batter with a sheen to it”

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The batter now needs to chill for a minimum of an hour.  Then onto the baking.  I opted to add the chocolate.  I figured chocolate makes anything taste better so since I was a little concerned with everyone liking this one, I went for the surprise inside.

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They baked right up and off they went to my tasters.  No one had tasted matcha before, so everyone was interested in seeing what it was like.

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My tasters loved these, although they all said they didn’t think they could really taste the matcha!!??  What?? So interesting right.  The girl at Teavana said this matcha was imperial quality and strong.  The recipe said to use baking matcha but I had to go with what I had..and still used the 1 tsp in the batter.  Hmm…wonder why it was a subdued taste?  They were still very good and everyone loved the chocolate surprise in the middle. I would say these are a keeper but not sure when I would ever make them again since I wouldn’t have matcha on hand…but such a fun adventure for sure!

 

Odile’s Fresh Orange Cake

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This one seemed straight forward and simple enough, or so it seemed, but those darn simple ingredients got me this time.

I have the orange tree out back so those were not a problem…and take a look at those oranges!!  We are experiencing a severe drought here in California…restricted watering days and all.  Can you even believe the size of these monstrous oranges???  They have gotten very little water and yet, my tree is loaded with oranges and many of them are this huge.  So strange to me…and they are super juicy and delicious too!

I got busy baking one afternoon…too late for my liking but sometimes you just have to go for it.  The recipe seemed simple enough, I didn’t even check to see if I had everything.(BIG mistake)  I mean, being “baker”, I usually have most all of the basics on hand.

Got started on this one and ugh…can you even believe I had no sugar..of all things.  I kept looking in my cabinets and pantry expecting the new bag of sugar to appear or something. I still can’t believe I didn’t have any.  So I call my dear friend up the street, also one of my tasters:), and ask if I can borrow some sugar…for the dessert they will be having that night haha.  SHE does not have any sugar either…says maybe a cup but that was all.

I had been debating about doing the optional poached oranges on top, wondering if the cake would save very well that way, and here was my decision.  Her cup of sugar was not enough for the poached oranges, but it was enough sugar to finish this cake I had started.  I could have run to the store but ugh, who wants to do that right about dinner time if you can avoid it right??

The cake is actually very easy to put together, especially if you have all the ingredients on hand haha.  It is a very simple cake…probably would have enjoyed having the poached oranges on top if for nothing else to make it a bit fancier.  My husband “liked” it but said it reminded him of corn bread?? maybe by the way it looks or the consistency, I don’t know…but the rest of my tasters all loved it even with just the orange syrup on top.   I didn’t get to try it so I can’t really weigh in on this one but, I would say majority rules and this one is a keeper.

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Hot Chocolate Panna Cotta

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The most common reaction I got from this dessert…”I had to stop myself from licking the cup”. If that doesn’t sum it up, I don’t know what would!!   I didn’t actually get to have one of these, since once again it is Lent and I gave up desserts, but…from what I heard, these were amazing!

I was very surprised these went over so well since the Vanilla Mango Panna Cotta was a hit or miss sort of thing.  I think half of my tasters liked that one and half didn’t care for it at all.  It seems the “Hot Chocolate” part, made all the difference.  :)  Everyone reported back this was more like a mousse than anything…and…light and not too sweet.

These were super easy to make and…I like that when thinking which of these desserts would be good to use for entertaining.  As my Dad said…we have been on quite a roll with good recipes lately!!  Onto the next ones!!