Caramel-Sugar Pufflets

These were fun to make.

A twist on a traditional puff pastry, these cookies use a yeasted sour cream puff dough. I am not sure if it is the teacher in me or what, but does anyone else get pleasure from the “rolling the dough twice as long as wide, folding like a letter, and then turning like a book”?!! 😂. I love working with the dough and seeing it come together so nicely and compact by the end of the multiple turns.

The dough is simple….yeast, water, flour, butter, egg, and full fat sour cream. It comes together in a food processor and then goes in the fridge for a two hour chill.

The magic happens in the rolls, folds, and turns…as the sugar is embedded underneath and on top each time so the multiple layers are filled with sugar….later allowing it to caramelize as the dough bakes and puffs.

The dough is rolled out one last time and then cut into strips….baked for about 14 minutes until they are puffed and golden.

These smelled delicious while they were baking…reminding me of brioche! I figured we would love these and I was correct…I mean what is not to love right?! I think a little cinnamon sprinkled in with the sugar would be a great addition for next time! These are a keeper. 😄

Green Goddess Sipper, Soup, or Shots

First decision when making this recipe would be…will it be a cold soup, on the rocks as a sipper, or in shot glasses as a quick refresher?

We went with the cold soup. I can’t say I was too excited about cold soup BUT, I wasnt excited about the Green as Spring soup we made, and besides the shrimp tacos, it is probably my most used recipe from this cookbook…so we were all keeping an open mind.

This recipe actually has two recipes in one. We first need to made the Demi-Goddess Dressing which consists of buttermilk, Greek yogurt, white balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, avocado, Persian cucumber, garlic, basil, and green scallions. This is chilled for a minimum of an hour. I remember eating Green Goddess dressing growing up and liking it so I was intrigued.

The second part of the recipe is the soup. The base is the Green Goddess dressing we just made along with more buttermilk, yogurt, basil, lemon juice, and cucumber…then also a zucchini. The whole thing is blended together and then chilled for a minimum of four hours. At that point you pour it in bowls for soup…over ice with a straw for a sipper…or if you want something in-between, pour it into a shot glass.

I am not sure what to say about this soup other than it was super tangy…too tangy. We tried a couple of bites but it just wasn’t something you could keep eating straight out of the bowl. My husband ended up dipping bread into it and thought that was better. We liked the flavor, but it was too intense and thought it might be better as a dip or topping on chicken maybe.

So, while I wouldnt say it was a success, or a keeper, it was fun and interesting to try. It certainly won’t take the place of the Green as Spring soup haha. I will be curious to see what the other bakers thought.

Luang Prabang Chicken-Chili Sandwiches

These sandwiches, we are told, are reminiscent of some Dorie had while in Luang Prabang, Laos…reminding her of her nightly stroll through the alley with food merchants and their stalls.

The recipe is more of a guideline of the order and type of ingredients used, the actual construction is up to the individual making them. They are served wrapped in a page of a magazine secured with a rubber band…I went with parchment paper. 😃

The sandwiches are layered on a fresh baguette..I chose Cheesecake Factory Brown Bread that we have been using lately for avocado toast. You spread both sides with Mayo and sriracha…and then begin the layering:

  • Roasted Chicken
  • Moisten with Thai sweet chili sauce
  • Add tomatoes and cucumber
  • Drizzle with more chili sauce
  • Top with lettuce
  • Give everything a last hit of chili sauce
  • Close sandwich and secure with parchment and rubber band…letting them sit for 15 min before digging in.

I was thinking we better like the chili sauce or this will not be a success haha.

We enjoyed these! They were a nice change of pace and most things I usually have on hand…especially now that I have the chili sauce. I could see us having them again.

Coconut Patties

I knew my coconut loving family would enjoy these…they didn’t even suggest that next time I should dip them in chocolate…they loved them on their own…the flavor, the texture, and the soft chewy center…oh and let’s not forget the sanding sugar crunch on top!

These are macaroons at its core with the unsweetened coconut, egg whites, and sugar, but the technique we used was French and they were flavored with lemon extract and lime zest.

To get the great texture of these cookies, we used an interesting method. The coconut and egg whites are stirred into a pan with lime zest infused sugar, and cooked over low heat for 5-8 minutes until the coconut is very warm. The mixture is placed in a bowl…vanilla and lemon extract are added, plastic against its surface…and into the fridge it goes,…for a minimum of five hours 😳. This takes some planning.

We are told when we are ready to bake, to form balls and then create the patty in baking rings but I don’t have those so I just rolled the batter into balls and then pressed down with my fingers to get a patty. The dough was slightly sticky so it worked just fine. The patties are then topped with sanding sugar and popped into the 300 degree oven for 20-30 minutes…mostly to dry them out since they are fully cooked from the saucepan. They are done when they are slightly firm and just lightly brown here and there.

My husband, son and his fiancé LOVED these!…as I knew they would. I shared them with my other tasters, who love coconut, telling her I was fairly certain she and her family would love them. I got a text back a little while later:

Love, love, love them!!

These were an all around winner…a keeper for sure!

Natasha’s Mum’s Fruit and Walnut Bread Bars

These bars are a hand-me-down recipe given to Dorie…originating from a friend of hers in Australia. The bars are highly adaptable in that you can use whatever combo of dried fruit that sounds good. The interesting thing is that they are not bread and contain no egg yolks or oil or butter. 😳

Despite their name, these bars are not bread at all, although they are slightly firm. They’re rich-it’s all those walnuts and dried fruit, which also make the bars a little chewy and give them so much flavor

The base of these bars is really a meringue…egg whites and sugar whipped up to glossy peaks. The flour, nuts, and dried fruit are ever so carefully stirred in…mindful you don’t deflate the whites more than is necessary.

Because we like almonds more than walnuts, I subbed those in and chose the dried apricots and crystallized ginger as Dorie suggested. I guess I had never tasted crystallized ginger before as I tasted a piece before baking and wow! That will leave a zing on your tongue…especially if you are expecting it to be sweet…as I was haha.

The batter is smoothed into an 8×8 and baked for about 30 min giving it an ivory color and the look of nougat.

I am sensing a theme with my family…we are not big fruit and nut bars lovers 😳🤷‍♀️…none of us liked these and in fact many of us said it might be one of our least favorite I have made.

Although…

…my good friend…daily walking buddy…and taster from the beginning reported back her family absolutely loved them!! So funny! So…that tells me it is my family and not the recipe haha. I sent the extras up to her family and they were overjoyed. Win-win!

So, not a keeper with my family but that is just us haha.

Tomato Tart With Mustard And Ricotta

“There is little simpler or more wonderful than this tart. While mustard may not be what you think of as a mix-in with tomatoes, it is what makes this tart remarkable”

What a great intro to a new recipe that we are trying this month…I wasn’t sure how a tomato tart would be described as “remarkable” but we were certainly willing to try and see what we thought. 😄

This tart begins with a Pâte Brisée shell partially baked and cooled. I used the option to make mine in a 9 in pie pan…mostly so I didn’t have to fit the dough in the fluted tart pan edges haha.

The tart is then constructed with wilted green as the base, I used spinach. Then the filling is made with the eggs, cream, mustard, salt and pepper…and poured on top of the greens. The tomatoes, which have been patted dry, are placed on top and then topped with…in my case mozzarella balls in place of ricotta…and a little more pepper.

The tart is cooked for about 30 min and cooled to room temperature.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this tart as I wasn’t sure we had had this combo before but I have to tell you..Dorie nailed it in her intro! This tart was simple…and remarkable…and will certainly find a home in our rotation. We all loved it. Although we had it as a side with dinner, I see this as a perfect brunch dish. Actually it would be good anytime and perfect for entertaining.

It was a wonderful surprise and a keeper with my family!

Pecan-Brown Sugar Crack-Ups

“More crumble than cookie” we are told. Basically a shortbread, but with the dough’s resemblance to a streusel, we are to make these into broken cookie size bites.

I was thinking they would be more of a cracker consistency, but really mine turned out more like thin cookie bars…not that anyone was complaining haha. Maybe I should have dropped the dough by bits into the 9×13 pan instead of pressing…might have given more of an appearance of a struesel.

What I loved about these, other than the simplicity and ease to make them, was the fact that they really are a party cookie! When I pulled my parchment paper out of the pan and onto the cookie rack, the cookies broke apart themselves…and I took the picture. I loved the unevenness of all the pieces, and my family loved the interactive nature of eating the cookies from the broken slab…maybe we are all just a little bored these days haha. The only negative thing they said was that because they werent portioned out in “cookies” you loose track of how much you are eating and because they are so tasty, you keep eating…breaking of a piece or crumb here and there haha. 😂

These were really tasty and most of us commented on loving the added saltiness on top. I would totally make these again, really only needing to make sure I buy pecans for it..the rest…flour, cornstarch, butter, brown sugar, eggs, and fleur de sel are things I usually have on hand.

These are a keeper!

Chicken-Chili Tamale Pie

This dish would seem to be a good fit for a cold or stormy day…warm and comforting..and it sure smelled good while cooking! We unfortunately had it on an unseasonably warm 90 degree day here in California…that is hot for the end of April 😳. All good though, my guys never complain about having Mexican food…that is always a good choice.

This tamale pie is basically a chicken chili topped with cornbread, but a more adult and grown up version. The textures and flavors are elevated from the usual “throw together and top with a box of cornbread mix” casserole.

The chili has a combination of chicken, black beans, sweet potato, tomato, red bell pepper and onion flavored with jalapeño, cumin, chipotle, honey and chili powder. (I omitted the cilantro).

Rather than use a box mix of cornbread we make our own adding some elements to that as well…chili powder, honey, bell pepper, and jalapeño.

The chili is placed in a dish and topped with the cornbread…cooked for about half and hour. I think our consensus was the ratio was off a bit…way too much cornbread and maybe not even necessary. I think if I was to make this again I would use half the cornbread recipe so there was a thinner topping and you could taste more of the chili.

All in all, good…but maybe not a favorite.

Chocolate Chip Not-Quite Mandelbrot

Long name for a delicious cookie! We will be calling them “the soft biscotti” from now on in my family haha.

Seems like the best place to start is with, what is “Mandelbrot”?

Dorie tells us,

“The literal translation of Mandelbrot is “almond bread”, a name that gives no hint that it defines a twice-baked cookie. Popular among Ashkenazi Jews, the cookie has all the characteristics of a biscotti- it’s baked in a log, sliced and baked again. That these Mandelbrot are made without mandel, or almonds, is a technicality to be glossed over.”

What makes this “biscotti” different than the usual ones you eat, is that they are more like cake and not hard and dry. This particular recipe is speckled with mini chocolate chips and then what takes it to another level, is that the cookies are dusted with cinnamon sugar on both bakes…once on top and then again on the cut side during the second bake. I am not sure we had an appreciation of the chocolate and cinnamon combo before, but that is a really good match!

These were loved by all who I was able to share them with…which was a lot. I didn’t quite get the 60 it states but a good 30 anyway and that made way for some good sharing. 😍 I can definitely see myself making these again…easy, with ingredients usually found on hand AND everyone loved them…this one is a keeper!

Fennel-Orange Shortbread Wedges

These shortbread cookies are easy to make and are flavored with orange zest and chopped fennel seeds. Interesting combination that is suppose to go well with a glass of wine.

The cookies are fragile, have a slight crunch and are melt in your mouth goodness which comes from baking with all that butter haha. I baked mine in an 8in cake pan rather than the free form method…adding the spoke pattern with a fork to separate the slices. I was leery when cutting the pieces after baking that they would fall apart…but no problem

I think we all would say these were interesting and good to try but I am not sure we loved them…although…we are not wine drinkers so maybe that would have made a difference haha.