Saturday, November 29, 2008

Caramel Me a Daring Baker - November

This month the Daring Bakers made a Caramel Cake created by Shuna Fish Lydon of Eggbeater. You can see the original recipe here:
Our hostesses were Dolores of Culinary Curiosity, Alex of Blondie and Brownie (she's Brownie), and Jenny of Foray into Food.
This was a pretty straightforward cake, I'm just sad to say that I couldn't eat any of it because my pregnancy hormones don't like me and have been causing me to have gallbladder attacks if I eat anything with more than a smidgen of butter or other fats in it such as cream. This isn't stopping me from being the hostess for December along with my friend Marion of Il en Faut Peu Pour Etre Heureux, but I have to say it's hard to make pastries when you can't even taste the batter.
I actually had to have A. do the final taste test for me when I added salt to the caramel buttercream because I fear the attacks (they're very painful) enough not to tempt fate. Of course A. didn't mind being a tester so at least there was one happy person in the kitchen.
Both the cake and the buttercream smell fabulous which I think means they taste fabulous too. Of note, we were supposed to make a light caramel syrup to include in the cake batter and the buttercream, but I actually let my caramel cook past dark amber so that there would be a real smoky caramel taste to both elements. I don't know if it worked in the cake because the recipe only calls for a little addition of caramel syrup in the batter, but I know it worked for the buttercream because I could smell the caramel while beating it.
Everything is packed as we've been moving so I didn't have my pastry bag to decorate the cake (woe is me), so I improvised...hope it looks ok (my obsessive compulsive tendencies say it doesn't, but the rational part of my brain knows it does).

Ce mois-ci les Pâtissiers Téméraires ont fait un Gâteau au Caramel concocté par Shuna Fish Lydon du blog Eggbeater. Vous pouvez voir la recette originale là:
Nos hôtesses étaient were Dolores de Culinary Curiosity, Alex de Blondie and Brownie (elle est Brownie), et Jenny de Foray into Food.
Ce gâteau était très simple à faire, je suis juste désolée de n'avoir pas pu en manger du tout car mes hormones de grossesse ne m'aimant pas, elle déclenchent des crises de ma vésicule biliaire dès que je mange plus d'un chouia de beurre ou autre forme de graisse telle de la crème. Ca ne m'empêchera pas d'être l'hôtesse du prochain défi en Décembre avec mon amie Marion de Il en Faut Peu Pour Etre Heureux, mais je dois dire que c'est dur de faire des pâtisseries quand on ne peut même pas goûter à l'appareil.
J'ai du demander à A. de goûter la crème au beurre au caramel plusieurs fois pour moi quand j'ajoutais le sel à la fin parce que j'ai trop peur des crises (qui font très mal) pour tenter ma chance. Evidemment il était ravi donc au moins une personne était heureuse dans la cuisine.
Le gâteau et sa crème au beurre sentent divinement bon donc je pense qu'ils doivent avoir bon goût aussi. A noter, nous étions sensés faire un sirop léger au caramel à inclure dans le gâteau et dans la crème au beurre, mais j'ai laissé mon caramel cuire bien plus longtemps qu'indiqué pour que les deux choses aient un vrai goût un peu fumé de caramel. Je ne sais pas si ça a marché pour le gâteau car la recette n'indique qu'une légère addition de sirop au caramel de toute manière, mais je sais que ça a marché pour la crème au beurre car je sentais le caramel en la battant.
Tout est dans des boîtes en ce moment car nous déménageons donc je n'ai pas ma poche à douille pour décorer le gâteau (tragédie), donc j'ai improvisé...j'espère que c'est assez convenable (mes tendances obsessives compulsives me disent que non mais la partie rationelle de mon cerveau me dit que oui).

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Monday, November 24, 2008

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies for the Boys

I know I've been neglecting this blog woefully, and the truth is I haven't been in the kitchen much because I don't feel that great all the time, on top of which lately we'd been packing up to move to the U.S. so the combination of being almost 5 months pregnant and packing to move trans-atlantically was not conducive to finding more time to be in the kitchen, but sometimes there are really good reasons to be in the kitchen even if you don't really want to be, and this was a doubly good reason as far as I was concerned.

First, although a nun from a local mission was going to come by to take whatever dry foods and ingredients we'd left behind that could be used for the mission's soup kitchen, I wanted to use as much of my large stock of prime ingredients as possible before we left to reduce any waste.

Second A., as a former member of the Armed Forces, was always taking leftover cake and baked goodies (particularly from the Daring Baker challenges) down to the "boys" at the local base. I affectionately refer to them as the boys although the guys who usually eat my baked goods are officers, though there is the occasional 17 year-old private. Anyway, they're all boys to me, and there are rotations of them coming and going back from Iraq and Afghanistan, so it always makes me feel good when he drops baked goods off for those guys because the least anyone can do for them is show them some appreciation for the hard job that they do, and the truth is that they aren't paid handsomely, they aren't even given proper equipment when they go out there, and I know from A.'s testimony that they never get anything close to home-baked goods at the base commissary. (It doesn't hurt my baker's ego either that they eat the stuff I send down there in a matter of literally minutes).

So having a lot of leftover peanut butter and chocolate chips and tons of flour and all sort of other things, and knowing full well that they love peanut butter chocolate chip cookies having made a batch for them once before, I decided to make these PBCC cookies from a recipe I got off of Smitten Kitchen and which comes originally from the Magnolia Bakery.

I made two double batches of these, which made about 200 cookies, and I also made Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies, though I substituted almond butter for the regular butter and was then forced to add milk and maple syrup to make the dough smoother to work with, but they turned out pretty well anyway. Who knew.

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