TwD: Baking Buttermilk Scones with Julia

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I have been craving scones for some time now, and after realizing that satisfying this craving by induling in afternoon tea at the Drake Hotel for the past three weekends solely for the scones is pretty ridiculous and close to madness, it had to stop.

So, how jazzed was I about baking this week’s assignment? Pretty excited because these buttermilk scones were seriously some of the best scones I’ve ever had. Who knew that the tablespoon of orange zest would really bring such lovely flavor. Very nice!

If you’d like to try your hand at these super easy and very tasty buttermilk scones, pick up a copy of Baking with Julia: Savor the Joys of Baking with America’s Best Bakers and join the bi-monthly baking group, Tuesdays with Dorie, where we choose recipes to collectively bake each month!

TwD: Baking Challah with Julia

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Everytime I buy a loaf of artisan bread, I always kick myself for not trying to bake it at home first. Most bread recipes are fairly simple, given the proper amount of time. And, therein lies the problem since I rarely have time to babysit the dough’s lengthy, multiple rises. I can, however, be persuaded if the bread can be multi-tasked. Such was the case with this week’s TwD: BwJ assignment, challah, which was used for last week’s ffwD sugar-coated French toast!

This bread was pretty fun to make because I had time off from work for Thanksgiving, and I’ve been wanting to make a braided loaf for awhile now. I didn’t want to go overboard, though, and only made one loaf. I would’ve hated to have a nice, fresh loaf go to waste during a meal with multiple breads available. I will definitely be making this challah in the future for myself. No more grocery challah for me!

If you’d like to try your hand at this challah, pick up a copy of Baking with Julia: Savor the Joys of Baking with America’s Best Bakers and join the bi-monthly baking group, Tuesdays with Dorie, where we choose recipes to collectively bake each month!

TwD: Baking Double Chocolate Cookies with Julia

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It’s been awhile since I’ve posted for Tuesdays with Dorie; four months to be exact. I wasn’t planning on baking this week’s assignment either for fear of unintentional snacking on leftovers. However, my friend (Codename: Candelabra) was in town, so I was able to pawn these treats off on her and the Fort Wayne breast cancer center nursing staff, including Candelabra’s O.R. scrub tech/navigator (Codename: Cilantro)!

The few cookies I did sample were soft, velvety, melty, and decadent, similar to a moist and silky brownie. Actually, Candelabra has coined these cookies “C. Webb cookies” because they’re “super chocolatey and delicious” like the former Michigan “Fab Five” member/former NBA All-Star/current NBA on TNT commentator, Chris Webber:

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(That last photo was to show you C.Webb’s humor.) Whatever these cookies are called, it’s a smart idea to have plenty of friends around lest you be tempted to eat them all yourself. Which you will! If you’d like to try your hand at these double chocolate cookies or “C. Webb cookies”, pick up a copy of Baking with Julia: Savor the Joys of Baking with America’s Best Bakers and join the bi-monthly baking group, Tuesdays with Dorie, where we choose recipes to collectively bake each month!

TwD: Baking a Baked Yogurt Tart with Julia (a little late!)

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With my nieces in town, I missed Tuesday’s deadline for this week’s baked yogurt tart. However, I did make it in time for a post-Navy Pier 4th of July fireworks dessert! I used the last of my pre-made, homemade, wheat flour, frozen pie dough, so that made assembly even easier. And, I kept the toppings simple using only blueberries and omitting the almonds.

Next time, I’ll definitely use an assortment of berries and add the almonds for crunch. I read that several bloggers added almond extract or thought the yogurt needed a bit of lemon. Everyone in my camp liked the yogurt filling the way it was, but I would’ve preferred adding a bit of sugar to my pie dough to balance against the sweet filling and berries.

Try your hand at this baked yogurt tart by heading to the blogs of this week’s hosts: Liz from That Skinny Chick Can Bake! and Alisa of Easier Than Pie, where they’ve posted the recipe!

TwD: Baking a Tomato & Cheese Galette with Julia

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…”I’m here! I made it!”…the frantic food blogger yelled.

I almost forgot it was the third Tuesday in June. I almost forgot it was time for another round of Tuesdays with Dorie: Baking with Julia. I almost forgot but was luckily reminded by my fellow TwD: BwJ bloggers who post a day early (from my standpoint) because they live in Australia and New Zealand.

Seeing as I almost forgot but didn’t, I was lucky enough that this week’s assignment was this tomato and cheese galette. Lucky because I had a frozen disc of galette dough ready to go. Lucky because I just purchased fresh tomatoes today. Lucky because I had sliced mozzerella on hand, which would have to do instead of the shredded kind.

Overall, this galette was quick and tasty, like a ready-to-bake pizza except the ingredients were homemade and fresh. Again, I think the trick here is having the galette dough pre-made. That way, you don’t have to act as if you almost forgot something…like dinner. If you’d like to try this tomato & cheese galette, find the recipe at Jenny Bakes, this week’s blogger host!

TwD: Baking Almond Biscotti with Julia (Rewind!)

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Today’s a Tuesday with Dorie rewind, meaning our assignment was to make a previously assigned recipe that was skipped for whatever reason. I’ll admit I chose an easier recipe because I was short on time: almond biscotti. Actually, the original recipe incorporated hazelnuts, but I had almonds on hand and thought those would work just fine. Plus, I had almond extract in my cupboard to help boost the flavor.

I’ve made cardamom pecan biscotti before using a different recipe, but this recipe was reliable enough. However, since giving up all forms of caffeine, the need for biscotti is pretty minimal in my house. Therefore, I only made 1/4 the recipe and shared them with friends. Don’t get me wrong. This recipe is great in a pinch, but only if you’re really jonesing for biscotti with your tea or coffee.

If you’d like to try these biscotti, head over to the blogs of the original hosts where they’ve posted the recipe: Jodi of Homemade and Wholesome and Katrina of Baking and Boys.

TwD: Baking Madeleines with Julia

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I’ve been a huge fan of homemade Madeleines ever since the French Fridays with Dorie group made honey-spiced Madeleines in September 2011. Don’t get me wrong; I’ve had my share of the Starbucks Madeleines before, but once I invested in a specialty pan just for these little cakes, I haven’t touched a store-bought Madeleine since. My fondness for these cookies runs deep enough that my sister (Codename: Chunklet’s mom) gave me the We Love Madeleines cookbook for Christmas this year. So there was no way I was missing this week’s TwD: BwJ assignment!

This week’s Madeleine recipe seemed a bit more finicky than I expected. I suppose it’s because I made only half the recipe for my one Madeleine pan (seeing as the batter needed to be baked immediately). Anyway, this meant I was working with only a tablespoon and a half of melted butter, which proved a bit problematic in keeping melted. I had to nuke it twice to keep it liquidy.

The end result produced a delicious Madeleine, but they started losing their soft cakiness after 15 minutes! Maybe it’s been awhile since I’ve had Madeleines thanks to last month’s cleanse, but I’m not used to eating sweets immediately anymore. The first Madeleine from this batch was moist and tasty as opposed to the one I had 15 minutes later which was a bit stiff and dry. If you’d like to try your hand at these Madeleines, head over to this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie: Baking with Julia hosts, Katie and Amy Thisdell of Counter Dog, where they’ve posted the recipe.

TwD: Baking Rustic Potato Loaves with Julia

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I was hesitant about making this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie: Baking with Julia assignment. Having just finished up a three-week cleanse, I wasn’t sure how safe it was to incorporate baked goods back into my system. However, I thought it wouldn’t be too harsh since the recipe is vegan-friendly. I was also able to use up ingredients I had on-hand, including red potatoes instead of russet and doing a half whole wheat flour/half all-purpose flour mix.

The dough came together easy enough though I did notice some medium sized bits of potato that refused to get mashed. Also, the recipe stated to be patient while the dough mixed for 11 minutes, indicating that it would look crumbly like pie crust at first but would eventually come together and start clinging to the bowl like brioche dough. That part was true, but what the recipe didn’t say was that the dough would continually “walk up” the dough hook like the top of the dough wanted to jump out of the bowl during mixing!

This bread wasn’t as soft or pillowy as I expected, but that could be due partly to my use of whole wheat flour. My loaf also came partially unfurled, so I guess I didn’t use enough flour to seal the seam. However, the dough didn’t become wet enough for me to even think it would stay closed during baking. Oh, well. The slices tasted great with butter nonetheless! If you’d like to try your hand at these rustic potato loaves, head over to this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie: Baking with Julia host, Dawn of Simply Sweet, where she’s posted the recipe.

TwD: Baking Mocha Chocolate Chip Cookies with Julia

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Even though I’m in the final week of my cleanse, I couldn’t pass up this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie: Baking with Julia assignment, mocha chocolate chip cookies. Not because I’m a chocolate or coffee fanatic, but because I actually had all the ingredients on hand. Well, everything except the dried apricots which were never going in my cookies anyway.

However, not to worry. Although I baked these cookies, I didn’t eat any of them. I didn’t even taste any of the batter. This cleanse has changed my attitude towards food and has really curbed my cravings for sweets. I’ve even kicked my Diet Coke habit! Not one drop of Diet Coke for 16 days straight! I’m not going to lie: it was HORRIBLE going cold turkey from Diet Coke for the first five days. I never want to go through that again.

I’m bringing these cookies to my friends, and hopefully, they like them. I can say this: the instant coffee powder really smells amazing when baked in chocolate chip cookies. If the smell’s an indicator, then I’m sure these cookies taste amazing. So, if you love the taste of coffee and chocolate, head over to this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie: Baking with Julia host, Peggy of galettista, where she’s posted the recipe.

TwD: Baking Foccacia with Julia

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I was going through my Google Reader last week in preparation for Super Bowl Sunday when I realized that the first Tuesday in February was upon us. That meant Tuesdays with Dorie time again, and since I’ve been slacking lately, I thought it better to participate. After reading through the assigned foccacia recipe, it didn’t seem too difficult. Though I’m glad I noticed it sooner rather than later considering the dough needed almost two and a half hours for a two-part rise AND 24 hours to chill in the refrigerator. I only made about half the recipe, but somehow I ran out of all-purpose flour and had to throw in about one cup of whole wheat flour to substitute.

Seeing as I’ve made foccacia before, I really didn’t have too much invested in the expectations department. For me, all a good foccacia needs is a chewy texture and a well seasoned, oiled crust. Beyond that, I’m perfectly happy slicing it up for snacking. This recipe wasn’t bad, and I’m happy that I was able to make it. However, I don’t see myself making it again due to its extremely long chill time.

If you’d like to try this foccacia, head over to this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie: Baking with Julia host, Sharmini of Wandering Through…, where she’s posted the recipe.

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