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Peaches

Infinitamente
Manchi ma ci sei Silenziosamente
Dentro ai giorni miei
Infinitamente

My friend, your love, your laughter, your support….YOU, warmed my days.  The winter wind blows, the candle flickers and extinguishes, yet I know the ember you ignited in my heart will never fade.  A transition, a short absence, I know, is all that this is…

…yes, you’re silently here.  I will forever bake with you in my heart and in my mind.

 

Quando chiudo gli occhi stai ridendo
Qui con me

KKHH

Recipe Compliments of: http://www.italianfoodforever.com/2011/11/peach-cookies-for-rose-anne/

Like This!

Hey Kids!  Yea, I know it’s been awhile.  I haven’t had a lot to say, perhaps. Have no fears though, I still cook and bake like a fiend, trust me, every glance in my mirror attests to this fact.

This month, however, when I made my pilgrimage to the Daring Baker Forum I was immediately reminded of this guy….

...time to make the donuts!

I figured if he could drag his begrudging butt out of bed daily and make thousands of donuts so could I…well, a small batch at least!

A HUGE Thank You to Lori of “Butter Me Up” for a fantastic challenge, which has brought me out of my hiatus with the DB.

Being that I have been lax with the whole bloggy thing, I feel the need to go slow with getting back in the saddle.  So expect no tome this go ’round nor any outrageous wit just a few pretty pictures and a kick ass recipe!

First Pretty Picture….Glazed Chocolate Cake Doughnuts with Candied Bacon.

The recipe I used was one Lori suggested and can be found here.  I made a couple changes, first I halved the recipe, fifteen doughnuts and fifteen holes would not make my mirror any happier!  I also added 4 TBS. cocoa , 1 TBS. melted butter and omitted the nutmeg.  Being I have never made the recipe before I can’t say my substitutions had any ill effect but I know that I was very pleased with how things worked out.  I did have a little concern the “dough” was too moist but a little time in the fridge to chill and firm it helped in making it very workable.

Before a trip to the fridge...

...out of the fridge, rolled, cut and ready for a hot oil bath...

I managed to get 6 doughnuts and 6 holes out of the halved recipe, which I fried 3 holes at a time and 2 donuts at a time.    After the second batch of holes came out and cooled a bit, I just could not resist a little taste.  Hmmm, I was a little concerned, it seemed as if the dough had soaked up way too much oil.  Fortunately, it was just a case of not letting the oil temp up after the first fry.  I really didn’t think a few degrees off would be a bad thing…it was… 375° all the way kiddos!!

...fry , Baby, fry...

...off to the racks, just call me Torquemada!

glazed, topped and ready to go!

And that my friends was my time in the kitchen for this months Daring Baker Challenge.  Short and oh so sweet!!  Again, big Thank Yous go out to Lori, you brought me back!

The October 2010 Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Lori of Butter Me Up. Lori chose to challenge DBers to make doughnuts. She used several sources for her recipes including Alton Brown, Nancy Silverton, Kate Neumann and Epicurious.

May’s Daring Baker Challenge is here at last.  For me, this one was an instant “no brainer”….upon reading what we were to do, I was all but done.

This year will be 8 years since I lost both my Mother and my Mother-in-Law and it is in their memory that this Challenge was made.

For “Ma” and “LuLu”, we miss you, we love you and we look forward to the day we see you again!

The May 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Cat of Little Miss Cupcake. Cat challenged everyone to make a piece montée, or croquembouche, based on recipes from Peter Kump’s Baking School in Manhattan and Nick Malgieri.

Quick notes on the challenge:

Impressive presentation which is easily accomplished.

The recipe can be found here and also on Cat’s site, Little Miss Cupcake.

I followed the recipe down to the letter, other than the addition of rose water to the pastry creme.

This Pate Choux had some major puff!!

Some random pictures along the way…

Rosewater Pastry Cream in the works.

1st egg in the mix, I actually had to use 5 eggs instead of 4.

...Choux baked and ready to fill.

"Here's the story, of a Bia named Dana.... that's the way she became the Bia Bunch!"

Oh no!!!  My blog has been hijacked!!!  Apparently someone is having a birthday and her friends hog tied me and forced me into using my blog to send her birthday wishes!!!!  This is a group of kick ass people that I knew going against would not be in my best interest, so I succumbed!!

Bia, you know I had absolutely nothing to do with this, as you are aware of the “skinny” on how I feel about ya!!!!  But I value my life enough not to mess with these people, so here ya go……

_______

Kristy Jackson

Happy Birthday to my fabulously gorgeous friend Dana!!!! When you’re lucky enough to meet somebody so phenomenal in your life it makes it easier to smile through the tough times. They also often lead you to meet other wonderful people! I’m very blessed to have her as a friend and am thankful for that every day ♥

_______

Diane Cindrich

Happy Birthday Dana… I am so lucky and glad to have someone as special as you in my life. We have so many great memories together. Our trip to Bonita Beach is way up there though. I will always be here for you and hope that things eventually get easier for you. I love you girlie.

_______

Erin Kelly Jones

Happy Birthday to one of the most beautiful people I know, my Dana!! Girl, you are a one of a kind amazing person and I really don’t know how I went on so long without you! One Birthday Swipe coming your way! Love You!!!

_______

Amber Weber

tell dana- i hope she has a very wonderful birthday and everytime i go to the zoo and see pink flamingos i always think of her! Happy Birthday!

_______

Jordan O'Malley

Dana,
Happy Birthday!! You are one of the funniest and sweetest people I know. I hope you have an amazing birthday, you absolutely deserve it!

Love you!
– Jordie

_______

Ray Conley

Happy Birthday Dana,
You are a very strong good person who should have all her heart wants and needs. All I can think of is sitting out front of Station Square with her smoking and making fun of all the assholes going the wrong way. And all the fun we had at station square over all the years boy do I miss those days.
Ray

_______

Alicia Andrews Sattler

Dana, We have a lot of great memories together. Seems like we have known each other forever. I guess it has been since the 5th grade. I hope you have a very happy birthday and many more to come. Love ya, Alicia

_______

Carri Finkbeiner-Rapp

Dear Dana,

Have a Happy Birthday! I can’t wait to hang out with you next week. We don’t get together often enough, and you are such a wonderful person to hang out with. It’s not easy finding a friend who is smart, beautiful, sensitive, strong willed yet unappreciated…. like me! I love you, filth!!!

Carri

GO ARIES BITCHES!!!

_______

Kristin Durst

Dana was introduced to me from my other friend Dana. My Dana noted what a wonderful person she is and what a great hair stylist she is. I emailed your Dana and she took the time to reply in such a detailed and friendly manner. She was wonderful to talk to in the few times she has cut, styled or done something to my hair. She sent me such a cute message and it was so genuine when my boyfriend and I broke up a few months ago. She has a big heart and is a wonderful person. I hope she has a wonderful birthday!

Kristin D.

_______

Carol Donovan

Dear Dana, you are one of the greatest people Ive ever met, I wish you the best on you Birthday and everyday and if you were here I would give you a big hug and sing HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU Love ya Carol

_______

Megan Carney-Tardio

My fondest memory is that I first met her at Carlow college practically the first day!! We have been friends since that!! One thing that I can say is that I truly value our friendship and she is like a sister to me throughout the years and that I will always be there for her!!

_______

John Sleeping Bear

“OH, BUT I DON’T!!”

_______

In case anyone is interested in the Cake, well it was a Key Lime coconut cake with a key lime buttercream.  The recipe for the cake can be found here and the buttercream was my kiwi buttercream with key lime juice subbed for the kiwi.

Once again, I am straddling the fence on being tardy, but not because this one wasn’t done in time, just I hadn’t edited photos and I thought I had one more day!!!  Same song, same dance, different day.

Since it was the photos that slowed me down, I am going to make this a pictorial post.  Of course, I will give you an idea of what I think about this month’s challenge…….. Fantastic!!!!  In this house we are not much for fruit desserts, unless it is an apple or cherry pie, so I was skeptical.

Tian ROCKS!!!!

The 2010 March Daring Baker’s challenge was hosted by Jennifer of Chocolate Shavings. She chose Orange Tian as the challenge for this month, a dessert based on a recipe from Alain Ducasse’s Cooking School in Paris.

Jennifer chose a fantastic recipe with which to challenge us.  We were to make everything by the book with the only exception being, we were able to play with the citrus we chose.  I opted for Ruby Red grapefruit and I kicked the caramel up a bit with the addition of Rosemary.  The recipe can be found here, as well as on Jennifer’s site.

Now for the pretty but late pictures!!!!!

I began with the marmalade…

First Blanch of the grapefruit.

Dicing the blanched fruit.

Adding the sugar..... for some reason I particularly like this picture.

Next the fresh squeezed juice.

Marmalade in the works.

Processing the filled jars....

Next came the Pate Sablee, which I only have pictures of fresh out of the oven…someone didn’t make sure there was a charge in his camera battery…. No Names, PLEASE!!

Baked in the cutters to reduce spreading.....

Pate Sablee bases cooling......

Skinless segments, I alway enjoy cutting citrus this way....

Gathering components for assembly, but must do the caramel first....

The sugar and rosemary beginning to become caramel.....

Caramel all done.......

adding half the caramel to the segments.....

One tian down. And a glimpse at the layering process....

Finished, unmolded, now smile for the camera!!!!!

No this is not a post about cows, their milk or their cream…at least not directly…it is a post about Tiramisu.  Specifically, The February 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge which was hosted by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen and Deeba of Passionate About Baking. They chose Tiramisu as the challenge for the month. Their challenge recipe is based on recipes from The Washington Post, Cordon Bleu at Home and Baking Obsession.

Not the beauty I had envisioned!

Currently we are in the Lenten season and even though I am no longer a practicing RC, I think this is going to be a post of confessions.

Confession #1–  I was not overly fond of this version of Tiramisu, forgive me Aparna and Deeba…it is not that there was anything wrong with this one, other than the fact it is not the version that I often make.  In my version I do not combine the zabaglione, pastry cream and whipped cream but I alternate layers of lady fingers, zabs, lady fingers, pastry cream to the top, I then just put a small dollop of unsweetened whipped cream as a garnish and to help cut the richness of the entire dessert.

Confession #2– I had visions of grandeur as far as presentation, unfortunately that was all they were but visions.  I did not end up with the gorgeous savoiardi rimmed dessert I saw in my mind.

Confession #3– I thought that this was going to be a fun joint endeavor with Ray, you may know him as my partner in life but now he too is a partner in the DB.  So, I figured a joint effort and fun for all.  Apparently not!!  On baking day I overheard him say, “I am going to take you out”.  When I called him on this he then said, “that is NOT what I said.  I said, “I am going to BAKE you out!””  Rivals in the kitchen it shall be!!!!!!!  He isn’t exactly kitchen savvy but can hold his own and if I figure out how, I will give him props on his non-blogging post of his Tiramisu.

Confession #4– This is the part where I actually learned something I didn’t really know but it is also something that could cause me to become an ex DBer…… I did NOT make my own mascarpone!! May the powers that be hear my defense, please!!!!!  Apparently, there is a huge difference between Pasteurized and Ultra-Pasteurized dairy products.  Pasteurization is a lower temp longer time method which kills off the “bad critters” but leaves beneficial enzymes still intact.  Ultra- Pasteurization is a high temp quick time method which basically zaps everything in the milk, both good and bad.  Well, here in the States, Federal regulations make it a difficult task to find any dairy that is not Ultra-Pasteurized.  So, unless you are a dairy farmer or live damn close to one, finding only Pasteurized cream is almost impossible.  Off to Sunseri Bros. I went for my ready-made mascarpone.  I know I broke the rules but I confessed, so please, please, please Aparna, Deeba and the Powers that be forgive my indiscretion and let me remain a member of the fold!!!

Now that I have confessed and also sought absolution, let me tell you about the challenge.  Despite the fact that it was not my Tiramisu, it was a very good one at that.   I still prefer the separation of flavors as opposed to combining them.  The zabs and pastry cream recipes were pretty much on course with what I am used to.  The Savoiardi recipe is a little different from what I have used in the past but turned out stellar.  So much so that I think I may never buy a store-bought lady finger again.  If one actually breaks it down, especially in these times of tightened budgets, why purchase something pre-made when it can be done so easily and much more cheaply at home?

Final thoughts on the challenge would be to give it a go.  Aparna and Deeba came up with a great challenge which encompassed different techniques which when combined truly do come together in a heavenly fashion.  Thank You Ladies, Thank You Very Much!!!!

I will now leave you with an almost step by step pictorial on my making of the Savoiardi.  You can find the recipe for the Savoiardi/Lady Fingers and all other components here.

Starting the whites
Finished Whites- looks like a snowball, appropriate considering the weather we have h ad.

Incorporating the yolks into the whites- Love egg yolk gold!!!!!

2 steps later the fingers are piped- Not enough hands to photograph the folding in of the flour or the piping.

An attempt at creative flair, I dusted some cocoa stripes onto the fingers before baking.

Lady Fingers fresh out of the oven.

The February 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen and Deeba of Passionate About Baking. They chose Tiramisu as the challenge for the month. Their challenge recipe is based on recipes from The Washington Post, Cordon Bleu at Home and Baking Obsession.

Toffee Brownies

At this moment in time I have about 6.5 lbs of chocolate covered toffee squares just hanging around the house….basically enough to last for the next 10 years, as Ray or myself aren’t prone to partake of toffee on its own.  Don’t get me wrong it is not that we don’t like it but, well, it is kind of like the old “tootsie pop” question of how many licks does it take to get to the center of one…no one really knows because sooner or later you have to bite into it.  Same with toffee and there is no way either of us are risking a trip to the dentist for that!  So in an effort to put a slight dent into this stockpile I whipped up a batch of my favorite from scratch brownies and added a healthy dose of crushed toffee…..no big write up on the hows, whys and whats, just a recipe, a picture or two and a big old brownie smile for you all.

This is the recipe my grandmother used and in truth I have searched for something different but never with the same result.  Also, I have seen this recipe everywhere on the internet so I call it…..

Granny’s
&
The World’s
Simple and Basic Scratch Brownies
  • 1 cup butter (melted)
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2  cup cocoa
  • 2 cups  flour
  • pinch of salt
  • nuts,  chocolate chunks, caramel pieces or anything you would like

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cream melted butter and sugar.
  3. Once the butter and sugar are light and fluffy  switch to a spoon for mixing.  Brownies can get tough if worked too much.
  4. Add the vanilla and eggs and mix just until smooth.
  5. Sift cocoa,  flour and salt together and add to creamed mixture.    Mix lightly until smooth and lumps are broken up.
  6. If you want to add extras, lightly fold in whatever you choose.
  7. Spread the batter into a 9×13 pan (Granny didn’t say to prep the pan but I always give it a coating of butter and cocoa powder) and bake 25 to 30 minutes at 350 degrees F.

Obviously, to the above recipe I added the toffee, I had about 1 1/4 cups of crushed toffee, which I divided and added 3/4 cup to the mix and then when they came out of the oven, I sprinkled the remainder over the top.   When I make these plain I use Scharffen Berger Cocoa but since I was adding the chocolate coated toffee I went with Hershey’s instead.

There are some very good store bought brownie mixes out there but with a recipe this simple and results this great all I can ask is, “Why?”.

Oh, there is still about 6 lbs of toffee left!!!  More brownies,  I guess.

10:10pm Mon Oct 26:  A little Farmville play, harvest, plow, plant!

10:17pm Mon Oct 26:  Check Facebook! Ah how nice a Post on the Daring Baker’s Oct Challenge: Macarons  written by Sunita’s World

10:19pm Mon Oct 26:  Sunita’s Macs look yummy and the post was a great read.

10:20pm Mon Oct 26:  I think to myself, “Yo, John, you are a Daring Baker and tomorrow is the 27th, where in hell are your macs?!?!?”  Here I go again!!!!

10:23pm yadda-yadda-yadda!!!  Run downstairs and seperate five eggs and pray that the 16 hours the whites will age will be enough!!!!!

Comic relief kids, since time seems to be my weakest link……..

Fast Forward to

6:15pm Tues Oct 27:  I got magma!!!

DSC_0505

Piped Magma

6:54pm Tues Oct 27: I DON’T gots feet!!  Feets done failed me now!!!

7:02pm…: Last bit of magma piped, going to let it air dry this time and see what happens.

8:0 (freakin’) 9…: Still no feet!!!!  Time to admit defeat?; or is that defeet?????

Ok, so I have finally come to a challenge that I feel I shall not return to.  This is not my 1st attempt at Macs, the first was last month, you can read about it here, that was a semi-success.  The 2nd attempt was earlier this month, I was going to make chai spice shells with a pumpkin cream cheese buttercream, I ended up with , once again, ‘feet”less hockey pucks.  Tonight’s attempt had no feet but had the classic crisp outer shell with a soft chewy core, so another semi-success.  After last night’s trip into the Time Warp, I was getting ready for bed and my flavor combo hit me…

Rocky Horror (Road) Macs

So tonight’s  batch was a milk chocolate shell, with a marshmellow cream filling and chopped almonds to round it out.  Even though they were more a failure than otherwise, I felt you needed to see the end result.

DSC_0507

"Feet"less Rocky Horror (Road) Macs

And now I will leave you with two things to ponder.

First the obligatory….

The 2009 October Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Ami S. She chose macarons from Claudia Fleming’s The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern as the challenge recipe.

And lastly…

I think it is time to kiss my Macs….

Goodbye!!!!

Yea, so I have been playing a bit of the tease with some of you on Facebook….well I guess now is the time to put up or shut up, so here goes.

It has been a year and a half since I first joined the, then, Daring Bakers who have now become The Daring Kitchen; it has been that same amount of time that I became aware of something called a “Macaron”, only one “O” there kids, so not the chewy coconutty cookieish thing you are thinking (although macarons are chewy and cookie-like there is a world of difference between 1 “o” and 2).  It has been slightly under a year that I had my first taste of one of these divine pastry/cookie delectables!!!! It was at Lisa and W’s wedding that I got to put one of Veronica’s macarons to my lips…..OMG!!!!!  No wonder that damn near every food blog this side of the recently downgraded Pluto had something to say about these bad boys!!!!!!!

Almost a year gone by and you are wondering why it has taken me so long to attempt these, well when you read about them, you find that they are a bit intimidating.  The basic 3 ingredients are but egg whites, almonds and sugar combined in such a way as to form something so wonderful one won’t forget it!

At the wedding I also met Helen(e), of Tartelette fame, invariably when macarons are mentioned so is she.  The fact that her creations, edible art, blow me away combined with all the semi horror stories I have read about making macarons  conspired to make me (if you are prudish turn away or switch your browser to another blog) one scared shitless mother fucker!!!!!!

Really, I thought these babies were so outta my league that I would never again have one.  Sure they can be ordered online or you can fly to France or Tokyo for the King of Macarons but since I don’t often patronize bakeries/patisseries, I prefer to make my own,  it was learn or go without.  For almost 1 year…I bought the ingredients more than once and more than once they became something else…the elusive treat was not to be.

Jesu, Giuseppe, Maria as my aunt Lena often said…enough is enough…..(look away time again) shit or get off the pot!!!!!

I committed, I read, I shopped and finally I dove in head first.   Again, 3 basic ingredients but about as many recipes as there are stars in the sky!  These things are all about technique…french method, italian method, whip all the whites, whip only half the whites and on and on.  I finally decided on a  recipe by David Lebovitz, which combines the french method with my favorite flavor, after meat, chocolate.

The egg whites were aged, the almonds ground to a point just short of becoming almond butter and hell I even printed out some nifty macaron templates…aside from doubling the ingredients I followed David’s recipe to the letter, so I won’t bore you with those details.

Nifty printed templates under parchment!

Nifty printed templates under parchment!

I whipped, I folded and I was pleased.  I filled, I piped and again I was pleased.  Well, almost, something was slightly amiss, naw!!!! just stage fright.  5 trays of chocolate macaron discs, 90 shells, 45 finished macarons (for those who have no clue these are constructed like an oreo, 2 shells and a filling).  Now some people suggest to let the piped shells sit out for about an hour to dry and form a “skin” of sorts, David mentions this but it appears he doesn’t always use this.  I did.

Ready for Macaronage!

Ready for Macaronage!

Piped and drying.

Piped and drying.

First tray in the oven, I could have fit another but I wasn’t risking multiple trays just yet!!!!  Oven temp…check, time…check, ok in they go.  A short time later the unmistakable scent of…scorch… I look at the timer and dismiss it, I am only halfway there…..DUMBASS!!!!  FYI, if you smell scorch do NOT dismiss!!!!!  Hockey pucks, I had mini hockey pucks!!!!!!!

Regroup and rethink.  I lowered the oven temp by 50 degrees and used another of those not mentioned in recipes hints…I put a wooden spoon in the oven door to keep it slightly ajar.   No smell of scorch this time but when all was said and done, some of the shells cracked, hmmm oven temp adjustment time.  But there was good news with this batch…..I HAD feet!!!!  Those who know, know and for those that don’t…well the macaron shell consists of 3 “areas”, the dome (top), the base (bottom) and the feet ( a small area between the dome and base that…well, resemble little feet).

Because of the cracked shells, I lowered the oven temp another 25 degrees, in went the 3rd tray and then the fourth, as the 3rd looked great.  You got it “Houston, we have a problem!”  At about the time the 4th tray was ready to come out of the oven, the 3rd tray was cooled quite a bit, so I had to get a taste.  Into one I gingerly bit, yes there is that slight crisp exterior but wait where is the softer chewy brownie/cake-like interior????  The interior was slightly chewy but way more “dense” than it should be.

4 trays down and it was not looking good.  I had lowered the temp to the lowest temp I had read in any recipe, so it must be my batter or more specifically the “macaronage”, again if you know…then you know and really I apologize for this but if you don’t know, well I am not sure I can explain, as I am not sure I know it as fully as I could.  Did you see the light at the end of the tunnel in those last 5 words written??

1 tray left and something told me I didn’t screw it up badly enough to just pitch the rest into the can!!  What to do?  I wasn’t going lower with the temp, so I decided on less oven time.  The original recipe calls for 15-18 mins at 375,  I had shaved off 75 degrees and was now about to shave off time, but in they went.  I was not going to walk away from the oven, no way!!  So on went the light and in I stared.  I swear to you, at a little over 6 minutes in, the oven light blew!!!!!  It frickin went out on me!!!  Can this be for real.  Now a 300 degree oven isn’t the hottest but you try sticking your face as close to a slightly ajar, totally dark oven and try and see what is going on in there at that temp!!!!!  No easy task, I tell you!  So at 8 minutes in, I just had to open the door and see what was up….nice rise and FEET, I don’t know what but something told me they were done.  Out they came to cool.

Now, if you have been paying attention you may think, there is something wrong with this picture.  Me too!!  Original recipe the oven temp was 375 and cooking time 15-18 mins, this last try was done in a 300 oven for a little over 8 mins, that’s one helluva difference….and I think I know the reason but that I am saving for the end!  Just a few more observations and ramblings and you are all free to go and bake.

Once tray 5 was cool, I had to taste test….crispy dome, soft chewy interior and chocolate from hell!!  Could I have done it???  Yes, Watson, I think I just may have!!!  Keep in mind, I started with 90 shells, the first 70 were…well we won’t go there.  So I had 20 shells that worked and I had just eaten one, remember, macarons are 2 shells and a filling….what to do???  Yep, I had to eat another shell…and it tasted as grand as I remembered, perhaps no competition for Veronica and Helen but damn tasty!!!!

18 little shells in need of filling…decisions, decisions!!!  Well, I had a little leftover American buttercream from a sidetrip on this months DB challenge (hush hush till the 27th), so 8 got to wrap themselves around that.  If you have been paying attention you know my favorite flavor is meat with chocolate being a close 2nd.  3rd comes….and what better to pair with chocolate….peanut butter!  So I made a mini batch of chocolate peanut butter ganache, literally 2 oz of chocolate, 1/2 tsp PB and a splash of cream, to finish off the last 10 shells.

9 filled macarons… Now I would be a liar to say that I followed what every recipe suggests…to wait a day to let the flavors meld…hell no, I was tasting one of each.  7 filled macarons and 24 hours to wait…in the interest of science and baking I waited and then tasted.  5 filled macarons….hours of reading and thinking, a few singed eyebrows, all this and more for 5 filled macarons!!!!  Am I doing it again?  Yes!!!!!  I am not anywhere in the city of Macaron but I am certainly in the suburbs and soon to be at the city limits!!!  Would I have waited this long to dive in again, NO, Never….go for it, don’t wait!!

For those who “know” I ask that you not hurt yourselves too terribly from falling out of your chairs in hysterical laughter at my not so pretty macs (although, I hope you read on once you get back up to see if what, I think the issues were, seems to be feasible).  For those of you closer to me, who may not “know”, I promise to continue to use you all as guinea pigs till I get pretty macs!!!!

Mac Attack!!!!

Mac Attack!!!!

Issue/Issues.

One hint that I did not follow, nor even think about till after the fact was to get the batter to a consistency where it flows like lava.  Hell I am not a volcanologist so I am not really sure what lava flows like but I am certain my batter had no flow whatsoever.  This though, I think was caused by what I believe to be my biggest mistake…..

“Beat the whites till they are firm and stiff”.  I thought it at the time and know it almost 100% now but I beat my whites till they were rigid and dry.  Could this have been my biggest downfall????

I now want to mention someone who I don’t know, of whose blog I have read little (but I plan on that changing) that I just kind of happened on after all was said and done.  Audax Artifex, his post on his DB anniversary macarons has great information that I found to be helpful.  I just wish I had read it before my first attempt, but then, perhaps it was meant to be this way….I saw my wrongs and then was given a resource to help fix them.

Yep kiddies, that time again…well yesterday was that time…Daring Baker reveal for August!  I know, again I have been remiss, again I am behind but then if I were on time, you all might get “afeared” that I had been abducted by aliens and replaced with some sort of pod person….so consistent and behind I shall be.

DSC_0501

First and foremost…..The August 2009 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Angela of A Spoonful
of Sugar
and Lorraine of Not Quite Nigella. They chose the spectacular Dobos
Torte based on a recipe from Rick Rodgers’ cookbook Kaffeehaus:  Exquisite
Desserts from the Classic Caffés of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague.

Second…The excuses and the story!

Excuse #1- ‘Tis august, the thermometer is bulging….who wants to turn on the oven?

Excuse #2 through infinity- Refer to excuse #1.

The Story…..As some of you know, I have been absent from our beloved DB for a bit, too busy, too tired, too whatever, at the beginning of this month I was happy as a clam for a cake, my kind of cake, so I swore to all the baking and blogging Gods that I would “hell or highwater” manage to find the time.  Then, of course, the month intervened, vacations, bee stings, etc, etc, etc (all of which are lovely stories in and of themselves but I know you don’t want to hear them).  Then this morning arrives and I am sitting here with my coffee and cig and in my reader I notice….Dobos…..DobosDOBOS!!!!   “Aw crap!!” (that isn’t really the retort but I am trying a kinder and gentler approach here).  Yep, John will be John!

So off to work I go…BTW did I mention today was Fudge Day?  Yea, aside from the 96 gallons of ice cream we have been going through in a week, today was my day to make 140 lbs of fudge. Between the ice cream, the fudge, an employee on vacation and various classes of returning college kids…yea I had time to plan an attack on making a Dobos!!!!  Along about 4pm, in walked my inspiration….Ray (and for everyone going “awww” and tearing up…please!)…it wasn’t so much him , as it was the package of raspberries he just had to have that he wanted me to come up with something to make from them.  But alas, my dear sweet partner in life didn’t WANT CAKE!!!! (Lis, I think you have the proper retort for this one…can you be the one to say it please?)  Crunch time, now I have 2 desserts to come up with, yea right like that is going to happen….Ray will just have to be content with his nightly PB&J sandwich before bed!!!!! Yes people, we keep Smuckers and JIF afloat, not to mention Wonder Bread (yea he has to have the spongy flavorless white crap bread and if it didn’t take an extra 20 seconds, the crusts would be cut off also!).  At all times we have on hand 1 drum o’ Jif and 2 jars preserves, one strawberry the other raspberry.  Hmmm, raspberries, raspberry preserves, peanut butter, cake, dessert….can you feel the impending crescendo?  Viola!!!!  PB&J Torte!!!

Lastly, I give you the Mechanics!!!

As with any Daring Baker challenge that I complete, you can find the recipe here, on various other DBer Blogs and of course on our above mentioned Hostesses sites as well.

Here are my tweaks:

To the egg yolks in the batter I added 1/3 cup creamy Jif ( I think a bit more would have served me well)

For the buttercream I subbed white chocolate and also added 1/4 cup strained rasp. preserves.

Instead of doing the free-form rounds, as I feel I am rotund enough, I chose square and thus used 1/4 sheet trays to bake in, hence the reason I feel I got alot of “lift” in my layers.  (although I wish I would have spent a little more time leveling the batter)

For the wedge embellishments I did a half moon shape and replaced the caramel with reduced  strained preserves.  I really wanted to do more of a crescent shape for a bit more lacy feel and also for a little spot to tuck in a raspberry but it didn’t happen!!!!

The guinea pigs will have at it tomorrow, so I will update you when the final verdict is in.  Up to this point I found it to be a great challenge!!!