Tuesdays with Dorie, Baking with Julia: Oasis Naan

I need to suck it up and buy a new camera. I swear I am making these recipes.

This week’s recipe was Oasis Naan. You can find the recipe at Always Add More Butter or Of Cabbages & King Cakes.

It was good. And fairly easy. Except the dough was sticky. Like, I used the dough scraper to try and scrape it off my hands sticky. And the scraper stuck to my hands. I’d read comments from others who had made it earlier in the week that they’d needed much more than the 5-6 cups of flour the recipe called for to get the dough to a consistency that made it manageable. I added about 1/2 cup more, then maybe another 1/4 when I was forming the rolls.

It was still sticky, so instead of perfectly round loaves, I ended up just stretching/tossing the dough like it was pizza dough, which resulted in some misshapen naan. Some had thin middles (they stretched a bit while moving from cutting board to baking sheet), so the middle turned out cracker-like, surrounded by pillowy edges. Which worked out well, because my husband likes stuff extra crispy.

The only complaint is that they were a tad salty. One tablespoon in the dough, then sprinkle 1 tablespoon among 8 before baking.

Otherwise, big hit.

TWD Baking with Julia: Hungarian Shortbread with Cranberry Jam

Apologies in advance for the crappy photos. I can’t find a replacement cord for my digital camera, so I used the photo option on my video recorder.

I hate when I watch cooking shows and the chef tastes his recipe and starts gushing about how delicious it is.

These bars turned me into what I hated. They were awesome. Sweet Butter. Sweet, creamy, one full pound of butter. Sweet, chewy, buttery, and perfectly balanced with the tartness of the cranberry jam.

It's a miracle that in the three days since I made these, I still have half a pan left.

I almost didn’t make these because I’m not a shortbread fan. I don’t like crunchy, crumbly cookies. I like my cookies soft, as in “these are as close as is safe to eating raw cookie dough without having the FDA knock down your door” soft.

But these wasn’t the shortbread I was expecting. These were more bar cookies, with two layers of buttery shortbread surrounding a homemade jam and dusted with powdered sugar. The bottom layer was soft and gooey (maybe I made it a bit too thin), and the top layer baked up crumbly enough so that it if you didn’t know better, you’d think it was a crumb topping. The recipe called for rhubarb jam, which isn’t in season up here yet and too expensive to buy at the grocery store, so I made cranberry jam instead using the oodles of frozen cranberries I had on hand.

The shortbread was really quite easy to put together – the hardest parts were making sure the mixer didn’t spin itself off the counter trying to churn all that butter, that it didn’t dust the entire kitchen (and everybody in it) with flour when adding it to the butter mixture, and grating the dough. Yes, I said grating the dough. The recipe calls for dividing the shortbread into two equal halves, and then grating each into the pan. After one minute of grating I gave up and turned to the food processor. That simple adjustment alone has me adding this to the keeper list, but only when I have a huge party to attend and I’m guaranteed no leftovers. You definitely don’t want an entire pan of this in your home. Even if cut down into 24 small bars (think slightly larger than 2×2 inches), they are a whopping 300 calories. Deadly.

This teeny tiny serving is 299 calories. But it's like a Lays potato chip. You just can't stop at one bite

You can find the complete recipe at the sites of this weeks’ hostesses, Lynette at 1SmallKitchen and Cher at The not so exciting adventures of a dabbler.

Tuesdays with Dorie: Lemon Loaf Cake

This week’s recipe was Lemon Loaf Cake, a pound cake-type cake made lighter by the use of cake flour rather than regular all-purpose – and by lighter I mean lighter in texture, not calories. I don’t think there’s any recipe endorsed by Dorie that isn’t a diet buster; and while this one is surprisingly low in the butter category (only about 5 tablespoons), it makes up for it with eggs, heavy cream and a bunch ( 1 1/3 cups) of sugar.

If you’re looking for an easy to assemble loaf cake, this is it. If you’re looking for a loaf cake with a super punch of lemon, well sadly, this isn’t it. My favorite dessert is lemon meringue pie, so maybe I’m more of a lemon lover than most. I was expecting this cake to have loads of lemon flavor through the addition of loads of lemon juice. The recipe, though, had absolutely no lemon juice, driving it’s alleged lemon flavor from three tablespoons of lemon zest. I used dried, which is what I had on hand, and only one tablespoon of it at that, per the substituting dried for fresh rule. That could’ve played a slight role in the lack of lemony punch I was expecting, but more than several of the other bakers were disappointed in the slight lemon flavor as well, so it couldn’t have been too much of a factor. Lemon lovers must just really love lemon.

No photos again this week, as my camera cord is frayed beyond repair.

You can find the complete recipe at Treats by Truc or at Michelle’s The Beauty of Life.

Tuesdays with Dorie: Pizza Rustica

This week’s Tuesday with Dorie recipe was for Pizza Rustica, a savory filling baked into a sweet dough. Don’t think cheese, sauce and pepperoni. This was more a sauceless lasagna packed into a pie crust and topped with a decorative lattice top.

The dough was a breeze to work with – came together in less than 3 minutes in the food processor, stayed together well during rolling and moving to the pie plate, and didn’t shrink up while baking (a first for me). The filling was easy to make – ricotta, egg, prosciutto, mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses mixed together and poured in. Criss-cross applesauce, put on the lattice top.

Easy and beautiful. Too bad my camera cord decided to fray, so I can’t upload the photos.

Tastewise. . . I thought it was bland, and there was way too little prosciutto hiding among all that cheese (1 lb ricotta, 1/4 lb mozzarella to 1/4 lb of prosciutto). The prosciutto, when shredded, was barely discernible in all that filling – I couldn’t even taste it. And it desperately needed a bit more salt.

My husband, on the other hand, thought it tasted great. So. . .he’s either easily impressed, or that whole lacking a sense of smell has made me a poor judge. Maybe a bit of both.

Check out Emily of Capitol Region Dining and Raelynn of The Place They Call Home for the full recipe.

Tuesdays with Dorie: Irish Soda Bread

It’s a no-brainer that if you’re in a cookbook cooking club, and there’s a recipe for Irish Soda Bread, that you choose to bake that recipe for the week of St. Patrick’s Day.

A simple recipe – flour, salt, baking soda and buttermilk (buttermilk powder, in my case). Simple enough to stir together. Because the recipe has no fat other than what little is in the buttermilk, the recipe indicated that it would be pretty much inedible in a matter of hours. Not knowing if my little family of two adults and two toddlers would like the bread, I opted to make half the recipe, and to make rolls.

These were a hit. The rolls were much saltier than I’d anticipated, but not overly so. It had that, “Wow, these are salty. . .it makes me want to keep eating!” level of saltiness. Maybe it was the tang of the buttermilk, though, since my husband didn’t comment when I made the salty comment (note the “anosmiac” in my blog title – I have no sense of smell, which severely inhibits my sense of taste).

While the recipe was easy to pull together, both in terms of ingredients (even a novice baker would have these ingredients on hand) and assembly, it did take 50 minutes to bake. So it’s a good recipe to have in your repertoire if at the last minute you want to have bread on the dinner table, so long as you don’t wait too last minute.

You can visit Carla at Chocolate Moosey or Cathy of My Culinary Mission to view the recipe and baking instructions, and to see what other twists people put on theirs (cheese! raisins!).

Tuesdays with Dorie: Baking with Julia – Rugelach

It’s been a long time since I posted here. Three years, in fact. I was part of the original Tuesdays with Dorie (“TWD”) group, but got kicked out for inactivity for reasons you can read about here, here or even here.

Jumping on the new TWD bandwagon was the result of two pieces of randomness. First, having gotten Baking with Julia through one of my online book swaps. Confession – I’m not a huge fan of Dorie Greenspan’s. Most of the recipes I made from her book, Baking: From my home to yours, were fine. But, with the exception of her pie crust recipe, which has become my go-to, and a recipe for granola cookies, there wasn’t anything I made that sticks in my mind as definitely having to make again.

Blasphemy, I know, if you’re going to be a part of this group.

The second bit of randomness is that I somehow stumbled upon the website for this new group, and since they’d only done two recipes, jumped in.

So, on to the rugelach. You can get the complete recipe by buying (or swapping for!) the book, or visit this week’s hosts, Jessica at My Baking Heart or Margaret at The Urban Hiker who, upon looking at her blog, I realize just came to Alaska for vacation. If you’re here Margaret, hi, I hope you enjoyed your visit!

My flat ugly rugelach (my lack of food styling skills certainly doesn't help)

I made a half batch (which was a good thing, since I’ve already eaten 1/3 of that batch straight out of the oven). These cookies aren’t cheap – nuts, dried fruit, prunes for the levkar (filling that holds the fruit inside the rolled cookie) – plus cream cheese for the dough (which I thankfully have on hand in bulk since my girls eat toast and cream cheese every morning). They were a bit time consuming to make, because there were so many parts – dough, levkar, chopping sticky dried fruit (I used a mixture of dates, figs and raisins, because it’s what I had in the house), making a cinnamon-sugar and cinnamon-sugar-nut mixture.

Then the rolling of the dough, Oh, how I hate that! I can never get the dough to the right shape or thickness, and end up eating half of the remnants that come off. Even with my Dobord, I was only able to get the dough rolled out to 9, rather than 10, inches. That extra inch must have been what was needed to have rolls of dough inside the cookie, because it was a stretch just to get the dough ends to close enough to hold the filling inside. Or perhaps that was a problem – the recipe made too much filling, but told you to use it all. Less filling would have allowed for dough rolls, yet the dough itself isn’t sweet or very flavorful, so less filling would have made a bland cookie. Because there was so much jam packed into the dough, the filling oozed out a bit during cooking and left caramelized juice crusts around the cookie.  Which tasted fine, but not very attractive.

Would I make these again? Despite having eaten a ton already, no. Mostly for the expense. And mine didn’t come out pretty. How Jessica got hers so perfect and fat, I’m not sure. The recipes says to slice the  cookies into 1 or 1 1/2 inch pieces; I did one inch. Could that extra 1/2″ really have made such a difference in how fat and pillowy Jessica’s look, compared to my flat ugly ones? Dang extra inch of dough. But they were tasty – the dough, when baked, was soft and somewhat flaky, and its blandness worked quite well against the sweet sticky filling. And if you’re a fan of rugelach, I’d definitely recommend them.

Says she who is about to go eat another one. I’m seriously going to be ill tonight.

The Kitchen is Temporarily Closed

I think I’ve been officially kicked out of Tuesdays with Dorie. I’m still listed on their webpage, but not the blogroll. I guess getting pregnant with triplets and kind of being ordered to stay off your feet doesn’t get you out of the rules. Not that anybody really reads this anymore anyway, which I don’t blame them. All I really do is make recipes and sort of review them.

In any event, I won’t be baking for awhile. I gave birth to my triplets on February 17. One of them, my daughter Caitlin, died immediately prior to birth. She had a rare birth defect, an occipital encephalocele, and had complications. Her death caused me to go into labor at 30 weeks. Her sisters Julia and Gabrielle are in the NICU but doing well, and we expect them to come home in the next month and a half. At which point I’ll probably have to change the title of this blog to “Baby Food Alaska”, or something.

Previous Older Entries


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.