{Tuesdays With Dorie} Baking With Julia Rugelach

The end is near, VERY near.  The end of winter, I mean.  I’ve already sworn off heavy sweaters  no matter what.  I’m getting ready to buy some colorful flowers for my porch.  Daylight savings is about to begin.  THIS IS IT!

As for my kitchen, this cookie will probably be the last of the winter warm-spiced sweets that will be coming out of it before the light citrus and floral flavors take over.  Rugelach, with a cinnamon-sugar, nut and dried fruit filling, is the recipe for this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie/Baking with Julia.

The recipe was contributed by Lauren Groveman and is slightly different from Rugelach that I have tried in the past whereby it is rolled up lengthwise and sliced and then drenched in cinnamon-sugar-nut crumbs before baking.  The dough is traditional, made with cream cheese and butter which is easy to work with and bakes up fluffy and tender and is really hard to mess up.

I used a natural apricot preserve for my filling, along with pecans and walnuts and a dried fruit mix from King Arthur Flour that includes apricots, raisins, pineapple cubes, dates, and cranberries.  I didn’t need to plump the fruit at all and the mix of flavors with the sugar and cinnamon was delicious.  I think the idea of rolling these in the cinnamon-sugar-nut mixture was brilliant.  It gave these cookies that little something extra that causes them to be slightly addictive.

This is not a ‘throw it all together and bake’ recipe, however.  It is fairly complicated and involves a lot of chilling.  I spread it out over three days – making the dough on day one, filling and rolling on day two, and coating and baking on day three.  You could do it in one if you started early enough, but it really needs at least two.  And I would suggest if you want to store some to bake later, freeze the logs after rolling them up but before coating them, just make sure to put aside half of the coating mixture in a bag to freeze with them.

Thanks to the Tuesdays with Dorie/Baking with Julia hostesses for this week, Jessica of My Baking Heart, and Margaret of The Urban Hiker.  You can find this fabulous recipe on their sites or in the lovely book Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan.

 

Brighten Your Day Turkish Eggs

Are you looking for a new way to brighten up your morning?  This recipe will do just that.  Turkish Eggs are eggs that are poached and served with garlicky yogurt and topped with warm oil or butter infused with paprika.  Use your favorite paprika in this – sweet, smoked or hot for extra special flavor.  Savor the last of it with some warm flatbread or pita if you like.

Turkish Eggs

makes 1 serving

Ingredients

  • 1 small clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp olive oil or butter, or combination of both
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • fresh mint or parsley, torn for garnish
  • salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, mix yogurt with minced garlic. Season with salt then set aside.
  2. Fill a small saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to bring to a simmer, and add vinegar. Crack egg into a small bowl, stir simmering water in circles until swirling, then gently pour egg into the pan in the same direction as the water is moving. Keep water at a gentle simmer and cook egg for 3-4 minutes for soft yolk and 5-6 for firm yolk. Remove egg with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel.
  3. Pour water out of the saucepan and wipe dry. Return to heat and add oil/butter. When warm, add paprika and stir for about a minute. Remove pan from heat.
  4. Spread garlic yogurt on a plate and top with poached egg. Drizzle paprika oil/butter over egg. Sprinkle with mint or parsley, and season with salt and pepper.

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{Tuesdays With Dorie} Baking With Julia Chocolate Truffle Tartlets

Today it’s Tuesdays with Dorie – Baking with Julia and this week we baked David Ogonowski’s Chocolate Truffle Tartlets.  They’re made with a dark chocolate tart crust and a filling of butter, bittersweet chocolate, egg yolks, and sugar.  White chocolate, milk chocolate, and biscotti chunks are added to the filling before baking to push these tartlets over the top.

The recipe makes six 4 1/2 inch tartlets, but I only had four pans, so instead of trying to do some complicated math or only making three and risking a fight amongst the children, I halved both the dough and filling recipes and divided them up into four portions.  I had to roll the dough a little thinner but it still puffed up nicely when baked and made a significant crust.  The recipe also instructs you to remove the bottoms from the tartlet pans, but I left mine in (’cause I was scared) and they came out just fine.

The filling didn’t completely fill up the shells either, but once I tasted the end product I was kind of grateful that they weren’t any thicker.  These babies are RICH.  I would describe the texture of the filling as a kind of brownie/fudge hybrid.  They came out of the oven with that papery top you get on the best brownies and the inside was soft and a little fudge-y.  I almost didn’t add the biscotti to them because the idea just sounded wacky, but in the end I did, and I almost think that is the best part.  The whole thing is just so dang chocolatey that the biscotti adds that little bit of relief from chocolate overload.

I must admit that these tartlets had mixed reviews at my house, being deemed “too chocolatey” by the person who picks the chocolate chips out of the chocolate chip cookies (husband), and thoroughly enjoyed by another who was in the throes of some serious chocolate cravings (me).  Ultimately, I think this is the perfect recipe for a true chocolate lover – someone who doesn’t simply enjoy a Hershey’s milk chocolate bar but who also really digs the deep dark 70% and higher chocolate.

Our hostesses for the week are Steph, Spike, Jaime and Jessica, just click on their names to check out the recipe or you can get this fabulous book yourself by clicking here.

Cheater’s Yeast

If you do any baking using yeast and haven’t tried this, you definitely should.  SAF Red Instant Yeast can be used in any recipe in place of active dry yeast and it eliminates the need for proofing or dissolving.  The substitution ratio is 1:1 so you don’t have to make any adjustments in measurements.  It’s simply stirred into the dry ingredients of the recipe.  I keep it in a canister in my refrigerator (for up to 6 months) and it has never failed me.  And even if you only bake yeast recipes occasionally, it can be stored in your freezer for a year or more.  Good stuff.

{Tuesdays With Dorie} Baking With Julia White Loaves

I’ve had the lovely book Baking with Julia in my cookbook collection for a while and have made some very successful and delicious recipes from it, but it had somehow gotten buried under the ever-growing pile of newer cookbooks over time. When I discovered that the Tuesdays with Dorie group had chosen this book, which Dorie Greenspan put together from Julia Child’s PBS series of the same name, I dug it out and flipped through the pages thinking all the time “Man, I forgot how good this book is!”

I know the brioche and sticky bun recipes are fabulous, and I love the idea of baking my way through the book in order to try all the other recipes.  So, here goes!

The first recipe chosen for the month of February was White Loaves, contributed by Craig Kominiak, which begins a chapter titled “Daily Loaves”.  Regular Shortbread readers will know that I have made quite a few loaves of bread in my time, and it was difficult for me to keep from straying from the recipe and doing my own thing.  But I tried to use the techniques it called for, and the only substitution I made was using instant yeast instead of active dry because it was all I had in the pantry.  (If you find yourself in the same situation, skip the first step of mixing the yeast, sugar, and water together and just stir the yeast and sugar into the first half of the flour before adding the water.)

This dough was definitely on the wet side for me, but the loaves rose quickly and baked up tall and fragrant.  It sliced easily and made tasty sandwiches, toast, and was even better with a layer of Nutella.

This week’s TWD/BWJ hostesses are Laurie of slush and Jules of Someone’s in the Kitchen, and on their websites you’ll find this recipe.  Visit the Tuesdays with Dorie blog for more information!

 

 

Secret Ingredient Broccoli And White Bean Soup

 

Broccoli and White Bean Soup

To me, homemade soup is one the best things ever, especially in the winter and especially at lunch time.  The only negative is that it can be somewhat time consuming to prepare.  But if I can carve out one morning to spend putting together a fresh pot of soup, it can be divided up into freezer bags or containers and taken out as needed to defrost on days when I’m pressed for time.

This Broccoli and White Bean Soup is an example of one that really doesn’t take a lot of time to make, and the reward is three-fold:  warm, comforting, and so good for you.  The beans are what I call a ‘secret ingredient’ because at the same time they thicken the soup and make it incredibly creamy when you blend everything together.  The recipe calls for fresh broccoli, but frozen works too – just skip the steaming step and add it in along with the beans.

Broccoli and White Bean Soup

 

Broccoli and White Bean Soup

adapted from Whole Living Magazine

makes 8-10 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds broccoli, cut into florets
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • two 15-ounce cans cannellini beans, drained
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted, for serving
  • 1 ounce shaved Parmesan cheese, for serving

Directions

  1. Heat water to simmering in a pot with a steamer basket or insert. Add broccoli florets and steam until tender
    and bright green, about 3 minutes. Let cool slightly. Set aside 1 cup of the florets to stir in at the end.
  2. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-low heat. Saute onion until translucent, about 6-7 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook 1-2 more minutes. Add beans and stock and turn up heat to medium until it simmers.
  3. Remove pot from the heat and stir in broccoli. Let cool slightly, then puree with an immersion blender or in batches in a stand blender until smooth.
  4. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then stir in reserved florets.
  5. When ready to serve, garnish each bowl with toasted pine nuts and shaved Parmesan.

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Sweet! THE SUGAR QUEEN {The Kitchen Reader}

 

“Eating that sandwich would make her fell better.  And it would make her feel worse.  It was a familiar dilemma.  She’d never experienced anything that was simply and entirely good for her.  She wondered if such a thing even existed.”

This is the struggle of the main character, Josey, from The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen.  She is a 27-year-old woman still living under the thumb of her unloving mother, hoarding snack cakes and travel magazines in her closet, and wishing things would change but not knowing how to make them.

One night, however, when a woman appears in her closet, Josey’s life starts to spiral out of control and she doesn’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad one.  She’s forced to venture out of her room and open her eyes to the world around her, and it is full of shocking discoveries that never seem to end.

The Sugar Queen has suspense, drama, romance, and a little bit of the supernatural.  This is a book that is so engrossing that you might end up devouring it in one day – I did.

Visit The Kitchen Reader blog for a list of the other members’ reviews of this book.