Archive | October, 2009

Falling in Love

28 Oct

I love Fall. I love apples and the brightly colored trees and the chill in the air and this year I am adding a love for Mulled Spice French Macaroons.


Light and crisp (just like the air outside) with a hint of warmth and softness in the middle (like  a warm sweater on the night of the first frost)….french macaroons are amazing.

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

I wish I had time to write more about my experience with these macaroons but time is a luxury these days. I will say that while I tried the Fleming recipe it did not work for me and I switched to the one on cannelle et vanille’s site, which worked like a dream.  I spiked the meringue with mulling spices and made an apple compote/curd with the left over egg yolks for the middle. Divine!


Poofless Puff

7 Oct

I am a few days late on my DB challenge and a little underwhelmed.

It did not go well. I made the dough on Saturday night but put off the laminating until Sunday…

Maybe the dough was to warm, or I missed a turn, but my puff seriously lacked poof.

It was an interesting experience though, and I had fun with it in my own way. I took my poofless puff and  tried out three recipes: cheddar squirrels, banana/dulce de leche puffs, and palmiers.  The palmiers were awesome as were the cheddar squirrels…the banana puffs in the DB challenge vols-au-vents left something to be desired. They tasted awesome but vols did not vent so they were short but flaky.

So here is what I did ….

Cheddar squirrels.

P1010236If you have the Martha Halloween special magazine, I used the recipe for flaky pumpkins – spreading mustard and cheese on the one layer of puff covered it with a second layer and brushed it with paprika butter. Cute and tasty – grilled cheese for grown-ups.

Banana Dulce de Leche puffs.


I blind baked the vols-au-vents  for 10 minutes and then added a dollop of dulce de leche and a slice of banana rolled in vanilla/cinnamon  turbanado sugar and continued to bake them for another 10 minutes. The puff never materialized but the caramel banana was awesome especially with a “hat” of whip cream.

Dulce de Leche Recipe ( Martha Stewart, Halloween Magazine 2009)

14 0z can of sweetened condensed milk

place sweetened condensed milk in a heat resistant bowl over a pan of simmering water (a double boiler) and simmer, stirring every 15 minutes or so for 2 -3 hours until the milk turns to caramel.

Dulce de Leche Palmiers


I had some dough scraps and left over dulce de leche so I made my favorite puff pastry treat….palmiers.  Maybe it was the extra day of rest but the palmiers puffed up lovely and they were golden, crisp, and flaky.  This was the best of the three.

I still have half of the puff dough in the freezer, so I think I will try some other puffy treats and may even try the vols-au-vents again just to see if a few days rest will make a difference.

The September 2009 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Steph of A Whisk and a Spoon. She chose the French treat, Vols-au-Vent based on the Puff Pastry recipe by Michel Richard from the cookbook Baking With Julia by Dorie Greenspan. Her site will give you all you need to know on making puff pastry that I have neither the patience nor the inclination to do on this site.

Thanks to Steph for the challenge, to Lisa for posting the comment that encouraged my to complete this challenge,  and to DB for pushing the limits of my baking skills.