Tuesday, September 30, 2008

TDB lavash crakers and dips

This month's challenge was chosen by Natalie of Gluten a Go Go and Shel from Musings from the Fish Bowl I must say I'm glad of their choice in first place I enjoyed making the craker and eating them and also because we needed some rest from rich desserts !

I made my first lavash (I intend to make many more !) with half whole wheat and half white flour and topped with salt and various seeds. I was afraid of making them too thick so I rolled them VERY thin maybe too thin but they tated very GOOD ! I divided the dough in four parts and some I scored before baking and others I left alone. For the relish ( which I forgot to photograph) I made one with eggplants and orange zest. To view more crakers please visit The Daring Bakers Blogroll !


The key to a crisp lavash,...is to roll out the dough paper-thin. The sheet can be cut into crackers in advance or snapped into shards after baking. The shards make a nice presentation when arranged in baskets.

Makes 1 sheet pan of crackers

* 1 1/2 cups (6.75 oz) unbleached bread flour or gluten free flour blend (If you use a blend without xanthan gum, add 1 tsp xanthan or guar gum to the recipe)
* 1/2 tsp (.13 oz) salt
* 1/2 tsp (.055 oz) instant yeast
* 1 Tb (.75 oz) agave syrup or sugar
* 1 Tb (.5 oz) vegetable oil
* 1/3 to 1/2 cup + 2 Tb (3 to 4 oz) water, at room temperature
* Poppy seeds, sesame seeds, paprika, cumin seeds, caraway seeds, or kosher salt for toppings

1. In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, salt yeast, agave, oil, and just enough water to bring everything together into a ball. You may not need the full 1/2 cup + 2 Tb of water, but be prepared to use it all if needed.

2. For Non Gluten Free Cracker Dough: Sprinkle some flour on the counter and transfer the dough to the counter. Knead for about 10 minutes, or until the ingredients are evenly distributed. The dough should pass the windowpane test (see http://www.wikihow.com/Determine-if-Bre … ong-Enough for a discription of this) and register 77 degrees to 81 degrees Fahrenheit. The dough should be firmer than French bread dough, but not quite as firm as bagel dough (what I call medium-firm dough), satiny to the touch, not tacky, and supple enough to stretch when pulled. Lightly oil a bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.


2. For Gluten Free Cracker Dough: The dough should be firmer than French bread dough, but not quite as firm as bagel dough (what I call medium-firm dough), and slightly tacky. Lightly oil a bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

3. Ferment at room temperature for 90 minutes, or until the dough doubles in size. (You can also retard the dough overnight in the refrigerator immediately after kneading or mixing).

4. For Non Gluten Free Cracker Dough: Mist the counter lightly with spray oil and transfer the dough to the counter. Press the dough into a square with your hand and dust the top of the dough lightly with flour. Roll it out with a rolling pin into a paper thin sheet about 15 inches by 12 inches. You may have to stop from time to time so that the gluten can relax. At these times, lift the dough from the counter and wave it a little, and then lay it back down. Cover it with a towel or plastic wrap while it relaxes. When it is the desired thinness, let the dough relax for 5 minutes. Line a sheet pan with baking parchment. Carefully lift the sheet of dough and lay it on the parchment. If it overlaps the edge of the pan, snip off the excess with scissors.


4. For Gluten Free Cracker Dough: Lay out two sheets of parchment paper. Divide the cracker dough in half and then sandwich the dough between the two sheets of parchment. Roll out the dough until it is a paper thin sheet about 15 inches by 12 inches. Slowly peel away the top layer of parchment paper. Then set the bottom layer of parchment paper with the cracker dough on it onto a baking sheet.

5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit with the oven rack on the middle shelf. Mist the top of the dough with water and sprinkle a covering of seeds or spices on the dough (such as alternating rows of poppy seeds, sesame seeds, paprika, cumin seeds, caraway seeds, kosher or pretzel salt, etc.) Be careful with spices and salt - a little goes a long way. If you want to precut the cracker, use a pizza cutter (rolling blade) and cut diamonds or rectangles in the dough. You do not need to separate the pieces, as they will snap apart after baking. If you want to make shards, bake the sheet of dough without cutting it first.

5. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the crackers begin to brown evenly across the top (the time will depend on how thinly and evenly you rolled the dough).

6. When the crackers are baked, remove the pan from the oven and let them cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. You can then snap them apart or snap off shards and serve.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

TWD Dimply Plum Cake

And finally the Age of the Cookies is over !
They were very good but I enjoy change. For this wonderful cake I used some very small (too?) plums I had collected in the countryside very small but very tasty ! The batter had a special aroma thanks to the cardamon seeds . I think I overbaked the cake so I'll be more careful next time: I was waiting for the top to brown a bit, but I waited too long !
This week we have to thank Michelle of Bake-en . Check the TWD blogroll for more baking and Dorie's site . Here is the recipe :

Dimply Plum Cake

- makes 8 servings -
Adapted from Baking From My Home to Yours


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Scant 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom (optional)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/3 cup flavorless oil, such as canola or sunflower
Grated zest of 1 orange
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
8 purple or red plums, halved and pitted


Getting ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan, dust the inside with flour, tap out the excess and put the pan on a baking sheet.

1. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and cardamom, if you’re using it.

2. Working with a mixer, beat the butter at medium speed until it’s soft and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the sugar and beat for another 3 minutes, then add the eggs, one at a time, and beat for a minute after each egg goes in. Still working on medium speed, beat in the oil, zest and vanilla—the batter will look smooth and creamy, almost satiny. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they are incorporated.

3. Run a spatula around the bowl and under the batter, just to make sure there are no dry spots, then scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the top. Arrange the plums cut side up in the batter—I usually make four rows of four plum halves each—jiggling the plums a tad just so they settle comfortably into the batter.

4. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the top is honey brown and puffed around the plums and a thin knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a rack and cool for 15 minutes—during which time the plums’ juices will seep back into the cake—then run a knife around the sides of the pan and unmold the cake. Invert and cool right side up.

Storing: You can wrap the cake and keep it at room temperature for up to 2 days, during which time it will get softer and moister.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

TWD Chocolate drops

After the first bite I asked myself, continuing to eat the cookie, why I am doing this to myself , I already know that willpower is not one of my assets and my shape is not fit at all ! Maybe I want to improve but I don't know on what side ...
This week the recipe was chosen by Claudia from Fool for Food and I and my neighbours are glad she did, Check the TWD Blogroll for more baking. And here is the recipe (I halved the nuts(pistachios), raisins, and chocolate content but it still was enough !) :

Chocolate Chunkers
from Dorie Greenspan's book Baking From My Home To Yours

1/3 cup all purpose flour
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. baking powder
3 tablespoon unsalted butter – cut into three pieces
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
6 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped into chunks or 1 cup chocolate chips
6 oz. milk or white chocolate, chopped or 1 cup chocolate chips
1 ½ coarsely chopped nuts ( I used pecans)
1 cup moist, plump raisins (dark or golden) or finely chopped, moist, plump dried apricots

Center a rack in the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicon mats.

Sift together flour, cocoa, salt and baking powder.

Set a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Add the butter, bittersweet chocolate and unsweetened chocolate and heat stirring occasionally, just until melted-the chocolate and butter should be smooth and shiny, but not so hot that the butter separates. Remove the bowl from the heat and set on the counter to cool.

Beat eggs and sugar on medium high speed for about two minutes until they are pale and foamy. Add vanilla and scrape down bowl. Reduce mixer to low speed and add melted chocolate, mixing only until incorporated. Add dry ingredients until they disappear into the dough, which will be thick, smooth and shiny.

Scrape down the bowl and mix in the semisweet and white or milk chocolate chunks (or chips), nuts, and raisins. Drop dough by heaping tablespoons leaving about an inch of space between mounds of dough. Bake one sheet at a time for 10-12 minutes. The tops of the cookies will look a little dry, but the interiors should still be soft

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

TWD Chocolate malted whopper drops

Finally ! my phone was not working until few minutes ago !
This week the recipe was chosen by Confessions of a tangerine tart
So... in Italy we don't have Whoppers or Maltesers so I went to various supermarkets and decided to use kinder Merendero that are in sferic shape but the outside is waferlike, the content is Nutella and the balls are surrounded with a milk cream.

We do have ovomaltina so I hope this is the same you have. I decided to split the recipe because I still have some chunky peanut butter..cookies from last week but maybe it was a mistake because the children really liked the chocolate drops and they are already finished ! The preparation of the drops was very easy and I didn't have any problem. I think it is very important not to overcook them leaving that very yummy soft center !
Please visit Tuesdays with Dorie to see all the others baking.

Chocolate Malted Whopper Drops
1.75 cups all purpose flour
1 cup malted milk powder (I used ovomaltine)
.25 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1.5 teaspoon baking powder
.25 teaspoon salt
1 stick plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temp.
.66 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
.25 cup whole milk
2 cups (6 ounces) chocolate-covered malted milk balls, coarsely chopped
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped or 1 cup store-bought choc chips or chunks

GETTING READY: Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
Sift together the flour, malted milk powder, cocoa, baking powder, and salt.
Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until very smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for about a minute after each addition. Beat in the vanilla; don't be concerned in the mixture looks curdled - it will even out when the dry ingredients are added. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add half the dry ingredients, mixing just until they disappear in the the batter. Mix in the milk, then the remaining dry ingredients, mixing only until they are incorporated. The batter will look more like fudge frosting than cookie dough - and that's fine. With the mixer on low, or by hand with a rubber spatula, mix in the malted milk balls and chopped chocolate.
Drop the dough by rounded tablespoonfuls on to the sheets, leaving about 2 inches of space between spoonfuls. Bake for 11 to 13 minutes, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back after 6 minutes. When done, the cookies will be puffed and set slightly but soft to the touch. Let the cookies rest for 2 minutes before using a wide metal spatula to transfer them to the racks to cool to room temperature.
Repeat with the remaining dough, cooling the baking sheets between batches.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

TWD Chunky peanut butter and oatmeal chocolate chipsters

I came back from the holidays and found these cookies as the recipe for today. I must confess that peanut butter was never one of my favorites, but these cookies are great ! I baked half of them and, luckely for my weight, froze the rest of the dough. I started to move the first when it was still too warm and it broke so I started nibbling and now I must find a way to stop ! I think tomorrow Andrea will bring them at work so I won't fall too much in temptation... If you are too skinny the recipe is on the book "Baking with Dorie" or visit Tuesdays with Dorie.
Happy baking ciao

Monday, September 1, 2008

SSB Victoria Sandwich cake

Hello ! here is the Victoria cake. I tried the version with the buttercream but put a cream cheese cream instead and I liked it. I'm not writing much because I' leaving for the holidays. You can find the recipe here sweet and simple bakes . Ciao!