TWD: Chocolate-Crunched Caramel Tart

Chocolate. Caramel. Peanuts. Yum.
Carla of Chocolate Moosey selected Chocolate-Crunched Caramel Tart as this week's recipe for Tuesdays with Dorie. I've been looking forward to it all month - anticipating it would be sort of like a tart version of a snickers bar.

The challenging part of this recipe is making the caramel. That's right - making the caramel. No sundae topping caramel from a jar here. No unwrapped and melted Kraft caramels in this tart. Just sugar, butter, light corn syrup, and heavy cream. Burning the sugar is totally anxiety-producing. I followed Dorie's recommendation and measured out everything ahead of time. That helped. My mom was also in town to visit and supervised my sugar-burning debauchery. That also helped. (Thanks, mom!)

Overall it turned out really well!! I shouldn't have baked the crust quite so long, but it turned out like shortbread and tasted good. The caramel had the tiniest burnt flavor in spots, but stayed really creamy for the most part. And the ganache was delicious. I used an 11 inch tart pan (the only one they had at BB&B) but it worked just fine.

Check out that caramel-peanutty-goodness! Two thumbs up for this recipe - Mr. QC agrees! Up next week: my first crack at homemade pudding.


TWD: Cottage Cheese Pufflets

When I first read that this week's recipe was cottage cheese pufflets I thought "hmm... that doesn't sounds very tasty." I was envisioning something savory and lumpy. I have texture issues (anything suspended in jell-o is my worst nightmare) and although I like cottage cheese, I had my concerns. But leave it to Dorie to show us how cottage cheese can make a light and flaky crust! It gives the dough a little tang that makes you wonder what the secret ingredient is.

The cottage cheese is thrown into a food processor with the other ingredients and everything gets blended into a dough. As many of the other TWD bakers have mentioned... the dough feel as if it was made with paste! It's sticky and gooey... and tough to handle. I chilled it for about four hours before trying to roll it out. Then I used PLENTY of flour to keep it from sticking. As soon as you start handling the dough and it gets even the tiniest bit warm, it wants to turn back into a squishy mess. I had pretty good luck though, and got it rolled out and cut into squares with minimal hassle.

Once its cut into squares, you put a dollop of preserves on each piece. I used raspberry jam - which was delicious - but you can use any variety! It was interesting to see what the other bakers used - everything from blueberry to apricot to jalapeno! Then each square is folded into a triangle (similar to the apple turnovers from last week), baked, and sprinkled with powdered sugar.

True to their name, my pufflets puffed up pretty well. My jam oozed out and made a huge mess... but other than that, they turned out pretty well. They tasted surprisingly like a struedel or a danish. They would be great served with an afternoon cup of tea of coffee!

Thanks to Jacque of Daisy Lane Cakes for this week's pick. Be sure to check her blog for the complete recipe! Up next week: chocolate caramel crunch tart... I can't wait!


TWD: Flaky Apple Turnovers

I love fall. It is far and away my favorite season. I love the crisp air, the crunch of leaves underfoot, the warm colors, and cozy sweaters and jackets. The lingering warmth of summer gives way to cool clear evenings. The holidays are on the horizon. I just can't say enough good things about fall!

Few things say fall more than warm apples and cinnamon. Wrap them up in a light flaky dough and add a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream... I can almost feel the chill in the air! (Even though its still in the 80s in Chicago this week... but it will be here before we know it.)

This recipe wasn't overly challenging, but it did have a lot of steps. The dough had to chill twice -- first in a rectangular block, and then folded like an envelope. The thing that took me the longest was dicing the apples. I know I'm no speed demon with my chef's knife, but it took me forEVER to peel and dice four apples! The apples were mixed with cinnamon and sugar and tucked inside circles of dough. Here is a batch, fresh out of the oven!

I served them warm with vanilla ice cream and a sprinkling of cinnamon -- delish! My hubby (we'll call him "Quality Control") gave them two thumbs up. The dough made 16 turnovers the first go around. I collected the scraps, chilled them overnight, and got 8 more turnovers the next day. And I STILL had filling left over (I knew that was too much dicing!). I froze this second batch, so they're ready to pop in the oven whenever we want a freshly-baked turnover. (I must admit, they didn't taste quite as good re-heated, so I'm glad to have some to bake fresh.)

Thanks to Julie of Someone's in the Kitchen for this week's pick! Be sure to check out the TWD Blog to see how the other bakers did! And cheers to fall being right around the corner!


TWD: Chocolate Souffle

Souffles have always been something that intimidated me... in a baking sense of course. The idea that they're supposed to puff up just right and still manage to look good always seemed a little out of my league. Probably why I don't make bread from scratch very often (except with the bread maker - it's so much easier!) So I was excited but a little nervous to see this week's selection - chocolate souffle.

I made individual souffles in ramekins instead of making one larger souffle. And I have to say - they turned out really well! And tasted even better. Here they are rising in the oven:

They overflowed a bit. I've read that you can use parchment paper and a rubberband to make "collars" to prevent this. I'll probably try that next time. But I have to say, the recipe was amazingly easy to follow and came together pretty quickly. Here's the finished product:

It's a good thing I had my camera ready - about two seconds after I took this picture they started to fall (maybe the parchment paper would help that as well). But they were delicious - light, creamy, and decadent without being too rich.

Be sure to check out She's Becoming Doughmesstic for the recipe. And thanks to Susan for a great pick!


TWD: Espresso Cheesecake Brownies

It's here at last - my very first Tuesdays with Dorie (TWD) blog post! As I mentioned yesterday, TWD is a blogging group where members take turns selecting recipes from Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours. I came across it several months ago and have watched as the bloggers baked fabulous cakes, pies, tarts, and even a blanc manger! (Ok, so I didn't know what a blanc manger was either until I read TWD! Read about it here) I was excited to get in on the action... and now that I finally started my very own blog, I can! Thanks to Laurie for starting the group and letting me bake along.

This week's recipe was selected by Melissa of Life in a Peanut Shell - espresso cheesecake brownies! You just can't go wrong with brownies and cheesecake. Like many of the TWD bakers, I left out the glaze on top - although looking at some of the delicious pictures, I wish I hadn't! I had to make them in an 8x8 pan (because I don't have a 9x9 pan), so they were a little on the thick side. The brownies also dried out a little bit - the batter stiffened up while I was making the cheesecake layer (maybe because I used a Hershey's dark bar because I couldn't find baking chocolate at Target! That's what happens when you try to bake late Sunday night!). Overall the flavors were delicious and I'll definitely make these again!