Archive for the ‘Daring-Bakers’ Category

Appam, Daring Cooks Challenge

Sunday, August 14th, 2011

Mary, who writes the delicious blog, Mary Mary Culinary was our August Daring Cooks’ host.
Mary chose to show us how delicious South Indian cuisine is! She challenged us to make Appam and another South
Indian/Sri Lankan dish to go with the warm flat bread.

In the challenge, we could make any of several curries, so I decided to choose the recipe for shrimp curry included in the challenge.  I had all the ingredients on hand because I make Indian food frequently.  I even had some curry leaves salted away in the freezer, thank heavens for my Toronto shopping trips to Albion and Kipling.   I followed the recipe, but added dark chick peas, zucchini, and cauliflour to the pot.  The resulting curry was very good, so try this recipe (the full recipes are here: ).  I also used my new copper saute pan, and you wont belive it, copper rocks.  It heats really evenly and things brown and carmelize, just what you need for a good sauce.  Thanks to my son for convincing me of the merits of French copper pots.

I have made dosas, a similar batter before.  The addition of yeast made the fermentation go faster, so I will try this technique the next time I make dosas as well.  The appams are really nice, the fermentation gives them a subtle complexity of flavour. I used my electric crepe maker and used the wooden gizmo to spread the dough around.  I love making crepes!!


Daring Bakers Challenge: Framboisiers

Sunday, July 31st, 2011

Jana of Cherry Tea Cakes was our July Daring Bakers’ host and she challenges us to make Fresh Frasiers inspired by recipes written by Elisabeth M. Prueitt and Chad Robertson in the beautiful cookbook Tartine.

This was a great challenge, and something I had never made before.  I really like the Tartine cookbook, and have made several other recipes in it, so I thought the recipe would be tasty.   I used the recipes with a gluten free adaptation (explanation below) that worked out well.  I have a lovely raspberry patch in fruit right now, so the “Frasier”  turned into a “Framboisier”  with a few ripe blueberries thrown in.  See a very thorough recipe and explanation of the steps here:  Daring Bakers Frasier Challenge and Recipes.  I used a chocolate ganache for the topping, and pansies for decoration.  The final cake tasted great, and looked ok.  I would try to have a more dramatic side next time, and strawberries seem to be better for that precise pastry look.  I made 4 small cakes just so I could have leftovers that still looked decent.

There are pictures on the Daring Bakers site of amazing creativity with this challenge.  One of the best parts of participating in these challenges is seeing what others have done with the recipes and concepts.

I usually use many flours in gluten free baking, but recently saw a gluten free mix in a magazine called Canadian Family that did not have rice, so I tried it and substituted it for the flour amount called for in the recipe.  The resulting sponge cake was delicious, and I will definitely make it again.

Changes to the Daring Bakers recipe (link above)

  • gluten free flour mix instead of wheat flour
  • added 1/4 tsp guar gum to the flour
  • used 5 egg yolks and 5 egg whites (instead of three and 5)

Gluten Free Flour Mix from Canadian Family:

  • 1/2 cup garfava flour
  • 1/4 cup amaranth flour
  • 3/4 cup corn starch
  • 3/4 cup arrowroot flour

This makes more than you need, so use it in something else too!

The resulting cake was delicious, you really could not tell it was gluten free.

Panna Cotta with Florentines

Monday, February 28th, 2011

The February 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Mallory from A Sofa in the Kitchen. She chose to challenge everyone to make Panna Cotta from a Giada De Laurentiis recipe and Nestle Florentine Cookies.

I have made florentines before and they are very yummy – far better than the ones you find in bakeries, although they are really not too common anymore.  Because I needed a gluten free version, I looked through a few cookbooks and found an interesting recipe which used no flour in Chocolate Ephipany by Francois Payard.  The result was sort of a butter brickle flavour with crunchy almonds and candied orange.  They are absolutely delicious!! The dark side is that you cant stop eating them so between the florentines and the cream in the panna cotta I gained 2 pounds this week!! I am having nightmares about barbells.

For the panna cotta, I used a slightly different recipe than Gina’s because I didn’t have 3 cups of whip cream.  I found a similar recipe in Dolce Italiano by Gina De Palma and used it with ricotta for some of the cream.  But I didnt have ricotta either so I used sour cream, and the result was delicious.  This is my first attempt at panna cotta, and it is very easy.  The taste is really similar to creme brulee, but less work and no baking, so I will make this again.  I am freezing some to see how it fares, and since I have recently frozen bavarian I think it will work!!.  I have to freeze some so I dont gain even more weight!!! so it is really a self preservation technique.

Both of the above are excellent cookbooks.  I have seen Chocolate Epiphany remaindered at Chapters recently, and it has an amazing recipe for chocolate cookies that have no butter but are wonderful.

Thanks to Mallory for a great combination of flavours in this challenge.

I am posting the recipe for the florentines because it is gluten free and devinely delicious.  If you want the panna cotta recipe there are dozens on the internet, or email me.


Recipe Adapted from Chocolate Epiphany by Francois Payard.

My attempt at these resulted in a wonderful taste, but the cooked sheets  were not easy to handle and I ended up just breaking them up into pieces instead of having nicely shaped cookies from a cookie cutter.  I found them really buttery, so next time I will try a little less butter to see if that works.  But, these are divinely  delicious, so consider making them!

Ingredients Method
13 TB (195 grams) unsalted butter

1 1/8 cup sugar

1/3 cup milk

¼ cup honey or corn syrup

Combine all of these and cook in a saucepan until a candy thermometer reaches 230F

Remove from heat and add the next ingredients.

2 ¼ cups sliced almonds

1/3 cup candied orange peel

Add to the cooked mixture above.

Note: This batter can be kept for about 3 days in the fridge if you want to bake later.

Baking Step:

I found the baking quite variable, so you really need to watch this step rather than rely on timing.

Spread the batter very thinly (cover the area completely, but not too think, about 1/8 inch) on a silpat or parchment paper (silpat is better) and bake at 350 for about 8 minutes.  The batter should be a golden brown, so you need to watch it and it will depend on how think etc.
Cutting Step:

The batter will be very runny even when cooked, but as it cools it becomes malleable.  The process is really like nougat.

In the recipe it says to cool slightly and then cut with a cookie cutter.  I found this did not work too well, so  after trying individual cookies and other experiments I just gave up and treated it like a big sheet of candy bark that I cut with kitchen scissors into pieces.  This worked well but they are not too uniform.
Tempered dark chocolate layer:

About 5 oz dark chocolate (I used  house brand candy bars from Metro that is 72% chocolate)

Melt the chocolate, then spread in a thin layer on the back of each cookie piece.  The recipe says to spread with a fork to get the characteristic wavy lines, but my cookies were so thin that I gave up and just spread a think layer.
Serve or Freeze These are best straight out of the freezer.  They are very delicate, so freezing is the best way to keep them intact and also my freezer is down stairs so I get exercise before devouring them.

Christmas Stollen (Daring Bakers Challenge) and My Thoughts on Yeast Doughs

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

The 2010 December Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Penny of Sweet Sadie’s Baking. She chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ to make Stollen. She adapted a friend’s family recipe and combined it with information from friends, techniques from Peter Reinhart’s book………and Martha Stewart’s demonstration. The recipe is here

I followed the recipe and made a large as well as several small stollens.  However, instead of following the yeast rising schedule, I used the method I learned from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day in which you just mix the dough without kneading and let it rest in the fridge (I use the fruit cellar in the winter – it works perfectly).  In the book they say you can leave the dough for as long as a week, and I have done this and the bread is great.  In the book they have a recipe for brioche that is a similar dough recipe to the stollen, so I just used the long rest method and let the dough sit for three days before I had time to make the actual stollen.  The advantage of this method is that by letting the dough rest in a cool place you get essentially a sour dough development, with resulting more complex flavour.

There are various methods on this cool rise technique, but I highly recommend this book.  I use this method for all yeast doughs now.  They also have a new book with healthier recipes including gluten free.

My kids were here for the holidays, and the stollen little buns were eaten quickly.  Today with the kids gone and a quiet house, I tried another use for this cake – I cut it up into chunks and put caramel sauce over it with left over whip cream.  Mmmmmmmm, sort of like a Christmas version of Baba au Rhum!  Try it.

Thanks to Penny for this challenge, it made a great treat for the holidays.

Pasta Frolla Crostata – Chevre Tarts

Sunday, November 28th, 2010

The 2010 November Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Simona of briciole. She chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ to make pasta frolla for a crostata. She used her own experience as a source, as well as information from Pellegrino Artusi’s Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well.

The pastry is similar to pate brisee, but a little more egg.  Good news for me is that I needed some egg whites for macarons anyway. The pastry handles beautifully with a little rest in the fridge first.  The recipe for the pasta frolla is on the Daring Bakers site.

After considering the possibilities and what I had on hand and wasting a lot of time reading on my baking shelf (yes, I confess to being a compulsive cookbook buyer!) I decided to make a version with chevre tart filling adapted from a recipe in Kate Zuckerman’s The Sweet Life, one of my favourite pastry cookbooks.  I happened to have some pomegranate I had already stripped (I love these little red berries, but they make a complete mess, even spattering little red dots on my face!)

I needed these for a Christmas party that night, so I used the extra pastry for some medium and small size stars.  Sprinkled with a little sugar, these made a red sparkly platter of tarts.  They disappeared quickly once people started eating dessert.

Thanks again to Simona for a great challenge.  I will definitely make this again.

Chevre Tart Filling

Adapted from The Sweet Life by Kate Zuckerman

This simple cheesecake type filling can be used in tart shells, or simply based on its own and covered with fruit or nuts.  It has a definite goaty taste, so those who do not like the classic chevre taste beware.

Ingredients Method
  • 10 oz goat cheese (about 2/3 of a 16 oz log)
  • ½ cup regular(14%) sour cream
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp corn starch (optional)
  • ¼ tsp vanilla (optional)
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend.  Don’t worry too much if there are still some little lumps of chevre.
Fill unbaked pie or tart shells with filling.  Bake @ 350 until the custard is puffed and firm.  Cool.  Best served at room temperature.  Can be frozen.   Top with fresh fruit, pomegranates are terrific on this.

Doughnuts: Daring Bakers October Challenge

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

The October 2010 Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Lori of Butter Me Up. Lori chose to challenge DBers to make doughnuts. She used several sources for her recipes including Alton Brown, Nancy Silverton, Kate Neumann and Epicurious.

When I was a kid my grandmother made the most delicious doughnuts.  There was no Tim Horton’s then! She made cake versions, and in my mind still these are the doughnuts I love to eat.  My grandmother always had these covered in sugar in a cookie can for us.  There was never any variation, and in my mind this was because they were perfect!.  They were always spiced with nutmeg and dunked in sugar.  My grandmother’s recipes live in various versions in my family.  My version has no amount of flour, you were just supposed to know when the dough was right. I used to make them at Christmas as a treat for my children, who looked forward to helping make them and eating them.

I rarely make doughnuts now due to calories and also because my husband, one of the fans, has to have gluten free now.  So with this challenge, I made a gluten free version.  I did not use the daring bakers gluten free recipe because it has mainly rice flour, which I cannot use due to allergies.  So I used a recipe directly from The Gluten Free Kitchen by Robin Ryberg (See my gluten free section for information about this book which I recommend as a first intro to baking gluten free).

I will post the recipe later.There were so good you could not really tell they were gluten free. Mmmmmm….good thing I did an hour of walking this morning!

Baked Alaska and Petit Fours from Daring Bakers

Monday, August 30th, 2010

The August 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Elissa of 17 and Baking. For the first time, The Daring Bakers partnered with Sugar High Fridays for a co-event and Elissa was the gracious hostess of both. Using the theme of beurre noisette, or browned butter, Elissa chose to challenge Daring Bakers to make a pound cake to be used in either a Baked Alaska or in Ice Cream Petit Fours. The sources for Elissa’s challenge were Gourmet magazine and David Lebovitz’s “The Perfect Scoop”.

I made a gluten free poundcake which I adapted from the recipe on the Daring Bakers website.  Browning the butter for the cake really develops a rich buttery taste.  I used the other recipes straight from the challenge recipes. The most difficult part was doing the chocolate fontant coating because the ice cream melted really quickly once the little squares were out of the freezer.  I also made a regular wheat based poundcake, and it was also terrific.  The chocolate fondant covering recipe worked well, and these were delicious and also interesting to decorate.  I used pieces of strawberry that I cut up and mint leaves from my bumper crop.

I had some chocolate fondant left, so I also made some little baked alaskas.  I used the pound 
cake, added a layer of the chocolate, then the ice cream.  when all this was frozen I added the merangue and froze it again.  A torch was the final method of browning the Alaskas. G. liked them, although found them a little too sweet.

All in all, this was a really fun challenge.  The baked Alaska method worked extremely well, and with the torch method you can make these all ahead, so that is also a good thing as Martha Stewart says.

All the recipes are on the Daring Bakers site right here:

A Few Pics of Real Ice Cream Challenge

Saturday, August 7th, 2010

We did finally eat the large size Ice Cream Challenge on the weekend when my newlywed nice and her hubby were here. It got rave reviews, and are ever crazy enough to spend this much time making a dessert, one saving grace of time spent is rest happily in freezer until about 15 minutes before you are ready to serve it. The leftovers can also just put back in freezer (save that bowl you molded it in!) and finish them off last night. I confess at little something, made more of hot fudge sauce (with some tweaking to make it richer) and poured some over it last night….. peanut butter heaven, but will have more miles on new bike today to pay for calories! Recipes in previous post.

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Daring Bakers-Swiss Ice Cream Cake

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

The July 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Sunita of Sunita’s world – life and food. Sunita challenged everyone to make an ice-cream filled Swiss roll that’s then used to make a bombe with hot fudge. Her recipe is based on an ice cream cake recipe from Taste of Home.

(Note:  Recipes added at the end of post now.)

This is the baby version, made in a small souflee dish.  We ate it tonight for dessert, and it was yummy, plated on banana slices.

The final cake is in the freezer gelling right now, so I will add a picture to this post when I cut the cake. The Daring Bakers recipes are here and the Daring Bakers site has picture of the results right now on their site

After ruminating on what flavour combination I would experiment with, I developed a gluten free peanut butter chocolate version with one ice cream made of peanuts, and the other banana.  I love the combo of peanuts, banana, and chocolate.  I made the sponge cake adapting a recipe from The Low Carb Gourmet by Karen Barnaby that normally has almonds, but I added a little over half the nut mix using peanuts.  The resulting cake was excellent, and I will post this recipe soon. It is gluten free, and would also be a great cake.  For the ice cream, I adapted a recipe from Pure Desserts by Alice Medrich that was originally for sesame ice cream.  I had no milk, so I used buttermilk, and this gives an interesting flavour with a hint of sour edge that counteracts the sweetness.  Recipe to come.

I followed the steps in the Daring Bakers recipe, and all worked well. I made some little versions in souflee dishes as well.

I will be adding more to this post soon, but wanted to get this up to meet the challenge deadline for the blogroll.  Thanks to Sunita for an interesting challenge.

Peanut Butter Buttermilk Ice Cream

I should call this a mistake, but really it was because I had no milk so I used buttermilk, and it is really good!

1 cup whip cream

1 cup buttermilk

¼  cup peanut butter

¼ cup sugar

Blend all this, then refrigerate, then process in an ice cream maker or take it out a lot and stir it up while freezing it.  I wanted this to be only semi sweet sue to the other sweet ingredients in the ice cream cake, so taste and add a little sugar if you like it sweeter.

Gluten Free Sponge Cake

This recipe is very useful when you need a sponge cake that you can add flavourings to for compound type desserts with a cake component (tira misu, etc.) Sometimes I use sugar, and sometimes I used the spenda.  This was adapted from The Low Carb Gourmet by Karen Barnaby.



½ cup almond meal

¾ cup peanuts ground fine (but stop before they turn to butter)

(Note:  You can use all almonds or a different proportion of the 2 nuts but make a total of 1 ¼ cup)

1 tsp baking powder

6 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

½ cup sugar plus 2 T splenda (approx)

  • Put parchment paper and light mist of cooking spray on a jelly roll size pan.  (Or you can use any shape pan, but this should be a thin cake in order to rise best.)Spread grease around with your fingers (ie, you want a really thin layer)
  • Combine the nut meal, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.
  • Place eggs and sweeteners (sugar, splenda, or a combination) in large bowl and beat with whisk on electric mixer for several minutes until they have a foam that is thick and will hold the path if a spoon is in it (ie, the consistency you would use for sponge cake)
  • Gently fold in the almond mixture.
  • Spread in jelly roll pan lined with parchment.
  • Bake at 350 until done (about 15 minutes or so, depends on your oven. )

Chocolate Pavlovas with Chocolate Mascarpone Cream – Mmmmm

Sunday, June 27th, 2010

The June 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Dawn of Doable and Delicious. Dawn challenged the Daring Bakers’ to make Chocolate Pavlovas and Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse. The challenge recipe is based on a recipe from the book Chocolate Epiphany by Francois Payard.

The recipe is on the Daring Bakers site here:  It was already gluten free so no tweaking needed.

I have made other recipes from the Francoise Payard cookbook and they have all been terrific, so I was looking forward to trying this challenge.  Although there were many steps, all the recipes are fairly easy.  In terms of the products, I prefer soft pavlovas, so these were too hard and dry compared to my usual merangues, so next time I would make them to my preferred degree of doneness with a soft centre.  The disadvantage to that is that they have to be eaten right away, so the dry merangues have some advantages.  The best part of this recipe was the mascarpone mousse.  It is wonderful, not too sweet, and absolutely full of velvety lushness (as Nigella Lawson might say!) I will make it again, and also the recipe has no eggs unlike most mousses so that is also helpful depending on who is allergic to eggs!

I had more stuff leftover so I also tried a deconstructed version in some verrines.  I am freezing them so I will see how well they come through this. Thank you to Dawn for a great challenge and making me explore more of the recipes in chocolate Epiphany.  PS – my favoutie recipe in the cookbook is the flourless  chocolate cookies, I may do a post on these later.

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