Why hello there. It's been a while... the past week has been full of baking, and not much blogging. Still, it's now ridiculous o'clock since I have screwed up my sleeping schedule for the past 2 days, and since I am still running off the energy of just finished cleaning up my kitchen from a week of crazy baking, I figure why not bombard you with a ridiculous amount of pretty photos of food? (So I might also be running off of the bleach fumes from cleaning the kitchen... but that's aside the point)
First off in this ridiculous week of baking are home-made oreos from Wayne Brachman's Retro Desserts. If you love Oreos, but love softer cookies, this is the cookie for you. It's amazing how ridiculously close the taste is to the true Oreos. (By the way, Double-Stuffed Oreos are the best things. Ever.)
The cookies themselves are of the softer variety--though, if you bake them longer, they get crunchier.
Aren't they pretty? They're even prettier when stuffed full of unhealthy, but ridiculously tasty filling. Yum.
The same day, I also worked on these hand-sized berry galettes for dessert, which turned out better than I thought they would. I basically took 4 or 5 different galette recipes and combined them all to suit what I needed. I don't think they turned out too bad. I'm still trying to figure out the type of dough I like for something like this... I used a different type of crust than the usual one I use for pies and quiches, but I'm not sure which one I like better yet.
Galettes are fun to make, and it really does save on the trouble of rolling out the crust to make it all fit into a pie dish properly, but it's also a little harder to cut. I do like the rustic look to it, though. (Not the best photograph in the world, but it'll do for now.)
Oh yes, and I just have to say: Berries are the best food group. Yes, that's right, food group. :)
I could probably live off of blackberries and never get sick of them. <3 True, I might get diabetes, but who cares... they're blackberries. They're just amazing when you squish them against the roof of your mouth with your tongue. :)
That was all one day, then a few days later, I baked two loaves of brioche for my mother's birthday--she claims she doesn't like sweets (I'm not sure I believe her, still!), but she does love a good loaf of soft bread--and an apple crostata and a lemon torte for a lazy Sunday afternoon BBQ. This required staying up until 2:00 am and waking up at 6:30 in the morning in order to bake the brioche (which required resting in the fridge overnight after ridiculous kneading and 4 hours of rising and being attended to). It was worth it!
The brioche was probably the hardest dough to work with. I used a recipe from Epicurious. In retrospect, I'm not sure why I chose this recipe instead of another one, for example, from Peter Reinhart's book. But I did, and it was too late to change it after I had already warmed my 3 sticks of butter to room temperature. Yes, this recipe made one loaf in my 8" and one in my 9" loaf pan, and it required 3 sticks of butter and 3 eggs. Next time, I'm going to try and make it and cut the butter down by half a stick, because I think it was unnecessarily buttery, even for a brioche.
The dough was ridiculous, and veeery hard to knead by hand. It took a ridiculous amount of arm strength, and I swear my right arm is becoming a lot stronger than my left arm, but I did it, yay! What was frustrating was the part of waiting 2 hours for the first rise, and then constantly deflating the dough in the refrigerator for another 2 hours, then needing to wait for the dough to rest overnight before shaping and allowing for another rise before baking. Still, they still came out beautifully and they were well-received, yay! Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of the inside of the bread, but it was definitely one of the softest breads I've ever made!
So, for the BBQ, I used the left-over crust dough from the berry galettes for an apple crostata. It was fairly tasty. It's basically the pie crust, apples (I used granny smiths, as per the usual apple affair), and a cinnamon-sugar crumb topping.
Then, I wanted to use up all the lemons I had bought from Berkeley Bowl earlier in the week!
So, I used them and almond meal to make a lemon torte:
Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get a picture of it sliced, but the torte had a nice, dense crumb. This lemon torte is not the flourless type of torte, but does use almond meal with the flour. I think it was pretty darn good, especially with the lemon glaze, yum.
Oh yeah! I had bought almond meal from Trader Joe's, and I had actually used it to make more banana bread for somebody who was diabetic, so I had used whole wheat flour and substituted almond meal for half of the flour, reduced the sugar, etc. It was supposedly received very well, so yay. In fact, I actually baked TWO loaves of banana bread on the same day, hehehe.
Hopefully loading this page wasn't getting ridiculous with all the pictures. Now I need to decide what to make next in my sparkling clean kitchen... :)