>TWD: White Chocolate Brownies

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Welcome to a very special edition of Tuesdays with Dorie! You might wonder why this one is so special, well it’s because I finally got to pick the recipe! Yay!! But picking one recipe wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be, there were still so many good recipes left! With the help from my mom I finally narrowed it down to the White Chocolate Brownies on pages 110 and 111 of Baking from My Home to Yours, which I’m sure pleased CB a lot as she’d been trying to bribe all the members of TWD to vote on the White Chocolate Brownies when we all got to pick the second anniversary recipe for Tuesdays with Dorie last January.

Reading through the P&Q for the brownies I found out that I had picked a recipe that was a bit controversial: lots of talk about good raspberries being difficult to find and very expensive, meringue-haters and problems with undercooked brownies. So you can imagine I really wanted these brownies to work. Unfortunately my first batch came out a disaster: the brownies were still gooey and undercooked after an extra 40 minutes in the oven and the meringue was overcooked and too chewwy.

I decided to give the brownies another try and used blueberries instead since I was out of raspberries. Lack of orange forced me to leave the orange zest out and by now I was also out of almonds so I subbed them with more flour.

In the P&Q Jacque of Daisy Lane Cake suggested to bake the brownies first and then add the meringue, so that’s exactly what I did. I lined a cupcake pan with liners and filled 24 liners half full, these were baked for 20 minutes and cooled to room temperature. I then topped them with the meringue and baked them for another 10 minutes: Perfect!
These brownies were delicious, but I must admit that their texture was more cake-like! A tad sweet, but I didn’t mind about that: I have major sweet tooth! Don’t forget to check out what my fellow TWD-ers thought of the White Chocolate Brownies!


White Chocolate Brownies
makes 32 brownies
White Chocolate, orange zest and lots of fresh raspberries make these brownies delicious; topping them with meringue makes them glamorous. The cake layer is slender, delightfully dense and both sweet and tart; the meringue is soft and golden. You can call them brownies, but serve them with a swirl of raspberry coulis and they’ll be worthy of a black-tie gala.
For the brownies:
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup finely ground almonds
½ teaspoon salt
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
4 ounces premium-quality white chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup fresh raspberries
For the meringue:
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
Pinch of salt
½ cup sugar
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
Getting ready
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Butter a 9-x-13-inch pan, line the bottom with parchment or wax paper, butter the paper and dust the bottom and sides of the pan with flour; tap out the excess. Put the pan on a baking sheet.

To make the brownies

Whisk together the flour, ground almonds and salt.
Set a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of only-just-simmering water. Put the butter in the bowl, top with the chopped chocolate and stir frequently until the ingredients are just melted—you don’t want them to get so hot that the butter or the white chocolate separates. (White chocolate is finicky, so don’t leave the kitchen while it’s over the heat—too much heat and it will fall apart or scorch.) Remove the bowl from the pan of water.
Working in the bowl of a stand mixer or in another large bowl, rub the sugar and orange zest together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and aromatic. Add the eggs and, with the paddle or whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat on medium-high speed for about 3 minutes, or until pale and foamy. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and blend in the melted butter and chocolate. Still working on low, mix in the dry ingredients, stirring only until they disappear into the batter. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle the raspberries evenly over the batter. Set aside while you make the meringue.

To make the meringue

In the cleaned mixer bowl with the (clean) whisk attachment, or in another large bowl with cleaned beaters, beat the egg whites with the salt on medium speed until they are foamy and just turn opaque. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and add the sugar in a slow, steady stream. Whip the whites until they form firm but still glossy peaks.
Gently spread the meringue over the brownie batter.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the meringue is browned and crackly and the brownies pull away from the sides of the pan. Transfer the pan to a rack and allow to cool to room temperature in the pan.
Cover a cooling rack with a piece of parchment or wax paper, or a silicone baking mat, dust the paper or mat with confectioners’ sugar and very gently, so you don’t squish the meringue, turn the brownies out onto the rack. Peel away the parchment paper lining and carefully invert the brownies onto a cutting board. Cut into 32 bars, each roughly 2¼ x 11½ inches.
Serving
Dust the squares with additional confectioners’ sugar if you think they need it and serve as is or with Raspberry Coulis
Storing
Kept in the pan and covered lightly with plastic wrap, the brownies can be kept at room temperature overnight. The meringue makes these fragile (and unfreezable). If you omit the meringue, you can wrap the brownies airtight and keep them at room temperature for up to 3 days and frozen for up to 2 months.
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Posted in TWD. 52 Comments »

>Second Foodie Exchange Parcel: Illinois, U.S.A.

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So last week, before I went to Germany with my mom, I received my second Foodie Exchange parcel.

This time the parcel was from someone I actually ‘know’: Margaret of Tea and Scones. I’ve met Margaret through TWD.

Margaret sent me some lovely goodies from Illinois that I can’t wait to try: Long Grain & Wild Rice, Cibarra Chocolate, Tabasco, Filé and a cookbook: The Basics of Creole Cooking. I can’t wait to make some Gumbo!!!

If you’re interested in participating in a food exchange, check out Foodie Exchange

>An impression of my road trip to Pfronten-Steinach (Germany)

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Last weekend was spent with my mom and our two dogs. I asked a friend to take care of Senna, the cat, and my mom put enough food in the fridge to last all weekend for my dad. Okay, I was exaggerating just a little bit: my dad took care of himself the entire weekend.



We got in the car at 6 am and drove for about 9 hours, including several stops on the way to take out the dogs, have some drinks and eat. We were on the road heading for Pfronten-Steinach, which is situated in Allgau, southern Germany. We stayed at a friends hotel and had a lovely view of the Breitenberg from the balcony of our room. The room was perfect: enough room for the two of us and the dogs.



Saturday morning was spent shopping in Fuessen where we managed to snap up some bargains and enjoyed all the magnificently decorated houses.



Of course we had to enjoy some Apfelstrudel with Vanilla-Rum Sauce on a terrace in the sun.



Some time was spent in a shop where they sold typical German outfit, like the Dirnd’l and Lederhosen shown above.



We then took the Breitenbergbahn up the mountain, Scott (left) and Joey (right) where a bit scared in the gondola going up but they were perfectly fine during the ride down. They had a blast up on that mountain and really enjoyed running around.





>Asparagus Tomato Goat Cheese Puff Pastry Tart

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This Saturday I picked up some more green asparagus at the market, I love asparagus season: just can’t get enough of them!! The other day I didn’t feel like spending a lot of time in the kitchen, but I also didn’t feel like ordering fast food. So I had a look at my fridge/freezer and decided to play with what I had on hand.

The oven was preheated to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. I thawed some puff pastry sheets and rolled them out, I then scored a line about 1/2 inch from the edges of the puff pastry to get a nice rim after baking. Two tablespoons of pesto were spread onto the center of the puff pastry and then topped with halved cherry tomatoes (9 whole, 12 half tomatoes). This was baked for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile I washed 400 grams of asparagus and used pencil-thin ones, if they were thicker I halved them length-wise. I layered these on top of the puff pastry and sprinkled some salt and pepper over them. I topped the asparagus with slices of soft goat cheese and popped the tart back into the oven for another 10 to 15 minutes until the edges of the puff pastry is golden.

Doesn’t it look delicious???

Here’s a close-up for you!! Yum!! Serve this tart with a nice salad and it’ll serve two.
Enjoy!!

>Rhubarb Upside-Down Buttermilk Cakelets

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I’ve done it again…. I’ve joined another group: Have the Cake. Every month one of the members picks a recipe for a cake, cookie, cracker, pie, bar, biscuit or brownie. Everyone can make it as is or put their own spin on it. You have the whole month to complete it and when you are done, you post your baking experience on your blog and on Have the Cake’s blog! Each participant gets to pick a recipe for an assigned month and it should be something they’ve never made before. This month it was Gerri’s turn to pick a recipe, she choose Buttermilk Cake for our May Challenge.
  • Last Saturday I went to the market and bought 2 kilos of rhubarb, with the intention to use part of it for this challenge. I happened upon this wonderful Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake and decided to adapt it by subbing the milk with buttermilk, however I forgot to buy buttermilk. So I used the advice Gerrie gave us and made my own buttermilk by adding one tablespoon of lemon juice to one cup of milk and let it sit for 10 minutes until it clabbers. I used my non-stick 6 hole-baking pan for buns, fairy cakes, muffins & yorkshire puddings. Doesn’t that cake look nice and fluffy?
  • Rhubarb Upside-Down Cakelets
  • makes 12 3-inch cakelets
  • recipe adapted from Taste of Home

  • Ingredients
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2-1/4 cups diced fresh or frozen rhubarb
  • 4-1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • Batter:
  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • Whipped cream, optional

  • Directions
  • Butter the baking pan and line the bottom of each individual hole with parchment, butter the parchment. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and butter. Spread into the baking pan. Layer with rhubarb; sprinkle with sugar. Set aside.

  • In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating well after each addition.
  • In a small bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar on medium speed until stiff peaks form. Gradually fold into creamed mixture, about 1/2 cup at a time. Gently spoon over rhubarb (pan will be full, about 1/4 in. from the top of pan).

  • Bake at 325° for 25 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Cool for 10 minutes before inverting onto a serving plate. Serve warm with whipped cream if desired.

Posted in Cake, Fruit. 4 Comments »

>Asparagus with Roasted Garlic Sauce

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There’s and abundance of Asparagus around here at the moment, which is fine with me: I love asparagus!! So I started looking for new recipes for me to try out. To my big surprise most recipes out there are for green asparagus, whereas most Dutch people eat white aspargus. I love both varieties. Last weekend I picked up a kilo of green Asparagus at the market.

Today I made the most delicious and simple dish: Asparagus with Roasted Garlic Sauce. I found the recipe here and followed Susan’s directions (both for this dish as on how to roast the garlic) exactly, except for using pecans instead of walnuts. Let me tell you: this was amazing!! There’s no cream in this sauce, but it tastes sooo creamy! I loved that I could taste all the ingredients: the garlic, pecans and lemon juice, Delicious!! I’m definitely making this again!!

Asparagus with Roasted Garlic Sauce

1/2 head roasted garlic
1/4 cup walnuts (pecans work too)
juice of half a lemon
1 tbsp. water
salt to taste
1 pound asparagus

Lightly toast the walnuts. The easiest way to do this is to put them in the oven with the garlic during the last 5 minutes that it’s roasting. When they’re hot but not burning, remove them from the oven and grind them in a food processor (or mash them to a paste in a mortar and pestle). Add half a head of roasted garlic, the lemon juice, and the water and continue to puree. Add salt to taste.

Prepare the asparagus by snapping off the tough ends (just hold a spear at the bottom and in the middle, and it should snap off in the right spot). Steam them lightly for 3 minutes or until they are bright green and just starting to become tender. Place them in a serving dish, and toss them with the roasted garlic sauce. Serve, trying not to fight over the last spear on the plate!

>TWD: Mini Quick Classic Berry Tarts

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When I turned 30 last year I had an afternoon tea party at home, the next day I took the leftover cupcakes and brownies with me to work. A couple of my coworkers were so enamored with my baked goodies that they asked me if I would consider baking some things for them to share with coworkers for both of their birthdays. Of course I told them that I would be more than happy to oblige.

Summer came and went, as did Sinterklaas, Christmas, Easter and several other special days and I had totally forgotten about my promise until my coworker approached me last week and asked me if I still wanted to bake for them. I had to check my schedule first to see if I had enough time and then said yes. My coworkers really wanted something chocolaty and two other fruity options. For chocolate I made brownies, I also made Dorie’s Yoghurt Lemon Cake.

For the final fruity treat I decided to adapt this weeks challenge for Tuesdays with Dorie. Christine of Cooking with Christine picked Dorie’s Quick Classic Berry Tart, which I loved!! This tart actually combines two delicious recipes: the sweet tart dough and pastry cream. I doubled the tart dough recipe and baked the tarts in my mini cupcakes/muffins pans covered with foil for 15 minutes and an additional 10 minutes without the foil, I ended up with 38 tart shells. The tarts I served at my coworkers birthday at work were topped with raspberries and blueberries. For the ones at home I used up my leftover blueberries and strawberries: huge hit!! Everyone loved them even if I did forget to add the drizzle of jelly on top of them!

The recipe can be found at Christine’s blog. For tips and tricks I suggest you read the P&Q. Go check out how my fellow TWD-ers tarts turned out here and leave them comments is you like what you see/read!