Raspberry-Nectarine Bostock Recipe Review

Cooking

I picked-up a copy of the May/June 2021 issue of Victoria Magazine – Special French Issue the other day. This issue being devoted to all things French, including the recipes, I was sure to be in for a treat. Oh yummy!

I saw the photo for the Raspberry-Nectarine Bostock and my mouth was watering. While this recipe is suggested as a breakfast item (and I would agree), I decided to make it for a dessert last night. It worked quite well in that department as well. The pairings of the apricots (which I substituted for the nectarines), raspberries, and almond was quite delicious.

The Raspberry-Nectarine Bostock is made up of fruit on top of an almond-paste creme spread over raspberry preserves on a slice of brioche. This is baked in the oven, cooled, and sprinkled with powdered sugar. The only substitutes I made to this recipe where (as stated above) using canned apricots instead of nectarines (not in season), frozen raspberries instead of fresh, almonds instead of pistachios, and instead of the vanilla bean paste, vanilla extract. The recipe itself is very easy to make and takes very little time to put together an impressive looking pastry.

The other recipes from the ‘French Breadbasket’ article also look delicious and will soon be put to the test in my kitchen. These recipes include: Chaussons Aux Pommes, Ginger-Cardamom Kouign-Amann, and Escargot Au Chocolat. This issue of Victoria also has recipes for Macarons. Included are: Blackberry-Thyme, Earl Grey, White Chocolate-Mint, Strawberries and Cream, and Raspberry Lemonade. Looks like I will not be coming out of the kitchen for a while.

I highly recommend the recipe for Raspberry-Nectarine Bostock from Victoria Magazine. I am quite sure I will be making this recipe again. As always, Happy Baking!

Raspberry and White Chocolate Cookies

Cooking

Raspberries and white chocolate sounded yummy so I decided to make them into cookies.

Ingredients:

1 c. All Purpose Flour

1/2 c. Whole Wheat Flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

pinch of salt

1/2 c. shortening + 1 Tbsp water (mixed)

1/4 c. light brown sugar

1/4 c. sugar

1 egg

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/2 c. frozen raspberries (keep them frozen)

1/4 c. white chocolate chips

Method:

In a large mixing bowl, mix with hand mixer the shortening, sugars, egg, and vanilla. To this add the flours, baking soda and salt; mix until dough is formed. With a spoon, mix in the chips. Very gently, fold in the raspberries.

Scoop out dough into heaping tablespoons onto parchment lined baking sheet. (Makes 18 cookies)

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 375 degrees F. for 10 minutes or until lightly browned.

As always, Happy Baking!

Making English Muffins

Cooking

My husband and I decided to make English muffins. Could these compare to those bought in the store? We had to find out.

To make the English muffins, we started the day before as they needed time to rise and rest. The dough was made using a stand mixer with dough hook. No kneading involved. Gotta love that! The dough was set to rise and then divided into twelve balls and placed on a sheet with cornmeal and covered with plastic wrap. The next step was interesting. Another cookie sheet was placed on top of this, to weigh down the muffins. All this was set in the refrigerator to rest overnight.

In the morning, my husband and I browned batches in cast iron pans on the stove top, flipping to cook both sides. The muffins were then put into the oven to finish cooking until they reached around 205 degrees when poked with a thermometer.

So, how did the English muffins turn out? I really enjoyed them. They were delicious. Mine was cut in half and toasted in the toaster. I then smeared margarine on top. This is my muffin topping of choice. In my opinion, these were much better than any brand of English muffin I have purchased before. The texture was good, they toasted well, and they were fresh. A keeper, I would say.

The recipe (which includes helpful pictures) can be found in the cookbook: America’s Test Kitchen – Bread Illustrated.

My English Muffin

As always, Happy Baking!

Baking Bagels for the First Time

Cooking

I decided to try making homemade bagels. I opted for a recipe I found for Montreal Style bagels. https://anitalianinmykitchen.com/homemade-bagels/ The recipe looked simple enough, and it was.

The bagels were put together quickly using a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment. After that, they were set to rest for half an hour, shaped into bagels, and set to rest for another half hour. They were then tossed into a pot of boiling honey water, flipped to boil the other side, sprinkled with sesame seeds, and popped into the oven for fifteen minutes.

My taste testers agreed that they were good enough to make again. I was quite pleased as to how fool-proof they were to make. I think I shall be trying other versions of bagels soon. My son has requested his favorite cinnamon raisin bagel. I am sure the options are endless…

Boiling the bagels.
Out of the pot and sprinkled with sesame seeds.
Ready to eat!

As always, Happy Baking!

Recipe Review: Streusel-Topped Plum Muffins

Cooking

I purchased some plums at the store with the intent of making a plum cake. I decided on a breakfast treat instead. A Streusel-Topped Plum Muffin recipe caught my eye. Oh yum!

The drawback in the recipe for me was that it called for heavy cream, which we try to avoid. But wait! I just found a list of dairy-based heavy cream substitues. This list had more options than I dreamed possible. So onto the muffins…

Of course, knowing me, I changed a few things in the recipe. First off, I felt that a whole cup of sugar seemed a bit more than enough for me. I dropped that down to 3/4 cup. Next off, instead of the half cup of heavy cream, I mixed together 1/4 cup of plain Greek yogurt with 1/4 cup lactose free milk (or any milk would do). My plums were pale yellow, not purple. For the topping, I left out the walnuts and the coarse sugar.

Instead of 15 muffins, this batter made 18 muffins for me. Bonus! I LOVED these muffins! They had a wonderful, cake-like, soft, delicate, moist texture. They have stayed perfectly fresh a couple of days now after baking. No need to rush scarfing these down. They are great served with coffee or tea.

Would I have changed anything else? Well, next time I might add a bit more fruit. Although they are perfectly lovely as they are, I would probably use three plums next time instead of the two that I used. The recipe could also be quite nice with other fruit as well.

Check-out the recipe at: https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/streusel-topped-plum-muffins/print/

As always, Happy Baking!

Recipe Review: Zucchini Snack Cake with Orange Glaze

Cooking, gardening

Yesterday, I wrote about my crazy baking day in the kitchen in order to use a zucchini. I made three different recipes. I decided to put the Zucchini Muffins and the Zucchini Brownies in the freezer. We would have the Zucchini Snack Cake with Orange Glaze for dessert.

There were two reasons for this decision. One being this was a new recipe and I wanted to taste it while it was at its peak. I have made the other two recipes before and already knew how they tasted. The second being that I was not craving chocolate, or desiring a muffin for dessert (more of a breakfast thing). So cake it would be!

I picked the snack cake recipe mainly because it did not contain chocolate. It seems as though all the recipes for zucchini cake throw in a bit of chocolate. But I did not want chocolate. Love chocolate, just not all the time. This recipe also contained orange. Bingo! I was sold. We have an orange tree out back and I not only need to use the zucchini but the oranges as well. Then I saw that the recipe came from a familiar blog (Barefeet in the Kitchen) that I have made recipes from before and they were always delicious.

So here is the recipe:

Did I make any changes? Yes, two very minor changes. The baker said that she prefered to use store bought orange juice as it had more flavor in the cake. Well, I know that the flavor is not in the juice but in the zest. So instead of just using my freshly squeezed orange from our orchard, I also added the zest of the orange to boot. The only other change I made was in the amount of glaze I used on the cake. I wanted to cut down on the sugar content so I reduced the glaze by half and it was plenty. The glaze covered the top of the cake completely. If wanting to cover the sides as well, then use the whole recipe for the glaze.

The cake was easy to make and tasted good. The aroma of oranges flooded my kitchen as this baked. Wonderful! So, if wanting to use up some zucchini and oranges, why not give this recipe a try.

As always, Happy Baking!

Another Day with the Crazy Baker

Cooking, gardening

One zucchini can go a long way! I still had one plump zucchini from the garden. Since everyone around my house seems a bit done with sauted zucchini as a side for dinner, I turned into a crazy baker lady today.

I think I shredded five or 6 cups of zucchini. So, with the oven set to 350 degrees, I just kept turning out the recipes until the zucchini was all gone. I ended up making a total of three recipes. I started with Zucchini Brownies, then Zucchini Muffins, and to finish, Zucchini Cake with Orange Glaze. My kitchen looks like a bakery.

I plan on popping most of this in the freezer. Some day when I’m feeling lazy, I can take out a treat for the family. I just hope there is room in the freezer, come to think of it… The last time I opened the door a bag of green peppers (also from the garden) fell into my hands.

As always, Happy Baking!

Making Fried Donuts

Cooking

My son wanted to bake some ‘Donut Shop’ donuts. Since the croissants from the cookbook Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston’s Flour Bakery and Cafe by JoAnne Chang turned out so well, we decided to use a recipe in the same cookbook to make the donuts. We were not disappointed.

As with the croissants, the donuts did take a bit of time. The time was mostly spent waiting for the dough to rise. The actual making of the donuts was simple enough. We made the dough using our stand mixer and popped it in the fridge overnight to do it’s thing. Before going to bed we set the alarm for 5 am. Oh yah…that went over well. So up I popped and down the hall I went to get my son out of bed. It took a few attempts. In the kitchen, we rolled out the dough and stamped out the doughnuts with a large biscuit cutter. It is important to note that the dough should be rolled on the thicker side of half an inch. Better to make these a bit thicker than thinner as they need to be nice and puffy in order to fill them easily. After stamping out the doughnuts, they were left to rise on a floured cookie sheet covered with plastic wrap for two hours. It is important to flour the cookie sheet well or the doughnuts will stick. Then it was back to bed for a couple of hours while the doughnuts were rising.

After another knock or two on my son’s door, we were back in the kitchen and ready to fry our donuts. But wait! Frying takes more oil than I realized! I was off to the store for more oil while my son made the custard filling. We chose to make the same custard filling from my blog post on Polish donuts instead of the vanilla filling the recipe called for. When I returned, we got to work on frying the donuts, two at a time. When they were cool we rolled them in confectioners sugar and not the regular sugar that the recipe called for. Then my son poked holes in the donuts with a skewer and filled them with the custard he made earlier. Voila!

My family sat down for fresh donuts with much anticipation. We all enjoyed them very much. The remaining donuts were for dessert. Hee Hee!

Recipe can be found in the cookbook: Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston’s Flour Bakery and Cafe by JoAnne Chang

Note: To “refresh” the donuts, I popped them into the oven at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. Only do this for un-filled donuts. We filled the donuts as we were going to eating them.

As always, Happy Baking!

My Take on…Dinner Chez Moi

Book Reviews, Cooking

After having read both of Elizabeth Bard’s memoirs, I decided to give her cookbook a try. Mixed in with the recipes are little paragraphs of tips or “secrets” as the author calls them. I found those fun to read and read them straight away, as I was skimming the recipes. I decided to make a full meal including desert from Dinner Chez Moi.

I enlisted my daughter to help me prepare the meal. We made the Lentil and Sausage Stew (Lentilles aux saucisses fumees), even though it is summer here in California and rather warm. The author assured us that, ” This is a favorite dish in our house year-round-warm and comforting as a big bear hug. Friends and family request it each time they visit, even if it’s 100 degrees in the shade!”. Well, ok. If it is recommened in any temperature then let’s go for it! And go for it we did. Next on the menu were the Ham and Rosemary Cheese Puffs (Gougeres au fromage, romarin, et jambon cru). To top off the meal, we made the Butter Cookies with Orange-Flower Essence (Sables aux fleur d-oranger).

We made the butter cookies first. They take an hour in the fridge to chill and then fifteen minutes to bake. They were light and very flavorful. The orange rind and orange-flower water gave the perfect amount of flavor. Sometimes, flavors are not so distinct. Also, I found this to be a nice treat with very few carbohydrates per cookie. The sugar was a mere 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon. Nice!

Next, we made the stew. I have a go-to lentil soup recipe, however, this one might have surpassed it. It was easy to make and loaded with fresh vegetables. It took an hour to simmer, which is normal for recipes with lentils. I really liked the added touch of wine and sausage. Yum!

While the stew was simmering, we made the Cheese Puffs. I did not find the ham at the store, so we left it out. I figured since there was already sausage in the stew we did not really need more meat with the meal anyway. I used fresh rosemary from our garden. They smelled delicious. Again, this was an easy recipe to whip together. I found that they did not need the full time in cooking. As with all new recipes, be sure to watch the bake time so as not to over bake these puffs. As with the cookies, I found this recipe low in carbohydrates. Nice!

My take on Dinner Chez Moi by Elizabeth Bard is that I think it is a keeper. Three out of three recipes tried were winners. The bonus “50 French Secrets” are interesting and worth the read. The only question is, “What will I make next?”. As always, Happy Cooking!

My Take on… Picnic in Provence

Book Reviews

In a recent post, I gave my take on Lunch in Paris, a memoir with recipes by Elizabeth Bard. Having enjoyed her first book, I decided to follow her journey to the French countryside of Provence. Picnic in Provence is full of more of Bard’s recipes, this time with a flair for the French countryside.

In Picnic in Provence, the now pregnant Elizabeth and her husband set off on an adventure to Provence to visit the home town of Rene Char, a poet that her husband finds of interest. To their surprise and great luck, the home that Char used to inhabit is now available for purchase. Falling in love with Provence, the couple decide to leave Paris for the countryside. They learn to live at a slower pace and decide to become entrepreneurs as well. What town could not use an ice cream shop?

After reading Picnic in Provence, I am ready to pack a bag for France. After all, I am fond of lavender, French cooking, and ice cream. Picnic in Provence did not dissapoint. It was a perfect follow-up to Lunch in Paris. I highly recommend making some croissants and sitting down with a copy of Bard’s latest memoir. Au Revoir!