Kitchen Therapy


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MY NEWEST GOUGÈRES

What can I say?
It’s soooo exciting to be cooking again with a wonderful group of people!
8 years ago the group began working through Dorie Greenspan’s cookbook, Around My French Table, and now we began again!

Some of my happiest cooking and family memories come from making the recipes from Around My French Table! For some reason the Chicken B’stilla and the Beggar’s Linguine, pasta with raisins, figs and nuts, are two memories that easily come to mind. I think mostly due to the fact that both recipes were out of my comfort zone and being part of the group, I made them, and felt such a wonderful sense of achievement, it still stays with me today.

Dorie Greenspan’s new book, Everyday Dorie: The Way I Cook, has yet to arrive in the mail for me, however Dorie has provided the Cook The Book Fridays group with a recipe we can all cook while we wait for our copies to arrive! And even better… she has given the participants permission to share the recipe on our blogs! So below you will find the recipe as an excerpt from her book!

Now to get to My Newest Gourgères!


Loved them 🙂
I made the recipe, took half out before I added the pecans (we have nut allergies in the house and different kids are allergic to different nuts…) and I froze them! I followed the directions and felt very accomplished having a bag of frozen gourgères in my refrigerator for guests!

I then added the pecans to the remaining half of the recipe and baked those straight from the mixing bowl.

We (those who can eat pecans) ate them fresh from the oven! And we loved the light, warm cheesy puffs with the bit of crunch that the chopped pecans provided. I was also surprised by how good these tasted cold!

I later made the gougères straight from the freezer, without pecans though, and the gruyere cheese was the star! Loved these. I  actually preferred them without the nuts. Again, I am totally astounded by how light and tasty these are, even after sitting out for hours. Love these and recommend them!

excerpted from Everyday Dorie © 2018 by Dorie Greenspan. Photography © 2018 by Ellen Silverman. Reproduced by permission of Rux Martin Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

MY NEWEST GOUGERES
Makes about 60 gougères
Gougères are French cheese puffs based on a classic dough called pâte à choux (the dough used for cream puffs), and it’s a testament to their goodness that I’m still crazy about them after all these years and after all the thousands that I’ve made. Twenty or so years ago, when my husband and I moved to Paris, I decided that gougères would be the nibble I’d have ready for guests when they visited. Regulars chez moi have come to ex- pect them.
Over the years, I’ve made minor adjustments to the recipe’s ingredients, flirting with different cheeses, dif- ferent kinds of pepper and different spices. The recipe is welcoming.
This current favorite has a structural tweak: In- stead of the usual five eggs in the dough, I use four, plus a white—it makes the puff just a tad sturdier. In addi- tion, I’ve downsized the puffs, shaping them with a small cookie scoop. And I’ve added Dijon mustard to the mix for zip and a surprise— walnuts.

1⁄2 cup (120 grams) whole milk
1⁄2 cup (120 grams) water
1 stick (4 ounces; 113 grams) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
11⁄4 teaspoons fine sea salt
1 cup (136 grams) all-purpose flour
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 large egg white, at room temperature
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard (preferably French)
2 cups (170 grams) coarsely grated cheese, such as Comté, Gruyère and/or sharp cheddar 2⁄3 cup (80 grams) walnuts or pecans, lightly toasted and chopped

WORKINGAHEAD
My secret to being able to serve guests gougères on short notice is to keep them in the freezer, ready to bake. Scoop the puffs, freeze them on a parchment- lined baking sheet or cutting board and then pack them airtight. You can bake them straight from the oven; just give them a couple more minutes of heat.
Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat it to 425 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
Bring the milk, water, butter and salt to a boil over high heat in a medium saucepan. Add the flour all at once, lower the heat and immediately start stirring energeti- cally with a heavy spoon or whisk. The dough will form a ball and there’ll be a light film on the bottom of the pan. Keep stirring for another 2 minutes or so to dry the dough. Dry dough will make puffy puffs.
Turn the dough into the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or work by hand with a wooden spoon and elbow grease). Let the dough sit for a min- ute, then add the eggs one by one, followed by the white, beating until each egg is incorporated before adding the next. The dough may look as though it’s separating or falling apart but just keep working; by the time the white goes in, the dough will be beautiful. Beat in the mustard, followed by the cheese and the walnuts. Give the dough a last mix-through by hand.
Scoop or spoon out the dough, using a small cookie scoop (11⁄2 teaspoons). If you’d like larger puffs, shape them with a tablespoon or medium-size cookie scoop. Drop the dough onto the lined baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between each mound. (The dough can be scooped and frozen on baking sheets at this point.)
Slide the baking sheets into the oven and immediately turn the oven temperature down to 375 degrees F.

Bake for 12 minutes, then rotate the pans from front
to back and top to bottom. Continue baking until the gougères are puffed, golden and firm enough to pick up, another 15 to 20 minutes. Serve immediately—these are best directly from the oven.
S T O R I N G : The puffs are best soon after they come out of the oven and nice (if flatter) at room temperature that same day. If you want to keep baked puffs, freeze them and then reheat them in a 350-degree-F oven for a few minutes.

Looking forward to reading what the rest of the Cook The Book Fridays group thought about this week’s recipe!


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Maple – Star Anise Cookies

This week’s choice for Tuesday’s with Dorie was my favourite cookie so far!
The recipe from Dorie’s Cookies by Dorie Greenspan was a little fiddly. I bought my own spice grinder for the Star Anise. (I also managed to lift the lid off the grinder while it was grinding and Star Anise flew everywhere!)
I’m not a fan of liquorice, however mixed with the cinnamon (which I love), ginger, maple syrup and orange rind, the cookies were delicious. Especially straight out of the oven. I had to stop eating them!

I made the cream cheese frosting the next day and I think I might have eaten a bit much of it straight out of the bowl, my tongue became very tingly!

I don’t have a cookie scoop, that’s next on my list of things to buy! So I experimented and made different sized cookies for the first batch and what I thought was small size turned into Cookie Monster sized cookies! These really do spread. I do like their soft, almost cake like texture though, and the larger cookies were great on their own!

The star anise flavour blended wonderfully with the rest of the spices to make one of the best cookies in the book in my opinion!
Looking forward to reading what the rest of the Tuesdays with Dorie group made!


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Rosemary Parmesan and Pecan Cookies

These cookies piqued my curiosity!
Tuesdays with Dorie has encouraged me to push myself and try things that I would usually skip past or tell myself I’d get back to that one day and never do.
These cookies from Dorie Greenspan’s Dorie’s Cookies cookbook are both sweet and savoury at the same time.
You can taste the rosemary, a delicate hint of parmesan and the pecans come through as well. The taste is subtle yet clear. It’s an unusual taste combination for a cookie however it works… really well.
I’m still fighting a virus, so this recipe was simple and easy, a good and comforting winter bake 🙂

Looking forward to reading what the rest of the Tuesdays with Dorie group thought of this week’s recipe options.


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Vanilla Bean Sablés

IMG_8654This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe from Dorie Greenspan’s book Baking Chez Moi are the Vanilla Bean Sablés.

I knew I needed butter for these. In Australia our butter “sticks” are 250g, so they’re more like blocks! I was walking through the dairy aisle, looking for the butter when I felt the squeeze in my gut that tells me these days not to take this for granted.

Recently, one of the mums from school passed away. It was Anzac Day, April 25th, when she slipped walking home and fell down a sharp set of stairs.

We met when our boys started kindy together, they were 5 years old, now they are 18. We were all new at the school, we had just moved to the area, and I think we were as nervous as the kids! The school was pretty small at the time so even though our boys were never close friends, we all knew each other pretty well. She had the one child, she adored him and volunteered tirelessly at the school. She ran the canteen, the band, the uniform shop, I know at some point she was voted best volunteer in the state and you just knew that she was the person to ask about anything. When our boys moved to high school, she just picked up and tackled the same tasks at the new school. She was incredibly organised and ready to help. We usually ran into each other at the supermarket. We would catch up amongst the shopping aisles, moving our trolleys to the side (I’m sure to everyone’s annoyance) and discuss our boys final year of high school, their hopes and plans, have a laugh and then move on.

It has been a few months since she has passed away and every now and then I think I see her at the shops, but then I catch myself. I continue with my shopping, no longer lost in my thoughts but painfully aware of how fortunate I am to be buying butter, baking cookies and sharing them with my family.

I think the simplicity of these cookies complimented where I am in life at the moment. Keeping things simple, appreciating family and tradition, being present in the moment.

I can see why Sablés are so popular. They are comforting, can be a foundation for many other flavours (I’d like to try lemon) and they are simple. The first log I made I brushed with egg yolk and sugar before cutting and baking, the second I baked as is. I’ll be honest, I preferred these plain…
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I really enjoyed making and eating these, the whole family did. I am looking forward to the reading what the rest of the Tuesdays with Dorie group though 🙂


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Chocolate Brownies – Sebastian’s Remarkably Wonderful Brownies

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This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe is Swedish Visiting Cake Bars.
I didn’t make these! I really wanted to.
They sound delicious.
And full of almonds.
I love almonds, however two out of my three children have a nut allergy.
Some nuts are absolutely no problem, like hazelnuts, which means Nutella is ok!
However almonds are not on our friendly nut list.
So I thought I’d take this opportunity to catch up on one of the recipes I have missed.

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I keep saying I’m not a fan of chocolate and then I choose the most chocolatey thing I can find to bake! Like the Chocolate, Prune and Whiskey Cake a couple of weeks ago.
Well this was just as decadent and rich as that cake. However while that cake bordered on bitterness from the chocolate, I found this tray of brownies waaaaayyy to sweet for me. The recipe does have 2 cups of sugar!
The family loved it however.
I made it mostly for them, they are all fans of chocolate.
For chocolate lovers this seemed to be a success!
I’m looking forward to seeing what everyone thought of their Swedish Visiting Cake Bars, now they are definitely more up my alley 🙂

 


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Cowgirl Cornmeal Pecan Finaciers

IMG_7110Cowgirl Cornmeal Pecan Financiers from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking Chez Moi cookbook, are simple, honest and I think I ate an entire tray of 12 mini muffin sized bites all by myself.
I loved these!
There are some nuts my nut allergic children can tolerate and luckily, pecans are one of them! I loved eating the pecans straight off the tray as they came out of the oven, toasty, fragrant and warm. And I loved the strong pecan flavour that builds in your mouth as you bite into the financiers.
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They were simple to make and easy to eat 🙂
Eaten warm, their texture is light and airy. Once they are cold, the texture becomes heavier and more dense however the flavour is not compromised. I am waiting for the kids to come home from school so I can bake another tray of 12. Or maybe 24…
I love having the batter in the fridge ready to cook, makes me feel very domestic goddess like (laughing).
Looking forward to reading about the thoughts of the rest of the Tuesdays with Dorie group!


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Cocoa Tahini Cookies with Sesame Crunches

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We moved house and have been living on take away food for a while now. The tradesmen have practically moved in with us. Every day I buy them pies for lunch and we sit together eating and chatting. The builder has connected my television, my washing machine, dishwasher and he brings me cakes from the Italian pastry shop near his home. My husband knows that I now refer to the builder as my other husband 🙂
We have been relying on Sara Lee (and the builder) for something sweet!

Finally the inside of the house is kind of, almost, pretty much finished.
And the weekend was cold, wet and extremely windy.
Perfect baking weather to try out my new kitchen (it’s a little empty at the moment!)
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I checked the Tuesdays with Dorie baking schedule and knew I had to make these cookies. I love sesame and tahini. I grew up eating halva and often dollop a spoonful (or two or three) of tahini on an apple or just straight into my mouth.

Making the Sesame Crunch was simple, the second time around. Amazing how quickly the sugar goes from light brown to bitter and burnt!
The rest of the cookie was quick and simple. I had all the ingredients I needed on hand.

The family loved these! I have to admit I was a little disappointed I couldn’t taste the sesame as much as I would have liked. They tasted like a chocolate biscuit with a bit of crunch. A very good chocolate biscuit. However I had my heart set on the nutty tahini flavour I loved and I was a little disappointed. The rest of the family were not! They loved the cookies. Maybe next time I will use less cocoa powder…

So good to back in the kitchen! My kitchen 🙂
Can’t wait to see what everyone from the Tuesdays with Dorie group thought of these!