Long time no see! Well, today is not a day of regrets but of Thanksgiving. Actually, Thanksgiving IS just around the corner, but I was thinking about these cookies. They turned out to raves among my colleagues. So, we were all thankful for that.
OK. As happens so often these days, I made some detours in the recipe of the cookbook – but not too much.
Detour #1 : As stated in the caption to the photo above, I replaced crushed hazelnuts with almond powder/flour. I think the hazelnuts were well past their best days. They didn’t smell right. I had TONS of almond flour and sliced almonds on hand so I went with them. As it turns out, the almonds may be the more traditional ingredient. (I’ll need to research that more thoroughly. Or if you know about this, leave me a note.)
Detour #2: Raspberry things. Firstly, I used raspberry jam WITH seeds, not seedless. I am a fan of St. Dalfour all natural jams. Sooooo… Then I added a fresh raspberry in the well in the middle of the cookie. Cool! Wouldn’t you agree?
Detour #3: This was the “I hadn’t seen this done before” part. I made up one batch of Magnolia’s cream cheese filling (leaving out the egg), and spread a layer of that on the cookie before adding the raspberry jam. It went like this (see photos below):
Charity event ! – sort of. I baked three goodies to support our school library, enticing new and old faculty alike to attend a gracious afternoon presentation on the manifold services offered by our librarians. The house of Chezbonneau loves libraries. For friends who have visited our home, it’s a little like walking into a library itself.
FROM LEFT TO RIGHT ABOVE
Trésors des Sept Nains (Treasures of the Seven Dwarfs) – Squares of light and dark brown sugar studded with dark French walnuts
Roues de charrette (Wagon wheels) – Oatmeal cookies with raisins, coconut, toasted almonds
Petits bananiers (Little Banana Trees) – Small cakes of banana, coconut, and pecans
M. le patissier de Chezbonneau has made all three of the above-mentioned recipes before. Each recipe was modified a bit in some small way. Each recipe called for light brown sugar. I substituted at least 1/4 cup of light brown sugar with dark brown sugar just to give the recipes a little more rustic depth. I did the same with the flour, using 1/4 cup of whole wheat flour in the mixture for the cookies and banana bread. I also altered the way the deserts were cooked for the “Trésors des Sept Nains”. The squares should be baked in a single pan then cut afterwards. I cooked them in pan of 12 single squares. I reduced the bake time by almost 1/2 since the small squares cook through to the middle much faster. They turned out AWESOME ! – crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside.
As it turns out, I had some strawberries left over from the previous recipe. So, I looked around (or rather, inside the Magnolia cookbook) and found a recipe for strawberry shortcake. “Waste not. Want not.”
But, for some reason, I was in a hurry to get this one done. Oops. Getting in a hurry while baking usually spells trouble. And, well, a bit of trouble followed.
What was I thinking? I dunno. I thought I could lift this cake out of its tin well before the suggested cool-down period. SEE?! Now I get it. THAT’S why they say let it rest and cool down for a few minutes. Cake and cookies are generally very tender and prone to come apart if handled right out of the oven. They tend to solidify in the cooler air of room temperature. As you can see, the main cake fell all apart.
Lemons… lemonade. Torn cake…….?
Strawberry shortcake parfait!!
What about “plus-que-parfait”?
Worth doing again. I would pursue the parfait idea more on purpose next time. I like the small tartlet idea too. Needs more thinking.
SWEET DREAMS !
(It’s bedtime where I live. At least, it’s bedtime for bakers.)
““Everyone was always asking us which was the most popular cupcake at the bakery. Most people were surprised that it was what we called the vanilla vanilla—the vanilla cupcake with the vanilla icing (and the most popular color for the icing was pink).”
My daughter and I baked these beauties last weekend. School work was caught up (or so it seemed), we had everything we needed and it just seemed like the right thing to do. After all, this recipe represented 50% of the book completed for my project – which is obviously running behind schedule —- but still running.
Nothing unusual – butter, sugar. “You know the routine.”
Only this time, we multiplied by 3.
Do the math: 12 x 2 x 3 =
What to do with 72 cupcakes?
Have a party! Make new friends! Make an old friend smile!
I think that cupcakes are the the quintessential “smile desert”.
DETOURS AND LEARNING CURVES?
Bananas: Not all of the 72 cupcakes were simply vanilla. I had some bananas that were headed south, so we threw them into the mix of a later batch. Every one brought a smile to someone’s face.
SIGNATURE FROSTING DESIGN ! Oh no!@#$#! Although I need to develop my own style, I thought I’d try to copy the Magnolia signature style. It ain’t that easy. According to a Magnolia baker, it requires about 40 hours to master the style. Well, I’ve put in one of those hours.
FROSTING QUALITY – Even though everyone said they were great (Thank you all of you sweethearts!), I know that the icing was not what it needs to be. Still too grainy and not stiff enough. What to do? Research tells me that I need to 1) beat the butter-sugar longer, 2) don’t be afraid of very soft butter, 3) let it sit for a few hours. I’ll let you know in a future post.