Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Daring Bakers: Decorated Sugar Cookies

I was afraid and excited about this month' Daring Bakers Challenge at the same time. We had to make sugar cookies. Well, you might say, everybody makes sugar cookies. But we had to make those beautiful decorated ones, which you will see in many books, as favors or in pretty stores.

I always admired those, but after one not so successful try, I just stayed with my old time sugar cookies, just "painted" with a sugar glaze. OK, now I had to try again. And yes, they really deserve the high prices in stores, because it is really difficult to decorate them so immaculate. I guess I have to practice a lot more.

I decided to make graduation cookies, since my sweetheart finally finished his PhD this month. I am very proud of him and I had them ready when I picked him up from the airport. So, my darling these are for you. Congratulations!

I didn't have the right cookie cutters for them, so I cut them out from cardboard. This is a good idea if you need a special shape, but don't find it anywhere or don't wanna buy it just for one occasion.

The September 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Mandy of “What the Fruitcake?!” Mandy challenged everyone to make Decorated Sugar Cookies based on recipes from Peggy Porschen and The Joy of Baking.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Rustic Fruit Desserts - Book review

Fruits are my favorite ingredient for desserts. I like to use what is in season, because then it will have its best taste. Most of my fruit desserts are on the rustic site. Everyday cakes and crumbles, a creamy dessert with fruit topping or a compote.

Rustic Fruit Desserts by Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson is the perfect book for all those simple but good recipes. There are no fancy cakes or elegant desserts, but there are a lot of those homey comforting ones, those people usually crave the most.

The recipes are divided by season, which I find very useful. There is a little introduction about the different kinds of desserts like crumble, slump and pandowdy. You will find about 70 recipes, of which about a third have a picture. I really like pictures in cookbooks, but since in this case I think it's a good enough amount, because the type of desserts will look pretty similar anyways. At the end is a section with basic pantry recipes, like jam or ice-cream.

I already posted two adapted recipes on my blog. My last post was the Blackberry Nectarine Crumble, which I adapted from the "rhubarb, oat, and pecan crumble" in the book. This is definitely my favorite crumble recipe, and I made it many times with different fruits. Last year I made the Apple Cranberry Pie, adapted from the"apple blackberry pie."

I also really liked the "lemon buttermilk rhubarb bundt cake", which you can see on the next picture. It was very moist and has a great tartness from the rhubarb and buttermilk. You can keep it for a few days.

The next cake,  I would suggest for a more special day. Even rustic, I think it looks rather elegant and is a real treat.  It is a "rhubarb cream cheese pie with fresh strawberries". You have a baked rhubarb cheesecake, which is topped with beautiful strawberries. A perfect combo.

Other recipes I made are:

Cranberry buckle with vanilla crumb: very nice coffee cake, with fresh cranberries

Rhubarb fool: very simple and good recipe, ginger gives the rhubarb an interesting taste

Strawberry and ricotta tart: a nice variation to the classic strawberry tart with pastry cream, filling is a little on the soft side

Rustic Fruit Desserts is a book for your everyday recipes, with a nice touch. It has nice pictures and a pretty look with its thick paper. I used it a lot already, and can really recommend it.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Blackberry Nectarine Crumble

In the last few years we were lucky to know a few places in Vancouver where you can find lots of blackberries. They were always very sweet and there was an abundant amount of them. In no time my basket was full. This year we have our own blackberries in the garden, but I must say the wild ones always taste sweeter, maybe because it seems like a little treasure hunt if you take a walk and find them. Nevertheless our blackberries are still tasty. Perfect in combination with some nectarines.

I made my favorite crumble recipe from the book Rustic Fruit Desserts. I love this crumble recipe, it's very simple and goes very well with all kinds of fruit. I have made it before with rhubarb, rhubarb & strawberry, rhubarb & apricot and peach & apricot. You should try it with your favorite fruit combination.

Now, I have some happy news to share. I won second place with my picture of the red currant cakes in glass jars at this month' DMBLGIT contest! I always admired the awarded pictures and am very honored to be one of them now. Thank you very much for choosing my picture and thank you to CookSister for hosting.

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