Making Dough — Cookbook Review … and I made Croissants

When I first got the e-mail to review this book, I thought it was a joke. I thought it was spam … but i wanted it to be real soooo badly that I provided all of the required information, and remained hopeful.

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When the book Making Dough by Russell Van Kraayenburg showed up at my door step, again, I thought it was a joke. Hah, me? – review a cookbook, an actual cookbook with amazing pictures, and recipes, test out, and give my opinion on someones labour of love – stepping into their shoes and experimenting with their baking journey. Me, are you sure?!?!  

I knew i had a great task at hand.

I was honored.

Humbled.

So first, thank you Quirk Books, Pinguin Random House Canada and Russell … can I call you Russel, like we’re friends?!?!

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I cracked open the book, loving the sound of that spine cracking and the smell of fresh pages. In the most ironic possible way … the book was “recipes and ratios for perfect pastries” hahaha … good joke. Remember how I’m crazy scared of pastries … again, was someone playing a joke on me?!?!

I thought though, this was my chance, this would actually be a true test of this book. I’m not a dainty baker, ask me to dump cake batter in a pan and bake it, done — ask me to scoop out cookies on tray suuuuurrreee … ask me to make a soufflé-fra-li-lah … yea, no, not happening. I normally put pastries/ doughs under that “ soufflé-fra-li-lah” category.

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As I skimmed through the book, divided by 12 key dough recipes I realized, I’m actually a big huge liar … I’m not actually scared of pastires, according to Russell’s book, I’ve actually made tons of pastries!! Scones, done it – Biscuits, nailed it … and the idea that Gnocchi is a type of Pate A Choux excited me … I thought, you know what, I can totally do this.

And then I decided to make croissants.

And not just any old kind of croissants, but poolish croissants – promised as a more “yeasty flavoured” croissant.

Review of the book:

My first reaction was, its beautiful. I flipped through the pages drooling and intrigued by recipes like Bourbon-Maple Glazed Cheddar Bacon Biscuits, Blueberry Mascarpone Hand pies and Salted Caramel Eclairs topped with Salted Caramel Popcorn … 2 words: I.DIE.  I knew it would be tough to narrow down exactly what I was going to bake.

As I continued reading, I realized this wasn’t just a cookbook – and in fact if I were to give it an alternate title – I would call it “ The Theory of Dough” the time, patience and detail included in each of the steps, the explanations included in how your dough should look as you progress through a recipe, the attention to explaining each component of your masterpiece it definitely gave me a new perspective on baking.

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Quite often, baking is compared to science – and I suppose it is ( although i was NEVER good at science) Russell’s book is a true testament to the science of baking. I wouldn’t say it’s overly technical, but it is extremely detailed. I would deem it a baking textbook, one that every ambitious baker should have on their shelf. There is a lot to learn, and Russell makes it easy to do so.

I would definitely refer Making Dough to a seasoned baker; while the steps included are clear and easy to follow – I found that a lot of the required tools ( a kitchen scale, candy thermometer, marble slab) just aren’t tools a home bakers like myself have on hand ( hehe … this could DEFINITELY be a hint to that Santa!!). I also found it challenging to work with weight measurements as opposed to cups, tablespoons and teaspoons.

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For those who are new to the baking game, I think this book could serve as a great method to learn the ins-and-outs of how to be a great baker … I would definitely package this book with a couple items – a food scale, thermometer, pastry brush and ruler … hhheeellllloooo foodie gift basket!! 

Baking from the book:

First … look what I made!!

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Croissants are NOT an easy feat – I must say, this recipe has taken my baking ambition to a whole new level. I’m going to deem this a win, as a first time try but honestly, I probably won’t be making croissants again in a while.

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They.take.SO.long. either that, or I just lack any sort of patients!! The result was a flakey pastry and buttery center – worth the 26 hours …. Mmmm … for the smell of my home; yes – for how they actually turned out, not so much. I must have done something wrong ( and it’s very possible …) my croissants were heavy, not light and fluffy as I hoped. They also baked a lot faster than the suggested 45 minutes. While the tops were golden brown, the bottoms were toasted – not burnt, but definitely more cooked than probably necessary.

Baking from the book was relatively easy – the instructions provided are clear, and detailed. One thing that definitely stood out ( and maybe this was based on the recipe that I choose) I continuously had to flip back and forth to reference other information; as well, as I mentioned before, some of the tools required, I just didn’t have and I ended up improvising.

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There are a ton of other recipes I would like to try. Overall, I would say Making Dough is a keeper – ideal for any seasoned baker as a Christmas present; and a new adventure for novice bakers such as myself.

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Sunday’s With Joy : Pineapple Upside Down Earl Grey Tea Cake

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Cake.

It’s a magical thing. Some how it’s able to celebrate, cure, be delicious, be a good friend and do it all looking oh-so-sassy!!

I need this cake today, I feel like I need cake every day – and if I could, trust me, I would. But today’s different, I need a slice ( or two). It’s been a rough week. Work has been nuts, after hours I’m meeting with potential clients, filling orders, planning a wedding, recipe testing and all in that mix, I manage to get some sleep.

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Speaking of sleep … you know that person you see every single morning sleeping on the train – – that’s me. Two things, first – you know I’m the sleeping lady … DO NOT sit next to me if you plan on talking on your cell phone at 6:45 am. Who’s up and needs to chat every.single.day at 6:45?! Second, thank you kind people who gently tap me when we get to my stop … I love you. And if possible, I would share this cake with you. You deserve a slice or two.

And so, my plans for this weekend … nada!! I want to kick back, do nothing at all and eat cake. Will it happen? –  Doubtful … but I’ll try my best. Let’s start with the cake🙂

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Joy did her funky magic and added tea to cake. Remember when I did that to muffins? And then I did it again? Joy is cooler, she made petite cakes and then dunked them in frosting … her’s are pretty … delicate and delicious looking. Buy her book, make her cakes, and you’ll see.  I took her idea and did my funky magic.

I added earl grey instead of chamomile, skipped the honey frosting but added some extra butter – brown sugar – pineapple and cherries. It’s a beast of beauty. One that I will get to know at least once ( maybe twice … or thrice ..) this weekend.

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Adjustments:

Earl grey tea used.

Didn’t make, or add the frosting.

Additions:

1/4 Cup Butter

2/3 Cup Brown Sugar

3 Slices of Fresh Pineapple, cut into 1/4 segments

15 cherries ( or enough to make a pretty circle)

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Melt 1/4 cup butter and pour into cake pan. Sprinkle brown sugar over melted butter. Arrange your pineapple and cherries in a pretty pattern. Cake – it should be simple, and pretty.

The rest, was all Joy.

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Enjoy darlings, have a great weekend … eat some cake … be merry… make magic❤

Sunday’s With Joy : Chocolate Chunk Bourbon Spiked Banana Bread Foster

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I’ll give you a minute.

No, you’re not dreaming and I won’t judge you if you’re thinking about licking your computer screen.

I’ve never been so excited for banana’s to go brown.

2 x the amount of bananas – 2 x the amount of bourbon – a wholelotta Mmmmm.

oozing with brown sugar syrup, caramelized crispy bananas – the cool burst of french vanilla ice cream … and that’s just the topping.

That lovely cake you see  – – bananas, brown butter and chunks of chocolate to take your taste buds on a roller coast to yum-town.

Friday’s are meant to be celebrated so I saved the best Sunday’s With Joy Recipe, for last.

This is one killer of a desert ( let’s be honest, I want it for breakfast, lunch and dinner too)!! It’s rich, it’s decadent and it’s out of this world delicious.

Your weekend needs a little foster – you bring the spoons, I’ve got dessert covered and the best part is, we don’t even have to share!!

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Chocolate Chunk Bourbon Spiked Banana Bread Foster 

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As if those baby’s aren’t gorgeous enough. Let’s foster a little foster ( bad joke, I know .. sorry):)

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Cinnamon
  • 1 Tsp Sea Salt
  • 1 Banana – sliced
  • 1 Tbsp Bourbon
  • Ice cream ( I used French Vanilla … feel free to use any flavour your heart desires – OMG, if any of use chunky monkey … please.send.pictures.)

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  1. Melt butter over low heat, add brown sugar and cinnamon.
  2. Add sea salt.
  3. Throw in your sliced banana and allow to caramelize.
  4. Add a splash ( or two) of Bourbon and let the good times roll.

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Building a beauty :

Cake – ice cream – foster

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Time to fall into a dessert love affair : you, spoon and Ms / Mr Foster.

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Happy Weekend Darlings❤ I hope you had a great week, and an incredibly sweet weekend xox

Sunday’s With Joy : Extra Peanut Buttery Chocolate Brown Butter Cereal Squares

That title, it’s long. I know. What I really want to call these babies are OMG-SO-STINKIN-YUMMY peanut butter bars.

Peanut butter and chocolate addicts – unite! Chocolate, Peanut Butter and Brown butter all in one punch of yuuummm! Come my children .. welcome to the dark and delicious side.

As soon as I read Joy’s recipe for her Brown Butter Peanut Butter Crispy Rice treats, I knew I was in trouble. I knew instantly she was talking my language, I was about to put down my pb spoon and create something kind of wonderful.

And so, I did. And ate every single morsel of it. Addictive – yes, but in the BEST.WAY.POSSIBLE.

Before I show you what I did, can we have a little heart to heart.

Have you kids seen this little sucker :

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HOLYCRAPOMGGETINMABELLY …

Yep. That was my expression exactly. General Mills / Cheerios people – I love you.

Marry me.

… And then I added chocolate.

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You’re welcome …. and sorry; all at the same time. After munching, you’ll get it. You’ll both hate and love me.

I get it – I really do.

Extra Peanut Buttery Chocolate Brown Butter Cereal Squares

Alterations:

  • Peanut Butter Cheerios used instead of rice cereal 
  • 2 Cups Mini Reese Pieces added to the top
  • 1 cup melted chocolate chips to drizzle.

Ready, to get your peanut butter pants rocked?

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Add your cups

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Drizzle

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Yum.

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Go ahead, no one is looking … it’s okay if you don’t share. I didn’t – there wasn’t enough time😉

Also, if you thought today’s remix of joy’s recipe was nuts. Wait til you see what I have for your tomorrow. One word: Bourbon.

Stay Sweet!!

xox

Sunday’s With Joy : Carrot Cake Madeleines

Confession: I’m a magician.

It’s true. Okay, it’s no where near true, I can’t even do a card trick without messing it up ( now that’s true). But I did turn pancakes into Madalines. It was an idea. A great idea. And I got to play in cream cheese frosting.

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Joy(look at me – calling her Joy as though we’re BFF), is in fact the magician. 3 words Carrot. Cake. Pancakes.

Dessert and Breakfast all in one – YES! Cream Cheese Frosting before noon – YES!  … Magician.

Except, then I went and LTSL’ed this whole magic trick and I baked the bad boy, dunked it, and then …. mmmm.

Let’s just say, I don’t even have crumbs left.

Madalines are pretty. And they’re french – I feel like everything french is pretty and a little more sophisticated. I can’t speak fluent french but Madalines .. I could get use to that language.

Don’t forget to get your copy of the recipe, in this glitzy / glam book.

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Carrot Cake Madelines

Alterations:

  • Added 4 Tbsp Ground Flax and Chai Meal
  • Filled A large Madeline Pan and baked for 20 Minuets.

Let’s french😉

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Cream Cheese Glaze

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Dunk!

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Enjoy!!
Don’t forget to stop by tomorrow, I’m making my take on Joy’s Brown Butter Peanut Butter Crispy Rice Treats

xox

Sunday’s With Joy : Blueberry Peppercorn Goat Cheese Biscuits

Well lookie, lookie who finally decided to grace us with their presence!

Moi.

I’m here … I’m baking and munching through the sweet life.

It’s been quiet on the blog, I know.

I have to share a little secret with you crazy kids. A little secret that’s pretty major.

For the last sixteen weeks I’ve been planning a wedding.

My wedding.*Cue the freak out music now*

Mr. LTSL asked me, I said yes and I instantly heard Etta James ” At Last” in my mind. Mr. Fiance ( side note: did you know fiance, is the male form of fiancee … we may have totally had a long discussion about such),makes my sweet life, that much sweeter and I couldn’t be happier / more excited / nervous / scared / anxious / giddy. This is huge to me. With that being said though, planning a wedding is hard and keeps both a little lady and her soon-to-be busy! And so, I’ve been MIA.

But I’m back. And I’m sprinkling your life with a little joy today. Actually, this week I’ll be doing a little Sunday’s With Joy catch up.

Keep your eyes, ears and taste buds tuned for a full week of Joy Recipes. And to start;

Blueberry Peppercorn Goat Cheese Biscuits.

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Yes! Sweet – savory – spicy. You want and need this in your life. All of Joy’s recipes can be found in her outstanding cookbook, below I will simply include my adjustments ( because I can’t leave amazing alone, without added a little extra sweetness😀 ) .

Blueberry Peppercorn Goat Cheese Biscuits.

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Adjustments:

  • Substituted Whole Wheat Flour for : 1 1/2 Cups Brown Rice Flour, 1/4 Cup Chai and Flax seed Powder, 1/4 Cup fiber curls.
  • Used Peppercorn Goat Cheese
  • Added 1/4 Tsp Cumin Seeds
  • Added 1 Cup Fresh Blueberries
  • Baked as one large biscuit, then cut into wedges.

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Shall we make some biscuits?

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Bake – slice – drizzle with a little extra honey and…

Blueberry Peppercorn Goat Cheese Biscuits.

Ta-daaa!!

Have a great day children of the playground

xox

Sundays With Joy : Sunshine Pie

I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day…..
When it’s cold outside I’ve got the month of May…..
I guess you’d say
What can make me feel this way?
My girl …my girl, my girl
Talkin’ ’bout my girl

My girl.

You’re welcome, that song will probably be stuck in your head all day now🙂

HAPPY SATURDAY my loves!!
I’ve got some sunshine for you.
I needed a little sunshine in my life … even if it’s just in snack form.

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It’s been rather cold and snowy here … I figure if I send Spring vibes out … hopefully the warmer weather will approach faster.

… A girl can wish🙂

I present to you, Sunshine Pie aka my rendition of Joy’s Lavender Lemon Bars.

First, let’s discuss how I LTSL-erized this number.

  • I used a frozen ready-made pie shell *gasp … it’s true, I’m a cheater … life happens. Deal.
  • I didn’t add lavender
  • I doubled the recipe for the filling, the first batch I followed exactly what joy said ( minus the lavender). The second time, I opted for oranges and orange juice instead.

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I layered. I baked. I cooled. I ate.  

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Don’t forget, for the recipe – be sure to pick up Joy’s Cookbook <3 

Happy Saturday – have a fantastic weekend

xox