baking cookies Dorie

Tuesdays With Dorie: Espresso Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

I don’t know why I wasn’t terribly fond of these: I love coffee, chocolate, and shortbread. The combination should have been fantastic.

To be fair, I made them for my older son’s going-away party, and they had some competition. I also made Dorie’s World Peace cookies (with a combo of chocolate chips and mint chips — they were beyond delicious), Ben made some of Emeril’s amazing Hazelnutty Nuggets, and we had a pound cake from Stock’s (which I have been assured by someone who ought to know is the best in Philadelphia) with homemade chocolate sauce and whipped cream.

But still, the shortbread just didn’t do it for me. I was very careful not to overbeat, but they were still a bit grainy, and the coffee flavor overpowered the chocolate and butter.

But hey, other TWD bakers may have had more luck with these than I did. Thanks to Donna of Life’s Too Short Not to Eat Dessert First for choosing these cookies, and I’ll see you next week!

Dorie ice cream

Tuesdays With Dorie: Chocolate Ganache Ice Cream

Homemade ice cream equals happiness, pure and simple.

It’s like anything else, I guess — making something at home that most people think can come only from a store is incredibly satisfying. But ice cream is so simple, and so quick to transform itself into heaven, that it has a special place in my heart.

So when I saw a few weeks ago that Katrina of Baking and Boys had chosen this recipe, I put it on my must-make list, which is considerably shorter now than it used to be.

And then I forgot about it.

So when I remembered at 3:30 on Friday afternoon — knowing that we’d be out Saturday, Sunday, and Monday and therefore not be able to have the ice cream then — I sprang into action. No cream; very little half-and-half. Too damned lazy to go to the store.

Wait! What’s this? Coconut milk!

Who says I’m not brilliant?

So, I made the chocolate ganache ice cream with 14 ounces of coconut milk — light coconut milk, even, because Trader Joe’s doesn’t sell the regular stuff — and 6 ounces of half-and-half. I used TJ’s dark chocolate despite my usual inclination to substitute milk, because Dorie said I should. (She was right. She’s almost always right.)

Generally when I make ice cream (which used to be a lot more frequently, of course), I make Philadelphia style: cream, sugar, something yummy; no eggs. But occasionally I’ll make a David Lebovitz blow-out; if you want to make ice cream at home, you must get his Perfect Scoop.

This recipe calls for egg yolks, but only four. Using yolks certainly makes for a creamier custard, but we’re generally happy without them. They sure were good this time, though.

Just like the last time Tuesdays With Dorie made ice cream, this stuff is marvelous. Dorie sure knows her way around an ice cream maker. What took this ice cream (can I call it ice cream if I used mostly coconut milk?) over the top is the ganache: The chocolate is chopped and melted in hot cream, and then the custard is added. Oh, yes.

Because I used coconut milk, the obvious topping was toasted coconut. Alex added cinnamon and peanuts too, and I think next time I’ll chop some macadamias and toss them in while it’s churning. Yum.

I don’t like chocolate ice cream as a rule. I don’t like chocolate cake, either; I prefer my chocolate straight. But I loved this ice cream: It’s dark and rich and creamy and amazing. Trust me. And trust my family:

Tim [the guy who gave up carbs]: I have not enjoyed ice cream this much in seven months. It was like letting a chocolate half-and-half cloud melt on my tongue.

Alex [the guy who cut way down on carbs]: I don’t like chocolate and I don’t like ice cream, but this is really good. It’s especially good with cinnamon and peanuts.

Ben [the guy who eats anything and everything]: It was good with the mix-ins, but plain I think the coconut milk overpowered the chocolate.

So give it a shot — it’s totally worth your time. You can find the recipe in Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan or at Baking and Boys. And a plain-jane recipe like this will inspire all kinds of variations from the other Tuesdays With Dorie bakers, so check them out too.

boys recipes

Pancakes! (And a Special Guest Blogger!)

Ben did something cool this morning, and I made him write about it. I’m such a mean mom.

Herewith, my second-born:

I’m writing this post because this morning, I made pancakes. But not just any pancakes — special pancakes. They feel like popovers, but they aren’t.

I made one with toasted coconut, the flavor of which was overpowered by the pancake flavor. The next one that I made didn’t work, because it had freeze-dried strawberries in it. It didn’t work because the strawberries absorbed the moisture from the pancake batter, and it didn’t brown.

The sad strawberry pancake

I then chopped up a Reese’s peanut butter cup, and put that in one of them. It was gone shortly after it finished cooking.

The very happy Reese’s pancake

Then, I made some with cinnamon chips and chocolate chips in them. I still have two of these, simply because I had already eaten half a batch of pancakes, and figured I shouldn’t have any more.

The equally happy cinnamon-chocolate chip pancake

The strawberry one and some of the second Reese’s I made are going to have strawberry butter put on them fairly soon. Oh, right, and I’m also making the strawberry butter.

Basic Pancakes (from How to Cook Everything®, Simple Recipes for Great Food, by Mark Bittman)

Makes 4 to 6 servings [fewer if you’re a 13-year-old boy]

Time: 20 minutes

Americans must have been sadly alienated from the kitchen for pancake mixes to ever have gained a foothold in the market, for these are ridiculously easy to make.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 or 2 eggs
  • 1½ to 2 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons melted and cooled butter [optional, but I used it]
  • unmelted butter for the griddle, if you don’t have nonstick

1. Preheat a griddle or large skillet over medium-low heat while you make the batter.

2. Mix together the dry ingredients. Beat the egg(s) into 1½ cups of the milk, then stir in the 2 tablespoons melted cooled butter (if you are using it). Gently stir this into the dry ingredients, mixing only enough to moisten the flour; don’t worry about a few lumps. If the batter seems thick, add a little more milk.

3. If your skillet or griddle is nonstick, you can cook the pancakes without any butter. Otherwise, use a teaspoon or two of butter or oil each time you add batter. When the butter foam subsides, or the oil shimmers, ladle batter onto the griddle or skillet, making any size pancakes you want. Adjust the heat as necessary; usually, the first batch will require higher heat than subsequent batches. The idea is to brown the bottom in 2 to 4 minutes, without burning it. Flip when the pancakes are cooked on the bottom; they won’t hold together well until they’re ready.

4. Cook until the second side is lightly browned and serve, or hold on an ovenproof plate in a 200ºF oven for up to 15 minutes.

And remember, you can do anything with this recipe, but I do recommend Reese’s.