baking cookies Dorie

Tuesdays With Dorie: Chewy, Chunky Blondies

Oh, yum.

That’s pretty much my post for this week’s installment of Tuesdays With Dorie. It really encapsulates my feelings about these little nuggets of joy, and the feelings of everyone I shared them with.

So thanks for stopping by.

Oh, OK — I’ll be more specific. I made these a couple of summers ago, shortly after I got Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours. I took them to an outdoor concert (the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Mann Music Center; coincidentally enough, I was just there again last night, which is why this post is late), where they provided a marvelous dessert for our al fresco dinner.

And then I never made them again for some inexplicable reason.

So when I saw them in the rotation for July (thanks to Nicole of Cookies on Friday for choosing them!), I knew I couldn’t pass up the opportunity, despite the fact that we just don’t eat things like this (marvelous, delicious, life-affirming things) anymore.

For those who don’t know, my husband has pretty much dumped carbs. This has made my life (at least the baking/eating part of it) sad and empty, although that’s balanced by the fact that he has lost a ton of weight, has way more energy, and feels great. But cookies!

But a bunch of people from my high school class were getting together in a park for a picnic, and the timing was just superb. I made a double batch of Chewy, Chunky Blondies.

I used chocolate chips and toffee chips and toasted pecans and coconut. Oh.

And for some reason, they didn’t all get eaten. And so I brought them home. And so we ate them. And they were good. (I had intended to save the leftovers for Alex’s going-away party next month, but, um, no.)

Tim fell off of his otherwise-rigorous eating regimen (he really is good; I have no idea how he manages to be as disciplined as he is). He popped about eight of them over two sessions (the day I made them and the day of the picnic). I ate way, way more than I had intended to. Ben — well, Ben would have eaten hundreds of them whether they were good or not. And Alex, finding fault as always, prefers his blondies without chocolate.

I’m sure there will be many awesome variations among the TWD bakers; go check them out. And if you want to try them yourself (and you really, really should), Nicole has the recipe for you.


baking Dorie

Tuesdays With Dorie: Brrrr-ownies

Back in December when it was my turn to pick the recipe, these brownies were way up near the top of the short list. But Dorie talks about how good they are on a steamy summer’s day, and so I sadly left them for someone else to choose.

This week, Karen of Welcome to Our Crazy Blessed Life did so. Thank you, Karen.

(I went with Chocolate Oatmeal Almost-Candy Bars. They were delicious.)

So even though I almost never bake anymore, and 75 percent of my family is trying to lose weight, I had to make these brownies. And I’m glad I did.

I love York Peppermint Patties. I love brownies. Really, how can you go wrong combining them?

So my plan was to serve one of these per person as dessert, wrap up a few for a friend whose birthday is Wednesday, and freeze the rest for a picnic I’m going to on Saturday.

Um, no.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

The batter came together easily; I really prefer recipes that involve melting the butter and chocolate together, rather than ones that require me to remember to take the butter out hours ahead of time to soften. Score 1 for Dorie.

I managed to chop the Peppermint Patties up into varying sizes without eating any. Yay me.

I baked them; I cooled them; I peeled off the foil. All uneventful.

And then I trimmed a tiny bit off the edge, just to taste.

By the time I was finished trimming more tiny bits off the edge, the brownies were a third gone. By the time my family got through with them, I managed to salvage four for my friend and wrapped the remaining two — two! — up for the boys to eat today.

My God, these were marvelous. Make them now.

If you want to read what the other TWD bakers did with these, check out the blogroll. And right now, go visit Welcome to Our Crazy Blessed Life, where Karen will provide you with the recipe.

baking boys Dorie

Tuesdays With Dorie: Chockablock Cookies

And now, a very special guest blogger!

Hi, I’m Ben. This week, I made the Chockablock Cookies, and everyone who tried them (except my mom) liked them. I didn’t have many takers because a lot of people don’t like molasses, but those who do liked them. We didn’t have any coconut or regular molasses, so I left the coconut out, and I used 1/4 cup light corn syrup and 1/4 cup blackstrap molasses.

Comments on the dough:

Alex: It was good, more molasses-y than the baked cookies.
Mom: Too molasses-y.

Comments on the cookies:

Alex: They were good but essentially identical to the other four or five cookies full of nuts and dried fruit that are in the book.
Mom: I was really surprised to like them as much as I did, because I don’t like raisins  and molasses.

Me again. Ben made the cookies to take to his first ever gathering of local homeschooled teens. Today is his birthday — my baby is 13 today.

Lots of other bloggers made these too, and you can no doubt find much more detailed descriptions and tons of creative variations at their blogs, so check them out. Bye!

baking Dorie

Tuesdays With Dorie: Coconut Tea … Muffins

Before I start this post, I have to mention that this is my 101st post here at Confectiona’s Realm. I never thought I’d get this far, but it’s been a great ride. Thanks to all of you who read my blather.

I’m back to Tuesdays With Dorie. I can’t live without some carbs in my life (although I’ll have to pass on next week’s delicious-sounding choice, because this week is Passover and it didn’t occur to me to bake ahead), and I really miss being forced to write every week.

But we didn’t need a whole bundt cake.

So, herewith, my coconut tea muffins!

I cut the recipe in half, which yielded 24 mini muffins. I left the amount of coconut the same, though, because I love coconut. I really, really love coconut.

I toasted the first three-quarters of a cup of sweetened shredded coconut, because toasted coconut is one of the joys of my life. But when it came time to add the coconut to the cake batter, I decided I didn’t want the crunchy texture in the muffins, so I went with the stuff straight from the bag. (Which, tragically, left me with three-quarters of a cup of toasted coconut. Woe is me!)

Everything else was pretty straightforward: no difficult techniques or unusual ingredients. I baked the muffins for about 25 minutes, but my oven temperature is completely random, so your mileage may vary.

And the adorable little muffins were delicious: moist, not too sweet, and perfect with coffee. I put one chocolate-covered espresso bean each in the bottom of four of them, and in retrospect I wish I’d added the beans to more. I wasn’t sure how’d they’d take the heat, but they were magnificent. Highly recommended.

Oh, and you know what else is good? These muffins, drenched in still-warm homemade chocolate syrup. Life is very, very good sometimes.

I even got artistic for a change:

As I said, this was meant to be a bundt cake. Check out the pretty ones to be found on the other TWD bakers‘ websites, and if you want to give it a shot yourself, buy Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan or visit Carmen Cooks, where Carmen will helpfully provide the recipe for you. See you next week, with my special Passover not-cake recipe!

baking Dorie

Tuesdays With Dorie: Dulce de Leche Duos

I know, I know. And I’m sorry. There’s been no baking here for weeks. Heck, there’s been almost no eating here for weeks. It’s tragic. And yet, I have lost 12 pounds since the beginning of the year, and Tim has lost 40. It’s hard to argue with results like that.

But I made these cookies a couple of months ago, and they conveniently showed up in the rotation this week. (Thank you, Jodie, of Beansy Loves Cake!) They are yummy: soft and chewy, and oh so sweet. (Maybe a little too sweet, but who’s counting?)

I must confess: I used dulce de leche out of a can. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have done it. I’ve made it before, and it’s easy enough. But I decided to make these cookies on the spur of the moment, and I had dulce de leche; more important, I didn’t have condensed milk. So there you are.

Everyone liked these, even Tim, who was officially off carbs at the time. He did suggest just now that they’d be amazing dipped in coffee, and I believe he is correct. I am fighting the urge to make more to test that theory.

I don’t have much else to say: delicious, sweet, soft sandwich cookies. Give them a shot. (Jodie will have the recipe at Beansy Loves Cake.) And read about other bakers’ more recent experiences with them by visiting the other Tuesdays With Dorie blogs. Enjoy!

baking Dorie

Tuesdays With Dorie: Cocoa-Nana Bread

coconana bread

I was pretty excited about this bread: Chocolate is almost always good (as long as it’s not cheesecake!), and I can live with bananas in bread. I actually have a pretty amazing banana bread/cake recipe from the inestimable David Lebovitz, which is healthy enough when made with whole-wheat flour and walnuts that I don’t feel guilty serving it for breakfast. But I tried Dorie’s Classic Banana Bundt Cake last summer, because I try to be open-minded (especially when it comes to baking). And I tried this.

The batter was good, really good. I ate a lot of it.

But I wound up baking this for 90 minutes before the center was even vaguely done, and that dried out the edges too much. I don’t know if it’s my oven or just me, but sometimes the suggested baking times are spot on, and sometimes they’re mere fantasy.

I made this bread to take along on our annual New’s Year’s visit to friends in Virginia. We had it for breakfast on New Year’s Day, and the three-year-old daughter of the house, who had been champing at the bit to get a piece, pronounced it “not very tasty.”

Other people liked it a little more, but no one was really impressed with it. The edges were dry and the interior was very moist, even dense. The cocoa flavor was very strong, and even the dark chocolate lovers thought it was too much. At the same time, there wasn’t a whole lot of flavor, odd as that seems.

Go see if the other TWD bakers had more luck with this, and if you want to try it yourself, buy the book (Baking: From My Home to Yours) or visit Steph of Obsessed with Baking.

baking boys Dorie

Tuesdays With Dorie: Chocolate Oatmeal Almost-Candy Bars

It’s my week! I’ve been baking along with the Tuesdays With Dorie group — most weeks — for about a year and a half, and the day has finally come for me to choose this week’s recipe. I went through the book, Baking: From My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan, and put sticky notes on the pages with recipes I wanted to try, most of which were cookies. There were a lot of sticky notes. Then I handed the book over to my culinary consultants and had them go through and pick the ones they liked best. Both of them settled on this recipe, so the choice was easy.

oatmeal candy bars 1

Having the privilege of choosing this week’s recipe is perfect timing, because #1 Son, my firstborn, Alex, turned 18 on Sunday. This post is just the last part of a multi-week celebration that started with his admission to Duke in early December and continued through Chanukah, Christmas, and New Year’s and now his joining the ranks of adulthood. It’s been an eventful month and a half.

So, I made these bars. Oatmeal-cookie base, chocolate-peanut layer in the middle, then oatmeal-cookie topping. They looked and sounded delicious.

And they are.

They weren’t the simplest cookies in the world, what with the three layers and all. But at least the bottom and top layers were the same batter, which helped a little. (And that batter? Marvelous. Check it out.)

oatmeal candy bars 4

So I made the cookie batter, which was really more of a dough, then pressed it into a pan, reserving some for topping. Then I melted some chocolate chips and butter and poured it on top, then covered it with the reserved cookie dough. At the special request of my now-adult son, I added raisins to a quarter of the filling, leaving the rest blissfully fruit-free. (See the toothpick marking the nasty part?)

oatmeal candy bars 2

And then I baked it. I was rushing to get this into the oven before taking Ben (previously known as #2 Son) to karate, so Alex was in charge of getting it out. I think he said it took about 10 or 15 minutes longer than the recipe indicated, but my oven’s been behaving badly lately.

They cooled for the specified two hours in the pan, then went into the fridge on a cooling rack overnight. The next morning we sliced them up and packed them up to take along on our annual New Year’s visit to friends in Virginia.

They were good. Not too sweet, and so not too rich. The raisin version proved surprisingly popular. There’s no accounting for taste.

They spent the day on an unheated screen porch in Northern Virginia, so they were cold when we ate them. They were a hit:

Alex: One of my favorite Dories. Totally made up for the Cocoa-Nana Bread [tune in next week!].

Ben: Om nom nom good. [Please supply your own lip-smacking sounds.]

[And where, you may be asking, is Tim, heretofore referred to as Husband? He’s off carbs. May God have mercy on his soul.]

oatmeal candy bars 3

If you’d like to see what the other TWD bakers thought about these, check out the blogroll. And instead of sending you to someone else’s blog for the recipe, I can include it here!

Chocolate Oatmeal Almost-Candy Bars, from Baking: From My Home to Yours

For the oatmeal layer:

2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups (packed) brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 cups old-fashioned (rolled) oats
1 cup salted peanuts, coarsely chopped

For the chocolate layer:

14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups (12 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup moist, plump raisins (dark or golden)
¾ cup coarsely chopped peanuts, preferably salted

Getting ready:
Center a rack in the oven, and preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking pan, and place the pan on a baking sheet.

To make the oatmeal layer:

Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until it is soft and creamy. Add the brown sugar and beat for 2 minutes, then add the eggs, one at a time, beating for a minute after each egg goes in. Beat in the vanilla. The mixture should be light and fluffy. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing just until they disappear. Still on low speed, or working by hand with a rubber spatula, stir in the oats and chopped peanuts.

Set aside 1½ to 2 cups of the mixture, then turn the remaining dough into the buttered pan. Gently and evenly press the dough over the bottom of the pan. Set aside while you prepare the next layer.

To make the chocolate layer:

Set a heat-proof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Put the condensed milk, chocolate chips, butter, and salt in the bowl and stir occasionally until the milk is warm and the chocolate and butter are melted. Remove the bowl from the pan of water and stir in the vanilla, raisins (if using), and peanuts.

Pour the warm chocolate over the oatmeal crust, then scatter the remaining oatmeal mixture over the top. Don’t try to spread the oatmeal, and don’t worry about getting the topping even — this is fun, remember?

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown and the chocolate layer is dull and starting to come away from the sides of the pan. Transfer the baking pan to a rack and cool for about 2 hours.

Run a blunt knife between the edges of the cake and the pan, and carefully turn the cake out onto a rack. Turn right side up, then refrigerate for at least 1 hour before cutting.

Cut into 32 rectangles, each roughly 2¼ by 1½ inches. Makes 32 bars.

Serving: I think these are best served cold from the fridge, although my husband likes them straight from the freezer, cut into slivers. Before you chill the bars, though, have one — you might find you like them best at room temperature, in which case you’re lucky: You can start enjoying them sooner.

Storing: Wrapped well, these will keep for about four days at room temperature, 1 week in the refrigerator, or up to two months in the freezer.

baking Dorie Uncategorized

Tuesdays With Dorie: Low and Lush Chocolate Cheesecake

Looks like cheesecakes are becoming a December TWD tradition, and I still don’t like them. But I made the Tall and Creamy Cheesecake last year, and I made this one too. My family loves cheesecake.

choco cheesecake 1

I made this cheesecake as one of two desserts (the other being apple cider doughnuts, which I must post about one of these days) at our family Chanukah party a couple of weeks ago. It was easy to put together and to bake, and it looked lovely on the plate.

And everyone loved it. What else is there to say? It was smooth and creamy and cheesecake-like. Sorry I can’t wax poetic about it, and that this is such a lame post. I’ll do better when I write about the apple cider doughnuts!

Oh, and I apologize for the photos. By the time I remembered I had to shoot the cheesecake, the fleeting winter light was long gone. I really need a lightbox.

choco cheesecake 2

Go check out the other Tuesdays With Dorie bloggers; I’m sure many of them wrote much better posts than this. And if you’re one of those people who like cheesecake, you can find the recipe at Tea and Scones. Enjoy!

baking boys Daring Bakers gingerbread houses

Daring Bakers: Gingerbread House

The December 2009 Daring Bakers challenge was brought to you by Anna of Very Small Anna and Y of Lemonpi. They chose to challenge Daring Bakers everywhere to bake and assemble a gingerbread house from scratch. They chose recipes from Good Housekeeping and from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book as the challenge recipes.

We’ve been making gingerbread houses for years, since the now-very-nearly-18-year-old #1 Son (hereafter known as Alex) was a wee lad. We started out with the standard cottage, but there’s a limit to how many years in a row we could do that. We’re, um, quirky around here.

Over the past 15 years or so we’ve made a haunted tower, a ruined castle (the year we tried a new recipe and it didn’t work), a spaceship, a sunken pirate ship, the chocolate room from Willy Wonka (my personal favorite), Stonehenge, and a fairy-tale cottage with a torture chamber in the basement. Last year it was a goblin dungeon (courtesy of the boys; parental discretion advised). The tradition is that we decide on the structure together, then I figure out how to make it happen, and they decorate it. Works for me.

We started discussing this year’s house (er, structure) in November, and we tossed around a lot of ideas. And then Alex got into Duke University, and our lives began to revolve around his future alma mater.

At Duke, all freshmen live on East Campus, a lovely collection of Georgian buildings built along a long, narrow green. It’s lovely. So I thought, “Hey, let’s make East Campus!”

east campus

Foolish, foolish woman.

Let’s just say that this looked very different in my head. I wanted to make the whole green: eight identical buildings with two different ones in the middle, plus a round auditorium at the end. Plus, every year during orientation the new freshman class gets together for a photo of their graduation year.


I’d do that too!

Well, scale’s a bitch. That’s a huge green, let me tell you. I spent days gathering photographs and taking measurements in Google Earth. (Did you know there’s a ruler in Google Earth? It’s awesome for obsessive-compulsives like me.)

And then I started drawing and realized it was impossible.

I would have needed a five-foot-long board to do it to the smallest scale I thought was feasible for building the houses. That’s just silly. And there are supposed to be trees, but the cones we bought to make the trees are about 50 percent taller than the buildings. (Please don’t ask why I had to keep it to scale. Please.)

So, regroup. I went with the six center buildings, which is four of the identical ones plus the Lilly Library and the Marketplace. I drew templates. I baked pieces, just a few, to test the recipes (more on that later).

And then I realized that there was no way I could do the fancy roofline on such a small scale. It just wasn’t going to happen.

Regroup again. Two-story buildings instead of three. (See how calm I’m staying? Breathe in, breathe out.)

And then those freshman making numbers? (You can buy baby gummy bears now!) Didn’t fit in the center circle. I punted yet again.

So here you have it. I did what I could. The construction is not up to our usual standards. There’s not much room for decoration. And the gingerbread doesn’t taste all that good. But Alex got into Duke, and that’s all that matters.

East Campus 1

After it was built, I let the boys decorate it. Alex added snow on the building and a lovely nonpareil border, plus a Blue Devil up there on the roof. Sadly, it took me so long to get this whole thing done that we’d eaten most of the candy we bought for it, so it’s a minimalist house this year. But it’s ours, and Alex got into Duke. We are very happy.

East Campus 3

East Campus 2

East Campus 4

So, this month’s challenge offered a choice of two doughs, one very simple and the other a bit more complex. I made both, just to see. Both of them (Anna’s dough, from Good Housekeeping, and Y’s dough, a more traditional Scandinavian recipe) mixed fine (although I left out the baking soda and used much less flour than they called for, because a lot of the Daring Bakers had trouble with the doughs being too dry; the recipes below have the amounts I used). They rolled out fine. They baked fine. But they didn’t look all that good as finished pieces, and they don’t taste like much.

For years I’ve used Teresa Layman’s recipe from her amazing Gingerbread for All Seasons (sadly out of print and insanely expensive used; check your library!). If you want to see the amazing things that can at least theoretically be done by normal people, check out that book. I’ve learned a lot of techniques from it over the years, but I couldn’t make anything near as gorgeous as she does. Her recipe bakes up flat and pretty and builds lovely structures, and it tastes pretty good (especially with royal icing on it!).

And it lasts — I found some of last year’s dough in the back of my freezer, thawed it out, and baked it up.

So the six buildings in our little tableau are made up of pieces made of three different doughs. All the roofs are Teresa Layman’s dough; see how pretty they are?

(Oh, and speaking of roofs, wanna hear a funny story? I built one of those little C-shaped buildings and very carefully measured it, so I could make the roof template. I very carefully drew the template (using a T-square!). I very carefully cut out the template. I very carefully baked the pieces. I very carefully cooled the pieces. I very carefully laid a roof on top of my finished building. And I discovered that I had somehow — very carefully, no doubt — cut my lovely C into a T. Isn’t that funny?)


The recipes below include a sugar syrup for putting the houses together. I loved this idea; it seemed so much neater than having to pipe royal icing along all the walls. I cannot tell you how much sugar I wasted trying to get this to work. My first test batch seemed OK, and held the walls together nicely until my husband, marveling at how secure they were, picked up the building and waved it around; they were not that secure. So I tried again. I tried melting the sugar dry. I tried adding a little water, remembering some recipe I once read that said that adding a little water made it easier to melt sugar without burning it. And I did use the sugar syrup to put the walls together. But I could only get a few walls out of each batch before it became too burned or too crystalized, and I added quite a few new specimens to my collection of scars. So next year, it’s back to the icing.

Oh, and here’s the rest of my template, as actually used:

East campus template 1

Update: Within minutes of my taking those photos above, the campus was gone, demolished by two growing boys and their unfortunately growing father. We didn’t have a party to take it to this year, so this was a purely private achievement— except for all of you!

So, with no further ado, the recipes:

Anna’s Recipe:
Spicy Gingerbread Dough
(from Good Housekeeping)

2½ cups (500g) packed dark brown sugar
1½ cups (360mL) heavy cream or whipping cream
1¼ cups (425g) molasses or maple syrup
9½ cups (1140g) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon(s) ground ginger


1. In very large bowl, with wire whisk (or with an electric mixer), beat brown sugar, cream, and molasses until sugar lumps dissolve and mixture is smooth. In medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and ginger. With spoon, stir flour mixture into cream mixture in 3 additions until dough is too stiff to stir, then knead with hands until flour is incorporated and dough is smooth.

2. Divide dough into 4 equal portions; flatten each into a disk to speed chilling. Wrap each disk well with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight, until dough is firm enough to roll.

3. Grease and flour large cookie sheets (17-inch by 14-inch/43x36cm)

4. Roll out dough, 1 disk at a time on each cookie sheet to about 3/16-inch thickness. (Placing 3/16-inch dowels or rulers on either side of dough to use as a guide will help roll dough to uniform thickness.)

5. Trim excess dough from cookie sheet; wrap and reserve in refrigerator. Chill rolled dough on cookie sheet in refrigerator or freezer at least 10 minutes or until firm enough to cut easily.

6. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (149C)

7. Use chilled rolled dough, floured poster board patterns, and sharp paring knife to cut all house pieces on cookie sheet, making sure to leave at least 1 1/4 inches between pieces because dough will expand slightly during baking. Wrap and reserve trimmings in refrigerator. Combine and use trimmings as necessary to complete house and other decorative pieces. Cut and bake large pieces and small pieces separately.

8. Chill for 10 minutes before baking if the dough seems really soft after you cut it. This will discourage too much spreading/warping of the shapes you cut.

9. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, until pieces are firm to the touch. Do not overbake; pieces will be too crisp to trim to proper size.

10. Remove cookie sheet from oven. While house pieces are still warm, place poster-board patterns on top and use them as guides to trim shapes to match if necessary. Cool pieces completely before attempting to assemble the house.

Y’s Recipe:
Scandinavian Gingerbread
(Pepparkakstuga, from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book by Beatrice Ojakangas

1 cup butter (226g), room temperature
1 cup brown sugar, well packed (220g)
½ cup white sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon
4 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons allspice
½ cup boiling water
5 cups (625g) all-purpose flour

1. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until blended. Add the cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Mix the baking soda with the boiling water and add to the dough along with the flour. Mix to make a stiff dough. If necessary add more water, a tablespoon at a time. Chill 2 hours or overnight.

2. Cut patterns for the house, making patterns for the roof, front walls, gabled walls, chimney and door out of cardboard.

3. Roll the dough out on a large, ungreased baking sheet and place the patterns on the dough. Mark off the various pieces with a knife, but leave the pieces in place.

4. [I rolled out the dough between two pieces of parchment, about 1/8 inch thick, and cut the required shapes. Then I transferred the parchment to the cookie sheet, so I didn’t have to move the shapes and possibly distort them. I saved scraps and rerolled them at the end.]

5. Preheat the oven to 375’F (190’C). Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until the cookie dough feels firm. After baking, again place the pattern on top of the gingerbread and trim the shapes, cutting the edges with a straight-edged knife. Leave to cool on the baking sheet.

Royal Icing:

1 large egg white
3 cups (330g) powdered sugar
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon almond extract

Beat all ingredients until smooth, adding the powdered sugar gradually to get the desired consistency. Pipe on pieces and allow to dry before assembling. If you aren’t using it all at once you can keep it in a small bowl, loosely covered with a damp towel for a few hours until ready to use. You may have to beat it slightly to get it an even consistency if the top sets up a bit. Piped on the house, this will set up hard over time.

Simple Syrup:
2 cups (400g) sugar

Place in a small saucepan and heat until just boiling and the sugar dissolves. Dredge or brush the edges of the pieces to glue them together. If the syrup crystallizes, remake it.

baking Dorie

Tuesdays With Dorie: My Favorite Pecan Pie

pecan pie 1

I love this pie. There, I’ve said it right up front, so there’s no mystery to this post. Sorry.

I made this pie for Christmas and fell in love with it. I am now going to make this pie for every Thanksgiving and Christmas for the rest of my life.

The coffee! The cinnamon! The chocolate!!!

OK, so here’s the post.

This week’s TWD recipe, marvelously chosen for us by Beth of Someone’s in the Kitchen with Brina, is My Favorite Pecan Pie. And it is.

I’ve been making pecan pie for the holidays for about ten years, generally using the recipe off the Karo bottle. This pie is so far beyond all of those, light-years beyond, that it seems wrong even to call it the same thing.

I always loved those pies. But they were very sweet, and there was no nuance. I didn’t realize that things could be different until I tried Dorie’s pie last year.

The coffee! The cinnamon! The chocolate!!!

pecan pie 2

I didn’t make the crust. I was going to. I have in the past. But I was pressed for time, so I accepted the help of the Keebler elves. And it was fine. This pie is so good that it elevated that humble store-bought graham-cracker crust to perfection right along with it.

And it’s so good that it about killed me to send it off to Thanksgiving dinner with my family while I stayed home with the dogs, so thanks to Tim (formerly known as Husband; I decided I might as well use their names) for the guest photography.

pecan pie 3

And if you want to read other people gushing about this pie (and maybe find someone who didn’t like it, but that seems unlikely), check out the other TWD bloggers.

Next week: cheesecake. I hate cheesecake. Oh, and I promise that eventually I’ll write about those Cafe Volcano cookies I skipped last week. I made them!