March 30, 2010

Coconut Tea Cake, Take 2

Some bakers have issues with pie dough, yeast, or pastry cream but my kitchen achilles heel has always been cake. After years of therapy, err I mean practice, my track record has improved but some days my mojo is still off. My first attempt at this week's TWD, Coconut Tea Cake...epic fail. Looked ok coming out of the oven but 20 minutes later devolved into a sunken, gummy mess. If I weren't such a coconut fan I might have thrown in the towel but today I gave it another go.
It did deflate a bit initially but held up well over all and smelled fantastic. I made half the recipe in a loaf pan (a kitchen full of stuff but still no bundt pan) and added lime zest, coriander and Malibu rum. I had plans for lime curd to spread on top but I just booked set work for the next 3 days so that will have to wait.
If you want to try your hand at this cake, go visit Carmen. And for even more coconut fun, check out the blogroll.

March 23, 2010

Drama Free

If you're gonna stress out, don't do it over a cookie. Life is hard. This week's TWD, Dulce de Leche Duos, are easy. Sweet, buttery caramel sandwiched between lightly chewy cookies- 100% pleasure, 0% stress.
Even is you can't find the canned stuff, dulce de leche is a cinch to make. I used the oven method and I didn't so much as break a sweat.

Thanks Jodie for bringing some calm into my chaos.

March 9, 2010

Rule of Thumb

When you bake, and people know you bake, you can never show up anywhere empty-handed. That's why I'm always on the hunt for simple but special cookie recipes that fulfill my treat prerequisite. This week's TWD, Thumbprints For Us Big Guys, really fit the bill. These soft, nutty cookies are simply dusted with powdered sugar but the jam center gives them their wow factor. I used walnuts in the base, filled them with raspberry preserves, and dolled them up with some chocolate stripes and dots.

Show up at work bearing these and I guarantee you'll get a thumbs up from your co-workers. Thanks Mike for a great pick! For more thumbprint variations, check out the blogroll.

March 7, 2010

Must Love Dogs

I don't need a specific reason to bake. Birthdays and holidays area given, random parties, sporting events guaranteed, but these days I can be found in a cloud of flour an sugar at any given moment. I do love baking for a cause though, for examples the above doggie cookies.
A few months ago I donated some gingerbread dog cookies to Wines For Canines, a fundraising event for Rover Rescue. Dedicated to the rescue and adoption of LA shelter dogs, Rover Rescue is a wonderful non-profit and I was glad to help them. Last week I got an email asking if I would donate more cookies to their LA Marathon/5K team and I thought the Horlicks Doggie Cookies I saw on Foodgawker would be perfect.
Horlicks Doggie Cookies are made with malt powder, milk powder, flour and butter- crunchy and lightly sweet they will make a great post-race treat for Rover Rescue team. But I really just love them for their looks.

The recipe I used can be found here. Malt powder is a great substitute for Horlicks and I used Cocoa Pebbles instead of Koko Krunch which is chocolate cereal I've never seen in the states.
Make them for the dog lover in your life.

March 2, 2010

Feelin' Tiki

The smell of coconut always reminds me of summer. For many of you, especially those victims of Snowpocalypse, or whatever they are calling this new rash of winter storms, summer must feel a long way off. That's why for this week's Tuesdays With Dorie I chose Toasted Coconut Custard Tart. Sweet tart crust filled satiny pastry cream studded with toasted coconut and topped with a rummy whipped cream, it's a heck of a lot more tangible reminder of summer than bathing suits showing up at Target- and a lot less stressful.

Of course reminding you that bathing suit season is coming may be counter productive here. Heck, you got a few more months to worry about that right?
Umm, yeah so anyway this tart rocks! I used low fat milk and Malibu instead of dark rum but otherwise followed the recipe to the letter.

I highly recommend trying this fabulous Toasted Coconut Custard Tart for yourself. Crank up the heat, maybe a little Jimmy Buffet, and get into a tiki state of mind. Here's the recipe...grass skirt not included.

Toasted Coconut Custard Tart
adapted from Baking From My Home To Yours
For the Custard
2 cups 1% milk
1/2 cup sugar
6 large egg yolks
1/3 cup cornstarch
pinch of salt
pinch or coriander
1 tbsp Malibu rum
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 1/2 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup shredded sweetened coconut, toasted

1 9-inch sweet tart shell, baked and cooled

For the topping
1 cup cold heavy cream
3 tbsp powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 tsp Malibu rum
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Bring milk to a boil. In a large saucepan, whisk together sugar, yolks, cornstarch, salt and coriander until well blended. Whisk in 1/4 cup of hot milk to temper the yolks, then whisk in the rest of the milk. Continue whisking over medium heat and bring to a boil. Whisk an additional 1 or 2 minutes then remove from heat. Whisk in rum and vanilla and let sit for 5 minutes. Then whisk in the butter, stirring until custard is smooth. Stir in the toasted coconut. Transfer to a container, cover the surface of the custard with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold.
To make the topping, use a stand mixture with whisk attachment or a hand mixer to whip the cream to medium peaks. Add the powdered sugar and beat to firm peaks. Whip in rum and vanilla.
To assemble the tart, whisk the custard vigorously to loosen it then scrape into the crust. Spoon the whipped cream over the tart and spread evenly to the edge of the custard. Sprinkle with toasted coconut.