Daring Bakers – Cookies!

I’m here, I’m here!!!  Don’t forget me!!!  Ok, so I really fucked up and missed the deadline by about almost 5 days.  Whoops is all I can say.  I could tell you my excuses (ranging from my children needing a lot of attention to it’s been way to  hot here to cook cookies) but I won’t.  I missed the deadline my fellow daring bakers…  is there any way you can forgive me?  I’ll stop rambling now and save that for another post, on to the cookies!

The July Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Nicole at Sweet Tooth. She chose Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies and Milan Cookies from pastry chef Gale Gand of the Food Network.

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Daring Bakers – Bakewell Tart!

The June Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Jasmine of Confessions of a Cardamom Addict and Annemarie of Ambrosia and Nectar. They chose a Traditional (UK) Bakewell Tart... er... pudding that was inspired by a rich baking history dating back to the 1800's in England.
I’d never made a bakewell tart before.  I had heard of it from Heston Blumenthal and Jamie Oliver but never made one or really even thought about making one.  I’d have to say though it was a great success!  I made it for Father’s day dinner and boy did my Father in-law-love it!  He was thrilled with it and even continued to finish it off when he came over to help Tim with the garage fir the next two days!  I’d make this again although I think I would try different jams.  Nothing wrong with homemade strawberry but just to jazz it up a little I might try marmalade or blueberry just for something different.  Great challenge! 

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Daring Bakers & Ricotta Gnocchi

I’d actually never heard of Ricotta Gnocchi till I saw it on the daring cooks message board.  But now that I’m a daring cook I have to be up to try anything, right?!  So in the true spirit of being daring I thought I would make the cheese as well.  Which I thought was really easy and worked great!  It made some of the richest ricotta cheese I’ve ever had.  I don’t know if that worked against me though when I was making the Gnocchi.  It was so rich I couldn’t eat a lot of it so we had it more as an appetizer before a birthday party


Yummy yum!

For Mother’s Day I wanted to be able to try some recipes that I’d been looking at for a long time and finally got the chance!  Tim and I started off by making some of the most delicious pretzels I’d ever had.  Smitten Kitchen has the best recipe and I recommend trying it if you ever have a craving or just want to give it a try!



Daring Bakers - French Yule Log!

So I had good intentions of making this for dessert for Christmas Eve.  But then life happened.  Tim worked right up to Christmas Eve which made it hard to do this with a baby in the kitchen so I didn't get started until boxing day.  I made the Crème Brulée that day and then planned to make the rest following but that didn't happen either so my poor little brulee sat in the freezer for a few days by himself.  I am happy to report that he is doing well now that he had joined his buddies!  But...  I'm not done quite yet!  I had a miscalculation (didn't read fully) and put the dacquoise on the top of the log as opposed to the bottom, which means I needed to make more (which is ok because the leftovers are so yummy!).  So I have made more  dacquoise and it is ready to go when I get the ganache done.  I burnt my caramel (yeah, I know bad me) so I'm going to try again after my little man is in bed.  Hopefully it will work better this coming time and I will be able to finish tonight!  I am SO looking forward to enjoying this one as it has been the most exciting I think to date for me and I can't wait for more Daring Baker's challenges in 2009!

UPDATE:  Ok, everything is done!  Except for the icing and it is setting up right now.  I'm very excited to try it!  The ganache tasted amazing!!!  It's in my blast chiller (also known as my deck) as we speak.  I thought -25 Celcuis might freeze it faster than whatever the freezer inside is set at.  I'm hoping to have some pictures very soon of what it looks like so far but I guess we'll have to wait till tomorrow night for the finishing touches as we are planning on eating it for New Year's Eve.  I think this is my favorite challenge so far.  I'd like to thank my brand new Kitchen Aid Standing Mixer from my wonderful husband for Christmas.  Without you life wasn't complete! :P

kitchen aidIsn't it beautiful?!  I love it.  I can't wait to try it out on more things.  It's like having that extra third arm I've been looking for since my little man was born!  Just in time for the other one to come out and make day to day life even more challenging!  That's ok though, I can't wait for this new little person to make their appearance.  We've even decided on a name and sorted the baby clothes last night.  Ok, I'm getting side tracked.

This month's challenge is brought to us by the adventurous Hilda from Saffron and Blueberry and Marion from Il en Faut Peu Pour Etre Heureux. 

They have chosen a French Yule Log by Flore from Florilege Gourmand.





And the Challenge this month is…
A French Yule Log!!!


Daring Bakers - Caramel Cake with Caramel Butter Frosting!

I have such good intentions...  I made the cake last weekend and was ready to start the frosting when I got just too tired and decided I would do it the next night.  Well... 4 nights later I finally did the Frosting! 

I enjoyed this challenge as I'd never made caramel this way before.  I've always done it the cheaters way with cream.  It works really well but does have a slightly different flavor than this way. 


Daring Bakers - Pizza!

DSCF0059So I make pizza a fair amount at home, mainly because I like to know what's going into my sauce and what I'm feeding my little ones.  But I had never tried tossing the dough in the air!  It sounded like a step that really wasn't necessary to me.  I thought it would d