Sunday, November 28, 2010

Navettes Sucrees

Sweet Sunday Yummy Lit Review:
Navettes Sucrees

Last night I debated what to make for this review. Delicious cranberry/chocolate cookies... or these unique and slightly odd looking French Christmas cookies. In the end, out of a desire to look maybe a bit more 'international,' I decided to go with the French.

I'm once again using the Canadian Living cookbook. On page 57 it says...

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 eggs, separated
3/4 tsp vanilla.

In bowl, whisk together flour, 3 tbsp of the sugar, and salt. With fork, cut in butter; stir in egg yolks and vanilla.

On lightly floured surface, knead dough until smooth and holds together. Press into disc; wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Roll by 2 tsp into 2-inch long logs. In small bowl, whisk egg whites. With fork, dip each log into egg whites, allowing excess to drip back into bowl. Roll in small bowl of remaining sugar.

Bake for 20-22 minutes at 325*F.

I should have known from the moment I opened my egg carton that things would not go well. Cracked eggs. Yes, there sitting in my carton was two cracked eggs. My baking time immediately became pushed back as I decided to clean the carton, clean the eggs, and then try to separate the eggs.

Now, I know how to separate eggs just as well as any other cookie baker... Well, maybe not Martha. Anyways, I really know how to do it. But last night it just would not work. I'd crack the egg open and the shell would splinter into a million pieces. I crack another egg and the yolk would automatically break. It took me four eggs to get the job done.

And then kneading the dough... the ingredients are so very dry that it takes a lot of kneading to get it all to stick together. Make sure you're not tired when you attempt this recipe. By the end of my kneading, the dry ingredients were well combined. But the end product looked a lot like a brain sitting on my kitchen table.

Also, these cookies really stick to your baking sheet after a dip in the egg white mixture and a quick roll in sugar. Be ready to scrape your pans... hard.

And, of course, the most important part... how do they taste?

Navettes Sucrees are sugary on the outside with a hard brittle like shell, and cakey and moist in the inside. The different consistencies almost make me want to call it French Twinkies... but I think I would offend French bakers everywhere with that analogy.

My final verdict? These cookies are a lot of work. They don't make me go 'mmmmmmm' with an explosion of intoxicating flavours after the first bite... nor after the last.

Maybe, if you really feel like being 'international,' give them a try... But, as of right now I am just a little bit regretting my decline to the cranberry/chocolate cookie that I oh so craved.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Picture Me Wednesday - 2010 Week 3

Welcome to winter!

Okay, well it is still technically November - the time of falling leaves, the last kick of pumpkins, and general Fall-ish things.

But lately it has been cold. -17 degrees cold. Snowy, to boot.

They said it would be the worst Canadian winter since the 1950s and I *think* they may be onto something.

It feels like winter. It looks like winter. And thanks to Yummy Lit, it even smells and tastes like winter treats.

So, for Picture Me Wednesday this week I decided to capitalize on the snow.

This was taken at the very beginning of the snowfall. It was early morning and the sun was just cresting through the snow clouds. It was then that winter truly started - not a date on a calendar marking the end of Fall, but the beginning of our snowfall, bitter cold winds, and need for warm delicious drinks.

Oh, and the sound of winter?
That can be found here - Carly Rae Jepsen's Mittens. I found this song today and fell in love.

PS - I promise that next week I'll stop obsessing about weather patterns!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Brown Butter Babies

Sweet Sunday Yummy Lit Review:
Brown Butter Babies

I realized earlier this week that it has been an exceedingly long time since I donned an apron, tied back my hair, and tackled a cookie recipe. So, with Sunday's Yummy Lit Review looming at my doorstep, I knew I had to tackle a new cookie creation. That's right -- after a month of no cookies, I'm finally back at it!

This morning I tried out a recipe from last week's baking magazine, Canadian Living. On page 27 (in case you're in my neck of the woods and would like to check out the hard copy) it says we'll need:

3/4 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 1/4 tsp vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp each of baking soda and salt
3 tbsp granulated sugar
30 walnut halves (I just used cut up walnuts, definitely not 30 and definitely not halved)

In small saucepan, cook butter over medium heat until brown and nutty, about 5 minuets. Let cool.

In large bowl, beat brown sugar with cooled butter until fluffy. Beat in egg, egg yolk, and vanilla.

In separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; stir into butter mixture in two additions.

Roll by rounded 1 tbsp into balls; roll in granulated sugar. Place, about 3 inches apart, on parchment paper-lined baking sheets (*I use Pam instead). With bottom of glass or measuring cup, press to scant 1/2 inch thickness. Press walnut half into centre of each.

Bake in 350* oven until golden, 12 to 14 minutes. Lt cool on pans on racks for 3 minutes; transfer to racks and let cool completely.

They say these cookies are for Christmas. I say, not so! When I took the first bite I wasn't sold on them. They are very sugary. There's something about them that does remind me of a Christmas cookie in the style of speculaas or gingerbread... but none of the required spices are in this creation.

After an enjoyable phone call and a second cookie I'm thinking they're not so bad after all. Maybe my good mood rubbed off on my cooking rating? I'm not so sure. They're pretty, I will give them that. But in the taste department they are nothing to rave home about.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Picture Me Wednesday - 2010 Week 2

It's pouring outside... windy... the trees are bare, the sky is gray, and, quite frankly, it looks a lot like the middle of November. There is even snow forecast for this week!

I'm nostalgic for the summer. I'm nostalgic for my favourite beach in BC. Thankfully I live pretty close to it, but if I were to venture down this afternoon I would freeze myself.

So, what's a girl to do? Live vicariously through pictures. Here's the spot that I oh-so-much love.

The beach at sunset on a late June night. What more could I ask for?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Brownie Buttons with Candy Cane Icing

Sweet Sunday Yummy Lit Review:
Brownie Buttons with Candy Cane Icing

Mmm Christmas baking! I knew when I saw these babies advertised I had to give them a shot. Who doesn't like peppermint infused chocolate treats? Actually, I do know people who aren't fond of this combination. I've secretly never understood them (sorry!). To me, peppermint and dark chocolate make the best marriage.

Here's our recipe from the Canadian Living: Special Cookbook Issue

1/2 cup salted butter
2 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt

1 cup icing sugar
2 tbsp butter, softened
2 tsp milk
12 mini candy canes

In heatproof bowl over saucepan of hot (not boiling) water, melt butter with chocolate until smooth. Remove from heat.

In large bowl, whisk eggs with sugar; whisk in chocolate mixture and vanilla.

In separate bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, and salt; whisk into chocolate mixture to just blend. Spoon by 1 tbsp into foil or paper-lined mini muffin cups.

Bake in 350* oven for around 12 minutes. Let cool in pans on racks for 5 minutes. Transfer to racks and let cool.

Icing: Meanwhile, in bowl, beat together icing sugar, butter, and milk; pipe or spread over brownies, leaving a little brownie showing around edge. Sprinkle candy canes over tops.

* this book also provides a handy nutritional guide for all of their baked goods. This brownie is listed as having 88 calories.

These are really good. Better than good, even. The chocolate is rich. The icing is creamy in an oh-so-good way. And the peppermint!

I must say, at first I was a bit confused as to how to chop up a candy cane. I could picture bits flying everywhere as I mangled the candy with a large kitchen knife. One alternative was placing the candy in a bag, grabbing a wooden rolling pin, and beating the heck out of it. I can agree with the individual who proposed it - this would most definitely help alleviate any anger. But, it's almost Christmas... and despite the fact that I have a lot of homework, I'm not necessarily anger ridden. Plus, I enjoy playing around with a knife every so often.

Also, for those who may attempt to make these yummy treats - watch out for the baking time. The recipe calls for 12 minutes, but I've come to the realization that unless you want slightly un-cooked brownies, make sure they're in for 15.

Bye-bye until next week... I think it's time I pick off the extra candy cane bits from my apron.

Happy Sweet Sunday everyone!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Plot for 'Smut'

K and I have been discussing the intricacies of plot... and, quite frankly, I couldn't let this gem of a question fade into nothingness.

K asked:
"Have you ever read smut books and the page before smut happens your thinking "so your going to..." And then BAM. And yet you're still thinking wtf?""

All I could do is laugh and shake my head.... oh smut books.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Picture Me Wednesday 2010

This week a light bulb went off in my head. OK, maybe not so much a light bulb but one of those cute little comic-book thought bubbles with "Photos!!" emblazoned in it. It was at that moment that Picture me Wednesday was created.

I love taking pictures. My friends will know that my trusty Sony camera is usually within reach or stowed deep within my handbag *side-note: I have a thing for handbags*. I figured I needed a new home for photos, and what's a better home than a blog?

Come on by Coffee Tale Reviews for Picture Me Wednesday. They say a photo says a thousand words, let's see if it is really true.

This week's photo theme: Stuck in the middle with you
(Remember that song? The video's kind of atrocious but the music's good!)

I found this table in one of Vancouver's many food courts this week. A Christmas themed Starbucks cup, transit newspaper, and something like 10 bags of Nibs were scattered across the deserted surface. Christmas cups and leftover Halloween candy? I knew I had to take a picture.

I don't know what else could sum up the second week of November better - that in-between time of getting over Halloween candy hangovers and the beginning rush of Christmas cheer.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

So this is November

I miss the blogging world. I miss reading a book for enjoyment. I miss blogging about books. I miss drinking coffee just because I love the taste and not for its potent qualities. Can't the end of November come faster and bring along the end of my semester?!

I saw my research books stacked up on the table tonight and had to take a picture... these are just some of them in my room right now.

However, November mornings are very very pretty here.

Gone French

Sweet Sunday Yummy Lit Review:
Spiked Egg Nog French Toast

Tuesday morning I went all-out French.

French Dark Roast.

French toast.... a la spiked egg nog.

That's right, Spiked Egg Nog French Toast. I became determined to try out an older recipe on Pinch My Salt after browsing blogs during Monday evening. I must admit, the thought of egg nog in combination with French Toast most definitely helped me get out of bed.

I probably like rum just as much as all the other university students. However, I'm now running on a five year rule of no alcohol during days that involve studying, writing, or some kind of academic style work. Which means during the semester I nevvvver drink. I carried this rule on into my French Toast.

So, without further ado, here is the recipe adapted to be sans alcohol and to serve (sadly?) one person:

1 egg
1/3 cup store bought egg nog
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
2 slices of bread

Whisk together eggs, egg nog, vanilla, spices.
Heat the pan.
Dip bread into the egg mixture, allowing to soak slightly.
Butter the hot pan and place bread on it.
Cook until golden brown.
* If you need to serve more people or realllly want that rum, head on over to Pinch My Salt.

All I can say is Yummmmmm. This was amazing. It tasted like Christmas. Heck, it even smelt like Christmas. I'll most definitely be making these again in December... and perhaps January if I can still find Egg Nog.

Make some of these delicious morsels to welcome in Winter and the holidays this year... and check back here often - I have a feeling Sweet Sunday's are soon to become dominated by festive Christmas goodies!

Hope you all have a Sweet Sunday.

PS - what is your favourite French Toast style?
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...