Thursday, May 7, 2009

Brownies Boast Best-Ever

After the challenge of last week, these brownies seemed to make themselves.  A sweet frothy egg mixture is gently folded into the rich melted chocolate mixture and then carefully mixed with the flour.  A very simple recipe.  
Dense and rich , these have just the right amount of damp fudge in the centre and a slightly crispy layer on the top.   
Jimmy's chocolate-orange puddings were so delicious that instead of using vanilla in the brownies, I used grand marnier.   
To borrow another Jimmy-ism "we couldn't stay out of them."  Clara told me I would be permitted to make these on a daily basis and I'm sure we could eat them just about that fast.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A Perfect Meal

Jim made me a surprise meal last night to celebrate our 6th anniversary.  He included some of my very favourite foods and flavours.  The menu included: pasta primavera with zucchini, asparagus peas and mushrooms; salad with greens, toasted walnuts, pear and blue cheese; sweet toasts of almond infused soft cheese, toasted almonds and blackberries; and a luscious pudding for dessert with dark chocolate, orange peel and grand marnier.   As we ate, we listened to my new Ella album Jimmy bought me

After dinner we read from the journals we kept last year while on a road trip to Savannah, Georgia.  

It was not only delicious to taste but so thoughtfully and carefully planned.  I love seeing Jimmy so ably working the kitchen.

Thanks Love!  It was a perfect evening.

Can I even call them Croissants?

I should have know something was off when the dough wouldn't come together.  Instead of forming a nice ball it stayed in walnut size lumps.  I should have started over at that point, I think, but I didn't.   I let the dough rise for a half hour and then chilled it as directed. 

I proceeded to roll the dough out with the heaping pound of butter in it, folding, chilling and rolling, folding chilling and rolling.  All 3 times.  I had Jim help me a bit with the rolling.  It takes some serious forearm strength.  (Perhaps that was my second indication that something was wrong.)  
Everything seemed to be going fine until I tried to "stretch" the dough triangles in preparation for the stuffing and rolling.  The dough did not stretch at all, It crumbled.  But by that time I was committed to finishing them.  The hours and hours of work needed some form of completion. So I rolled the triangles out to the required size.

I made the almond paste earlier that day to stuff half of the croissants with and it turned out wonderfully.  (If anyone has any suggestions of how to use almond paste other than in a croissant I would much appreciate it.)  So I went ahead and rolled the triangles of "croissant" dough up with the luscious paste nestled inside and waited to see if they would rise.  

They didn't.  

The recipe said the dough should feel hollow and rise significantly.  Mine stayed it's original size and felt like a firm piece of fruit when I poked it.  But again, not wanting to give up, I baked them.   While they did taste deliciously like croissants, the consistency was, sadly, more like a pie crust.

I am happy that I gave it a try, but I think I will leave croissant making to the experts.   
Where did you say you bought your lovely croissants Tina?