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Monday, April 25, 2016

Alpha Bakers: Rugelach

Unlike some of my Alpha Baker friends, I get pretty excited when I see recipes containing raisins. I love raisins. I would happily order, eat, cook anything with raisins in it, sweet or savory. 

Of course now that I've declared my love of raisins, I will tell you that I ended up making 1/2 recipe of these Rugelach without raisins. I wanted to try something different but I could not decide whether to choose the Chocolate Raspberry or Cran-Raspberry so I made a mixture of both. Mine is Cran-Raspberry Chocolate. And as you will see from the step by step photos below, I did not use seedless raspberry jam - the one we have is seeded and I don't bother straining them.

Everyone I shared this with love them and I had fun trying to pronounce Rugelach, which to me sounds very similar to Arugula and at some point when someone asked what it is, I happily answered: "Arugula!"

I've made the rugelach from Rose's Christmas cookie book back in 2012 (you can read the post here). I don't remember any details about that experience, only that it was positive and yummy. As I re-read my post back then, written by Jenn circa 2012, it sounds like I was confused by the explanation to roll the dough into a circle. Well, I can proudly tell you guys that I am not confused about this anymore so I think we can safely say that 4 years of baking since then have paid off? :)

These arugula rugelach are easy to put together and very yummy. I love that I can make the dough ahead as I made it one day then it sat in the fridge for a couple days. The combo filling is really good too, I can taste a bit of everything, though I think the chocolate overpower the cranberries a bit even though I didn't use the full amount of chocolate pearls. I think next time if I use chocolate at all I will only put a couple of pearl in each rugelach.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Alpha Bakers: Hungarian Raisin Walnut Tartlets

I love this pie. They are fun to put together, even though they take a heck of a lot longer than I had anticipated. The recipe reads pretty easy. Make 3x the recipe of a standard pie shell. I want to make 1/2 recipe so that means 1.5x recipe. Easy to figure out since the recipe is in grams. The pie dough came together pretty quickly. Then I read through the filling part and start mis-en-place all the parts, including roasting the walnuts. It does add a bit of to do the roasting, but I think using pre-roasted nuts adds so much more flavor in the baked result. Now the kicker in the process is the rolling of the dough. Having to roll and cut at least a dozen 4 1/2 inches circle takes FOREVER! I was glad I only made 1/2 recipe. In the end I had enough filling for 14 tartlets so I made 14 circles and had some dough leftover so they went to the freezer for future use. Btw, I now have 3 different pie dough leftover so I see a small pie in my future hehe.

I used 100% Whole Wheat Pastry flour in the dough and used almond milk instead of regular milk in the filling. We don't drink regular milk anymore so I have been subbing with almond milk and so far I have had no issue.

I also reduced the sugar by 10% in this recipe. Not that this recipe used a ton of sugar but raisins are really sweet. Even with the reduction, they are too sweet for my taste, so I ate 1/2 of them at a time. It is really good though. And my friends who I shared them with loved them. No mention of too sweet.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Alpha Bakers: Babka

I love bread making. I don't know why and can't really explain it. There is just something calming about it. Perhaps it's working with the dough part? Though now with stand mixer there's not much of active hand working on the dough vs. watching the machine working the dough. Lazy 21st century? :). In any case, I was excited to make this bread and was also excited to eat it and share it with some friends. I made 1/2 a recipe, using 6 cup bundt pan and I think I overbaked it by 5 minutes or something like that because it came out a bit more dry than I expect. It's still good though and none of my friends said anything to the contrary. Al in all, a win!