Friday, February 26, 2016

Midweek Roundup: "Flavor is Wonderful!"

Photo by Peggy (Faithy)
The Amateur Baker

Faithy has been traveling a lot lately, and coming down with various illnesses, and having dental work done.  So she has gotten out of the habit of rushing to her kitchen at all hours to whip up whatever's next for Alpha Bakers, as well as other huge projects that would fell a normal mortal.  So before she tried to make these, she wanted assurance that they were better than just "good."  Vicki assured her that they were, and so she went to work.  Not having a mini-brioche pan (imagine that!), she made do with a large Nordicware pan with various miniature shapes.  She took them out of the oven, decided they weren't brown enough, and popped them back in.  Baked the proper amount of time (enough to get them golden brown) they are "delicious!"

Aimee used the same pan that Faithy used, and had just as sweet a result.  She did discover that if you don't press the dough into the pan (and she used the end of a whisk instead of her finger), the pan's design won't be as clear.  Still cute though.  But next time she will double the recipe, and maybe dip them in chocolate (how can that possibly be a bad idea?), and maybe use almond meal instead of grinding the almonds.  Saving time is usually a good idea too.

Rachel made these a few weeks ago--the same weekend that she tackled the Pink Pearl Lady Cake.  Compared to the cake, these were "standard issue cookie simple."  Just like Faithy, Rachel was lacking in the mini-brioche pan department, so she used mini muffin pans, which made them look "a tad dull."  But the taste wasn't dull!  "There was butter, and almonds, and the outside was just slightly crunchy, making a delightful contrast with the soft and cakey inside."

To Kristina, making the mini gateaux was like a trip in the way-back machine, in this case, way back in 2010 (is that possible?) when she made the Gateau Breton from Heavenly Cakes.  Again, no mini brioche pans, but mini-muffin pans, which made the cake/cookies look like little discs.  "And tasting yummy.  Can't go wrong with almonds, butter, sugar, and Kirsch."  It's hard to argue with that.

Jenn also remembered her first Gateau Breton from over 5 years ago, and recalled that it was the first time she learned that "gateau" was just French for "cake."  No mini-brioche pans in the Knitty Baker cupboards either, but she did have some adorable silicone daisy pans, so she halved the recipe and made seven daisy gateaux.  (Because who knows when you're going to have an occasion where you need seven cookies).  These daisies where a little bigger than the mini brioches, so she let them bake longer, and would have liked them browner still.  "Hubby gave them a thumbs up."

Vicki's husband also loved them, thus preventing Vicki from serving them at a children's tea party, which is a wonderful idea.  (But sometimes husbands need nourishing too).  Vicki searched high and low for the mini brioche pans, and found a few--"ridiculously expensive" and not quite the right size--so she used a combination of her new pans and a mini muffin pan lined with mini muffin liners.  "Definitely on the make-again list," next time with "a bit of orange oil or Amaretto."

For Catherine, these biscuits were a little "ho-hum."  "Tasty, but unimpressive looking."  For some reasons, her gateaux, instead of having bottoms replicating the pretty design of her baking pan, came out just looking "fluffy" on the bottom.  She made two batches, but both turned out with the same fluff.  They actually look very sweet, especially those in the mini cupcake liners, but still!  When one has an idea about how something is supposed to look, one wants it to turn out the proper way.  

At least two other Alphas baked these, but didn't blog about them.  Jamila made a lovely batch that she posted on Facebook, and Katya made some, but forgot to take pictures.  She used a combo of almonds, pecans, and cacao nibs, for something completely different.

Next week:  Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse Tart:  the only thing you must make sure you have is hazelnut praline paste, easily available online, if not at your local grocery or baking supply store.  If you love Nutella, you'll love this tart.  Oh, if you want it to be heart-shaped, you'll need a heart-shaped tart pan, but it looks quite lovely in a round pan.  And if you really want to gild the lily, you can caramelize some blanched hazelnuts.  But this lily doesn't need gilding.

And the following week:  Coconut Cupcakes with Milk Chocolate Ganache.  One of my favorites so far.  


  1. Absolutely love Faithy's picture! I haven't seen anything this cute in a long time! Great cookies.

  2. Faithy used the same pan I used! I guess I got my blog post up too late tho :(

    1. You're included now, Aimee--sorry I missed you!

  3. Peggy's gateaux look fantastic in those shapes. And everyone else's look good too. I can't understand what went wrong with mine. I'll just have to try them again. Seems like the mixture would make a nice cake.

  4. "(Because who knows when you're going to have an occasion where you need seven cookies)." LOL! Indeed, Marie! And I even shared them with friends.

    Great write up, as always. And congrats Faithy for the featured photo. Your cookies are really cute!