Malto Mario


The Lady & Sons

1,000 Italian Recipes

Sunday, June 29, 2008

How Much Abuse Can One Danish Braid Take?

When I saw this month’s challenge, I was pretty excited.. not only were 2 very lovely people (Kelly of Sass & Veracity and Ben of What’s Cooking) hosting this month, but they had chosen a recipe I’d always wanted to try – DANISH. Seriously, when you get a good Danish, is there anything better? Buttery layers, soft and gooey and always filled with GOOD STUFF!

So lemme tell ya’ll.. I’m sure you’ve seen quite a few Daring Baker challenge posts already today and some of you might even be a lil a-scared. Well don’t be. And I’m going to tell you why. I beat the ever-lovin’ shit out of this dough and it STILL gave me a flakey, buttery, delicious end product. Seriously.

Lil Apple Danish Lil Apple Danish with Coffee Glaze

A few of us got together a few weeks ago to bake the braid.. and well, I was doing this and that and running here and there ultimately running out of time during the day to even shape, fill and proof my braid. So I had this rectangular slab of dough, chock full of fine European butter – what the hell do I do now? The gals suggested I go ahead and freeze it until I was ready to bake. And that I did.. so there’s the first injustice (INJUSTICE NO. 1!) committed against my dough.

And then the same bunch got together last Sunday to bake the garlic knots, so I decided I could take on the braid at the same time. HAR! I crack myself up! Like I can even walk and chew gum at the same time.. but I’m going to take on not one but TWO yeast breads at the same time? hahahahahahaa! They don’t call me the Queen of Dorks for nothin’ yanno?

INJUSTICE NO. 2 – someone who cared about her dough would have taken it out of the freezer the night before, placed it gently in the fridge and allowed it to slowly thaw out over night. Well I did care! But I’m a moron! I forgot to take it out of the freezer the night before so at 6 a.m. on Sunday morning I placed it on my counter. :P

How could ANYONE neglect that face???? *chomp* *chomp* I could eat him with a spoon!

Okay so garlic knot making ensued.. and it was fun and I chit chatted and behaved myself and showed off wedding photos of myself and Becks.. *cough* and then I excused myself from the chat so that I could give some attention to my son, Nigel, as he was acting as if he never gets any loving from ANYONE.. poor lil neglected puppy (yeah right). Mmm hmm.. ‘kay well I laid down on the sofa in our office and he hopped up and we played and cuddled and told each other that we loved each other and HELLO- next thing I knew? It was 3 hours later. I had fell asleep. Gah.

So my dough had sat out on the counter of my relatively warm kitchen for approximately SIX HOURS. Oops.. I believe we’ll present that as INJUSTICE NO. 3. *sigh*

Well as ya’ll can imagine after my nap, I couldn’t be bothered with the task of shaping, filling, proofing and baking my braid – so I threw it back in the fridge. May it please the court – INJUSTICE NO. 4!

Next morning.. I sheepishly peeked into my fridge fully expecting my dough to be bent over with cheeks spread giving me the full moon – but no.. it laid there obediently. So now I’m thinking that it’s being nice while in the fridge but when I try to roll it out, it’ll act up and be all sorts of bitchy – it’ll go all elastic on my ass.

Huh. It didn’t.

Apple Danish

I cut it in half and it rolled out nicely.. it stayed in place and didn’t shrink up on me.. it laid still while I filled it and cut the fringe for the braid – and it wasn’t even its fault that it looked so NOT like a braid when I was through (I managed that all by myself, thankyouverymuch). It didn’t rise all too much.. actually it was kinda more like a quasi-braided filled pancake than anything else, but again, I blame myself on that one – I don’t think I should have rolled it so thin.

Lil Apple Danishes

And the reason I blame myself is because after I cut out a dozen squares from the 2nd half of the dough and shaped them into hilarious looking single pastries, I had this huge honkin’ blob of scraps left-over. I was just picking it up to throw it away (INJUSTICE NO. 5!) when I realized that was an awful lot of expensive European butter to be throwin’ away so I said, “fakk it” and I rolled it all out again, grabbed a couple handfuls of brown sugar and dumped it down the middle, sprinkled on some cinnamon and then took about a ¼ c. of butter and threw lil blobs of it here and there – braided it all up and allowed it to proof. I got a nice puffy lookin’ braid by the time I was ready to bake.. after it came out of the oven I whipped up a quick glaze of powdered sugar and super strong coffee and drizzled it all over the top. it was flippin’ gorgeous. I was shocked!!!

Cinnamon Danish with Coffee Glaze

Soon it was time for the first taste and I shite you not, kids! It was HEAVENLY – the best out of the 3 uses of this dough. And it was a MISTAKE! hahahahahahaa! Damn.

But keep in mind, although rather flat – the first braid was buttery and flakey and tasted wonderful. The lil pastries were actually quite cute and they turned out very flakey.. and then the cinnamon braid was stupendous – after all of the bad, bad things I’d done to this dough, it still kicked some arse! So if mine turned out this well.. you have no excuse not to try it yourselves!

Cinnamon Danish with Coffee Glaze

Now think about this.. you’ll get through the whole procedure without any injustices to your dough, because ya’ll are way more talented than I am. Imagine how much more fabulous yours will turn out! Now that’s my kinda dough! :)

Cinnamon Danish with Coffee Glaze

Start clickin’ on that blogroll.. you’ll find more than enough AWESOME posts to inspire you to make your own Danish Braid before the month is over… :)


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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Garlic Knots with Girth

I had a play-date this past Sunday.. It was with a bunch of my best baking friends, also known as the Bakeanistas. Which is funny all by itself.. we’ve been dubbed the Bakeanistas as if we’re some kind of group or club, but it’s not like that – we’re just a bunch of friends who like to hang out on Skype and bake while gossiping, chatting and pretty much making asses of ourselves.

Good times.. good times..

This round of baking was all about garlic knots and gutter minds. And interesting combination, don’t you think? This month’s gang was made up of moi, Sara, Mary, John, Marce, Chris, Helene, Kelly and Tanna. Unfortunately, Ivonne, Laura, Ben, and Stephanie couldn’t join us.. and they were missed.

But the rest of these ladies.. holy schnikeys, kids.. what a bunch of dirty birds! Why, I was simply shocked and appalled by their behavior! My virgin ears and eyes will NEVER be the same! Jebus, I look over there and there’s one of ‘em talking about the wine (at 10 in the morning) and the girth of the wine pourer! Over here is another one talking about the girth of the boy toy! Right in front of me there is yet another one spouting off about house hold chores performed by their hubby and how she’s going to feel the girth when she pays back the favor.. I mean.. MYGOD. Buncha hussies, I tell ya.

And then there’s me.. sitting there just watching it all, my jaw firmly placed in my lap.. my eyes as big as saucers.. silently praying for my mommy.. it was just shocking. SHOCKING. Well as politely as I could, I excused myself from the group to make the dough for my garlic knots.

Butterhorn Garlic Knots

Mary, our resident bread guru, found another yummy recipe from the fine folks at King Arthur Flour - this time it was Soft Garlic Knots. Although they looked extremely yummable, as we were talking about them, I mentioned that there is an absolutely HORRIBLE little Italian restaurant here in town where the food SUCKS but their garlic knots are TO DIE FOR. How they could strike pure gold with these lil garlicky knots of crispy and soft dough baked to perfection and then strike out so horribly with the rest of their menu, I have no idea.. but that's neither here nor there.. what matters is, while describing them to Mary, she recalled a recipe that she thought would be almost identical to the restaurant's knots.. so I decided to forego KA this time, and go with Bon Appetit's (Saveur) Butterhorn recipe.

Everything went really well.. and my dough more than doubled in volume on that first rise.. I punched it down and gave it a few turns, then let it rise again.. then it was time to shape dough balls into knots and although they were very lovely in their poofiness, even though I couldn’t get them to brown – wondering if I should have given them an egg wash before baking? Unfortunately they were nothing like the restaurant’s garlic knots. For what they were though, they were okay. I wasn’t a big fan of the texture.. kinda biscuit-y.. I’m not a biscuit fan, obviously. But Hubbs loved them so they sure won’t go to waste!

Butterhorn Garlic Knots
Believe it or not.. that's a baked knot (slathered in garlic butter) :P

The rest of the baking session went from bad to worse.. so being the good and prim lady that I am, I excused myself for the rest of the day as I had my sister coming over for birthday dinner and I wanted to be able to function rather than have my brain rot out from reading their filthiness.. I just thank the baby Jebus that I don’t act the way they do.. sheesh.

Okay so maybe this post hasn’t been exactly fair to my cohorts of the kitchen.. my friends.. perhaps I’ve been a little harsh in my reaction to their online shenanigans. But.. well.. they insulted me! Can you believe that?? I’m deeply hurt over what happened and maybe I’ve let that pollute this post.. Dear Readers? (I’m so Stephen King) You help me decide, okay? I sent them all a few lovely photos the next evening.. tasteful photos, I might add. One of which was one of my wedding photos. They all LAUGHED! Now seriously, can you understand why I might be a little miffed? *sniff*

Here.. take a look for yourselves..


What?? What THE HELL is so fakkin funny??????

Screw this. I’m going to go find comfort in my Becks’ arms.. he always seems to make me feel better.



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Friday, June 20, 2008

Public Service Announcement...

This has nothing to do with cooking light.. this has has nothing to do with food at all, BUT...


Okay ... if the urge ever strikes you to see The Happening with Mark Wahlberg.. find yourself a buzzin' bee hive.. then stick your hand in it and grab some bees.. don't worry about the stinging, the pain will go away eventually.. next, take that handful of live bees and start eating them. Truly, your experience will be much more pleasant that sitting through that gawd awful fucking movie. I feel like writing Wahlberg and demanding my $6.25 back (personally delivered to me wearing nothing but his Calvins, of course)


M. Night Shyamalang-a-ding-dong needs to hang it up. OHMYGOD I am TRAUMATIZED. I have seen many a bad movie.. but this one takes the cake.

To put it into perspective - The Happening is WORSE than THE VILLAGE.

*hold me*



Monday, June 16, 2008

Eating Light and FoodieView!

Hey kids..

Just in case ya'll (and by ya'll I mean the 2 of you who still check in to my desolate blog space) have been wondering what I've NOT been eating.. and also some delish light desserts that I HAVE been eating - check out FoodieView for a lil update on my slowly fading hips. :D


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