Monday, March 1, 2010

Go Canada Go

This month's DB challenge, Tiramisu, wasn't really a challenge to make because while multi-step and somewhat time consuming, each step was easy itself. But that doesn't detract from how great this month's recipe was. It was quite a revelation on how easy it was to make mascarpone cheese and at a fraction of the cost to buy it from the grocery store. The same thing can be said for the lady fingers and they tasted so much better and fresher than their store bought counterparts. I won't be buying either of these again!

I had always stayed away from Tiramisu because I don't like (hate!) coffee flavoured desserts. But thanks to the many wonderful flavour combinations of other DBers posted on our forum, I realized that of course you could maintain the integrity of the dessert while playing with some of its components and flavours. I've got to get out of my "in the box" thinking....why I didn't think to experiment with flavour before is beyond me!

Although, truth be told, I wasn't that adventurous this time around because I've been determined to use things in my pantry before hitting the grocery store yet again. Since I still had some wonderful strawberry sauce and simple syrup made from last summer's amazing local berries, I had to make yet another strawberry dessert! I'm kind of tired of posting about strawberry challenges but my guests were not disappointed in eating this latest version. And of course it was very patriotic in its colours as we cheered on Canada to many gold medals over the weekend!!!

Since I don't tend to like serving was looks just like pudding to guests (don't want them to think that I didn't make an effort), I decided to layer the Tiramisu as suggested in the challenge. I took the advice of other DBers and froze it until about 1/2 hour before serving, cut it and placed in the fridge until ready to use. The slices came out cleanly, but there really wasn't the amount of cream that I thought and of course the strawberries were frozen and tasteless. Doh!! So, I took a picture of the layered dessert but then cut it up into cubes, added more strawberry sauce, whipcream and berries to fill out the glass bowls and put it in the fridge to defrost. What a huge hit. Bowls were scraped clean.

Thanks to Deeba and Aparna for a fantastic challenge.

The February 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen and Deeba of Passionate About Baking. They chose Tiramisu as the challenge for the month. Their challenge recipe is based on recipes from The Washington Post, Cordon Bleu at Home and Baking Obsession.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Olympic Champion of Squares

There's a new super hero in our house and his name is Muk Muk - official Olympic sidekick. Now don't get me started on why the Olympic organizing committee felt a need to differentiate between Olympic mascots (Sumi, Quatchi and Miga) and their sidekick Muk Muk. It has just resulted, as far as I can see, in less merchandise with Muk Muk on it which was a problem in our house when the top three requests on Santa's list were Muk Muk items! But we were dauntless in our search and in the end there were very happy kids on Christmas day with Muk Muk merchandise/clothing aplenty.

So when making this month's DB challenge, the quintessential Canadian Nanaimo Bars, it was only fitting that Muk Muk figured into the photo session. Here he is on top of his Nanaimo podium enjoying his moment in the sun. Every marmot has his day!

The January 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Lauren of Celiac Teen. Lauren chose Gluten-Free Graham Wafers and Nanaimo Bars as the challenge for the month. The sources she based her recipe on are 101 Cookbooks and

Most members have noted that the bar is decadent and it is, but not sickeningly so. It is the perfect blend of chocolate, creamy custard and fudgy base. Easy to put together and slice, minimal cooking effort and maximum flavour. I did have problems with my chocolate seizing, and I have to admit that I was too lazy to start again to get a better looking result since it tasted fine. So I lost gold medal points for execution but everyone gave it a first place finish for taste. Head over to the DB website for the recipe so you have a batch to eat while enjoying the sportsmanship of the 2010 Olympics. Go Canada Go!