Baked Sunday Mornings: Mississippi Mud Pie (A), aka Coffee Ice Cream Tart

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I have never made (or eaten?!) a Mississippi Mud Pie before and was a little unsure how to approach it. I wasn’t 100% sure what a chocolate wafer cookie was, and the cookie aisle at my local grocery store is not usually one I usually spend a lot of time on. I briefly considered my store bought options then began to think about my homemade ones.

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I realized this could be the perfect time to combine the recipes and techniques of some of my favorite pastry chefs. I was a bit baffled by the crumb section of the Milk Bar cookbook initially but after making a few of the recipes I realized how great it is. You can eat the chunky crumbs alone by the handful, sprinkle them on ice cream, mix them into bars or cookies, use them to plate desserts or make a pie crust with them.

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I’ve been flipping through the Bouchon cookbook again and saw their take on Oreos and that is what I decided to make my crust with.

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It was really quick to mix up the dough in the food processor. I scooped it out when it was still a bit clumpy/crumbly and sprinkled it on a cookie sheet and baked at 350 for about 20 minutes, until the crumbles felt dry and firm but not rock-hard.

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Once I had my crumbs the crust was all set, one batch of TKO dough was too much, but I plan on using the leftovers for something else later. If I had planned on making just the crust I could have halved it and had plenty.

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I loved how deep and dark the dough was–it was barely sweet and rich and a bit salty. I personally love the addition of a good amount of salt in sweet desserts, especially since I knew this one would end up being really sweet with all the other layers.

But if someone didn’t like that then this cookie would definitely be too salty for them. I let the crust chill overnight and made the fudge the next day.

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While the fudge layer chilled I made the coffee ice cream. I was getting anxious to try the pie already so I was tempted to just go buy a pint of coffee ice cream.

But I’ve never made coffee ice cream before and Matt’s recipe looked straightforward and I had all the ingredients so I made up the custard and chilled it for an hour in the fridge then an hour in the freezer instead of four hours in the fridge.

Four hours is a long time to wait when you are trying to get to the eating part of a tasty pie!

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The recipe made the perfect amount for the pie. I was a little bummed to not have any leftover (to sprinkle cookies on?) 😉 but it was pretty satisfying to see all the ice cream hanging out in the pie, ready for the pecans and the final layer of boozy fudge.

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I didn’t toast the pecans first, I just used them straight out of the bag. I had the oven pre-heating then figured I’d just jump to the topping instead and tossed the chopped pecans on top of the ice cream and smooshed them in slightly with the back of a wooden spoon.

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I was really excited about the pie and couldn’t wait to taste it. After all the layers I had made over several days I wasn’t too concerned with how my final product looked. When I cut it the first time the ice cream was a bit soft, but I kind of like it better that way.

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Of course the next day when I had a piece it was firm and easier to cut. (the top picture was from day 2)

I will definitely make this again! It would be the perfect thing to make for a summer birthday for a grownup friend. I did give my boys a bite, but even though they have a summer birthday they always request cake instead of pie.

Go by and see how all my fellow bakers’ pies look!!

Baked Sunday Mornings: Chocolate Malted Madeleines

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When my last baby was first born my husband got a job as the executive chef for a French restaurant. I helped him choose desserts for the initial menu even though, to be perfectly honest French baking intimidates me. (stop staring at me, Bouchon Bakery coobook!)

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I always intended to buy a madeleine pan and give them a shot– I love their soft, spongey texture and delicate seashell scallops–but until this week I never got around to picking one up.

I found a mini madeleine pan at the Home Goods store near my house. I love malt and was really excited about this recipe.

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I started baking these while my boys had friends over for a play date. I figured I would make them a batch of regular basic chocolate chunk cookies while they played. The madeleine batter needs to rest for an hour so that time seemed like the perfect opportunity to whip up some kid-friendly treats.

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I completely discounted the fact that I normally use my weekly baking time as sort of a tasty meditation and having a houseful of kids underfoot in a thunderstorm is maybe not the most relaxing of environments.

But regardless, I was able to shove cookies into the hands of all the littles so I could check on my madeleine batter and get them in the oven. Since I had never made them before I definitely overfilled the pan on the first batch.

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They looked more like chocolate pillows than delicate seaside collectibles so I scaled wayyy back on the batter for the second batch. But the texture was right so I was still excited about them, and guess who doesn’t care about the shape of a cookie? Kids. They didn’t even glance at them before shoving them in their mouths.

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I got the batter amount right the second time and they came out of the oven looking cute and delicate.

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They looked even better when I dusted them with cocoa and malt powder. Despite the chaos going on at my house while I baked this week, I was really happy with the way these turned out.

And now that I have a pan I can try out some classic madeleines. My boys will be decidedly less excited about those since they are on a weird lemon-hating kick right now, but that’s ok. I’m happy to eat them up test them out.

After baking these I did some internet roaming and noticed that there is quite a bit of strong opinion about what constitutes the perfect madeleine.

The ‘hump’ is quite important and it seems you achieve this by first chilling the batter and/or the pans. I had remembered reading about chilling the pans in the Bouchon cookbook but I had no idea it was such a big deal. Interesting.

Side note: Had my middle boy been a girl his name would have been Madeleine. 🙂

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Go see how all my fellow bakers’ yummy tiny cakes turned out!

Next up: Mississippi Mud Pie aka Coffee Ice Cream Tart!!!

Baked Sunday Mornings: Cornmeal Griddle Cakes

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I was looking forward to making these all week. I had plans to surprise my honey with breakfast before I had to go to work for a bit.

My plans were thrown off first by my sweetie getting sick mid-week, then by a surprising and very weird tragedy that happened to my extended family on Friday.

I almost didn’t make these at all.

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I’m so glad I did take the time out for this project, I was a complete nervous wreck and pretty much just pacing around my house.

Cooking soothes my soul.

I had to slow down and breathe to measure, whisk and mix. Midway through the process (which I was taking my time with since Baby G was down for a nap) I felt stress and tension melt away.

As each element of the recipe came together I felt my thoughts slowing down for the first time all day.

I decide to give making my own butter a try, something I have always wanted to do but had put off because I thought it would be a pain.

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It was so hard to keep mixing the heavy cream after it became gorgeous, perfect whipped cream. I had already added vanilla and some lemon simple syrup (leftover from the candied lemon peel I made for the Lemon Drop cake) and it was heavenly. I bit the bullet and kept mixing.

I was surprised to hear sloshing in the mixing bowl!

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It made exactly one cup of buttermilk, enough for the griddlecakes!

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The cakes cooked up quickly and beautifully. The edges crisped up but the centers were fluffy and not at all gritty or heavy like I was imagining. They were perfect. Even my poor sick husband enjoyed them.

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I topped them with chopped pecans and maple syrup. The recipe made about ten, I used slightly more batter than 1/4 cup.

We at half of them and I’m freezing the other half for school day breakfast for my littles.

I would definitely make these again! (Even though some sizzling hot butter jumped out of the pan and burned my hand when I was cooking the last griddle cake!)

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Head on over for the recipe and to see how everyone else fared!

Baked Sunday Mornings: Alfajores

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I have never eaten an alfajor before, so I was excited to give these a shot. The preparation of the dough was pretty straightforward except there were two things that initially threw me.

1. One cup of corn starch! I’ve never used a cookie that uses corn starch I don’t think, especially not a full cup. But I sifted that right in there, interested in what it would do to the cookies.

2. Rum. Although I saw on a blog that you could optionally use apple cider. Those things seem quite different to me. I didn’t have rum or regular old cider hanging around but I did have some apple ale. I was drinking some as I baked so I just tossed a couple of tablespoons in there. I have no idea if that hurt anything or not, but I couldn’t taste it in either the dough or the finished cookie.

I took the dough out after chilling and rolled it out between two sheets of unfloured parchment paper. That didn’t work too well since the dough was a bit sticky. A bit of flour fixed that right up and they rolled out perfectly.

I was a little worried that I was rolling them too thin, but it seemed that I was getting the proper amount of cookies so I just went with it. Re-rolling the scraps was easy and the dough didn’t seem to be negatively affected by it. (i.e: changing texture)

I had never made dulce de leche before and definitely wanted to give it a shot. I ended up microwaving it instead of using the oven or stovetop method mostly because I recently got a new microwave. It was easy and at the end of the suggested cook time the filling seemed to be the right texture although the color was not a deep amber but more of a light golden brown.

I’m torn as to what to do next time. I may buy a can just to compare taste and texture but I may also try the oven method. I normally value making everything from scratch but dumping some sweetened condensed milk into a bowl and putting it in the microwave is not exactly upping my baking game.

I had planned on filling them the same night I baked them but I got interrupted when baby G woke up needing me. I covered the cookies and tossed the dulce de leche in the fridge.

Honestly, I was a bit disappointed when I went to bed. I tasted the warm cookies and they seemed ok–a hint of lemon from the added zest but I was convinced they were going to harden up overnight and become brittle and crispy.

I do not like crispy cookies.

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When I got up this morning I warmed the filling for a couple of minutes to bring it back up to room temp and started filling the cookies. The dulce de leche was a great consistency: slightly sticky but easy to spread and it went exactly where I wanted it to when I pressed the cookies together.

For some reason I had expected it to be somewhat drippy or hard to manage but it wasn’t at all. The only problem I had was that I filled them with wild abandon on the first half of the cookies then realized I wasn’t going to have enough for all of them and had to greatly reduce the amount of filling I put in the rest of the cookies.

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I sprinkled a bit of sea salt over the top of the caramel before putting the top half of the cookie on. There was a bit of salt added to the sweetened condensed milk to make the dulce de leche but I love a small burst of salt mixed with creamy sweet caramel.

It was quick to fill them all and I topped them with a dusting of sifted confectioners’ sugar. They were really pretty cookies: not super fancy since I used a plain round cookie cutter but still very tempting on the plate.

I was completely blown away when I tasted them. First you taste the candy sweetness of the powdered sugar followed by the faint lovely lemon flavor of the cookie and then the slightly salty creamy- sweet caramel. The cookie is amazingly not crunchy or crumbly at all!! It is perfectly soft and delicate but it holds up to the dulce de leche perfectly.

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I am trying hard not to eat all of the 32 cookies I made but these are the most surprisingly addictive cookies I’ve made!

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Next up: cornmeal griddle cakes! Go over and see what everyone else made today!!