Dom's theme for this month's Random Recipes is "my new cookbook", and the book I've chosen has been my new cookbook for five months! So it's definitely about time I took it off the shelf and started actually using it.
Ever since I started reading food blogs, I've been aware of the Tuesdays with Dorie group, who bake from Dorie Greenspan's universally adored book Baking From My Home to Yours. Every Tuesday I would drool over that week's offerings on all the blogs I subscribed to in Google Reader, and for ages I longed for my own copy of the book.
Last Christmas, my lovely in-laws obliged, and I found a copy hiding under the Christmas tree. To say I was excited would be putting it mildly.
And ever since, I've been carrying the book around with me, reading it in bed, peering at the photos with my useless, dim little booklight while my poor husband is trying to sleep. But I never, ever made any of the recipes, and I've no idea why. Perhaps it was because of my hatred of cup measurements, maybe it was because there was so much to bake that I didn't know where to start. I don't know.
Anyway, enough. Even after all these months I still consider it my new cookbook, so this week it's taken pride of place on my little green cookbook stand and I've made not one but TWO recipes!
First I made Dorie's Lennox Almond Biscotti. I adore biscotti, but for some reason I've never made it myself. Now I have, and I will definitely do it again. The recipe uses polenta, which is unusual and gives it a lovely crunch without breaking your teeth like a lot of biscotti. I found some candied peel in the cupboard that was left over from making Christmas cakes, so threw that in and it was a nice addition. Next time I'll use some different nuts, perhaps pistachios. I love a recipe that's easily adaptable.
Then the other day I had a raging need for a brownie (in fact it was a post-migraine sugar craving - does anyone else get this?) so I had a go at Dorie's Classic Brownies. Now I have made a lot of brownies in my time, I've posted at least two different recipes on my blog and there are countless others from before the blog existed or that I haven't bothered posting because they were nothing special.
This one IS special. Very very special, and honestly this one recipe alone is worth buying the book for. The recipe calls for walnuts, but in the absence of walnuts I used macadamias and it was fabulous. Then yesterday I wanted another batch but had hardly any plain chocolate left, so I made it with mostly milk chocolate and pecan nuts, and you know what? That was fabulous too. I almost wish I hadn't discovered the recipe because I can see myself gaining a LOT of weight just by eating mountains of these.
Even after trying these two recipes, it still feels like a new cookbook. It's huge, and it'll take me years to get through it all. But I'll definitely be plodding through it one cookie, cake or scone at a time!
Dorie's Classic Brownie Recipe
2 1/2 oz butter
4 oz plain chocolate
2 oz milk chocolate
3/4 cup caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp instant espresso powder (Kenco do a nice one)
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup plain flour
1 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Line an 8" square tin with parchment.
Melt the butter and chocolate together. Whisk in the sugar (it will go grainy, and look almost as if the chocolate has seized, this is normal). Whisk in the eggs one at a time, followed by the vanilla and espresso powder. Fold in the flour, salt and chopped nuts.
Pour into the tin and smooth the surface. Bake for 30 to 33 minutes (it takes 30 exactly in my oven) until the top is dull and a skewer comes out clean. Sit the tin on a wire rack and let the brownies cool. Turn out, peel away the parchment, turn back the right way up on a board and cut into squares.
These are amazing with vanilla ice cream! And that's another recipe I'll be sharing very soon, because I might, just maybe, have bought myself another new toy...