Tuesday, February 19, 2013

TWD -- Boca Negra, heaven on a plate!

A 6-inch cake slice using half the recipe
Oh my! How can anything so relatively easy to make be so delicious?  I think Boca Negra is my favorite recipe to date from the Baking with Julia cookbook.

I chose to use only half the recipe and bake the cake in a 6-inch pan since there are just two of us in our household. This worked great. And, bittersweet chocolate isn't available in our small town, so I substituted Baker's Unsweetened Chocolate. No problem.

I first made the white chocolate cream using the food processor. It took less than five minutes to accomplish, and I let this sit in the refrigerator over night.

The next day I mixed up the cake ingredients using the food processor. Again, this took all of about five minutes to accomplish. I wondered if the small amount of hot liquid comprised of bourbon and sugar would be enough to melt all that chocolate. No problem. The food processor accomplished this task without a problem. I then added the butter, eggs and flour and poured the mixture into a greased 6-inch cake pan, putting waxed paper on the bottom and greasing that with butter. Would this mixture stick without flouring the pan? I confess I worried about this during the 30 mintues the cake was baking. But, no problem. The cake easily slid out of the pan after running a knife around the edge. I then flipped it over onto a serving dish and let it cool about 20 minutes.

Then I cut into the cake, adding a generous dollop of the white chocoate cream. Heaven. I will make this dish again and again, particularly when we are entertaining. I shared some of the cake with friends and they loved it as well. This recipe will be hard to top!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

TWD -- January is Focaccia Month

The Baking with Julia Focaccia
January was my month for making focaccia. I am a volunteer at a bakery which supports a national Roman Catholic Shrine in Carey, OH. All proceeds from the bakery go toward the upkeep of the bascillica. During the month of January we made large batches of focacccia on two separate occasions. So, when I saw the Feb. 5 assignment with Baking with Julia was foccacia, I made mine on Jan. 30, making it Focaccia Month for me.

Interestingly enough, neither the bakery's method nor the Baking with Julia technique were what I normally do when left to my own devices. My favorite way to make focaccia is using Jeffery Hamelman's recipe in the book "Bread." His method uses a poolish and the resulting dough is very wet, similar to a ciabatta dough. I love the results using this method and often make this focaccia when asked to bring something for a potluck.

The bakery's method is to take our wildly popular pizza dough, let it rise once, pat it into full-sized bakery sheets using five pounds of dough per sheet, letting it rise again, then dimpling the dough with our fingers. We next slowly pour olive oil over the dough, then add rosemary, kosher salt, black pepper and garlic powder. The resulting product is probably an 1 1/2-2 inches in thickness.

Dough after slashing but before baking
The Baking with Julia recipe was intriguing because of the refrigeration step. I was curious to see if it did result in large holes as advertised. It did; now I'm wondering how. Would the holes have been even bigger had I let the dough rise a second time? I'd be curious to try this recipe again and use a second rise.

A portabella sandwich on focaccia
I thought slashing the dough in a tic-tac-toe design interesting, as I usually think of focaccia with dimpled dough. I was pleased with the results, but next time will make it a little thicker. I like focaccia for sandwiches, and this was a little short to slice in half.