Baking PSA

As the days get shorter and weekends get busier it is getting harder to pull this off.  Not to mention the requisite gingerbread cookies, pies and cinnamon buns that are using up the calories and ingredients available this season. So I’m taking a blog break.  I will return for such weird recipes as Spanish Windtortte and the dreaded Tennis cake but until then enjoy your holidays and bake on! Jess

Bonjour Baguettes

I went to France once, for about 4 hours.  After University I went to visit my friend living in Ireland and on my way there I spent a week in England to see the sights.  I took day trips to Bath and Scotland and saw things I had read about for years. I had a tour booked to go to Paris to see Versailles and the Eiffel tower.  I studied history in University and was particularly interest in the French revolution so I was extra excited for my visit to France.  So excited in fact that when I missed the 4 am departure of the tour I immediately booked another round trip ticket to Paris.  It cost a fortune! I arrived in Paris a scared 20 year old with not even passable French and my epic journey to see the sights ended up featuring the train station, the souvenir shops inside the train station and a frightening walk outside of the train station where I was yelled at.  This lead to an email to my family later that day titled “Paris isn’t that great”.  Paris is probably amazing but all I can think of now is that I could have eaten a baguette in Paris but I chickened out!

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Arlettes – pin wheels of yum!

Arlette, mother of William the Conqueror or delicious cookie. While looking around the internet trying to find out exactly what I was about to bake I stumbled across a list of famous Arlettes but not a lot of cookies. The best I could find was that Arlettes are a variation on the Palmier, another puff pastry cookie. Palmiers are named after palm trees and pigs ears, not things I usually group together. Arlettes just seem to be their own thing, no plant or animal name sake. I did read that Arlettes are sometimes served with icecream, which brings me to my big revelation. The Arlette ice-cream sandwich!! Move over macaron, beat it dark chocolate-esk cookie, make room for the Arlette! I’m on to something here I know it!

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Mary’s frosted walnut layer cake

Hello series 6!  I’m in the home stretch.  In my mind Bake Off ended with the departure of Mary, Mel and Sue so I am working for series 7.  Don’t get me wrong I still watched the latest series and I didn’t hate the new hosts but is it really Bake Off without the Mary Berry?  Plus what is going on with Paul’s tan? I just can support his blatant disregard for SPF.  And with that I am embarking on the last of just 20 technical bakes. Did I say just 20? I have lost my mind. Luckily sanity is not a requirement for baking.

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One thing I love about the Great British Bake Off is it has exposed me to so many desserts for all over Eroupe.  At the beginning I thought they would stay close to home with the Victoria Sandwich and Cornish Pasty. But as the series progress I have got to spend time on recipes from France, Sweeden and quite often Germany. I’ve never been lucky enough to visit Germany (beyond a layover in the Munich airport), but based on GBBO it is worth a stop for their desserts alone. Sadly after I post this bake I will never be welcome in Germany again.

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In my family, Christmas morning is not complete without cinnamon buns.  It doesn’t matter what kind of cinnamon buns, we will eat Pillsbury, homemade or the ones that come in those clear plastic containers from the grocery store.  There was one Christmas where my husband, who was not built to survive on butter and sugar alone, got all kinds of hangry when it had been several hours and all we had eaten was glorious cinnamon buns.  Based on my limited reading about the Povitica I have learned that like my cinnamon buns it is a traditional Christmas bread in Eastern Europe. Sounds like my kind of bake!

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Kouign amann

There was a time in my life when laminating meant sandwiching a very important piece of paper between two sheets of plastic and heat sealing them together.  This often took place in a library and would result in every unsuspecting piece of paper receiving a glossy plastic shell.  I blame the weird melting plastic fumes.  Thankfully my life has brought me to a place where lamination means butter, flour and in very lucky cases sugar.  Kouign amann has all the elements of delicious lamination and I think it would taste even better if eaten in a library, just enjoy it away from the laminator fumes.

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