Monday, August 08, 2005

Baker Madness

With all the baking I've been doing lately, you wouldn't believe it's summer, would you? I don't even have an air-conditioned house to make turning on a hot oven a non-issue.

It's Baker Madness, folks... and I'm just that mad.

Saturday morning I tried out the scone recipe and variation I'd had in my mind. I had come across Orangette's entry on triple chocolate scones and knew I needed to try them, but I added my own little twist of freshly grated orange peel and a hint of Fiori di Sicilia to brighten the dark intensity of the chocolate. (I also left off the chocolate ganache; I have my limits.)

Chocolate as a flavor harmonizes so beautifully with so many other flavors, but one of my favorite combinations has to be dark chocolate with orange. The scones turned out satisfyingly tender and flavorful, although next time I really do want to use candied orange peel (of which I have a serious shortage) or even orangettes, chocolate-covered orange peel, for a more powerful hit of orange and a nice contrast in texture.

Next time!

On Sunday evening, I decided I needed to have a little something on hand for desserts throughout the week, and since I had not processed the half-pint jar of spiced peach butter with the other jars and needed to use it quickly, I decided to make a new variation on the blueberry-date bars I made a couple of weeks ago.

Since the peach butter was a thinner filling than the dates and berries, I decided to bake the base a little bit first, and that ended up making the shortbread base (loaded with pecans, cinnamon, and cardamom) an almost praline confection that made the perfect accompaniment to the juicy peach filling. I'm not sure I could do it again that perfectly if I tried!

Aside from the sweet treats, I also made a half batch of lavash crackers, for which I'm sure Phoenix will berate me soundly when she returns as there won't be any left for her. Ooops.

And you know, I don't think this baking madness will pass anytime soon.

I have more ideas... stay tuned.


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