Tuesday, March 20, 2012

TWD- Irish Soda Bread

This was a nice easy recipe after the all-day affair with rugelach.  I have always liked Irish soda bread and am always a little puzzled how this can be such a great bread despite its lack of yeast.  On Mondays I work from home, so I didn't even start on this bread until lunch time on Monday.  I even had to go to the store to get buttermilk and still had time to make the bread during my lunch hour.  That worked out well because about the time it came out of the oven I had the mid afternoon munchies.  I couldn't wait till it cooled completely as instructed in the book, but I thought it was mighty good still warm.  When I saw the caution that this would be hard as a rock the next day, I felt free to eat quite a few pieces to spare the bread a death in the trash can.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

TWD - Rugelach (and a pencil skirt)

When I was leaving work on Friday, several co-workers asked "big plans for the weekend?" 
"Yes" I said, "I'm making rugelach and a pencil skirt."  They gave me that kind of look you save for crazy cat ladies.  Despite their looks of "she has no life" I was rather excited because save one soccer game, I had nothing else on the agenda for the weekend.  So Saturday I devoted to making the pencil skirt (I'm new to sewing, so this was an all day project).  And Sunday was rugelach day which also turned out to be an all day project. I should have done like Mom and worked on the rugelach in stages because by the end of Sunday I was over rugelach and wanted nothing more to do with it.  But on Monday morning, when all the dirty dishes were put away and I was at my desk with a big mug of coffee, I was so in love with rugelach I wanted to marry it.

I used the Baking with Julia recipe for the apricot lekvar and found that easy enough, but found it made a little over 2 cups instead of the 3/4 cup it said in the book.  I also found the dough easy to roll out into the rectangle.  The real challenge of course was stuffing it and then jelly rolling it with all the ingredients.  I used chopped dried figs, raisins and chocolate chips for my fillings.  My first batch in the oven was a real mess.  They split apart and were oozing all over my Silpat.  By the second batch I figured out to work quicker to keep the dough cold and then pinched the seams back together.  This seemed to yield a prettier cookie.  Of  the three kinds, my husband and my favorite were the fig ones.  My daughter liked the chocolate ones the best. 

Mom and I are already scheming on how to make these again, but streamline the process a little.  We are thinking of taking what we like of this recipe and combining it with Smitten Kitchen/Martha Stewarts' recipe. 

And the pencil skirt? I'm hoping it's done by the time I make Irish soda bread for the next TWD!