French Fridays with Dorie: My Go-to Beef Daube AND Speculoos

I skipped last week. But I didn’t work this week, so I made the last two December recipes for French Fridays with Dorie: My Go-to Beef Daube and Speculoos.

I’ll be honest here. As hard as I try, I’m just not a big fan of stewed beef. Recently, my sister made a beef stew that was surprisingly good (to me). I know her stew was good because she is an excellent cook, but I was surprised I liked it because it’s not a dish I usually enjoy. So when I found the Beef Daube recipe on the list for December, I was inspired to try it.

The Raw Ingredients for Beef Daube

The beef daube was appropriately hearty fare for winter. I’m not sure what cut of meat actually I used. I had two bags of “meat for stew” from our CSA. As I’ve mentioned, we try not to use supermarket meat at home. Every other month, we get 10 pounds of assorted meats (beef, pork, chicken, and, in season, lamb) from Chestnut Farm every other month and plan meals around that. The total weight of the two bags was only two pounds, so I added extra vegetables to fill in the volume. I doubled the carrots and parsnips and threw in two turnips.

I couldn’t find the recommended Central Coast Syrah (or any California Syrah) so opted for a Central Coast blend of grapes that I enjoy drinking. The bottle I picked included Cabernet Savignon, Barbera, and Petite Sirah, which is a completely different grape than Syrah but one of my all-time favorites to drink. Also, when removing the head of garlic from the pot at the end, I’ll admit that, being a fan of roasted garlic, I squeezed the tender cloves in, just discarding the papery wrapping. Yum! I served the daube with mashed potatoes, using the potato ricer for the second time (first time was for the potato topping when we made Hachis Parmentier).

My verdict? Low effort for an impressive result. If you are around for it to bake for several hours, the preparation was relatively quick. The meat was tender. The flavors were nice, and the extra root vegetables added an incredibly deep sweetness to the winy broth. However, I think that beef stew of any kind, French, my sister’s, or otherwise, is just never going to be my favorite meal.

Speculoos

The Speculoos were another story entirely. I would categorize myself as more of a cooker than a baker. I do bake and enjoy it, but tend towards simple, unelaborated choices. I was a little nervous to make these because others had written about difficulties rolling the dough and moving the cutout cookies to the pan so I procrastinated on these. In the end, these are definitely my favorite thing we’ve made so far!

In a recent review I read of some other cookbook, the writer mentioned that speculoos are the same as the cookie called “Biscoff” that they serve on Delta Airlines. I’ve always loved those cookies. The Speculoos were very similar, though the homemade ones were, of course, better.

Based on the experiences of other FFwDers, I made sure to remember to add the egg missing from the printed page. I also divide the dough into three so I would work with less at once. I chilled the dough overnight, just to be sure it was stiff enough. All these precautions worked in my favor. With the dough well-chilled, I had no issue moving the cookies from the counter to the cookie sheet. I found running an offset spatula under the dough after I cut out the cookies in place loosened them from the bottom piece of waxed paper without destroying the shape. Then I just moved them, still using that offset spatula.

The only error in judgment I made, and it wasn’t major, was using too big of a cookie cutter. On the first sheet I used a snowman shape which was probably twice as big as I really wanted. But I adjusted on the second and third sheets of dough, and the one I made with the scraps. That last one, I chilled overnight again and baked separately.

I actually loved pre-rolling the dough. I might try that with other rolled cookie recipes. That step brought rolled cookies into the same category of simplicity where I put icebox and bar cookies.

I LOVE these cookies. I had done some holiday baking to share with friends. It’s too bad I didn’t make this recipe until after I’d bundled up the packages. On the other hand, I’ve been slowly but steadily eating a few each day, savoring every crispy, sugary bite. They will definitely be part of my future repertoire, for the holidays or other times.

It’s hard to believe that 2010 will be over tonight. Times flies so quickly. It seems to pass even faster, the older I get. Here’s wishing everyone a happy and healthy New Year in 2011. I hope that yours will be filled with new adventures and delights. I have a milestone birthday and wedding anniversary to celebrate later in 2011. Who knows what other unexpected pleasures the year will bring? I can’t wait to find out.

Happy New Year!

P.S. As always, you can check out what other bloggers are doing with Dorie’s recipes at French Fridays with Dorie. Maybe you’ll be inspired to join the fun!

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Posted on 31 December 2010, in French Fridays with Dorie and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 15 Comments.

  1. I’m sorry that I didn’t make the speculoos because everyone loves them! (I think I will, though…). And though I love beef stew, I don’t seem to like winy beef stews…so I guess I’ll never be French. :)

    Thanks for visiting my blog (I appreciate it) and I’m looking forward to cooking with you in the months to come. Happy New Year!

  2. I squeezed that delicious garlic in at the end as well. Who could resist?

    I have a batch of speculoos in the fridge for later. They may be my new favorite cookie. Too bad the snowmen were too big, they look cute.

  3. Nice write up! I was a bigger fan of the daube than you were (I even made Dorie’s boeuf a la mode, which is very similar to daube but made with a whole roast). And I liked the speculoos about as much as you did. They were so good!

    Happy new year!!

  4. Lovely write up! Sounds like your cookies were a big hit and probably a good thing you made them after you finished your gifts…a nice little gift for yourself! I’m glad you tried the stew, even if it isn’t your favorite thing…you never know when you are going to find a true surprise in a new recipe! Happy New Year!!

  5. Way to go by posting two ffwD recipes! I love how your carrots look, and I think your cookies look so cute! It’s interesting to read that you consider yourself a cooker more than a baker because I’d feel the opposite about me! Happy New Year!

  6. Great looking food! I love the snow man cut outs!
    Happy New year..I hope 2011 is a good one for you and yours!!

  7. I agree, I love prerolling the cookie dough. It’s so much easier to cut out the shapes and clean up this way. I love the snow men. Happy New Year!

  8. Your cookies look perfect! I agree, these were one of the best Dorie recipes yet. I absolutely loved the combination of spices. I didn’t have any trouble rolling the dough either and will definitely make these tasty treats again. I have yet to try the beef daube. Happy New Year!

  9. Chilling the dough overnight does MUCH more than firm it up. It allows the spices to ‘bloom’ and makes for a better cookie. Even Choc Chip cookies are better if you do this. You have a lovely blog Betsy!
    Trevor Sis. Boom.

  10. Glad you had good results with the cookies. I’m somewhat nervous about rolled-out things.

  11. Your Speculoos look wonderful. I still have a rolled out batch of the dough left in the fridge, waiting for the holiday sugar rush to be over. I’m glad you liked the daube, even if beef stew isn’t your favourite. We are still enjoying ours. Happy New Year!

  12. hi. the “stew”looked delicious & hardy, the cookies also looked tasty. i don’t like rolling the dough but you make it seem easy. enjoy 2011 – it is hard to believe.

  13. The long chill time absolutely makes a difference in how the cookies structure. So, good thought.

    Glad you enjoyed the stew. The more vegetables in this stew, the better!

    Happy New Year.

  14. your soup looks fantastic! Perhaps I will throw in some
    turnips on my next go.

  15. I squeezed the garlic, too – no sense in wasting it:) Yes, this was a great dish that did not demand much attention and effort.
    I would love to find a CSA in our area that would send us meat. We try to buy our animal protein from the local Persian store (I befriended the butchers, and it is really worth it:)
    I did not make the cookies, but intend to, pretty soon. I was procrastinating, because I prefer cooking to baking, also.
    Happy New Year!

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