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Dorista Celebrations {ffwd}

Palets de Lille

Today is a day of many celebrations for French Fridays with Dorie. First of all, we’re celebrating Dorie Greenspan’s birthday! Next, we’re celebrating Dorie’s new book, out this month, Baking Chez Moi. And, finally, we’re celebrating four years of French Fridays as we move into the fifth and final year of cooking our way through Dorie’s book Around My French Table.

All of these reasons make it a special Friday for me: I love birthdays, especially mine, but I do love anybody’s birthday. I love cookbooks, having hundreds on the shelves (and the floor, and the counters, etc.). And I love my wonderful Dorista friends and being part of French Fridays.

How are we celebrating all these things? Well, we’re actually stepping outside the box for the day. Rather than making something selected from Around My French Table, we’re baking something from the new book, Baking Chez Moi, which comes out next week. There are several recipes from the book that are available on the internet, so we’re making a choice from those.

Stiff Batter

I decided to try Palets de Dames, Lille Style, an iced cakey sugar cookie. The stiff batter is mixed up in a stand mixer before chilling. Then you shape the cookies into small balls. The cookies spread quite a bit, ending up rather flat, so be sure to space them far apart. I baked one dozen at a time on a half sheet pan. For the first tray, I used my smallest cookie scoop, but they baked up into irregular shapes. For the remaining trays, I used the cookie scoop to approximate portioning, but rolled the dough into uniform balls between my hands. Even then, the cookies in the middle spread into nice circles while the ones on the edges were more oval. I think the baked cookies gave me a map of the unevenness inside my oven.

Ready to Bake Balls

Once the cookies cooled, I mixed up the simple sugar-milk icing. I didn’t have any milk, so used heavy cream instead. I had to use at least twice the amount of liquid called for to get the icing to the right consistency, perhaps because the cream was thicker than the milk.
Surprisingly, it is the flat side of the cookie, the bottom, that gets dipped into the icing, changing to the rounded top to the bottom, so they roll around a little bit on the plate. (From official photo of these cookies, it looks to me like they were done the opposite way.) For a festive touch, I sprinkled some of the cookies with some colored sugar.

While I prefer a crisper or chewier cookie, these are perfect with a celebratory cup of tea: light, not too sweet, and delicately pretty. If you’d like to try them yourself, you can find the recipe here.

So, happy birthday to you, Dorie, and congratulations on your newest book! I look forward to baking more recipes from it. And to my Dorista friends, here’s to another year together. It’s been quite the unexpected ride over the past four years.

To see what other delicious birthday treats were baked up this week, check out my Dorista friends below, or follow their links here.

Mini Cannelés

Chocolate Cream Puffs with Mascarpone Filling

Paletes de Dames, Lille Style

Brown Butter-Peach Tourte


Happy Birthday, Dorie!

Happy Birthday from Rachel to Dorie

In honor of Dorie Greenspan’s birthday today, the French Fridays crew is having a virtual birthday party. I love birthdays, anyone’s birthday! And who doesn’t like an excuse to celebrate?

This week, I’m visiting my sister for a couple days. My niece Rachel and I baked cupcakes for the occasion. Rachel, age 11, is an accomplished and enthusiastic cook. She’s been working on perfecting strawberry cupcakes so that’s what we made, in miniature. The cupcake batter has strawberry purée in it, giving it a lovely light pink hue. Rachel likes to frost them with whipped cream and top them with a strawberry, like a strawberry shortcake in cupcake form.

Rachel Sifting

Rachel Sifting

Ready for Baking

Ready for Baking

Everyone got in the act. My sister Jennifer was in charge of piping the whipped cream. It looked very professional.

Jennifer Piping Whipped Cream Frosting

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DORIE, from Betsy and Rachel! We hope you have a fabulous day!

Rachel’s Strawberry CupcakesMakes 2 dozen mini cupcakes plus a few regular sized ones

2/3 cup whole fresh or frozen (thawed) strawberries
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup milk, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
2 large egg whites, at room temperature

Whipped cream
24-30 fresh strawberries, for garnishing the cupcakes

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a mini-muffin tin (with 24 muffins) with cupcake lines and set aside.

Puree strawberries in a food processor. Measure out 1/3 cup of puree. Mix the puree in a small bowl with the milk and vanilla. In a medium bowl, whisk together sifted flour, baking powder and salt.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat until well combined and fluffy. Reduce speed and slowly add egg and egg whites until just blended.

With the mixer on low, slowly add half the flour mixture, mixing until just blended. Add the strawberry mixture; mix until just blended. Add the remaining flour mixture, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed, until just blended.

Divide the batter between the muffin cups, filling just 2/3 full. If there is extra, make a few full-sized cupcakes. Transfer the muffin tin to the oven, and bake until the tops are just dry to the touch (and the inside of the cake is cooked). For mini-cupcakes, bake for 15-20 minutes. For full-sized, bake 22-25 minutes. Transfer muffin tin to a wire rack and cool completely before icing.

When cooled, ice with whipped cream and top with half a strawberry. Enjoy!