Tuesdays With Dorie: The Rugelach that Won Over France

 

 

 

 

 

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I have a thing for mini chocolate chips.

Specifically, Ghirardelli mini chocolate chips.

They’re not easy to find, but I’ve lucked out at the Ghirardelli Outlet Store (a chocolate wonderland I pass on trips to my parents’ house in Michigan), Meijer stores (where I shop when I visit my parents), and now, Woodlake Market (a gourmet-ish grocery store I visit occasionally).

These chips have the right balance of sweet and bitter, and hold their tiny, cute shape in baked goods.

They were perfect in this week’s recipe, Rugelach. The chips nestled in with the other filling ingredients (sweetened coconut, toasted pecans, and chopped dried cherries), sticking inside the faux puff pastry (made with cream cheese and butter).

I love that these treats are only lightly sweet, a pleasant change from typical holiday baking. And their diminutive size is at once charming and dangerous. My husband offered threatened asked if he could eat the entire batch.

Dorie suggests filling the dough with any number of sweet or savory fillings. I’m eager to try a savory version with hot chili pepper jelly tucked away in our pantry. These might be the perfect food to cheer on the Auburn Tigers as they take on the Wisconsin Badgers on New Year’s Day. I may live in the Badger State, but I spent six years (and much student loan money) earning my PhD from Auburn, so I cheer “War Eagle” instead of “Go Bucky”!

 

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Head over to our group blog, Tuesdays With Dorie, to find the list of bloggers who baked these delightful treats.

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Tuesdays with Dorie: Palets de Dames

IMG_0020_2Late August 2008, one year into working at my still-new job, living in a still-new state, I joined Tuesdays with Dorie (TWD). The baking blog community comforted me and kept me company during a lonely time of adjustment to said new life. I remember weekend baking binges and Tuesday evenings sifting through photos and finding words and stories to create blog posts about cookies, cakes, tarts, and puddings. I wrote my last TWD post in November of 2011, a time of busy happiness, of wedding planning and professional milestones.

I return to the kitchen, dust off Blossom (my pink KitchenAid mixer), tie my apron strings, practice my minimal French and start Baking Chez Moi. I fill this new blog space with stories, photos, and deliciousness. I find my way back to the art and craft of baking, and, more importantly, writing. (You can read my previous baking adventures at bliss: towards a delicious life).

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Last Saturday, after helping friends harvest the last leafy greens from their garden before the coming cold, I cracked open Baking Chez Moi and studied the first recipe for the baking group: Palets de Dames. I mixed together the dough and tucked it in the refrigerator to chill. On Sunday morning, I boarded the poetically named Hiawatha Express from Milwaukee to Chicago, where I met my mom, who traveled via a less-poetically named train from Michigan for a quick overnight visit. Our destination: The Spice House.

I was going to meet Dorie.

I’m a proud bibliophile who devours books, particularly fiction, non-stop. I’ve met many authors at bookstore readings, academic conferences, and University lectures. But I’ve never been quite as excited to meet an author. Most books feed my mind, and perhaps trigger an emotional response. Dorie’s books have quite literally fed me and my loved ones on occasions as diverse as ordinary weekdays and once-in-a-lifetime weddings.

Mom and I arrived at the SIMG_0025_2pice House at dusk, and joined the crowd inside the cozy shop. Within minutes we were sipping Korbel sparkling wine and eating Chocolate Linzer Cookies and Vanilla Sables and assorted truffles as we waited to see Dorie. And then there we were, and she was every bit as charming and approachable as I had imagined. We chatted and she signed my book, posed for photos, and kissed my cheek. This forty-year old woman was having a serious fangirl moment.

Dorie spoke to the crowd about her process writing the book and her editor’s insistence on a macaron recipe. As she spoke of her recipe testing and commiserating with fellow culinary genius Pierre Hermé, I drifted back to my trip to Paris in 2010. I remembered all of the sweet treats I savored from Pierre Hermé and Ladurée and Poilâne. I thought of the bag of almond flour nestled in my cupboard, purchased this Summer when I dreamed of macaron.IMG_0021_2

As I pull these stories together, I think of my mom, who baked oatmeal chocolate chip cookies throughout my childhood. Who always baked homemade birthday cakes–and still bakes a multi-layer German chocolate cake in early March every year . Cooking and baking, languages of love.

I think of my grandma, who gave me Baking: From My Home to Yours, the original Tuesdays with Dorie master text. My grandma, who signed up for the University sponsored ten-day trip to Paris I co-lead, and willingly accompanied me to every chocolate shop and patisserie on my must-visit list our last day in the city.

I think of the cookbook authors and fellow bloggers who have shaped my culinary journey from tentative cook to confident, creative innovator, eager to keep learning.

My small kitchen contains multitudes.

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Palets de Dames satisfy with subtle sweetness and softness, and promise to be a favorite of my husband Gregg’s–he prefers soft cookies, while I crave a bit of crunch or chewiness. These delicate and simple cookies pair beautifully with a cup of darjeeling on a cold November evening, and are a snap to make, especially when you have the dough chilling in the fridge.  IMG_0029_2