Ben the Baker

Just a guy trying to get his kids to eat

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Archive for the ‘DB Challenge’ Category

Orange Tian (sort of) – March DB Challenge

Posted by osakaben41 on March 27, 2010

  It’s a strange thing, the places an idle mind will go.  I had every intention of sticking close to this months challenge recipe, but one thing leads to another and here we are.  The 2010 March Daring Baker’s challenge was hosted by Jennifer of Chocolate Shavings. She chose Orange Tian as the challenge for this month, a dessert based on a recipe from Alain Ducasse’s Cooking School in Paris.  

Read the rest of this entry »


Posted in Cookies, DB Challenge, Fruit, Ice Cream, Recipes | 10 Comments »

Hazelnut Tiramisu – DB’s September challenge

Posted by osakaben41 on February 27, 2010




Hazelnut Tiramisu with Cardamom-Caramel sauce and Kahlua Jelly


It’s that time again for another Daring Bakers entry.  This one holds a special place for me, as Tiramisu was the first dessert my wife and I made together (we were dating then).  You’re going to think this a made up story, but it was while spending a week in a Tuscan villa just south of Florence.  Lazy mornings reading the Herald Tribune while sipping cappuccinos in town.  spend half the day shopping for dinner, then back to the house to cook with family and friends.  Seems almost unfair to get a taste of retirement before even getting into a career, but I digress…

The February 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen and Deeba of Passionate About Baking. They chose Tiramisu as the challenge for the month. Their challenge recipe is based on recipes from The Washington Post, Cordon Bleu at Home and Baking Obsession.  (recipes as always, listed below)

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Posted in Chocolate, DB Challenge, Nuts, Recipes, Sauce | 8 Comments »

Nanaimo Bombe – DB January Challenge

Posted by osakaben41 on January 27, 2010

I missed the last two months of the DB’s for no better reason than just being too busy to catch up.  They put out some great Canolis in November and some stunning gingerbread houses in December.  I couldn’t stand to miss yet another challenge.

The January 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Lauren of Celiac Teen. Lauren chose Gluten-Free Graham Wafers and Nanaimo Bars as the challenge for the month. The sources she based her recipe on are 101 Cookbooks and

The general idea was to make gluten free Graham Crackers and then incorporate them into the cookie base of a Canadian Nanaimo Bar.  The bars themselves consist of a chocolate base, in this case with Walnuts, Graham Cracker pieces and Coconut, with a ‘custard’ (though some say it’s more like a buttercream) center, topped with melted chocolate, sliced and served cold, or at least they were in this case. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Chocolate, Cookies, DB Challenge, mousse, Recipes | 4 Comments »

Macaron Mania – October DB Challenge

Posted by osakaben41 on October 27, 2009


What a great challenge this month.  It have everything that makes the DBs worthwhile.  An excuse to bake something new, a whole world of technique to practice, and with just a cookie shell and filling to do, a fairly easy vehicle for playing with different flavors.  Beyond that though, this month really turned into a chance to think about the nature of creativity.

I’d love to say that the Lemon with Red Lentil/apple confit idea, inspired by this Nordljus post worked out, or that I had time to put together the Black Sesame/Drunken Cherry concept.  I’m going to have to wait a little longer to find somebody that wants to try David Leibovits’s Ketchup Macaron, or Pierre Herme’s Vanilla Olive Oil Mac.  In short, I just couldn’t keep up with all the great ideas out there, but more importantly was just plain unable to put a personal stamp on these.

The 2009 October Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Ami S. She chose macarons from Claudia Fleming’s The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern as the challenge recipe.

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Posted in Cookies, DB Challenge, Recipes | 11 Comments »

Vols-au-vent, DB September Challenge

Posted by osakaben41 on September 27, 2009


Baking Fail

Baking Fail

I’ll admit defeat this month, lick some wounds and gear up for next time.  If you can judge a cafe by its laminated dough, I’m not quitting my day job anytime soon.  But perhaps I should start this story at the beginning.

The September 2009 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Steph of A Whisk and a Spoon. She chose the French treat, Vols-au-Vent based on the Puff Pastry recipe by Michel Richard from the cookbook Baking With Julia by Dorie Greenspan.

In summary, we were to make puff pastry from scratch, shape it into a container, typically a cylinder, which is then filled with a savory or sweet stuffing.  Puff pastry, like any laminated dough consists of layers of butter and dough rolled into thin layers, such that when the butter melts, the steam released puffs up the thin layers of dough, resulting in an ethereal buttery flakiness.  Normally the challenge with this dough is to roll out and fold it as thin as can be without breaking through the layers.  Its a tricky thing, and when done right a wonder of engineering.  But like all things worth doing, all too easy to screw up. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in DB Challenge, dough, Pastry, Recipes, Savory | 5 Comments »

Dobos Torte, August DB Challenge

Posted by osakaben41 on August 27, 2009


I’ve been waiting awhile to be able to post this, but the rules are the rules, and they are clear: no revealing the monthly challenge until the 27th.  With that said, The August 2009 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Angela of A Spoonful of Sugar and Lorraine of Not Quite Nigella. They chose the spectacular Dobos Torte based on a recipe from Rick Rodgers’ cookbook Kaffeehaus:  Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Caffés of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague.

The challenge here was to get thin, thin, thin layers of cake consistent enough that the final stack doesn’t lean too much.  This proved more challenging that I expected, with a number of air bubbles making the sponge resemble Swiss cheese.  I tried baking with parchment paper on top of each layer of batter, silpat on top, and uncovered, but just was not able to get layers that didn’t suffer from air pockets.  I may have whipped the egg whites too much, or perhaps the batter needed to rest for a few minutes before going in the oven, but it’s a problem I need to come back to later to solve.  (The earlier Lemon Layer Birthday cake was actually a test drive for this process)

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Posted in Cake, Chocolate, DB Challenge, Recipes | 10 Comments »

Daring Bakers – Mallowmars and Milanos

Posted by osakaben41 on July 28, 2009

Peppermint, Rose water, Lime/Coconut, & Coffee flavored marshmallows

Peppermint, Rose water, Lime/Coconut, & Coffee flavored marshmallows

July was my introduction to the world of the Daring Bakers, and it was all I could have hoped for.  In short, each month the DBs put forth a base recipe that all members are to attempt.  Throughout the month, bakers worldwide post their experiments, lessons learned, paths not taken, etc.  It’s what the internet is great for, putting people that really care about the consistency of marshmallows together in one space.  I’m just proud and honored to be a part of it now.  So without further ado, the July results:

The July 2009 Daring Baker’s challege was hosted by Nicole of Sweet Tooth.  She chose Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies and Milan Cookies from pastry chef Gale Gand of the Food Network.

Our challenge was to recreate classic cookies, Mallowmars and Milanos.  Now I have to admit a certain level of ignorance when it comes to Mallowmars.  Just not what I’d chose as a guilty pleasure at the check out line, though I’ve been spotted eating an entire bag of mint milanos.  That said, with no small amount of trepidation  over making Marshmallows, I started with what I knew best. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Chocolate, Cookies, DB Challenge, Recipes | 1 Comment »