Friday, October 5, 2007
Sunday, September 9, 2007
Today I decided to start baking my way through King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking. Here's a link to King Arthur Flour's website, where you can find many recipes: King Arthur Flour Recipe Index. I really like this book. There are a lot of recipes to work with, and they're all relatively well explained.
An added benefit of many of these recipes is the challenge of making something somewhat healthy that tastes good. The flip side of this however, as I found out, is if the end result actually tastes so good you feel like you can eat more than usual. That's exactly what happened (and is happening, I just ate another) with the Peanut Chews recipe on page 311. I used the Trader Joe's Salted smooth peanut butter with this recipe. These cookies were borderline awesome as raw dough. The smell of the peanut butter, brown sugar, honey...etc... was well, essentially heaven. (Please note the only thing I love more than peanut butter is my husband; I'm borderline obsessed with PB). Anyway, the dough was so good that I was a little disappointed with the baked cookie itself. BUT (that's a big butt :) these cookies are infectious once you've eaten a couple of them. They really are peanut buttery chewy goodness. It's almost as if the sugars are so mellow that it's like eating a peanut butter and fluff sandwich in a cookie. Actually the next step with these should be to sandwich these with fluff. Fortunately for me, Fluff doesn't exist in the Napa Valley (only the crappy Kraft kind). I guess I'll have to save that for when the husband and I move back to the East Coast. Here's a picture of the cookies for your viewing pleasure.
Have you ever made bread that was so good that you actually couldn't stop smiling after eating the end result? Try the 100% whole wheat sandwich bread recipe (page 182). I swear, it's the best bread for peanut butter and jelly. I made it last night, and today I made a panini with the bread, peanut butter and homemade peach-almond preserves. Sorry mom, that's beats your PB&J (but you still make the best blueberry muffins, hands-down). Here's the life cycle of this delicious bread:
After first rise:
After 2nd rise:
I overproofed the bread just a bit. Oh well, better luck next time. Both the flavor and the texture were prefect, so I'm pretty sure the over-proofing was mainly an appearance flaw.
If you would like to make a muffin full of veggies, nuts and fruit; go for the Morning Glory Muffin recipe on page 35. Today I made these muffins for the second time, and they're great. I love them because they actually are fairly healthy. They have carrots (vitamin A), whole wheat flour (fiber) and apples (vitamin.. uh... apple); anyway, they're really good for you, and very tasty. My husband and I hate/detest/loath raisins, so there was no way I was adding them to the mix, but all the other ingredients went in and the results were delicious.
Here's a cross section:
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Alfajores: Crisp Sandwich Cookies Filled with Milk Caramel
From: A Baker's Tour
These cookies were tasty once they were assembled. The recipe didn't call for any salt in the dough, which to me, is sacrilegious. In went 1/2 teaspoon of Kosher salt. The milk caramel filling was a disaster, twice! I know that you can make dulce de leche by boiling sweetened condensed milk forever, but I thought I would try Mr. Malgieri's method. BIG MISTAKE!!!! The first time I made it, the filling became extremely lumpy while baking in the oven. This was not for lack of stirring though. I stirred that mixture so much so that I was afraid my eyebrows were going to bake off my face from the extreme heat of my oven. The second time I made the filling I undercooked it. Eventually, I cooked the filling down on the stove top to the correct consistency. Once assembled, these cookies were great. The cookie dough didn't taste too much of cornstarch, and the brandy flavor complimented the dulce de leche nicely. I'm not the biggest fan of coconut, so I put ground toasted pecans on the outside of half the cookies, and that was really nice. If I decide to make these cookies again, I'll definitely make them smaller. 2 1/2" diameter sandwich cookies are really big.
Lemonade Cookies (on right)
From: Perfect Light Desserts with David Joachim
Chocolate Almond Spice Cookies aka. Basler Brunsli (bottom left)
Almond Butter Disks (top left)
From: How to Bake
The lemonade cookies (picture on the far right) were pretty good for low fat. My husband didn't care for them too much, but that's because he's way more of a chocolate lover than a citrus guy. The cookies were tender and the lemon flavor was pleasant. These would be good cookies to reach for if you're having a sugar craving. Other tasters suggested adding more salt to the batter, and I agree. Next time, I'll add 1/2 tsp instead of 1/4 tsp of salt. The chocolate spice cookies were okay, though I'm not sure any of us would make them again after tasting. My husband liked them, but he thought they were gingerbread cookies. The chocolate flavor wasn't very strong. Both the chocolate spice cookies and the almond butter disks were lacking in the salt department (surprise!). The almond butter disks were nice little cookies. The almond flavor was nice, and they looked really cute sandwiched with a little strawberry jam inside.
From: Cookies Unlimited
With the addition of 1/2 teaspoon of salt, these cookies are outstanding. They are incredibly easy to make, it only takes a few minutes to make the dough. Want to make these to die for? Make them a little smaller then pictured above, then sandwich them with vanilla ice cream.
Wednesday, May 2, 2007
Buttermilk Crumb Muffins
These are the kind of muffins that even the most pickiest eater would like. Sit down with a coffee, newspaper and one of these muffins. Life doesn't get much better.
Fresh Rhubarb Upside-down Baby Cakes & Sage Upside-down Cake
These cakes were truly delicious. The bourbon caramel and pecans complimented the rhubarb fantastically. The picture of the rhubarb cakes doesn't do them justice. When they were flipped out of the cake pans, they were a beautiful pink and glistening. For the sage cakes, I decided to cook down some pineapple juice, and use that in lue of the vanilla extract. The flavor of the sage and pineapple was nice, though the rhubarb cakes were the standout.
If you love shortbread these bars are for you. Our baker used a strawberry jam instead of the rhubarb, and the results were great. The baker commented that grating the dough was time consuming and (I assume) grating on her nerves :) Also, the shortbread took much longer to cook than the recipe suggested.
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Oatmeal Spice Shortbread Cookies
These cookies were good. There was some discussion about next time pulsing the oatmeal in a food processor, so they would be less "oatmealy." Overall though, it was a nice cookie.
This recipe was okay. The loaf was moist, but we weren't very impressed with the flavors. It would be good to serve to kids or people that like bland food.
Apple lovers will flip for this nice, homey cake. I wish my grandmother had made this for me! There was some debate about cooking time. It seems that 65-80 minutes is about right. If the top starts getting dark too fast, just cover it in foil or else the filling inside won't cook all the way.