Sunday, September 9, 2007

All Hail the King (King Arthur's Flour that is)!

Posted by BAKE-EN at 10:02 PM 2 comments Links to this post
Contrary to what anyone who knows me would say, I'm actually interested in baking healthy. Yes, it's true I have about 5 pounds of butter in my fridge at all times (just in case). However I also have whole wheat flour and even spelt (though I had to throw the latter out today as it was too old).

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:

Before proofing:

After first rise:

After 2nd rise:

Final Results:

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:

Okay, try not to laugh. The last recipe I tried for the day was the Moist Bran Muffin recipe (page 45). Why the writers of KAWGB had to title this recipe "moist" instead of "delicious" or "delightful" one will never know. However, I will try to keep the "m" word out of the rest of this review (that's for you Wendy). Surprisingly, my husband has consumed two of these muffins since they came out of the oven; so I think that confirms they're good muffins. I think that may also seal the deal that he's sleeping on the sofa tonight :). In all seriousness, I will make these muffins again. They're good as is, and especially delicious with a coffee (and a roll of toilet paper). Sorry this photo's a bit blurry.


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