Thursday, July 28, 2011

Butter Biter

Hey! Who took a bite out of my butter?!

Another joy of baking with kids!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

BBA #28: Potato Rosemary Bread

The twenty-eighth bread of the Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge is potato rosemary bread. Twenty eight breads and I've found my favorite. Any bread from here on out has quite high standards to surpass.

This is a two day bread. One day one the biga is made. One day two the biga is combined with bread flour, salt, pepper, yeast, olive oil, mashed potatoes, and fresh rosemary. I added a bit too much water at the start and thought I'd corrected the stickiness with flour, but after the first rise, the bread super sticky to handle. I quickly made the boules and laid them on my silpat for rise #2. I just hoped for the best as at this point I wasn't sure I should knead more flour into the bread.

The two boules rose into each other a bit. Oops. Bad spatial estimation on my part. I popped them in the oven and the house smelled absolutely incredible as they baked. We brought the bread over to my in-laws for dinner and everyone loved it. In fact, we all decided to have a second piece of bread in place of dessert.
I will absolutely be making this bread again as it's my all time favorite bread from this book so far!!

I just received Peter Reinhart's next book Artisan Breads Everyday for my birthday. I'm so excited to try it out!! Hey BBAers is there an ABE group?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Modern Baker: Chocolate Caramel Pecan Tartlets

This is my last recipe for the sweet tarts and pies with my fellow Modern Bakers.  We're baking our way through The Modern Baker cookbook and the next section is puff pastry!

Oh, these tartlets are absolutely incredible! You begin by making caramel. No problem. I've made caramel a few times. It's always been a little tricky however this time seemed particularly hard. The sugar just sat and sat in the pan. I tried adding water. I tried starting over. I googled. Finally, I realized my heat wasn't up quite high enough to liquify the sugar. It took a bit of time, but I finally got the caramel color I was looking for.

The ganache is quite simple after the caramel is made. I added the cream, chocolate, milk, salt, and pecan pieces. Oh yum. Forget the tartlet crusts, where is my spoon? I made a nut dough for the tartlets and shaped them in a mini muffin tin. After they baked, I filled them with the chocolate caramel ganache and enjoyed one. So yummy. A bit runny though. I wondered why the filling didn't thicken like I expected.
I enjoyed one or two more and went about my day. Later, I discovered what my filling needed for thickening.... patience. These are absolutely delicious!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Modern Baker: Lemon Lime Tartlets

Oh these tartlets are so good! I'm still baking from the sweet tarts and pies section of The Modern Baker with my fellow Modern Bakers challengers.

I have only recently come to really appreciate lemon curd. I have always loved sour, but usually for desserts I prefered something chocolate or sweet. After making the Martha Stewart's lemon meringue cupcakes I realized I shouldn't have discounted lemon so much.
I used a mini muffin tin to make the tartlets. I baked them empty and planned to fill them later. Well, I learned a lesson. I has used a bit too much dough in each mold and when they baked they puffed up and filled a good bit of the center. I'd say there was a small valley instead of a large crater. I wasn't able to put as much filling in each tart as I would have liked. That was a real tragedy because the curd was to die for! Fortunately, when eat in the privacy of your own home no one minds if you double dip in the bowl of extra curd was you eat the tartlets.

Lemon Lime Goodness!!!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Modern Baker: Raspberry Almond Tartlets

I've moved on to the tartlets in the sweet tarts and pies section of The Modern Baker cookbook. Tartlets are little tarts and these little tarts have a surprise inside! A raspberry.

I used a mini muffin tin to shape the tartlet nut dough in. I placed a raspberry in each mold and then filled them with the almond mixture. I must say that discovering almond paste has been quite exciting. I have loved both this and the roman almond and pine nut tart. I keep thinking of all the other things I could put almond paste in.
These tartlets were fantastic. The raspberry inside was a great sweet surprise and went very nicely with the almond flavors. A huge hit!!

Don't forget to check out what the other Modern Bakers are baking!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Peanut Butter Coconut Oatmeal Cookies

Want an oatmeal cookie?

Wait, maybe a peanut butter cookie?

Well, what I'm really craving is coconut.

Look no further. These little drop cookies are practically healthy and a fun alternative to the classics.

Peanut Butter Coconut Oatmeal Cookies
Adapted From: Daily Unadventures in Cooking
Printable Recipe 
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup natural peanut butter
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
3 cups oats (half old fashioned, half quick oats)
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  1. Preheat oven to 375° F.
  2. Beat together oil and peanut butter. Then add in eggs, sugar, and vanilla and beat until mixed. Stir in coconut.
  3. In a separate bowl mix together oats, flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Stir this into the peanut butter mixture. 
  4. Drop cookies onto pan and bake for 10 minutes.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Modern Baker: Maida's Big Apple Pie

Here's another recipe from the sweet tarts and pies section of The Modern Baker cookbook. My Modern Baker friends and I will be enjoying one more month in this section before moving on to puff pastry!

Apple Pie! The perfect American recipe to celebrate our country's birth!
I had about 1/2 a recipe of the sweet tart dough remaining from some tart baking. I decided to roll it out and make Maida's big apple pie with it. I made 1/4 recipe of the filling and it filled the dough nicely. Unfortunately, I wasn't very careful with my dough and it tore a bit as I put it together. That caused the apple juices to seep and burn to my silpat during baking. Luckily, this didn't effect the pie except for the juice loss. (If you don't own a silpat I HIGHLY recommend them. See that burned sugar mess? Well, it cleaned up in minutes with little effort. Had that burned to the actual pan I would have had hours of soaking to do and possibly lost the pan.)
This pie was plenty big at 1/4 the recommended recipe. I can't imagine how big it would be if you'd make a whole recipe, but I'm sure it would be perfect for a big party! The crust and filling were great. It's a fantastic apple pie and a great option for those worried about pretty edges on a pie. My pie edges are not very pretty. I've actually turned the "pies" in this section into "tarts" and used my tart pans partly to avoid the pie edge issue. There are none of those worries with this pie. It looks pretty even though it's simply folding the dough and letting it fall where it may.
Happy 4th of July!!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Food Tag!

Tag! I'm it!

Sara over at Three Clever Sisters just food tagged me. The rules are that you look through your recipes and find a menu for an upcoming holiday. You post the menu and tag 10 additional people. Technically I should have only included posts I have actual recipes up for, but I got swayed by some favorites in the dessert category.

Today is my daughter's 1/2 birthday! She's 3 1/2. I decided to put together a menu for a 1/2 birthday party. Yes, we celebrate 1/2 birthdays in our family. At least the kids do, so here's a menu that's fun for the whole family. (I just noticed that it's heavily bread and flour based. I think I might be craving carbs right now.)

I did a little twist on the menu idea and decided to do a menu for the whole day instead of just the main meal.

Now, tag! You're it!
Phyl, Kayte, Abby, Karen, AnneMarie, Amy, tease-spoon of sugar, Joy, yummychunklet, and Yuri.    

Breakfast. A choice.
Swedish Oatmeal Pancakes - Always a hit!
Baked French Toast - I didn't take any pics of my baked french toast. Trust me. It was delicious. Let me also recommend that you use some leftover challah for the bread!
Pizza Margherita - Who doesn't love pizza!
Easy Pizza - And, if you're short on time, just grab any ol' dough at the market and let the kids make their own pizzas.
Snack Time
Peanut Butter and Banana Muffins - These muffins are a great afternoon treat.
Dinner. A choice.
Five Spice Roast Chicken with Ginger Scented Rice - A favorite of ours.
Swedish Meat Pies - Delicious and portable. Perhaps make them ahead of time and eat them at the park at dusk while the kids play.
Dessert. Have one of each.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Modern Baker: Roman Almond & Pine Nut Tart

Hello, Modern Bakers and friends. It's time for more sweet tarts and pies from The Modern Baker cookbook. The problem with being a bit behind my fellow Modern Bakers is that they have all this time to entice me to deviate from my carefully selected recipes. I'm past thinking I can bake every recipe so I only pick the "must bake". This wasn't a recipe I initially intended to do. Then, Kayte declared it her "favorite of the book". Well, I have to try that!

One of the reasons I was hesitant to try this recipe was because I'd have to buy a whole can of almond paste even though I'd only need 1/4 of it. (I make 1/4 recipes that fit into two 4 1/2'' tarts. It saves the waistline and allows me to enjoy trying more of the tarts.) First of all, I had to find the almond paste! I'd never even heard of it. I was lucky. There was a stocker in the baking aisle as I went down and she knew just where it was. Good thing. I never would have found it on my own.

After acquiring almond paste, the rest of the recipe is quite start forward using sugar, eggs, butter, vanilla, lemon zest, and flour. The tart is then topped with pine nuts and finished with powdered sugar.
It was absolutely delicious! A perfect tart I could make over and over again. Thank you Kayte for the push! Unfortunately, there was one issue with my tart. I think my pine nuts were bad. As soon as I took a bite I thought, "Hmm, those don't taste right." I googled and came across Nicole at PinchMySalt experience with pine nuts. I found over and over that pine nuts are very finicky nuts that go rancid quickly. Most sites said you "just know" when they're bad. Yeah, I just knew.
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