Saturday, December 19, 2009

Whole Wheat Pecan Bread

After my last experiment, I set out to try another whole wheat recipe. This Whole Wheat Walnut Bread (I substituted pecans) was delicious, if a bit on the dense side of hearty:

The dough, thankfully, was smoother than the last whole wheat bread. I took it as an encouraging sign:

Soon, the warmth of the dough had clouded over my plastic wrap:

I used a slightly smaller bread pan and hoped that this would rise well:

And once the dough crested the top, into the oven it went!
This loaf is particularly nice for peanut butter and jelly.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Bread Fail: Whole Wheat Bread

I've made breads I didn't love, and cookies that weren't quite right. Nothing compares, though, to this seemingly innocent piece of dough that looks a little shy of ready to go into the oven:

Part of it was a time crunch - I just didn't give the poor dough long enough to rise, and gambled that it would all turn out ok. I mean, looking above, it rose quite a bit from this:

And it had all started out so well, with a starter, soaker and plenty of hard to work with whole wheat flour:

Here's the pathetic finished product. It was...dense:

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Earl Grey Tea Cookies

My fridge is slowly filling with logs and packages of dough like this, ready to be baked into Christmas cookies:
The dough log above is from this recipe - a friend sent it to me a few weeks back thinking that it would be a perfect elegant and quick treat for unexpected guests. After all the Christmas cookie baking is done, I'll need to keep a log of this dough in my freezer!

The recipe is quick - first the butter is creamed:

Sugar is added, and then you add flour, leavening and ground tea - I used a green tea with mango instead of the Earl Grey called for in the recipe.

Slice the chilled log of dough, bake and eat!
You may have noted that I didn't follow the recipe directions here - I don't keep a food processor on my counter, and although that makes this recipe easier, this is a recipe that is easily adapted to a hand mixer - or even just a sturdy spoon.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Welcome to My Kitchen: December Baking

Eight pounds of butter, fresh from Costco.
A fresh bottle of molasses.
It can only mean one thing, really. The Christmas cookie baking has begun!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

College Cookies

I like magazines, and I also like cookies. I'll at least glance through a free magazine for things that might be useful, like cookie recipes, and as luck would have it, MORE Magazine came through with a free issue distributed at the MORE Magazine Marathon and Half Marathon Expo. And it involved butterscotch, which I never use, so I pulled it out for the start of cookie season!

The recipe is a fairly basic creaming of butter, sugar and milk at the start, followed by adding eggs, then spices, flour and leavening:

Then a few treats: oats, raisins, nuts and then butterscotch chips:

The resulting complex and sweet cookie is a keeper for my recipe box:

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

I don't take any responsibility for the bird...
But I do make a few things for the Thanksgiving table every year. A quick roundup of the holiday weekend!

For the turkey, a bacon and bourbon flavored onion jam, from this treasure trove of recipes, and a cranberry and dried cherry sauce:

Cinnamon rolls from my grandmother's recipe (instead of dinner rolls. just think of them as pre-buttered!):

And an Alsatian apple tart, a pecan-coffee tart and pumpkin pie from the best recipe I've found online:

I'll be eating plenty of leftovers this week.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Pumpkin-Pecan Pie

Happy Thanksgiving!
With turkey being served in two days, my thoughts are even closer to one of my favorite pies - pumpkin. I tried this variation a few weeks ago to see if there was a way to successfully combine the overly sweet pecan pie into something I would like as much as my favorite.

Once the pie is ready to be baked, it is essentially a layer of pumpkin pie topped with a layer of pecans, and then the sweet pecan filling:

The pie itself is easy to make - just mix together a half recipe of pecan pie filling:

And use your blender to mix up a quick pumpkin pie filling:

The end result, while delicious, cannot compare to a plain pumpkin pie, at least for me. But I'll probably still make it again to make sure!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Light Wheat Bread

I tried to make a 100% whole wheat bread recently and managed fail completely. This recipe is a nice balance between white flour and whole wheat flour - the whole wheat is a bit harder to work with so the white flour is a nice balance:

My whole wheat flour ready to mix with bread flour - the ratio was about 1:2.

You can see that this dough look a bit tougher than a white bread even before I knead it:

It smoothed out nicely and I set it away to rise:

After an hour or so:

Once the dough had risen, I shaped it into a loaf:

That rose rather nicely, in the end, pleasantly surprising me after my last run in with wheat bread!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Bourbon Apple Pie

I visited Mom just after she had gone apple picking:
She helped me pack my bag to head back to NYC with a good number of apples, including some red delicious that she thought might make a good pie. Red Delicious apples are traditionally a terrible pie apple, but something about the ones she picked over the weekend said pie to her - luckily, she was right.

I mixed up a quick crust:

And the spiced my chopped, peeled apples in preparation for the secret ingredient - bourbon:

After dotting the top of the filling with a bit of butter I was ready to top my pie:

The finished product - a little tart, with the sweetness of the apples balanced with alcohol:

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Matt's Almond Joy Birthday Cupcakes

Happy Birthday Matt!
My brother's birthday is today, so I made him some cupcakes (and a miniature cake) from this recipe, per his request to use chocolate, coconut, nuts and a seven-minute frosting.

The cake recipe uses both cocoa powder and melted unsweetened chocolate, being mixed into the creamed butter and eggs below, to make an intense yet light cake:

And instead of making two final cupcakes I made use of my mini cake pans (about 4 inches across) to make a little celebration cake:

The cupcakes baked beautifully:

And once they were done I mixed up a seven-minute (or boiled) frosting. Here is the final step, vanilla being added to the beaten egg whites, sugar, water and cream of tartar:

The final product, topped with a little bit more coconut:

Whole Wheat Corn Muffins

The quickest treat I make with any regularity is probably muffins. Here, my dry ingredients - flour, whole wheat flour, cornmeal and leavening:

Pour in the wet ingredients (milk, butter and eggs):

and twenty minutes later, muffins!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Apple Pie

My kitchen was overflowing with fall fruit:

Naturally, I peeled and sliced some apples...

Rolled out some dough...

Crimped the edges after filling my crust...

And made a pie!