Sunday, November 05, 2017

Peanut Butter Cookies with milk chocolate chunks

The New Classic PB Cookie


These cookies are perhaps the best peanut butter cookies I have ever made or eaten. No. They are the best (peanut butter cookie). They are my favourite and I had my doubts about them. Oh yes I did. Chocolate chunks in my peanut butter cookies?? I'm not sure why I had any doubts. Hello Reese Peanut Butter cups!

The chocolate for these cookies is milk chocolate. I decided to mix it up, and use Valrhona's milk chocolate along with their Dulcey Blond. 

I have also (in previous bakes) used their Caramelia chocolate in these cookies. And that was an excellent combination too. The caramel with the peanut butter is very nice.



























The cookie dough comes together quickly. Once done, it just needs to go in the fridge to chill. The chilling is perhaps one of the most important parts, when it comes to the baking of a good many variety of cookies. It was a great lesson to learn in my baking life and has served me well.
So well in fact, that I now try to always have some cookie dough in the freezer for cookie emergencies. It's a thing and very serious. 😬

I left the dough in the fridge for a couple of days, before I got around to baking them. And that was just fine with this dough. I baked a few cookies and then rolled the rest of the dough, to put in the freezer for a cookie emergency. Be prepared, that's my motto. Proud Cookie Scout.

These cookies are so damn good. Sorry, I mean SO. DAMN. GOOD!!!
Check out Baked Sunday Mornings to see how the rest of the gang liked these cookies.



Sunday, October 22, 2017

Classic Apple Pie


Dough Not Pie for Me


Why? Why? Why a pie??? I was easing back into this, with a couple of easy recipes and then bam! A pie recipe. I know there are some people who can make pies with their eyes closed (and/or sleeping) but I am not one of them. Pastry dough is not my forte. But it isn't like I actually try making it very often. I'm not really a pie person. Give me an option, and I will hands down, without hesitation, pick a cake over a pie. And I still panic when making a layer cake. But I will gladly make a layer cake over pastry. (Don't quote me on that though...pretty sure a layer cake is coming up in a few weeks or so.)😓

Rather than go rogue or opt out though, I decided to try the pie. At least I could make the pie dough ahead of time and leave it in the fridge or freezer until needed.
I followed the recipe instructions and used the food processor to make the dough. I figured since it called for the processor, I'd be fine to do this while getting over a migraine. Pretty sure this is going to be a recurring theme. (The having a migraine while baking, not using a food processor.) 💩 Chronic migraine does not equal fun but apparently it screams try making pie dough. To be fair, it only whispers these crazy thoughts. It's considerate that way. 😑


I have no idea what the pie crust is going to be like. I don't know if one can get a feel for a dough while rolling it out? (shrug)

It did roll out easily and it didn't shrink back when I put it in the pie plate, so I thought that was a good sign.



Also, my crimping didn't lose its shape (so that means I didn't let it get too warm which is a good thing too). I'm just not sure if the crust will be flaky though. Is it supposed to be like croissant dough where I should be able to see the pieces of butter in the dough? Then I would know there is going to be some flakiness. I just don't know.




Time for the filling:

Didn't have granny smith apples, so used honey crisp apples and one lobo apple instead. Honey crisp are a favourite of mine and were just starting to come in season here a couple of weeks ago.

I didn't have whiskey, so I went with old faithful. Rum. I could have just used a little more vanilla for the small amount needed, but hey rum is always a nice addition to this flavour profile. I got the butter nicely browned before adding the apples into the pan. Browned butter is the bomb. Period.


It really didn't seem like the filling was going to thicken up, so I added an extra teaspoon of cornstarch into the sauce. Even with that, it didn't really seem thick enough, but I didn't want to cook it any longer for fear of mushy apples.

















I left some of the sauce in the pan, rather than putting it all in the pie shell (to avoid a soupy mess).















Maybe I needed more apples? By the time I put the top crust on, it seemed kind of concave.
Just need to cut some steam vents in the top, brush with egg and sprinkle with raw sugar. Oh and then to the oven for a bake.



I definitely need some pie dough workshops or just some actual time spent making pie dough. The dough wasn't great. The top crust was nice, because it has the raw sugar sprinkled over it before it was baked. The bottom crust was flavourless and kinda tough (Obviously, I overworked it). It was baked through, so that was good. The crimped edges were too thick, I really should have cut those down. (That is an understatement!!!) Like Cher, if I could turn back time, I would definitely get someone else to bake me a pie or bought a bigger knife to get through those thick crimped edges!! Good lord! It's like looking back on photos and seeing the bad 80's perm and all you can do is cringe and laugh and wonder what the hell...sorry what were we talking about? Pie crust? Yes, bad 80's pie crust. 😬


Now the apple filling, oh my, that was divine! I could have eaten just that. If I would have thought to get vanilla ice cream, the apple filling would have been topping a bowl of ice cream! So good.
If I were to make this again, I would try a different pie dough recipe. I saw a recipe with white cheddar in the dough that sounds interesting, on Athena Calderone's Eyeswoon. 


To see how the rest of the gang did with this recipe, head over to Baked Sunday Mornings.
Thankfully, the next recipe is an easy one and a well loved one.


Sunday, October 08, 2017

Banana Cupcakes with Vanilla Pastry Cream

Cupcakes: Muffins naughty cousins



Banana Cupcakes are on the Baked Sunday Morning's schedule today. I didn't waste any time getting started on these. Luckily, it was another easy recipe. Whew! It is nice being able to ease back into this baking and blogging. (no need to look ahead and see that an apple pie is due up next) 😟




I think without the pastry cream these are just muffins. Right? If you don't look at the sugar content. 😏 And they really are good without the pastry cream. I was tempted to just stop here and not make the pastry cream because I really liked the cupcakes naked. Plus, I don't think I've ever made pastry cream.





Rather than making a full recipe of the pastry cream I decided to go with a half portion. And I am so glad I just did a half recipe. This didn't turn out the way I thought it should have at all. But I put it in the fridge to chill, and hoped for the best.








The pastry cream seemed to loose, even after chilling in the fridge. But it is tasty, in a vanilla pudding kind of way. It just doesn't work so well as a 'frosting' on these cupcakes. It is just slipping away.
















After some time on the interwebs, I found this video of Anna Olson making Pastry Cream. I decided to try it again, following her tutorial. It turned out much better, but still seems sort of strange to put on a cupcake instead of frosting. It is essentially pudding, not frosting.


This 2nd version of the pastry cream was definitely better for 'frosting' the cupcakes once it was chilled for a little while. Now if only I could actually decorate a cupcake. 🙈



But...I kinda sorta wanna fill the cupcakes with the Pastry Cream and then put a chocolate glaze over the cupcake, and call it a Boston cream cupcake.

So I did it.😀 Cupcakes have been filled with that pastry cream and glazed with chocolate. Mmm Hmm. It's no longer a kinda sorta wanna thang. Yup, this is the way to do it! Final version of my cupcakes and the winner.


I really, really liked these cupcakes! I enjoyed them with and without frosting. I think if I made them again, I might try a chocolate or peanut butter frosting. (but a real frosting, not a pastry cream)
Check out Baked Sunday Mornings to see how the rest of the gang enjoyed these cupcakes.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Loafing Around


This all feels a little strange and unfamiliar (writing this blog post). It has been a long time since I've baked and blogged with the Baked Sunday Morning group. I am still in shock, that I've missed all but the first few recipes of the Baked Occasions book. It was so exciting to be part of the group doing the recipe testing for that book. But that too seems like a long time ago.  I haven't been doing very much baking in the last couple of years. Well, unless it is something really simple, like a loaf or muffins (read: involves one bowl). Now that the group is done baking all the recipes from Baked Occasions, they have moved on (or should I say back) to the very first cookbook: Baked New Frontiers in Baking. It's my favourite of the four cookbooks from the Baked boys. Visually, it is beautiful. I love the colours and the clean look of the book. I've baked a few of the recipes from it, and I am looking forward to baking along with the group. 

"M" is for Migraine

This was a perfect recipe to start baking with the group again. I needed an easy one to build up my confidence. Of course my migraine brain is also thankful for an easy recipe today. And it will be even more thankful when the drugs start kicking in. 😵





I love Pumpkin. Well, I love pumpkin with cinnamon.
This is my favourite cinnamon, so fragrant and flavourful.
The recipe also calls for nutmeg, allspice and ginger. The ginger is optional, but I love ginger, so I've included it.







And because I love ginger, I've also included some chopped up candied ginger. Thought it might add a nice little bite to the loaf.




So I am pretty darn impressed with myself, for not forgetting anything (ingredients or steps) during my bake. Even on my good days, I've been known to forget stuff. And with this mushy migraine brain, well (slow hand class) bravo me!
Plus, I just want to point out (and I am sure I will not be the only one to bring this up, but there is no water in the ingredient's list but down in the directions it says to add water! What the deuce?!





The loaves have been put into the oven. And while they bake I am going to chill. Ice packs are a fine and good thing.






These loaves baked up beautifully. So moist and flavourful. Definitely a loaf fit for the Fall. It is still summer here for some reason. But I wouldn't kick this loaf out of my air conditioned house. 😁
I only made one change with the ingredients (well other than adding the candied ginger), and that was to the oil. Rather than using vegetable oil, I decided to use olive oil. I have been using olive oil in some of my baking and have liked it.


Now if only I remembered to take a pic of these loaves sliced. (One is in the freezer.) Oh well. I got through my first bake in a while, with a migraine. (woot woot!) Of course I almost missed posting this, as I was sure it was due next Sunday. 
I can't wait to see how the rest of the group liked this loaf.
Check them out on Baked Sunday Mornings

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Hair of the Dog Cake

Triple Shot


If ye be feeling rough, get thee into the kitchen and make this cake.  Yarr!  Hair of the Dog cake.  Interesting.  In the book, the Baked boys say this cake is also known as Rum Flavoured Hot Milk Cake with Broiled Rum Brown Sugar Frosting.  They had me at the first 'rum'.  I think the former, rather than the latter is an easier name.  But the latter name makes me want to make this cake right now.  I mean right freakin' now!  There's rum in it!!!  Rum!  Rum!  Redrum!  No, none of that...only rum.

So when I saw that the next recipe was a cake, I panicked a smidge.  For me, a Baked cake means layers and well, I still get anxious making layer cakes.  But wait, this cake is only one layer.  Panic receding....


Sunday, December 21, 2014

Wintermint Cake

Merry Cake-mis

 

This cake was not a miss at all!  Wow!  Such a beauty.  In the book Baked Occasions it looks stunning (shown here), all in shades of pink.  
Pic from Baked Occasions

I would dare say it looks too beautiful to eat.  But come on!  It's a cake!  And a Baked cake at that?  So it's going to be good!  And it would be terribly rude to not have a piece.  Do NOT embarrass me in front of company!

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Date Squares

Square Dates


I have eaten many a date square, as they seem to be what every grandma/aunt/mother made in my youth.  But I have never made date squares.  And that folks is as interesting as this post is going to be.  Hit the snooze button as often as needed, to get through this.  Just be comforted in the fact, that it does come to an end (one assumes).

This is a super easy recipe.  Perhaps that is why these squares are made so often for bake sales.  Also, it is an inexpensive dessert to make.  And chances are, you have all the ingredients needed for this recipe in your pantry, apart from the dates.