Tuesday, April 30, 2013

TWD-Baking with Julia Rewind

Hazelnut Biscotti

I decided to make the biscotti, since the cookies were part of TWD before I joined....and because I love biscotti.  I love the crispness of the cookie.  It is a favourite to dip into a cup of hot coffee/tea/latte......you name it.  There is just something so satisfying about dipping a cookie in a hot drink.

Rather than hazelnuts(I think I'm going to save those for nutella scones this weekend), I'm going to make mine with pistachios. 

This is a super easy recipe and very quick to pull together.  Always a treat making something that doesn't involve pulling out the kitchen aid.  Just needed two bowls and a spoon. (score!)
I also added some dried cranberries and some chocolate chips to the mix.  ( A handful or so of each)  I love a little sweetness with my biscotti.

This recipe was originally baked on TWD back in July of 2012 hosted by both Jodi of Homemade and Wholesome and Katrina of Baking and Boys.

The biscotti turned out perfectly dry and crisp (which is a good thing for biscotti).  I've made biscotti before and I was too timid to let them bake long enough to dry out.  This time I didn't rush the baking process, and I was rewarded with some lovely biscotti to have with a hot cuppa.

I think I need to make the cornmeal biscotti next.  I've had cornmeal biscotti and have really enjoyed the texture of the cornmeal in the biscotti.  Stay tuned for more biscotti baking in the future.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Mac-and-Cheese Style Cauliflower

Apparently, I can also post about vegetables.  Hmm.  What a novel idea.    Of course I eat veggies every day.....but to post about them seems strange.  But what the hay....let's venture off into the vegetable world.  I'll leave bread crumbs so I can find my way back from this new world.

I have been curious (veggie curious?) about this recipe for a while and I'm finally trying it today.  Mac-and-cheese style Cauliflower.  I love mac and cheese and I love cauliflower...but I would like to cut down on the carbs. And with this recipe, there is no macaroni! 

I've got a theory....if I cut down on the carbs I eat during meal times, perhaps all the baking I do will even out my carb intake.  (Sometimes a theory doesn't make any sense, except to the person voicing it.)  But if everyone could just nod in agreement that would be swell.  I believe it is okay to feed into a person's delusions theories.  (smile and nod)

Anyhoo, I found this recipe at Vegetarian Times.   They have a lot of great (if you haven't guessed by the name of the site) vegetarian dishes.  I recommend having a peek at the site if you are looking for some good vegetarian recipes.

The mac-and-cheese style cauliflower was quick to pull together for a week night dinner.  The recipe calls for Nutritional yeast.  I've used a lot of yeast in my baking life, but I have NEVER heard of this.  So a little research was necessary.  (I won't ruin the surprise if you'd like to look it up on your own or if you aren't a newbie to the vegetarian world like me and already know what it is, I won't bore you.)

Here is the finished dish.  The bread crumbs got nice and browned on top.  I think it looks lovely and creamy, just like a real dish of mac and cheese.

It tastes good too....even the hubbie agrees, but just to be clear, as hubbie says....'it isn't mac and cheese'.  But for a healthier version (if carbs are more of a concern than the fat in the cheese) then this is indeed a good substitute.  I recommend and I will definitely make it again.
And my blog didn't spontaneously combust for posting veggies rather than baking.  Miracles can happen!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Triple Rum Black Pepper Cake

Three Rights can make a Wrong

Triple the Rum equals triple the Love....you can totally quote me on that.

Triple the rum!  Shut the front door!  Yep, rum in the cake, rum in the syrup and rum in the drizzle.  I'm already beginning to swoon.  If I had a chaise lounge, I would be making use of it right now....while drinking something with rum in it (of course).  But since I'm not one to over react to things, I will carry on. (Silence from the Peanut Gallery.)

So yes, I am over the moon about the rum....but the black pepper....I just don't know about that.  I'm still going to make it....come on...triple rum!  I'm going to be using Sailor Jerry rum in this recipe.  It is a lovely spiced rum, with vanilla and toffee flavours.  It is yum, yum, yum. (That's good, tripled.)

Dry ingredients are always the best place to start (and not just because the instructions say so).
Got it...

Got it...
Want it...do I?  Black Pepper??  Really??  Hmm?

Moving on to the wet ingredients.

Hey, Sailor.
Like so many recipes, the wet ingredients were blended together and then the dry ingredients mixed in.  The batter looks great and is smelling great.  After that it is just getting it into the bundt pan and then into the oven.  I think Billy Ocean was going to do the song, 'Get outta my bowl, get into my bundt pan', but foolishly went with 'Get outta my dreams, get into my car'.  True story....if your version of truth is totally made up. (Like mine.)

Get outta my bowl.

Get into my bundt pan.

Come here often, Sailor?

The aroma wafting out of the kitchen whilst this cake is baking is redonkulous!!!(Proper English, proper English, whaaaaat?)  It smells so damn good!!!  I cannot wait to try this. 

Time to make the syrup.

Now it's time to drizzle the syrup on the cake.  Did I mention there is rum in this syrup?

Made the drizzle/glaze....apparently in the dark. (By the looks of this pic.) 

In a better light, I drizzled the glaze onto the cake.  Lookin' good!


Time for the taste test.  I'm giddy with anticipation.....I mean really, triple the rum...nothing can be bad with that much rum in it!  Right??!!!

Wrong.  I didn't like it. (What a slap in the face.)  And neither did the hubbie.  Didn't care for the texture of the cake.  It was dense and kind of chewy (but not in a good way).  I think I could have overlooked the texture.  For me, it was the pepper.  Yep, I found the pepper unappealing.  Sure, I had misgivings about the pepper while I was grinding it.  But I soldiered on....believing in the end it would all work out and be good.  Wrong.

So Wrong.  Honestly, I didn't envision this ending.  I pictured me being all googly eyed over this triple rum cake.  Perhaps writing an epic poem to describe the journey, born from the basic ingredients to this awe inspiring cake.  Wrong.

If you are wondering how everyone else liked this cake, head over to Baked Sunday Mornings.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

New things and good for me?

So, I do on occasion think that I should try new things...and not just over the top popcorn in my cookies things (honest).  Though I will be trying those cookies with caramel popcorn (don't tell the hubbie he had a good idea).

I have found a new blog (new to me) and I'm intrigued by a lot of her recipes.  This blog I speak of, is Om Nom Ally.  Ally has a lot of amazing recipes and ideas about gardening, etc. 
The first recipe that caught my eye, was the cheater strawberry jam.  I have people in my life that are diabetic and people who just want to be healthy without all the sugar.  So this was definitely the first recipe that I wanted to try.  And what was even more interesting than the lack of (killer amounts of) sugar, was the use of Chia.

Okay, I've heard of chia, but only in the form of pets.  So of course I had to google it!  Apparently the addition of water to chia makes it all jelly like.  And this jelly like substance in a jam totally helps with making the cheater jam the consistency of....well...jam.

So far the jam is looking good...very jam like.  I took a taste of it and it tastes very fresh and strawberry-like.  (good thing since it is strawberry jam)  I don't think I've ever had strawberry jam taste so fresh.  That's a good thing.  I will be testing it tomorrow with scones (me thinks).  Will see how the hubbie likes it. 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Buttered Popcorn Chocolate chip Cookie

Buttered Popcorn....love it.  Chocolate chips...love them.  Put them together into a cookie???  Ex-squeeze me??!!

Okay, I'm game.  Let's try these (even though hubbie has already pooh-poohed them...even though he hasn't tried them....and now he's making me doubt them).  For shame, hubby, for shame.

Popcorn has been popped.  And okay, maybe I am seeing the hubbie's point of view about popcorn not being fully popped and then it being hard to chew.  But I've carefully picked through all the popcorn to take out any un-popped and half popped kernels.
It's all good...even though I just took a few popcorn pieces and did indeed get a couple of tough bits.  But I'm forging on with this cookie recipe.  I need this to work out. (And not just because I wanna say, 'nah, nah told ya so', to my hubbie.  I wouldn't do that!  Truth?  I'd totally do that.  And am getting my 'told you so' pants on. (this in no way should imply I'm not wearing pants now.)

I just ate a bit of the cookie dough ('cause that's how I roll...and maybe why I roll....a little).  Anyhoo, am now picking popcorn bits out of my teeth.  Damn it.  This is not feeling like an, 'I told you so moment'.

Cookies have been baked and are cooling (fingers are crossed).  Kettle has been put on, 'cause really can you have a cookie without a cup of tea?  Probably.

Well, I have had my first cookie, and I think they're good!  The baking seems to have softened any hard bits of the popcorn.  I am loving the salty and sweet combination.  And I would have  never in a million years thought to put popcorn in a cookie!  It's crazy I tells ya....crazy good.  And hubbie?  He likes them too!  And he also thinks that if the popcorn was caramelized, it would be really good in the cookies.  Hmm...that is a good idea. 

I found this recipe on Joy the Baker's site.  Joy adapted the recipe from the Smitten Kitchen cookbook.  This book is now on my wish list.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Things I still need in my life

Apparently melting marshmallows is still high on my list of needs. 

So here I go again...but this time with a different recipe.  This time, the rice crispy treat recipe comes from ShutterbeanThis one sounds de-li-ci-ous (extra syllables mandatory).

Are you ready for this??!!

Lemon-Ginger Crispy Treats.  I know!  I didn’t see this one coming either…..lemon-ginger??!!  Oh and there’s more.  The top is spread with white chocolate(infused with lemon and ginger).  Crazy, right?!  I'm giddy with excitement to try these crispy treats....one might say I'm snap, crackle and popping to start this recipe.  <groan> 


Melted Marshmallow goodness coming right up!

These are good.....really good.....
I had no idea, that when Life gave me Lemons, I could have been making Lemon-Ginger Crispy Treats!  Take that, Life!  Ha!  I’m kidding…..keep up the good work, Life. (I *heart* you.)

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Black & White Cookie

Colour me Embarrassed


The black and white cookie screams New York....not in "A Streetcar Named Desire" kind of way...more of a "how you doin'" kind of way.
So I guess you could say I`m in a New York state of Cookie....or not....

I don't think I've ever had one.....a black and white cookie that is.  Not sure what the fuss is about.  But now that I have to make the ubiquitous New York cookie, I sure do wish I had one; to see how they are supposed to look, taste, feel...... 
Be the cookie, Sandra.  (If only I had taken acting classes, I could now be performing a one `man` show on how to `be a cookie`.)  Picture it now......dark theatre and then a single light on stage and there I am, becoming a cookie....and then because I`m a giver; would perform some interpretative dance, which would signify the baking part of being the cookie.  Encore, encore!  No?  Hmm.  Perhaps Seinfeld can spread some wisdom on it.

"Look to the cookie, Elaine.....look to the cookie."  Classic Seinfeld. 

My Trekkie Hubbie thought of this episode of Star Trek when he read my post.  (very apt I think, so I added it)  Is he....could he be....my muse?!

To the kitchen; to make this New York Cookie!

Ingredients at the ready.
Wait, wait....something is missing.

Buttermilk!  No one suspects the buttermilk.   

Butter and sugar get blended together...but I stopped once the mixture got fluffy. (2 minutes)

A spatula may have been involved in the fluffing. 

Two eggs and an egg yolk were added one at a time.  Once again, the spatula played a role in this.

Dry mixture and buttermilk were added to the mixture in three parts.

After adding the first bit of flour, hubbie asked me to help him lift our old bbq into the back of the car.  Sure no problem....lemme just slip on some shoes.....and suddenly I have the urge to watch The Wizard of Oz.......

Back to the cake!  Buttermilk, flour, buttermilk, flour.

And this is the cookie dough after the buttermilk and flour has all been added....but before the addition of lemon zest and vanilla.  (no reason....other than I didn't take a pic after I added the lemon zest and vanilla.) 

I used a quarter cup measuring cup to measure out the cookie dough.  (Huh, I just doubled up on words in that sentence.) 

Okay, these are big cookies.

Really big cookies.   I thought they would be flat cookies, but they're not.  They sort of had a dome...which then became the bottom.)  Yep, the top then becomes a bottom.

Once the cookies were cooled, I went ahead and made the frosting.  Icing sugar can be so messy, no?

Two bowls with equal amounts of frosting. 

Ahhh, that's better.  The Starsky to my Hutch....or the chocolate to my vanilla as it were.

So now I have to frost one half of each cookie with the vanilla frosting.  Well that shouldn't be so hard....wait for it.......unless you're me and half is more like 3/4's.

And then once that side has dried, I can move on to the chocolate frosting.  The instructions say to frost half of the cookie with vanilla frosting, and the other half with chocolate frosting.  Half....what does half really mean?  It is a very personal thing......no?  It's totally specific?  Huh. 
Okay, clearly no one should go halfsies with me, as it seems I'm not able to 'eyeball' what a half is.  (You've been warned people and I've been slightly embarrassed.)

Here it is, the cookie that will bring everyone together.......

...one bite at a time.


Final tasting verdict:  The cookies got a 'Meh', from both hubbie and I.  They were okay, but not really our thing when it comes to cookies.  I like the look of them and if I did make them again, I would do a better job with the frosting....probably.
Perhaps someone needs to take me to New York City so we can taste the real thing.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Things I need in my life

Salted Brown Butter Crispy Treats

Things I need in my life....like right now.  Salted Brown Butter Crispy Treats.  What?  I think it is a valid need.  At one time (last week) the thing I needed in my life were Marshmallows.....to make these crispy treats....so I really feel I've grown and moved on.  What??  I'm feeling a little judged here.  Wait, that could just be my conscience.  Is everyone else's conscience this loud?  Sheesh.  That's okay, I'll just turn up the music and drown it out. 

Now then, where was I?  Oh yes, I have needs.......

And it just so happens my needs involve gooey melty marshmallows combined with crispy rice cereal.  (At least at this moment in time.)  I feel a "Homer Simpson" moment coming on. 

These treats are based on a recipe from the Smitten Kitchen. (Deb rocks!)  If you haven't been to her site, you really should hop over.  She inspires me.

 Crispy cereal say hello to puffy marshmallows.
 The marshmallows pick up the brown butter bits once melted....oooh.....ahhhh....mmm

Easy Breezy Beautiful Rice Crispy Treats!  The addition of browned butter and salt is crazy good.

I don't think one ever outgrows a rice crispy treat. (Thank goodness for that.)