Sunday, September 29, 2013

Brown Butter Snickerdoodles

Today kids, we're making cookies.  Doesn't that sound like fun?  And even more fun; these cookies are called Snickerdoodles!!  Hello!!!  How adorable do those sound?!
If I had a Little Pony, I would call it Snickerdoodle.  But I don't have a Little's just a little horse hoarse. Baahaahaa...a little hoarse!  (A little Top Secret humour there.)  I'm here all night, try the veal!

My Little Pony, Megan and Sundance Snickerdoodle.   How is it that I still remember that jingle??!!  The jingle that will now stay in my head for the next millennium or so. 

What's in a name?  That which we call a cookie
by another other name would taste so sweet....and smell like brown butter and cinnamon!

As per Wikipedia:   The Joy of Cooking claims that snickerdoodles are probably German in origin, and that the name is a corruption of the German word Schneckennudeln ("snail noodles"), a kind of pastry.  It is also possible that the name is simply a nonsense word with no particular meaning, originating from a New England tradition of whimsical cookie names.

I am soooo not going to share what the Urban Dictionary has to say about a Snickerdoodle.  Perhaps I might rethink calling my little pony, Snickerdoodle.  But you know what?  I am still loving the word.  Snickerdoodle.  Yeah, it's awesome.  Now, let's hope these cookies live up to the name.   (Smooth segue...less smooth for pointing it out.) 

Hey, I think it's time to get to the cookie making.  And we are just going to ignore the migraine knock, knock, knocking on my brain.  Stupidhead migraine.  I'm going to bake that pain right out of my head (after a brief medicated interlude.)  Let's all go to the lobby...let's all go to the lobby...let's all go to the lobby and medicate this head.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Orange Almond Ricotta Cheesecake


I believe I have tried making a cheesecake before.  I don't remember the outcome of that cake, so not sure how to approach this Baked Cheesecake.  Perhaps not remembering is for the best, now I can go into this baking adventure with fresh eyes and no past experiences clouding my vision.  Yep, I much prefer my self-doubt to be pure and unpolluted.  Three cheers for self-doubt!  Hip-Hip....huh?  My self-doubt is feeling confident.  I may be watching too much Dr. Who, but that sounds like a paradox.

My only concern (for the moment) is that I'm not a huge fan of almond flavouring.  Remember this cake. (Which would have been good if it wasn't for that almond butter frosting....shiver.)  So now I'm wondering if I could perhaps substitute something else for the almonds.  Hmm?

Oh and there's another issue....I'm caked out.  Seriously, I didn't even know that was a thing, until it happened to me.  All the talk show hosts are clamoring to have me on their shows to discuss this newest and oddest of conditions.  Caked out.  I imagine there won't be a dry eye in the audience when they hear about my condition.

So, we made the Peach upside down cake here, then the Milk High Chocolate cake here.  And there was also another cake that I made (but can't discuss just yet).  And finally, I made this cake for my birthday.  Isn't it lovely?!  It is the Whiteout Cake from Baked New Frontiers in Baking.

Oh, and I made the chocolate cake (3 layers) again for the Mile high cake.  I didn't plan on it, but while I was making the Whiteout cake, I did a Rachel (from friends) and started following another recipe.  I thought it was strange that the Baked boys were adding dark brown sugar to the batter for the whiteout cake, but I still went ahead and did it....only to realize that I was looking at another recipe.  D'oh!  But I was able to save the ingredients and just made another 3 layer cake.  These naked layers are sitting in the freezer, waiting to be dressed up pretty.

So what's a gal to do, when she's all caked out?  Make a cake?  Seriously?  You're going to make a cake??  I dunno.  Wait a minute.  Did you just make up this condition of being "caked out",  so that you can go rogue?  What?  That's crazy talk.  This is a real condition!  And putting quotes around it doesn't make it less real!!


Tuesday, September 03, 2013

TWD-Blueberry Muffins or Sweet Berry Fougasse

Time for a Quickie

Today, we have two recipes to choose from for the Tuesday's with Dorie group.  Last month we did the same thing, where we could do one or both the recipes for the day's challenge.  Last month, I only did the one, here.  (But could have also made Raspberry Fig Crostata, like Cher did here.)

The recipes we have today to choose from, are Blueberry Muffins and/or the Sweet Berry Fougasse.  I had every intention of doing both this month, as I was so impressed with the bakers who did both for last month's challenge.  But alas, time did runneth away from me. 

Because time was a factor, I decided on a quickie.....'cause everyone has time for a quickie!  So Blueberry muffins it is.  I had bought extra blueberries, as I did want to do both recipes.  Who knows, maybe I'll try to squeeze the other recipe in.  Here is the video of the Fougasse being made.  (Just in case anyone out there wants to give it a try.)

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Mile-High Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Buttercream

Are the Baking Gods Angry?

Oh dear, a layered cake for this week.  I love a layered cake by the Baked boys.  But I'm feeling a little hesitant to make it.  I haven't made a layered cake for a while.  My last one was the Aunt Sassy cake, here.  (That was way back in April.)  I'm afraid I've last my confidence for a layered cake.  Gulp!

But of course I'm going to jump into the baking waters (will test the water first with a toe) and not look back (except to see if perhaps I'm too far from shore).  I think I need my water wings.  I'll be back.  Wait, was that a shark? 

Cake pans have been prepared.

Yummy cocoa powder is mixed with hot water and sour cream.  It smells so good.  I'm thinking a chocolate bath would be lovely.

Butter and shortening get creamed.  A little privacy is in order I think.

Some other ingredients (namely the ones pictured) get added.
Yep, vanilla showed up late and almost got left out. 

Dry ingredients gets added to the mix along with the yummy cocoa mixture.
First the flour.....

then the cocoa mixture...and on and on that goes until there is no more.

And bing, bang, boom the cakes are ready to bake and be baked.  (Oh to be a cake!) What?

Cakes have been baked.  Off to the freezer they go, until I have time/courage to slice them into layers.

Oh mein gott im himmel (omg).  Why buttercream??  Why???  It has either been so long since I’ve made buttercream, or I’ve successfully blocked the process, as I don’t remember having to measure the temperature during the making of it.    And then there is the talk of it curdling….I soooo shouldn’t have read the instructions.  Is that screaming just in my head, or can you all hear it too???!!!  I feel like the room is closing in on me!  So this is what buttercream nightmares are.  It’s all just a dream….shhh.  And remember, you’ve still got to cut the 3 cake layers into a total of 6 layers.  A nightmare in a nightmare….inconceivable (to my Princess Bride fans).

Meh, it’s just a pound of butter no big whoop.  I’ve got another pound standing by in the wings (fridge).  I’m not hyperventilating, it’s just my asthma.  Honest.  I just need a moment (or a day) to gather my courage. (I seem to have misplaced it.)  Could I maybe not make the buttercream and just say my dog(I don’t own a dog) ate it?  Or is that only good for homework?  Hmm.  Oh my poor baby dog (that I don’t own), a whole pound of butter cannot be a healthy thing to consume.  I think I should take my dog(that I don’t own) to the vet.  I shall call him Harvey!  No wait, that’s my rabbit’s name.  False alarm, he’s okay.  He buried the buttercream in the backyard.  (Even he doesn’t like buttercream that looks curdled….everyone is a critic…even in my imagination!)

Courage has been located.  Silly courage, never hide next to the butter when I’m getting ready to bake!   That’s the equivalent of running upstairs in a scary movie (never run upstairs…or say you’ll be right back).  Classic mistake.

But before I get to the buttercream, I should cut the 3 cake layers (for a total of 6). 

I had them in the freezer and am (after attempting to cut the first layer) thinking I should have let them thaw a smidge longer.

What a hot mess!

I cannot believe I made such a mess of this first layer.  It isn't even like I'm close to having two equal layers.  And I was using a cake leveler!!!  Oh sure I could feel the blade wobbling about, but seriously, this off?????  Did I offend the Baking Gods at some point?  I am now going to pout let the other two layers thaw a lot more before attempting to saw them in half.  I'm thinking my backup plan (for life) to be a magician should be put on hold...indefinitely.

Now for the buttercream, once I find the candy thermometer.  Where the H-E-double hockey sticks is it???  I have gone through 3 kitchen drawers (twice) and can't find it.  I've gone downstairs into the storage room where all my extra baking stuff is, it isn't there.  Back upstairs to look through the 3 drawers again.  Awesome; was in the first drawer I looked.  I think someone just planted it there when I went downstairs.  I blame the dog (I don't own).  I'm seriously starting to think the Baking Gods are angry with me.

I almost got the sugar mixture up to 240, but it seemed to be getting dark and burnt smelling.  I'm really not sure of this at all.

Oh, and adding it to the egg whites (that I whisked earlier), is not something that happens easily.  There is now a stream of caramel stuck to the side of the bowl. 

I made hubbie taste it, since the smell of burnt sugar is too strong for me to judge the taste.  He didn't think it was horrible, so I am moving forward.

 Once this meringue cooled down, I beat in the butter.

Now it's time to spread the buttercream between those beautifully sliced layers of chocolate cake.

I was on a roll....there was no stopping me.  Got all the layers done.  Once I was done, I then went back to the recipe to read the rest of the instructions.  Seriously??!!  What did I do to piss off these Baking Gods?  I swear the next line I read in the instructions was 'Do NOT spread buttercream on top layer'.  The 'not' is capitalized!

  Nailed it.

So since I messed up the top layer, I didn't make the chocolate glaze that was supposed to be spread on top and then allowed to drip down the layers.  Sigh.  Is there a support group out there that can help me with reading recipe instructions?  Do I need to form one?  Son of a basket weaver!

I'd say this is more like a 3/4's of a mile high chocolate cake.  Missing a layer, but still a tasty cake.  The chocolate cake itself is very good.  Those Baked Boys know how to make a great cake.