Archive for ‘Baking’

June 10, 2012

A Sadness and a Joy | Ball Jar Sour Cherry Pies

I had some sad news earlier this week.  We just won’t have a cherry season around here this year.  I think Michigan is all but given up hope of anything there, too.  And all the farms that might have had cherries this year have no you-picks, which make for some of the most beautiful shots of teeny little bare feet in trees climbing to help harvest.

Last year was monumental and to be remembered with deep affection.  Cherry shrub, pickled cherries, boozy cherry pie, cherry salsa, cherry shiso vinegar, cherry pound cake.  Oh my the pounds of cherries.

Excuse me.  I’ve wandered off remembering the bliss.

So I was of two minds about this sad state of affairs because I had been give exactly one large bowl of sour cherries from a friend in a new house with (what an amazing bonus!!) a mature cherry tree in her front yard. 

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January 1, 2012

Craving | Fastest Cinnamon Rolls

I didn’t plan on having a craving for cinnamon rolls this morning.

If I knew it would have been coming on, I might have got a yeast dough together last night to be ready to bake this morning.  But it just happened as I was coming down the stairs thinking about scrambled eggs and bacon for New Year’s morning breakfast.  And, I thought, wouldn’t some cinnamon rolls be so good with that?   Mmmm.

So it is entirely possible to satisfy that spicy sweet craving for dough; it will just be with a quick rise dough (using baking powder) instead of yeast.  It’s about as much trouble as making a batch of homemade biscuits, which is to say not much trouble at all.

Happy New Year.  Here’s to resolving to make it yourself this year!

Fastest Cinnamon Rolls, makes a dozen, inspired by various recipes around the interwebs

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

For the Filling

4 T softened butter

3 heaping t cinnamon

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December 23, 2011

A Christmas Tradition | Santa Cookies

We’ve been making these in my family as long as I can remember.  Even when Momma’s old cookie cutter was almost broken in half, we – but perhaps more kindly she – still managed to turn out dozens upon dozens of these intricate, almond-y cookies.

Fast forward to the age of the internet and a quick Google search can help you turn up just about anything.  Even a replacement (or three – one for her, one for me and one for my sister) for a thirty-year old cookie mold.  The Merry Christmas set has this mold in it.

So start a tradition in your house with these.  Charming as well as tasty, they are entirely worth all the effort.

Playlist included Little Saint Nick, by She and Him.

December 12, 2011

Cookie Exchange | Chocolate-Sichuan Pepper Crinkles

It’s not the holidays without at least one cookie exchange.

This year I wanted to make a traditional cookie (the ubiquitous crinkle) with just a slight kick.  Enter Sichuan pepper: not related at all to black peppercorns or chili peppers, it’s used most commonly in Chinese and Japanese cooking.  It is a most unusual spice, one that has a piney, citrusy flavor and makes your mouth a bit numb.  Up until 2005 they were technically illegal to import (but not for any consumption reasons).  It all adds up to give these chocolatey cookies a feeling of just a hint of lemon and danger.  Who else’s cookies can promise that?

Chocolate-Sichuan Pepper Crinkle Cookies, makes 90 (whoa), inspired by a classic Betty Crocker recipe

3/4 cup vegetable oil

6 oz unsweetened baking chocolate, melted, cooled

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November 30, 2011

Pie Season | Parsnip and Butternut Tart

Pie.  Tart.  Deliciousness in a dish.

The recipe for this Any Season Fruit (or Vegetable) Tart (page 19) is from Gilt Taste.  It’s a surprising base that can skew sweet or savory.  But on first blush, you could only assume it would be sweet as the base is butter and sugar creamed together.  It has to be cake, right?  But no, with a full teaspoon of salt in it, as well as some savory and thyme (thrown in by me), this autumnal pastry was devoured by everyone, including Cherub.

I used a combination of parsnips and butternut squash, parboiling them for just five minutes in heavily salted water before draining them and adding them to the tart.  I also sprinkled in some dried thyme and savory.  To add a little extra oomph to the final dish, I shook up a quick chili and sriracha cream in a half pint ball jar until thick.  A tablespoon per slice adds a nice kick of heat.

Playlist included Video Games, by Lana Del Rey.

September 4, 2011

My New Favorite Dessert | Krema Buckeye Blondies

My sister-in-law can bake.

These blondies are her latest creation and chock-full of wonderful, local-to-Columbus ingredients from Krema Nut.  They’re perfect for back to school snack and equally great for the beginning of football season.  These will be devoured almost instantaneously at any tailgate you bring them to, I daresay even a Michigan one.

These are fabulous.  Just like my SIL.

Krema Nut Buckeye Blondies, makes one 8 x 8 pan

Preheat oven to 350/360F, lightly butter 8×8 pan

Mix:

1 c flour

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August 17, 2011

New Friends, New Endeavors | Baking Brioche

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I have, admittedly, had trouble baking bread.  After a couple of missed attempts, I now tend towards simple recipes that are somewhat fail proof.

I am grateful to Dave, my new friend who is quite the talented baker (and thinker, improver and eater) for offering me a lesson.   So this past Saturday morning, he opened his kitchen (and his home, quite frankly, because Cherub tagged along and she explores just about everywhere) and gave me a course in bread baking 101 (he also fed me and Cherub lunch, natch, lucky us!).

I choose to tackle brioche.  Because I mean, come on.  Butter, eggs.  In bread?  It’s heaven.  It makes the most fabulous toast.  Not to mention French toast. 

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