Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Buttery Jam Cookies

These cookies were so painfully easy to whip together, I really don't have much to say about them EXCEPT for the fact that I tried Amanda's of Beckett Bakes It prior to baking mine and I am now extremely disappointed in my own. I think she used brown sugar instead. I am officially coveting someone else's cookies. Baking has caused me to break a commandment. It could have at least been one of the good ones. This is a new low for me.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tuesday Twosome

Since last I blogged, I have been to Atlanta, Cancun, and my hometown over Thanksgiving. November was definitely time well spent with my husband, my family, and old friends. And I didn't even cook or bake a single thing. So, to make up for lost time, today is a Tuesday Twosome.

First, I should note that this month appears to be the month of cookies. I do not own a single cookie cutter as several years ago I spent my hard-earned money on a Pampered Chef Cookie Press.

To this day, this magnificent kitchen gadget has yet to produce the first cookie. Is it because I have not made cookies since the purchase? Oh no. It just doesn't work. I have not yet determined the type of cookie dough the actually functions well in this press. But when I do, I promise IT'S ON!!! If you have any thoughts or similar experiences about this contraption, please feel free to leave me a comment regarding that. Perhaps we could form a support group. Moving along......

Linzer Sables. Cut with a cinnamon lid. Voila! These delightful cookies are excellent whether plain or smothered in raspberry jam. I failed to buy ground cloves for this recipe even though it was plainly written on my grocery list. I just made up for this deficit with extra cinnamon. I know, I am such a kitchen risk-taker. Ooooooh.

Grandma's All Occasion Sugar Cookies. Grandma knows her stuff. I'd like to call this the "perfect recipe" as I did not have to purchase a single item. Indeed. Perfect. I only baked a few of these as I intend to eat the remainder in a raw dough format. And then I intend to lie in bed at night and ponder how my diet has gone so horribly wrong.

Happy Baking!

Monday, November 3, 2008


Rugelach is rugelicious. This was pretty easy to make, although it did involve some waiting which always irritates me. I prefer to just make everything at once, throw it in the oven and EAT. But that's not the way it sometimes goes. And I'm quickly discovering that any time you work with dough you have to wait and wait and wait. I was unsure as to what currants were, so after a quick Google search (I google everything), I discovered I could use dates or raisins as a substitute. I was super excited about using dates -- I love dates. But, alas, it was not to be - no dates at the store. Pooh. So I decided to use Craisins. Yay for Craisins! My favorite part of making this was heating the raspberry jam until liquefied, mainly because I spoon fed myself all the extra liquid jam. I think I may heat up jam in the future and pour over biscuits. It was de-lish.
I have discovered 2 things since joining TWD. The first being that if you start cooking out of the blue your husband will go on a diet because he is afraid you are suddenly trying to poison the food supply to off him for the insurance money. Mine is now 70 pounds lighter than when I started this, and has YET to touch anything that I've made that has been the subject of this blog. The second and greater thing is - PARCHMENT PAPER. Is this not one of the greatest substances on earth??? Why did I spend the first 30 years of my life scrubbing metal cookie sheets? Some jam spooged out of several Rugelach and I could have cared less because of the miracle of parchment paper. I'd like to shake the hand of the WOMAN (has to be, right?) that invented this fine substance.

This has been a very busy week for me. Halloween was on Friday, so we had to play dress up - my man was Pimptastic and I was a disco diva:

Also, my brother who graduated law school in May found out on Friday (yes, Halloween) that he passed the Georgia Bar Exam! I am so extremely proud of him!!!! I made him a congratulatory plain cheesecake (his favorite) and we had that on Friday night:

I then co-hosted a bridal shower at the home of Amanda of Beckett Bakes It. And I have to say I was super jealous of her party dessert display of cheesecake pops and petit fours:

Oh yes, note the subconscious brainwashing occurring behind the dessert display. That's how she sucks people into this cult. Highly effective - but I tell you, that girl is the DEVIL.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Chocolate-Chocolate Cupcakes

Long time no see, fellow bloggers. It's pretty sad when it takes a few tries to crack the password to your own blog. Anywho, I'm back for a little bit and then I fully intend to disappear again for a few weeks. It's a little thing I like to call CANCUN. YAY! I'm super excited about it!

Moving on to Chocolate-Chocolate Cupcakes......

It looks like a perfectly happy and healthy little cupcake there.......ohhhhh, but it is not. It's an English Tea Muffin in disguise. It is my humble opinion that a cupcake is supposed to be a piece of birthday cake for a girl on the go. If I had a birthday cake that tasted like this I would be severely disappointed and may indeed question my relationship with the person who made it; however, I quickly realized that this "cupcake" tasted exactly like the Cotswold muffins my mother always made when I was growing up. So, as long as thought of it as a tea muffin it was DIVINE and gave me happy food memories. I did substitute milk chocolate for bittersweet chocolate. Primarily because I live out in the sticks and I don't quite have the baking choices you city folk type have. That makes me laugh because I am a total city transplant.

I hereby dedicate this blog entry to my absolute favorite chocolate cupcake, Senator Barack Obama.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Dimply Pear Cake

This week's TWD recipe was Dimply Plum Cake; however, I used plums in my Summer Fruit Galette and really didn't care for them. So, thanks to my friend Peggy of Pantry Revisited, I made a Dimply Pear Cake. Thank you for this beautiful brain child, Madge! (I know, I know, Madge is not a nickname for Peggy.....I just enjoy harassing you.....Madge). I digress. I worked late on Monday night - which is usually when I find myself cooking my TWD recipe. I am quite a procrastinator. Every week I tell myself I'm going to do better, but as any good procrastinator would, I tell myself I'll just do better starting next week. Anywho, I worked late and got home and was able to whip this bad boy into shape and pop it into the oven in no time. Perfect for the girl on the go!! I used canned pear halves. I think fresh pears may have cooked better - these may have been entirely too juicy. I also used cinnamon as my spice. And lots of it. After it cooked I just set it on the oven and left it alone until today. I took it to work and cut into it and realized that it was not even cooked. About an inch all around the edges was cooked correctly, but the rest was pretty much batter. I still sat at my desk and ate half of it though. WHAT. EV. ER. It's flavor got good reviews though, regardless of it being undercooked. I have discovered that hungry, over-worked, over-stressed people have generally easy-to-please palettes. I think I would make it again. I'll just make sure it's thoroughly cooked next time. My secretary Karen (what up, girl?) suggested that it would taste good with thinly sliced apples on top. I agree. The cinnamon really does wonders for this recipe. And it made my kitchen smell beautiful.

Next week is Creme Brulee - but I will have to opt for a rewind instead as I refuse to purchase a butane torch. And I refuse to eat Creme Brulee without torched sugar. AS IF.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Chocolate "Somebody Has the Trots" Chunkers

This weeks TWD selection was very easy to make and quite tasty. Now, I must regrettably inform you that I have a very vocal 12 year-old that lives inside me. She usually rears her ugly head during church, funerals, weddings and work meetings. I can't help it. I love my inner 12 year-old. Having said that........

Last week I had a very unfortunate encounter with a post-Taco Bell crackhead whom I have affectionately named "Greasy Britches". Ol' Greasy Britches decided that 5 feet away from me was the place to relieve her bowels. Appreciate the CRAP out of that, Greasy Britches. Thanksomuch!!!

Yes, I took a picture. And yes, my inner 12 year-old thought it was a good idea. Keep in mind I was running away when I snapped that shot. This near death encounter yielded a result that looked remarkably similar to this:

Yep, that's my cookie. And that's why it has earned the title Chocolate "Somebody Has the Trots" Chunkers.

Now I will shut my inner 12 year-old up with a cookie.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Chunky Peanut Butter and Oatmeal Chocolate Chipsters

The name itself is as much a mouthful as the cookie itself. Oatmeal.....Peanut Butter.....Chocolate Chunks.....SHUT. YOUR. MOUTH. Dorie, Dorie, Dorie. You really outdid yourself on this one. I believe you may indeed be the devil. I'm not really sure how many cookies I ended up with other than "a lot", but I lost about 1/4 of the dough to my belly. I wonder why my thighs jiggle the way they do????? I only wish I had tried them with raisins too. I was too busy gorging myself to stop and think to add some. DE-LISH!!!

I'd like to share a picture, but again this week, my internet is a total hunk of junk.....at least my cookies weren't. I'll try to add a picture tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Chocolate Banded Torte

I knew I owned a spring form pan. Maybe I didn’t. Maybe I always just borrowed my Mom’s spring form pan. I realized this when it was time to put the first layer of chocolate in the pan. And my Mom was two and a half hours away. What to do.....what to do. I decided to use a pound cake pan that the bottom lifted out off of the sides. I had serious doubts. But it actually worked. AMAZING. And then I found the spring form pan that I knew I owned.

I further discovered that I do not own a whisk. Who doesn’t own a whisk??? I remember throwing it away because it had rust on it. I knew I did not own a whisk. So I used my wire beater from my Kitchen Aid mixer.

The torte was pretty and was very easy to make. I think I would prefer in the future to just use mint chocolate chip ice cream directly from the container rather than creating a flavored ice cream. That would be like crack in my house.

I'd like to show you pictures of everything, but my internet is being a total piece tonight and doesn't have the capacity to upload too many pictures......something about a former hurricane now a tropical depression has a way of doing that to a signal.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Like the Phoenix rising from the ashes......

This week's TWD challenge was the Blueberry Sour Cream Ice Cream chosen by Dolores of Chronicles in Culinary Curiosity. I do not own an ice cream maker, so I had the option to prepare a previously completed recipe. I chose the Double Crusted Blueberry Pie. Actually, my sister Amy picked the Double Crusted Blueberry Pie. Up until this moment, my kitchen had been a autocracy, but I allowed it to be a democracy just this once. Good kitchen karma, ahhhhhh.........

Apprehension doesn't begin to describe my feelings toward pie dough. Please refer to my Summer Fruit Galette blog in the event you were not present for my very public Crown Royal breakdown. Images of warm blobs of super glue pie dough flashed through my head like an M. Night Shyamalan movie. This could be bad....berry berry bad. I was consumed with dread at the thought of doing this to myself again. I even toyed with the idea of using refrigerated pie dough. Of course, if we were to commit such a baking sin, we would have to make this purchase in our sunglasses so we could not be so easily identified if we were later picked up by the pastry police.
Tisk Tisk! We could never get away with it. And what if it just became a stepping stone? First, refrigerated pie dough. Then what? Cool Whip? Blueberry Pie Filling? I couldn't allow the devil in my kitchen. So, homemade pie dough it is. And breeeeeeeathe....in through the nose, out through the mouth......repeat. After that it was pretty uneventful.

This is how I roll.......

The filling was really easy to make. The only difficulties I experienced was working with....wait for it.....the pie dough. I don't know how one "gently transfers" the pie dough to the dish. My dough transfer was more of a quick prayer and a toss. Whatever works I suppose.

By far, this was the best creation I have made so far. If only there was a piece of it left.

This is how you feel when you eat Double Crusted Blueberry Pie:

Kitchen autocracy restored.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Not a Black and White Banana Loaf

This week's recipe was the Black and White Banana Loaf chosen by Ashlee of A Year in the Kitchen. Instead of a Black and White Banana Loaf, I got a wild hair and decided to run with it. That and I failed to buy bananas in advance to let them rot away on the kitchen counter prior to use. Gotta love a baking procrastinator! So, I made a Pink and White Raspberry Loaf!! It smells SOOOOO De-lish!!!!
I made the following substitutions:

Original Ingredient / Substitute
Bananas = Raspberries
Bittersweet Chocolate = White Chocolate
Nutmeg = Cinnamon
Vanilla Extract = Almond Extract
Rum = Franjelica

The final product didn't have the visual contrast of pink and white as I had hoped, but it is SO GOOD!!!! I did get my kicks by enjoying a bit of kitchen porn for this challenge:

Bring it on baby! The Kitchen Aid mixer and the Food Processor working side-by-side. I'm gonna need a private moment after that.

I think maybe the cooking time and temperature needed adjusting for my version. It didn't seem cooked thoroughly, even though I baked it for 1 hour and 40 minutes. I'll just lie through my teeth and say "It's so dense and moist". Fake it til' you make it, fellow banana loafers.

Now who's gonna clean up this mess?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Summer Fruit Galette

Hmmmmm......soooooooo.....apparently I'm not the greatest baker in the world. OK, I can accept that. Apparently there is indeed a village somewhere missing it's idiot. Ahem.....HERE I AM!!!! 5 hours later, I present to you, my very own proving ground, the Summer Fruit Galette. I would first like to welcome the new food processor to the family -- sorry you got the short end of the stick on that gig......as soon as I learn to use you properly, I promise we will communicate on a higher level. Say hello to my little friend.....

Until this challenge, I had never made pie dough. In fact, I am scared of pie dough. Turns out, it's with good reason. Since the pie dough needed to set up in the refrigerator for at least an hour, I made the pie dough the night before making the remainder of the galette. I apparently developed an inconvenient case of A.D.D. sometime between removing the pie dough from the refrigerator and rolling it out. I completely breezed over the section of the recipe that said to roll on a WELL-FLOURED surface. Oops. I also abandoned my dough for some time while I was in search of a measuring tape to ensure that I had rolled to the correct dimensions. Well, if you roll warm dough on an unfloured surface, it just turns into a big sticky mess. I finally was able to scrape the pie dough up and call a re-do.

I decided on my re-do round I would roll directly onto an overly well-floured baking stone. It was 13", as the recipe called for. I thought it would be easy to roll it out and then flip it to a larger baking stone. Yeah....guess how that went. I flipped the dough, and low and behold....there it remained on the smaller baking stone. It was like one of those bugs that hangs out on your ceiling for 12 straight days and you wonder if it's ever just going to fall off. It was almost like it was being held in place by some invisible force.....it was a battle between good and evil at that moment in my kitchen. Well, evil won that one. Well, here I am again, standing here with a warm lump of re-do dough. So, I decide to just roll it onto the bigger stone and not worry about it being perfect, and that way I wouldn't have to transfer it to anything. Finally, I had a roundish dough thingy on a surface I could bake it on. YAY. Now, on to the next task at hand.....

That's right - pie dough drove me to drink. It's all fun and games until Jules here has to roll out some pie dough. I'd like to thank my good friends at Crown Royal and also my buddies at PhillipMorris. Without them, something ugly may have just happened here. Don't worry, I'm under the skillful care of a certified professional.

Thoooo now I'm dwunk and I got a big knife and smashed apart some damn fwuit and put it in this thing and make my new best friend the pie dough reach up and hug it. I cook it and then custardededed it an cook it sum more. At thum point it ended up out of the stove and I ate it.

On a serious note, this is quite delicious and I will definitely make again. It's the kind of thing you hide in the laundry room because you know you're the only person that's actually going to go into the laundry room so the rest of the food thieves you live with will just have to starve. It's so good, in fact, that the dog is looking at me and licking his chops. Or, maybe he thinks I'm so drunk that I'm an easy target to take out.
My good friend Peggy of Pantry Revisited has now joined TWD thanks to my friend Amanda of Beckett Bakes It. Be sure to check them out. My thanks again to Amanda whose massive overpurchase of produce this week provided me with nectarines and plums.
Homework: Figure out my mental deficit when it comes to rolling out dough
Coming up next week: Black and White Banana Loaf....I think there's rum involved.

Monday, July 21, 2008

My First Challenge: Cherry Rhubarb Cobbler

This week's recipe of Cherry Rhubarb Cobbler was chosen by Amanda of Like Sprinkles on a Cupcake. I was very excited about it as I love fresh cherries! So excited, in fact, I painted my toenails Very Cherry in celebration of the event. I have never used rhubarb for anything, so I didn't know what to expect. As a welcome-to-my-cult gift, Amanda of Beckett Bakes It gave me whole wheat flour, ginger and a pound of cherries. YUM!!

She also went to four different stores to try to buy rhubarb. As it turns out, rhubarb is a tough find in Alabama in July. After thinking of what I could possibly substitute for rhubarb ........ strawberries, apples, blackberries, blueberries, I called four more stores and finally was tipped off that the Publix in Trussville had it (thank you, Peggy!). After cruising the produce section for 20 minutes or so, I finally found it.......it's red celery.

On to my challenge. I halved and pitted the pound of cherries. Martha Stewart suggested I use a metal paper clip to loosen the pits -- total waste of time -- go back to prison and learn some useful tricks, sugar. I used a paring knife and halved the cherries and then twisted them apart and picked out each pit. My hands looked like they had just committed a heinous act. Next time I think I'll wear gloves - my fingernails are still stained. I then had to "peel" the rhubarb. I don't really know exactly what that means, but I am confident I didn't do it correctly. I tasted a piece of raw rhubarb....bleeeeeeck.....what person ate this the first time and said "ahhhhhh, a delicious new vegetable!" Moreover, why the cult following for this plant? I think I could have just cut some weeds out of my yard, "peeled" them and gotten the same effect. Better yet, I could have gone out into the yard and picked wild blackberries and not spent $4.99/pound. To the cherry / rhubarb mixture, I added sugar, ginger and cornstarch. It looked pretty delicious in the bowl all glistening in its syrupy goodness.

The topping for this cobbler is a whole wheat biscuit dough. The recipe provides instructions for preparation in a food processor. I do not yet own a food processor, so I thought I'd try to mix it in the blender. GENIUS! Wrong. After I spent the next 10 minutes trying to scrape pea-sized chunks of butter off the blender blade, I decided it was best to try to make by hand. The instructions stated it should look like most clumps and curds. I got something that looked like oatmeal ...... I think that might be correct. I then formed 20 balls out of the dough and placed in rows on top of the fruit mixture.

I was unimpressed by how little my biscuits rose. Maybe it's time for new baking powder. I think mine expired in 2006. The recipe suggested waiting 20 minutes for the cobbler to cool after cooking before eating. I had my bowl waiting for the 20 minute mark as it smelled pretty delicious. I was delighted in the cherries (not a big shock), but the rhubarb just tasted like a mush of somewhat crunchy nothing - should have gone with a berry. The whole wheat biscuit topping was pretty boring. I guess I have a preference for desserts whose sugar content is so high that you're confident you just rotted out a few teeth. I think I would have adored it if it had a streusel topping. Overall, cherries - YAY!, rhubarb - Boo!, and whole wheat biscuits don't belong on a cobbler.

My Baking Blog

I was encouraged by my friend, Amanda of Beckett Bakes It, to start a baking blog. I love to cook and bake and haven't been doing enough of it lately. Upon Amanda's suggestion, I have joined her group at Tuesdays With Dorie. Once a week, a group member chooses a recipe from Dorie's cookbook, Baking: From My Home To Yours, we bake it from scratch and post a blog about it on Tuesdays (I might be a Monday night poster). I hope you enjoy my blog!