BSM Mae’s Cresent Cookies

This week’s BSM assignment was the tricolored cake. While it seems appetizing, the other adult sweet-eater in my household isn’t always the biggest fan of cakes, so I decided to go rouge this week and make a previously scheduled bake that I missed. I opted for Mae’s Crescent Cookies, a short-bready, walnutty treat. These are so easy to make and no chilling required! Not the most attractive cookies, and I only am showcasing the best ones here, as the shape and size of mine were all over the place. I attribute that to letting a three year old be involved in the shaping and sugaring process.

IMG_1432.JPGMy husband was a huge fan of these cookies, but for me I could take these or leave them. I personally liked the whipped shortbread or the derby cookies from this book better.

 

BSM: Kitchen Sink Dutch Baby

IMG_1427.JPGSo it has been awhile, but I missed baking with the bakers from BSM. I wanted to jump into things last week, but that assignments was an ice-cream cake that seemed pretty intimidating, so I waited until this week to bake something that required a little less dishes to wash. I don’t know if I have ever had a Dutch Baby, but it is pretty easy and kind of similar to a clatoufi. Eggs, milk, flour, and brown sugar are mixed together in the blender and poured over fruit (I went by the recipe and used bananas), topped with some chocolate chips, and baked. I baked mine for the minimum time, and it was fairly dark. It also never really climbed out the sides (my pan was slightly larger than called for, but it is the only cask iron skillet I have). If I was to make this again I would do a much better job of greasing the sides, as mine stuck and it was not a pretty sight on the plate. I did serve it with maple syrup, but really it is pretty sweet without. That being said, it tasted delicious and everyone really loved it. This is a great quick dessert that doesn’t make a giant mess and is a perfect one night treat (this isn’t something you will need to pon off to neighbors and coworkers).

Baked Sunday Mornings: Whipped Shortbread

Wow, I cannot believe that Christmas is almost upon us. I made these during Salt Lake’s first snowstorm of the year and it was a perfect way to start the holiday season.

These whipped shortbreads are some of the simplest cookies to make. Butter, powder sugar, flour, cornstarch and salt mixed together. The great thing about this shortbread recipe, chilling is not required, although I got a better looking, rounder cookie when I refrigerated mine for 30 minutes before baking. I got 32 cookies and had to bake these slightly longer than 15 minutes, I kept mine in for 18 minutes and left them to cool on the pan and they were perfect.

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This cookie is really fun to experiment with. I made some with the recipe specified pecans, but also added skor bar, candied ginger, and crushed peppermint candy canes to the top. Our house was divided on the favorite toppings. My husband preferred the pecans and skor bar, and I liked the candied ginger crushed peppermint. Regardless of what topping was on there, we thought there could be more placed on top then what was called for in the recipe, and enjoyed the cookies that we loaded with toppings (maybe why I had a longer bake time). I think this would be a great base for a turtle cookie: rolled in pecans, with chocolate and caramel would be amazing. This cookie was well liked and so versatile that I will be making it a couple of times a year, not just at Christmas. The texture is lighter than shortbread and my not a fan of shortbread husband really liked these.

Baked Sunday Mornings: Brown Butter Apple Cranberry Galette

This summer I had an obsession with galettes. I made one a couple of times a month as it used some of our massive amounts of fruit, but did not require me to form a pie crust in a tin. I have struggled with traditional pie crusts and although it usually tasted fine, they looked horrible with mangled edges and random patches of thin dough. A great way around this is the rustic galette.

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First step is to make the galette dough. I have never made a pie crust that uses cake flour, so I was curious how this would turn out. The crust I made according to the directions, but I rolled out the dough instead of waiting after the first rest in the refrigerator, as I have found it does not alter the texture and is much easier to do while the dough is still warm. For the filling, I made everything according to the recipe. I baked this for the full 45 minutes (I actually fell asleep while this was in the oven).

 

I really, really liked this galette. The amount of spice was perfect. It brought out the taste of the apples without overpowering them. The pie crust was pretty flakey and buttery-the perfect texture. Both the apples and cranberries got a little dark, but it did not affect the taste. To me the cranberries didn’t lend a whole lot, and this can easily be made without them. My unrefined palette couldn’t detect the brown butter, but the overall taste was so great, that I will do it again this way in the future.

 

The one downside of this recipe is that there are not more like it within Baked Occasions. While I understand most occasions call for cake, it would be nice to mix things up with some more pies and tarts.

 

Recipe from Baked Occasions by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito

Baked Sunday Mornings: Chocolate Espresso Tapioca Pudding with Kahlua Whipped Cream



Tapioca has been given such a bad rap. Growing-up I thought it was a dessert only fit for the geriatric crowd or for those toothless folks who could barely gum down the most liquid food form. I tried Kozy Shack tapioca when I roommate of mine bought some and I was hooked (I strongly believe that was the biggest contributor to my freshman weight gain). The Chocolate Espresso Tapioca Pudding with Kahlua Whipped Cream is for Black Friday, intended to give those early morning shoppers the jolt of caffeine they need to navigate those unruly crowds. I am not really a Black Friday type of gal, but this dessert arrived just at the right time, day light savings. Falling back an hour used to be something that I looked forward to, as everyone appreciates an hour more worth of sleep. With a toddler who has an internal clock that will wake her at the same time, time changes be damned. I am trying to look on the brightside, waking up at 4:00 a.m. allows me to get so much more done!

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This was my first attempt at making tapioca, and the directions on the back of my package called for much more time spent soaking and cooking the pearls then what the Baked Occasions recipe specified. I am assuming the Occasions recipe is a slightly fast/rushed version of the standard. I soaked the pearls for thirty minutes, and then add the egg yolks, milk, and cream bought this up to a boil. I only cooked this for an additional 12 minutes, and it just wasn’t enough time. After sitting overnight in the fridge, my pearls were still al dente and it was a soupy mess, but a delicious mess. It tasted like a melted chocolate coffee milkshake with the addition of some small tapioca pearls. I did not make the Kahlua whipped cream, as I just couldn’t justify the extra calories.

I didn’t think of this as a baking disaster, rather a lesson. Since I still have a giant bag of tapioca pearls, I think next time I will cook them to the bag’s specifications: soaking the pearls overnight and cooking them for longer.  However I will still add the coffee and chocolate, as I found it sexified tapioca. The coffee taste is fairly strong, so maybe not for those who are not coffee fans, although this one may win them over.

Baked Sunday Mornings: Blueberry Buckle (Rogue)

This week our Baked Sunday Morning’s assignment was Individual Baked Alaskas in honor of Alaska day. I have yet to try a baked Alaska, and while they sounded interesting, they also sounded like a lot of work: making cupcakes, coating them in ice cream, making meringue frosting (check out BSM for all of the steps). I contemplated buying un-iced cupcakes, but the cake seemed like an important ingredient. I just did want to try the recipe with a subpar store bought cake. If I were smarter I would have tackled these when I made the red wine cupcakes. I decided to go with something I have wanted to bake for a while, the blueberry buckle that was a BSM assignment a couple of months ago.

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I really stayed true to the original recipe except I used frozen blueberries and also added extra, a full tsp. as opposed to ¾, ground ginger as the stuff I had was pretty old. The cake did take longer than the full hour to bake as the recipe stated, I left mine in for about 65 minutes and felt like it achieved an adequate level of doneness.

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We really liked this cake. It was moist, had a ton of blueberries, and the cinnamon crumble topping was pretty amazing. Not a lot I would change with this, it’s pretty perfect as is. I still want to try the Individual Baked Alaskas, and I am excited to see if the other bakers felt it was worth the time and effort.

Recipe from: Baked Occasions by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito

Baked Sunday Mornings: Peanut Butter and Jelly Crumb Morning Muffins

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are a regular meal in our home; it is one of the only things that our picky toddler will eat. We also have both a plum and nectarine tree and a grape vine that we use the yield from to can jellies and jams. Our pantry is currently overflowing with spreadable fruit, and I was excited to get a chance to use it. I couldn’t think of something more fitting than this week’s Baked Sunday Morning assignment, Peanut Butter and Jelly Crumb Morning Muffins.image

The one thing I really enjoyed about these muffins is there is no mixer required, so I was able to make these while my toddler slept. I made these according to the recipe (found here). They were slightly messy to bake, remove from the pan, and eat. The crumb topping didn’t really like to stay on the muffin, although I did push it into the muffin before baking. Maybe it was that I was bound and determined to use every last drop of topping, as it is my personal belief that you can never have too much crumb topping, so maybe that is where the problem lies. I also had about five extra muffins and I filled mine fuller than the recipe stated. Beware, these make way more than the book indicated. Although the number of muffins was off in the book, the days that these keep for is not. These really start to get weird on the second day.

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These were just ok. We are cinnamon fans here, but found that the cinnamon in these muffins overshadowed the flavor of the peanut butter and jelly. I didn’t actually notice a difference between the different flavors of jelly I used as all I could taste was cinnamon. I am a huge fan of the peanut butter and jelly bars from Baked Explorations and I was expecting something as indulgent (with possibly less dirty dishes and butter), but these just fell short.

Baked Sunday Mornings: Chocolate Rice Crispy “Cake” with Homemade Marshmallow “Icing”

At my house there is differing opinions regarding rice crispy treats. My husband loves his dry, bland and lightly sugared, whereas I like mine gooey and full of marshmallows. I think the men at Baked fall into the same camp as me, as these rice crispy treats are oh, so gooey. The actual making of the rice crispies is easy, it’s a pretty standard recipe with the exception of cocoa rice cereal, additional chocolate that is melted before adding the cereal and some during the addition of the cereal, and homemade marshmallows. This was my first attempt at making marshmallows and it’s a fairly easy, yet messy process (hand washing dishes with melted sugar sucks). I felt like there was a lot of waiting followed by a hurried push to get the marshmallow fluff out of the mixing bowl and into the loaf pans. In this rush I forgot to add the vanilla, so the marshmallows were pretty bland.

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The addition of homemade marshmallows resulted in a more chewy rice crispy treat, which both my husband and I enjoyed. I also loved the addition of the melted chocolate interspersed by the chocolate chunks. Wasn’t really sure about the “icing.” Maybe because I failed to add vanilla, but we found it cumbersome to eat and slightly unappealing (treats this soft and full of marshmallows did not need an additional marshmallow top), and ate these treats sans the marshmallow layer. These treats (without the icing) were a mess of chocolate and marshmallow, just my style. My husband liked them, but wasn’t as big of a fan. I would probably make these again in the future, but with store bought marshmallows. While I was glad to finally take the plunge and make marshmallows, they are a lot of work for something that is overshadowed by a rice cereal. Not sure if it was worth the effort. These treats though make up in no time, and I will probably be making them again, but a half batch to justify me consuming them solo.

Recipe from: Baked Occasions by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito

Baked Sunday Mornings: Orange Pancakes with Honey Butter

I already have a great pancake recipe, the buttermilk pancakes from America’s Test Kitchen, but after not making what the BSM bakers found to be a tasty and amazing blueberry buckle last time, I didn’t want to miss another BSM baking challenge. Plus the great thing about pancakes is that they are an actual meal (no shame, I often have cake for breakfast).

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These are slightly more work than your average pancake, but the ingredients are something that we usually have on hand. I grew up making pancakes on a griddle, and I have yet to master cooking them in pans, so my husband cooked these. He poured enough to fit in a 10-inch fry pan, so I am unsure how many pancakes this would yield if you used the called for 1/3 cup of batter for each pancake.

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These pancakes are amazing! The orange flavor really came through and the pancakes were the perfect texture. I usually top my pancakes with fruit or yogurt, but I found that these were great with just the honey butter included in the recipe, although next time I may save time and skip the honey butter for plain old butter, that is how good these are.

I hope the other Baked Sunday Morning bakers liked this one as much as I did.

Recipe from: Baked Occasions by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito

Baked Sunday Mornings: Brioche Ice Cream Sandwiches

This week’s BSM baking assignment was brioche ice cream sandwiches for an Italian Holiday called Ferragosto. I live in Utah the ice cream capital of possibly the world, and yet I had never had heard of sandwiching ice cream between bread. It seemed odd, and maybe disastrous. Would bread hold up to melty ice cream? I was also hesitant about this project as my bread skills, well they suck, and my last yeasted project although delicious, wasn’t quite right. Was I ready to battle with bread again? Well this bread was adapted for an eleven-year-old, just imagine the horror if I couldn’t bake better than a fifth grader.

The mixer really does all of the work for this recipe. There is some measuring and a lot of waiting, but it is surprisingly easy. The hardest part is actually shaping the rolls. Some of mine looked amazing, others really odd. Although the recipe should yield twelve rolls, I came up with fourteen even after weighing each roll.

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I was over the moon, dancing through the house after my rolls came out and I tried one. Somehow, I had managed to make eatable and more importantly delicious bread. I sandwiched some pistachio gelato and toasted oatmeal ice cream between two cold cut rolls. The crumb and texture of the brioche was a nice complement to the soft icy texture of the gelato/ice cream. And although this rocked my unciviled world, I think I may do things different next time-mostly bake my brioche as a loaf instead of rolls as I think sliced bread would be a better vehicle for the ice cream. Dorrie Greenspan bakes her brioche for ice cream sandwiches in a coffee can, but we really never buy our coffee in cans, only in bags, but if I come across a used can I will be sure to save it for this purpose. It would also be fun to play around with this. You can add Nutella, sliced bananas, nuts…really nothing is off limits here. I will be making this recipe again and again.

Recipe from: Baked Ocassions by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito