Friday, February 29, 2008

Daring baker's challenge: French Bread!

I woke up this morning and my first thought was: I can post my bread!! So, I plug in the digital camera, and open up the folder with all the pictures...but to my greatest disappointment, the pictures are gone. Yep, gone. -sigh- I still have one picture,and luckily it was my favorite, but I'm still very upset.

The bread absolutely fabulous. The taste, the texture, the crumb, everything was really great. This was the best bread I've ever made. And thank goodness, too, because it took all day to make! Luckily it was still done by 7 and we were able to have some with dinner. Everyone gobbled it up!

HPIM1388Julia Child French Bread, daring baker's challenge

The recipe looks a bit intimidating, but as you read through it you realize you only need half the directions, and they're not that bad. The recipe is VERY long, so I'll link to BreadChick's POST.

I'll I can say is, BRING ON THE NEXT CHALLENGE! Wooh!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Unholy Ciabatta -

Poolish Ciabatta

I attempted the Poolish Ciabatta from Bread Baker's Apprentice today. No big holes, but still pretty yummy. I was wonder, should I have baked it upside down?
I'm trying to figure out why I had such a small crumb. I did my best not to degass it or anything...did I not give it enough of a work out when kneading it? It really left me a bit depressed.

Poolish Ciabatta

Poolish Ciabatta

Poolish Ciabatta

Oh family still thought it tasted good.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

New favorite recipe of an old time classic.

Chocolate Chip Cookie

As I've previously stated, Chocolate Chip Cookies are my favorite cookie. Ever. I could probably eat 2 dozen and still want more. Whenever I made chocolate chip cookies, I always use the Toll House recipe on the chocolate chip bag. I've never, ever tried a different recipe. But since I've starting to really love baking I decided I had to try at least one other recipe. I don't think I need to try another! The "Best Big, Fat, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie" recipe is my new default. It's all summed up into those words, with the addition of "Gooey" My favorite part. Yum. Yum!

Chocolate Chip Cookie

Chocolate Chip Cookie

n this case, bigger really is better. The texture really makes it, with just the perfect amount of crispness, but so chewy and gooey, and so big and fat. The cookies looked big even in my Dad's hands!

Best Big, Fat, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
(Taken from, RECIPE HERE)


2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.
2. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon. Drop cookie dough 1/4 cup at a time onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be about 3 inches apart.
4. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

(Following directions from other reviewers on AllRecipes, I chilled my dough in the refrigerator before baking. They came out perfect! And Don't be afraid to make them big!)

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Something Savory...For Dinner!

Tonight's dinner was Lavash Cracker "pizza". I made Peter Reinhart's Lavash Crackers, then half way through the baking time I put toppings on them.

This dough was super stiff. I had the hardest time kneading it by hand! Being pretty small, with any sort of muscle I have existing in my legs, you can imagine how long it took! I was very tempted to call my big brother down and have him do it. I had to start using my elbows at some points, and puting one hand on the dough, the other on the counter and lifting myself up...I'm not even sure I kneaded it enough! But it tasted fine, so it's all good!

Lavash Cracker "Pizza"

Lavash Cracker "Pizza"

This one I made one layer of cracker, deli sliced ham and swiss cheese, then another lay of cracker, topped with sesame seeds and kosher salt, then baked.

Lavash Cracker "Pizza"
Before ( My sister made my arms look hairy! O__o Grr...)
Lavash Cracker "Pizza"
Half way through baking:
Lavash Cracker "Pizza"

Peter Reinhart's "Lavash Crackers" Recipe:
(Taken from Bread Baker's Apprentice")

1 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon yeast
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/3 to 1/2 cup water, at room temperature

(Directions, in my own words, because from what I heard, I'm aloud to post recipe, but not directions?)

Using a spoon, mix everything together in a bowl. You might not need all of the water, but have it ready just in case. You'll need just enough to make a ball.

Lightly flour the counter, empty the dough onto the counter and knead for around ten minutes, when all the ingredients are well distributed.
Lightly oil a bowl and place the dough in the bowl rolling it to coat it lightly in the oil. Cover with plastic, then a towel, T shirt, apron, whatever is around, and ferment at room temperature until it's doubled in size. About 1 and a half hours.

Once doubled, light mist the counter with some spray oil and pat the dough into a rectangle. Lightly pat some flour on top of the dough and roll it out paper thin with a rolling pin. Place on baking parchment on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.

Now, I placed mine in, baked it half way, quickly pulled it out and threw on a few toppings. Then baked the rest of the way. It may need more then 20 minutes.

My toppings were: Pepperoni, Mozzerella, and diced tomatoes. The other was
Turkey, swiss, and diced tomatoes.
My favorite was the pepperoni. The crushed tomatoes tasted SO good! I'll have to make this again. It was very easy even though my arms felt like they were going to fall off.

I hope you try and make this!
Lavash Cracker "Pizza"

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Blondies and Easter candy~

So today I made Blondies for the first time in my life. I've never made them, never tasted them. Let me say, I was certainly missing out. They were good. Really good.I used Mark Bittman's recipe, which I tripled, and put in semi-sweet chocolate chunks and walnuts. Just like a thick, chewy, moist chocolate chip cookie! (my absolute favorite cookie)

Half eaten blondie


Smitten Kitchen's Blondies look better than mine, but you can find the recipe on her blog.

Me and my mom were out today, and we had a chance to run into the Candy Barn before picking up my brother from college. As soon as you walk in you get this intense chocolatey smell. It was so tempting me and Mom had to get a few pieces of chocolate to sample, as well as a few things to start our Easter baskets.

Easter Candy

Next time I'll get pictures of the actual Candy Store! If I'd known we were going I would've brought the camera.

We also got these adorable candles from Target for our Easter Brunch.

Easter Chicky candles from Target

Aren't they cute?

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Cinnamon Rolls! Mmmmm.....

Cinnamon rolls

Carole Walter is a genious. Her Simple Sweet Dough is Absolutely delicious! I felt like I was making a pie crust when mixing the dough, not a yeast bread! It's soft, flaky and slightly sweet. Just perfect for cinnamon rolls! And what better to top cinnamon rolls than cream cheese frosting? Nothing. It's got to be a sin to use anything other than cream cheese frosting on cinnamon rolls!

Sunday evening and cinnamon rolls, a fire in the fire place, ahh....what could be better?

cinnamon rolls

Cinnamon rolls!

They were so gooey and yummy! Recipe for the dough can be found on this blog. I didn't use that filling recipe or icing. Filling was free-style. I used 1 sticks of really soft butter, and spread it all across the rolled out dough. Then sprinkled with a ton of dark brown sugar, maybe about 2 cups. Then sprinkled a fair amount of cinnamon, about 1/2 to 3/4 cup . Frosting was from my mom's carrot cake recipe-

Frosting Recipe:
8 Ounces or cream cheese, softened
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
6 tablespoons butter (softened works best)
1 tsp. vanilla

The Fireplace:

We got a new tablecloth and new napkins for our Easter brunch we're having at our house. My aunt and uncle are coming over, as well as their grown and married kids. (my cousins)

Napkins 2


Here's our WIP menu for our Easter Brunch. Me and my mommy will be doing the cooking/baking. (with some help of Dad and big sis :-) )

Roast Beef with oven roasted potatoes.
Ham, with pineapple and cherries.
French Toast casserole (Courtesy of Paula Deen) with our twist of cream cheese dollops and crumb topping, (thanks to a nice chef I met who attended the CIA)
Croissants, with a variety of filling. Chocolate, cherry cream cheese, pinapple cream cheese.
Dinner Rolls
Fruit bowl. (still deciding, it will depend on the prices.)
Green Bean Casserole
Cranberry Sauce
Sweet red cabbage, the way grandma makes it.
Blueberry Cream cheese Coffee Cake

String Beans

I can't wait for Easter! Plus, I want to make homemade Cadbury Cream Eggs. And we'll buy lots of yummy chocolate and candy. =3

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Doughnuts!...sort of...

I was bored, and we had nothing good for a snack in the house, and I've been dying to try this for weeks now, so I decided to bake some doughnuts. Yes, bake. I'm not exactly aloud to fry with yet, and I really don't trust myself. As it is, I've already burnt my sleeve on the jet while making dinner, I don't need another accident like that!

The chocolate frosting is soooo good!
Yup! Not only did some of they have chocolate on them, they had chocolate in them. Those are chocolate chips!
The last one looks more like a muffin then a donut. I baked it in a cupcake holder.