April 28th, 2009 by Kricket
Every once in a while I get really excited about eating a scone, but when I bite into a hard, crumbly, bland, dry thing, I am greatly disappointed. I know that scones are ”supposed to be dry” and are “meant for dunking in tea or coffee,” but I am not a big fan of that kind of pastry. I like my scones to be soft and moist, rich and flavorful… more like a biscuit. Perhaps the truth is that I don’t really like authentic scones. Whatever the case, this recipe creates a pastry just how I like it!
I was planning on making all fruit scones, but I realized at the last minute that I didn’t have enough berries. So, I improvised and made some with chocolate chips. I was pleasantly surprised by how good the chocolate ones were, and even more surprised by how good the experimental chocolate-blueberry-raspberry ones turned out! Makes me think there are a lot of interesting and delicious possibilities to be tried out…
I got this recipe from America’s Test Kitchen and it makes 8 large scones. Read the rest of this entry »
April 13th, 2009 by Kricket
I made my own bagels from scratch! I was so proud of myself for taking on this project, which for some reason always seemed too hard to even try. But, it actually wasn’t that difficult- it mostly required a lot of waiting for the dough to rise (I’m learning that this bread making business usually does). I had a great time making each bagel flavor unique. I topped them with: poppy seeds, sesame seeds, dried onions, cheese, pesto, fresh onions, salt, cinnamon-raisin, and Spike seasoning. I can’t say which flavor I ended up liking best, as they were all delicious! This recipe, from The Baker’s Apprentice, makes 12 bagels. I ate some fresh from the oven and sliced and froze the leftovers for easy popping into the toaster! Read the rest of this entry »
April 1st, 2009 by Kricket
A while ago I bought a bag of mint baking chips because they were on sale. What a silly reason to buy something! I put them in the freezer and promptly forgot about them. When I was organizing my overflowing freezer this weekend, I decided to finally get creative with the mint chips. I read the recipes on the back of the bag and they sounded plain awful… sweet mint is a strong flavor and one that I am particular about when it comes to baked goods. Then I remembered one of my all time favorite cookies- Mint Condition made by the Pacific Cookie Company. A large, dense, rich, chewy chocolate cookie with lots of mint chips. I found an America’s Test Kitchen recipe for chewy chocolate cookies and modified it to make it even chocolatier and chewier. I also substituted mint chips for the semisweet chips it called for. And, I’m happy to report that these cookies are just as good as the ones I was reminiscing about!
A few tips: the cookies will be chewier and thicker if you refrigerate them as the recipe reccomends. If you don’t have time to refrigerate them for hours, at least put them in the freezer for 10 minutes or so before baking so that they don’t turn out thin and crunchy (unless you like that sort of thing). Also, when you pull these out of the oven, they will look underdone. Trust the timing and sample them when they are cool. I tried leaving some in the oven a little bit longer than the recipe recommended and they were fine warm, but once they cooled they were very crunchy and hard.
The recipe makes about 3 dozen cookies or more, so feel free to halve it if you don’t need a bunch. You can also spoon the dough into balls and freeze them for up to a month, adding about 4 minutes to the cooking time when you decide to bake them. Read the rest of this entry »
March 22nd, 2009 by Kricket
These are called ol’ lady bars because I made them for a sewing get together with a group of ladies that are almost all at least thirty years older than me. I use the term ol’ here in a rockin’ way. These ladies are impressively sassy and energetic for their age… and quite crafty. Plus, they have the stamina to sew for six hours straight- until midnight! That’s pretty rad, if you ask me.
Anyhow, this recipe seemed a little old fashioned to me because it is toffee-ish, but doesn’t have any toffee candy in it. It is based on America’s Test Kitchen’s “Coconut Toffee Chew Bars” recipe. They are excellently chewy and have great coconut flavor. The chocolate is a nice addition, but definitely does not dominate. I cut these small and got 24 small squares. And they kept the sewers sewin’ into the wee hours! Read the rest of this entry »
March 15th, 2009 by Kricket
Apparently this bread is more commonly known as Pane Siciliano, but I’ve never heard of that, so I decided to name it like it is. I found this recipe in my new favorite bread book, “The Baker’s Apprentice” by Peter Reinhart.
I split the recipe in half and just made one big loaf for my friend, Cynthia’s, birthday potluck. I whipped up a fancy sundried tomato and cheese spread to go with it, but I thought the bread was excellent on its own. I imagine it also would be tasty with any number of other spreads, especially sweet ones. It was one of the fluffiest breads I have made… maybe the semolina flour had something to do with this? It also was relatively sweet from the addition of honey. It reminded me a little bit of a pastry bread because of its consistency and flavor. And the sesame seeds made an excellent crunchy contrast!
Plan 3 days in advance to make this bread… it isn’t a lot of work, but it takes time to develop the awesome flavor! Read the rest of this entry »
March 6th, 2009 by Kricket
I made a delicious barley carmelized onion soup the other day (a Deborah Madison recipe) and I was looking for a good bread to go along with it. I came across this recipe in a book called the Cheese Bible. I liked the sound of a savory cheesy scone to go with my hearty vegetable soup. And I surely enjoyed the results! These scones are light and crispy on the outside and creamy and buttery in the middle. They have a good mustard kick to them too! This recipe makes 12 scones. Read the rest of this entry »
February 21st, 2009 by Kricket
Apparently, key lime pie isn’t a popular winter dessert… but John has been hoping I’d make one for a while, so I decided to not wait for the appropriate season. This recipe is based upon one from a restaurant called Joe’s Stone Crab in Florida. It is surprisingly easy to prepare and easy to eat too! I just love graham cracker pie crust… I could eat it all by itself, but it is a good accompaniment to the creamy lime filling. I couldn’t find key limes, so I just used regular limes and they seemed to work well. It was a little on the sour side, so if you like your lime pie sweeter, you may want to consider adding some sweetener or reducing the amount of lime zest. Read the rest of this entry »
February 18th, 2009 by Kricket
I have tried a few different ciabatta recipes and they all have turned out dramatically different. This recipe produced the best holes, chewiness, crust, and texture. I would still like to work on perfecting the flavor… for some reason I feel like a little olive oil may be in order.
That being said, this bread is wonderful. It it is great dipped in olive oil and balsamic vinegar, with cheese, toasted, and as sandwich bread. I can’t really complain about that kind of versatility. And, compared to the other recipes, I’ve tried, this one is the simplest to prepare.
I got this recipe from Cooks Illustrated Magazine. It makes two loaves. Read through the recipe a couple of days before you plan to make the bread so you can account for the rising times! Read the rest of this entry »
February 16th, 2009 by Kricket
My friend Forrest made some scrumptious banana bread a couple of weekends ago and when I was still thinking about it two days later, I decided that I needed to make my own. So, I patiently waited for the bananas in my fruit bowl to turn black. And then I whipped up a batch of these delightful vegan banana nut muffins for brunch. They are easy to prepare and smell sooooo yummy while baking! They also taste great the next day and the day after that.
This recipe is based on one from Sarah Kramer and Tanya Barnard’s books. My recipe made 14 muffins, but my bananas were huge! So, a normal or small banana would probably make the 12 muffins that the original recipe is supposed to make. These can be made the night before, stored in the refrigerator, and baked in the morning for those of us who don’t like that whole getting up early thing. Read the rest of this entry »
February 2nd, 2009 by Kricket
I love making a whole batch of brownies for no particular occasion. After they’ve cooled, I cut them up and store them in the freezer. Then I take one out and let it defrost anytime I’ve got a brownie craving. They taste fresh for quite a while (not that they every really last that long anyway).
This time, I was looking for something a little more adventuresome than the plain ‘ol brownie, and the addition of nuts wasn’t going to cut it. So, I took my favorite plain brownie recipe from Cooks Illustrated and combined it with a Good Housekeeping recipe for peanut butter brownies. If you are feeling more like a traditional brownie, you can use just the recipe for the chocolate brownies below and shorten the baking time by about 10 minutes.
These decadent bars turned out quite amazing, I must admit! When researching recipes, I read a lot of reviews about various peanut butter swirl recipes not having enough peanut butter flavor. Well, this recipe has quite a lot of wonderful peanut butter flavor. They are chewy, moist, and thick, but not too cakey. However, they are a little crumbly… why do peanut butter baked goods always turn out crumbly? The only real problem with the crumbliness is that they don’t cut very neatly, even when cooled. Perhaps they would cut more cleanly if they were refrigerated first? So, in my opinion, if you aren’t planning on impressing anyone with the presentation of these brownies, the crumbliness does not outweigh fact that they are super duper tasty!
This recipe makes one 9 x 13 inch pan of fat brownies. Read the rest of this entry »