Entries in baking (23)


molasses crinkles with butter

It has been a crazy couple weeks.  I tried to add the office job in to the rest of my life.  Which means that I have not been here as much as I try to do.  I had a friend who asked if the corporation swallowed me.  It does feel like that a bit.  There seems to be a lot of loneliness there.  And social skill need work.  There are graceful ways to end conversations.  

Koda Bear is coming back so the house is being rearranged.  Which actually stresses me out.  I would rather sell or throw out then rearrange.  But that is not going to happen currently.  Though I did realize my fiber addiction might be a bit out of control.

Last Christmas, I was not pleased with all the cookies I made.  Mostly it was do to with the butter.  It just works differently.  I played with the cookies a bit this year because I wanted the cookies to be puffier.  Not thin sugar circles.  Though the sugar circles are lovely to eat.  Just not puffy.

I figured out both the molasses and chocolate chip cookies.  I need to write down the recipes here.

molasses crinkles with butter

1 cup butter

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup molasses

2 eggs

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon cloves

3 1/2 cups flour


Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy.  Mix in the eggs and molasses.  Sift in the baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and flour if you wish.  Mix.  If you have time, refrigerate over night.  Then, do not turn on the oven.

When you are ready to bake, cover baking sheets with parchment or silicon mat.  Roll the dough into balls that are about an inch across.  Dredge in sugar.  Place a bit two inches apart on the baking sheet.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until set.

Puffy, not spread, cookies.  Yum!  Very good with tea.


needs more work

The experimentation for Saturday came out of the oven.  I think it needs more work.  I think I might leave the buckwheat flour out of it next time.  It adds a bitterness that is not coming from the cocoa.  The flavor of the buckwheat and cocoa combined overwhelm the cherries and pecans.  I need to go down this road some more.  It is like having cake but not having cake.  Especially right out of the oven which is when the boyos cut into it.

The last two days I did basically nothing.  Coached.  Read.  Slept.  Watched some videos.  I have the feeling I may have worn myself out a bit.  I always have a list of things I would like to get to during the day.  It is usually longer then the day will allow so I have come to terms with that.  But I just keep running with it.  I am coaching tonight and I probably should not be if my energy levels are anything to go by.  Oh well.  I will make sure to do some hand work tomorrow.

It is hurricane season.  And we may have some weather this coming weekend.  It does not look like it will be a storm but there was some talk of that for awhile.  I am not still rebuilding.  I came out of it fairly unscathed.  There was a roof that needed to be repaired.  But I am having some anxiety.  A plane flew over the house quite low yesterday and I became stressed.  Time will help but I could see where the next storm I may wish to leave town.  Just trying to live within myself and not taking anything extra on.  It can be hard.


An Italianish brioche

To no one's surprise, I am a baker.  So this should be no surprise that that many of the people I follow on Instagram are bakers.  The Sullivan Street Bakery Cookbook has come up a few times.  It is always very interesting to see what other cookbooks other bakers are interested in.  Especially those of us who make bread.  I have not gotten very deep in the volume I got for Christmas!  That is going to be interesting when I do.  Beware close friends!  I may be hitting you up to receive bread!

I was able to get the cookbook from the library.  Which is my preferred first choice of reviewing a cookbook.  I flipped through it.  I have heard of Jim Lahey and no-knead bread before.  If you want to do this technique, I think it is great and more power to you.  You will have fresh bread at home and that is the goal.  Personally, I have been baking too long and it is too messy and fussy for me.  Saying that, he did have a brioche recipe that I wanted to use as a guideline.

To be completely honest, I like a good brioche better then a good croissant.  The main problem is that most purchased brioche are on the dry side, tending to stale.  It is just the amount of butter, eggs, and milk that are in them.  I have good brioche recipes so I was not really on the look out for another one.  According to Jim Lahey, this was an Italian style one.  Not quite so plain.  Was I going to give an Italian brioche recipe a try?  Of course!  I am not an Italian grandmother but I have been accused of those tendencies.

I really liked it.  I would make them again.  There was a bit of lemon and vanilla added.  I could see making them with orange like the coronetto I make have in them.  Again, Italian flavors.  And for a baker, who more then likes a cup of tea, a perfect breakfast with some mountain jam and butter on them.  A small bit of heaven.

italianish brioche

Note:  This recipe is modified from The Sullivan Street Bakery Cookbook.

100 grams (a scant half cup) water

113 grams (8 tablespoons) butter

90 grams (a scant 1/2 cup) sugar

5 grams (1 teaspoon) honey

2 large eggs

4 grams (1 teaspoon) vanilla extract

finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon or 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract (I had extract and not the lemon)

125 grams sourdough starter

540 grams (3 3/4 cups) flour plus extra flour for kneading and shaping

6 grams (1 teaspoon) salt 

In a large bowl, put the water, butter, sugar, honey, eggs, vanilla, lemon, and starter.  Mix well but it will be lumpy.  Mix in half the flour, 270 grams (1 3/4 cups flour).  Mix well.  It will still be lumpy.  Cover and let rise until a bubbly mass like pancake batter.

At this point, mix in the salt.  Add in the rest of the flour.  Mix until you can mix no more and then turn out onto a clean floured surface and knead until smooth. 

Put back into a clean bowl, and let rise for an hour, covered.  After an hour, flatten the dough.  Fold the dough like a piece of paper into thirds.  Then fold the ends into the middle.  Put the folded side down.  Cover and let sit again for an hour.  I do this about three or four times.  

After the last fold, put in the refrigerator for an overnight rise.

The next morning, cover a baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper.  I shaped the dough into knots instead of the traditional brioche shape.  Dust you hands with flour and took a golf ball size of dough. Shape it into a snake and then tied a knot.  Place it on the baking sheet.   When all the dough has been shaped this way, cover and let slowly rise until double.  Since the dough was pulled from the refrigerator, this could take some time depending on the temperature of your kitchen.  My kitchen was cold so it took almost all day.  I probably did not need to refrigerate the dough.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

When the dough is risen, bake the rolls for about 20 to 30 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  The range is due to the size.  You want a golden roll.  I used a white whole wheat flour which tends to a darker shade when fully baked.

I toasted mine and smear them with jam and butter for breakfast.  So good!  If I did not have three half loaves of bread currently, I would be making more for breakfast and tea.  But that is life.


sour cream raisin pie

I got boxes out before Christmas.  The only two boxes that will go out but they are out.  Any other boxes will go out after the holidays.

Baking has been interesting this year.  I used flour that was milled within a week of baking and the moisture content has changed the amount of flour I have needed in a couple of recipes.  The boyos are not complaining about the rejects.  I am told that rejects need to happen more often.

I decided to test my sour cream raisin pie recipe with brown sugar.  I will be seeing my Dad next week for Christmas and am thinking that a pie will be his birthday/Christmas present.  Or maybe I will make him two.  But I wished to test it with brown sugar instead of white.  Going for more of the pecan pie feel then buttermilk pie feel.

It was rather an easy mix up.  And can I say that gluten free has changed a lot in the last ten years!  One of the boyos needs not to eat gluten.  Not celiac but something close.  I went to the store looking for all my normal bags of having to mix it myself.  But Bob's Red Mill had a Paleo bag mix that was very similar to something I would have mixed in the past.  I made my life easy.

So I made a gluten free crust.  Dusted the raisins with the same mix so they would not drop to the bottom of the pie so easily.  I baked it.  That is how easy it was to make this pie gluten free.   I am just a little worried because there has been so much wheat flour flying around my kitchen all week.  It is heritage and freshly milled but everybody has different tolerances.  I will keep my fingers crossed.

The boyos called it a success.  It is so old fashioned that I worry a bit that modern palates will not like it but so far it has been a success.  All the men I know seem to like it.  I will make one for my Dad when I get to his house next week.  Or, actually, the day after Christmas so I bake him another if he wishes.  

It will be interesting to be at my parents' with my siblings for a week.  This could get interesting!


madly baking

Posts for the month of December feel kind of redundant to me.  I bake so many of the same family recipes that I could just repeat posts.  This year, I am four days behind due to the unexpected Christmas party that was out of town.  

The vanilla and chocolate shortbread are done.  But that means the sables and molasses crinkles still need to be baked.  Also, scones for a couple people.  I am thinking about sneaking a pumpkin cake into Koda Bear's box because pumpkin pie does not ship well.  Pumpkin pie is his favorite.  Just like mine!

None of this includes any baking I would do for myself.  Travelling is happening for me at the end of the month.  There needs to be enough bread for every day let alone travels.  And I really wanted to get a kuglehopf and a panattone made.  I have a few of the cookies as they are baked but really I wish the yeasted cakes.

I do want to run one experiment past the boyos.  I wish to make a sour cream raisin pie here as a test.  I will be with my parents after Christmas and before my Dad's birthday.  I was going to make him a sour cream raisin pie for his birthday.  I was told the last one I made was the closest to what his Mom used to make.  I think I tweak now.  Brown sugar instead of white.  But I wish to test it on the boyos before I try there.  Which also means a gluten free crust because one cannot eat gluten.  

I have not even talked about the sewing that needs to go on!  Stocking my shop has slowed down as I sew for family but I keep making nine squares so there will be more quilts as the year starts.  Maybe even the one I am making for this home.  That would be a surprise!

Thanks so much for listening to the babble.  The cookie bowl should have soaked enough so I can make more dough.  Sables next.  Hopefully I can wait to walk to the grocery store tomorrow.....