Monday, November 26, 2007

November Challenge: Potato Bread

YEAH! Its Potato time!! I will admit, I don't make bread often, my husband and I do not eat bread very much, some toast here and there with eggs, and the occassional pb&j. So I was a little worried, but I figured that I have made bread several times before so how hard could it be. We made several Breads in school, and I had done some at home, so Potato bread has got to be just as easy. So I thought, well lets do it right away and make sure you can do it. The weekend it was posted I set out to make it.

WOW!! was I expecting something different. Realizing that my scale's batteries were dead was one problem, so I thought ok, 8-16oz of potato..hmm..techinically there are 8oz in a cup, but that is generally liquid measure not dry, which is often slightly different. So I just approxiamted, and used about 1 1/2 cups of mashed potato. I got all the ingredients in to that point, and was ready to knead my bread. Well I pulled out my board and had the extra flour ready, I wish I had thought to take pics of my hands..wait no way would I handle anything but the dough with those hands, it was everywhere, stuck to everything. So I added more flour. and yet it just continued to be so very sticky. After I don't know how long kneading the dough, I am sure after too much added flour and mass frustration I said your done and put it in the bowl to rise for the first time.

During previous bread making projects (of course at a different house with a different oven) I had always put my doughs in my large ceramic bowl, covered with plastic wrap on the back of my stove with the oven on low about 200-250 F. My plans had been to make though bread, and during the first rising bake cookies. So I let it be and set out to clean up and start my cookies. I would periodically look at the bowl, to my surprise and happiness it was rising. "Awesome" I thought, this just may work out.

So I let it be and continued. I turned up my oven, figuring it will be no problem and went on with my cookies. The bread rose regularily. As I took out my last batch of cookies and turned off the oven, I noticed my dough had finally doubled, even a little more than doubled. So happy I was, and thought, it has got to be less sticky now. So I moved it to the counter and finished moving my cookies. I floured my board for the next knead and divison of dough. Pulled of the wrap and...omg..part of my dough had BAKED to the side of the bowl. I couldnt believe it, and more frustrated than I was kneading the dough the first time. I pulled out what dough I could, luckily still a large amount of dough, I ended up not loosing nearly as much as I thought, and actually laughed a bit as I through the par baked dough away. I started the 2nd kneading process, and to my dismay..just as damn sticky as before. I kneaded just a little bit as instructed, and divied the dough. I took the largest piece and made forcaccia bread, and with the 2nd dough, I braided it into a loaf. The focaccia bread looked nice as it baked, not as great as I would have like, but nice none the less, and the braid wasn't too bad either. Flavor texture...it was soo very tough, I knew I had kneaded it far too much the first time and added too much flour to it. But it still looked ok. Knowing I would still remake it, as what is bread if it doesn't taste good haha..so here is the first attempt :
SO after watching and reading the Blog, and other peoples questions I finally asked about the potato, and determined, I obviously used too much potato. Set out to make it better, I thought of the best way for me to do it. So I borrowed the scale at work and went through the steps again...put together all my ingredients and Started Potato bread for the 2nd time this month..

ok so atleast the potato and yeast mixture looks right, and a little better than I remembered the first attempt. Just maybe this time it will work. I continued on, finally turning it out on to my floured board. Luckily, it appears to not be as sticky as the first attempt, but sticky it still is. I was determined NOT to add as much flour as the last time, as I read that the dough was to be sticky and that it would stay sticky. So I watched the clock and watched my flour and did my best to knead the stickness. So finally after the approximate 10-12 min of kneading I was ready to put it back in my bowl to rise.

If I had thought of it I would have taken the before and after picture, but alas, all I have is my before picture of the dough going into the bow. I had read in the blog, that the microwave is a good place to let it rise. So remembering my first situation, with my dough cooking on my stove, I chose to cover it and put it in my microwave. Figuring, as long as its not on, things should be just fine haha. So for 2 hrs I left my dough. Baked some pumpkin bars, figuring why waste the 2 hrs inbetween a project. When I went to get my dough, woohoo it had doubled as before ( If I ever make bread again, the Microwave is so where it will go to rise..but well after this challenge I must say, I may not do bread again for some time.) I turned out my dough on the floured board and went at the second kneading. It was sticky, but no where near as sticky as it had been the first knead and definately not the first time I tried to make the bread. I divided though dough, and decided this time to still go with the forcaccia bread, with garlic chips, Rosemary and the olive oil of course. I set it up, heated up the oven, and set it aside for the next rise. While that one rised I thought about what to do with the next piece, having done the braid I didnt want to do the same thing. So I thought about it for a bit. I decided to still kind of braid it. I pulled out my shredded colby and jack cheeses, and knead it into the dough, I then added a nice amount of various herbs, thyme, margarm, oregano, etc..I kneaded the dough well enough to intergrate all the items I was adding, I made a log and proceeded to do my braid. I then folded it in half and put it in my loaf pan. As the loaf pan was put to rise, the Focaccia went in the oven, the timings were great, it was only about 10 min after I took out the first baked item that the loaf would go in. Finally I had some bread that looked nice, and tasted good. The loaf bread was wonderful with some chili I had made, and I used the focaccia for sandwhichs. With only me and my husband it was hard to figure out what to do with the bread, as I said we don't eat that much bread as it is, I had considered doing the 2nd attempt at half the recipe, but I also knew I wanted to make the 2 different styles out of the dough. I do think depending on the future challenges, I will definately start halving the recipes. I did give some bread away but as you can see, I had quite a bit. I had to take a pic with the whole loaf, as I found it pretty. So I have 2 pics of it, and hehe I like it with the knife and board as well. I hope this is what I was to do, it was a frustrating first challenge for me, having not knowing what to expect, and a not so happy first attempt. The second attempt went much better, but I am pretty sure that potato bread will most likely never be made in my house again lol, these attempts were more than enough for me. As happy as I was with my final product the second time, the processes of both of them, were just exhausting for me, and the dough frustrated me more than anything. I will stick to my deserts and leave the breads to the breadmakers ..haha.
On a different note, I am very excited to continue to see what future challenges are and what else is to come. I love the experinces I have done so far with the blog, and its only the first month, With so many events I want to do, the only issues is where am I going to find the time. Ha-Ha!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Waiter there's something in my......

Yes, I was a busy bee today. Knocked off 2 events, and was planning 3..but omg I am tired now. Was quite excited to see this one, I love making tarts, and this just meant had to find something different. I have a couple different tart recipes for the holidays, a carmel pecan tart, cranberry pecan tart, apples and pears...but I wanted something different. So I started looking. And what did I find...A Banana's Foster Tart. and it looks sooo yummy. Warm carmely banana's, pecans and a flakey crust..who could ask for more.


I remembered seeing it before and the urge to make it was overwhelming. So here it is, and let me say that with that scoop of vanilla ice cream...wow was it good!!




http://www.cooksister.com/2007/11/waiter-theres-s.html

ok, so I was asked to post the recipe as well. I am gonna post it as is in the book, For the crust, I made my own pastry dough, and well, that would be an even longer post, and I am too tired to do that :P haha.

Bananas Foster Tart

Crust:

1 refrigerated pie crust, softened as directed on box,

or your own tart dough =)

Filling:

2 medium bananas ( I added one, i like it full haha) cut into 1/4 inch thick slices

4 1/2 teaspoons light rum or 1/2 tsp rum extract plus 4 teaspoons water

2 teaspoons grated orange peel

2/3 cup chopped pecans

2/3 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup whipping cream

1/4 cup butter or margarine

1/2 tsp vanilla

vanilla ice cream, if Desired

1. Heat oven to 450. Make 1 pie crust as directed on box for one crust baked shell using 9 inch tart pan with a removable bottom, or 9 inch glass pie pan. Place 1 crust in pan, press in bottom and up sides of pan. Trim edge if necessary. Bake 9-11 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 5 minutes. (ok for this section, if you are using your own tart dough, then just bake it as you would for that recipe. mine was at 350 for about 20 min. )

2.In a small bowl, mix bananas and rum to coat. Sprinkle orange peel evenly in bottom of baked shell. Arrange bananas in single layer over peel. Sprinkle with pecans.

3.In heavy 2-quart saucepan, mix brown sugar, whipping cream and butter. Cook and stir over medium-high heat 2-3 minutes or until mixture boils. Cook 2-4 minutes longer, stirring constantly, until mixture has thickened and is deep golden brown.

4.Remove saucepan from heat, stir in vanilla. Spoon warm filling over bananas and pecans. Cool 30 minutes. Serve warm or cool with ice cream. Store in refigerator.

there we go =) all enjoy.

CupCake Hero....The Cranberry




So, I am far to addicted to the Daring Bakers already, and I am not even the offical member until my first challenge is posted. But I go there daily (haha) and have atleast 6 different events that I want to do. its sooo addicting omg. I am all about some cupcakes, and I see there is one called Cupcake hero. I think to myself, how awesome is this!! I await to see what the secret ingredient is, and there it is, the Cranberry. How perfect for Thanksgiving. But what, oh what do I do with the cranberry. Of course, I can't think of anything to do with it alone, but ohh the things it can be mixed with. Of course..there is pumpkin..mmm pumkin and cranberries. But to obviuos. My husband loves carrot cake, and I thought man how good would cranberries be in my carrot cake.
So that is what I did, I have a cranberry carrot cupcake. With Cranberry Cream Cheese Icing!!


Man, it was so tasty. The sweetness of the spices with crunch of pecans and carrots, and a wonderful tangy bite of the Cranberries. I have never added anything but some zest to cream cheese icing before, but mm those tangy little berries do some good flavor to it. and I loved the little shots of red coming through the white of it. Not sure if I did this right, but it was fun none the less, and I came up with a yummier way to have carrot cake!!

Ok so I was asked to post this one as well. so here we go..

Cranberry Carrot Cupcakes, with Cranberry Cream Cheese Icing...

3 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp cloves

2 sticks unsalted butter

2 cups sugar

2 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla sextract

1 can crushed pineapple, about 1 cup

2/3 cup dried, chopped cranberries

2/3 cup chopped pecans

1 cup finely shredded carrots

1. position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350. 2 cup cake pans with papers.

2. SIft together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg, salt and cloves onto a piece of wax paper and set aside

3. In the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer fitted with the paddle blade, beat the butter on medium speed until it is lighter in color , about 45 seconds. Add the sugar in a steady stream, then stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowls, until the mixture is very light in color and texture, about 3 minutes. One at a time, beat in the eggs, beating well after each addition, then add the vanilla.

4. Reduce the mixer speed to low. Add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with 2 additions of the pineapple. After each addition, beat just until smooth and scrap down the sides of the bowl. Fold in the cranberries, pecans and carrot.

5. scoop by tbsp fulls into prepared cups, fill about 3/4 the way. bake until the tops spring bake and cakes are golden on top, and a toothpic inserted in the centers come out clean. About 15-20 min. ( I baked them closer to the 15, so watch them from that time on. ). Cool on wire rack.

Cranberry Cream Cheese Icing.

1 8oz cude cream cheese, softened at room temp

1/2 cup butter, softened at room temp

about 1 lb of powedered sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup chopped dried cranberries

In a medium sized bowl, beat butter, cream cheese and vanilla until smooth. Slowly add the powedered sugar, you will add more based on your taste of the icing. You want the icing to a nice spreadable consistency. At that point you can stir in the dried cranberries. Spread on your cupcakes =).

Enjoy everyone!!

Friday, November 16, 2007

A Party ...well it was suppose to be..






So, TOnight I had planned a bit of a get together, An All adult get together ...a Toy party to be exact. Of course, the plan was to have all kinds of woman over, for drinks, foods and laughter =). Well, of course only a couple close friends and 2 coworkers showed up. A bit of a let down actually hehe, but hey I have a bottle of Rum left soo WOOT.


But along with that rum...I also have an abundance of food. What do you ask did I have??? It was a chili kinda of day. So I made White Chili...a wonderful Chicken&white bean chili with a smokey under tone and a wonder spice to it. Lots of pepper jack cheese to top that off.


With the White chili..had to come the normal meaty red bean chili. a nice flavor, slight heat, perfect for the cold weather we have been having. Topped off with some shredded coldy and jack cheese, onions and green onions. It quite hit the spot. Of course I had all those toppings plus more. I made cheesy bread sticks and chips. Lots of chili left now.



Busted out some cookies, and made the pumpkin bars again, they were too good not to remake. And then I thought, ohh Angel made that evil strawberry pie..I should try to turn that into bars. Well, I added a package of Sparkling WIld Strawberry Jello to it. Added wonderful flavor, but the whipped cream was still just not stiff enough to hold a bar shape. So I decided it was perfect for Parfaits ;). Very tasty, am very glad that she passed that recipe on to me!!


So, in the end, it was still fun and tasty. I just chose to keep the party open a week, and will make everyone buy stuff via catalog haha make up fo all the food I have left over.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Pumpkin Pie Bars..mmm good!!

Saturday I thought I would treat my crew at work to a treat, seeing as I had Snickerdoodles set aside, and It is November I thought I would try this recipe I found. Pumpkin Pie bars, the picture just looked SO good, I couldn't resist trying. So very simple to make and SO tasty.

Here is a small picture, am still learning how to get these pictures to look as awesome as everyone else's but these are the bars and the Snickerdoodles again. After these, I really wouldn't make a pumpkin pie again unless it was requested, they were just SO good, and a huge hit, I had to copy the recipe for 10 people =). So here is the recipe for all of you =)

Pumpkin Pie Bars:

1 1/3 cups flour

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) cold butter or margarine

1 cup old fashioned or quick-cooking oats, uncooked

1/2 cup shopped pecans

1 pkg. (8oz) cream cheese, softened

3 eggs

1 can (15oz) pumpkin

1 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice*

*I used a cinnamon spice mixture here, just because I really like it

Preheat oven to 350 . Line a 13x9 baking dish with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides of pan. Grease foil.

Mix flour, brown sugar and 1/4 cup of the granulated sugar in medium bowl, cut in butter with pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Stir in oats and pecans. Reserve 1 cup of the oat mixture, press remaining mixture onto bottom of pan. Bake 15. min.

Beat cream cheese, remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar, eggs, pumpkin and spice small bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Pour over crust, sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture.

Bake 25 min. Cool completely on wire rack. Use foil handles to lift from pan. Cut into 24 bars. Store leftover bars in tightly covered container in refrigerator. ( I had none left over so didn't get this far ha-ha)

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Apples&Thyme!!

So, this is officially my first post involving the Daring Bakers group. I wasn't going to do it, I didn't think I had enough time so had put it aside. But every time I logged on I would see it, and instantly think of my Great Grandma. So I thought to myself..what do I think of?? Well her Chicken and dumplings for sure, big pot and all the family..definitely my Moms favorite. How it is made, I have no idea. The only Cook book I was lucky to get was her Joy Of Cooking.

I got that book in 1991 when I was 14, and I stole it..kind of. My Grandma could no longer live on her own, and my Great Aunt and Uncle could no longer care for her so we were moving her to a home. I remember hearing everyone talk about what they were keeping and thought to myself "how could these people talk like this of her, she is just going somewhere else to live, shes not gone and they are already talking like she is." I picked up a box to take to the car, and there on top was her Joy of Cooking. See I spent every weekend I could with my Grandma, for as long as I could remember, probably since I had been 7 yrs old. It was my favorite place to be. Begging mom on Friday night to take me, stay up late eating homemade Carmel corn and watching Golden Girls..when it came on at 11pm. We would wake up early on Saturday mornings and make silver dollar pancakes and bacon for breakfast then spend the day watching the Price is Right and learning how to crotchet. It was in the late afternoon that I couldn't wait for. We always baked Cookies, Snickerdoodles. So as I put that box into the car, I took her book and slid it under my Grandpa's seat and finished packing. As we got in the car, my Aunt, my Grandma, my Grandpa and I; I spoke up and told Grandpa not to move his seat. When he asked Why I explained about the book. My Aunt, down from Oregon looked at me and said " Tina, Grandma always told me the one thing she always wanted you to have was that Cook book, Its yours and no one else will get it. You take it home and remember your time with her." I remember tears in both of our eyes and it still brings tears even now.


So, as soon as I through out the idea of Chicken and Dumplings I thought, well the Snickerdoodles of course. So I pulled out that book, of which I have not opened in over 10yrs and went to the index. To my surprise there was no snickerdoodle recipe. Bummed I was, I know that is the book we used all those Saturdays baking. So I sat down and opened the book. The cover is her scribble for 2 persimmon recipes (she loved her persimmon's). The next page is the note I made of getting the book in 1991, and then her passing in 2001. and the next page on the top Right hand corner was the scribble of Snickerdoodle Cookies. That right there told me I was to do this post and make those cookies.


As you can see, the recipe was minimal. No more than the ingredients, a bit of sifting, rolling the balls, the cinnamon&sugar, the oven temp and time to bake. Leave it to Grandma to make it that simple. They were the best cookies. The reason Mom always gave in, was the knowledge that I would be bringing home some of her favorite Cookies on Sunday.


I have been baking since then, I have always been thankful for the passion and ability to bake that I have, and have always said I have it because of my Grandma (yes she is my great grandma but they were always just grandma lol). By the time I was old enough to do it on my own, I would bake cakes, and pies and cobblers. and I still think of her when I bake, for it truly is because of her that I can.


So, I made my Grandma's Snickerdoodles for this post, a wonderful tender cookie with a little a cinnamon crunch. The whole thing just melts in your mouth. And now that I have it again, it will be a regular in my holiday baking. Thank you for hosting Apples&Thyme, what a Wonderful thought it was to dedicate something this memorable to those amazing women that left their imprints on our lives, and for helping me rediscover My Grandma's Snickerdoodles!!

Made with Love and fond Memories of My Grandma Irene!!

http://vanielje.blogspot.com/2007/10/apples-thyme-celebration-of-mothers-and.html


Sunday, November 4, 2007

Pumpkin anyone??


So today I thought I would play in the kitchen, holidays are coming and Might as well get to it.
I decided to play with the challenge and test it out...that we will discuss at the proper time, but
in between I decided to try a recipe I found on line. It came from Allrecipes.com. It was for a
Pumpkin Cookie with Carmel Icing. They were a pretty big hit so far, I am too tired to eat at
the moment, but I fully intend to test them out, and they are going to both jobs this week lol.
I figured I would inclued the recipe as well, as it was super easy, my only suggestiong is when
you get to the icing, don't let it cool too long as it gets harder to spread.
Pumpkin cookies with Carmel Icing
2 cups shortening
2 cups white sugar
1 can canned pumpkin
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp salt
4 cups all purpose flour
6 tblsp butter
8 tblsp milk
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup brown sugar
Cream shortening, white sugar, and pumpkin. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well. Sift together the baking soda, ground cinnamon, salt and flour. Add to pumpkin mixture and mix well. Drop from spoon to cookie sheet. (you do need to shape them a bit as they don't spread out). Bake for 10-12 min at 350 degrees F.
Frosting:
Cook butter, milk and brown sugar until dissolved. Cool sligtly and add confectioners sugar and vanilla. Spread on to cookies.
see soo very simple, and apparently tasty lol.
Ok That is it for now, have been in the kitchen for over 5 hrs tonight and I am a bit tired, so time to relax a bit, enjoy the recipe =)

Friday, November 2, 2007

I am in!!

Woohoo!!!...I made it into the Daring Bakers!! Yes I know, its not like I had to jump through hoops or anything, I was just waiting for the link to add myself to the blogger and to get my first official challenge. So I am so excited. Princess and I had already planned to make these awesome sounding cookies on Sunday, so I believe we are going to do our challenge at the same time. Being new comers, we thought might as well do it early and make sure we can do it LOL. but will have to wait to post on it ;) as our date is later in the month. But I am most excited.
Its a heck of a week, a 32nd Birthday cake I have just finished for my friend. I would post a picture, but well, its along the lines of Adult's only, and to save the hassel of offending anyone, I will choose to just mention it, then we Bake Sunday, so I might as well keep going and get my holiday recipes in full gear.
Has been the perfect start to the weekend =)