Archive for May, 2012

Bake 52 Week 22: Rustic Carmelized Onion Tart w/Blue Cheese and Walnuts

May 30, 2012

Well…..

I decided to use up one of my 3 unexcused absences this week.

Michelle was this week’s host, and I commend her for picking something totally different than anything we’ve done thus far in Bake 52.  I rolled it around in my mind for weeks, trying to decide if I’d attempt it or not.  In the end, I decided that while I’m sure I would learn something in the process, the only person in my family who would eat it was the one person who is in a weight loss competetition and doesn’t need an entire (or two, if I made the full recipe) tart, no matter how much I know he would have liked it.  Typically I don’t have a problem making things that I know my family won’t particularly care for, because I can always send it to work with Joseph, where it will be quickly be gobbled up and appreciated.  However,  this particular recipe called for it to be eaten warm, and while I could get up in the middle of the night to make it in time for him to take to work, I’m not sure anybody would be up for onions and blue cheese at 6 am.

So, there it is.  No good excuse…which is why I opted to go unexcused….but I hope you’ll check out the other blogs to see how everyone else liked it, and stop by Michelle’s for the recipe!

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Bake 52 Week 21: Multigrain Bread

May 23, 2012

This week’s host was my neighbor Jen and she went with a super healthy recipe because she is super healthy and fit. The morning that I made this bread, she dropped her kids off for an hour so that she could enjoy the nice weather and go for a run. Did you catch that? An HOUR! That’s about 60 minutes longer than I ever care to run! And she knows me well enough that she predicted right off that I would be leaving the seeds out of my bread. As far as I’m concerned, putting seeds in bread would be the same kind of sin as putting nuts in other baked goods.

I was just slightly skeptical about how I would like this bread. Multigrain bread is typically on the heavy side and I like my bread a little lighter. It was a really easy recipe to whip up though and even easier to eat up. It’s quite possible that I ate at least 1/3 of the loaf myself. It’s OK though…I did it for the baby 😉

As I mentioned above, I opted to leave out the seeds.  I also put my oats in the food processor to make them a little smaller.  I figured my kids would be more inclined to eat them that way, but it didn’t really matter because most of the oats fell off whenever I cut a slice anyway.  The end product turned out really pretty.  The dough rose really well and made a pretty shape.  I shaped my loaf the way I typically do (pinching all the edges to the center, flipping over, and patting into a nice loaf shape) rather than rolling it the way the book suggested.  I used to make my loaves that way and I just don’t think it makes quite as pretty a loaf.

As I predicted, this was a pretty heavy loaf of bread.  I also made my regular whole wheat loaves that day and there was  HUGE difference in the weight between the two.  I’m afraid that for me, the multigrain would be a little too heavy to use as sanwhich bread, but it makes DIVINE toast!  Especially with a little peanut butter!

I will definitely be making this bread again.  I’m not going to hold its weight or the fact that it should have seeds against it….really, the only thing wrong with this recipe is that it only makes one loaf.  You should totally give it a try!  Visit Jen’s blog for the recipe!

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Bake 52 Week 20: French Macaroons

May 16, 2012

This week’s host was Betsy, and she chose French Macroons. They were a tad pricey, due to the need to use almond flour, but not so much that they wouldn’t be worth making for a special occasion. The end result is a cute little sandwich cookie.

The recipe itself was pretty simple….it takes a little time, simply because the formed cookies need to sit for an hour or two before baking, but nothing was very complicated.  One step I forgot when making my cookies was to smooth out the tops, which resulted in cookies that resembled a part of the female anatomy. Joseph had fun trying to come up with a more approrpiate name for how they looked. They were apparently a big hit at the office, whether due to taste or appearance, I don’t know 😉

Well, OK….it was due to taste.  I probably shouldn’t insult the all-male-but-two office that Joseph works in.  The final result was a cookie with a slightly crisp outer shell and a dense chewy middle.  I was surprised by the texture, but found it to be quite pleasing.

My own taste buds were rather turned off by the buttercream icing when I licked the beater (I used the recipe suggested by the book), but the cookies helped temper the overwhelming butter flavor. I’m not sure I’d use this buttercream recipe again…I wasn’t really a fan. It didn’t ruin the cookie, but I think next time I’ll experiment with something different.

Because I have leftover almond flour, I think I’ll make another batch of these up and freeze them for later. I’ll probably make up a smaller batch of frosting and only sandwich half of them….I think I’d really enjoy these cookies on their own.

If you’d like to give them a whirl, hop on over to Betsy’s blog for the recipe!

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Bake 52 Week 19: New York-Style Crumb Cake

May 9, 2012

This was my week to host and as I browsed through the cookbook trying to decide what to choose, I really had no direction.  I wasn’t in the mood for anything in particular, so I just marked a few recipes that looked good to me and hoped one would stand out.  When I came to the recipe for New York-Style Crumb Cake, I knew it would be my pick.  I’m not a huge fan of cake in general, but I do love a good crumb cake, so I was excited to try this recipe out.

Unfortunately, I think it was a fail.

I attempted the recipe twice.  The first time, I had no dark brown sugar, so the cake came out of the oven looking like it was covered in raw sausage.  Yum.  The cake was also rather dry and unsatisfying. I used powdered buttermilk in this attempt and wondered if that might have had an effect.  I also had to bake the cake a good 10 minutes longer than the recipe suggested.

Knowing that my good friend Tiffany, who gives me my weekly progesterone shot, also loves crumb cake, I decided to make another attempt and let her help me taste test.  This time I tried cupcakes and used dark brown sugar.    I don’t think the crumbs came out looking anywhere near as dark as those in the picture in the cookbook, but they were slightly less raw-sausage-ish than my first cake.  The cake was still on the dry side though, in spite of using liquid buttermilk in place of powder.  And the cupcakes themselves baked up kind of weird and most of the crumbs drown in batter.  They weren’t pretty, but they at least tasted better than the first cake.

Sadly, I think I’m going to have to stick with my Krusteez crumb cake mix in favor of this recipe.  I hope everyone else had better success than I did (and in looking at the blogs today, it appears that they did)!  If you want to make an attempt yourself, here’s the recipe:

New York-Style Crumb Cake

Don’t be tempted to substitute all-purpose flour for the cake flour, as doing so will make a dry, tough cake.  Be sure not to press the crumbs into the batter, but rather, let them just rest on top.  This cake can be served warm or at room temperature.

Crumb Topping

1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
8 TB unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 3/4 cups cake flour

Cake

1 1/4 cups cake flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 salt
6 TB unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces and softened
1 large egg, room temperature
1 large egg yolk, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup buttermilk, room temperature
Confectioner’s sugar, for dusting

1. For the topping: Whisk the granulated and brown sugars, cinnamon, salt, and melted butter together in a medium bowl to combine. Stir in the flour until the mixture resembles a thick, cohesive dough. Let the crumb topping mixture rest at room temperature until needed.

2. For the cake: Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 325°. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with a foil sling and grease the foil.

3. Whisk the flour, granulated sugar, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Using an electric mixer on medium-low speed, beat the butter into the flour mixture, one piece at a time, about 30 seconds. Continue to beat the mixture until it resembles moist crumbs, 1 to 3 minutes.

4. Beat in the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla until combined, about 30 seconds. Beat in the buttermilk until combined, about 30 seconds. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat the batter until smooth and fluffy, about 1 minute.

5. Give the batter a final stir with a rubber spatula to make sure it is thoroughly combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top, and gently tap the pan on the counter to settle the batter. Break apart the crumb topping mixture into large pea-sized pieces and sprinkle it in an even layer over the batter, beginning at the edges and working toward the center.

6. Bake the cake until the crumbs are golden and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out with a few most crumbs attached, 35 to 40 minutes, rotating halfway through baking.

7. Let the cake cool slightly in the pan, about 30 minutes. If desired, remove the cake from the pan using the foil, then dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.

I was so underwhelmed that I didn’t even take the time to stage a nice picture with a slice of the cake.  The kids thought it was good and ate it anyway…but a good share of this went into the trash.  Bummer!

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Bake 52 Week 18: Classic Pancakes & Flavored Maple Syrup

May 2, 2012

This was a fun week and one that I’ve looked forward to as soon as I saw it posted as Jesse’s choice.  It was a nice break from all of the sweet stuff we’ve been making, and it’s always nice when a week of baking can knock out a meal as well!

I decided to whip these babies up on a whim one night for dinner.  As is proving to be the case for me on a weekly basis, I got started without having fully read the recipe and I was already combining ingredients when I realized that I needed buttermilk.  I had no buttermilk.  Thankfully, the cookbook included a cheat for souring milk to use in place of actual buttermilk, and it worked quite well.  However, I did buy some powdered buttermilk at the store the next week so that I don’t run into this problem again!

These lived up to their name, Classic Pancakes.  There was nothing special or out-of-this-world about them….they were just an overall, good pancake.  I subsituted 1 cup of the flour for whole wheat flour to up the nutritional content some.

What turned out to be our favorite part of the meal was the flavored maple syrup we made to go along with the pancakes.  The cookbook offered several options and the kids chose blueberry.  It was pretty easy to make and YUMMY!  Doing it again, I’d probably strain the skins out, but nobody complained about having them on their pancakes, which surprised me.

While we still love our fall-back, whole wheat pancake recipe, these classic pancakes will likely be going into the breakfast rotation occasionally…and the blueberry maple sryup will definitely become a staple at our house!

For the Classic Pancake recipe, visit Jesse’s blog!


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