Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Baking in the making

Today was a snow day! Love it! I basically took it easy and "slowed down." I thought about baking but I needed to just stay home and take it easy. I think i'll make soup tomorrow, a vegetable soup. We'll see. So let's see what have I done in terms of baking or cooking lately? I made a decent apple pie. I had difficulty with the crust covering the apple filling. I think I just didn't have enough water, which I decided on my like fourth try. I was about to throw the rolling pin at the wall! So the pie tasted good, but the crust left something to be desired. My Dad, whose opinion I sought, said that the crust was not as good as usual. So I will try to make it better. I also used bread flour so maybe that made a difference? It's annoying because I really want to get to the level of baking ability where I can work on the presentation. i know I can make a great tasting pie; I want it to look good as well. Anyway, I'm thinking of making Spicy Apple Twists for Sunday...I'm going to a Christmas musical and then for dessert at the Brown's house. Yeah! I've made this dessert before so it should be fine this time. I already know some changes I want to make to improve it. Green apples and less water will mean less mushy apples. Maybe more cinnamon. I might bring whipped cream too. Anyway, I am also making cookies for Christmas gifts (shhh...don't tell). We'll see how this turns out...I'm making them with Diana and whomever else wants to join me...

Ps. 34:8 "Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him."

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Sometimes you follow the recipe and it leaves something to be desired. This happened the other day when I baked an almond cake (but more like a bread). It was rather blan. I did decide that next time I will add almond extract. It'll make it take much better! Anyway, I don't have a picture, but here is the recipe:

Cake Squares with Almond Topping
2 eggs (beaten)
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup melted margarine
1 cup sifted flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1/3 cup milk

Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees

I am looking forward to trying some new recipes, both cooking and baking. Here are some that I'm trying:
Apple Dumplings
Potato Cheese Crunch
Ginny's English Toffee Cookies

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Upside Down Apple Cake

Sooo...I have a new baking success to report on: Upside Down Apple Cake

About a month ago when my sister was down for the 1/2 marathon that she completed (I did a 5K) I asked her what she wanted for a cake and she said an Upside Down Apple Cake. Well for someone used to doing the box mix, this certainly presented a challenge. I tried, unsuccessfully to do a few cakes from scratch. I found a recipe on-line that seemed pretty simple so I decided to give it a go. I did notice some comments left by people who had used the recipe and the consensus was that the batter was not "pourable". One person suggested an addition of 1/2 cup of milk; I chose to add a 1/4 cup apple cider and a 1/4 cup apple sauce. With these semi-significant changes I feel that the recipe is mine which is cool. Anyway, so I'm making the recipe and the batter tasted so delicious I felt that it was a good sign. I get anxious when I try new recipes especially if I can't try the finished product before others do. And in this case I couldn' the delicious batter was very comforting. Anyway, I brought it up to Virginia, lugging it to her apartment in Somerville was not so fun. I had to carry it on the T and then from the stop in Davis Square up to her apartment which is a 25 minute walk. I'll call this a labor of love :) Well, how did this all turn out, you ask, with baited breath? I brought it to Virginia's work, Skipjack's and she had them heat it up. One of the cooks flipped it which I hadn't done yet and then whip cream was added. We sang to Virginia and she blew out her candlesa. It was a very pretty cake and Virginia liked it, as did her co-workers. Isn't it a good feeling when someone takes seconds? A few did. I'm glad I got to make a few apple recipes this Fall. Hopefully, if there are some more warm days I'll go apple picking. What's the next cooking adventure? Not sure yet. Maybe something with chocolate...I actually would love to find my mother's Zucchini bread recipe which I haven't been able to locate. I tried Zucchini bread with chocolate chips. One word: seconds. So good! We'll see. I kind of want to "test" some Thanksgiving Day dishes. What are you all doing for Thanksgiving in terms of food?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Short cut to Apple Pie

I'm happy to report another baking success :) Actually, I'm pretty excited about my most recent adventure. I baked "Spicy Apple Twists" (see recipe below) and they were sooo good. I brought them to my friend, Sarah's b-day party. They were a hit :) They basically are like little pieces of apple pie, but they are so much easier and quicker to make than pie. It takes me over two hours start to finish to make Apple Pie, but this recipe was no more than an hour and a half. The only thing I would change for next time is to not put as much water around the twists in the hope that the apple pieces will be more crispy. They're rather mushy, but yummy. This is definately something I'll have to do again when I pick apples, which will be in the next couple of weeks.

Spicy Apple Twists
2 lg. apples sliced into 8ths
1.5 cups sifted four
1 tsp. salt
5 tbsps cold water
½ cup melted butter
½ cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
¾ cup water

Form dough into ball. Flatten to ½ inch thickness. Roll out on floured surface to 16 by 10 inch rectangle. Cut into 16 by 10 inch by 1 inch strips. Wrap one strip around each apple wedge. Arrange in large glass pan. Brush with butter. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Pour water around pastries. Bake in oven at 450 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. Serve warm with whipped cream.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The history

How this all began:

A year ago, very close to my birthday, if not actually on my birthday, I discovered my mother's recipes at my sister's Vicki's house in the basement. It was actually what I consider my best "birthday gift" last year. I think I went down cellar to flip on the furnace and saw the boxes of recipes close by. I found two boxes stuffed with recipes..."stuffed" is not an exaggeration for one box considering I can't even close the box. I was thrilled and touched. I felt like it was a gift from her for that particular birthday. Anyway, it was great to have two full boxes. I had been bugging Vicki to get me her Swedish meatballs recipe for a while and now I had not only that recipe, but a few hundred more! Thank God, what a invaluable blessing! So I made the Swedish Meatballs in the next few weeks. They were okay, but as "they" say "practice makes perfect." So, I also made a Raspberry Coconut Crisp, too. By now I think I have made it five times. People always love it! I have tried two recipes recently: Oatmeal Macaroons and Coffee Cake

The macaroons were good but kinda feel apart. The Coffee Cake included corn flakes as part of the topping which made for an interesting cake. I learned after the fact that separating eggs means that you don't include the yolks...oooops. I made a mental note! I think I'll drizzle a buttery brown sugar syrup on top of the cornflakes to make it a little better. We'll see. So, that's it. I have made a total of four of her recipes. My hope is to make a new recipe each week. I will most likely bring it to a dinner I go to every Monday. I figure that way I will have people with whom to share it which is exciting and therefore I will not be the only one eating the deliciousness :) Optimistic...I am. Anyway, So what's next you ask? I am going to bake "Spicy Apple Twists" which basically are apple pieces with cinnamon and sugar on them wrapped in strips of dough and baked. I am going to pick the apples, too :) It should be fun. I hope you enjoy my blog. Feedback is welcome...I'm a rookie :)