Monday, August 31, 2009

Almost done...

Ok. I swear... only one or two more brownie posts after this!

This particular one from justJenn struck my fancy... peanut butter + chocolate brownie! yes please!!

Melting the chocolate + butter.

Melting together the PB "batter".

Folding the flour into the chocolate mixture.

Poured the PB mix over the brownie mix.

The weird texture that the PB mix bakes up to be.

So as usual, I had a bit of a timing issue. I pulled it out of the oven just in time, maybe just a taaaaad over, but there wasn't a burnt hard crust or anything. I added on an additional 30 min of bake time. Seems like I do that a lot. I did the toothpick test, as well as just watched for the top PB layer to set. It takes a while.

The result was still a super moist and thick and chewy brownie. The peanut butter "topping" is definitely a treat, but I don't think it was peanut buttery enough for some of the people that sampled. But still good!

The tricky part with this recipe too was not cooking the eggs when mixing them into the batter. Tricky tricky business!

Also, I used this:

It is apparently awesome because it's just simply peanut butter. No monosodaieoriehsiuasida or polysaturagestadas... just peanuts and other pronounceable ingredients.

Also, given the heat (again!!!!) and the laziness that comes with having to pack up my apartment... I ordered out and decided to try the pastas from Pizza Hut. Bacon Mac n Cheese, Chicken Alfredo, Breadsticks. Not too shabby a meal. Not phenomenal. But its a nice change from just pizza being delivered to your door.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

a quick diversion

So, I'm still on the brownie train... but today, I made the pie pops! At last!
Check out Bakerella and Luxirare for their creations too. (and the better pictures)

I made the dough from scratch from the Basic Pie Pastry recipe from the Willams-Sonoma book I still have on loan. Very easy. And quick.

Oh. And this book is awesome in that it has all the different measurements- cups/oz/grams- for every recipe. Measuring goes a million times faster!
Basic Pie Pastry
1.5C/7.1oz/235g AP flour
1/2tsp Salt
0.5C/4oz/125g Vegetable Shortening
3-4 T cold water, +/- as needed

Combine flour and salt. Add shortening. Combine with 2 knives (which I did) or a pastry blender, until it becomes the consistency of coarse bread crumbs. Then add in water 1 tbsp at a time, stirring gently with the fork after each addition of water. Add just enough water for the dough to come together roughly. Form into a disk with floured hands. Dough is ready to use now! Roll out on floured surface, yadda yadda...

And I still get very frustrated when rolling out dough. So, I knew this would be purely experimental/experiential. I would have made fresh filling, buttttttttt right out of the can seemed better this time around. Sad I know. But whatcha gonna do?

I forgot to brush the first batch with egg whites. The second batch I did, and also sprinkled with sugar. Also, just made some stickless, 'cause I could. I think I should skip on the salt in the recipe since there wasn't enough fruit filling to be sweet enough... I knew I should have rolled the pastry out thinner, but rolling it out as is was hard enough.

Monday, August 24, 2009

the olden days...

I feel like it was just yesterday that I wrote about my fun bday gifts...
but here we are again! (Holy crap, that means I've been doing this blog thing for over a year now?!?)

Here's to the birthday Fun-Fun!

Ila did an excellent coverage on the festivities too!

Now, back to baking!
More brownies! (Cupcakes using my new cupcake making kit soon! promise.)

Dark Chocolate Chip Brownies from Evil Shenanigans

Interesting recipe... with honey! So I gave it a try, even though I'm not a honey person.
And wow. I may have overdone it with the honey... you can really smell it baking up, and also just taking a bite. It's also chewy! These came out nice and moist! It wasn't as dark as hers... and I skipped out on the chips. Also didn't have cake flour, so I "subbed" with less AP Flour + Cornstarch. Also didn't have instant espresso. Maybe I'll give this another go when I have all the right ingredients.

Deep Dish Brownies from Hershey's
I used dark cocoa for this. It wasn't sweet at first bite... so I wasn't all that impressed. But its still good! Moist and thick. More often than not my brownies tend to "crater" in the center... as this recipe did. but the previous didn't. At all. Weird.

Upon eating a bite of the "honey brownie" then sneaking a piece of the "Hershey's brownie"... the sweetness came out from the latter. Pretty delish!

Anyways... good practice in baking! Didn't overbake, didn't underbake. Win-win.

'til next time!
Hopefully I'll get around to doing those cute pie pops that have been going around lately!!!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Baking Mondays

My day off always flies by... but I get lots of baking done!

Strawberry-Shortcake Cookies from Martha Stewart Living

My photos are in no way as good at the featured picture... but:

These cookies are super soft... taste good, but not much of a cookie as a mini cake. Maybe I used too much cream. I'm not sure if this is something I'd add to my repertoire. Great recipe though!

Also, made another batch of brownies, Earl Grey Brownies (minus the earl grey part)...
I didn't want to make the ganache if the brownies were going to be poop. Aaaaand... they didn't turn out right. Yet another batch with a tough crust - overbaked, of course.
But the preparation of this batch stood out from the past few... mainly REALLY beating the eggs and folding them in...

Saturday, August 15, 2009

More brownies!

Gianduia Brownies - take 2 - I've made another version of these before from Giada.

I was VERY cautious with the timing and toothpick testing on this one...
and it was a success!!

I opted out on the hazelnuts.
And... seriously?... Nutella in brownies?

These are amazing.
Moist and delish. But didn't taste much of the Nutella.

Next time though, rather than buttering and flouring the pan, I'll just do the parchment paper thing.

Friday, August 14, 2009

A practice in tarts

From a $1.00 dachshund cookie cutter I found at Sur La Table... came this full-blown crazy surprise for my friend:

Maggie and Piper (her pup pups) playing in a Berry Field!

Berry Creme Fraiche Tart
Tart Dough:
8oz. Sugar
16oz Butter, room temp
3 egg yolks
1 egg
1lb 8oz flour
1/2t salt

Cream sugar and butter on low speed. Just to mix, not to make fluffy.
Add egg and yolks - one at a time - until all combined.
Sift together dry ingredients.
Add half - mix on low speed until just combined.
Then add remaining half until just combined.
Chill!! At least 1 hour. More is better.
Roll out as needed for tart pan. Let shells rest in freezer until ready to be baked.
Bake at 350 for 20-25 min - until golden.

(and of course I would have issues rolling out the dough)

4oz. Cream Cheese, softened
1/4C Creme Fraiche
1-1/2T Honey
Beat cream cheese in a bowl until smooth. Then add creme fraiche and honey. Beat until combined well.

Spread filling evenly in shell, then top with berries.
Optional - Heat some honey in a small saucepan over low heat until liquefied. Drizzle over berries.
Berries! Lots of berries!

I thought I would have more of a pattern... but I guess this was good too!

For the doggie cut outs:
Chocolate Tart Dough from Martha Stewart
Tart dough. Not cookie dough.
Its good... not overly sweet. Somewhere between shortbread and biscuit maybe?
Anyways, the shape held well which is what I was going for.
For the "dappled" look, I smushed some of the regular tart dough and rolled over it.

Time to play in the berry fields!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

As if I needed more...

I haven't explored this fully yet... but I am already in awe.

Compile your very own cook book? From front to back? Way cool!

Tons of recipes to browse? Awesome!

Not like I need more bookmarks of great recipe sites... I have issues enough as it is deciding what to bake next. But this was definitely a great find! Hope its useful to someone too!