Monday, December 29, 2008

This is fun

If you found me through Daring Bakers please go down one post to see my attempt.

I got an email from someone regarding my fried pickles saying she loved them and wanted them to go on her website. UMMMMM really? Ok now that my ego has been boosted I went to check it out it is a new(to me) sharing site. I have posted on recipeezaar before but this was a new website to me that I will have to explore further it is and to find the world's greatest fried pickle :) (according to my gut)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

December's Daring Baker

OH MY GOOD GRACIOUS that is my first response at seeing this recipe for the Dec daring bakers. This month's challenge is brought to us by the adventurous Hilda from Saffron and Blueberry and Marion from Il en Faut Peu Pour Etre Heureux. They have chosen a French Yule Log by Flore from Florilege Gourmand. This is truly a show stopper of a dessert that I was eager to start. Here is why I panicked a wee bit -

THE CHALLENGE RULE is that you MUST MAKE ALL 6 of these elements for the log:

1) Dacquoise Biscuit

2) Mousse

3) Ganache Insert

4) Praline (Crisp) Insert

5) Crème Brule Insert

6) Icing

I told hubby I was scared and he said “That is why it is daring bakers and not the wussy bakers that whine”. I love my supportive family. He did get me worked up to do it and I love that he thinks I can do or make anything<3.>

Ok so let’s do this thing!
Wait put the brakes on!!! Momma Dearest had her hip replaced last month and was doing so great but now it appears she has an infection in the joint!!!! NOT GOOD is an understatement. So I was thinking that I would be unable to do the challenge as I spent most of this month at her house which is about an hour and a half away. I know you are thinking why didn’t I make this at her house and then everyone could enjoy?
1. Momma won’t eat “real” butter
2. Momma watches New Daddies diet like a hawk and if you sneak him treats you risk her stink eye (not fun)
3. Momma doesn’t like any food not from a can. Why are you spending money on that?
4. Momma doesn’t like messes even during cooking and if you leave 7 crumbs on the counter she will haul her hiney out of bed and crawl to wipe the counter down. This recipe is elaborate and I know the kitchen gets dirty between steps.
5. Momma would not enjoy the process and ask often 1. Am I done and 2.did I wipe the counter yet?
6. I enjoy my sanity.
So that is a very sad story and I was sad not to try it as I truly wanted the challenge but momma is getting better and the due date is only a coupla days away so I decided to do it at the last minute and just try.

Layer 1-thank goodness for my industrial kitchen aid mixer hubby got me it whipped the whites to perfection in less than a min! I was WAY too cheap to pay 13 bucks for a tiny bag of almond meal so I bought whole almonds and ground them to powder. I added the confectioners’ sugar and made a very fine powder that looked like the store’s almond meal. I set that aside for later.
Layer 4- I did them out of order as I was doing it over two days cramming it in. This was a bigger job then I thought this simple layer would be as I needed to make the praline to be used as one of the ingredients. I have never made praline before so I hope I did it right.
Layer 5- easy peasy thank goodness an easy one!! I did slightly over boil the milk but it didn’t affect the taste so I used it as is, had it burned I would have started again.
So I am more than halfway done and I will be ready to assemble tonight!!!!!!! I am so excited that I got this far with no calamities I haven’t even had a fire or burned myself (a daily occurrence)
Layer 2-I bought the gelatin for the harder version but I decided to do the simpler Chantilly version just because I am running out of time! I think I made a massive mistake as it seems…..chunkieish. I think it broke? I have heard of this but in my making a million buttercreams I haven’t had this happen.
So all the layers are done except the final icing layer and I must say I am glad it is done!!!! It is in the freezer to await tomorrow or if I can’t sleep I can demold it about 1 am and it should be frozen and ready to finish. I feel like a drum roll is in order as this is one of the most complicated things I have ever tried and I am curious if I was a success or failure.

YAHOOOOOOOOOO it looks good!!!! I am so relived and ok it actually tastes good! I am glad I did it but I doubt that this will be something I make often as it was quite labor intensive but it was very good and the hubby and kids loved it.

On a side note I have no clue what a Yule log is. I assume it has something to do with fireplaces from the cold? But that is just a guess. I may not know the point of a log but I know that it is very delicious.

Oh did you notice my creme brulee layer is 2 textured? The top is creamy and the bottom is ....darkerish. I have no idea why that happened as it looked PERFECT before I put it in freezer. I wonder if I put it in the freezer before it was cool enough? I am eager to see everybody's blogs to see if I am the only one with this problem.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Chocolate thumbprint cookies

Ohh yeah baby new flavors of Hershey's Kisses. I went to the crazy after Christmas sales and picked up mainly chocolate as there were no other great deal :(. I did however find a new flavor of kiss I had never heard of, Hot Cocoa. I am leery of new flavors because they only sell them in jumbo bags and if they are gross then I am stuck with them and out more money then I care to spend. They were all 1/2 off and I could go for that so I got Candy Cane, Hot Cocoa, Plain and Cherry Cordial creme.

I liked all of them but the cherry was my personal fav even though there was not a chunk of cherry in the middle like when you buy choco covered cherries the flavor was similar. Plain has been put away unopened till I decide how to use them. Candy Cane is a white chocolate and I was prepared not to like them but I did. I am not a huge fan of white chocolate but I liked that they had a crunch like a real candy cane. I am thinking of smashing them for ice cream or maybe some type of cookie.

Speaking of cookie........ I made Chocolate thumbprint cookies dipped in ground almonds with a kiss in the center. I also made a simple vanilla frosting but I didn't think they needed them after I did it on half, I also felt it made it less pretty.

1/2 c unsalted butter

2/3 c sugar

1 egg separated

2 Tablespoon milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 c flour

1/3 c cocoa powder (Hershey's says use Hershey's)

1/4 teaspoon salt

20 unwrapped kisses whatever flavor you like I used both cherry cordial and hot cocoa

1 cup nuts crushed

powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

mix butter,sugar,egg YOLK, milk and vanilla. Beat until fluffy

add flour,cocoa powder and salt. Mix well

Put cookie dough in fridge for one hour to make it easier to work with.

roll into 20 ball or use a small scoop and dip in egg WHITE that was left from the separated egg. Mix the egg white well before you dip the cookie ball in. After you dip in the egg white then dip in crushed nuts. I used almonds. stick your thumb lightly in the center and bake for 12 min until set. After you take them out of the oven they will have puffed up a little just put your thumb in again and gently press down - don't burn yourself as they are hot. After you transfer them to a cooling rack dust with powdered sugar and put a kiss in the center. Push the kiss in slightly and it will after a few minutes slightly melt. I knock the tip down just because it is prettier. Let them cool and then devour.

Friday, December 26, 2008

ham and beans with a side of self annoyance

It is the day after christmas. You know what that means? SALESSSSSSSS!!!!!! I hate living in the middle of nowhere as there is no shopping to be had, on the other hand I have no extra money to throw away so yayyyyy for living in the middle of nowhere. I seem top be of two minds on this. :) I was planning to hit the sales today so I preplanned. I made a huge pot of beans with a lovely ham bone in it. I crockpotted it and let it simmer away now here is where my story gets sad. I put it in a bowl to pop in the fridge I set it on the stove to cool for 30 minutes and then ... I forgot about it. I got up this morning after a night filled with NyQuil and there it was sitting on the stove. :( ARGGGGGGGGG I wasted a ham bone!!!!! Oh I was so mad a myself. This flu seems to really have me down. Hubby is a good guy and a great dad but he wouldn't notice something like that so alas to the trash it goes.

Friday, December 5, 2008


I made caramels today. I spilled a little over the side and then BOOM!

I finally made the second part of the daring baker's challenge as it was optional so no need to rush! Beside the fire, the taste is divine here is the recipe with my changes notes

GOLDEN VANILLA BEAN CARAMELS- makes eighty-one 1-inch caramels -


1 cup golden syrup I used corn syrup and a splash of water because golden syrup is impossible to find except maybe at whole foods but that is an hr drive and I am NOT gonna do that :)

2 cups sugar

3/8 teaspoon fine sea salt

2 cups heavy cream

1 1/2 teaspoons pure ground vanilla beans, purchased or ground in a coffee or spice grinders, or 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract didn't use

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks, softened

use a 9-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil and grease the foil. Combine the golden syrup, sugar, and salt in a heavy 3-quart saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon, until the mixture begins to simmer around the edges. Wash the sugar and syrup from the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in water. Cover and cook for about 3 minutes. (Meanwhile, rinse the spatula or spoon before using it again later.) Uncover the pan and wash down the sides once more.

Attach the candy thermometer to the pan, without letting it touch the bottom of the pan, and cook, uncovered (without stirring) until the mixture reaches 305°F.

Meanwhile, combine the cream and ground vanilla beans (not the extract) in a small saucepan and heat until tiny bubbles form around the edges of the pan.

Turn off the heat and cover the pan to keep the cream hot.

When the sugar mixture reaches 305°F, turn off the heat and stir in the butter chunks. Gradually stir in the hot cream; it will bubble up and steam dramatically, so be careful. or possibly boil over and catch on fire so really do be careful!!Turn the burner back on and adjust it so that the mixture boils energetically but not violently. Stir until any thickened syrup at the bottom of the pan is dissolved and the mixture is smooth.

Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, to about 245°F. Then cook, stirring constantly, to 260°f for soft, chewy caramels or 265°F; for firmer chewy caramels.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract, if using it. I didn't use any.Pour the caramel into the lined pan. Let set for 4 to 5 hours, or overnight until firm, or just until cool enough that your tongue doesn't burn off and stick a spoon in it.

I also sprinkled some thick chunky sea salt over the top before it cooled.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

cakespy did a hundred list that is sweet!

I adore and I saw this and decided HELLOOOO perfect fit - fat girl who loves sweets right here!

I have tried or made 72 of the hundred. In fact most of them I have made personally and I think that as the daring Bakers group takes over the universe I will try them all eventually.

The ones I have tried are in bold.

Give it a try and if you do feel free to link back to the original site here's the link
1) Copy this list into your site, including the instructions!

2) Bold all of the sweets you've eaten--or make them a different type color.

3) Cross out any of them that you'd never ever eat.
4) Consider anything that is not bold or crossed out your "To Do" List.5) Optional: Post a comment here linking to your results--or just post a comment letting us know how many you've tried, or what you're going to try next!

  1. Red Velvet Cake

  2. Princess Torte

  3. Whoopie Pie

  4. Apple Pie either topped or baked with sharp cheddar

  5. Beignet

  6. Baklava

  7. Black and white cookie

  8. Seven Layer Bar (also known as the Magic Bar or Hello Dolly bars)

  9. Fried Fruit pie (sometimes called hand pies)

  10. Kringle

  11. Just-fried (still hot) doughnut

  12. Scone with clotted cream

  13. Betty, Grunt, Slump, Buckle or Pandowdy

  14. Halvah

  15. Macarons

  16. Banana pudding with nilla wafers

  17. Bubble tea (with tapioca "pearls")

  18. Dixie Cup

  19. Rice Krispie treats

  20. Alfajores

  21. Blondies

  22. Croquembouche

  23. Girl Scout cookies

  24. Moon cake

  25. Candy Apple

  26. Baked Alaska

  27. Brooklyn Egg Cream

  28. Nanaimo bar

  29. Baba au rhum

  30. King Cake

  31. Sachertorte

  32. Pavlova

  33. Tres Leches Cake

  34. Trifle

  35. Shoofly Pie

  36. Key Lime Pie (made with real key lime)

  37. Panna Cotta

  38. New York Cheesecake

  39. Napoleon / mille-fueille

  40. Russian Tea Cake / Mexican Wedding Cake

  41. Anzac biscuits

  42. Pizzelle

  43. Kolache

  44. Buckeyes

  45. Malasadas

  46. Moon Pie

  47. Dutch baby

  48. Boston Cream Pie

  49. Homemade chocolate chip cookies

  50. Pralines

  51. Gooey butter cake

  52. Rusks

  53. Daifuku

  54. Green tea cake or cookies

  55. Cupcakes from a cupcake shop

  56. Crème brûlée

  57. Some sort of deep fried fair food (twinkie, candy bar, cupcake)

  58. Yellow cake with chocolate frosting

  59. Jelly Roll

  60. Pop Tarts

  61. Charlotte Russe

  62. An "upside down" dessert (Pineapple upside down cake or Tarte Tatin)

  63. Hummingbird Cake

  64. Jell-O from a mold

  65. Black forest cake

  66. Mock Apple Pie (Ritz Cracker Pie)

  67. Kulfi

  68. Linzer torte

  69. Churro

  70. Stollen

  71. Angel Food Cake

  72. Mincemeat pie

  73. Concha

  74. Opera Cake

  75. Sfogliatelle / Lobster tail

  76. Pain au chocolat

  77. A piece of Gingerbread House

  78. Cassata

  79. Cannoli

  80. Rainbow cookies

  81. Religieuse

  82. Petits fours

  83. Chocolate Souffle

  84. Bienenstich (Bee Sting Cake)

  85. Rugelach

  86. Hamenstashen

  87. Homemade marshmallows

  88. Rigo Janci

  89. Pie or cake made with candy bar flavors (Snickers pie, Reeses pie, etc)

  90. Divinity

  91. Coke or Cola cake

  92. Gateau Basque

  93. S'mores

  94. Figgy Pudding

  95. Bananas foster or other flaming dessert

  96. Joe Froggers

  97. Sables

  98. Millionaire's Shortbread

  99. Animal crackers

  100. Basbousa

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Raisin Bran Muffins

I have lost my camera but these really are quite cute and taste great. I made 24 mini and 12 mini loaf and 12 mini cake out of this recipe! If you just do regular muffin size I think you would get at least 16. These can be mixed and then the batter but in the fridge for later so if you only want to bake a few just pop the batter in the fridge and it will be fine for about a week. You can also bake them all and freeze them post baking so you have options.

I did make these for breakfast one morning along with cinnamon rolls when I had tons of family here and they were very popular

2 cups boiling water divided
3 cups bran flour or may be called wheat bran
2 1/2 c ap flour
1 1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c butter
2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
2 c buttermilk
2 c raisins

Mix 1 cup boiling water and 1 cup bran and set aside
Mix 1 cup boiling water and the raisins and set aside

cream the butter and sugar add eggs mixing after each addition.
add flour,salt and baking soda and the 2 cups of bran that are left
add milk and DRAIN the raisins after they have been sitting in the water and mix them.
put in the pan(s) of your choice and bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes mini muffins are only 20 minutes so keep on eye on things for different pan sizes!