Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Bake 52 Week 23: Coconut Macaroons

I have never had these before.  I have to say, I'm not the biggest fan of coconut so I wan't thrilled about making the coconut macaroons.  I was completely surprised with the outcome because they taste amazing.  I love it when that happens!  My husband LOVES them too.  Another great feature about this recipe is that it's gluten free!  I come from family of sensitive stomachs.  There are tons of food allergies between us.  My 3 year old niece just found out that she is allergic to gluten.  It's always nice to find a good gluten free recipe.  Here's the link to the entire recipe:  I highly recommend this recipe to anyone.  There is also a hint of almond flavor in it, which I love.



Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Bake 52 Week 22: Rustic Caramelized Onion Tart with Blue Cheese and walnuts

It's basically just a unique pizza.  I used store bought pizza dough.  It was really easy to make.  Just caramelize some onions and top the pizza with them, followed by blue cheese crumbles, walnuts and some green onions.  It's a very tongue sensitive pizza.  The flavors were just too strong for me.  My husband felt the same way, so I gave the leftovers away to a friend.  She loved it.  This "tart" isn't for everyone, but if you like really strong flavors, you will like it.  If you want the full recipe, here's the link to Michelle's Blog.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Bake 52 Week 21: Multi-grain Bread

I wasn't super excited about this week, because for some reason the bread looked gross to me.  I don't really like seedy bread.  So I decided to omit the sunflower seeds. Anyways, it turns out that my bread rose way faster than the directions said, and so my loaf was really big!  Like way too big!!!  I don't have a lot of experience with bread making, so I'm not sure what to think!  However, it did taste good!  So good!  It actually reminds me of the 9 grain bread at Great Harvest, which I love!  Also, this recipe is eggless!  That is a great perk for me, because I am allergic to eggs.  Don't get me wrong, I will still eat them baked into things, but I usually suffer the consequences afterwards.  So Jen, thanks for picking a great recipe, and I'm sorry that I was dubious of it!

Oh yeah, I didn't have any whole wheat flour, so I just used all white flour.  You can see the original recipe on Jen's blog.



Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Bake 52 Week 20: French Macaroons

This week for Bake 52, we made French Macaroons!  I never thought that I would ever make those in a million years.  They are always fabulous looking, but I always thought they were way out of my league to make.  It's possible that they are, as you will see further below.  It wasn't my most impressive day in the kitchen.  

Before I go any further telling you about the Macaroons, I want to say a word about the host, Betsy.  She happens to be one of my very best friends.  I met her 7 years ago at the Rivera, in Provo Utah.  From there, we became roommates.  You can see from the pictures that we were a little crazy.  After we both got married, we were next door neighbors!  We got together and played games almost every single night. That's when we really discovered that our friendship was one of a kind.  Our husbands are great friends as well, which made everything more fun. Being neighbors with them was one of my favorite phases of life (so far).  Now we live thousands of miles apart, and I miss her like crazy!  
This was at a "Buttrock" party that we threw as roommates.  Betsy, don't kill me for posting this pic.
Love dressing up for any occasion! (We also painted that wall in our apartment)
We were bridesmaids at each other's weddings. 
She even threw me a lovely baby shower, with food, a diaper cake, presents, games and all (with the help of my two other favorite roommates, Kristi and Dede).
The Macaroons weren't as cute of a story, and do NOT resemble out friendship in any way.  I knew something was wrong when I pipped them onto the pan, and I didn't have to smooth the tops with my finger.  Then I looked at them a few minutes later, and they were running together!  I'm still not sure what I did wrong.  I halved the recipe, but I read the ingredients several times, and I'm pretty sure that I used the right amounts.  I made the almond flour in my food processor, and it was a little more grainy than regular flour.  That may be a reason.  I ended up scraping the runny batter off of the pan, and back into the bowl.  I added some extra powdered sugar.  That didn't do much, so I went out on a limb and added some cake flour.  But even after all that, when I pipped them out for the second time they were still running together a little.  My husband mentioned that maybe it's because we are at sea level here in Boston.  Is anyone else is Bake 52 baking from sea level?  I don't really think that's the excuse, but it sounded like a good one at the time.  

Coming out of the oven, they looked even worse than I expected them to turn out.  I didn't mean to cook them that much either.
I knew that it wouldn't be worth making the frosting, because most of the macaroons weren't usable.  I did taste one.  It was super chewy, and just wasn't the right consistency, but I did like the flavor.  I will definitely be trying this recipe again.  I think it could be a very impressive dessert for guests.  If any of you have suggestions as to what I did wrong, I would love to hear your feed back.
I am sad, I was excited for this week.  I love a good French Macaroon.  For any of you in Utah (Salt Lake City to be exact), Les Madeleines has an awesome vanilla bean macaroon.  They also have the most amazing pastry called a Kouing-Aman.  Please try it someday.  It's 5 bucks a pop, but it's heavenly none the less.  

And finally, if you want to see the original recipe, here's the link to Betsy's Blog. That picture on the side is not actually her and her husband, so don't be frightened.  You will find her blog to be full of funny and random thoughts.  Betsy is one of a kind.  I wish that all of you could know her personally.  Her macaroons look absolutely perfect.  Great Job Bets!  



Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Bake 52 Week 19: New York Crumb Cake

This cake literally just popped out of the oven. I honestly won't try it until tomorrow (i'm on Eastern time, 10:30 here). I'm off to bed. I will update this post tomorrow with a better recap of the recipe, and how I liked it. For now, here's the proof that I made it! And just in the nick of time! I think I may have over cooked it slightly.



Ok, Here's the update.  It's a great cake!  The bottom is super light and fluffy.  I'm not quite as crazy about the topping, but it's still good.  The cake was really easy to make.  The most tedious part was putting the crumb topping on.  I do taste a slightly strange flavor in the after taste.  Did anyone else notice that?  Also, did anyone try not use cake flour?  I used it, but I wonder if it really made a difference.  Here's one more picture that I took this morning.



Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Bake 52 Week 18: Classic Pancakes and flavored syrup

Hello everyone!  This week I am hosting bake 52!  A few days ago I told my husband that I was hosting.  He was really excited to hear what recipe I had decided on.  When I told him that I had picked pancakes, he thought I was joking.  What can I say, I love a good pancake!  I am actually obsessed with pancakes.  In fact, having pancakes for dinner is a common occurrence in my house.  Plus, I think I must have been overwhelmed with life when I picked the recipe.  I found the easiest thing in the book and went with it.  But hey, it was kinda refreshing to have an easy week where I could have a finished product in just 20 minutes!  Don't get me wrong, I love a good baking challenge.  

So what did I think of the pancakes?  Well, I liked them.  A lot.  But not quite enough to beat my good ol' Betty Crocker recipe.  I LOVE Betty Crocker's buttermilk pancake recipe.  That's the recipe that I make over and over again, and I have to say, it's not going to be replaced this time.  Non the less, I still thoroughly enjoyed these pancakes.  I'm also a sucker for blueberry pancakes, so that's what I made.  I complimented them with the flavored berry syrup.  It was pretty good but once again, not my fav. Here are the pictures: (the recipe is at the bottom).  

Classic Pancakes

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups buttermilk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 large egg

1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 200 degrees.  Set a wire rack over a baking sheet and set aside.  
2.  Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder and soda, and salt together in a large bowl.  In a medium bowl, whisk the buttermilk, melted butter, and egg together.  Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, pour the buttermilk mixture into the well, and gently whisk together until just incorporated with a few lumps remaining (do not overmix).  
3.  Heat a 12 inch nonstick skillet over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes.  Brush the pan bottom with a thin layer of the oil.  Using 1/4 cup of batter per pancake, add the batter to the skillet (2 or 3 pancakes will fit at a time) and cook until large bubbles begin to appear, about 2 minutes.
4.  Flip the pancakes and continue to cook until golden brown, about 1 1/2 minutes.  Transfer the pancakes to the wire rack (don't overlap) and deep warm in the oven.  Repeat with the remaining batter, brushing the skillet with oil as needed.  Serve.


Blueberry pancakes (the directions are a no-brainer)

Cornmeal pancakes (Substitute 1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal for 1 cup of the flour and add 1/4 tsp vanilla extract to the buttermilk mixture.

Whole wheat pancakes (Substitute one cup while wheat flour for 1 cup of the all purpose flour.)

Grahamcakes (Replace 1 cup of the all-purpose flour with 1 cup graham cracker crumbs mixed with 2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal.)

Flavored Maple Syrups:

Apple cinnamon maple syrup (1 1/2 cups maple syrup, 1/3 cup apple jelly, 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon, pinch salt.  Simmer all the ingredients together i a small saucepan over medium-low heat until slightly thickened, 5 to 7 minutes)

Butter pecan maple syrup (1 1/2 cups maple syrup, 1/2 cup pecans, toasted, 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, 1/4 tsp vanilla, pinch salt.   Simmer all the ingredients together i a small saucepan over medium-low heat until slightly thickened, 5 minutes)

Berry maple syrup (1/2 cup frozen blueberries, strawberries or raspberries, 1 1/2 cups maple syrup, 1/4 tsp grated fresh lemon zest, pinch salt.  Cook the berries in a small saucepan over medium heat, mashing them constantly, until the moisture has evaporated, about 5 minutes.  Whisk in the remaining ingredients, reduce the heat to medium low, and cook until slightly thickened, 5 to 7 minutes.)

Thanks for baking with me!  



p.s. I absolutely despise pre-made pancake mixes!!!!!!  Just thought I'd add that in.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Bake 52 Week 17: Baklava

This week we made Baklava!  It was a bit time consuming and challenging, but so worth it!  It tastes amazing!  I ended up needing more butter than the recipe called for.  I also took it out of the oven 20 minutes early.  It was looking done to me.  The baklava had only been out of the oven for two hours when the picture was taken, and you can see in the second photo that it is a little runny.  Hopefully it will set up better after sitting for 8 more hours, like it's supposed to.  The Baklava was definitely a hit!  Here's the link to the recipe.