Friday, July 31, 2009

...try, try again

Well I tried again on the sourdough bread, and I failed miserably. I used more flour and sea salt and it looked a heck of a lot better, but still did not rise. But I thought maybe I should bake it anyways, maybe it did rise and I just didn't notice. So after baking for 30 minutes it did smell very much like sourdough bread, and I thought ok... maybe this is what is supposed to look like.... and then I took it out of the oven. It must have weighed like 15 pounds... and it was anything but edible. So needless to say, I threw out the starter and am going to move onto some other, less intense recipes. Here is a picture of my sourdough brick!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Classic Shortbread

Day 9 Recipe 7
After the debacle with my sourdough bread, I decided I needed to make something easy. It really does not get any easier than this. Shortbread only has 5 ingredients. You basically put them all in a mixer and then spread them in a pan. I think I baked it just a tad too long, because it was a little dry towards the edges, but overall very tasty!

If at first you don't succeed...

Well my first attempt at sourdough bread failed miserably. I made the starter and let it sit for 3 days, then I made my sponge and let it sit overnight. Then last night before I went to bed, I made the dough so it could rise overnight. I don't think I added enough flour to it, and after sitting on my counter for almost 12 hours, it did not appear to have risen at all. But I forged ahead, hoping maybe my eyes were deceiving me. So I went through the next steps and it was supposed to rise again, which of course it did not. So I thought oh what the hell... I will bake it anyways. But when I put it on the cookie sheet, it was just a big glob of dough.... So I already have a new sponge starting so I can make the dough tonight and hopefully this time it will rise. In the meantime, my house smells like sour milk! YUCK!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Banana Bread and Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

Day 7 Recipe 5 & 6
This morning I made banana bread. It was a pretty simple recipe to follow. It had orange zest in it,which really added to the flavor of the bread. It came out very moist and I would definitely make it again. Sawyer has already eaten 2 slices and asked for more, so that is a good sign!!

I have been making a lot of bread lately, so I wanted something sweet. I had most of the ingredients on hand for these cookies, and boy am I glad I did! They were a total pain in the butt to make (you have to roll the dough, which is the consistency of truffles into balls then into powdered sugar... very messy!) but they were totally worth it!! So yummy! They tasted almost like a brownie...but better! I will definitely be making these again!!

Recipe from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Baking


4 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
¼ cup unsalted butter
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cups mini semisweet chocolate chips (I used regular size and it worked just fine)
½ cup powdered sugar


1. Place the chocolate and the butter in the top of a double boiler place over (Not touching) barely simmering water. Heat, stirring often until the butter and chocolate melt. Remove and let cool slightly. (I heated the butter until melted in the microwave and then mixed in the chocolate and continued to cook at 15 sec intervals until melted and it worked just fine. Just be careful not to scorch it.)

2. In a bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

3. In a mixer (or by hand) combine the eggs, sugar and vanilla. Beat until light in color and thickened, about 3 minutes. Beat in the chocolate mixture on low speed until blended. Add the dry ingredients and beat until incorporated. Mix in the chocolate chips.

4. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 2 hours until the dough is firm enough to roll into balls.

5. Preheat oven to 325 degrees with oven rack in the middle. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper (I used silicone baking sheets).

6. Sift the powdered sugar into a small bowl. To form each cookie, roll a rounded tablespoon of dough between your palms into a 1 ½ inch ball, then roll in the powdered sugar. (I rolled out all the balls first and then coated them in the sugar… your hands get pretty messy!!) Place the cookies 3 inches apart on the baking sheets. Make sure to set them firmly so they don’t roll off.

7. Bake the cookies 1 sheet at a time until the tops are puffed and crinkled and feel firm when lightly touched, 13-17 minutes. (Mine took 16 mins) Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Makes about 30 cookies.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Honey Whole Wheat Bread

Day 5 Recipe 4
I am not a patient person. My husband would be more than happy to agree with me on this point. This is why bread has always been difficult for me. The last time I made bread, they looked like hard little baseball bats and tasted even worse. I hate having to wait for the yeast to froth up and then wait for the bread to rise... twice. So today I made sure to keep myself busy. So not only did I make 2 beautiful loaves of bread, I also did 2 loads of laundry, and emptied and loaded the dishwasher. Sounds like a good day to me!

The bread came out very moist but not sweet at all. I even got the boys to eat it!! It is amazing how proud of yourself you can be and how excited you can get from just making a simple loaf of bread.

On a separate note, yesterday I made my sourdough starter. It is so bizarre! I mixed 2 cups of whole milk with 2 cups of flour, covered it in plastic wrap and left it sitting on my counter.... MY COUNTER!! It is starting to bubble up, which is apparently a good sign. Supposedly a bad sign is if it turns pink and starts to smell foul... glad I do not have to experience that! So if all goes right (knock on wood) then I should have some wonderful sourdough by Thursday!!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Flaky Pie Crust and Blueberry Crumble Pie

Day 3 Recipe 2 & 3
So today I made my very first homemade pie crust. I think it turned out pretty good! It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. I just had to be patient and let it sit the whole time in the refrigerator to make sure that it was good and cold. I made the pie crust for my Blueberry Crumble Pie. It was so yummy! I couldn't really taste to see if I did a good job on the crust or not because the blueberries were so good! This is a definite make again recipe!

It was time consuming to make the crust and then the pie. I started at about 9:30 this morning and with all of the wait time for the crust, I pulled the pie out of the oven at 1:00 this afternoon! I am not entirely sure if the crust was worth it or not... I personally just like the Pillsbury Pie Crust that just comes out of the box!!

My first homemade crust, before I put in the filling.

Recipe from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Baking


Pie Pastry for single crust pie
3/4 cup plus 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2/3 cup firmly packed golden brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar plus 1 tablespoon for filling
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
5 cups of blueberries (about 2 1/2 pints)


1. Line 9 inch pie pan with pie crust and prebake according to package directions.

2. In a large bowl, stir together the 3/4 cup flour, 1/3 cup of the brown sugar, the 1/3 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and the salt. Scatter the butter pieces on top and toss with a fork to coat with the flour mixture. Using a pastry blender or a fork, work the ingredients together until the mixture forms large, coarse crumbs the size of peas. Set aside.

3. Position rack in the lower third of the oven, and preheat to 375 degrees.

4. In a large bowl, combine blueberries, the remaining brown sugar, the remaining cinnamon, and 4 tablespoons of the flour. Stir gently to coat the blueberries evenly. Sprinkle the remaining flour and the sugar over the bottom of the prebaked crust. Pour the filling into the crust, spreading evenly.

5. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the filling. (It will be in a big mound on the top. The blueberries will shrink down during baking.) Bake the pie until the topping is golden brown and the blueberry filling begins to bubble, 50-60 minutes. (I did mine 60 mins) Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely. Serve at room temperature. Best when served the day it is baked.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies

Day 1 Recipe 1
I just made my first recipe!! I wanted to start with something simple so I went with Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies. Now, I already know how to make a pretty darn good chocolate chip cookie, so I wanted to be amazed. These cookies were really good. They had semi-sweet, milk and white chocolate chips in them. The white chocolate really made the cookies so yummy. So I would say, as my first recipe, they were a definite success. YIPEE!

Monday, July 20, 2009

I got a book!

This past weekend I picked out what cookbook I am going to use. I got Williams-Sonoma's Essentials of Baking. It has all kinds of yummy recipes from yeast breads and quick breads to cookies and cakes. It also has some challenging recipes in it such as puff pastry and souffles. I am so excited to get baking I don't even know where to begin!!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Make it a Cupcake kinda day!

I have been very inspired by the latest book I am reading Julie & Julia by Julie Powell. So I have decided to bake my way through an entire baking handbook. I am so excited to go pick out a book tomorrow! I plan on making 2 or 3 recipes each week until I have made every recipe. I am looking forward to posting my successes as well as my failures, pictures included.

The title for my blog, is an actual quote that I have hanging in my kitchen!!