Monday, September 28, 2009

Old Fashioned Oatmeal Cookies

Day 68 Recipe 40
As I have previously said, if I am in a bakery I will more than likely order a cookie with chocolate in it. I would never order an oatmeal raisin cookie... not in a million years. But these were delicious. With 2 cups of raisins in the recipe, they were nice and soft in the middle. My husband, again, loved these cookies!! And so did my kids. I didn't even mind then having a couple since I knew they were filled with raisins and oatmeal!!

Gingery Gingersnaps

Day 64 Recipe 39
I am not a huge gingersnap fan. I like my cookies to have chocolate in them and be soft and gooey. So I was not hugely looking forward to making these cookies. But I have to say, they turned out pretty darn good! My husband, who is not a sweet eater at all, at 6 in one sitting! My kids even liked them. The thing that was a little different about this recipe was that they had 1/2 cup of chopped crystallized ginger in them. I don't know if regular gingersnaps have molasses in them, but these did. The cookies were not hard, but soft in the center. Apparently, as far as gingersnaps go, these were delicious!! The crystallized ginger

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Day 62 Recipe 38
Okay, this recipe scared me just a little because it started with a sponge, just like the sourdough bread. And we all know how wonderful the sourdough turned out! :) The difference was that this sponge had yeast in it, so I was pretty sure that it was going to work. Overall this recipe was pretty easy, I just had to make the sponge the night before. And it rose like a champ, overflowing the largest bowl that I have. If I made it again, I would cook it less, because the crust is very stiff. I am hoping that it will soften over time, but we shall see.

This bread gets its name because it looks like a crocodile. I would totally have to agree! My neighbor, Libby, was daring enough to try a piece of the bread. As I cut into it, and tore her off a piece, she said she felt like she was eating Jesus bread!! (I told you I was going to put that on here!!)
The sponge.

Tarte Tatin

Day 61 Recipe 37
What is a tarte tatin you ask?? It is an upside down caramel apple tart. First you start with butter and sugar in the bottom of an oven proof frying pan. Then you stand cut up apples in the pan, squeezing in as many as you can. Cooking it on the oven, the butter and the sugar bubble up in between the apples and essentially caramelizing. Then you top with a pie crust and bake in the oven. The tricky part was flipping it over onto a plate!! This recipe was created by 2 sisters when they were all ready to make an apple pie and realized that they only had one crust. Not wanting to waste the apples, they made this tart instead.

My apples didn't turn out as caramelized as in the picture in the cookbook, but it was still a very yummy alternative to the traditional apple pie!

I took a picture before I flipped it out of the pan, just in case it ended up all over my counter!!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Classic Chocolate Cake

Day 58 Recipe 36
Instead of classic this recipe should be called the chocolate cake. For the rest of my life, if I need to make a chocolate cake I will be using this recipe! This cake was so good. I was surprised to find, that I had to whip up the egg whites separately for this recipe. But it definitely paid off in the end. The cake is baked in 2 layers, which are then cut in half to make 4 layers with delicious chocolate frosting in between. The cake was so tall when I was finished that when I went to put the glass dome over my cake stand, it did not fit!! The only complaint is that this recipe used a lot of dishes. And I had to wash my stand mixer bowl and attachment half way through to use for another step. But even if this cake had taken every dish in my kitchen to make... I am pretty sure that I would still make it again!! ;)

Lattice-Top Peach Pie

Day 55 Recipe 35
On Monday I made peach pie. I had never made a peach pie before and it was a lot of work. It took me about 30-40 mins just to boil the peaches, remove the skins and then cut them up. But the pie was totally worth it. It wasn't too sweet, and you could really taste the flavor of the peaches. I also made my own pie crust. It would have been much easier to just buy one, but since I always have the simple ingredients on hand, it is so much cheaper just to make one from scratch!! The only thing that annoyed me about this recipe was that it called for quick-cooking tapioca, as the thickening agent. This apparently is used a lot in fruit pies. So I tried not to wince to much at the $5 price tag. But when I came home and discovered that this was the only recipe in the entire cookbook that used this ingredient, it irritated me. Oh well... anyone want some tapioca pudding??

Sunday, September 13, 2009


Day 54 Recipe 34
I can not believe that I just made croissants!! YIPEE!! They came out so flaky and yummy I just can not believe it. There are several recipes in this cookbook that are called Master Recipes and croissants are one of them. The book says, "Mastering the making of croissant pastry is considered a great achievement in the baking world." I was so excited when they came out of the oven!! I was a little surprised by the recipe. I thought it would be pretty similar to the puff pastry, but the croissant dough had yeast in it. They were very time consuming to make... I started at 10 this morning and we had hot croissants at 7 tonight. But they were worth the wait!!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Chocolate Pound Cake

Day 51 Recipe 33
So yesterday, when I wasn't sure whether or not the torte was going to make it, I had to make something else as back up. My friend, Libby, assured me that the torte would be fine, but I can never leave my day with a baking fatality (Even though I should have listened because it turned out fine!!) So I opted to make something else.... just in case. And I am I glad I did!! This was a variation of the Classic Pound Cake recipe and it was super yummy. Libby had some strawberries that we pureed and served over the top with some cool whip. Very yummy and a definite keeper!!

Chocolate-Raspberry Torte

Day 51 Recipe 31 & 32
Nothing irritates me more, than when I follow a recipe perfectly and it isn't cooked or doesn't come out right. Well, this torte irritated me big time! It was especially annoying because I was going to be bringing it to my bunco group so other people could enjoy it. I followed the recipe perfectly, and baked it according to directions. It still looked soupy, so I added on 5 more minutes... just like it said. Then I took it out, removed the springform pan sides and put it on a tray to cool. Then I glanced at it, and it was sinking in the middle because the bottom was FALLING OUT!!! So I flipped it over and put it back on the pan and had to cook it for 15 more minutes!! I was so annoyed. Then I noticed this time while it was cooling that the top was cracked. But I knew that was fixable. So I let the torte cool. Then I put the raspberry jam in between and knew that this would "glue" it all together. Once the chocolate glaze (Recipe 32) was on top of the cake... no one knew the wiser. So I guess the moral of the story is, don't give up and keep moving forward. Even if it doesn't look the prettiest, it will still taste yummy!! I ended up taking it to bunco and the girls just loved it!!

While I was separating the eggs for the torte, I came across the oddest of the eggs had 2 yolks in it!! So bizarre! So of course I had to take a picture!! ;)

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Day 50 Recipe 30
Since the puff pastry recipe makes 2 lbs, and the cheese straws only use 1 lb, I also used the dough to make Palmiers. Palmiers are "a french puff pastry treat." Most commonly called elephant ears when they are large. It is essentially just puff pastry coated in sugar and folded a certain way. During baking, mine unfolded, so instead of ears, they look more like hearts... which is fine by me!!

From Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Baking


1 lb puff pastry dough (This can be found in the freezer section)
1 cup sugar for dusting
1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water


1. On a lightly sugared work surface, roll out the pastry dough into a rectangle ½ inch thick. Move the pastry to the side and sprinkle the work surface with more sugar.

2. Return the pastry to the work surface and toll it out into a rectangle 18 inches long, 9 inches wide and ¼ inch thick. (I would recommend doing it more like 10 inches wide.) Turn it once or twice as you roll and dust with more sugar.

3. Position the pastry so that the long side is in front of you. Fold one long end over onto itself halfway across the pastry. Fold the opposite end onto itself so that the 2 ends meet in the center of the rectangle. Sprinkle with more sugar. Roll the pin across the pastry lightly and sprinkle again with sugar. Fold each side lengthwise again onto itself so that they meet in the center again, and roll the pin across the pastry lightly.

4. Using a pastry brush, brush the egg mixture lightly over half of the folded pastry rectangle. You will not use all of the egg mixture. Fold the egg brushed half onto the other half of the pastry to form a long, thick rectangle. Roll the pin across the pastry to seal. Place the rectangle on a half-sheet pan, cover, and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 45 minutes.

5. Place rack in middle of oven and preheat to 400 degrees. Line 2 half sheet pans with parchment paper (Or a silicone baking sheet works fine!)

6. Place the pastry on a cutting board and cut crosswise into slices ¼ inch thick. (I did mine ½ inch thick and they turned out much better!!) Dust the work surface with sugar. Lay a cut side of a slice on the sugared surface and then flip it over to coat the other cut side. Place the slices cut side down on the prepared pan, spacing them 2 inches apart.

7. Bake the cookies until they are caramelized and brown, 13-17 minutes, turning halfway through baking to ensure even caramelization. Transfer to wire racks and let cool completely in pans. Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Puff Pastry and Cheese Straws

Day 49 Recipes 28 & 29
When I graduated 8th grade, my family moved from Phoenix to East Mesa. I moved away from all of my friends, some of which I had known since that first day of Kindergarten. Through the miracles of Facebook I have been able to reconnect with some of my old friends. One friend, Kelsey, also has a cooking blog. She has the same Williams-Sonoma cookbook that I have, and we thought it would be fun if we both made the same recipe and then blogged about it!! So we chose cheese straws.

In order to make the cheese straws we had to make homemade classic puff pastry. This recipe made me a little nervous. It wasn't that it was hard, it just made me nervous for some reason. I followed the directions carefully and what resulted was perfect! It was very time consuming, because you had to refrigerate the dough in between rolling it out, to insure the butter stayed nice and cold. Using the puff pastry I made the cheese straws, which were also very simple to make. For the recipe check out Kelsey's blog, Kelsey's Apple a Day!

My big block of puff pastry

Can you see all the flaky layers??

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Orange-Poppy Seed Muffins

Day 48 Recipe 27
Yesterday, I felt like total crud, but I had a lot of stuff I wanted to bake this week, so the cooking continued. I was originally going to make these muffins on Friday, but they sounded like nice warm comfort food! They were very good! My mom always makes lemon poppy seed bread during the holidays, so this was a little different with the orange. They were very easy to pull together quickly, and were very yummy! A definite keeper!!

Chocolate Souffle

Day 45 Recipe 26
Last Friday, I made chocolate souffle. I was a little worried about making this because it had said as a sidebar to the recipe that people are scared of making souffles because they can be tricky. But I followed the directions and only had a small snag in the plan. The directions said to cook for 8-10 minutes, so I started with 8 minutes... but they didn't look quite set, so I added 2 more minutes. Then I took them out, dusted them with powdered sugar, took a picture, and took a bite. Only to find that the middle was still a little soupy. I didn't know if they were supposed to be like this or not... I had never eaten a chocolate souffle before!! So I called my trusty neighbor, Libby, and she said that it should be baked all through out. So I put it back in, and it had to cook for like 5 more minutes. I figured that it had to be done. It tasted pretty good. I have a couple of more souffles to make in the cookbook, so hopefully I will have more success with those!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Raspberry Jam Sandwich Hearts

Day 42 Recipe 25
I hate making sugar cookies! They always come out too thin or too thick making them underdone or too brown. So I had been putting off making these cookies. A couple weeks ago I was at Williams-Sonoma and found the coolest thing...Even Dough Bands ($9). The pack has 4 different thicknesses of bands, and you place them on the end of your rolling pin, and your dough will be the desired thickness!! (Check out the pic below) They worked like a charm!! (Macy's also sells them, for about $10) I highly recommend them for your holiday baking!

I am not a huge sugar cookie fan... I prefer my cookies soft and chewy. But the sandwich cookies with the raspberry jam were really yummy! The cookies aren't too sweet so the powdered sugar on top and the tartness of the raspberry jam is a great combination! The kiddos totally loved the the little hearts that were left from the cutouts!! So even though I most likely won't be making these again, I am glad that I did, and I got to test out a new gadget!!