Saturday, December 3, 2011

Rockin' Around

I made two recipes today!

My friend Zack (Hi Zack!) sent me some really awesome-looking recipes last Christmas when I was still in the learning phase of this baking thing and since I was working so hard on my (destined for failed) project I saved the recipes and flipped through them regularly trying to figure out when I could actually play around with them.

I'm pretty much in love with A Very She & Him Christmas!  Enjoy this song while you browse.

I did modify the original recipes a little but the results were fantastic (and slightly healthier than the originals)!

Coffee-Banana Muffins & Cinnamon-Nut Bread!

Coffee-Banana Muffins (K.Britt version)

2 cups unbleached white whole wheat flour
1 pkt Starbucks Via coffee (caffeinated or decaf; I used caffeinated and highly recommend unflavored though you could use 1 to 2 tsp ground coffee)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup mashed ripe banana (I used 2 bananas)
1/3 cup EarthBalance, melted
3 tbsp plain, light soymilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
turbinado sugar (to sprinkle on tops of muffins)

1.  Preheat oven to 350° F.  Line muffin tin with muffin cups.
2.  In a large bowl, stir together flour, coffee, baking soda and salt.  In a separate bowl mix egg, granulated sugar, mashed banana, melted EarthBalance, milk and vanilla.  Add liquids to dry ingredients and mix until just moistened (batter should be lumpy).  Divide batter evenly into muffin cups and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
3.  Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
4.  Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.  Remove from pan and let cool.  Serve warm or room temperature.
Makes 1 dozen muffins

These might be the best muffins I've ever made.  The bread wasn't as good because I made a couple of errors in measurements.  Since I did that, I'm not going to post my recipe for it.

If anyone is interested in the recipe for the Cinnamon-Nut Bread contact me and I'll send it to you.  I'll send you the original or my recipe or both.

Hoping that you'll have a great month and maybe "we'll have some pumpkin pie and we'll do some caroling"!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Double double Muffins/Bread

I'm trying to catch the blog up to my baking over the past week or so.

I was so excited to get the Chocolate-chip Pumpkin Muffins to a friend on Halloween (who I created the recipe for) that I didn't remember to take pictures.

This is what I was listening to while I was baking, though:

I made a dozen muffins and put cute little orange and black sprinkles on 6. (I was scared that cooking the sprinkles wouldn't work, so I hedged my bets.)  I also made a tiny loaf with the chocolate chips for my dad and a regular sized loaf without chips for me!

Here's my half-eaten loaf and tiny loaf:

I used this recipe and the first time followed it exactly because I can eat everything in the recipe.  It turned out so sweet.  I'm not huge into sweets, so it was a little too much.

When I decided to remake it with the chocolate chips I decided that I'd balance out the added sugar in the chocolate by removing 1/2 cup of sugar.  I used 1/3 of a cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips for the dozen muffins.  I sprinkled a few chips in the bottom of the muffin papers the poured in the batter and topped them with more.  Then 6 got the superstar treatment (AKA sprinkles).  It took about 30 minutes for the muffins (check with a toothpick and keep an eye on them).  The little loaf took another 5 or 10 minutes.

I received some pretty great reviews for the muffins.  I did not make this up.  Seriously, they're real quotes, guys!

"@kristenbritt_ makes the BEST muffins in the world!!!! :)"

"My parents loved the muffins- Dad said they were the best he's ever eaten!"

Happy November!

Autumn Bakes

I did some baking last week.  I was trying to use some seasonal veggies in sweet baked goods.

I had some canned pumpkin and fresh sweet potatoes sitting around from making some super-awesome savory meals and snacks lately.

That first picture is Sweet Potato Muffins!  So delicious!

Here's the original recipe from :

6 tablespoons butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup evaporated or regular milk
1 1/2 cups peeled finely shredded sweet potato
2/3 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
In a large mixing bowl with hand-held electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla until well blended.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Stir into the butter mixture alternately with milk, mixing just until dry ingredients are moistened. Stir in sweet potato and chopped nuts. Spoon batter into greased muffin cups, filling about 2/3 full. Bake at 375° for 25 to 30 minutes, or until centers spring back when pressed with fingertip. Cool in pan on rack for 5 minutes. Remove from pan and serve muffins warm. Makes about 1 dozen sweet potato muffins.

I subbed in Earth Balance Original (contains corn products) for the butter and plain soy milk for the milk.  I used walnuts because that's what I had.  I did put a little extra of the walnuts in because I like them.  I also had to leave the muffins in the oven for about 5 extra minutes.  Just wait until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

The second picture is of Pumpkin scones.  I found a recipe adaptation here.  The only thing I changed with it was the pumpkin pie spice.  I used 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg and cloves mixed and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon.  The scones were still a little bland.  I'm probably not going to try them again, but I didn't hate it!

You and I

Over the past few weeks, I have been considering what to do with this blog.  The year I had given myself to complete 100 99 breads has concluded and I only made 71 breads.  Even though I have failed I feel like I have accomplished so much and learned that I am actually a fantastic baker.  With that knowledge I am moving on from the experiment and only making the breads and pastries that I want to make from here on out.

I have decided to work on creating allergen-free recipes.  I have some issues with food including lactose-intolerance and a coconut allergy and I have friends with allergy issues, as well.  It's really a challenge to work around food allergies and intolerances every day, and I'm hoping to make things easier.

I may still try to make some of the breads from my failed challenge, if I'm so moved.  I'd like any readers I have to come along on the journey.  I'm working to create something I can be proud of.  Plus there'll be free recipes for you guys!

Love and baked goods to all of you!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Date (and fig) Night

"We were in here earlier having dinner with our friend Sam.I.Am."

I was here earlier, talking about another bread.  The bread of the now is...

#71 Date and Fig Bread

"If we are going to pay this much for crab it better sing and dance and introduce us to the Little Mermaid!"

Today at the grocery store I was shocked to find ingredients I have been looking for the past few months. Dates and figs!  Just sitting beside the cute little pumpkins!  I couldn't believe it, so I bought them immediately just in case they disappeared before I could get back to the store.

After such a great score I had to make this bread.  I did have to chop a whole bunch of figs and dates for the recipe and found that they are extremely sticky.

"You put *your* junk in reverse!"

I didn't do as well mixing in the fruit as with my last bread, but it wasn't a failure like I've had previously. Here are my cute little loaves:

The one on the right isn't very cute, actually. The bread tasted ok. Much more sweet than I expected.

"He turned the gun sideways! That's a kill shot!"

All quotes and video from Date Night.

When Harry Met Sally Lunns...

There is no "Harry", guys.  Just me.

But for the rest of the day "we are going to talk like this"...

"I'll have what she's having."

#70 Sally Lunns

"Well, I just want it the way I want it."

This bread was pretty easy to make. The most difficult part was finding ingredients, which has been the delay on most of 29 breads I have yet to make. This recipe called for candied cherries. I learned that candied cherries are the weird/gross, green/red, sticky things inside a fruitcake. I couldn't find any so I subbed in maraschino cherries.

"It is so nice when you can sit with someone and not have to talk."

Cinnamon, orange zest, cherries and raisins had to be mixed in and some how I managed to do this pretty successfully. I surprised myself. I then had to flatten and roll the dough, which (if I do say so myself) was a triumph. I didn't lose any mix-ins until the baking inflated the raisins and they fell off the outside of the loaf.

Here's Sally:

This bread tastes amazing! The shiny stuff is a sugar glaze. It's like candy on top of candy, for people who don't really like candy.

I wish you could taste this! If you have any suggestions for breads I should try to make leave a note in the comments section.

"The fact that you're not answering leads me to believe you're either (a) not at home, (b) home but don't want to talk to me, or (c) home, desperately want to talk to me, but trapped under something heavy. If it's either (a) or (c), please call me back."

All quotes and videos from When Harry Met Sally....

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Honey, I Changed the Recipe

#69 Honey and Saffron Loaf

"I'm on a special diet. No toxic waste."

This recipe came with the option to change one of the key ingredients.  Saffron is ridiculously expensive, so I omitted that and substituted mango chutney as Paul Hollywood suggested.

I did have a little trouble because the dough was really wet and it seemed that no matter how much flour I added it stayed pretty sticky.  I finally got something that would hold it's shape a little and moved on with the rising.

Here's the finished product (which I almost burned even though I had a few minutes before it was supposed to be finished):

"Help! Don't eat me!"

This bread was surprisingly delicious.  I don't know what else to say about it.

Stay safe, kids.

All quotes and videos from Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

How I Met Your Chocolate and Sour Cherry Bread

#68 Chocolate and Sour Cherry Bread

"It's gonna be legen... wait for it... dary!"

Today's bread is a dessert-y bread.  The cherries were supposed to be sour and dark (ooh...), but I could only find dark cherries or sour cherries.  I decided I'd go with the sour cherries since the bread is Chocolate and Sour Cherry Bread.

Now I have to figure out what to do with the rest of the cherries.

I still can't figure out how to mix stuff in.  I mean I seriously stink at this.  This time I tried mixing in and letting the bread rise for about 30 minutes then shaping for the final rise.  If anybody has advice on the mixing, I'd love to hear it.

"Haaave you met, Ted?"

I mean 'bread'.

How does it taste?  You might ask.  Crazy good!  If you've never had melted dark chocolate with bread you are missing out.  It seems crazy, but this is the softest bread I've ever made.  Hot, perfect bread!

Finished baking for the day...what should I do now?

All quotes and video clips from"How I Met Your Mother".

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Eagle-Eye Cherry Bread

#67 Orange, Lemon, and Cherry Bread

This bread was so simple to make!  A little zesting of oranges and a lemon, some mixing and voilà!...Bread!

I did have a few issues.  The recipe called for sour cherries and in my research I found out that the season for sour cherries is only a few weeks long and the last time I saw sour cherries in the grocery store was a few weeks ago.  I decided to go with dried tart cherries instead.

In the shaping of the loaf I had another issue.  It was supposed to be a two-strand "braided" loaf, but as it rose it came un-wrapped.

This is what I ended up with:

It didn't look that great, but it tasted amazing!  I had to force myself to stop eating.

Save tonight!

Shallow HALloumi

This bread was something else.  My kitchen smelled like toothpaste for a few hours.

#66 Halloumi and Mint Bread

Halloumi is a sheep's milk cheese from Cyprus and the bread is a "traditional Cypriot bread".  It is a weird cheese.  It doesn't melt.  It actually browns and gets a crispy crust when cooked.  The taste isn't really anything special, though.

"You Had Me At "Get Lost"."

I couldn't get the cheese and mint to mix in properly (which was no surprise), and I forgot to put the cuts in the top of the loaf before baking.  I didn't have high hopes for this bread anyway.  I mean, cheese and mint?

"She takes the whole bakery, Hal."

Here's what the final product looked like:

Crispy, brown cheese nuggets.

The cheese that doesn't melt.

The bread was not very good.  I'd rather be that poor kid from the pool than try it again.

Hasta Luego!

Quotes and video clip from Shallow Hal.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

"You've got a date with justice, One-Eyed Bart!"

#65 Potato and Dill Bread

This bread was pretty easy to make and not that time-consuming even though the dough had to rise overnight.  Unlike most of the other overnight breads the dough was completely finished before it rested.

The most time-consuming part was cooking the potatoes.  I had to boil potatoes then let them cool.  Next, I had to cut the potatoes into quarters.  Then, I had to fry them in a little olive oil and butter (I actually used Earthbalance Original, making this recipe vegan).  Finally, I had to let the potatoes cool again then put them onto the dough.

The dill was sprinkled on top of everything.

"F.A.O. my Schwartz!"

While the bread was cooling on the stovetop, I decided to taste-test the potatoes that fell off during the baking process.  They were delicious!  The triple-cooking method made them crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.

Here's the bread:

It was very good!  It was my dinner tonight.  I tried the the second piece with hot sauce, barbeque sauce and sweet hot mustard and it really just got better tasting.  The bread was nice and crusty  with a super-soft inside.  I didn't look anything like the picture in the book, but I really didn't care because it tasted so good.

Good Night, all.  And remember, "Hay un amigo en mi".

All quotes are from Toy Story 3.

Friday, September 2, 2011

One a penny, Two a penny

Hot Cross Buns!

#64 Hollywood Hot Cross Buns

This is one of the first songs a person learns when they are learning to play an instrument as a kid.  I still sing it pretty regularly.  It is pretty catchy.

In case you are not familiar with the song here it is:

This dough had a key problem.  Also, a completely predictable problem.  If you guessed mixing things in, you got it!  And thanks for reading more than one post here.  I had trouble mixing in the oranges, peaches, apples, and cinnamon, but I persevered.  I figured that I would at least have a couple that looked good enough for the blog.

Here are the ugly ones:

Not so cute...

Here are the ones that look the way they are supposed to:

That shiny-ness is from an apricot jelly glaze.  I had not had apricot jelly before, but I was not looking forward to it since my experience with dried apricots has been so negative.

I was wrong, though.  These things were so delicious!  With and without the glaze.

If you want to learn a slightly more difficult song tonight, try this one:

(Animal) Crackers

"Pardon me while I have a strange interlude."

I should have made these crackers in the shape of animals.

#63 Cheese Crackers

So...this was not a difficult recipe to mix.  3 different flavors of crackers.  Poppy seeds, Gruyère cheese and caraway seeds.  The most difficult part was grating the cheese.

As expected, the part I had problems with was rolling out the dough.  It was grainy (kind of like pie crust) and crumbled at the touch making it difficult to cut into discs so some of the crackers were hand-shaped.

I had another problem crop up when I heated up the oven because usually the oven temperature is listed fahrenheit first  and celsius second, but this was reversed.  I heated the oven to 220º and put the crackers in.  About 10 minutes into the 15 minute bake-time I realized my mistake and cranked up the heat to 425º (the right temp).  I just watched the crackers to keep them from burning.  The second pan went much better.

Here are the pretty ones:

The ones on the left are the Gruyère, the middle are the poppy seeds and the right are the caraway.

These were so yummy!  They were a little crumbly, though.  The cheesy ones tasted kind of like Cheez-it and the others were pretty great, too!

I tried them plain and with some cheese on them.  The cheese was incredible!  I tried Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar, and I cannot recommend it more highly.

I leave you with a cute little song about Animal Crackers...

Quote and first two videos from Animal Crackers.  Third video from Curly Top.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

There Will Be Brie

"Ladies and gentlemen... I've traveled over half our state to be here tonight."

Ok...not really.  I just went to the grocery store and then baked the bread.

#62 Brie and Basil Bread

This bread was not difficult to make, but now I have some Brie that I don't know what to do with.

Mixed the dough, let it rise, shaped the loaf, added the Brie and Basil, let it rise and baked it.  Nothing difficult at all, actually.  I did find it interesting that there was only the whole-wheat flour.  A typical whole-wheat loaf from Paul Hollywood's book has white bread flour mixed with the whole-wheat and this one didn't.

"And as long as I have teeth, I will bite you!"

It was a pretty good bread.  My official taster said that the bread portion was really delicious.  I was thinking that I prefer white bread to whole-wheat, but otherwise it was pretty good.

If you haven't seen There Will Be Blood, I will inform you that it is an extremely intense movie experience.  Here's a trailer:

"Now run along and play, and don't come back."  

...please come back!

All quotes are from There Will Be Blood.

Saved by the Bell Pepper

"Go to class, learn something. "

#61 Bell Pepper and Onion Flowerpot Bread

Mr. Belding: Screech, you can't elope.
Screech: Who're you calling a cantaloupe, you melon head?

Such an easy bread! Make dough, cook onions, chop red bell peppers and basil then mix and bake. I did have to go buy flowerpots to be able to make this bread, but everything else went pretty well. I mean, except for the mixing thing. Still haven't mastered mixing things in.

Everything was looking pretty good when it went in the oven...and even immediately after...

"I'm so excited, I'm so excited, I'm so, I'm so... scared!"

When I took the bread out of the oven I had to remove it from the pots to cool and the bottom 4/5 was really soft. I got nervous that it wasn't cooked through and was going to be another inedible mess (see: Let it Brie). I dug into one of the loaves to check for doneness and was pleasantly surprised.

Here they are!

Aren't they cute?

And they're tasty too!

It's all right cuz I'm saved by the bell!

All quotes are from "Saved By the Bell".

Monday, August 22, 2011

Let it Brie

This one was pretty spectacular...and by spectacular I mean a spectacular failure.

#60 Brie and Brioche Packages

I love making brioche dough and I love how brioche tastes...I love brioche!  The dough was completely fine with recipe.  The problem came with the baking.

The only thing I did obviously wrong was that though the recipe called for 9oz of Brie and the largest I could find was 8oz so I went with that.

Otherwise, I followed all the instructions.

Here's the final product uncut:

It wasn't supposed to crack like that.

Here's what it should have looked like cut:

Mmmm...gooey and cheesy.

Here's mine cut:

Not gooey...until...

About an hour later when this happened.

The dough wasn't cooked but the heat from the baking caused it to continue rising after it was out of the oven.  The cheese started melting as well.

I had taken a piece of excess dough and made a tiny little loaf which I later enjoyed with a little of the Brie.

This was a huge disaster!  And I will not be re-attempting the recipe.  I think the problem was just too much dough.  The cheese was still really cold and hard and of course the dough wasn't cooked on the bottom.

I leave you with The Beatles...

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Mr. Sunshine, yay...

Sunshine, summer, sunflowers...

#59 Sunflower Seed Bread

This bread was pretty easy to make.  Whole-wheat flour, white bread flour, yeast, salt, water and sunflower seeds.

I did add a little bit too much water to the dough so I had to add a little flour during kneading.  The bread rose ridiculously high and it was a little easier to mix in the seeds.

Alice: So what are you going to do for your fortieth birthday?
Ben Donovan: Pretty exciting little plan actually. I'm ordering in some Chinese food and watching Bridge Over The River Kwai. Kwai? Because it is a 3 hour epic adventure.
Alice: That's kind of depressing.
Ben Donovan: Along the way maybe. But ultimately it's a story about the triumph of the human spirit.
Alice: I'm talking about your birthday plan.
Ben Donovan: So am I.

Before I put the bread in the oven, it kind of looked like a sunshine (weirdly enough).  After, it didn't.  It was kind of...well you decide:

This bread was waaaay better than I thought it would be.  Partially because I've never eaten sunflower seeds before and partially because...ok...I pretty much judged how I might feel completely on my non-history with sunflower seeds.  I tried it with honey and it was even better.

Vivien: Hey, Ben, I just wanted to let you know that if I were a zombie, you could shoot me in the head.
Ben Donovan: Oh, ok. And if you weren't a zombie?
Vivien: Then please don't.

P.S.  I love Allison Janney and James Taylor.  And, of course, Matthew Perry.

All quotes are from "Mr. Sunshine".

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

"Where's Olive?"

Personally, I think Olive is Little Miss Sunshine!

#58 Cypriot Olive and Cilantro Bread

Another bread with olives in it...I do love olives.  I did make a substitution, though.   I don't like to, but the recipe called for black Greek olives and those are really expensive.  I had Kalamata olives already, so I used those.  I also had to chop onions and cilantro which made my hands smell really strongly for most of the day.

I still have trouble getting the solid ingredients to mix into the dough so one loaf ended up with all the olives and onions on the bottom and the other had them exploding from the top.

"Everybody just pretend to be normal."

I had a little personal issue while the dough was rising and I ended up letting the dough rise for an extra hour (not on purpose).  That's when the dough on the left burst open.

They bread tastes really great and I think I'll try it again, especially because it's dairy-free and still amazingly soft.

"There's two kinds of people in this world, there's winners and there's losers. Okay, you know what the difference is? Winners don't give up. "

All quotes from Little Miss Sunshine.

Monday, August 15, 2011

I would do anything for loaf...

...but I won't do that.

#57 Ricotta and Chive Loaf

I made this loaf a few days ago.  It was a pretty easy loaf to make mostly because the things that were mixed in (ricotta and chives) were mixed in at the beginning instead of halfway through the rising process.

This bread smelled so great while it was rising and even better while it was baking.  I was a little concerned about the baking process because the cheese made the dough very wet.  I left the bread in the oven a little longer than I was comfortable with to make sure that there was no gooey-ness in the middle.

The bread turned out so well!  I love this bread!  Amazing flavor, great toasted and fresh from the oven!

The next morning, I ate a bacon and egg sandwich on toasted slices of this bread.  It was amazing!  Bacon and this bread are a match made in heaven.  Speaking of bacon here's a meatloaf recipe from Nigella Lawson that I consider to be a vegetarian nightmare (wrapped in bacon), but something that I'd like to make someday.


Saturday, August 13, 2011

Lavroche Actually

"Hiya kids. Here is an important message from your Uncle Bill. Don't buy drugs. Become a pop star, and they give you them for free!"

Today's bread is a bread from Cyprus.  It's really more of a cracker than a bread.

#56 Lavroche

"Life is full of interruptions and complications."

This bread was pretty easy and quick to make.  No yeast, so no rise time.  I did, however, have to roll it out, which I hate doing.  I didn't really get the dough thin enough, but I did what I could.  I also ran out of parchment paper.  I just barely had enough to bake this bread and had to run out to buy more to finish the other bread I baked today.  Which I will write about tomorrow because I'm running late today.

"I will miss you. And your very slow typing... and your very bad driving."

Here it is:

It tasted better than I thought it would, but it is not something I will make again.  Also, I guess it was supposed to look like this as the recipe said to cut the dough into random shapes.  I'm gonna say it's good enough.

"You've seen the films, kiddo. It ain't over 'til it's over."

All quotes from Love Actually.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A Post About Nothing (This post title is false)

Thanks to a show about nothing I have an awesome video today.

#55 Rye with Caraway

Dear Jerry, 
This rye is not marbled, but maybe you'll like it.
Love, K

I baked this bread yesterday, but I had to go to work last night so I didn't get to post it.

This was an overnight bread.  I started with rye flour, white bread flour, yeast and water.  It needed 10-12 hours to rise.  In the morning I added salt, butter, more of each flour, a little more water and caraway seeds.

In case you're not familiar, here's some caraway seeds:

Yum!  (Ok, you wouldn't just eat these, but the flavor in baked goods is pretty great.)

According to Mr. Hollywood (author, 100 Great Breads), "This loaf you love or you hate, mainly because of the caraway seeds."

Pretty easy to make, it just takes a while.  Here's the final product:

I liked this bread.  It was yummy!  I did already know that I loved rye bread so liking this wasn't a big surprise.  I ate this plain.  Just sliced and ate.  It might be good toasted with cream cheese.  Mr. Hollywood recommends eating it warm with smoked salmon.

That was something...and it didn't cost anybody $50.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

K. Britt and the Chocolate Croissant Factory

"Where is fancy bred? In the heart or in the head. "

#54 Chocolate Croissant read that right.  According to Paul Hollywood, "If there is no other recipe in this book you try, do try this - I promise you, it's heaven.  And if you've fallen out with your partner, make these and you'll kiss and make up in no time."

I started the croissant dough last night.  If you want to know how much I hate making croissant dough, you can read my previous post on croissants.  It's not fun.  Lots of folding and rolling.  For hours.

"Little surprises around every corner, but nothing dangerous. "

The next step was to roll out and cut the dough. Instead of triangles the dough was to be cut into rectangles and then the chocolate was rolled inside the dough. The recipe called for Terry's Chocolate Oranges, but I couldn't find any chocolate oranges. I have been looking since November because here in America chocolate oranges are typically only found around Christmastime. The recipe did say you could substitute with any good quality orange-flavored chocolate. I used Ghirardelli Dark and Orange.

"Invention, my dear friends, is 93% perspiration, 6% electricity, 4% evaporation, and 2% butterscotch ripple."

I did have a little difficulty rolling the dough around the chocolate. You see, chocolate orange slices are pretty conducive to rolling but nearly flat squares are not. So I broke each piece of chocolate in half, stacked them, then rolled the dough. As with previous croissant making the final rise caused the dough to un-roll. I just pushed them back together and after baking only one really unfurled.  I did decide to forgo the apricot jelly glaze because I really don't like apricots and didn't want to spend the money.

"If you want to view paradise, simply look around and view it."

2 little cuties!

Surprisingly tasty!  I wasn't sure about the chocolate with  orange filling, but it was pretty good!  The croissant dough was delicious.

"So much time and so little to do. Wait a minute. Strike that. Reverse it. "

All quotes from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Under the Tuscan Sun...or not.

"If you smash into something good, you should hold on until it's time to let go."

#53 Pane Toscano (Tuscan Bread)

An unsalted bread, that feels like a cloud while kneading.

 Pretty cloud...

"I'll hire the muscular descendants of Roman gods to do the heavy lifting. "

There, actually, wasn't any heavy lifting.  I had to make a batter with flour, water and yeast.  The recipe did call for a flour called Tipo 00, which is an Italian flour that (after researching) I found was basically the same as American All-purpose flour.  Then, I had to leave the batter for 9 hours (or overnight).  I did 9 hours.  Here's what it looked like at about hour 8:

It was all bubbly and soupy, and smelled like a beer.  Once I added the flour, I still had soup so I added more flour.  Then, more flour.

"Ladybugs, Katherine. Lots and lots of ladybugs."

After I got the dough looking like a dough. I tried to knead it and had to keep adding more flour. Finally, I got a beautiful-looking (and feeling) dough. After a 1 hour rise, I still had a pretty sticky dough so I added a little more flour. I got the dough shaped and slashed and after another hour I was stunned that it was still growing. Yeasts are funny little critters.

Here she is:

Still light.  And really pretty crumb.  Not very much flavor, but since it is a bread that is meant to be eaten with other things I can understand that.  I tried it with olive oil and salt and also with Earth Balance (vegan butter) and honey.  Off to try it with other things...

"Regrets are a waste of time. They're the past crippling you in the present."

All quotes are from Under the Tuscan Sun.

Pie is NEVER free!

If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe. - Carl Sagan

#52  Apple Pie

According to Paul Hollywood, this pie is a very French recipe.  The filling called for 3 lbs. of apples, peeled, cored and sliced, splash of Calvados, the juice of 3 lemons, a handful of golden raisins and a pinch of cinnamon.  I omitted the Calvados because I can't bring myself to purchase booze for just a splash in a recipe, especially right now.

I used Granny Smith and Pink Lady apples since the GS are typical pie fare and the PLs looked and smelled terrific.

Good apple pies are a considerable part of our domestic happiness. - Jane Austen

I had some trouble with the pastry portion.  It didn't really become a dough.  It was kind of a crumble.  My best guess was that there just wasn't enough binder.  I tried a splash of water and that was not good.  That may have caused crust problems during the baking process.  Then, I added Country Crock.  (I was not about to wait for the real butter to soften.)  That seemed to work pretty well with the top crust.

You can't have Thanksgiving without turkey. That's like Fourth of July without apple pie, or Friday with no two pizzas. - Joey Tribbiani

This pie was pretty tasty.  The lemon flavor was pretty strong, but I guess that's what happens when you soak apples in lemon juice for 2 hours.  The bottom crust didn't really cook.  That may be because I put a pan under the pie tin to catch and drippings (which did not occur).  Or maybe because of the water I mentioned earlier.

I saw this sketch a while back and I have been waiting for the perfect time to use it.  Sorry for the out of sync audio.

pie's never free from hammertimez on Vimeo.

I found the video here.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Brighter Than The Sun

"this is how it starts, lighting strikes the heart
It goes off like a gun, brighter than the sun"

#51 Curried Naan

Another Indian bread.  Another fried bread.  Another not-so-successful bread.

I don't like frying things.  I don't like fried things, really.

I also don't like my hands to smell like curry for 8 hours.

Things I do like?  Curry powder.  Beans.  Colbie Caillat.

So here they are.  All on my blog.

That Colbie Caillat song is my new favorite.  The CD came out Tuesday and in a pretty un-Kristen way I ran out and got it on my way to work Tuesday.

The curry powder was in the bread dough and unfortunately was tied to the 8 hour curry-hands.

Bright, sunshine-y, curried dough blobbies.

Fried (sort-of) Curried Naan.  Still pretty bright yellow.

The beans appeared in the eating of the bread.

Along with the bread, this was my dinner on the way out the door last night.

The bread was not really cooked on the inside but started to burn on the outside.  The bread had golden raisins and mango chutney in it.  And though I'm pretty sure I've said it before, I will say I really don't like golden raisins.  Mango chutney on the other hand is delicious!

At the end of this experiment (maybe sooner) I think I'll try this again without the raisins and chutney.  Maybe I'll have the chutney on the side or something.

"we go together like peanuts and Paydays, Marley and reggae"

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Bread Diaries

Joe: This is between a waltz and a tango.
Mia: It's a wango?

No...It's my halfway celebration!

#50 Focaccia Pugliese with Mozzarella

This bread will (hopefully) be the point of the story where I go from the frumpy, sad, wanna-be baker to the beautiful, talented, actual baker.  (Not to be confused with a professional baker or a master baker.)  As we all know, the makeover scene or montage is a crucial point in any girl movie.

"I don't want to rule my own country, I just want to pass the tenth grade."

If I was grading myself on this bread, I say it was an A+. Truly spectacular. I mean so delicious that everyone that tried it made the most terrific yummy noises. It was music to my ears...and I just realized what a bizarre saying that is. Anything is music to my ears. Music can be anything. Music can be
"nothing". (See 4'33".) But I digress.

I had to crumble mozzarella for this bread and while time-consuming it was not painful or difficult like grating 5oz of parmesan or zesting 6 oranges.  I used less cheese than was called for but more cheese that I should eat, so we'll call that a wash.  Plus, it was just a topping.

"Remember, virtual homework may not be submitted for actual credit. "

My actual bread(s).  So pretty, so tasty.  I cut them up into breadsticks and I may enjoy some tomorrow with marinara sauce.  I will most definitely make this again.  Even the bread part was delicious.  Better than all my previous focaccias.

"Goodbye, trolley people!"

All quotes from The Princess Diaries.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Cheese Straw Girls

My grandmother is visiting and today we enjoyed my newest bread...just us girls.

#49 Cheese Straws

Today's recipe seemed like it would be super-easy.  It called for a package of pre-made puff pastry.  A little paprika and freshly shredded parmesan.

As much as I hated zesting oranges at Easter, grating this cheese was about 10 times more awful than that.

Other than the zesting that took forever, this was an easy one.  Mostly folding and flattening.

I had to make these in two batches, so here's a before and after.  Not sure why they untwisted, though.  That said, I don't care that much.

They tasted kind of like Cheez-it.  Which was better than I expected.  I thought they might taste like all the cheese straws I've been served before and be disgusting.  Prior to this, I would say I hate cheese straws.  My grandma loved them!

Here's some cheesy music for you.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Jurassic Paratha!

"The lack of humility before nature that's being displayed here, uh... staggers me. "

#48 Paratha

Another Indian bread.

No leavener.  It was (weirdly) filled with a mix of raisins, chili peppers and spices.  I really don't like golden raisins but they keep showing up in these recipes.  I guess they are called for instead of regular raisins since the golden ones brown and the brown ones burn during baking, but it doesn't make them taste as good as regular.

"Oh my God. Do you know what this is? This is a dinosaur egg. The dinosaurs are breeding. "

Ok really they're Parathas.

I didn't really like this bread, but in researching Paratha to write this post I have found a few recipes that sound like they might taste really good.  I have one I'm going to try and I'll write about that too, hopefully it's better.

"Yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn't stop to think if they should."

In case you forgot what Jurassic Park was about...

All quotes from Jurassic Park.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Anyone can cook aloo gobi, but who can bend a ball like Beckham?

Ok, I didn't make aloo gobi, but I did make a new bread!

#47 Naan Bread

Here's a song featured in Bend It Like Beckham that should make your day brighten a little.

According to Paul Hollywood, "Authentic naan needs to be baked in a specially made brick oven", but his recipe called for shallow pan-frying.

"At least I taught her full Indian dinner, the rest is up to God. "

This was a really easy recipe and it took no time at all.  Mixed it up, waited an hour, flattened and fried.  

And it was pretty tasty.  Nice and fluffy with the only downside being that it was greasy.

I'm out of here, but hopefully I'll make a few more breads this week.

"All I'm saying is, there's a reason why Sporty Spice is the only one without a fella!"

All quotes taken from Bend It Like Beckham.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Chewy Vegan Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Today I made cookies.  Their purpose was to cheer me up.  No big deal, just a little down.

Here's a great song by one of my favorite artists.

I started with this recipe:  Cookie Madness - Chewy Vegan Oatmeal Raisin Cookies.

I made a few changes.

I used whole wheat flour.

I used dark brown sugar.

I used Cracker Barrel Maple syrup (which is 55% maple 45% cane).

I didn't drain the applesauce.

I used canola oil for the vegetable oil.

I didn't plump the raisins, but I did add the optional walnuts (chopped).

I used parchment paper instead of Silpats and ended up with only 15 cookies.

They were delicious.

I bid you adieu.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Girls Just Want to Have Bread

"Oh, I like this. Sort of Rebel Without a Cause meets Sound of Music... you're taking a fashion risk. I like that. Just don't do it on camera!"

#46 Olive and Sun-dried Tomato Bread

Dairy-Free bread!  This one was supposed to have black Greek olives, but those were ridiculously expensive and I already had Kalamata olives.  The recipe also, obviously, called for sun-dried tomatoes, but it said sun-blushed tomatoes could be substituted.

So I made sun-blushed tomatoes.

In the mixing of the olives and tomatoes I, of course, struggled but since there were two loaves I attempted the mixing the way it was supposed to go with one and the other I basically made a little pouch.

"Velcro. Next to the Walkman and Tab it is the coolest invention of the 20th century!"

I wish the ingredients stuck together better, but these are the pre-last-rise loaves.

"Eat flame, Bozo!"

So yummy!  The "mixed-in" one lost a lot of its "mix-ins" so there wasn't much flavor added.  The bread part was good, though.

I leave you with some sweet 80s dance moves!

All quotes from Girls Just Want to Have Fun.