Sunday, May 10, 2015

The end of 20 time

Over the course of this year, I have used my 20 time to become a better baker/cook. I believe that I've acheived this. Even though I didn't really start out this project with a solid goal in mind, I have still appreciated the time I've spent on it. I feel as though I haven't learned anything really but instead I have improved my baking and cooking skills. I do not regret choosing this project, using the time and required motivation to do what I love more. I was already pretty good at baking and I know some may have used their 20 time to learn something new, I do not regret passing up a "challenge" to do something I already could. I used my time to improve and try new things and had enjoyed doing so. After this project is over, I will continue to bake and cook and learn new recipes. I'm glad I had this opportunity to do this project and I hope I never lose the motivation for baking that this has given me. 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Strawberry Hand Pies

They look cute, don't they? Do not be fooled! Please read the review before making them!


Ingredients
  • 2½ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • ¼ to ½ cup ice water
  • 16 ounces strawberries, hulled and cute in quarters
  • ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
  • 1 egg white
  • ¼ cup turbinado sugar
Instructions
  1. In a food processor, combine flour, salt and 1 teaspoon sugar. Pulse to combine.
  2. Add cold butter and pulse butter until it is the size of a pea.
  3. Sprinkle with ¼ cup ice water and pulse dough until it is crumbly but holds together. if necessary, you can sprinkle in more water.
  4. Transfer half of the crumbly dough to a piece of plastic wrap and form into a disk about ¾" thick. Wrap tightly and refrigerate until firm for at least 1 hour. Repeat with remaining dough.
  5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  6. While the dough is cooling, place strawberries on a parchment lined baking sheet and sprinkle with sugar. Toss to coat well.
  7. Bake for 45 minutes to one hour, rotating pan half way through and give the fruit a stir. Strawberries are done when they become fragrant and a syrup has formed.
  8. Remove from oven and cool.
  9. Once dough has been refrigerated for an hour, remove and let sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes.
  10. On a lightly floured surface, roll each disk of dough out until it is about ¼" thick. Cut out dough with heart shape, or any other shape, cookie cutter. Cut out a total of 20 hearts for your pies.
  11. For each pie, place a heaping tablespoon of strawberries in the center of the heart.
  12. Combine the egg white with one tablespoon of water and then brush the edges of the pie crust topped with strawberry. Top with another heart shaped pie crust and seal, crimping with a fork around the edges.
  13. Repeat for the remaining heart shaped dough shapes.
  14. Once finished, cut a small air hole with a sharp knife in the center of each pie.
  15. Brush the tops with the remaining egg wash and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
  16. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until tops have browned and filling is bubbly.
  17. Let cool 5 minutes.
  18. Serve or store in an airtight container.

So this is the recipe straight from http://ahappyfooddance.com/roasted-strawberry-hand-pies/ meaning that I myself changed some things which will be noted below. 

Notes:
Ok so the whole "roasting the strawberries in the oven on a cookie sheet" thing? Why. That just sounds like a disaster seeing as though the sugar is bound to burn in the oven (and knowing me, I would end up setting off every fire alarm on the block.) So I just improvised and heated the strawberries in a pan. In explanation, I really just dumped everything in a pan, added a bunch of sugar (sorry I didn't measure) and hoped for the best. You will get some strawberry juice which you do not want exactly so what I did was just poured the juice in a cup and kept the berry chunks. 
Also, I totally forgot all about needing the eggwhites but it really didnt even matter in the end. 
And, this is just a guess, the crust would taste so much better if you used the Betty Crocker pie crust recipe (you can probably find it online if you're looking). 
You wont be able to fit many strawberries in the pies. Now, this may just be because my cutter was sort of small? But I dont really think it mattered all that much because looking at the recipe on the website, it didn't look like they added much either.
You also wont need a food processor, just saying. The dough will work just like a regular pie dough.  

Rating: 1/5 Reveiw:
Okay so as delicious as these things seem, it was all just lies. The dough was dry and kind of salty and there wasn't any room for the strawberries. When I tried adding more, the top half kept tearing. No one really liked them that tried them. You're probably better off just making mini pies. (Like mini tins and all that jazz) 

This is what they looked like on the site, these arent mine. Notice how theyrs all flat. There is no room for strawberries in these people. 
 This was from the first batch. They don't look very cute but I tried a different technique down below. 

Friday, March 20, 2015

Swedish Mocha Cake


Ingredients
  • 1 stick + 1 tbsp (125g) butter
  • ½ cup (50g) cocoa
  • 2 tsp instant espresso powder
  • 1¾ cup (300g) sugar
  • 1 cup (150g) plain flour
  • 3 eggs
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F, and grease and flour a 7 inch (18cm) cake tin.
  2. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over a low heat, and then stir in the remaining ingredients.
  3. Scrape the batter into the pan, and bake for 20-40 minutes, or until the edges are set, but the middle is still gooey. 
  4. Leave to cool for at least 30 minutes, before removing from the pan and serving with raspberries, and a dollop of creme fraiche.

Notes:
Well... I clearly did not wait the full 30 minutes for cooling... Oops..
I only got one picture too because as soon as i took all the chunks out of the pan, my dad was upon it. 
It tasted pretty alright though. This will deffinitely keep you up for a while. 
I had mind in the oven for 30 minutes by the way. 
Review: 3/5
Low key just make sure you let your cake cool longer than I did. I covered it in powdered sugar and called it a day. 



Sunday, March 1, 2015

Muffins.. That Taste like Donuts

Ingredients:
1 3/4 c (all purpose) flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/3 c vegetable (or canola oil)
3/4 c white granulated sugar
1 egg
3/4 c milk

Instructions:
Preheat to 350' F 
1. Combine dry ingredients in bowl. In a separate bowl, combine wet. 
2. Mix both together well and put into prepared muffin tins.
Bake for: 20-25 minutes
While muffins are getting baked, prepare the sugar topping.
Sugar topping ingredients:
1/4 c granulated sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 c butter (melted)
(Place melted butter in a separate bowl from the cinnamon sugar combo)
Dip still warm muffin tops in butter and then swirl into cinnamon sugar.

Notes:
The origianal recipe called for a whole melted stick of butter for some reason when i only used about 3 tbsp or something so keep that in mind before you melt an entire stick of butter.
(Insert Mean Girls quote here)
My muffins were done at 20 minutes just for reference. 
For the cinnamon sugar part, you can just use a couple shallow-ish bowls because it'll give you easier access when dipping.
Also, I used vegetable oil and not canola oil when making my muffins so I'm not sure what the canola oil would look like.
I used some pretty awesome cat themed cupcake wrappers too so that's pretty exciting. I wouldn't used the metal wrappers because they're not as nice looking.

Rating and Review: 4/5
They really do vaguely taste like donuts!
They're sort of like those donuts that you get at cider mills during the fall. 
So in other words, these could be enjoyed with some nice and hot apple cider or something. 

 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies


Makes 24-26 cookies

Ingredients:

3/4 cup salted butter, melted

1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed

1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup mashed ripe bananas
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp cornstarch
1 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix together butter, brown sugar, sugar, vanilla extract and mashed bananas until well combined.
3. Add the flour and cornstarch and mix until well combined.
4. Stir in chocolate chips. Dough will be thick and sticky.
5. Form cookies and put them on cookie sheets. Pat scoops down a bit to flatten them out a little. They wont spread out very much.
6. Bake for 13-16 minutes, until edges are lightly golden. It might look underbaked, but will continue cooking and firm up as it cools.
7. Remove from oven and let them cool.

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Notes:
I put them in for 16 minutes because they weren't quite dark enough on the bottom. 
I also only added 1 1/4 cup chocolate chips and there were still a whole bunch.
(I used 3 bananas to fill the cup if you needed to know)

Rating: 3/5
They had a weird sort of texture. It was kind of stiff? But that might have been because i baked them longer..
It tasted kind of like banana muffins (my lab rats agreed) 

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Spaghetti Carbonara



Ingredients:
1lb bacon chopped into 1" pieces
1lb spagetti
1 cup parmesan cheese shredded
6 tbsp sour cream
2 eggs beaten
Salt and pepper

Directions
1. Boil wated & cook the pasta. 
2.While pasta is cooking, cook the bacon.
3. Wisk eggs and parmesan. Set aside.
4. Once pasta is done, drain the water and add bacon, sour cream, parmesan, and eggs while quickly stirring so the eggs don't scramble. 
5. Season with salt and pepper.

Review: 4/5
One of my favorite meals. My lab rats really liked it and it was gone in a day. It's a really fast meal to make too and serves about five people. 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Chocolate Croissants

Ingredients:
Pastry dough (I used 2 packages)
2 boxes semi-sweet bakers chocolate
2 tbsp unsalted butter

Directions:
1. Notice each sheet is folded into thirds. Cut along this crease. 
2. Chop the bakers chocolate into small chunks.
3. Place some chocoalte an inch or so away from one end of the pastry dough, fold the short edge (or just until it covers all the chocolate) and pinch the sides so that the chocolate is closed inside. Then, continue to roll it. 
4. Once all of your croissants are formed, melt the butter and then drizzle some on each one.
5. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown. After you take them out, sprinkle powdered sugar and a small amount of the extra chocolate crumps on top. 

Notes:
I used Pepperage farm pastry dough (found in frozed section).
Sorry that I had forgotten to write down what the oven would be set to! I used the temperature from the recipe added on the back of the box, so I'm sure you'll be ok using that.
The timing may be a little bit iffy depending on your oven, so just make sure to be watching. 
They'll be ready when the tops are golden brown!  

Rating: 5/5
Improvision at its finest ladies and gentlemen. 
After a total disaster of the actual recipe I was going to use, I decided to just improvise and see how it went. (The other one used dough from scratch. Now, I'm not sure if it was me, the yeast, or both of us, but it was just not happening. Luckily, I had time to get to the store last weekend so I picked up the all mighty thing that is pre-made dough and saved the day!) 
Anyways, this recipe is a golden one and is highly reccomended. It looks beautiful without me having to tap into my inner Martha Stewart. 
It's really best served warm so the chocolate is nice and gooey but all around, no real complaints.