Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Lemon Jammies

Baking cookies is something that everyone in my family enjoys.  Naturally, I'd really like to pass that love and tradition on to Sam.  As luck would have it, one of his projects for the month of April is to review how a cookbook is organized, and to bake something from it.  These Jammies have perfect timing!  So we set out to make enough for the entire 2nd grade class.  Rose suggests a 2 1/4" round cutter, but we opted for a 3/4" square cutter.  Sam thought we should try to be different.  That's my boy!

Lemon zest really adds a nice kick to this dough.

Using the food processor makes this dough a quick mix, and quite easy for a 7 yr. old.

Sam learned to count at a young age by baking and counting cups.  Sometimes it's hard to keep that pesky flour in the cup though!

Be forewarned, this dough is delicious.  We had a tough time not eating it!

It's important to chill the dough for best result with the cutter.

Using dostixs ensures the correct thickness and makes it much easier for the little bakers!

We had to work quickly to keep the dough from becoming too soft.

Sam loves chocolate, so he chose to make a chocolate butter cream for the class cookies.  I chose a blackberry jam.  Both tasted fantastic and received a thumbs up!

Sam's report back from his class is that they tasted delicious!!!  LOL, tell us something we don't already know.  ;)  So, these really are kid tested and approved.  Sam also said "That Rose really knows what she's doing."   Yes baby, she really does!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Luxury Oatmeal Cookies

"C" is for cookie, that's good enough for me." - Cookie Monster  :)

Exactly!  Cookie Monster, my hero.  I too could eat cookies every day...but that would completely negate the two days a week I exercise.  Sigh... Cookies versus properly fitting clothes and health...

Decisions, decisions.....

Life's all about balance, right?  One dessert a week from the Baking Bible and two days of exercise.  Win, win.  Thumbs up! (I tried the emoticon, but it just gives question marks, hmmm).

I got super excited when I read the weekly list of recipes and it said "luxury" oatmeal cookies.  Ooh, I love oatmeal raisin cookies and the more oatmeal, the better.  What's even more special about Rose's recipe is that it has you make granola with maple syrup first.  

The granola was pretty easy, but it did take longer to cook than the recipe stated.  A few other bakers had the same issue, but I don't think it affects the final cookie. (Keep in mind, I'm baking in a toaster oven right now, so that could be a factor too).

It tastes awesome!!  Be careful, you may want to skip the cookies all together once you taste this granola.  Love it!

Now, here's where things went a little cattywampus for me...The recipe says mix raisins and chocolate with the granola.  What???  Chocolate in my oatmeal...not a fan.

But, I'm trying not to veer from the recipes so I trusted Rose and put it the raisins, I only placed them in half the recipe as my raisin hating family will not eat anything with raisins, even if I offer to  bribe them with chocolate shakes! (BTW, that's our 7 year olds favvvvorite drink)

Mixing the dough and granola is easy peasy.  Rose recommends pressing the cookie dough balls down before placing in the oven, but I prefer thick chunky cookies.  I tried it once, but the cookies looked too flat, so I skipped that step with the rest.

Even baking in a toaster oven, the cookies bake up very fast.  Keep an eye on them!

So....the final result.  Good cookies.  My personal preference would be without chocolate, but raisins and cranberries instead.  My family was 50/50 on them.  The 7 year old wouldn't even try them.  He said oatmeal sounded gross and not good for a cookie!    

I will definitely make these again, but sans chocolate.  Now the granola, I could eat that alone with yogurt.  Rose did good.  Maybe the recipe should be called "Luxury Granola."  ;)

Now, the kitchen remodel. No new pictures this week, but counters come in a week, appliances in two weeks.  Shelves are being installed in my new walk-in pantry tomorrow.  So excited to have custom shelves.  Also looking for rolling pin holders for the wall...thank goodness for Google.

As always, we can't include the recipes, but you can run out and buy the Baking Bible.  The granola alone is worth it!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Sour Cherry Pie

I've said a million times that I love baking, and these past eight weeks have challenged that love.  Extreme baking is what I have been doing and I must confess, this kitchen remodel is wearing me down!  Some people have asked why in the world I would continue to bake during this crazy time, but the answer is quite easy.  Baking is a total stress reliever for me.  I'd probably have 20 dozen cookies sitting in my makeshift kitchen right now, if I had more than a toaster oven to bake in....

When I saw that we were baking a cherry pie this week, my first thought was about the time I was a judge for the National Pie Championship in Orlando, Fl.  I requested the apple pie table, guessed it, I got cherry pie.  3 hours later and 30 some pies tasted, I was now an expert (with an upset stomach).  I swore I would never eat cherry pie again, and I haven't until now.

How could I resist trying Rose's favorite pie.  The pie dough and filling are quite straightforward for those who have a fully functioning kitchen.  I had a difficult time finding sour cherries and after 4 grocery stores, I settled for frozen dark sweet cherries.  My biggest challenge was figuring out how in the world I'm going to bake a pie in such a small toaster oven.

Since I don't have a functioning kitchen, just rolling out the dough presented challenges.  My rolling pins, yes plural, are hanging around in some cardboard box and totally MIA.  So, I've been improvising.  I'm certain when the Klean Kanteen folks were designing water bottles and planning to save the earth from plastic, they never imagined them being used as a rolling pin. ;) BTW, it's best to place parchment on top of the dough when rolling so as to avoid the sticky mess you see below.

Rose provided two options for the pie filling.  Of course I chose the one that requires a stove top.  So how in the world am I going to pull this off?  On top of that, I opened the cornstarch can and....this is what I found....certainly not enough for even the half recipe I planned to make.

Believe it or not, I found an induction burner at Target.  This baby works great!  Water boils in just minutes.  Rose recommends melting the sugar in the juices before adding the cherries, but I was a little frazzled and put everything in the pan and then read the directions...It seemed to work out, but I will definitely follow Rose's directions next time.  Unfortunately, I was making this late at night and just had to use what little cornstarch I had with fingers crossed... 

After properly cooling the filling, just pour it in the pie shell (I used a 5 inch pot pie pan) and begin the process of making a lattice.  

Place in the oven...or toaster oven... The bake time was only about 22 minutes and I didn't need to cover the crust as recommended for the larger pie.

The juice ended up being slightly thinner than it should have been, but I honestly lacked the energy to run to the store for more at 10 pm. I also couldn't bear the thought of washing one more dish, so I chose to plate this delicious pie on one of the thousand paper plates we've added to the local landfill.

Despite all the whining and challenges, I cannot say enough good things about this pie.  The cream cheese crust is a total delight and the filling is phenomenal.  I sure am glad I broke my 10 year cherry pie strike!

As always, we're not allowed to share recipes, but you can purchase the Baking Bible and make this delicious pie.  

So, here's an updated picture of the kitchen.  The cabinets and tile are we're waiting for counter tops, appliances, and a back splash.  It's finally starting to look like our dream kitchen.  :)

Friday, March 6, 2015


What a tough week this has been.  It's week 5 of kitchen construction and no oven!!  Thank goodness for good friends with ovens.  I use their oven and in return, they receive wonderful desserts to sample.  Seems like a fair trade.  ;)

This week did not disappoint!  A delicate pate sucree and poppy seed. I love poppy seed!

I've made a number of Pate Sucree recipes over the years, and this is by far the best I've eaten.  It's delicate, not overly sweet, easy to work with and tastes wonderful.

Have I sold you on it yet?  ;)  LOL

Making the dough was very straightforward and quick in the food processor.  You mix it just till it's crumbly and then place it in a plastic bag to further work the dough into a ball.  I am starting to believe that Rose has stock in plastic wrap and bags.  :)

I wish my pictures were better, but I mixed the dough at home in my makeshift kitchen, which consists of a microwave, toaster oven and one induction burner in what used to be our office.  Chill the dough, roll and cut out with at least a 3" round cutter.

Before shaping and filling, do not skip the Egg Glaze step.  During the Christmas holidays I made this recipe and just tried to use another egg and cream mixture I was working with.  It did not work!  Each cookie melted away and totally opened up.  Using the correct "glue" is important.

A poppy seed/apricot lekvar filling is recommended, which I followed....well, partially.  Rather than make my own poppyseed filling (Rose provides the recipe), I chose to use ready made can of poppy seed.  It's probably shameful, but I really like that filling.  Both my Grandmother and Mother have used it for years.  I had some leftover Lekvar so I used it as a separate filling.  Combining the two together just didn't appeal to me.

I also experimented with a few other filings, blackberry, raspberry, and chocolate, which were a hit, but like the Christmas cookies, they opened up and baked flat.  :(

I'm not sure why these opened and the others did not.  All were "glued" with the egg glaze and chilled for the same amount of time.  Perhaps the fruit added more liquid to the dough....I'm going to try again with the three above because they tasted absolutely delicious and I'm determined to have them look as great as they tasted!

As always, we're not allowed to share the recipes, but you can certainly run out and buy it.  
And Rose just let us know that it's been nominated for the IACP award!

Here's the latest picture of our kitchen.  Cabinet install begins tomorrow!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Lemon Posset Shortcakes

What fun I had with this cake!  So light and beautiful.  I admit I had no idea what a "posset" was until reading the Baking Bible.  According to Rose, the word "posset" comes from medieval times and refers to the small pot in which the dessert is presented.  Well, I wavered from the posset path and seized the opportunity to use one of my many unused pans stashed in the cabinet for that "perfect moment."  It was perfect because it provided the perfect well for the Lemon Posset, but can I really call it a posset since the pan was a full size cake pan??

Reading through the recipe, it can seem pretty intimidating because of the million steps involved.  Cake Batter, Lemon Syrup, Apple Glaze, Lemon Posset.....check, check, and double check!  I swear I read this recipe about 5 times before I even started measuring one thing.  I finally threw caution to the wind and dove in.

Making the batter was pretty straightforward.  The only thing that threw me for a loop was the Wondra flour.  I have about a dozen different flours, but Wondra isn't one of them.   Once again Rose came to the rescue and provided an alternative that I did have!  The recipe also called for clarified brown butter, which Rose also provides very detailed instructions for.  
To accommodate the much larger pan, I doubled each of the recipes.  Trust me, you'll be happy you did when you get a taste of the Lemon Posset.  Absolutely divine!!

 Straining the clarified butter

Making the lemon posset

Assembling everything was pretty easy.  The recipe calls for apple jelly to make the glaze.  But...  if you don't have that, I would recommend apricot.   In pastry school, apricot was the go to jelly for anything requiring a glaze.

It's important to de-pan the cake quickly after baking.  This will help to prevent the cake from collapsing.

I cannot say enough about how good this lemon posset tastes!!  The possibilities of where this could be used are endless.  You'll be sorry if you don't make it....;)

To garnish, I just used a small amount of lemon zest.

As always, we're not allowed to share the recipes on here, so you'll need to run out and buy your own copy of the Baking Bible.  The posset recipe alone is reason enough!