Saturday, August 27, 2011

August 2011 Daring Baker Challenge - Candylicious!

August 2011 Daring Baker Challenge

Oy.... This was definitely the wrong time of year to try and temper chocolate. Everyday that I got the chance to try, it was hotter in my kitchen than the temperature I was supposed to get the chocolate down to. I have no idea how anybody without air conditioning did it, because I sure didn't.
I will definatly be trying this for Christmas though. and I would also like to thank not only the hosts of the challenge, but all my fellow daring bakers, for the inspiration, and great lessons this month. Very inspiring.

This month has been a little crazy, and today is no exception, so I am going to slap this post together. If I don't write it now, it will not get done...
I also had a complete camera fail while I was trying to get pictures of my failed chocolate experiences.... so I repeat... Oy

Blog-checking lines:

The August 2011 Daring Bakers’ Challenge was hosted by Lisa of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drive and Mandy of What the Fruitcake?!. These two sugar mavens challenged us to make sinfully delicious candies! This was a special challenge for the Daring Bakers because the good folks at offered an amazing prize for the winner of the most creative and delicious candy!

Okay, so the chocolate portion of my challenge was a failure... except that I had an excuse to eat a lot of chocolate.
But the second part... AMAZING. and I will be making it again and again... and it doesn't matter how hot your kitchen is, it will still turn out.

SPONGE TOFFEE!... I used the recipe from Wilde in the Kitchen... It was incredible... Still not quite like a crunchie bar, but the closest that I have ever tasted.

I attempted to make Chocolate covered cherries... but the whole chocolate part experience I talked about... left me with cherry brandy and some drunk cherries... and the will to try this again when the weather gets cooler, and my kitchen isn't 40degrees.

I'm sorry, this is all the time I have... I will try and find the time to come back and edit this like a proper blog post, but I can't promise anything. Hopefully things will calm down again soon!
Even if i failed this challenge, i still consider it a Win just because of the sponge toffee.... I'll share the whole sponge toffee experience when i get a chance too.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

updates... and a Sourdough bread recipe comming soon!

I promise I've been busy in the kitchen.... I just haven't been busy taking pictures. My crappy camera's lens is being super high maintenance and doesn't want to open half the time, so I gave up on it. Sorry, can't get a new one for a while, so I'll try and make due with my phone's camera, and the few times I can bother tinkering with the lens

I started a Sourdough starter last week, and every day I enthusiastically stirred and fed it, and This morning (my only day off for 2 weeks), I finally got to bake my homemade Sourdough...from Scratch.



I seriously wish I could bake that bread every time we ran out of bread. It is the best loaf of bread I have ever baked... EVER

I got a few pictures before my camera told me the freshly charged batteries in it were dead (lies... they are working just fine in my cordless mouse now)
I'll write an actual post about the bread and share the recipe with you as soon as I get a few moments to actually look at the pictures.

The bread was seriously worth all the effort put into it.... Serious... I ate half the loaf today by my self, and had to stop myself so there would be enough left for the Boyfriend when he got home from work.

I also made corned beef with fresh green beans, steamed cabbage, and some boiled potatoes... Delish. One of my favourite meals that my mom always made, whenever she found Corned Beef on sale... I understand why it is so expensive, because it is soooooooooooooo good. I'm slightly tempted to go stock up while it is on sale here.

Mostly though, we are both to tired after work to cook, so we end up getting rotisserie chickens from the grocery store... or ordering pizza.
Although, on my last weekend, I roasted 2 chickens... one with a lemon shoved into its "cavity" and some fresh sage from my garden... and the next day, I roasted the one that I soaked in brine for 24 hours... Both were delicious.

I will be back with an actual recipe again soon... pinkie swear.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Strawberry Infused Vodka

I have been meaning to post about this for a really long time... I just keep forgetting to take pictures of the finished product.

It is another Recipe too.

Strawberry Infused Vodka

It is genius.
You take fresh strawberries, a clean jar and vodka, and mix them all together. Then you let the Vodka have its way with the Strawberries for about 4 days. Then strain everything through a coffee filter.

The Vodka kind of sucks the souls of the strawberries out. All the strawberry essence gets captured by the vodka, and the berries end up looking like zombie berries that will get you wasted! (but not in a nice way, they just kind of taste like straight vodka)

Seriously delish!

I've had trouble actually getting pictures of the drinks I have made with this, because I end up drinking them before I remember to take a picture. But my mom won this Ice-shot glass kit, and gave it to me, so I made Ice shoot glasses just to take pictures of this Vodka in.

SOOOOOO YUMMY. But the glasses melted so fast, that it was hard to really take my time to get some good shots.

THANKS Again Tracy for another awesome Recipe!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Shutterbean's Cinnamon Buns

I saw that Tracy at made these Cream Cheese Cinnamon Rolls, and I HAD to make them as soon as I saw. Literally went to the grocery store right after reading her post, just so I could make these Cinnamon buns. Seriously.

And Seriously worth it!

The secret is the Cream Cheese... rolled into the dough, makes it light and layer-y and soooooo YUMMY. I'm even writing this recipe into my hand written recipe book as "Shutterbean's Cinnamon Buns" (Dear Tracy, you are awesome and your blog inspires me every time I read it.. Thanks)

So Mine are not as pretty as Tracy's but they totally tasted amazing! Beware when you are rolling the dough out once you've done the cream cheese step though... I made a HUGE mess... (lots of extra flour sprinklings saved the day though) I think I might have been a little too cream-cheese-happy though.

For the recipe, head over to tracy's blog (link at the top). Or just scroll down, I'm going to copy and paste it, but PLEASE go check her out, she is funny, and her photos are amazing. I have a blogger crush on her I think.

Cream cheese smoothed out on rolled out dough

Folded up and ready to roll again

They were messy, (but yummy... just clean your counter ASAP... trust me)

Covered in plastic wrap, ready to rise again. ( I should've made 9 instead of 8... they would've fit in my pan better)



For the Dough:

  • 1 1/4-oz. package active dry yeast
  • 1/2 tsp. plus 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk, at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp. light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 3/4 cups flour, sifted, plus more for kneading
  • 3/4 tsp. fine salt
  • 8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pan

For the Filling:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. fine salt
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
  • 2 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 8 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

For the Icing:

  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk

Make the dough: In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a hook, combine yeast, 1/2 tsp. of the sugar, and 1/4 cup water heated to 115°. Stir to combine and let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes. Add remaining sugar, milk, light brown sugar, vanilla, egg, and egg yolk. Beat on low speed until thoroughly combined, 1 minute. Turn mixer off and add the flour and salt. Mix on medium speed until the dough just comes together. Turn mixer speed to high and knead dough for 4 minutes. Add the butter and continue kneading until dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, about 6 minutes. Remove bowl from the mixer, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside in a warm place. Let the dough rise for 1 1/2–2 hours, until it has doubled in size.

Meanwhile, make the filling: Combine the sugar, cinnamon, salt, and cloves in a large bowl; stir to combine. Stir in the maple syrup. Set filling aside.

Punch the dough down and turn it out onto a heavily floured surface. Gently knead the dough until it's no longer sticky, adding more flour as necessary, about 1 minute. Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough into a 10" x 10" square. In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese with a rubber spatula until it's smooth and spreadable. Spread the cream cheese evenly over the dough square; then fold square into thirds as you would fold a letter to fit it into an envelope. Take the open ends of the resulting rectangle and fold into thirds again, to make a smaller dough square. Invert the dough so that the seam is face down and, using the rolling pin, gently roll into a 10" x 20" rectangle.

Turn the dough so that the short sides are parallel to you. Brush the top of the dough with half of the melted butter. Drizzle the reserved filling over the dough, leaving a 1" border at the edge farthest away from you. Lightly press the filling into the dough. Using your hands, lift up the bottom edge of the dough and roll it forward into a tight cylinder. Place dough cylinder, seam side down, on a cutting board and, using a thin, sharp knife, trim off the ends; cut cylinder crosswise into 8 equal-size slices. Nestle the slices, cut sides up and evenly spaced from one another, into a buttered 9" x 13" light-coloured metal baking pan. Cover pan with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place to let rise for 2 hours. (Alternatively, the rolls may be refrigerated overnight.)

Heat oven to 375°. Uncover the rolls. (If refrigerated, let them sit at room temperature for 15 minutes.) Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the rolls comes out clean, about 30 minutes.

Make the icing: While the rolls are baking, whisk together the sugar and buttermilk in a small bowl until smooth.

Transfer the pan of cinnamon rolls to a cooling rack; brush with remaining melted butter. Let cool for 5 minutes. Dip the tines of a fork into the icing and drizzle all over the rolls. Serve immediately.


I added in raisins and cut up apple, Just to make them a little more different from the cinnamon buns I usually make
My dough was a little moist in the beginning, so I added about 1/4 cup of Coconut flour to help thicken everything up... worked perfectly. Maybe the difference in Altitude? This has happened to me before, and my mom always blames the Altitude here.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Baked Eggs

Today, was the first day I have really felt like being in my kitchen for over a month now. Grocery shopping this morning was actually fun, and didn't feel like a chore. It's hard finding a balance with working all the time, catching up on sleep, spending time with the Boyfriend (just because we sleep in the same bed, doesn't mean we get to spend a lot of time together), and finding time to do some hobbies... I miss being a kid.

So today, I got to sleep in... Except that I didn't actually get to. The dogs got me up at 7 (woo, an extra 30 minutes of sleep) to go outside, and then I couldn't really fall back asleep, so I came online and checked email, facebook, and some blogs.

Tracy over at posted this amazing Cinnamon roll recipe. Which my taste buds decided I NEEDED to make today... (and I did, I'll write that post up as soon as I can).

And then I found a recipe for Baked Eggs somewhere... I forgot to bookmark it, or write it down (printer is out of ink, so I penned it out instead)

So guess what we had for supper tonight. Delicious Baked Eggs!

Seriously, you should make these, they are yummy, and very filling... and have lots of veggies, if you are so inclined.

For 2 people you will need:

2 baking dishes (I Bought little square ones at Superstore for $5 each)
Spinach (you can pre-cook it, and squeeze out excess liquid, or just use it fresh like I did)
Heavy Cream
Bacon (cooked, drained and cut into pieces - whatever size you want)
Bell pepper, (cut into stripes, or small cubes)
Tomato (cut into wedges)
Cheese (I used the Italian shredded mix that has mozzarella, provolone, Emmental and parmesan)
salt and pepper to taste
and of course, 4 eggs

Spray your baking dishes with cooking oil (or butter them)
Make sure your oven is preheated to about 350F
Line the bottom of the dish with spinach, I ripped mine apart with my hands, to make it easier to eat.
Add in some mushrooms and the bacon.
Crack 2 eggs into each dish
Arrange bell pepper and tomato around the eggs
Pour in about 1TBSP cream into each dish
sprinkle with salt and pepper, if so desired.
Stick in the oven until the whites of the eggs are starting to set (5 minutes? you'll have to watch them)
Open the oven and sprinkle the cheese on top (as much or as little as you like)
Turn the oven to broil, to get the cheese bubbly on top.
Remove before your cheese burns, but after the eggs are cooked.
Serve with Toast (if you want)

Prepare to be full!

*I tested this recipe for my own lunch, and undercooked the eggs the first time around... and burnt my cheese top, so make sure you keep an eye on it while it is in the oven... Just pretend you are a kid again, and those are your mom's cookies baking in there.*