Saturday, January 26, 2013

Guest Baker

Up until recently, I didn't have a camera or good mobile phone to take pictures of baking and other blog-worthy items. I tried to get others to take and send me pictures but that didn't always work. Case in point: Thanksgiving 2012.  I baked red velvet cupcakes and dinner rolls this past holiday and thought someone snapped some pics but the supposed photog could not be found.  So as a special treat, I'm posting the gorgeous pictures of the pecan pie and chocolate cake my sister made for her Thanksgiving celebration.  

Apparently they tasted as good as they look. I forgot to ask her which recipe she used for the pie, but I'm pretty sure the cake is "Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Cake and Frosting, which I usually make as cupcakes.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Strange Currency

When I first started playing Words with Friends, I looked up a list of possible words containing the letter Q but not U. I use the popular QI and QAT relatively often, but there are others I've yet to play in a game. SHEQEL had been one of those words until the other day when I played it against a worthy opponent.   

Actually, I played SHEQEL once before but it was in a game against myself so it doesn't really count.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

French Bread

I've been meaning to expand my baking experience to include savory items and yeasted products in particular. I'm not against sweet yeasted doughs, but I'll get to those later. My first foray into artisan bread-baking were two loaves of French bread I made for Christmas Eve dinner. I followed the recipe from my Kitchen-Aid mixer.

Formed (after some confusing directions about rolling and rolling) and rising.

Doubled and ready for baking.

 I forgot to take pictures of the loaves once they got out of the oven, but here's 
how one looked after it was sliced.

One loaf was made into garlic bread. Perfect with lasagna!

Saturday, January 05, 2013

How To: Cut-Out Cookies

I'm often complimented on how pretty, unbroken and perfect my cut-out cookies look (see previous post for an example.) I decided to document the process the last time I made them, which was at my 6th annual cookie party in December. I'm sure other people do it this way, but this is one tip I learned on my own.

 First roll out the dough on a Silpat, other baking mat or parchment paper.

Second use various cookie cutters to make fun-shaped cookies. Make sure you leave a little room between the shapes.

Third do not move the shaped cookies! Leave the cookies in place and remove the excess dough.

Slide the mat or parchment paper onto a cookie sheet and bake as directed. As soon as you take them out of the oven, slide the entire mat or parchment paper off of the cookie sheet and place on a cooling rack. Wait for the cookies to cool before removing them from the mat or parchment paper. They should retain their shape and be ready to frost to make them even prettier!

I try not to do the last part of the process if I can help it. In fact, Cookie Party started because I love to bake but hate to frost cookies! Other people seem to like it (or at least feign liking it) and show up to frost cookies every year. And every year I am thankful that they do.