Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Yes, I have been an absent delinquent. Many apologies. Unfortunately, crazy summer school and many jobs left me no time for baking in June, but now it's almost July and I'm back! For my grand reappearance, I chose to make the zebra cookies from Kosher By Design Short on Time. These cookies are really easy to make, and I also love how they look. However, they're a little too chocolately for me, so I don't know if I would make them again.
A couple of things. First, the recipe calls for them being made huge-- it says to roll them out bigger than golf balls. I made them considerably smaller and they still grew a lot in the oven. Also, you have to coat the cookies very heavily in the confectioners sugar, otherwise they absorb the sugar while they cook. Enjoy!
GIANT ZEBRA FUDGE COOKIES
1/2 cup canola OR vegetable oil
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup good-quality Dutch process cocoa powder (such as Droste brand)
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons baking powder
Line 2 large cookie sheets or jelly-roll pans with parchment paper. Set aside. In bowl of an electric stand mixer, mix oil, granulated sugar, flour, cocoa powder, eggs, vanilla and baking powder, until a soft dough forms. Roll dough into 18 balls slightly larger than golf balls.
Fill a small bowl with powdered sugar and stir with a fork to break up any clumps. Place balls, one at a time, in bowl of powdered and toss to coat heavily and completely. Transfer to prepared pans. Leave room between dough balls, as the cookies spread during baking.
Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven 18 minutes. If you like, you can make smaller cookies; form walnut-sized balls and bake 12 minutes. Cool completely.
Makes 18 large cookies
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Sunday, June 13, 2010
Monday, June 7, 2010
I never thought I would be one of those moms who says things like, "My baby is growing up" and "it goes by so fast." That was before my baby turned 2. 2 is old. It is like an actual person, and not just a baby. Being two, he now has many, MANY opinions. When I asked him what kind of cake he would like for his birthday, he immediately said Elmo. He has not stopped talking about the Elmo cake for months. He is a huge fan of Elmo (mostly from books though) and could not wait for this cake.
I found this Elmo pan by Wilton, which had all the instructions for how to decorate it. I had every intention of piping the fur and then...our AC broke and it was 110 degrees outside. Try working with buttercream in that kind of heat and you will see that spreading it on and throwing it in the fridge is all you can hope to do. When I put some in a piping bag, it melted from the heat of my hand.
This is my first attempt at any major decoration and I am really happy with how it turned out. When my son saw it, he got super excited and kept saying "Elmo cake, Elmo cake" over and over again. That is success in my book. Time really does go by fast. Two years ago, he was just born, one year ago he had never eaten cake before and now he has opinions on what kind of cake to have! There, I said it. I am one of those moms.
One birthday party was obviously not enough (said with a hint of sarcasm). He also had one with my parents and one at school, as well as one at synagogue. For the party at school, I baked cupcakes and tinted the frosting orange (per my child's request) and then I found sugar Elmos to put on top. The kids really enjoyed them and I think they look pretty cute.
Sunday, June 6, 2010
I decided to go with a simple, Dorie-tested recipe that I've made a million times before; plus, I added M&Ms just for the hell of it. They're not the greatest brownies I've ever tasted but they're easy and reliable and they were just what I needed on a day like today. As I've mentioned before, I'm a stress baker, and not because I become a stress eater as soon as the goods come out of the oven. For me, it's always been about the sheer mechanical repetitiveness of it. If you melt this much chocolate with this much butter, if you measure out this much baking soda and add it to this much flour, if you put it all together and apply this much heat, this miraculous alchemical process will occur and in the end you'll have something totally amazing and new. If you just follow the instructions mindlessly, you won't go wrong. It's the exact opposite of the breadth and unpredictability and adrenaline and mental exhaustion of an exam, and thus it's an antidote. I don't think I'll ever become a really unique, creative or ambitious baker, because for me the pleasure in baking is knowing what will happen at the end, no surprises. Maybe I'll make something totally decadent and crazy after exams are over but for now it's got to be a simple brownie recipe.
I wish I could end this with some pat statement like "Suddenly, as I put the brownie in my mouth, things didn't seem so bad." The truth is, the second half of the day was just as crappy as the first half. I went to the supermarket to buy some ingredients for a fish dinner and somehow forgot the fish, and so had to go back again in the rain. When I got back the door scraped across my ankle and sliced it open, and it's been turning Band-Aids (or as they call them here, plasters) red ever since. I'm incapable of getting my practice essays up to the length they should be within the allotted hour. Plus, the brownie pan was too big so I had cut its volume in half with a folded piece of aluminum foil, and I'm pretty sure I ended up eating some aluminum foil by accident. But I know now that if I need a break, there are brownies downstairs. And that's something.
Classic Brownies - adapted from Dorie Greenspan
5 tbs. unsalted butter, cut into pieces
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
¾ cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp salt
1/3 cup all purpose flour
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line an 8” square pan with foil and either butter the foil or spray it with nonstick spray.
In a medium sized saucepan, over very low heat, combine the butter and chocolates. Stir until just melted and smooth, then remove from the heat. Stir in the sugar, then whisk in the eggs, one at a time. Add the vanilla, and gently stir in the salt and flour just until incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a tester just about comes clean. Be very careful not to overbake. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely, then use the foil to remove the brownies from the pan and cut into squares.
Yield – 16 brownies.