Fall Baking Backlog

12 Jan

Wow I’m lazy. But better late than never!!

Thanksgiving Pecan Pie

This Thanksgiving everyone decided I should bake something, so I chose the Keller classic – pecan pie. Every Keller gathering has one, and normally my aunt Mary buys a Goode Co pie in town, but now she lives in Austin, so the pie card was open. I snatched it up and made a pecan pie using Dorie’s Good for Almost Everything Pie Dough and Douglas’ Dark Rum Pecan Pie. I used whole wheat flour instead of white for the crust, because I think pecan pie can have a heartier taste than others. I also lightly toasted the pecans and tossed in maple extract in place of the rum, since I’m way too poor to buy rum just for a pie.

It was ok. I mean, it disappeared fastest, and was the only dessert to be completely gone at Thanksgiving, but I don’t like pie, so I can’t judge. I thought it would be sweeter, more like a praline (yes, this is the first time I have ever had pecan pie), but the crust was great, if not a little dry because of overbaking during the blind bake. I also should have greased the pie plate for easy lifting. Overall, I’ll keep the crust, but ditch the filling or modify it with more sugar or something more praliney – maybe even some sour cream!

Crumble Disasters

No photos for this one, kids, but I’ve decided that crumbles are not for me.

Exhibit A: Martha Stewart’s Chocolate-Cherry Crumb Bars
I made these when I went to Austin to hang out with my Cordon Bleu buddy Blake. It was really hard to judge the doneness because they are so dark, so they ended up a little dry. I also didn’t have any kirsch, but that’s optional. The chocolate part wasn’t very flavorful, and neither was the cherry part, but people ate it anyway.

Figure 2: Martha Stewart’s Apple-Cherry Crumble
I made this one night to take to hang out with the old HT crew, and it ended up like the great Lasagna Disaster of 2008. Everything was going well, it had baked up fine, and I was pulling it out of the oven to put in the window on my rack to cool, when suddenly the it slipped and fell into the sink. A small amount was salvageable, but it was mostly a lost cause. It wasn’t that great. Not sweet, the crumble part wasn’t very good or very crumbly, and I don’t think I would make it again. Sorry guys, don’t expect a crumble from me anytime soon.

Pfeffernusse

Jeremy was talking about a cookie sorta like this, and Amanda and Jonathan and I were having a German food night with goulash and sauerkraut, so we figured Pfeffernusse would be a good themed baking project. They are also a Martha Stewart recipe from her Cookies book, and were really easy to make. The secret ingredient – pepper!

They were really great. They tasted and smelled like walking into your parents house in the middle of the holidays when it’s cold outside, but nice and warm and festive and filled with love inside. They’re a spice cookie and have molasses and all that other stuff in them that gingerbread cookies have, minus the ginger. Nice and dense, tossed in powdered sugar, we all liked them and so didnt everyone at work. I will definitely be making these again!

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies

I love Terry and Isa’s books, everything I’ve tried out of them has been good so far. These were my first adventure with cookies from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cupboard. They are super easy to throw together, and have their own secret ingredient: cayenne pepper!

They were really good, nice and soft and chewy. Chocolatey and cinnamony, and the cayenne gave them a little tiny bit of heat going down the back of your throat – not something really noticeable, just a little something extra that boosted them above what I thought they would be. I’ll totally make these again, maybe as a sandwich cookie because they were so nice and soft! Give me some ideas of ice creams to put in between them!!

Snickerdoodles

I love my mommy. But she keeps her flour in the freezer and uses butter flavored Crisco. Splech. So I decided to break out of her old snickerdoodle recipe, which is very good, but was missing something. I tried the Martha Stewart Snickerdoodles recipe from her Cookies book. This recipe is actually different from the one listed on her website, even thought they use the same photo.

I replaced half the butter with plain Crisco, and it gave them the perfect texture – enough to be nice and fluffy but still have a tiny bit of spread. These were so good. They just had that…snickerdoodle flavor. And the nice fluffiness they always have. Definitely try this if you’re tired of your old snickerdoodle recipe.

Chunky Peanut, Chocolate, and Cinnamon Cookies

So can you tell I love my new book? Again, these are from Martha’s Cookies book, and again everyone loved them. I never thought of putting these three together, but now that I think about it, I think I’m gonna toss in some peanut butter, chocolate, and cinnamon into my oatmeal tomorrow for breakfast.

These were the slightest bit crunchy, because they have peanut butter in the dough, and I really liked that. All the flavors worked really well together, and while it’s good just by itself, these cookies are stellar when dipped in milk. It’s amazing. I’m renaming them the Milk Cookie. So if you wanna try these, just ask me for the Milk Cookies.

Skittle Cookies 1.0

My buddy Brett who I used to work with at Hot Topic is allergic to chocolate, peanuts, and bananas. What the heck am I supposed to bake for him that’s gonna taste good? He said he wanted Skittles cookies, and I was kind of weary at first. That didn’t sound like a good combo – Skittles inside a nice fluffy sugary cookie?

Well I was wrong – I used Mark Bittman’s chocolate chip cookie dough base and mixed in a small bag of skittles. What resulted was the beginning of a revolution. This is the most requested cookie I make. So much so that I’ve already run through three versions of it. TRY IT. You’ll be surprised. Ask for the Stoner Special.

Carrot Cake Cookies

These are from Martha’s Cookies book, and they are super yummy. Make them please? And if you like, add some frosting on top – cream cheese. I believe this recipe is also different than what’s listed on her site.

The dough tastes like eggnog before you add the oats, carrots, and raisins, so I was thinking of modifying that into an eggnog cookie. They are super chewy and delicious! And have 3 healthy things – oats, raisins, and carrots! Next time I think I’ll cut down on the butter though.

Birthday Cake Combo

My favorite birthday cake and icing combo is yellow cake with chocolate buttercream – we’d have that cake around the house all summer because of the birthdays, and it’s especially god refrigerated and eaten after you ride your bike home from the pool. Amanda and I made Martha’s Yellow Buttermilk Cupcakes and an AllRecipes chocolate frosting. 36 cupcakes!

The cake was so soft and delicate and the flavor was so subtle, it was amazing. I had never had a not-box yellow cake, and I really really liked it. In fact, the frosting was too sweet and chocolatey for the meek but delicious little cake. I’m still on the search for the perfect like-a-box-mix-but-homemade yellow cake recipe, so if you have any suggestions, send them this way. But these were good. Pair them with a not so intense frosting and you’ll have a winner.

Here’s what’s in store for next time: Two days of 8-hour Christmas baking, more vegan baked treats, frankensteined cupcakes, kittie cookies, and Thomas Keller VS Katie Keller.

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2 Responses to “Fall Baking Backlog”

  1. Ella January 13, 2010 at 1:47 am #

    COOOOOOOKIES. I’m a cookie zombie. I need cookies to survive. Not yucky brains. Blech.

    We should try adding peanut butter chips to our cookies!! Or do they make vanilla chips?? Haha. I don’t know 😉

  2. jim January 23, 2010 at 4:59 pm #

    Good information here. I enjoyed reading this and can’t wait for more. Keep up the good work.

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