Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I Like Throwing Shit in a Bowl!

Taylor named this post, and I let him do so because he was kind enough to assist me in this kitchen-based endeavor :D My Japanese teacher asked me to bake for a going away party we're having tomorrow for our student teacher and, of course, I was all too happy too oblige. Although I had settled on a delicious looking classic yellow layer cake with chocolate buttercream frosting (sounds good right?) I decided cookies would be easier and cleaner to pass out amongst classmates and opted for another intriguing recipe.

I once had a caramel apple from the Rocky Mountain Candy Co in Edinburgh called a "Kitchen Sink Caramel Apple." It was a huge granny smith dipped in caramel and then rolled in various toppings: m&ms, chocolate chips, graham cracker crumbs, and nuts, and then drizzled with three different types of chocolate. Orgasmic. The basic idea of things titled "Kitchen Sink" is that they include everything you have lying around or, everything but the kitchen sink. This was a concept I fell in love with because Taylor is all too right, I do love throwing a bunch of shit in a bowl! So I found a recipe called Kitchen Sink Cookies in that fabulous cookbook he gave me for Christmas and figured they'd be delicious. I haven't had one yet, but I'm pretty sure I'm right :).

Kitchen Sink Cookies

Now Taylor's going to talk to you, since he was an integral part of this baking process! Hello! This is Taylor. I am a boy so Molly makes me do all the manly things involved in cooking like stirring, lifting heavy things, and providing moral support when things get too difficult and she starts to cry. Anyway! This recipe was particularly intriguing for a variety of reasons. The first reason being that it contained a LOT of oats. Last I checked, oats were the favorite food of horses, not people. Oh well, Molly has a tendency to eat lots of things popular amongst the lower echelons of the animal kingdom. Like flax seeds. I don't even know what those are! With that aside, I will continue my discussion of why this was a rather interesting recipe: Molly made way too many cookies. Remember that post from a while back when she made muffins and filled that bowl all the way up with batter? Yeah, that happened again, only this time there were oats and rice krispies everywhere. It was borderline horrifying, but we survived. Stirring that bowl was a super pain in the ass though. My arms hurt, but I don't care because I am MANLY! After my duties were completed I proceeded to sit around and do nothing while Molly scooped and baked the cookies nine at a time. Nearly seventeen hours later I estimate that she baked roughly fourteen thousand cookies. Good thing one of my other manly duties is eating more food than should normally be feasible. So the cookies are out of the oven and smelling delicious as most of the things Molly makes do. Except when she uses lentils. Or chick peas. Those smell like feet and burnt cats, respectively. So that's that! We made some kick-ass sink-shit cookies which smell pretty awesome and are composed primarily of chocolate and horse snacks. Until next time, au revoir blog readers.

Taylor (And Molly!)

Kitchen Sink Cookies
This picture doesn't even include the bag Taylor took home!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Make, Bake, and Break!

So I wanted to leave the house early tomorrow morning. In her rant about how ridiculous it was for me to be getting out of bed my mother made the mistake of saying I could leaving after making my father breakfast. Hmmm.... Really.

I think my mother assumed my dad had to be awake for me to make him breakfast, which is not the case at all! Screw eggs, bacon, pancakes, french toast, waffles, or whatnot! Muffins, breakfast breads, coffee cakes and one of my dad's favorites, scones, are all super make ahead breakfasts. So it is now 1:30 in the morning and I just finished preparing cranberry and pecan scones. All I have to do is pop them in the oven for about 15 minutes in the morning and they will be ready to eat without me even being here!

Cranberry&Pecan Scones

Cranberry&Pecan Scones

Admittedly, there's no way I'd get away with sneaking out of here as early as I'd like, but this at least will put me a bit ahead! It's too easy to outsmart my mother... can't wait to see how they turn out in the morning and, more importantly, her face when she realizes she's raised a smart ass. Actually, more like is reminded she raised a smart ass.

*When making scones always make sure your butter is SUPER COLD. Unlike frostings, cake batters, and bar batters, you want the butter in scone dough to form small chuncks (aim for about the size of peas). When the butter pieces melt in the oven they release air that forms little pockets in the pastries, this causes the flakiness that makes them so delicious. Room temperature or melted butter with taking the puff out of your breakfast scones, making them more cake like than the true product is meant to be.

**The recipe I used actually was for blueberry blackberry scones, but I didn't have the berries on hand so I just used what was in the cupboard. For most scone, cookie, and muffin recipes, add-ins can be traded for other add-ins according to your tastes or available supplies. Consider things like dried fruits, baking chips, and nuts interchangeable and have fun experimenting with different combinations of flavors!



These are pictures that I took earlier this morning of the finished scones (seeing as it's now Sunday) which turned out absolutely delicious. They browned wonderfully on the outside but were still soft in the middle, perfect breakfast material. That's my dad enjoying one, he was a pretty happy camper. By the way, the scone plan got me out of the house a whole 90 minutes prior to my previously dictated departure time!

Happy Baking!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Getting Rid of My Muffin Top

I have had a revelation and I'd like to share it with the world. Muffin tops really aren't attractive. And I don't mean the ones hanging over the majority of American jeans. Muffins are good, but messy and honestly, more trouble than they're worth. It's nearly impossible to get batter in those little cupcake wrappers without splattering it all over the pan and you know what else? The whole thing is the edge!

Have you seen the brownie pan someone invented so that the whole thing is an "edge?" Who in their right might would ever choose to eat the edge of a brownie, let alone make a whole batch of brownies that contain multiple edges, is a fool in my book. I like sweets (brownies, cookies, cake, pie, you name it) soft, dense and chewy. And that is not what a muffin is.

As I've mentioned before, Taylor gave me a wonderful baking book for Christmas that I absolutely adore. I whipped it out the other day to make a tried and true batch of blueberry muffins that are absolutely delicious and, when reading the side notes, was given a suggestion that I think I will take from now on. Instead of baking my muffin batter in muffin tins, I roughly doubled the baking time and poured it all into loaf pans. That's right! No more blueberry muffins, but instead deliciously dense, moist, blueberry muffin bread! It's SO GOOD. It's like taking the concept of banana bread and making it ANY KING OF BREAD. Why did it take so long?

What might be more amusing than my new tactics, however, is the brief lapse in intelligence that I experienced while making these lovely loafs. I decided to double a recipe that I really just didn't have any business doubling.

Blueberry Bread Batter

Yes, that's how deep my biggest mixing bowl is. And this is how far I ended up filling it...

Blueberry Bread Batter

Not my brightest moment... I attracted the attention of both my parents, who I tried to hide the batter from as I added ingredients and volume. Inevitably, my mother noticed my blueberry muffin batter, slowly developing an impressive resemblance to the Blob of the old horror films, and was so engrossed she insisted on taking a picture of me trying desperately to stir it. It is not easy to mix lots of batter in a less than accommodating bowl.

Me Stirring Blueberry Batter

I managed though, and ended up with roughly 24 delicious muffins (yes, I did resort to baking some in the tins) and three well sized loafs of blueberry muffin bread. I gave a little away, but our family easily polished off the goods within a mere days, I'd say it was a success.