24 Jun

Grain of Truth Book Review

Grain of Truth

I was recently sent a copy of Grain of Truth: The Real Case For and Against Wheat and Gluten by Stephen Yafa by the publisher. It’s probably because I love bread, I think gluten is fascinating, I make my own sourdough, and I am skeptical about people touting gluten as being worse for you than poison (or whatever it is those Grain Brain and Wheat Belly folks are claiming).

Grain of Truth

The subtitle is a bit misleading because the book definitely trends to the “for” side of eating wheat and gluten (not that I’m against that), champions the artisan bread movement, and refutes claims made by Grain Brain and Wheat Belly.

Yafa argues a good case, but the points he makes are probably just as speculative as those books that he is refuting. So if you’re not celiac and don’t have non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) then this book will make you feel better about passing on gluten-free pasta in favour of the stuff that actually tastes good.

The author clearly did extensive research visiting and talking with producers at every level from farm to milling to processing, including enormous industrial bakers and small scale artisan bakers and stone millers.

He explains that industrial bread baking has a fermentation time of about 4 hours from flour to package which, if you’ve ever made bread from scratch, you’ll know is extremely short. Nature would have dough ferment in 2 or more days and it is this natural fermentation process, better known as sourdough, that Yafa speculates is the key to better digestion of wheat.

Home bakers and artisan bread makers tend to use naturally fermented dough (sourdough) and a longer slower fermentation time compared to industrial bread bakers. Yafa argues that this long process encourages lactic fermentation, which cuts through the large gluten molecules that are difficult to digest and breaks them down into smaller parts that are more digestible. Additionally, the probiotics that are produced as a result of long fermentation are readily absorbed by and beneficial for the body.

All in all, the book was a very interesting read. I was fascinated (in a really geeky way) about the details he discussed about the growth patterns of different type of wheat and the history of the production of flour. And of course I love that he’s championing home baking, especially with sourdough.

I think the book is lacking a little on the science side but overall it was an easy and interesting read, especially for people who like their cake and want to eat it too.

Grain of Truth by Stephen Yafa on Amazon

07 Jan

All the Cookbooks

I was fortunate to receive so many awesome gifts this Christmas from my husband, my family, and my friends, many of which were cookbooks. I’m up to my ears in cookbooks right now, baking books to be more specific, and I like it.

All the CookbooksAll the Cookbooks

500 Desserts

My mother-in-law bought me 500 Desserts which has a recipe for pretty much every dessert that you can imagine. This will be a good reference when I need a dessert idea on a whim, since there are so many to choose from.

Recipes I’m Eyeing: Layered Lime Sponge Cake with Lemon Frosting, Rich Chocolate Pots de Creme with Coffee Cream.

The French Baker

Just before Christmas I received a review copy of The French Baker from which I’ve so far made one recipe. The book is full of recipes for classic French breads and pastries and even some hearty French meals. I’ll do a full review soon and post a recipe.
Between this and the Bouchon Bakery cookbook I foresee my kitchen pumping out a lot of French baked goods in the near future.

Recipes in Progress: Sourdough starter. The author is a proponent of sourdough breads so many of the bread recipes are based on homegrown natural yeast (ie. sourdough).

Recipes I’m Eyeing: Bouillabaise, Death by Chocolate, Croissants

The Great Scandinavian Baking Book

I also received The Great Scandinavian Baking Book from my Secret Santa Micaela which has been on my must have list for a while. There are even more recipes in this book than I expected including recipes for breads, both savoury and sweet, cookies, and cakes. Each recipe is introduced with a little cultural information about the food and how or when it is eaten, and I like having that kind of background. I’ll be sure to post as soon as I try a recipe.

Recipes I’m Eyeing: Norwegian Browned Butter Cookies, Icelandic Jewish Cakes, Swedish Soft Spice Cake, Swedish Ham Pie with Mushroom Sauce

Bouchon Bakery

Matt splurged on the Bouchon Bakery cookbook for me which I have been talking about for the last year. I’ve already made the oreos in the past and I’m looking forward to making a few more cookies from this book. But it’s not all cookies; there are recipes in the book for cakes and tarts and macarons and breads (yay!) and quite a few extraordinarily-complicated-looking treats which I am looking forward to making over the next little long while. I like that the instructions are very detailed and the authors tell you why you’re doing something, which means you actually learn the significance of the recipe steps and don’t just follow recipes blindly, hoping for the best.

Recipes I’ve Made:

Pear Feuilletés. This recipe involved so many steps and components (including homemade puff pastry) that it was a several day process. I made them for a New Year’s Eve dinner party but I forewarned my friends not to ask questions if, in the end, I showed up without them.

Pear FeuilletesPear Feuilletes

Luckily, they were a success, although I wish I had a larger cookie cutter to make big ones that could hold more of the delicious filling.

Bran Muffins. Probably not the first recipe people jump to when they open this cookbook, but because they use a small amount of the pear filling from the aforementioned feuilletés I decided to make them.

Bouchon Bran Muffins

They’re good. Matt liked them and he hardly likes muffins, let alone bran ones.

Recipes I’m Eyeing: Better Nutters, Pain Palladin, Tropezienne, Caramel Nut Tart, Croissants

14 Jul

All About Chiffon Cake

Ooh boy, I haven’t posted a Baking Partners Challenge since April!

In May I was busy getting ready for my weekend in New York and June. . . well, that was an epic failure that I didn’t post it because I was busy doing the yoga teacher training thing. (The theme was eclairs, and mine turned out flat as pancakes. I blame the recipe because I’ve made eclairs before without consequence. The chocolate ganache filling, however, was impossible to stop eating.)

Previous themes that I did participate in were Chiizukeiki (also a failure), Super Soft White Bread, Macarons, Pie, Christmas Cake, Kaiser Buns, Cupcakes, and Cookies.

The theme for this month is Cake!

We had 2 recipe options to choose from. I picked Lemon Chiffon which looked like the simplest one. The other option, a Russian Honey Cake, sounded tastier but I was deterred by all the layers.

I like cakes that don’t take a lot of effort to make and are decorated with a dusting of icing sugar.
My level of competency doesn’t extend beyond dusting a cake with icing sugar.
When we get into real ‘cake-decorating’ territory my creations would even be rejected by CakeWrecks.com

Lemon Chiffon Cake

What is a Chiffon Cake?

The chiffon cake was created by an insurance agent, of all things, in 1927. It became an extremely popular dessert and the technique was carefully guarded until 1947 when he sold the recipe to General Mills.

Chiffon cakes are airy and pillowy in texture with the richness of butter cake and lightness of sponge cake. They’re similar to angel food cakes in that they are leavened with egg whites and are baked in an unlined, un-greased tube pan. Unlike angel food cakes, chiffon cakes contain egg yolks and vegetable oil which keep the cake moist, soft, and tender.

Once baked, the cake tin is turned upside down and hung over the neck of a bottle to cool for 3 hours or overnight which lets the cake set at its maximum volume instead of settling.

It can be nerve-racking to make a cake that you have to hang upside down because if it doesn’t hold you’ll hear a plop as your cake falls to its doom. You need balls to make it.

Here are some links explaining how to perfect a Chiffon Cake:
Chiffon Cakes: Tips and Troubles
Chiffon Cake Tutorial
Chiffon Cake Tips
Chiffon Cake Base – Simplest, Easiest Method (Video)
Lemon Chiffon Cake (Video)

Lemon Chiffon Cake

The Good

This Lemon Chiffon Cake didn’t turn out horribly, you guys!

I was worried about working with egg whites after the chiizukeiki debacle, but I paid close attention not to over or under whip them.

The cake is relatively easy to make and it retains it’s freshness for quite a while. It has a really nice, light lemony taste making it good cake for springtime when you’re so over all those rich chocolate desserts from the winter. (…who am I kidding, I’m never over rich chocolate desserts).

Side Note: I think it would make a killer trifle as inspired by ‘the improvement’ below.

The Bad

I did slightly under-bake the cake. It was getting way too dark on top, so I took it out prematurely when I should have just covered it with tin foil or something. This took away from the lightness that I was expecting from an egg white-leavened cake, but otherwise I enjoyed it and would make it again.

The Improvement

I liked the cake on it’s own, but holy goodness it was so much better when I made this yoghurt custard to go with it. (Coincidentally the custard requires exactly the number of egg yolks you’ll be left with after making the cake. Win!).

I added limoncello to the custard to keep the lemon theme rollin’.

Topped with the custard and some fresh blueberries, this cake was wicked awesome.

Lemon Chiffon Cake


Lemon Chiffon Cake

From The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum

Chiffon cakes are airy and pillowy in texture with the richness of butter cake and lightness of sponge cake. They are baked in a tube pan and, once cooked, hung upside down over a bottle to cool. (I made mine in a bundt and it turned out but I think it would have been worth it to dig the tube pan out of my dad’s basement, to get more rise out of it.)

Dry Ingredients:
2 1/4 cups / 225g cake flour
1 1/2 cups + 2 tbsp. / 300g sugar
1/2 tsp. / 3.5g salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 – 2 tbsp. lemon zest

Wet Ingredients:
½ cup / 108g canola oil
3 large egg yolks
2/3 cup / 156g water at room temperature
2 tbsp. / 30g lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 1/4 tsp. / 4g cream of tartar
2 tbsp. / 30 g sugar
7 large egg whites at room temperature

Directions

Preheat the oven to 325*F.

Grab a 10-inch tube pan with a detachable bottom (I used a bundt pan and it worked out okay) but do not grease it as the batter needs to climb up the sides.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the 300g of sugar and the lemon zest. With your fingertips, work the zest and sugar together until the sugar is grainy and very aromatic. Add the cake flour, baking soda, and salt to the bowl.

If using a stand mixer, use the beater attachment and beat on low until the ingredients are well incorporated. You can also do this by hand with a whisk.

Make a well in the center of the ingredients and add the oil, egg yolks, water, lemon juice and vanilla. Mix for about one minute on medium speed until the batter is smooth and there are no lumps.

In a second large mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until they are foamy. Do it slowly though, it’s not a race. Add the cream of tartar and continue to beat on medium speed until they reach soft peak stage. You will know your egg whites have reached this stage when the beaters start to leave a trail or when the peaks fall over when the beaters are raised. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar, and continue to beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks when the beaters are raised.

Using a balloon whisk, add 1/3 of the egg whites to your cake batter and gently stir them until they are incorporated. Add the remaining egg whites to the batter and very gently fold them into the batter until they are incorporated and no traces of egg whites remain.

Pour the batter into the ungreased pan and run a small metal spatula or knife through the batter to prevent air pockets.

Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until the cake bounces back when lightly pressed in the center.

Once cooked, take the cake out of the oven and immediately turn it upside down over a bottle* or similar to it until it is completely cool, 3 hours up to overnight.

DSCF2862
My bundt pan has handles so I jerry rigged it upside down atop 2 baking pans

Using an up and down motion, use a palette knife to loosen the sides of the cake away from the tin. Pull out the cake and use the palette knife around the bottom of the cake to release it from the base. Turn it over so that the base becomes the top and sprinkle with a dusting of icing sugar to serve.

Stays fresh for 3 days in room temperature, 10 days refrigerated, 2 months frozen.

* I suggest you test some bottles when the cake tin is empty to make sure you have one on hand that fits.


BakingPartners

06 Jan

Top 10 Posts from 2012

My 2012 posts with the most pageviews were really versatile and included everything from body image to recipes to travel to weightlifting. I’m a veritable Martha Stewart.

Turns out that in 2012 people really liked when I wrote about naked women and baking soda. . . but not necessarily together.


10. Women and Nudity and the Awkwardness of it All

The post where I talk about naked women and how I appreciate the changing room’s token nude.

The more effort we put into covering up our imperfections by hiding our bodies from other women then the less real, unaltered images of female bodies we are exposed to.

9. Best Homemade Soft Pretzels

Pretzels (4)

The post where I declare Alton Brown’s soft pretzel recipe the best ever and talk a little about baking soda chemistry.

The key to making soft pretzels with a chewy interior and a crispy, deep brown crust is an alkaline bath.

8. Top 5 Things To Do in Chania, Crete

Chania Crete (25)

I juuuuust realized now that I blogged about my entire trip to Greece this summer except Athens! Woops. Loutro was my favourite stop in Crete, but Chania was also very charming.

Chania is a beautiful city. It’s old town area has really quaint winding alleys that are great for tourists to explore.

7. Grenadian Oil Down

Grenadian Oil Down

The post with a recipe for a delicious coconut curry with vegetables and dumplings. I’ve made this recipe several times and it is really good! I’m glad it made the top 10.

Oil Down is the national dish of Grenada and is usually made at a big party on the beach, or so I’ve read. I made this in my kitchen, so it’s not quite as fun, but it still tastes awesome.

6. 6 Day Full Body Lift and Circuit Routine

The post where I offer up a workout plan with 3 strength exercises followed by a circuit of 3 exercises. This wasn’t my favourite routine from 2012, (this Olympic Routine was) but it was pretty popular with readers

With a circuit workout I think I need to change it up more often to keep myself motivated and excited.

5. Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread (2)

The post where I bake Irish Soda Bread. Again I find myself talking about the chemistry of baking soda. Apparently alkalis are popular with the readers.

Matt said that this was the best soda bread he’s had, even though he didn’t like it. And didn’t want to eat it. Not exactly a raving review, but I’ll take it I suppose.

4. DIY Marathon Medal Frame

DSCF8908

The post where I make a framed collage of my marathon medal, bib, and pictures.

So after a very minimal time commitment and minimal cost I ended up with a sweet homemade collection of my marathon memories. Fun times.

3. Garbage Can Pizza Oven

Garbage Can Pizza Oven

The post where I eat pizza out of the garbage build a wood fired oven in my backyard out of garbage can and a pile of dirt. True story.

Matt called me at the office, to ask me a very important question after spending much of the morning with Zack digging up our crab grass infested lawn:

“Umm… I got a whole bunch of dirt here, you want to make a garbage can pizza oven?”

DO I EVER!

2. Girls and Lena Dunham’s Body

The post where I talk about nudity—again—and how much I like seeing Lena Dunham naked. Although I think most people came to this post looking for Lena Dunham porn.

Lena Dunham isn’t terribly fat. Her body is imperfect, so basically she looks completely normal, like most of the women I know, and not at all like the stereotypical ‘perfect’ Hollywood body that we’re exposed to.

1. Fitspo is Not Inspirational

The post where I talk about how ‘inspiring’ images of fit women can be damaging to our body positivity.

Fitspo images aren’t any better for our self esteem than glossy magazine images of dangerously thin models. They’re photoshopped. They’re not attainable. And, quite frankly, they’re not all that healthy either.


16 Dec

Plum Cake

It’s time for this month’s Baking Partners Challenge. The theme for this month was Christmas Cake.

Plum Cake Fruitcake

There were 3 cakes to choose from in the challenge. I passed on the Brazil Nut Cake and the Neapolitan Cake because they both were frosted and pretty-looking and as you know, I don’t bake pretty things.

So I went with the Plum Cake which, curiously, has no plums in it. The ingredients included lots of dried fruit and nuts so I was expecting (and excited for) a really dense fruitcake (I honestly love fruitcake).

This cake is actually a bit lighter than I expected it to be so if a super dense fruitcake isn’t your cup of tea, then this might be a better option. It has the texture of a dense muffin instead of a dense fruitcake.

Plum Cake Fruitcake

All the booze, dried fruit, and nuts in the cake make it a pretty expensive endeavour so it’s a ‘once-in-a-while’ treat instead of a regular one.

Matt was a fan of it, surprisingly; I didn’t think fruitcakes were really his thing.

Plum Cake Fruitcake

I took this cake to a house-warming party at the beginning of the month and got quite a few compliments on it. But, then again, almost everyone there was wasted and doesn’t everything taste good when you’re drunk?

So I liked this cake, but next time I might make a panettone or even Food for the Gods instead.

If we’re being frank, I still prefer a really dense, loaded fruitcake that’s been regifted 18 times. But, that’s just me.

BakingPartners

Plum Cake

Ingredients

1 c Raisins
1 c Chopped Dates
1/4 c Candied Orange/Lemon Peel
1/2 c Brandy or Rum
1 c Unsalted Cashew Pieces
6 T Sugar
3 T Water
Lemon Juice ( a few drops)
1/2 c Boiling Water
8 oz Unsalted Butter, room temperature
2 1/2 c Powdered Sugar
3 Eggs, separated
1 t Vanilla Extract
2 c All-Purpose Flour
1 t Baking Powder
1/2 t Ground Cinnamon
1/4 t Ground Ginger
1/4 t Ground Clove
1/4 t Ground Nutmeg

Directions

In a medium pan, add Brandy/Rum, Dates, Raisins and Orange Peel. Cook for 1 minute on
medium heat. Add Cashews and continue to cook for 1 minutes until heated through. Keep aside.

In a small pot, add 6 Tbsp Sugar and 3 Tbsp water and few drops of lemon juice. Swirl pan to
mix – do not use spoon. Heat until sugar changes color and becomes caramelized. (approx 7-8 minutes). Add 1/2 cup boiling water and swirl pan again to mix well. Keep aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine softened butter and powdered sugar and beat with hand
blender.

Add one egg yolk at a time to the mix and blend well. Add Vanilla Extract and blend.

Combine all dry spices, baking powder and flour and sift it into the bowl, adding little at a
time and blending.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly coat a 9×5” loaf pan with spray cooking oil or regular oil.

Add caramelized sugar syrup a little at a time into mixing bowl and blend. Add fruit/nut mixture into mixing bowl and mix with a spoon.

In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until they are fluffy and soft peaks form. Fold beaten egg whites into the cake batter.

Pour batter into greased baking pans and bake for approx 1 hour at 325 dgrees F. For
smaller pans, baking time may vary.

30 Aug

Baking for the Harrow Fair

The past few years I’ve been wanting to submit some of my baking in the Harrow Fair, which is like the Olympics for farm folk. It happens to take place on Labour Day weekend and I always seem to be busy or out of town. But this year I was finally available to enter the hundred-some-odd-year-old competition that pits grannys against each other in all things domestic arts (. . .and farming too, but unfortunately my childhood dreams of raising sheep haven’t yet come to fruition, so I’m sticking to baked goods).

To enter something into the fair you have to buy a membership to the agricultural society which costs $7. If you win the prize is $6. Ummm…? I guess it’s about the bragging rights? I don’t know.

Matt insisted I should enter a pie into the competition because I do make a mean pie. But the last time I made one I brought it to my friend’s for dinner and it was a disaster (lucky for me I had enough glasses of wine not to care…all that much). So, yeah, no pie.

I went with bread instead because I love baking bread and I’m pretty good at it. The competition categories for the breads are pretty slim– you mean there isn’t a category for best pain a l’ancienne?— so I decided to enter 3 breads: white bread, crusty rolls, and whole wheat buns (which were a bonus since I used a recipe that I never tested before).

The entries had to be submitted last night by 9 and there is no way that I’d be able to bake 3 different types of bread after work and have them ready by 9 o’clock so I baked the crusty rolls and whole wheat buns on the weekend and froze them and I saved the white bread for baking fresh last night.

As I was preparing the dough I kept looking back at the clock, counting back the time that I would need to get my bread ready on time and it wasn’t adding up. Shit. I performed some baker’s magic tricks to speed up the proofing/rising processes and I managed to get the bread into the oven at exactly 7:25pm.
Somewhere between 7:25 and 8:10 was the end of the world. The loaves started to get way to dark way too quickly. And by dark I mean burnt. I was pissed because I knew the crumb would taste good but I didn’t want to associate my name with a loaf of bread that had burn spots on it.

&^%&^!! @#$S%!!! $#%&#^! @#*&$!!!

I spent about 5 minutes swearing and throwing things around the kitchen in frustration and disappointment. My best bread was ruined. Ruined!

In a huff and a hurry I pulled myself together and grabbed my other breads out of the freezer and sped all the way out to Harrow and made it on time to the fairgrounds. On the drive home Matt said, “Next year you should just take the day off work to do all your baking”.

An entire day off to bake just so I can win $6? Umm yeah, that sounds kinda awesome.

. . . Want to know what happens with my bread? Read all about it here

20 Aug

Rich Kids.

Shhh. . .

Don’t tell my husband but I’m already started to get annoyed of this whole “no computer” thing. He’s already all too excited to buy me a new one (what is it with men and electronics?) but I would rather just save the money than spend an astronomical sum on something that’s just going to let me down and disappoint me in 4-5 years in the way that electronics always do.

Right now I’m mostly disappointed that I can’t steal the husband’s computer long enough to post to my blog.

Otherwise, though, I’m happy that I have been spending more time practising guitar, baking, and reading than liking random pictures on facebook. Although it’s hard to practice guitar when I can’t use the web to access tabs and instructional youtube videos, and baking is less fun when I can’t peruse all my pinned recipes, and my reading has been reduced to novels and not my favourite blogs and newspaper sites.

I really have nothing of interest to say today so let me distract you with trainwreck of a tumblr:

Rich Kids of Instagram.

Instagram pictures of privileged teenagers having champagne showers in St. Tropez. Since, ya know, I don’t feel inadequate enough for not being able to afford a new computer.


Spray down the party. #nikkybeach #greygoose #sainttropez #party

*sigh* I’m going to go back to my cubicle now.

12 Mar

flour girl: Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread (2)

I spoke to my sister on the phone yesterday and told her that I made Irish soda bread that afternoon. I thought that she didn’t like soda bread, but she said that she was “pretty sure she did”. Pretty sure? That wasn’t very convincing, so I didn’t believe her.

Tonight at dinner Matt grabbed some panini out of the freezer. Didn’t he want my soda bread? I asked him. “Umm yeah, I don’t like soda bread.” Well, I knew someone didn’t like soda bread.

In any case, Matt said that this was the best soda bread he’s had, even though he didn’t like it. And didn’t want to eat it. Not exactly a raving review, but I’ll take it I suppose.

So, I’m talking about baking soda, yet again, but this time about it’s leavening properties.

Most breads rise because of yeast, which is an organic leavener, but some, like cornbread or Irish soda bread use baking soda for leavening. As an alkali, baking soda reacts with the acidic components of the dough to release carbon dioxide; this reaction makes the dough rise.

Normally Irish Soda Bread includes buttermilk, but since I didn’t have any on hand I subbed in some plain yoghurt instead. Yoghurt, like buttermilk, is acidic so it reacts with the baking soda to help the bread rise.

Irish Soda Bread

What I really like about this recipe is the inclusion of oats. I absolutely love the taste of oats and any time I can include it in my multigrain breads or crackers or cookies I will.

This bread is really good for breakfast with a smear of butter.

Irish Soda Bread

Ingredients

250g all purpose flour (~2 cups)
250g whole wheat flour (~2 cups)
100g oats (~1 cup)
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
25g butter, cut in pieces (~2 Tbsp)
1 c milk
1 c plain yoghurt

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400F and spray a lined baking sheet with pan spray.

Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl, then rub in the butter with your fingers.

Mix in the milk and yogurt mix by hand, being gentle as you handle it (you don’t want to over knead it). Turn it onto a floured surfaced and shape it into a flat, round loaf about 1-1/2″ thick.

Transfer to the baking sheet and score a deep cross in the top. Bake for 30-35 minutes until browned and the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.

Let cool on a rack before serving.

This post was submitted to Yeastspotting
09 Feb

Chocolate Chip Breakfast Cookies

Breakfast Cookies

So I found this recipe online for something called Carnival Cookies filled with popcorn and chocolate chips. I had made a pact with myself last month to stop baking so many goddamn cookies after overdosing on cookie dough in the 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies bake-off.

And then I saw these gorgeous little creatures with the super-cute name that don’t call for any butter or sugar and I decided to give them a go.

I like them, but they’re not sweet enough or rich enough. Most of the sweetness comes from the banana and the chocolate chips. They’re not really cookies, ya know?  They don’t deserve the moniker and, no, I don’t think everything rolled into a golfball shape and baked should be called a cookie.

Matt came home and tasted one and immediately asked, “What are these?”

“Ummm… they’re like cookies, but they don’t have any sugar?” It was definitely a response in the form of a question.

And then he grabbed another—the one with the most chocolate chips because it tasted the best.

I ate two of these this morning for breakfast without feeling all that guilty, and they were surprising more filling than I expected. So I changed the name of them from carnival cookies to breakfast cookies so

1) I don’t fool myself into thinking I’m going to be eating a delicious dessert
2) I do fool myself into thinking it’s cool to eat some for breakfast

Plus, I changed a bunch of ingredients so I have some liberties with the recipe title.

Chocolate CHip Breakfast Cookies

Chocolate Chip Breakfast Cookies

adapted from Carnival Cookies

makes 20

Ingredients

2 really big ripe bananas, mashed (or 3 normal sized bananas)
1 t. vanilla extract
1/4 c. vegetable oil
2 T. all natural peanut butter
1/2 c. rolled oats
1 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 c. semolina flour
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. mixed spices (incl. ground pepper, clove, nutmeg, ginger, cardamom)
1/2 t. salt
1/3 c. chopped walnuts
3/4 c. chocolate chips
1 1/2 c. popped popcorn

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine the mashed bananas, vanilla, peanut butter, and oil. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the oats, flours, baking powder, salt, and spices. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix to combine.

Fold in the chocolate, nuts, and popped corn.

The dough may be looser than most cookies. Heap 1 tablespoon worth of cookie dough on to your palm and shape golfballs. Place about 1 inch apart on baking sheets. Bake for approximately 15-18 minutes until golden, rotating the baking sheet 180deg halfway through baking.

Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.

02 Feb

Moist and Tasty Cornbread

It’s been a couple of weeks since I baked up any bread so I decided to dig into the depth of my fridge for the sourdough starter that I’ve neglected for months. When I took the plastic wrap off the bowl I was blown away by the intense alcohol smell. I considered trying to refresh a small portion of the starter, which I can usually do even if it’s been dormant in the fridge for a while, but from its pungency (yes, I made the mistake of tasting it) and soupy consistency I wasn’t confident that it would come back to life.

So I pitched the whole thing.

I’m contemplating making a new starter this weekend, but I’m uncertain of my abilities to keep it alive. Living things always seem to be at risk on my watch– my sourdough starter, the succulent planter I bought for my desk when I first started my job, the geraniums my mother-in-law planted at my house. Funny how all those things– sourdough, succulents, geraniums– have a reputation for heartiness. They’re not easy to kill. And yet through neglect and mistreatment and disregard I’ve managed to kill them all.

Luckily my dog is still alive; though I probably deserve little credit for this. It’s entirely because of my husband’s care and attention. He notices when she wants food and when she’s scratching too much and when she seems sad and when she needs to take her flea medication while I sit back and watch her thinking that she’s entirely normal. “No Sam,” he’ll disagree, “I think she needs to go to the vet.” And she usually does.

I can’t keep anything alive.

So after pitching my sourdough starter I decided to make a ciabatta bread but realized that I had no yeast. So that idea was scrapped too and since I didn’t have bananas I couldn’t make a banana bread either. So I ended up making cornbread the only other chemically leavened bread that I could think. I didn’t really want it but I was bored and wanted to bake. In the end it turned out so moist and delicious that I couldn’t stop eating it.

This would be really good to make on Super Bowl Sunday with some whisky baked beans.

Moist and Tasty Cornbread

makes one 10″ round loaf

Ingredients

1 cup (6 ounces) coarse cornmeal or polenta
2 cups milk (I used soy)
1 3/4 cups (8 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons molasses
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Directions

Soak the cornmeal in the milk. Cover and leave at room temperature for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugars.

In a separate bowl, lightly beat the eggs with the molasses and melted butter. Add the egg mixture and soaked cornmeal mixture to the flour mixture and stir with a large spoon or whisk until all the ingredients are evenly distributed and the batter is blended and smooth to the consistency of pancake batter.

Line a 10-inch round cake pan with parchment and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Pour in the cornbread batter. Bake the cornbread for about 35-40 minutes, or until the bread is firm and springy and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The top will be a deep golden brown.

Allow the cornbread to cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes before slicing it into squares or wedges.