Friday, April 30, 2010

TWD: Sweet Cream Biscuits

This catch-up post will be short and sweet, just like these biscuits.

Truly quick to make, they rose beautifully while baking and came out with a natural splitting point. I ate the last two this morning for breakfast, drizzled with honey.

The biscuits are reminiscent of my favorite scone recipe, made with heavy cream instead of butter.

Since I always have heavy cream on hand, I'm sure these biscuits will become part of my baking repertoire.

Melissa of
Love At First Bite chose this week's recipe, which can be found on her blog. And, when you have a spare moment, stop by the TWD blog for more challenges and comments.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

BB: Jam & Coconut Thumbprint Cookies

I should be working right now. I should be catching up on all my unfinished tasks. But I'm not.

Instead, I'm working at catching up on baking. Infinitely more fun and rewarding than anything else.

First up are the jam thumbprint cookies for Barefoot Bloggers. I only made one third of the recipe, but I wish I'd made more. These are truly delicious. I used some boysenberry jam for the centers and unsweetened coconut for rolling. I believe you could substitute finely ground nuts for the coconut. The basic cookie part is just a butter cookie, a really scrumptious butter cookie.

Here's the baking progression.

Over 300 recommendations can't be wrong. These cookies would be perfect for any party or function as well as for just plain cookie-eating. They are lovely to behold and have that wonderful buttery-goodness taste. Thanks to Cassandra of Foodie with Little Thyme for a great choice.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Daring Bakers: Steamed Suet Pudding

The April 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Esther of The Lilac Kitchen. She challenged everyone to make a traditional British pudding using, if possible, a very traditional British ingredient: suet.

This month's challenge was to make a traditional British steamed pudding, using suet, if possible. I've made steamed puddings before, especially around the holidays, but I've never used suet. That was my challenge.

I found a meat market that had suet on hand, so I stopped by and picked up half a pound.

Since it resisted crumbling, I had to render out the fat. Over slow heat, this took about two hours.

All the remaining ingredients were
ready to go, so it only took minutes to mix once the rendered suet had cooled. I made a very simple pudding, using grated lime rind as a flavoring.

The steaming setup was a pot within a pot. I let it cook for three hours.

My mold is deep and the amount of batter was small, so, although the pudding rose, it didn't fill the entire mold.

It did, however, unmold quite nicely. The pudding was a bit on the crumbly side, with an interesting flavor profile that is hard to explain. I suspect it is related to the rendered suet. I had a piece with some golden syrup poured over it. I plan to make some lime sauce to complement the lime zest and I think that will hit the flavor spot.

Thanks to Esther and the Daring Bakers for another interesting challenge. For recipes and background information, do stop by Esther's blog.

Friday, April 23, 2010

TWD: Sleep deprivation causes baking error

Saturday morning I got up at 6:30 am. I finally got to bed at 3:30 am Tuesday morning. That's something like 45 hours with no sleep. I had a project to finish and send in, so that's what had to be done. I'm still recovering.

Obviously, not quickly enough.

Note the lovely, delicious cream scone with strawberries.

It took me several days to realize that I had baked the wrong thing. I think I was supposed to bake sweet cream biscuits. These are not them. My apologies to Melissa.

They were good, though. I froze half, unbaked, and baked the remaining ones, which I used for shortcake.

The ingredients listed currants, but I never could find them included in the mixing/baking instructions. Unwittingly, I just left them plain, which worked out nicely.

I don't know if the TWD rotation has included these scones, but I'm ready for it way in advance.

So, now that I have a small amount of breathing room, I will be off to the kitchen to correct my mistake. The biscuits will be late, as will the BB thumbprint cookies, and probably other baked goods as well.

I'm treating myself to a weekend mini-vacation to visit a friend, who is chef at a tapas/wine bar in Buellton, my mother in Santa Maria, and a cool quilt show at the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo.

No more all-nighters for awhile.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Brunswick Stew

The 2010 April Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Wolf of Wolf’s Den.. She chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make Brunswick Stew. Wolf chose recipes for her challenge from “The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook: Stories and Recipes for Southerners and Would-Be Southerners” by Matt Lee and Ted Lee”, , and from the Callaway, Va Ruritan Club.

This was a hearty challenge indeed. I only made half a recipe, but it nearly filled my 7-quart pot, and is continuing to provide ready-made dinners at a time when my work load precludes a lot of cooking. I used Version #1, the long-cooking one.

Rather than the traditional rabbit or squirrel (or kangaroo), I chose to use chicken and pork. I took my time browning the meat and used homemade chicken stock, so the flavors of the stew were very well developed. As it sits in the refrigerator, the flavors continue to improve.

Since I'm in the final hours of a large project, my post will be short. For more opinions and the recipes, head over to the Daring Kitchen. Suffice it to say, the stew was easy to prepare and tastes lovely. We all enjoyed it.

TWD: Delayed Swedish Visiting Cake

My apologies to Nancy. I'm deep in the final throes of a project, so, even though the Swedish Visiting Cake is quick to make, mine will be late.

I have made this several times before, and I was Sure that I had photographed it. (Isn't that what we do now with nearly everything we bake?)

Well, if I did, it is well buried somewhere on my computer. I can even picture it in my mind! (That's not a sign of going crazy, is it?)

Since I can taste the cake just by thinking of it, looks like I will have to bake one to satisfy that craving. Stay tuned.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

BB: Currant Pecan Oatmeal Cookies

I must admit that I am not a big fan of raisin oatmeal cookies.

Give me chocolate chip or peanut butter or specialty cookies any day.

Oatmeal raisin?


However, being the trooper I am, and reading all the glowing reviews about these cookies, I put them on the baking schedule. My daughter even agreed to help -- always a surprise and a pleasure.

So, I decided to make only half the recipe, since I didn't really need 30+ cookies hanging around the house. As it was, half a recipe made 19.

While I was creaming the butter and sugar, my daughter measured out the dry ingredients. She remembered the 3/4 cup of flour, then apparently forgot we were halving it, so added the full amount of cinnamon and baking powder. I fished out enough of the baking powder, but left in the cinnamon. Oh yum! What a tasty mistake! I highly recommend doubling the cinnamon.

Instead of raisins, I used currants.

While my daughter scooped out the dough, I slightly flattened the tops. The cookies didn't spread while baking, so we ended up with wonderful, thick oatmeal cookies. We both liked them, so it's just as well there were only 19.

Now, I can finally say that I have found an oatmeal raisin cookie that I truly like. I will be making these again. Thanks goes to Leslie of Lethally Delicious for a brave choice (I don't think oatmeal raisin cookies are her favorite either.)

Tune in to the Barefoot Blogger site to see how the others baked. For the recipe, head over to Leslie's blog.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

TWD: Mocha-Walnut Marbled Bundt Cake

First, let me say: YUM.

Second, let me say: Not Enough Coffee Flavor!

There was discussion among the bakers about the coffee: was it safe for children, would they get a caffeine high, would it ruin the taste . . . .

Come on, now. It was a 1/4 cup, negligible, not enough to notice. Purpose? To enhance the flavor of the chocolate, which it did nicely.

Be brave. Try it first, then decide.

That said, on to the cake.

It's a lovely, moist cake. The nuts are so finely ground that they, also, are barely noticeable.

I just left it plain. For company, I would dust it with powdered sugar, but for private-use, it is delicious as is.

I love the marbling. I keep cutting slices so I can see the different patterns.

My daughter is flying home from New York as I write this. There may actually be a piece left for her.


For the recipe, visit Erin's blog,
When in Doubt…Leave it at 350. This cake was her choice for this week's baking. Many of the TWD members baked this cake, although some switched with last week's coconut tea cake. Both are delicious cakes.

Friday, April 2, 2010

NFR: Distractions

Along with a jam-packed work schedule, I'm dealing with a new distraction this week:

Granddaughter #2 arrived late Wednesday afternoon.

Big Sister (3) holding new baby sister, who is less than 5 hours old.

Won't get to meet her until June, so in the meantime, I will enjoy the photos and stories.