Tag Archives: baking

baking project – apple cake

19 Jan

10

( my sous chef )

As I mentioned in a previous post I thought maybe I would try my hand at baking with all this free time I have until the babe arrives in May. I figure I taught myself to cook (although, I still wouldn’t considering myself a master chef but at least I’m not afraid of the kitchen anymore) a few years ago when I started this blog, I may as well teach myself to bake too. As a working fit model I kept my consumption of baked goods to a minimum but as a pregnant lady I’m pretty open to them! So what better time to become a baker, right? This past weekend Brian was out-of-town for a bachelor party…in Hawaii. I know, I know…I felt terribly bad for him as well. Poor, dear. So with the house to myself and nothing but grey skies on Sunday morning I decided to tackle a recipe. I had plenty of recipes to choose from via my pinterest account. I seem to have an addiction to pinning sweet treats. I settled on an apple cake recipe because it seemed easy enough for my first attempt. I turned on a movie, The Time Travelers Wife,  to keep me company.  Have you ever seen it? Not sure if it was my raging hormones but I sobbed through most  of it. Such a sweet movie about love. I devoured the book when I read it many years ago and I think they did a beautiful job translating it to the screen. Anyway, back to the apple cake…

It was a very easy recipe- I didn’t get overwhelmed and freak out once while making it (that’s the true test) and it turned out quite good! It was a nice mix of cinnamon and apple flavors and it was incredibly moist- especially tasty with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  The only problem is my crust ended up a tad burnt. Maybe I didn’t grease the pan enough? Any ideas? Because the rest of it was cooked perfectly so I’m not sure what I should have done differently?

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the bump snuck into a photo

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Ingredients
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
4 large apples, peeled, cored and sliced
powdered sugar, to dust

Instructions
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 12 x 9-inch baking pan and set aside.
-Melt the butter in the microwave and combine with the sugar. Add in eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each one. Add vanilla.
-In a mixing bowl, combine together flour, baking powder, and cinnamon. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and mix until combined and smooth. The batter will be very thick, but that’s ok.
-Pour half of the batter into the prepared baking pan. Using a palette knife, spread to make an even surface and place apples in a single layer over the top. Gently press them into the batter. Spread the remaining batter over the top and carefully lever the surface. Scatter the rest of the apple slices over the batter and press them lightly into the surface.
-Bake for about 45–55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

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213

7 Dec

LEARN TO COOK  BAKE (with already made dough)

{Rachel, Nala & Kate}

We’re back!

Rachel and I decided to get back in the saddle and get back in the kitchen after our little  chicken fiasco. This time we decided to go a tad simpler and bake old school christmas cookies instead of a roast chicken. We have both been craving all things “holiday” so we decided to spend an afternoon baking silly christmas cookies to get in the spirit.

I adore my time with Rachel…she’s such an easy, happy and creative energy in my life. As much fun as we have, I think we would both have to agree that we are a bit useless when put together. It’s like the blind leading the blind with us. We lead each other from one ridiculous activity to the next. (She also happens to be one of the people who I plan to drive across the country with…that should be interesting!)

We spent a good portion of the cookie afternoon driving around Venice looking for holiday cookie cutters. Who knew these damn cookie cutter’s were going to be so hard to find? Are they a thing of the past? I was surprised to learn the answer is no. They do indeed still exist ( I googled it ) but I wouldn’t say the cookie cutter business is flourishing. So we had to say “screw the cutters!” and bought easy bake cookie dough instead. Our plan was to cut our own holiday shapes into the dough with knives. That plan went to hell too. Making Rudolphs in dough with sharp knives is harder than you may think. So in the end we decided to simply make boring old circle cookies and let our creativity shine with the decorating!

While the cookies were in the oven we decided to pass the time with a few small detours. Our first detour involved a hair tutorial. Rachel was nice enough to offer to teach me how to make pretty waves in my hair with a flat-iron (I know what you may be thinking…it’s truly pathetic that at almost 30 I can’t do my own hair…I agree). This detour resulted in our knocking into the shower curtain and ripping it to the floor. Unfortunately on the way down it fell on Rachel’s head as she carefully curled my hair. Bless her little heart because it looked like it really hurt. I only know this because I happened to be staring in the mirror watching Rachel carefully curl my hair as it fell. The situation made us laugh so hard we cried (she may have actually been crying though)

 Our next detour involved her Chihuahua Nala. We decided she needed to take a holiday group photo with us wearing a sweater. It’s safe to say that Nala was less than thrilled by our idea but we got the shot!

All in all I’d say the afternoon was a success! We baked 24 festive holiday cookies and 1 batch of cinnamon buns and I’m feeling rather festive because of it. I still don’t know how to make waves in my hair though.

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256

25 Oct

LEARN HOW TO COOK : LEMON SQUARES

The writing is on the wall…I am becoming more of a baker than a cook! I simply love the baking process and the outcome isn’t too bad either. So what I will have to work out twice a day to enjoy my new-found baking talents?! It will be totally worth it! My most recent lesson was lemon squares! My Step Mother Pamela makes the most insane lemon squares. As you can see from the picture above they are a family favorite. They are everything you would want from a lemon square…. sweet, tangy, tart and buttery. I remember eating these lemon squares when I was a little girl so they hold a special place in my heart. I plan to make them for my kids one day. But, I will use them as child bribery instead of a reward. I kid I kid.

I had such a great time baking with Pamela! She is a very patient and fun teacher. We sipped wine, told stories, laughed and ate Lemon Squares…I mean does it get better than that? I don’t think so. Seriously everyone, master these lemon squares and the world is at your fingertips. People are your puppets.

PAMELA’S FAMOUS LEMON SQUARES

Servings:

24-30 bars

Cook Time:

      20 Minutes-  Crust  (or until brown)

       25 Minutes – Filing (or until brown)

Personal Message:

Depending on the tartness, you might want to add more powdered sugar over the top of  the squares.

Ingredients:

2     C SIFTED FLOUR

½    C   POWERED SUGAR

1     C   BUTTER

4  BEATEN EGGS

1 ½ C GRADULATED SUGAR

½    C  LEMON JUICE  (OR MORE TO THE TASTE)

¼    C  FLOUR

1     tsp   BAKING POWDER

1     LEMON RIND GRADED

Instructions:

CRUST 

In medium bowl, sift 2 cups of flour and powered sugar together.  Cut in butter.  Spread the dough into a 13X9X2 inch greased baking pan.  Bake at 350 F for 20 minutes or until brown.

 While the crust is baking, work on the filling to be immediately poured over the hot crust

 FILLING 

In large bowl, mix eggs, lemon juice, sugar  & rind.  Shift flour and baking powder into the lemon mixture.  Pour filling over hot crust.  Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.  While still hot, sprinkle powdered sugar over the top.  Wait 15 minutes before cutting into square.  Cover and put into the refrigerator.  Serve cold

325

17 Aug

LESSON 2 : LEARN HOW TO COOK

Cooking teacher : Mary

Location : Mary’s lovely home…that I wish was mine

Dish : Peach Pie

A few months ago Brian mentioned in passing that he loved homemade peach pie, it was then I decided I would master one. So when I started 365 til 30, peach pie was high on my list. A MUST, REALLY. When I shared this with my mom, she immediately said I had to call Mary! Mary is one of my moms longtime best friends, who is like family to me. She’s a brilliant history professor, writer and one of the funniest and most interesting people I know. Oh and she also happens to make an aaaaaamazing peach pie.

You see, a few years ago Mary remodeled her kitchen and thought it would be a shame if she didn’t put her new space to good use. So she taught herself how to cook and bake (see you can learn anytime!!) . In the last few years she has become quite the chef. She now moves around the kitchen with confidence, ease and her dry sense of humor intact.

When I asked Mary to teach me the art of the peach pie she happily agreed. I dragged my momma along for the ride to take pictures and hangout. Now let’s get to the baking. I found baking a pie to be a totally satisfying experience…that was until it was time to handle the dough. Let me tell you, it is no easy task, nor is it a tidy one. As we were rolling out the dough it kept falling apart.  Flour was all over the kitchen, the dogs and us. It was then Mary looked at me and said “whatever could have possibly gone wrong with dough…has.” My mom thought the situation was funny, so she was told to stop taking pictures and keep her questions to a minimum because working with dough is no laughing matter. Dough is terribly finicky and hard to please. In the end I decided that I will be the type of baker who buys her pie crust…already made. I have enough worries, no need to cause myself any added pain and anxiety.

Highlight of the day….the blanching and peeling of the peaches. It felt almost naughty to drop sweet peaches into scolding water!  It got even better when it was time to peel them. There is something very gratifying about peeling their soft, thin, little skins off not to mention a totally meditative process. Strange but true, I recommend trying it! I also loved the sound of my mom and Georgia (Mary’s granddaughter ) giggling and coloring next to us while we baked. It’s exactly what I hope my kitchen sounds like one day.

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Ingredients :

2 pounds of peaches ( 6-10 depending on their size)

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 cup of sugar

1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits

Milk as needed

Directions :

1- Peel the peaches. Bring a pot of water to a boil and drop peaches into it, a couple at a time, for 10 to 30 seconds, or until skins loosen. Plunge into a bowl of ice water. Slip the peels off, using a pairing knife if needed. Pit, slice, and toss with lemon juice.

2- Mix together dry ingredients and toss the peaches with mixture. Pile into the rolled into pie shell. Dot with butter. Cover with the top crust. Decorate edges with fork.

3. Place pie on baking sheet and brush the top lightly with milk; sprinkle with sugar. Use sharp paring knife to cut two or three 2 inch long vent holes in top of pie crust.

4. Place in oven and bake for 50 minutes on 350 F