No baking this week

It's been a week mostly filled with travelling. Ever since I was a little girl, I always wanted to go to Disney World for my birthday. Never happened.

Until this past Tuesday. The 22nd.

We drove down to Anaheim on Monday (it's about a 6 hour drive, depending on traffic), spent the whole day in Disneyland and California Adventure on Tuesday, then drove back up yesterday. I had a really great time, and I'm glad that I chose to do it this year. Oh yeah. On the way back up, on Highway 5, there was snow! Sure, I'm a MA girl, but it's been FOUR years since I've been home in the winter.

Tomorrow, we set out to Ashland, Oregon, to visit Dave's parents. Which is another six hour drive, just in the opposite direction this time. I'm excited, I've never been to Oregon before. Although I'm really not looking forward to the temperatures. LOL I keep trying to convince myself that it'll be okay, that home will be colder. We'll see how I feel about this come Sunday evening!

So yes. A little mini-vacation, that's SOOOO well-needed. Now if only I could stretch it out a bit longer and not have to go to work. ;)

Oh, yeah. Almost forget. I had a fabulous slice of olallieberry pie at Casa de Fruita, off highway 152. :)

Life will be back to its usual schedule next week. Till then, happy baking! :)


Giant Peanut Butter Cookies

Yes, you did read that write. Good ol' peanut butter and I are getting along for the time being. I had a sample of a cookie at Whole Foods last week, and I've been wanting a peanut butter cookie ever since. So when I found this recipe over at Cookie Madness, and, seeing the quantity it made, I knew it was meant to be.

It's no secret that cookies aren't my favorite things to make. But when they make a limited quantity, I'm more likely to want to make them. Only because then they won't be Sitting Temptation. (Hey, I may not have made a resolution to LOSE weight, but that still doesn't mean I can dive into a plate of baked goods with reckless abandon!) So the fact that this only made nine cookies made me a happy girl.

The outer edges are crisp, while the centers are soft and moist. I'm very pleased. Oh, and my first words upon seeing them (because they do spread)? "Holy biscuit!" (Because Johanna and I are trying not to swear as much and biscuit has become my go-to word... ie: "son of a biscuit!") :D

1¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
½ cup sugar
½ cup butter, softened
½ cup peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 large egg

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.

In mixing bowl, beat sugars and butter until creamy. Add peanut butter, vanilla, and egg, beating well. Gradually add flour mixture to peanut butter mixture.

Chill the dough in the fridge for about an hour.

Preheat oven to 375F. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Scoop up dough using a ¼-sized cup and shape into a ball. Press down slightly and place on cookie sheet, leaving about 4 inches in between (because they do spread!).

Bake at 375F for 13-16 minutes. Remove from cookie sheet and cool completely on wire rack.

Makes 9 or 10 cookies. :)


Shirley Temple Cupcakes... kinda

Last weekend, while using up my gift card at Sur La Table (thank you, Sandy!), I came across a bottle of grenadine, and picked it up, thinking I could find a recipe to use it in. Yeah, it's easier sounding than what it really is.

I emailed Stef from the Cupcake Project to see if she had any experience with it or any ideas. She thought of Shirley Temple cupcakes, to which there seems to be no known recipe for! LOL

Today wasn't one of my good baking days. In fact, if I didn't say that I'd make these and promise Amelia that I'd bring some into work on Sunday, I probably would've given up, because it was that wracking on the nerves. I don't want to think about how much butter and flour was wasted today. After much crying, math-ing, yelling, and throwing things, I finally decided on the basic golden cupcake recipe from 'Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World', adding lemon and lime zest. That came out very good. Naked or with frosting. Good deal.

The frosting. I planned on doing a cream cheese frosting with the grenadine in it. Yeah. I started out slow, just adding a tablespoon of grenadine at a time. That made no difference in taste. I finally just started pouring it straight from the bottle in attempt to get a consistant flavor. But in my... whatever-mood I was in, I failed to add more confectioners' sugar, just figuring that the frosting would firm up while in the fridge. Yeah, it didn't.

But a few were acceptable for photographing this time, at least. :) Would I make them again? The cupcakes, most definitely. I'm not sure on the frosting, without doing some serious changes.

Lemon-Lime Cupcakes:
(adapted from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World)
1 cup milk
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
3/4 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
½ cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
½ Tbsp. lemon zest
½ Tbsp. lime zest

Preheat oven to 350F. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.

Whisk together milk and apple cider vinegar; set aside to curdle.

Sift together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

Cream butter and sugar until smooth. Add vanilla. Add lemon and lime zests. Alternately add flour mixture and milk mixture, starting and ending with the flour. Fill muffin cups two-thirds of the way full.

Bake at 350F for 20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Let cool in pan for about ten minutes, before removing to wire rack to cool completely.

Grendadine Frosting:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 Tbsp. butter, softened
1 Tbsp. milk
1 Tbsp. grenadine (adjust to taste)
2-3 cups confectioners' sugar

Beat cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add milk. Add grenadine. Gradually add in confectioners' sugar. Let sit in fridge for about an hour to firm up before using.

PS: Check out Stef's rendition over at Cupcake Project. Thanks for being such a good sport! :D


Snickerdoodle Bars

I really enjoy snickerdoodles, but, particularly after Christmas, I'm not the biggest fan of making cookies. Mainly because I eat entirely too much dough. So it came to me the other night, why not try making them in bar form? I also entertained some other ideas, but those haven't panned out yet. But they aren't completely out of the running yet, though.

The dough comes together very easy. My only problem was that the pan I originally wanted to use (the jelly roll pan) was a bit too big. So I had to re-gather all the dough and the only other pan I had available was the 9x9-inch. The 'inside' part sunk a bit and my cinnamon-sugar sprinkling wasn't exactly even, so it's not going to win any beauty pageants.

But could it win Miss Congeniality? Oh, yes. It's a moist, soft, thicker version of the Snickerdoodle cookie and I am SO making these again.

(They're also a bit camera shy [read: rechargable batteries die, too], so no picture of this one. Next time, Gadget.) ;)

1½ cups flour
1 tsp. cream of tartar
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
½ cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg

1 Tbsp. sugar
½ tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease either a 9x9- or 13x9-inch pan. (Depending on how thick you want them to be)

Whisk together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg. Gradually add flour mixture. Spread into pan.

Combine sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl; sprinkle over dough.

Bake at 350F for 14-18 minutes, or until golden brown (or a toothpick inserted near center comes out clean). Let cool in pan. Cut into bars.


With a fangirl-ish squee

I do have a recipe to post, but that's happening either later or tomorrow.

Usually, I'm the last to find something out. Or to see a movie. The ones that everyone and their mother have seen? Yeah, I probably haven't. *shrug* Don't know why, just happens that way. (Except for LOTR and HP, of course) ;)

Anyways, I just discovered that not only does the King Arthur Flour website have a blog, they also have a shop! And truly, there was some squee-ing involved, particularly over the mini-cheesecake pans. And I may have swooned when I saw that I could get a print catalogue, so that I could circle all the stuff I want and send to my parents! (Ah, memories of the Sears Wishbook every Christmas...)

This ends my extremely dorky post. Snickerdoodle Bar Cookies will be making their appearance shortly. You may now continue with your reading.


Gingerbread Cakelets

Alright, so I baked after all yesterday. By early afternoon, the lights had stopped flickering so often, so I figured it was safe. As for the dripping, well, maintenance STILL hasn't come by, but at least the rain has stopped. The bucket's still there, though, just in case. Really am not going to miss this apartment all that much when we move in June!

Onto the cakelets. I received a Macy's gift card for Christmas from Dave's parents, and naturally, I used it on kitchen stuff. (We won't go into my opinion on their clothing prices, because it will get rant-y) I haven't spent it all yet, but my major purchase so far was essentially a square-cupcake pan. Or cakelets, as I prefer to call them. It just sounds cute.

Thus began my search for "the perfect recipe" to try it out with. I went with a recipe that worked for a 9-inch pan, figuring if you added all 12 squares together, it'd add up to be about the same. (Oh, did I mention math was never my strong suit? I'm much more English and history-oriented LOL) I went with this one, cutting down the measurements by half.

As for the frosting, well, I wasn't in a frosting-friendly mood tonight (and I swear, it had nothing to do with the margarita I had at dinner), so it wound up with just plain ol' cream cheese. :)

1¼ cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ginger
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ cup butter, softened
¼ cup brown sugar
½ cup molasses
1 egg
½ cup boiling water

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease 12 cup cakelet pan or muffin cups.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and spices; set aside.

Beat butter, brown sugar, and molasses until creamy. Add egg. Alternately add flour mixture and water into butter mixture. Fill cakelets about halfway.

Bake at 350F for 15-20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Let cool in pan for about 10 minutes, before removing to wire rack. Frost once completely cooled.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 Tbsp. butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1 Tbsp. milk
2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted

Beat cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add vanilla and milk. Gradually add sugar, beating until desired consistancy is reached.


Mother Nature's impeding on my plans!

So I knew yesterday that my normal Friday routine would be thrown out of whack. Northern California's getting hit with a pretty big storm and we've got a steady stream of rain coming down outside, not to mention the wind gusts. No walking over to the library, that's for sure.

But I figured I'd at least be able to get some baking in before my doctor's appointment at 3:45pm.

Well. Upon waking up, about ten minutes afterwards, my apartment looks like this:

(You can kinda see one of the water droplets. This was when it was slower. Now it's a very steady drip-drip-drip)

Now I'm at the mercy of the emergency maintenance folks. Hopefully they get here by 3pm. Otherwise, no clue.

And now you may be asking, "well, you can still bake, can't you?"

My lights keep flickering at a semi-alarming rate. With my luck, the cakelets would be in the oven and we'd lose electricity. *shakes fist in anger at sky*

Hopefully the maintenance folk arrive soon. The drip-drops do have the potential, I believe, to drive me nuts.