Monday, December 13, 2010

Baking Days 7 and 8

Day 7 - Boston Creme Cupcakes:
I didn't care for these very much. :/ I liked that the cake was not super sweet (because you are going to put all that sweetness in) and the topping was wonderful... mostly because it is melted chocolate and butter. Hard to go wrong with that. But the filling was TERRIBLE. It never quite set up to that lovely custard consistency that makes the boston creme so good. It wasnt very tasty either... just a really poor effort. I am not even going to post the recipe until I can find a suitable filling because I don't want anyone else to be as disappointed as I was.

Day 8, part one - Chai Spice Snickerdoodles:
Taken from These also fell into the"meh" category. The outside topping was pretty good, but basically just a fancier snickerdoodle topping. The cookie part was a little too dense and had a dry mouthfeel. I would like to re-make these using my normal snickerdoodle dough and changing up the topping a bit to make it more spicy.

2 tablespoons granulated sugar plus an additional 2/3 cup, divided use
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom (if anyone makes these, borrow some cardamom from me- it is EXPENSIVE!)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup cream cheese, softened (1/2 package)
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste (substitute 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
1 large egg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a large cookie sheet. (I used parchment paper- my new best friend)
In a small bowl, stir together 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cardamom until well combined.

In a medium sized mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking soda and salt.
In a large mixing bowl, using a mixer on medium speed, beat butter, cream cheese,
additional 2/3 cup granulated sugar, honey and vanilla paste until creamy, about 2 minutes. Beat in egg until combined. Reduce mixer speed to low and beat in flour mixture until combined. Chill dough in the refrigerator for 20 minutes, or until you can roll it into balls.

Roll the cookie dough into balls and roll the balls into spice mixture to coat completely. Place on sheet pan and flatten with hands to about 1/4-inch thickness. Bake at 350 degrees F for 9-12 minutes or until golden and puffed. Cool for 2 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool.

Day 8, part 2 - Cheesy Crackers:
I adapted these from who adapted them from Smitten Kitchen. They are WONDERFUL. I made them for Thanksgiving with white flour and they were all gone with my mom saying "Did you make more?"so I made them again, but used whole wheat flour this time. I think they are better if you use an extra sharp cheddar (which I did the first time), however you can really use any cheese or mix of cheeses. They come out very light and flaky.. more like a pie crust consistency than a true cracker. Make sure not to roll them too thin or they will lose some of that wonderful texture.

1½ cups (6 oz) grated extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened and cut into pieces
¾ cup (90 g) flour, plus more for dusting
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (order some pizza and use the little packets - thats what I did!)
1 tablespoon milk

1. Preheat oven to 350˚.
2. Put everything except the milk in a food processor. Pulse the processor, 5 seconds at a time, for about 5 or 6 times, until the dough is in coarse crumbs. (I couldnt find the food processor, so I used a pastry blender and did it by hand)
3. Add the milk and process until the dough gathers together in a ball.
4. Roll the dough out on a floured board with a rolling pin that has been floured until it is about 1/8 inch thick.
5. Cut the dough into 1-inch squares with a sharp knife or pizza cutter. You can put a bit of flour on the blade of the knife to keep it from sticking.Use the flat end of a wooden skewer to poke a hole in the center of each cracker
6. Place the crackers at least 1/4 inch apart on parchment paper on a baking sheet
7. Bake for 12 – 15 minutes until the edges are just starting to brown. (you will smell them when they are almost done)
8. Put the baking sheet on a rack and let the crackers cool completely.

Day 8, part 3 - Homemade Granola: (yes I went crazy this day)

adapted from This granola is super awesome and much cheaper than buying it! The most annoying part is the baking time bc you have to mix it every 20 minutes and bake for about an hour. You can also change up the nuts and the fruits in it to suit your tastes or the season. This recipe makes a gallon bag full of granola.

6 C oats (NOT the quick cooking ones)
1 C sliced almonds
1 C chopped walnuts
1 1/2 C shredded unsweetened coconut
1 C applesauce
1/2 C honey
2 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 C light brown sugar, packed
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 C raisins
1 C dried cherries
1 C dried cranberries
or dried apples, nectarines etc….

In your biggest mixing bowl, mix together; oats, almonds, walnuts and coconut
In a small bowl mix together: 1/2 C honey, 1 C applesauce, 2 Tbsp vanilla, 1/2 C brown sugar, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
Pour the applesauce mixture over the oat mixture and combine thoroughly. Use your hands (preferred) or a spoon and mix until thoroughly combined
Spread the mixture over two baking sheets and bake at 250 F for about 1 hour 20 minutes.
If the baking sheet is light it will take about 1 hour 20 minutes, if it’s dark/non-stick it will take about 1 hour (these are {abouts} it will depend on your oven, you want the granola to have turned a lovely golden brown. It will get crispy after it’s removed from the oven and allowed to cool
stir the granola every 20 minutes (also for even baking, i would make sure to rotate the pans in your oven when stirring)
remove from the heat and allow to cool, this is when it will crisp up
add in dried fruit: cranberries, raisins, cherries, apples etc…

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