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Not As Good As Pork Cracklins

misadventures in cooking

Monday, March 29, 2010

Easter Egg Cookies

Where does the time go????

Last week, I baked and froze some cut-out cookies, so that I could leisurely decorate them later.

Today, I had an appointment in the morning that got postponed at the last moment until the afternoon. To accommodate, I canceled my prior afternoon appointment and proceeded to make royal icing. If you use gel food coloring, instead of liquid, it won't change the texture of your icing as much.

I had fun decorating my pre-baked cookies! I flubbed a few, but that's ok; they end up as "cook's reward". The only problem was, I still had quite a bit of icing left and I couldn't bear to throw away those pretty colors.

I decided to throw together another batch of cookies. That sort of negated the whole pre-bake-decorate-leisurely thing. I was reasonably patient as the second batch cooled, but my rescheduled appointment was looming. I decorated the new cookies, tore off my apron and left the kitchen in disarray.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Chocolate Cinnamon Babka

In January, Eve, Cheryl, Jess, & I met at Central Market to take a class from the legendary Peter Reinhart. The class was based on his most recent book, Artisan Breads Every Day.

Jess is on Spring Break this week and we were long overdue for a cooking project. She suggested babka, our favorite of the recipes that were demonstrated in class. We each made a batch of the dough last night.

Unfortunately, I fell awake at one-thirty-something in the morning and my second thought was "Oh no! I forgot the dough!" I was supposed to refrigerate it after its first rise. The recipe had an alarming amount of yeast -- two TABLESPOONS! -- and I had visions of exploding dough all over my kitchen. I leapt up and ran to check. All was well. I threw it in the fridge and went back to bed for what restless dream-filled sleep I could get.

Together this morning, Jess and I made double batches of the chocolate cinnamon filling and the streusel topping. Then we took turns rolling out the dough, sprinkling it with filling and rolling it up like a log. Each log was then split down the middle and criss-crossed, making two braided loaves.

During their second rise, Jess & I went on a grocery shopping excursion. When we got back, we put the bread in the oven to bake while we ate a virtuous but delicious lunch. We were rewarded with incredibly rich, flaky, buttery, chocolate-y, cinnamon-y goodness.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Smith Island Cake

I rarely get angry. I mostly get frustrated. I dissolve into tears, transforming into a crying, sobbing, weeping, inconsolable mess. When I've worked myself into that state, it's best that you not try to tease me into a better humor. Restrain your smart mouth.

Try pretty words. Try a tender kiss on the head. Though -- to be honest -- it's unlikely that either of those would have been successful when I saw that slide-age had occurred:

Smith Island Cake

p.s. Yes, of course it tastes good! That's not the point!

Monday, March 08, 2010

Whipped Cream Cake

This is one of the quicker, easier cakes in Rose's Heavenly Cakes. To make things even quicker and easier, I prepped it all on Saturday. Cream measured into a beaker with a lid, into the refrigerator. Dry ingredients whisked in a bowl with a lid, left on the countertop. Oven rack in correct position. Pan set out. Whisk attached to mixer. Everything ready so that on Sunday I could bake a cake in no time flat.

Except Sunday dinner was canceled. Gary wasn't feeling well and Eric had other plans. I ate Poached Flounder with Mint Beurre Blanc at 4:30 in the afternoon because I was hungry and had no reason to wait.

Problem was, I woke up wanting my Monday morning routine of coffee with leftover dessert from Sunday dinner. And there was no leftover dessert. Hmmm... just how quick and easy might it be to bake the cake right here, right now? We won't know until we try!

Turns out, very. Just in time for my second cup of coffee.

Whipped Cream Cake, Rose's Heavenly Cakes by Rose Levy Beranbaum

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookies

"Did you have this all planned out???"

Today, I thought I did. If I accomplished the tasks on my list, I'd get a prize. Incentives are good! But somehow I got sucked into reading blogs, including Anna's, and before I knew it I had a half-batch of ginormous cookies in the oven. That pretty much guaranteed that I wouldn't get my prize today. I will get it. Just not today.

Felix K.'s 'Don't even try to say these aren't the best you've ever eaten, because they are' Chocolate Chip Cookies