Tag Archives: Baking

Hey Punkin!

Even though the temperatures in New York feel more like June than October, I can not help but crave everything pumpkin. I suddenly remembered a point last year when I went to the grocery store to get a can of pumpkin and they were sold out. I would not let that happen again. Thankfully, they were fully stocked and I am now the proud owner of six cans of pure, delicious pumpkin. Don’t judge.

On the menu:
Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies
Adapted from this recipe at AllRecipes.com

1 cup pure canned pumpkin
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp milk
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix together pumpkin, sugar, vegetable oil, and egg. In a separate bowl, soft together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Dissolve the baking soda in the milk. Add to the flour mixture. Add flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture until completely blended. Add vanilla and chocolate chips.

Drop cookies by spoonful onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes, or until the edges are brown*. Let cool for at least ten minutes, or until you literally can not take it anymore. Pour a glass of milk. Eat your cares away.

*Note: these cookies are like little pillows of heaven, soft and cakey and essentially perfection. They will still be soft when you pull them out of the oven. Also, they do not spread so you can put them close together on the tray.

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Happy National Pretzel Day!

I know these look like tiny blobs, but I promise they taste like tiny blobs of perfection

Remember that time I tried to make pretzels (in honor of National Pretzel Day!) and used three cups of flour instead of four? And the dough stuck to my hands like glue and I collapsed in a fit of laughter on my own kitchen floor at my own stupidity and the cat stared at me like I was nuts? Remember that? That was fun.

My pretzels are not pretty. But if you have any sort of artistic flair, you’ll make yours look much lovelier than mine.

On the menu:
“Mall” pretzels (they really do taste like Auntie Anne’s!)
Adapted from this recipe at AllRecipes.com

1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/8 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups warm water
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons baking soda
2 tablespoons butter, melted
For topping: raisins (press these into the pretzel dough right before you bake them) and cinnamon sugar, or salt, or sauteed butter and minced garlic, or a drizzle of sweetened cream cheese

In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast, brown sugar and salt in 1 1/2 cups warm water. Stir in flour, and knead dough on a floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, and turn to coat the surface. Cover, and let rise for one hour in a warm spot (you can turn your oven to its lowest setting, let it warm up, then turn it off and keep the door closed. This is the perfect environment to get those little yeast cells to multiply). NOTE: Spray whatever you use to cover the bowl with (a towel, plastic wrap, etc.) with cooking spray and it won’t stick to the dough once it rises.

Combine 2 cups warm water and baking soda in an 8 inch square pan. After dough has risen, cut into 12 pieces. Roll each piece into a 3 foot rope, pencil thin or thinner (these suckers SWELL as you can see from my tiny blob photo so do make them as thin as your dough will allow). Twist into a pretzel shape, and dip into the baking soda solution. Place on well-greased cookie sheets, and let rise 15 to 20 minutes.

Bake at 450 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown.

*You’ll want to brush melted butter and salt or cinnamon sugar or icing (whatever your topping of choice) right before you serve them. If you brush the butter on and then store them, they’ll get soggy.

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Some people eat to live… we are not those people

My family has many traditions, most of them based on food. I’m pretty sure that when asked “What would you grab from the house in the event of a fire?” my parents would answer the same: the dog and the Adirondack Country Cookbook. I could be blindfolded with my nose plugged and still recognize the taste of the pancakes and the cinnamon swirl raisin bread. Since this cookbook is no longer around (or if it is, PLEASE LET ME KNOW! Seriously… we’ve been searching) I pdf’ed the infamous raisin bread recipe, sent it to one of my favorite childhood neighbors, and saved it on my hard drive in case our decrepit old family copy of the cookbook bites the dust.

It’s all about preserving the recipes, people. I mean… the memories. It’s all about preserving the MEMORIES.

On the menu:
Spiral Cinnamon Raisin Bread

If you are Carol Knapp… or you know Carol Knapp… let me know. This bread deserves many kudos. Thanks, Carol!

This bread can be served as is, but I like mine toasted with butter. But you probably already knew that I liked mine with a little more butter, now didn’t you?

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Donuts, Donuts: The More You Eat the More You Go Nuts

I love the TV show “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” on the Food Network, where chefs and restaurateurs talk about the most delicious meals they’ve ever had. It prompted me to go to Serious Pie and Dahlia Bakery in Seattle, and order the Yukon Gold Potato Pizza at Five Points in Manhattan. So when I watched the episode on snacks and saw the donut muffin at Downtown Bakery and Creamery in Healdsburg, California, I knew I had to recreate this little piece of heaven. It’s a DONUT. That you BAKE. In your own OVEN. No frying, no oil, minimal mess but the same fluffy, crunchy-crusted, sweet and spicy treat you come to expect from a donut. Commence lip smacking.

On the menu:
Best Baked Donuts
from the classic upstate New York cookbook, Applehood and Mother Pie
Makes 18 donuts

1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
3 cups flour
4 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Blend 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp butter with 1 cup of sugar
Add eggs and mix well
Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg
Add to butter sugar mixture
Blend in milk and mix thoroughly
Fill muffin tins 2/3 full and bake at 350 degrees for 17 to 20 minutes (the donuts will be brown on the sides but not on top, so don’t wait until they’re visibly brown on top to take them out)
Meanwhile, combine the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar with 1/2 tsp cinnamon
Melt the remaining 6 Tbsp of butter
While the donuts are still warm, dip the tops in butter and then coat in cinnamon sugar

These would be perfect at a brunch as a sweet complement to a savory main course. Or if you just can’t make it to brunch, they’re perfect as a midnight snack, too. Not that I ate any at midnight. I’m just… saying.

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Mama Said

Since I started this blog, I’m proud to say I’ve become a source of information for my friends and family. I’ve been asked what I would make with the contents of a friend’s fridge, why does meat need to rest after cooking but before cutting (juice redistribution!), and what exactly makes a caramelized onion… caramelized.

Usually I have all the answers.

Okay, fine… sometimes I have some answers.

And when I don’t, I look to my favorite sources (most are listed at the right). When Mom asked if I had any ideas on keeping bread dough from sticking to the towel after it’s risen, I thought to ask the experts at The Kitchn.  And seeing as one of their editors is named Joann Miller (minus the ‘e’ but close enough), it seemed only fitting.

Apparently, they thought my question was interesting enough to post. So proud.

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Just a taste

I have a post that I’m dying to share but seeing as the dish is a “gift” of sorts, I don’t want to ruin the surprise in case the giftee happens to read this blog. And so, friends, I give you a teaser. Check back tomorrow night for the big reveal…

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