Hurray For Happy Accidents!

I guess I’m on a be flexible  and chill and not so perfectionist kick lately, because something happened with baking the other day that otherwise would have made me stress out and possibly start over.  It was a good lesson for me and something fun I figured I’d share, so here we go!

 

I was making the brownies I love yesterday, and my brain was just not functioning in the brownie frame of mind.  I’m so used to making cookie bars that even though I was reading the recipe for the brownies, which says you need half a cup of flour, I put a full cup of flour in which is the amount for cookie bars.  I had already put in every other dry ingredient on top of it, so it’s not like I could jus tpull out half a cup of flour.  Oh no!  My brownies were ruined.
Or were theeeey~

 

My fam was like “Don’t worry about it” but I was like “Well the recipe takes 2 eggs, so what should I do?  It may not be the same consistency” so in the end we decided to just throw one egg in there to make it a cookie bar doughy consistency.  Having a full cup of flour in there made the chocolate taste a little less prominent, but I was eating the dough from the bowl that was left over (because come on, who doesn’t) and it tasted really good!  Like a chocolate sugar cookie, basically so I was really curious to see how the texture of the brownies would be after baking.

 

After the normal bake time, pulled it out and it was done – which is normally what happened with the brownies.  But I noticed it was a bit more fudgey than the more cakey brownies I make with the 2 eggs, and half a cup of flour.  Turns out, they were more fudgey, it was so delicious!!  It’s less chocolatey, but you can taste all of the flavors added into the brownie instead of just chocolate.  It somehow came out richer, probably because of that fudge texture.  I used baking powder because that’s what the brownie recipe needs, instead of baking soda which is what’s used for the cookie bars and it just turned out to be soooo good, it’s hard to describe!  And to think, I wouldn’t have found this new way to make brownies if I hadn’t “messed up” the recipe.  Today I ran out of vanilla extract, so am trying it with nutmeg, and it also makes a completely different tasting brownie!  Well, haven’t tried the brownie yet but the dough tasted sort of like a coffee, red velvety fudge.  Ugh this recipe is just so good, looove it!  I like how I can add frosting and other toppings in this because of the diluted  chocolate also, because the recipe I normally use is really rich from the getgo so it’s hard to add things.

 

But yeah, I’m loving not stressing so much about things being perfect, and figuring out how to work through problems instead of just starting over from scratch when something doesn’t turn out quite right.  This is the first time I drastically diverted form a recipe as well, and it’s really fun being creative in the kitchen – can’t wait to do it more!  I’m really curious to see how 2 eggs will work with the 1 cup of flour, we’ll see if I try to do that next time I make brownies!

Baked Good of the Month – Yeastless Bread

This month I went for something not sweet, because I’ve had the recipe for a while.  I have yeast now, but when I looked for this recipe, I didn’t have yeast, and wanted to know if I could make bread without yeast.  I found a country style bread recipe I’ve had saved for months, and decided to give it a go!  I’m surprised that you can use baking powder instead of yeast to make bread, it comes out exactly the  same to me.

All in all, it is a really good recipe!  It’s super flexible, too:    You need 1 and ½ cups of any liquid for it, but it literally can be any liquid.  If you want a tea time bread, use a juice, want a more traditional biscuit taste, use milk or water (can be non-dairy milk, also) and the same goes for the fat you need to use.  You need ¼ of a cup of a fat, so like oil or butter.  I opted to use vegetable oil.  My brother says he likes the taste of the bread with the oil, but I think next time I’m going to try using butter because I’m not a huge fan of being able to taste the vegetable oil in the bread.  Other than that, it comes out really flaky and tastes great!  It’s an awesome base recipe, like I said, and I can’t wait to do other t hings with it, like dust the bread with sugar and cinnamon or actually use juice as a liquid.  One of my favorite things is getting a super flexible recipe  (like my cookie bar recipe) and using it a ton of different ways.  I’m sort of running out of recipes to try that I haven’t done already, so I really need to look for some more haha.  I have a few different cookies I haven’t done, and some different ways to make cheesecake, and pies and banana bread I really want to do. Oh, also custard!  So I guess when I think about it, I do have a lot of things I want to bake still XD

Baked Good of the Month: Smore Pie

This baked good is a new landmark, because it’s the first one that I made the recipe myself!  Well sort of.  It was a few recipes put together to make this one, and needs some tweaking but…I did it all with my noggin instead of just following a recipe verbatim, so woo!

 

A while ago I got the idea to make a smore pie.  Took me a while to figure out how to do it, but after brain storming I figured I’d do it this way:  Get a gram cracker crust, use my brownie recipe, bake it then melt marshmellow and put it on top after baking.  It tastes delicious, but a few things need to be fixed to be a bit easier.  The main thing is, when to use the marshmellows.  Like I melted them fine but trying to get them on the top of the brownie before it solidified back into being super sticky was a feat all it’s own.  Had to use a lot of marshmellows too, but it worked!  It also majorly got stuck to my hands while trying to get it on, a major pain XD I think next time I’m going to try using marshmellow fluff, or maybe making marshmellow flavored ganache or meringue.  I’m torn about using the crust, as well:  my brother likes it, my Mom and I are iffy on it.  I can’t really taste it to be perfectly honest, and my Mom came up with the idea to crumble the crackers on top of the brownie instead of using a crust, which I actually like.  I think that way, I could actually taste the gram crackers with the marshmellow, and the chocolate would be easier to taste too.  But overall this first go was a good success:  I like the texture of everything, just have to stream line the process a bit more.
Not sure when I want to try it again, because I’m not really a huge smore eater.  It was just an idea I really wanted to try before going to something else, so glad it worked!

Baked Good of the Month: Cookie Bar Double Feature

I have a confession to make:  I’m in love with cookie bars.  After my mishap with making them last time I made chocolate chip cookies, I’ve just fallen in love with them.  You don’t have to worry about sectioning them off like cookies, or them bleeding together by accident, and they taste just like cookies, only they’re the thickness of bars with a nice crunchy top like a cookie and mmm they’re so good!
Needless to say, my baked good of the month is a double feature!  I’ve been in the mood for oatmeal raisin cookies, but didn’t like how big a batch oatmeal cookie recipes I found make.  So, I looked up an oatmeal raisin cookie bar recipe, and made that over the weekend.  After those were so freaking delicious, I wanted to try using the exact same recipe with chocolate chips, and it works like a charm!  The dough with chocolate chips is a lot stickier, because there aren’t any oats to absorb the moisture, but both taste phenomenal.  I don’t think I’ll ever make a cookie again, cookie bars all the way!
I thought it was pretty interesting, when I paid attention to what was in the recipe.  The cookie bar recipe is exactly like the brownie recipe I use, melted butter and all, except you don’t add cocoa powder, instead adding a full cup of sugar (for brownies, it’s one third cup cocoa powder and one half cup sugar).  Most cookie recipes have half brown and half white sugar, but I’ve never been one to do that and just use a full cup of white sugar.  I like the taste of the cookie a lot better that way, and it’s never disappointed.

Another interesting thing is the butter:  most, if not every, cookie recipe calls for softened butter beats into sugar to cream it.  But these use melted butter, and honestly I like the cookie a lot more with melted butter instead.  Last time, I did the creaming process, and it makes a bit more of a crispier cookies.  It’s still soft in the middle, but more of a doughy soft instead of a chewy soft.  I’m more of a chewy soft person, so the melted butter works better for me.  If you prefer a bit more of a traditional cookie with crispy sides and a doughy center, then cream the sugar with salted butter.

 

I’m really glad I experimented with this recipe to make chocolate chip cookies.  I’ve never tried to experiment with another recipe to do something else, and was half tempted to just use a chocolate chip cookie bar recipe, but I really wanted to try seeing how the exact same recipe from an oatmeal raisin cookie bar would work with chocolate chips.  So glad I did, because now I have a master recipe for cookie bars!  It’s interesting too, because adding different things after making the dough makes for a different texture of cookie.  With the oatmeal raisin, the bars came out a lot more chewy and gooey, like oatmeal raisin cookies usually do.  But with chocolate chips, it got that crisp chewy texture chocolate chip cookies usually have.  So I’m really excited to try out adding different topping to these bars, and seeing what other things result in texture-wise.
I think I’m finally mustering up the courage to try my own recipes:  I have my own ideas, but just haven’t had everything to test them out.  A few of them are a smore pie, which honestly is the one I want to try out the most XD

 

So that’s my baking adventure for the month!  It was a pretty delicious one.  I want to say these chocolate chip bars will last longer than a day, but the oatmeal raisin ones only lasted one day so…yeah not gonna happen XD

Baked Good of the Month, Chocolate Chip Cookies (sort of)

The baked good I made this month was chocolate chip cookie…muffin…pie…things!  Ok, so they were supposed to be chocolate chip cookies, but they didn’t’ turn out that way.  They tasted like chocolate chip cookies (were really delicious) but the shape wasn’t at all like a cookie for either batch I made.  So, story time!

 

When I bake things, I use a toaster oven.  For a multitude of reasons:  It saves on my gas, and all in all is easier for me to use.  I want to upgrade to a table top oven, so I can make full batches and bigger things but that’ll come later.  Because I bake in a toaster oven, I have to make smaller batches of things, and it’s hard for me to put the little tray in while the oven is warm without it being crooked.  So, I try to not have to do that, and one of my tricks is using little serving trays, or pie tins, or these cute little six count toaster oven muffin tins I have.  I figured, “I’ll just put my cookies in the muffin tin, no problem!” and loaded a ton of dough in (I like thick cookies).  Not only did it take three times as long to bake, but my cookies rose into muffins!  I didn’t know that could happen, since I had no baking powder in it and only used baking soda.  But when I thought about it, it makes sense because the cookies spread when baking, and when they had nowhere to spread out their natural way to go is up! but it was cool finding out that they could rise like that, I wasn’t expecting it at all!  I creamed the sugar with an electric mixer, which my Mom went “Isn’t that just for making a cake?” so I think the air in the creaming process can make the cookies rise if you put them in something like a muffin tin, or cake tin.  The consistency the day of is like a muffin, but letting them set overnight makes them taste like those really delicious cookie bars you can buy from those Nestle Tollhouse stands in the mall, so good!  I assume it’s how those cookie cakes are made, too:  it has a cookie texture, while being doughy and thick and really tasty.  So although I didn’t wind up making cookies with that batch, I learned how to make cookie bars!

 

The second batch, I made in a nine inch pie tin.  I thought I spaced out the cookies enough, but since I like thick cookies, I had big globs of dough not spaced far enough apart.  This batch cooked a lot faster than the cookie muffins/bars, (about fifteen minutes) but when I pulled them out, they had all merged into this giant, nine inch cookie.  So, once again, something different coming out of a cookie haha.  It was like those giant Pizza Hut cookies you can get, so I took a pizza cutter and sliced it into pie slices.  This ginormus cookie had the consistency of a cookie, really crispy on the edges, while being really gooey on the inside.  The day after, they got to a really soft cookie, the kind I love!

 

So all in all, a baking success!  I love those “mistakes” that turn into something completely new, it was really fun discovering all of these things that I could make, just by mishaps happening.  Now I know what to do differently next time:  I read another recipe that said to space the cookies 3 inches apart for bigger cookies, and to spoon them out in a ¼ cup measurement.  In a toaster oven that’d probably make about four cookies at a time, but I’m used to that so no big deal.  It’s funny though, the recipe said it made 24 cookies, and I’m assuming it meant Chips Ahoy sized cookies, because with the size of cookie I like, I got about ten cookies.  I like this recipe a lot, but for the size of cookie I like to make at home I think I’ll switch to a bigger batch recipe.  I’ll probably get 20 cookies out of a recipe for 40, I really like big cookies ok!  If I wanted a tiny little thing to munch on, I’d go buy a pack of Chips Ahoy:  Not gonna spend all of that time making homemade cookies, and not having them be ginormus and indulgent and delectable!

 

That was my baking adventure for this month. Not sure if I’ll make anything else (I probably will because we’re stocking up on flour soon) but I’m excited I made cookies, because I’ve been wanting to for a long time.  Next I want to either make thumbprint or oatmeal raisin cookies, I haven’t decided yet.  Ooooh, or I could smoosh oatmeal raisin and chocolate chip together and make oatmeal raisin chocolate chip bars, yum!  Baking cookies was really fun, and really easy.  Can’t wait to try making more!

Baked Good of the Month: Cheesecake

One of my resolutions was to bake a baked good every month, but more specifically I wanted to bake a new baked good that I hadn’t cooked before every month.  SO like, I’ve made brownies before, but that wouldn’t count because I’ve made brownies before.  Which, I’ve been craving brownies so I probably will make them  soon XD

 

I really wanted to know how to make my favorite dessert of all time, cheesecake!  So I hunted down a recipe, but thought it was too big for what I wanted to do (I honestly can’t bring myself to use 2 packages of cream cheese for one dessert, that’s cray) plus, I live with three people, so a cheesecake that big would be a lot to eat.  I luckily found this eight inch cheesecake recipe, and tried it, to good success!  I say good and not great, because for some reason one of the sides hasn’t fully set, and is still a little custard-y after a few days.  I wanted to look up why that happened, but I feel like it had to do with the sour cream topping part.  When I pulled it out of the oven the second time, I put the cake on an oven mit I didn’t realize was on the counter and some of the sour cream part spilled over.  Either that, or I didn’t mix the egg in fully?  Who knows.  I’ve been eating it anyways, but it’s slowly been setting while one side set overnight.  Super annoying!  But the one set side has a really good texture, it’s just the middle part that is all semi-goopy still.  Ok, when I looked up the recipe to link here, it had ¼ cup of milk as an ingredient!  I swear it wasn’t there when I first looked at it, so I wonder if that would make a difference O.O this is so baffling, I know I didn’t skip over it!

 

Either way, it’s really easy to make and I’m excited I can make it!  Now I don’t have to spend tons of money on a cheesecake if I don’t want to XD

 

I used a pre-made crust, so next time I want to make my own with some cookies or something.  But the pre-made gram cracker crust tastes delicious with the filling, and it gave me an idea to another dessert I want to try that me and my brother sort of just made up on the fly haha.  Can you tell I like baking way more than cooking?  I mean I cook too but Baking is a lot funner both to eat and to make, it’s really creative for me!

My First Attempt at Making Truffles

I was debating posting this or my resolutions from this year and what I did/what I am carrying over and planning for next year, but I figured I’d post this one and do that next week since it will officially be the new year.

 

I’ve wanted to make candies for a really long time.  Another goal on my baking bucket list (I have a lot of those) and when I looked up how to make truffles, it was super easy and I had everything you’d need for it.  All you need is 12 ounces of chocolate (1 and a half cups) 1/3 of a cup of heavy cream, and that’s it for the base.  The rest of it is up to your flavor preference, but the recipe I had said to add vanilla extract, so I did as well.  Then, just throw it into the fridge, let it set, and after about an hour or 2 you can form the chocolate into balls.  I’ve seen some recipes add things to the chocolate after it’s set, and that’s what I did, but one thing I did wrong was adding some frozen blueberries that were defrosted, but still wet.  That totally messed up my truffles!  When I looked at the chocolate after putting the blueberries in, there were major watery patches that kept the chocolate all mushy, and not let them harden.  It still tasted good (they come out tasting delicious) but having a watery surprise was not welcome lol.  Next time, I’m going to make a fruit syrup if I want to add a filling, I think that would work a lot better because I tend to have frozen fruit on hand.  Plus, even though the blueberry was able to be tasted, it was kind of weak against the chocolate so I’m definitely going to try either dry candies, nuts, powder or fruit syrup in my next batch.  Another thing I may try is melting a bit of butterscotch chips in with the chocolate, that would probably taste really good.  But yeah, TL;DR:  don’t use watery substances in your chocolates.

 

The second thing that I know I’m going to do, is something I probably should have done the first attempt.  I actually thought about doing it after I was done shaping this first batch of truffles, and was like erg why didn’t I think of it sooner.  But, using some sort of chocolate mold.  Most recipes say you take a spoon and shape them into balls, but when I did that it was just a huge mess that half got on my hands.  Next time, I’m going to use an ice tray or pan or something:  Just anything that can keep its shape that I can pour instead of having to shape with my hands.  I really only take pictures of finished products when I think they look good, and these looked like disproportioned  blobs of goop, instead of pretty little truffle balls haha.  Live and learn, I suppose, but it was frustrating to spend all of that time working on them and have them look like crap.  I estimate with the recipe I used, you’d get eight truffles, but because I had problems with the mixture sticking to my fingers, and to my spoon, I got about six.  So yeah, next time, the process I plan to do is make my filling (if it isn’t powder I can just add) melt the chocolate and cream, add my fillings/extra flavor agents, pour into a mold and then let them set.  I think that process for me would be a lot easier, and make a far more visually appealing product.  I feel like using a teaspoon or table spoon works better for sighted bakers, but not for me.

 

I don’t want to use all of the chocolate chips I have left before going shopping again, so I think I’ll just pick up an extra bag to mess with and attempt some more truffles.  It was fun trying to make some for Christmas, and it’s going to be fun making some more and playing around with them:  They’re so adaptable, and you can add anything to them, so it’s going to be fun experimenting with different truffle flavor combonations.