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.

My First Apple Cinnamon Bread

Hey guys!  As you know, I have been on a major baking kick lately.  So far, I’ve made brownies and…that’s about it other than this!  I have been wanting to make a bread for the longest time and did one last week after I made another batch of brownies.  I originally wanted to make a banana bread, but to get a good flavor from bananas you have to wait for them to get to that mushy consistency, and my family always eats bananas pretty fast.  So I thought about the other fruits we’ve had around this fall, and saw our apples and bam apple cinnamon bread came to me!

 

Apple cinnamon bread displayed on a lazy suzan

I hope it looks as good as it tasted, because it came out so good.  It had this really great muffin consistency, and it just got better and better tasting as the days went on.  I loved having it with my coffee!  I forgot one ingredient (the milk) but I’m not quite sure what it was supposed to do, because the bread tasted fine as is – I’m guessing it makes the cake a bit more moist, but the muffin texture was really great for me and I probably would leave it out anyways.  Forgot to add the cinnamon drizzle on the top before baking too, but adding it on afterwards was fine, also.
I was really surprised when the batter was done.  I was expecting it to be more of a fudgy, or cakey texture but it was like a dough.  One of my favorite parts of the baking process is everything combining together, and being able to smell the 2nd to last product of what you’ve done, and this one just tasted so yummy!  I am definitely going to use this bread recipe as my master bread recipe, I highly recommend it!

 

Below is the recipe if you want to use it.  I wish I could remember where I got it, but I looked for a bread recipe I wanted to use so long that I have a few with a few sources.  Just as a note:  A banana bread recipe is pretty similar, and I didn’t use apple sauce, and used oil instead and it was fine.  I also added actual apples, and it baked up fine, s if you want to add chopped fruit to this recipe it doesn’t change the end result.

 

 

Apple Cinnamon Bread Recipe

 

BREAD INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider (or milk)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon apple pie spice (or more cinnamon)

TOPPING INGREDIENTS

  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

DIRECTIONS

1Preheat the oven to 350° and grease a 9×5 loaf pan.

2Make the topping first: in a small bowl, mix sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.

3In a large bowl, combine butter, sugar, apple sauce, apple cider, and eggs. Stir until smooth.

4Add flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and apple pie spice. Stir until all the dry ingredients are incorporated and there are no dry pockets left. Pour into prepared pan sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture.

5Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

 

Hope your holiday baking is going well!  I think the last few things I’m going to make closer to Christmas are some really decadent  chocolate peppermint cookies, and a cake.  What have you been baking this year?

My First Baking Victory, Brownie Success!

I’ve recently started actually getting into cooking and baking, and have been loving it.  I’m more of   a cooker than a baker for now, simply because I’ve been really nervous about baking something, and messing it up.  A few days ago, I got over that hurdle, and the results didn’t suck!

 

I’ve been collecting a ton of recipes for different sauces, dishes, and baked goods, and only have been trying the ones for sauces and cooking.  I know baking is more of a science, and if you mess that up then it just comes out wonky, but a few days ago I decided to get over that, and make some brownies from scratch.  Not only was the lack of leeway in the recipe a major nerve wracking factor to me, but cooking something for other people has made me really, really nervous because what if they don’t like it, or I ruin it?  But my family was just like “Whatever it’s just us” so I figured why not lol.

 

I got some minor help from my Mom, but not really – I did all of the mixing, and dishing out and stuff, she just made sure the dial on the oven was in the right place, and made sure I had the right ingredients and right sized measuring cups/spoons.  I’m glad she did that, because I thought some measuring spoons I use were different measurements, and now I know where certain ingredients are that I didn’t know where they were (baking powder and white flour, to name a few).

 

After all of my anxieties, it was super easy to bake some brownies!  They came out so delicious, and I’m so excited that I did my first baked good and it didn’t turn out like junk.  It’s majorly boosted my baking and cooking confidence, and I’m looking at some other breads and cakes to try this weekend (I’m looking to do an apple cinnamon bread or an easy cake, we’ll see).  I wish I had some pictures of the brownies, but we literally ate them all in a day and there were only about four left on day two, I’m glad they were such a hit!  Now I can go into the kitchen with a lot more confidence, like the other day I made pancakes and was really confident in flipping them, when they usually come out as a folded over mess.

 

I was afraid to bake for a long time, and now I don’t know what I was afraid about.  Sure there will be mishaps in the kitchen, but I’ll just take it as a learning experience if it does happen.  As long as the end product tastes delicious, I’ll say my recipe was a success!  I also can’t wait to start adding my own flare to some baked goods, too.  It’s going to be super fun to do, especially with the holidays coming up!