Sunday, November 22, 2009
Busy Busy Busy lately! As usual. School is nearing final projects time, the holidays are near, our aprons came out in the magazine, wedding planning, working... But since waffles was this week's recipe for Sweet Melissa Sundays, I made time in the schedule for a nice breakfast. :) I chose to forgo the brown sugar bananas because the waffles sounded good enough by themselves! Perhaps in the future I'll make the banana topping.
I made the recipe as is - the only difference is that I added a bit of cinnamon to the battle to go along with the nutmeg. It was actually a cinch to throw the ingredients together. Everything besides baking soda and eggs was mixed together the night before, and in the morning it was quickly ready to go into the waffle maker. I was a bit scared because it called for yeast, but I think it went ok. Did anyone's batter rise? The recipe didn't say that during the 8 hour room-temperature sitting period it was supposed to increase in volume... so when mine didn't I wasn't really discouraged. Did any one else's?
The waffles were delicious. I know Sweet Melissa said this recipe is not intended for a belgian waffle maker, but thats all I had... and they came out just fine. Perfectly fluffy and soft on the inside with a crispy outside. And when topped with powdered sugar, syrup and whipped cream - even better!!!! Daniel said of the waffle recipes we've made, this was "one of the best waffles so far".
Yum yum! Perfect Sunday morning breakfast. (We even have several left over for freezing, re-toasting, and topping with ice cream!) :) Check out Lauren of Fried Pickles and Ice Cream for the recipe or buy the Sweet Melissa Baking Book. And take a look at the rest of the SMS bakers' posts as well!!
And if you're bored, take a look at www.Salt101.com. It's fun!
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Ok! I have the most exciting news to deliver... the most exciting news this blog has EVER ever had. And now that it is OFFICIAL, I can safely put it on my blog (I haven't said anything yet because I didn't want to jinx it!).
Do you remember the apron me and Daniel invented? I've talked about it here and here. We even made a new Official Website for it: www.TheSmartBaker.com. Well, at the end of August, a representative from Food Network Magazine called us and told us they wanted to feature it in the December issue! Yes that's right. Little old us - in FOOD NETWORK MAGAZINE. We sent them my apron (a red one with an S for Stephanie on it), they did a photo-shoot and a phone interview with Daniel for all the details.
Well, the December issue hit newsstands today. We RUSHED on over to our local bookstore and picked up a copy.... or seven. :) In an article entitled, "10 Things You Need To Know" in the Food News section, is a picture and description of our apron!
Check it out:
It says, "The upside-down writing looks like a printing error, but when you're wearing the Measurement Conversion Apron you just life the bottom half to read the numbers right-side up."
Cool, huh? I never thought I'd be featured in a magazine alongside my favorite Food Network Chefs!
The December issue has a TON of cool stuff in it [ including our apron :) ] so BE SURE TO GO BUY A COPY AND CHECK IT OUT (look for us on pg 44!!!!!)
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Recently while shopping we saw one of those enormous more-than-family-sized boxes of Rice Krispies cereal and decided that we should get it... with only two people and a shih tzu at home, we must have thought it was a good idea at the time to buy 700 LBS of the same kind of cereal for some reason. I think Daniel said this would force me to make his favorite rice krispy treats more often (the mexican vanilla ones... though if we made them often enough to get rid of the box, Daniel's love for the treats would quickly fade into totally-over-it-ness). So when I saw this recipe for cookies with rice krispies in it, I bookmarked it immediately knowing I'd be able to use up some of our supply of the cereal. The original recipe is from Imperial Sugar's website, and it was adapted on Cookie Madness here. I made some more changes to the recipe.
Rice Krispy Chocolate Chip Cookies, adapted from Imperial Sugar and Cookie Madness
makes about 24 cookies
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 large egg, room temperature
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 heaping cup Rice Krispies cereal
Preheat to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugars together. Add the vanilla and egg, mixing just until incorporated.
In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together to mix. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture and stir until almost blended. Add the chips and cereal and stir until mixed.
Drop by tablespoons, spacing 2 ½ inches apart, onto cookies sheets. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until slightly golden brown around edges.
The cookies came out great. The crunchy from the cereal mixes really well with the chocolate chips. And it really was a cinch to put together - very quick! Would definitely make these again! (Maybe a good Christmas cookie?)
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Typical Sunday morning... when it first started. I woke up far too early and was unable to go back to sleep, Daniel and the dog were still sound asleep and cuddling, so I came downstairs to start baking. After my dry ingredients were mixed together and set aside, and the pears were diced.... we got the phone call that we had to leave. Why? Because we went to the hospital to go welcome our new nephew into the world!!!!!! Baby boy is beautiful and healthy and mommy is doing well. It is a very exciting day here in this family!!!!!!!!!!!!
So muffins seem a little boring in comparison! But I'll post them anyway. :)
I made the muffins exactly as the recipe says, minus the cranberries (we just were not feeling it). I cheated and bought pre-made old-fashioned gingersnap cookies at the store. The only change I made to the crumble was to omit the extra ground ginger - my gingersnap cookies were gingery enough.
The muffins are excellent. And the crumble is extra excellent. In fact, I think it is now currently my favorite crumble recipe. It's going to be my go-to recipe for crumble for a while (maybe with a little bit of cinnamon mixed in).
Thanks to Jennifer of Maple N’ Cornbread for choosing this week's treat and posting the recipe on her blog!!! Make sure you visit the rest of the Sweet Melissa Bakers to see how their muffins came out.
Sunday, November 1, 2009
"Stale? Really? Why do you need stale bread?"
"I don't know, its what the recipe says. I need stale bread to make it custardy, not soggy"
That was me & Daniel's conversation. Can you tell we've never done bread pudding before? Never made it, never even tasted it. So this was an entirely new one for us. I love that about SMS - it encourages me to try making things I've never really thought of doing before. Thanks for picking it, Candace!
Sweet Melissa's recipe for Sweet Almond Bread Pudding called for a 1LB loaf of brioche. I just assumed that the bakery at the supermarket would have one. At one supermarket, the woman stocking the freshly baked bread looked at me after I asked her if they carried brioche and said,
lady: "How do you spell that?"
lady: "...I've never heard of that before."
What?!!! A fluke, I thought, I'll go to another supermarket. NOPE. No luck. And no challah either - or else I'd have subbed that. So I bought a French sourdough loaf because I had no choice! It was either that or potato rolls. So I took my not-the-right-loaf, my heavy cream, my bag of frozen raspberries, and I headed home.
Since my bread was not stale yet, I cut it into chunks and let it sit out overnight. By morning, it reached a perfect state of stale-ness.
The recipe says to toast them a little bit, so while they were drying in the oven, I prepared my custard. This recipe was super simple and quick! By the time the bread cubes were done toasting, my custard was just starting to form little bubbles along the edges - perfect timing!
I followed the recipe exactly as the book says, except I halved it, (used the wrong bread - but its not my fault!), and topped the bread pudding before baking with almonds and cinnamon-sugar instead of just regular sugar because everything is better sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. I popped the bread pudding pan into a larger pan filled with water, and 1 hour and fifteen minutes later, out it came, smelling great.
For some reason, I completely forgot to prepare the Raspberry Sauce, even though I bought the necessary ingredients for it. Oops! I should have realized when Daniel said, "It needs something" but instead of triggering something in my head, I said, "whipped cream?" I have a lot of assignments due really soon in school, so my brain is a little preoccupied. :)
As Dan was adding some whipped cream to his, I looked away from a second, and looked back to see:
Doesn't it look like she's saying, "What? No, Mom. I didn't eat any whipped cream." And yes, she's wearing a little bit of a costume... the part she didn't shake off.
Anyway, it came out really really good. I think the addition of cinnamon-sugar was perfecto. And this would have probably come out even better if I had a) Had the right bread and b) Remembered to make the raspberry sauce. Thanks for choosing this week's recipe, Candace!! Make sure you check out her blog, Candy Girl, for the recipe. And check out the rest of the SMS bakers' versions of Sweet Melissa's Sweet Almond Bread Pudding. Hope everyone enjoyed their halloween!
**PS - I have a favor to ask! Has anyone reading this moved to the United States from a different country when you were school-aged? And received English instruction in school? For my education class in graduate school, I need to interview you! If there is anyone out there like this and would be willing to answer a few questions for me, please let me know. Thank you!