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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Measurement Conversion Kitchen Towel - Our New Product!

Just wanted to show you our new product. :) Click here to visit our Etsy page and see our new Measurement Conversion Kitchen Towel! Hopefully we can get it on soon, too.




Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sweet Melissa Sundays: Recipe Rewind! Caramel Apple Pie Filling


Sorry, I won't be making this week's recipe, the Pavlova Peach Melba for Sweet Melissa Sundays this week. I'm sorry Patty! Though it sounds delicious to me, I'm afraid it just wouldn't go over well in this house. Since I didn't have a chance to participate last week and I really wanted to make the Caramel Apple Pie, I decided to make that instead, but with a twist. I used Spike's idea and made a sort of pastry instead of an entire pie. Thanks for the idea, Spike'!

I also wanted to scale it down, so I used only 2 apples. I prepped the apples as the recipe stated, but added cinnamon to the mix and did a quicky version for the caramel sauce. Instead of making it from scratch, I used store bought caramel sauce. And since I was making it in puff pastry instead of pie form, it would require a lot less baking time, so I had to pre-bake my apple filling. I put the apple slices and caramel sauce in a glass dish, covered it in tin foil. I did 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

As that was baking, I was prepping the puff pastry:
I cut four sheets of puff pastry to about 4.5 inches by 8 inches, and cut slits on either side.

Then, I spooned some of the filling into the center of each sheet:


Then, you close up the pastries. Either lay them on top of each other, or sort of braid them:

Brush them with egg wash and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
After about 25 - 35 minutes in the oven at 350, VOILA:



Very, very good. Delicious warm, fresh from the oven, and I'd say, they're even better the next day warmed in the microwave for a few seconds.

Click here for the SMS post on Double Crusted Caramel Apple Pie, and here to visit Patty's blog, Birding Blossoms and Baking, to see this week's choice, the Pavlova Peach Melba. And be sure to check out the blog roll and see how these treats came out for the other SMS bakers!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sweet Melissa Sundays: Carrot Cake (Carrot Loaf?)

Carrot cake is definitely underrated. I was reminded of that after trying this week's recipe for Sweet Melissa Sundays, Carrot Cake, chosen by Julie of A Little Bit of Everything. I thought this recipe came out really quite delicious, and it was a cinch to make. The most time consuming part was shredding the carrots, and with a food processor that took all of 2 minutes.

My only changes to the recipe as it was written in the Sweet Melissa Baking Book was that I halved the recipe and made it in a loaf pan, instead of making the full two layer cake. It came out to be a short little loaf cake... I probably could have fit the entire recipe in the 9 x 5 loaf pan, but the halved version is a lot more appropriate for a two person household. :)

I also omitted the walnuts, and opted for a vanilla buttercream instead of the orange cream cheese frosting she recommends (Call me crazy but I'm not a big fan of cream cheese frosting).

This recipe went over well in this house. We've given pieces out to several people and it got rave reviews. It came out very moist and flavorful, and not at all too dense. There was a lot of cinnamon in the recipe, but I thought it created a great flavor - not overwhelming at all! And I was glad I changed it out for the Vanilla Buttercream - it turned out to be a great combination.

Thanks for picking this week's recipe, Julie! It was a total success. Be sure to see Julie's blog here for the recipe, and visit the blog roll to see how it went for the other SMS bakers.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Olive Oil Chocolate Chip Cookies

I'm always up for trying a new chocolate chip cookie recipe. So when our craving for cookies came the other night, I went in search of a recipe that sounded quick and easy. That's where these cookies from Cookie Madness. They're made with Olive Oil instead of butter (perfect, no waiting for butter to soften!) and can be done in one-bowl (easy clean-up!). Anna of Cookie Madness called the "Thick dense and hearty" cookies, "No-brainers" that Sounds perfect to me! I prepared the recipe entirely in the food processor because I was feeling particularly lazy and wanted to get as few things dirty as possible.

I only slightly changed the recipe, but I will post my changes below... Be sure to check out Anna's original post of the cookies HERE.

Olive Oil Chocolate Chip Cookies Makes about 14 - 17 cookies.
*2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
*1/3 cup Olive oil
*1 tsp vanilla
*1 large egg
*1 teaspoon baking powder
*a heading 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
*1 cup AP flour
*1/2 cup oats (old fashioned or quick) – ground in the food processor
*2 heaping tblspns jumbo bittersweet chocolate chips
*2 heading tblspns hershey's special dark chocolate chunks Anna's recipe called for: "2-3 oz (56-85 grams) dark chocolate, cut into chunks" but I always like to cut back on the chocolate in chocolate chip cookies because Dan isn't a big fan... plus I wanted to use a mix of dark chocolate (my fave) and bittersweet (Dan's fave) so thanks to my super-handy-dandy APRON I converted 1 oz to Two Tablespoons... and used: Two heaping tablespoons of each type of chocolate in my recipe... a little over one ounce of each.
*2 heaping tablespoons pecans (I scaled this back a bit too as we're not huge nut people)

Preheat to 350 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment or a silicone mat.
Grind the oats up in the food processor using the steel chopping blade. When chopped to the desired fine-ness (is that a word?) put in a small bowl. Add the flour, salt, and baking powder to the oats and mix to combine. Set aside.
Mix together the brown sugar, oil, vanilla and egg in the food processor using the dough blade. Add in the flour/oats mixture and blend until combined. Add the chocolate chips and nuts and stir with a spoon.
Using a 1 tablespoons cookie scoop, place dough onto cookie sheets, about 2 inches apart. When baked on the silicone mats, these didn't spread or flatten very much - they spread a little bit more so on the parchment but not considerably. Bake for 11-14 minutes. Cookies are done when edges are slightly golden.

The results? A super duper fast and easy recipe that yielded really great results (I mean, they were all gone in 3). A great recipe when you're really craving homemade cookies, you want 'em FAST, and you're feeling lazy. :)

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Cocoa Village Craft Fair March 6 - 7, 2010

Come visit the Smart Bakers at the Cocoa Village Craft Fair in Cocoa Village, Florida. If you happen to live in or be visiting the Central Florida area, be sure to stop by and check out our booth. We’ll be monogramming our aprons on the spot - so you can walk away with your personalized aprons within minutes! There are over a hundred other booths set up selling all different kinds of homemade items. Definitely worth a visit! The event goes until 5PM today, March 7th. Don’t miss it!

And some of our custom aprons:

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Banana Muffins with Gingersnap Crumble, and Brown Sugar Cinnamon Filling

I really don't like throwing away over-ripe bananas. I try to avoid it whenever possible. Usually, that means Banana Bread from my Grammy's trusted recipe. But this time when faced with two nearly black bananas sitting on the counter top, I made something a little more creative. How do Banana Muffins, with a Brown Sugar Cinnamon Filling, and a Gingersnap Cookie Crumble sound?? Yeah, sounds pretty good to me too.

First, I made Grammy's Banana Bread recipe, typed out just the way she explained it to me when I asked her for the recipe:

2 very ripe bananas, really mashed & set aside
1 stick of butter, melt in small sauce pan & set aside
1 1/2 C all purpose flour
3/4 C Sugar
2 eggs
1/4 C milk
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

G's directions:
In a shaker container with cover, shake eggs, milk & lemon juice.

Use largw mixing bowl. Add flour, sugar, salt & baking soda. Mix lightly.

Add milk, egg, lemon juice mixture. Stir with wooden spoon. Then add mashed bananas and stir. Lastly add melted butter and mix completely (not too much).

I used this batter to fill a cupcake pan up about 1/2 way, like so:

Then, I topped it with a generous portion of Brown Sugar Cinnamon Filling:
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
 mixed together with 4 tablespoons brown sugar
Like-a this:

Then, I topped them off with a bit more batter, and as much Gingersnap Cookie Crumble I could fit on there (See THIS post and the Sweet Melissa Baking book for the crumble recipe).

And voila:

(note the jealous pup in the background).

The muffins came out great. Very moist and delicious like banana bread, with the added taste of gingersnaps and brown-sugary-cinnamony filling. All reviewers agreed: Yum. I definitely recommend you try these out.


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