Archive | December, 2009

Christmas baking…not so much

21 Dec

As you may have noticed I have not updated my blog in a while.  The holiday season tends to be busy so I haven’t been spending much time in the kitchen. I had planned to do the bulk of my Christmas baking this past weekend, but I had a slight change of plans that led to little time in the kitchen as well as being terribly exhausted. 

I didn’t come down with a terrible bug, nothing horrible happened.  Actually something very excited happened on Friday.  My husband and I adopted a 3-month old puppy. As you can see from her picture she is extremely cute and when I saw her puppy eyes I fell immediately in love. 

Her name is Charlie and she comes from the pound.  Someone actually surrendered her for reasons unknown.  She’s healthy and is adapting to her new home very well.  We are not sure what kind of dog she is, the pound seems to think she’s a German Shepard cross.  So as you can imagine life with a new puppy means very little sleep and 3AM walks, so there is also an adapting period for us.  While she has brought so much excitement into our home I still miss my baking.  Hopefully I’ll be alert enough tonight to ease my way back into the kitchen and whip up some Christmas cookies..and maybe even some puppy treats!

Thanks for checking in and I will update soon!

Tarte Tatin

10 Dec

Well winter has hit Toronto.  I knew it was too good to be true, almost half way through the month and not a trace of snow, well until this morning. Once we get the first snowfall the summer days of just a couple of months ago are nothing but a faint and distant memory.  I would post a picture of the first snowfall, but it actually looks pretty nasty outside.  You see first it snowed, then it rained, and now it’s nothing but a slushy filthy mess.  Yep, that’s pretty typical of the first snowfall….nothing pretty about it my friends.

I really don’t mind the snow, when it’s the nice fluffy kind reminiscent of a country road painting.  It’s the darn cold that I have an issue with.  Aside from what it does to my hair, it’s just unbearable.  And it doesn’t even get that cold here compared to other parts of the country. It days like this that I find the most comfort in baking, especially on days when venturing outside seems like mission impossible.  Enter the Tarte Tatin in all its buttery goodness.  Have you ever had a slice of warm tarte tatin? No, well you absolutely must.  It’s pretty much the French version of apple pie, just with a heck of a lot more butter.

I know you’re thinking that it’s probably more butter than your arteries can handle, but looking at the positive it also has fruit and we all know fruit is good for you even if they are swimming in a sea of butter and caramelized sugar.  Now if that doesn’t peak your interest I would really be at a loss for words.

The tarte tatin was another first attempt for me.  As you can see it’s not going to win any prizes for being the prettiest tarte tatin, but the taste was all there.  The recipe I used was Dorie Greenspan’s from her book Baking: From my Home to Yours.  For the crust I went with her recipe for sweet tart dough which came together rather quickly.  I didn’t change anything else and tried to follow the recipe as best I could.  I should have been more generous with the amount of apples I put in the pan; I underestimated how much shrinkage there would be.

Continue reading

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

6 Dec

The Food Network, how do I love thee?  Let me count the ways, well let me just count to one; Alton Brown.  Thank you, thank you a million times over Alton Brown for giving us this creation we call the Cinnamon Roll.  Seriously, if I could give each and every one of you one of these cinnamon rolls I would. Given that I can’t, you really and I mean really have to make these.  I know, some of you may have a recipe that is tried and true but do me this one favour and give these a chance.

There are so many things that I love about this recipe, first and foremost, they can be made the night before and baked in the morning.  Now tell me what’s better than the smell of baking cinnamon buns in the morning….can’t think of anything can you?  This is another first for me, I’ve never made cinnamon buns before thinking that it was too labour intensive ..well yet again I was wrong.  This recipe rocked in its simplicity.  Most of the time spent on it was during the first rise, a little over two hours.  You just have to remember to bring your eggs and buttermilk to room temperature and really, you’re ready to go.

The dough comes together rather quickly in no time.  Please follow the recipe carefully, and if you have a scale I do recommend you use it.  The more reading I do on baking the more I learn that baking with ingredients by weight is actually the most accurate.  Scales are rather inexpensive and if you do a lot of baking it’s well work the investment. Now where was I, ah yes the dough.  Be sure not to add too much flour, otherwise you’ll end up with tough dough.  You can always add too little and if you need more add it in at the end.  You should end up with a soft and smooth dough once kneaded.

And you better have butter on hand, as you will use it thrice.  The first time in the dough itself, secondly in the filling and last brushing it on the dough once rolled out.  Now to you get why these are so good, add butter to anything and it will just taste better.  Which reminds me, I’m running a little low on my supply…I better replenish.

The most difficult thing about this recipe is the waiting, the first rise and then the overnight rise.  I was so anxious during the first rise, worrying that it wouldn’t rise at all given how cold the weather has gotten.  Paranoid me swaddled the bowl that held the dough in a table cloth and one blanket and place it near a chair by the radiator. 

Continue reading