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Posts tagged ‘baking’

Keep dessert simple

A good hostess makes the simplest, most satisfying dessert possible so that she doesn’t rip her hair out.

Every holiday I am put in charge of dessert preparation. I think people mainly make that vote because I swap at least one ingredient with some form of booze. But I’m not going to complain because pie making is like making a casserole. Mix ingredients, put them into a dish, place in the oven and hope for the best. I have turned pecan pie making into an art that I can now perform with my eyes closed. Joy of Cooking has the most basic recipe that comes out delicious every time. Now that corn syrup bottles come with the 1 cup marker I barely even need to whip out measuring cups. One pointer however – standard pecan packs come as bags of 1.5 cups where as the recipe only calls for 1 cup. Just use the whole bag. The extra half cup of nuts actually helps make that perfect, seamless nut crust on top of the pie. And wtf are you supposed to do with the remaining half a cup anyway?

Now for some other pies I thought looked delish…

For the above pies check out these recipes 1. Apple Cheddar Pie, 2. Chocolate Fudge Pie, 3. Triple Chocolate Pumpkin Pie

Bake & Bitch | Biscotti

{Our usual blog swap with the ladies at Girly Obsessions will be taking on an occasional new spin. If there’s one good thing about the time Ash and I spend together, it’s all the bitching that gets done. But bitching, while incredibly therapeutic, isn’t that productive. So while we do said bitching, we will bake.}

M: So I suppose it’s safe to assume a good hostess should be able to prepare a homemade dessert and not serve chocolate bars as I have been known to do. Ash was nice enough to walk me through a super easy recipe. I, of course, only helped by providing one ingredient…. the alcohol. Typical. I may have stood to the side lines for our first try and let you run the show. I have a feeling next time my baking coach is going to be rougher on me.

Ash: I thought this exercise would be a bit more hands on and not as much of a spectator sport. But that’s ok. The goal was to show you that baking something from scratch is not that difficult. And we started with something that looks harder than it is biscotti. The thing about baking is that you just need to follow instructions.

M: Yeah, I’m not good at that. But let’s not forget you taught me a very important lesson. How to get my nuts toasted. That’s why we split a bottle of Prosecco. No I’m actually talking about almonds. I had no idea you actually just put them in the toaster oven. I was also a double boiler virgin. Who knew you could melt chocolate so smoothly… All baking aside there was much drama to be discussed.

Ash: You mean like when I asked if your pipes were fixed? (Literal kitchen pipes, but I see how it could have been taken out of context.) But, there’s always drama. We’re women. We gossip. You know what pissed me off? When you kept saying “in my older age.” We’re the same age, and I don’t think I’m old. And neither are you. Stop aging us!

M: We are though!! There were days when we went college bars and wore obnoxiously tight pants. Now we drink bubbly out of your good crystal on a Saturday at 3pm while baking. Next step is playing bridge in a nursing home. We need to enjoy the biscotti we baked before we lose our teeth. Wow I’m so negative. No, no we’re actually in our dirty 30s. And we covered off on some pretty inappropro topics of conversation.

Ash: Par for the course! But let’s get down to business. The business of Almond Biscotti.

You know you want the recipe…

The math of baking

We have discussed my slight baking handicap. Everyone says it’s about the proportions. F that. I like to cook and just throw a whole bunch of nonsense into a sauté  pan. It turns into an art project that I make it up as I go along to see what can be miraculously created from what happens to be in my fridge. However, when baking (pies, in this case) is described this way, it makes substantially more sense to me. What can I say? I’m a visual kind of gal. Now, I’d prefer a chart that’s divided into thirds to represent chocolate, peanut butter and whipped cream — just saying. But if and when I decide to throw my Jackson Pollock technique to the wind and make a pie, this chart will be my north star (and the actual recipe will be the Big Dipper… sorry, couldn’t leave the metaphor unfinished). Bake on.

art source: Pop Chart Lab

Essentials for achieving domestic-baking-goddess status

{ Blog Swapping Series, Part 4: My bestie over at Girly Obsessions and I have decided to start swapping blogs every couple weeks. She will be bringing you her hostessing skills and we’ll be discussing our obsessions. Check out my post, where I tell you all about my obsession with using baking mixes. Shhhh… a good hostess doesn’t admit to shortcuts… }

While Lena is over at my blog discussing her obsession with baking mixes, I’m over here judging her. OK, not really. I love her, but I’m on a mission to teach her to bake. From scratch. Starting with my fave baking essentials. Of course, these could be used with baking mixes, but you really only need a bowl and spatula for most of them. Sorry, did that sound judgemental? Look, I’m not dissing baking mixes. Trust me, NO ONE likes Funfetti more than I do! But, I do take pride in making something from scratch, and for the most part, its really not that difficult. Unless it’s macarons.

I’m pretty sure I own every baking utensil or gadget ever made, and it was hard to narrow them down, but these are the things I can’t live without:

1. My beloved Kitchen Aid
I know these aren’t cheap, but they are totally worth the investment. Seriously, this thing is magical. And it looks pretty on my counter. Although I still wish I had opted for a more fun color (umm, pink). But I guess red is a classic. I love mine so much I would actually get it tattooed on my body. (Ok, just temporarily.)

2. A quality spatula
This may seem like a no-brainer, but I’ve had a set of spatulas from Williams-Sonoma for like ten years now and they still look brand new. And I use them every time I bake. Also, a small offset spatula is good to have for icing and decorating. And fixing mistakes.

3. Mixing bowls
I have three favorites, for three different reasons. I love my Parker bowls from Crate & Barrel. They are ceramic and a little heavy, but come in 5 useful sizes, and super cute colors. You should also have at least one stainless steel bowl. They’re indestructible. And I have a set of melamine mixing bowls which I love for their grippy rubber bottoms and spouts.

4. Parchment paper and baking spray
I use parchment paper like its going out of style. It’s so practical! I use it to line my cookie sheets (and muffin pans in a pinch). And if I can’t line something with parchment paper, then baking spray it is. My fave is Bakers Joy.

5. A girly apron
I am not a tidy baker. The apron helps with that, but really, I just want to look pretty while baking. While I have a very practical Williams-Sonoma, there is nothing better than a super girly Jessie Steele apron. Just make sure you get one with pockets! Plus a cute apron will help you achieve domestic-baking-goddess status. All you need is a tiara!

Oh, remember when I said I needed to teach Lena how to bake? Well, I will. While she bitches. (To be continued…)

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