Sunday, January 3, 2010

My Baking Misdaventures

Hello bloggers! I haven't posted in awhile and thought I'd update you all on my cooking adventures.

First I made florentine lace cookies; these are fancy cookies you often see in bakeries. They are very impressive to bring as hostess gifts, but I must warn you. They are a huge pain in the ass! First you have to make the cookie part. I learned from trial and error that you must spoon the dough onto the cookie sheet in dollops no bigger than a quarter. Or else all of the cookies will spread together to make one giant cookie! I literally used every cookie sheet in the house, because you have to leave so much room on each sheet for the cookies to bake. The cookies are thin and if you bake them too long they will just crumble as you try to remove them. I had two whole pans of them that I could not use. After making the cookies, I made the chocolate filling with amaretto (always take a shot for good luck.). I then had to match each cookie half with another that is roughly the same size and put the filling in the middle. They came out great, but I vowed not to make them again for a few years. After that ringing endorsement, let me know if you want the recipe.

Also for dinner the other night, I decided to make biscuits. I am not a baker, so proceeded with caution. Brianna who comes from a long line of bakers was always nervous about making them, and has never really attempted.

So it was crazy that I, the person who has trouble with a cake mix was going to give this a whirl. After I made my dough, I proudly exclaimed, "Look what I did."

They came out great except that they are they thickness of English muffins. I think I rolled out the dough too thinly and maybe our baking soda has gone defunct. They tasted exactly like biscuits though, so I though that was a step in the right direction. You can find the recipe at the Joy of Baking Website.

And for my third and final act, I am attempting to make bread from scratch. Eeek! Mark Bittman (How to Cook Everything) discovered this technique from a bakery in NYC. Literally take yeast, water, salt, and flour, let it rise for many hours, pop it in the oven and voila. Check out the YouTube video of it. See how easy he made it look? I've made the dough which is VERY wet and doest not all resemble a ball. It kind of shakes like jello. I've already used several extra cups of flour but it's still not quite right. I am going to hope for the best. Right now it's rising for the second time, and that we will bake it and see how it turns out. Will keep you posted!

Happy New Year!

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