Monday, February 2, 2009

Successes and Failures

Despite my lack of postings I have made a number of forays into the battlefield of baking since last we met. Some battles have been victorious while others left a good number of casualties.

The first recipe I tried after the squash buns was another recipe from my new book The Ultimate Cookie book. This was the first dud from this publication. The recipe was for Spiced Chocolate Tea Cakes. I know it says cake and not cookie, which should have warned me, but the texture was just all wrong! In making the batter I realized that the dough was VERY stiff.The recipe wanted me to pipe the cookies into shell shapes using a 1/2 inch star tip. The star tip I have was too small and the dough was just too thick so I ended up just using my trusty cookie scoop and smooshing them flat with a wet finger. Favorite thought the turned out ok, but I thought they were dry and flavorless. I will NOT be making these again.
Next up was squashy cakes. I took the leftover squash paste from the buns and added some egg so they would set up. I tried pan frying them but they were too dense with no leavening so I tried steaming them and they just turned into gummy goops. Another failure in the kitchen.
Next up is a winner!! Well, I KINDA made these. Over the Christmas holiday my mom and I made an excess of gingerbread dough and ended up freezing an entire batch. The dough kept very well and I was able to make a really good amount of cookies. Some were nice and big, but I also made a bunch of tiny ones using pie crust cutters in case someone just wanted a nibble.Above you can see my dough rolled out on a pastry cloth with my assorted cookie cutters and my pastry cloth covered rolling pin. Pastry cloth is brilliant by the way. If you've never tried it for rolling cookies or pie crusts you really must. The only downside is when you don't put quite enough flour and then you have to wash the cloth after the dough gets stuck. But here are the glorious cookies!!

I also managed to make a chocolate banana tart after completely destroying some caramel that was meant for a caramel custard. I have no pictures of the tart however. It wasn't very pretty but it tasted ok. It was a pretty simple recipe for a cocoa tart crust (that did not come out too well) and basically milk, eggs, and chocolate poured in the crust with sliced up bananas and baked until set. Not exactly glamorous, but we had company and I needed to make SOMETHING for dessert!

I have also been secretly working on a hat. I got some absolutely splendid alpaca yarn from Favorite's mom for Christmas last year and I finally decided I wanted to turn it into a sweet stocking cap. I did the large bulk of it in about 3 days and then got tired of it and left it for weeks. I finally picked it up again this past weekend with a vengeance. I needed to finish it and so I did. Here it is:I think the grey looks fantastic with Favorite's blue eyes! Since I made him pose for this picture I did him a favor too. He woke up asking for muffins; any muffins. So I provided him with Oatmeal Cinnamon Chip muffins!!It is not super great picture, I know, but the tops had just a little chewy crunch and the insides were moist and pillowy and probably the best muffin texture I had ever achieved. I actually got this recipe from another blogger at Cookie Madness. She has a much better photo of the muffins here. The muffins look a little different however because I have a secret in where I get my cinnamon chips (they are the same ones they use in bakery scones, tiny little delicious cinnamon bursts) and it looks like Anna had to use the big waxy Hershey bits. Eiher way they are just fantastic muffins great for breakfast.


  1. HA! Your failure looks just like my failure! Literally, the cocoa applesauce cookies that I made (which had no taste) looked just like your disaster coming out of the Kitchen Aid. I love the fact that regardless of how well our creations come out that we still blog about them.

    Too bad my camera is all broken because I would have posted pictures of the beautiful duck and bluberry chutney that Biscuit prepared on Sunday night. The dinner overshadowed my crummy desserts.

    Your muffin looked fabulous! I am so jealous!

  2. OOH! Someone almost got booted off of Top Chef last week for making a chocolate spice cake. I wonder if you were both using the same recipe. EEK!