Tuesday, December 23

And now for this week's TWD

Merry almost-Christmas people! Merry Hanukkah as well!

So I had forgotten this week's TWD was butterscotch pudding until like...today. Pudding scares me, especially of the homemade kind. I tried to make it one time and probably stirred and stirred for about 30 minutes trying to get that b**ch to thicken up but it ended up as vanilla soup anyway. Butterscotch isn't really my jam either, but I know my brother and my dad like it a lot.

I did have a nice little adventure to the ABC store where I'm pretty sure I entertained the two guys behind the counter with my absolute lack of knowledge about whisky/whiskey/scotch. Sorry dudes, I have really only branched out to bourbon. I ended up with airplane bottles of Dewars, which I at least recognized the name of because we have it at work as well.

(Apologies for lack of pictures - I have been wrapping presents so haven't had time to get them off my camera yet. I'll edit with them as soon as I can.)

Rather than use and rinse out my food processor 18 times for the recipe, I just sifted the salt and corn starch together and then put in the egg yolks and sugar. Pouring the hot milk mixture in was a daunting task also - this is not a big FP with a big chute to pour things into that I'm working with; it has a tiny little gap. So that made a big mess, but I managed not to scramble my eggs. Then, when I added it back into the pot, after the two minutes it MIRACULOUSLY thickened! I honestly wasn't expecting it to be that easy! I snuck a couple bites of pudding before pudding (aren't I funny) them into the fridge and I was happy with the flavor. Most butterscotch flavors I find way way too sweet and cloying, so I think there's a good chance of me making this again. Good choice Donna! (of Spatulas, Corkscrews & Suitcases) Stop by the TWD blogroll to see what everyone else ended up with!

Tuesday, December 16

TWD and a Celebration

Firstly, I just want to share that I am now officially a CAROLINA ALUM! ...that is, once all my library fines are paid haha. Great success!

On to the baking -

This week's TWD selection from Heather of Randomosity and the Girl was another holiday/busytime friendly recipe. The (mostly) weekly baking is getting me into a much more efficient method of baking, which I hadn't really thought would happen. It's a nice little side benefit to doing this I guess. Anyway, these were a snap to throw together and I could see myself making gobs of them with various flavors of jam.

I don't actually own a scooper that would have been useful for these cookies, so I first tried to use two spoons but the cookies were just ugly. Can't have ugly cookies. I ended up scooping out the dough and then rolling them into a ball with my hands and then squashing the tops down with the bottom of a bowl. I think my cookies were a bit biggah (does anyone else think Old Greg when they say that?) since I only got about 3 dozen.

After reading about some people having their cookies turn pretty dark on the bottoms, I only baked for 10 minutes. My oven/pans have been known to burn things within the recommended time so I played it safe. The cookies did spread a bit - I took care not to overmix at the end so that helped for sure.

My parents once upon a time brought back some raspberry cookies from Seattle and the taste of these reminded me of those, so I thought I'd dust some of them in powdered sugar like the ones I remembered.

Both versions are pretty tasty, though I think next time I would add more jam and maybe heat it up a little beforehand so the consistency is easier to mix into the batter. Other than that they were great! My dad is definitely loving this kick of cookies because he prefers ones that aren't so out of this world sweet and these fit the bill.

Be sure to check out everyone else on the TWD blogroll! Thanks again Heather for a great pick.

Tuesday, December 9

TWD - Grandma's All Occasion Sugar Cookies

Ah sugar cookies. Can't have Christmas without them. I am also happy that these were a nice easy selection...I am in the middle of studying for two exams at the end of this week and these made a nice study break.

After reading of some people's issues with sticky dough, I made sure to make my dough earlier and refrigerate it overnight. I had zero issues with problematic dough, and it was actually kind of hard to get the sugar to stick to the sides of my first log because it was still pretty cold.

I made the second log with some orange extract in it. It would have been nice to have some orange zest to put in it, but I didn't have time to go to the store. I was trying to figure out how to decorate these and DUH! Orange and chocolate. That's not weird is it? Hopefully other people think it tastes good too. I love using my little parchment sheets to do decorations like this. It takes about 5 seconds but looks like it is professionally done.

Ta-dah! I even broke out mi madre's Christmas china!

Here's a secret glimpse of what my mixer looked like after T-giving. Didn't even realize it til this week. Ah the shame.

As always, check out what the other Tuesdays With Dorie bloggers have come up with!

T-giving Rehash

Yayyyy the semester is almost over save for two more exams! I didn't realize how quickly time had passed since Thanksgiving while I was in the middle of all my end of the semester stuff, so my overview of all the baking I did is kind of late...obviously.

I had the grand idea to make some apple cider caramels from a recipe I found over on Sugarpunk's site. They started out well, but since I have very little experience with candy-making, I'm thinking I might have over cooked it since it never set up. It did, however, make a nice bottom layer/topping for the pumpkin cheesecake I made. This one had a gingersnap crust that was really tasty. I don't think it lasted longer than about 2 days in my house, so it was a hit.

I also decided to make some Pumpkin Challah from Martha Stewart's recipe. Like every other challah recipe I've used, this makes a crap-ton of bread. I envisioned these rolls as sort of post-thanksgiving sandwich bread, but I failed to think about how big they'd be by the time they were done baking.

Other than the obvious ugliness here, the dough was really easy to work with, except I can only braid going one direction and starting from the middle throws me off in a big way.

Like I said, there was so much of this bread. I think I made french toast for everyone at least twice. It wasn't overly pumpkiny, which I think is a good thing since it could go savory or sweet.

I did actually bake the Two-fer Pie the day after Thanksgiving, but due to a misplacement of my camera connector cord, I have only just gotten all of these pictures onto my computer. Alas. Anyway, the dough was way easy to make, but it seemed like 25 plus 8 minutes was a long time to prebake. Mine, as seen in the middle pic below, got kind of crispy at the end of that time.

The filling was also...filling. I managed to get most of it into the pie and there were only a couple spots where I could tell that it had run over and made the crust stick to the pie pan a little.

Overall, I think the pie turned out pretty well. I like the addition of rum in the pumpkin at the beginning, but it got stronger over time which I liked less. I think that, while this pie is tasty, it is too much of a hassle to make any more than maybe once a year.