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Not Just White Bread

The recipe for Not Just White Bread from my 4-H book is a winner. The bread is light and tasty, not to mention easy to make. It is similar to the recipe for white bread in the Betty Crocker cookbook, but calls for making a sponge instead of mixing everything together at once. The method for shaping the loaves is also different, Not Just White Bread does not get rolled before placing into the pans, you just put it in. All in all, I will be making this recipe again.

For those of you wondering why I have not posted in a while, I am fine, I was just on vacation on the Atlantic coast. While there, I dicovered that eating crabs freshly steamed out of their shells seasoned with liberal amounts of Old Bay is awesome. I packed away about 36 in one sitting at an all you can eat place and it has enlightened me. I also visited two Indian restaurants where I stuffed myself with deliciousness. My father told me, that this summer, we might have a seafood boil similar to the east coast steam pots. It was really relaxing to be on vacation, but I missed baking in m kitchen and need to make up for lost time. Tomorrow, I plan on making graham crackers, in order to start experimenting for the best s’mores. Hope you all are have a good summer!

~thechildcooks

Not Just White Bread

Yeast Breads on the Rise

Sponge

1 1/2 cups warm water

2 tablespoons sugar

1 package active dry yeast

2 cups all-purpose flour

Dough

1 cup warm milk

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon salt

3 tablespoons shortening

5 cups all-purpose flour

Use a large bowl to make the sponge. Measure the water and 2 tablespoons sugar into the bowl. Sprinkle in the yeast and stir until smooth. Beat in the 2 cups flour by hand until the mixture is smooth. Let the mixture rise in a warm place until light and spongy, about 1 hour.

While the sponge is rising, combine sugar, salt, and shortening with warm milk, cool to room temperature.

Stir the sponge down when light and spongy and sitr in the milk mixture. Stir in additional flour until dough leaves the sides of the bowl. Turn dough onto a lightly floured boar and knead until smooth, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add small amounts of flour while kneading if dough is too sticky.

Place in a greased bowl and brush with shortening. Cover and let rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes. Punch down and turn out on a lightly floured board. Divide in half, let rest 15 to 20 minutes.

Shape dough into two loaves and place in greased 9x5x3 inch loaf pans. Cover, let rise in a warm place until the center is slightly higher than the edge of the pan, about 1 hour.

Bake at 400F about 50 minutes. Remove from pan and cool.

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Filed under 4-H, Breads, Yeast Bread

My Summer Plans…

Emblem of the 4H organisation.

Image via Wikipedia

…include a lot of baking/ cake decorating. I know this for a 100% true fact because those are the projects that I am taking for 4-H. More Specifically, I will be making yeast breads in multiple manners, and trying out new cake decorating techniques. As part of the two projects, I will post some recipes and decorating tutorials here on thechildcooks. Since next week is my Spring Break, I hope to be doing some baking to get a jump-start on my projects; they are due in the middle to end of July, but it is never a bad thing to finish early. 

Also, if things go as planned, I may, hopefully, possibly be looking at having a bakery job. But the probability of that is slim, as people tend to not hire 14 year olds. Never the less, I have picked up an application and found some people to be my references. Another plus would be that the bakery is within running/ biking distance of my house. I figure the sooner I can start getting experience in the real food industry, the closer I am to my dream of one day owning a restaurant.  

‘Til my next baking adventure,

~thechildcooks

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Filed under 4-H, Cake Decorating, Uncategorized, Yeast Bread

Meatless Chili for Lent

Phaseolus vulgaris, white beans

Image via Wikipedia

For our church dinner tomorrow, I am making a meatless chili dish using textured vegetable protein(tvp). Tvp, according to Bob’s Red Mill,  “is made from reduced-fat soy beans and is used to replace or extend ground meats. It is also added to casseroles to add extra flavor and nutrition.” Each serving of tvp contains 12 grams of protein. Along with the beans, this makes the chili a relatively healthy dish. The recipe also looks very simple to assemble(I have never made chili before) and one of the parts of the recipe that I changed is that I am using dried white beans instead of canned beans. This requires for me to start soaking the beans tonight and cooking then for about an hour tomorrow afternoon. I also think that I am going to change some of the spices used, but do not yet know which I will use. Curry powder, perhaps? Maybe some tandoori seasoning. The original recipe only calls for peppers and tomatoes, but I think that i might add some other vegetable, such as carrots, or mushrooms(to keep with the meatless theme).  For now, I will just post the original recipe, but tomorrow, I will post my version and the results on how the chili turned out. See ya!

~thechildcooks

Tvp Country Chili

From Bob’s Red Mill

Ingredients2 cups TVP® (Textured Vegetable Protein) 2 Tbsp Ketchup 

1 Large Onion, chopped 

1 Green Pepper, chopped 

2 Cloves Garlic, chopped 

1 Jalepeño Pepper, chopped 

2 Tbsp Oil 

2 Tbsp Chili Powder 

2 tsp Cumin 

2 tsp Oregano, Mediterranean 

½ tsp Cayenne Pepper 

2- 28oz Cans Tomatoes, chopped 

2- 16 oz Cans Red Kidney Beans, with liquid 

2 cups Hot Water 

Directions
In a large bowl, pour 2 cups of boiling water over 2 cups of TVP flakes (or chunks) and ketchup. Set aside.Heat a large Dutch oven, add 2 Tbsp oil. Saute the onions, peppers, and garlic for a few minutes.

Into the TVP mixture, sprinkle seasonings and stir with fork. Add TVP to the vegetable mixture, cook for a few minutes. Stir in tomatoes, kidney beans and 2 cups hot water.

Cover and simmer for 30 minutes to one hour. Taste and add salt if needed. If desired, add a 16 oz pkg of frozen corn in the last 15 minutes. Makes 10 Servings.


 

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Filed under Meals, Soups and Such

Makin’ Macarons(A First and Hopefully Successful Attempt)

Macarons in a variety of colours.

Image via Wikipedia

Approximately one week ago, I wore capri shorts to school. Today school was canceled because it is snowing polar bears and penguins. I have been wanting to make macarons for some time now and after I tried my first one yesterday, I knew that the time to make them was now. I had to work around a few problems before I could make them, however. The first setback was that we did not have any ground almonds/almond flour. I first ground them in our food processor then spent half an hour trying to grind them through a sifter. Another thing that I do not do well with in the culinary world is whipping and folding egg whites. I really hope that I did get them to the right consistency. Once I did that, I had to pipe bunches of little evenish circles which turned out pretty well, but then they were too close together and now some of the macarons are touching. Right now, they are developing their skin and should be ready soon. I just made plain vanilla flavored macarons, but so they wouldn’t be blah, I added some green food coloring which gave them an interesting hue(I am now slightly regretting doing this). The recipe that I used is from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook. I was happy to find that recipe because most of the recipes that I had found on fellow food blogger’s websites were all in metric, this one is not. Her recipe, though, did not mention letting the macaron develop a skin, but I have read that this is a crucial part in having them turn out right and to have the all-powerful feet. I will post pictures later whether they turn out or not(so be prepared for carnage).

Edit: Well, I just looked in the oven and this was a fail! They are all cracked and collapsed(not anything like the picture above). If anyone has made macarons before, please tell me what I did wrong.

~thechildcooks

French Almond Macarons

Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook

1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar

1 1/2 cups(4 ounces) sliced almonds, finely ground or almond flour

3 large egg whites

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Food Coloring(optional)

Filling(Frosting, jam, jelly etc.)

Sift confectioners’ sugar into a bowl. Whisk in ground almonds; set aside. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mats, and mark circles using a 1 1/2 inch cookie cutter dipped in flour(I drew circles with marker then flipped the paper over).

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites on medium speed until foamy; add salt. Gradually add granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon at a time, until the whites reach medium-soft peaks. Transfer to large bowl.

Add food coloring, sprinkle half of the sugar-almond mixture over the egg white mixture. Using a large rubber spatula, fold until just incorporated. Add 1/4 teaspoon vanilla and remaining sugar-almond mixture, folding until just incorporated. Firmly tap the bottom of the bowl to eliminate any air pockets.

Transfer mixture to a large pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain tip. Pipe mixture into marked circles on prepared baking sheets.

Let sit for 20 minutes. At the end of the 20  minutes turn the oven on to 300F and set timer for 10 minutes(or until your oven heats up). By this time your macarons should have developed a skin. Bake, 20-25 minutes, rotating halfway through. Macarons will be able to be lifted off the sheet and bottoms will feel dry. Let cool 5 minutes on baking sheets and then transfer parchment and macarons to cooling racks until completely cool. Using a small spatula, carefully remove macarons from parchment. Fill with 2 teaspoons of desired filling sandwiched between 2 cookies. Refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes, before serving. Filled cookies can be kept in the refrigerator, in a sealed container, for up to 2 days.

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Filed under Cookies, Sweet

Hello All!

Well, this is my first post and I really don’t know what to say. In a few minutes I am going to make some cookies and will let you know how those turn out later. But, first, I will share one piece of cooking information:homemade marshmallows are the most AMAZING thing in the world. Yesterday I made some and was cutting them out today. The scraps did not last long. 🙂 Marshmallows are super easy, the only thing to remember is let the alloted time pass or else they will fail and you will be mad.
When I post the cookies, I will try to post some marshmallow pics too. Toodles!

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Filed under Candy, Sweet