Tag Archives: Sugar

Proud Baker

Are there times when you feel expecially proud of something that you have made? Is it becuase it looks picture perfect, or becuase it tastes so good, or becuase you made the recipe yourself? I feel proud of these cookies. I made them a few weeks ago and was in awe about how cute and tasty they came out. I made them again tonight with a few variations.  I made some  blue colored sugar and rolled the cookies in it, I pressed chocolate chips onto the tops of the cookies and I also made jumbo cookies. I was most proud of the jumbo cookies, they looked like they could be sold in a bakery and they taste delicious. I think this is going to be one of my go to recipes for cookies. What food do you make that you are proud of? Feel free to post the recipe.

Also, I have made a poll below for you guys to tell me what I should make next.

~thechildcooks

Sugar Cookies from the Always with Butter blog

2 cups flour

1 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup butter

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup sour cream or 1/4 cup greek yogurt and 1/2 tablespoon water

Cinnamon sugar or sprinkles  

Preheat oven to 350F and line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Whisk together the dry ingredients in a small bowl. In a separate, larger bowl cream the softened butter and sugar. Add the egg and vanilla, and mix until combined. alternating with the flour mixture then sour cream(or yogurt) add the remaining ingredients. Scoop onto baking sheet with a spoon of your size choice(I made 1/2 tablespoon sizes) leaving room for ample spreadage. Now is the time to add sprinkles or cinnamon sugar. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes removing from the oven when lightly browned. Cool on wire racks and consume.

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A Good Idea

Ok, so you know when you get an idea for changing a recipe or creating a new one. And it just sounds so very good in your head and as you make it things are just great. Well, that does not always happen, as most of us know, but today it did. Yesterday I made a simple apple cobbler because my mom bought too many apples at the store for baking and it was getting time to use them or loose them. Today I was thinking about how i could incorporate them into something like an apple pie but without the hassle of a crust(don’t get me wrong, I love making a good pie crust, but sometimes time and kitchen space does not allow for it). I was thinking about how a few weeks back I made these snickerdoodle blondies and then it hit me. Take the topping and cook it with apples and then sandwich that between the blondie layers. I was slightly apprehensive as I was looking at my creation as it was baking, but once it came out and I tasted it all doubts were gone. This is a really easy and yummy snack on the go and is similar to a blondie, but has a slightly snack cakeish look. The only problem that I really had was spreading the cookies in the pan because the dough was slightly sticky. I will probably be making some banana bread or sourdough sometime this week. See you then fellow bakers!

~thechildcooks

Apple Pie Blondies

Adapted from the Brown Eyed Baker’s Snickerdoodle Blondies

4 cups of baking apples, peeled and chopped

2-2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 cups packed brown sugar

1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

For the apples:

1. Mix granulated sugar, 2 teaspoons of cinnamon and 2 tablespoons of apple juice and apples in a saucepan.

2. Cook until soft over medium heat for about five minutes.

For the blondies:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan; set aside.

2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium bowl; set aside.

3. Beat together the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, and then the vanilla. Beat, scraping the bowl, until thoroughly combined. On low speed, gradually add the flour mixture until just combined. Give the dough a final stir with a spatula or wooden spoon to make sure the flour is incorporated.

4. Spread half the dough evenly into the pan (I found an offset spatula was the best tool for the job, as it’s a thick batter). Top with apple mixture and cover evenly with remaining dough.

5. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the surface springs back when gently pressed. Cool completely before cutting. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

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Steaming My Buns

Steamed buns for the "Bun Mountain",...

Image via Wikipedia

No, I did not go to a sauna. The bun in question are the light, fluffy, awesome and all-around yummy Chinese steamed buns(or Mantou     饅頭). I had seen recipes for them before and thought to myself that there was no way for me to make them and why would I be making them in the first place? I had never had them before and thought that they were only a savory application. That being said, ehrn I went to a local Chinese place I did not take one becuase I thought it would be filled wiht meat. To my surprise, when I went there again today, it was filled with a sweet yellow paste. It was so good and my sister and myself really enjoyed them. So much in fact, that I decided to see if I could make them at home. I remembered the recipes that I had seen and checked some of them out. The first one that I found used a bread machine. That one was out. The next one made eight rolls with 4 cups of flour. That one was out because, well that sounded like a really big roll. The others took types of flour that I had never heard of, let alone had in my pantry. The one I finally found was from allrecipes.com . The reviews on it were all good and the process looked simple enough: made a dough let it rise, add more flour and the remaining ingredients, knead, let rest, knead, shape, let rest and steam. The only problem I had was with the very last instruction-steam. How to steam them without a steamer was my dilemma. I finally ended up constructing one out of a stainless steel bowl and pie-cooling rack with another bowl overturned on top as a lid. The steaming process takes a long time as my bowl is small and you must leave adequate space for the buns to expand. I can fit about 4-5 in at a time and they have to cook for 15-16 minutes. I made 18 bun and am still cooking the second batch; this might take awhile. As I mentioned above, the bun that I saw online were mostly meat filled. The one I had today and the ones I am making are filled with sweets for a more dessertish end product. I filled them with peanut butter, grape jelly, strawberry jelly, cinnamon sugar and a lemon puddingy filling. My dad just tried one of the cinnamon sugar filled buns and said it was really good. Even though he did not have one at the restaurant, he said he was surprised at how close to the restaurant’s buns that they looked. He also commented on the fact that the texture was fluffy and not doughy as he thought they would be. I also made a shamrock green pudding pie for my fathers Sunday School class. Shamrock green because it is close to St. Patrick’s Day and pudding pir becuase kid like pie and monday is Pi day. I just made a simple graham cracker crust and box pudding. I would have liked to make my own pudding or custard filling, but I could not justify using four egg yolks because I know that at my house the whites will not be used. Oh well, maybe next time. I am not sure what else I will make this weekend, but it should be yummy!

~thechildcooks 

Chinese Steamed Buns

From allrecipes.com

1 tablespoon active dry yeast

1 teaspoon white sugar

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup water

1/2 cup warm water

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons white sugar

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Directions

Mix together yeast, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1/4 cup flour, and 1/4 cup warm water. Allow to stand for 30 minutes.

Mix in 1/2 cup warm water, flour, salt, 2 tablespoons sugar, and vegetable oil. Knead until dough surface is smooth and elastic. Roll over in a greased bowl, and let stand until triple in size, about 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

Punch down dough, and spread out on a floured board. Sprinkle baking powder evenly on surface, and knead for 5 minutes. Divide dough into 2 parts, and place the piece you are not working with in a covered bowl. Divide each half into 12 parts. Shape each part into a ball with smooth surface up( if you want a filling, roll the ball flat and put about a teaspoon of filling in the gather and pinch to seal). Put each ball on a wax paper square. Let stand covered until double, about 30 minutes.

Bring water to a boil in wok, and reduce heat to medium; the water should still be boiling. Place steam-plate on a small wire rack in the middle of the wok. Transfer as many buns on wax paper as will comfortably fit onto steam-plate leaving 1 to 2 inches between the buns. At least 2 inches space should be left between steam-plate and the wok. Cover wok with lid. Steam buns over boiling water for 15 minutes.

REMOVE LID BEFORE you turn off heat, or else water will drip back onto bun surface and produce yellowish “blisters” on bun surfaces. Continue steaming batches of buns until all are cooked. Enjoy hot or reheated with a steamer.

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Sourdough and Sugar

I finished the recipe for my multi-grain sourdough bread. I decided that I wanted a variety of grain to be included, more than just the usual whole-wheat flour.  I looked in the pantry and saw corn meal and oats. I ground a cup of oats and used that in the first 2 1/2 cups of flour; in that first dough, I also used about 2 tablespoons of cornmeal. In the second dough, I used 1 3/4 cups of all-purpose flour, 1 cup of whole rolled oats, 1/4 cup cornmeal and 3/4 cups whole-wheat flour. The dough was very easy to knead and was not very sticky(probably due to the oats). The recipe calls for dividing the dough in two and shaping into free-form, flat loaves. I followed this for one of the loaves, sprinkling the top with oats, but for the other half of the dough, I decided to try something different. I rolled the dough out to a 16 by 13 inch(approximately) rectangle, then sprinkled it with a cinnamon and sugar mix(about 1/4 cup sugar and a teaspoon of cinnamon). I then rolled it into a roll, tucked in the edges ad placed it in a lightly greased 9×5 pan. The top of this loaf turned out spectacular, as I slit it once lengthwise and the inner layers flayed outward. I did not brush the loaves with water as much as I probably should have, because they turned out softer than previous loaves. Another thing that I did differently this time was I added 1 tablespoon of brown sugar for 1 tablespoon of the granulated sugar. 

Tonight, I am also making sugar cookies, once again for my father’s sunday school class and snickerdoodle blondies, for my family. I used the Betty Crocker Recipe for Sugar Cookies and Brown Eyed Bakers recipe for the blondies. Both recipes can be found below.

~thechildcooks

Multi-Grain Sourdough Bread Two Ways

1 cup sourdough starter

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup ground oats

2 tablespoons cornmeal

Handful of rolled oats

2 cup warm water(105-115F)

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup rolled oats

1/4 cup cornmeal

3/4 cup whole wheat flour

1 tablespoon brown sugar

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

3 tablespoon vegetable oil

Cold water for baking

Start the night before you wish to make the bread or start in the morning and bake at night.

Mix sourdough starter, flours and 2 cups warm water in 3-quart glass bowl with wooden spoon until smooth. Cover; let stand in warm, draft free place for 8 hours or overnight.

Add the grains, the sugar, salt, baking soda and oil to the mixture in the bowl; stir with wooden spoon until smooth and flour is completely absorbed. If necessary add some of the remaining 1/2 cup flour.

Turn dough onto heavily floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Place in greased bowl, turn greased side up and cover. Let rise in warm, draft free place for 1 1/2 hours.

Punch down dough; divide into halves. Shape each half into a round, slightly flat loaf. Place loaves on parchment lined baking sheets and score each loaf 3 times on the top. Or you can roll one half out into a rectangle, sprinkle it with 1/4 cups sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon, roll, seal and place in a greased 9×5 pan.  Let rise until double, about 45 minutes.

Heat oven to 375F. Brush loaves with water and place into preheated oven. Bake, brushing occasionally with water for 50 minutes or until loaves sound hollow. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool.

Note: Because you used your sourdough starter, you should feed it 3/4 cup milk and 3/4 cup water by stirring it in and letting it set on the counter for 12 hours. Return to refrigerator and use once a week to 10 days.

Sugar Cookies

From Betty Crocker

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1 cup softened butter

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

Mix powdered sugar, butter, egg, vanilla and almond extract. Mix in flour, baking soda and cream of tartar. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours. Heat oven to 375F. Divide dough into halves. roll each half 3/16 inch thick on a lightly floured surface. Cut into shaped.

Sprinkle with granulated sugar; place on lightly greased sheet. Bake until edges are light brown, 7 to 8 minutes.

Snickerdoodle Blondies

From Brown Eyed Baker

2-2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan; set aside.

2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium bowl; set aside.

3. Beat together the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, and then the vanilla. Beat, scraping the bowl, until thoroughly combined. On low speed, gradually add the flour mixture until just combined. Give the dough a final stir with a spatula or wooden spoon to make sure the flour is incorporated.

4. Spread the dough evenly into the pan (I found an offset spatula was the best tool for the job, as it’s a thick batter). Combine the granulated sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and sprinkle evenly over the top of the batter.

5. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the surface springs back when gently pressed. Cool completely before cutting. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

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The Fabulous and the Flubs

I have wanted to make baked doughnuts ever since I saw doughnut pans on a website and the really yummy looking pictures on Foodgawker.com. I tried to make doughnuts this way back in November, but didn’t have a pan, so I made them into muffins. They turned out all right, however, they were not quite what I was looking for. They were too muffiny and not fluffy or any other doughnut qualities that I was hoping for. I tried a new recipe today that does not require pans, instead you roll them out and cut them.  The recipe was printed, the kitcken was ready for me to concure it and I was ready to sieze control of the oven. However, I was not ready to read the recipe. Using half a cup of milk makes a dough, 1 cup of milk  makes a batter. That was my mistake. In remedy, I let the batter rise for 15 minutes then spooned it into muffin cups. In hindsight, I should have sprayed the muffin cups instead of using paper liners. They rose beautifuly in the oven and turned out like little dinner rolls. I sprinkled cinnamon sugar on some of them while baking and filled one with jam by spooning half of the batter, then jam, then the rest of the batter. While those were baking, I restarted the process, this time using the proper amount of milk. After I baked them, I made a simple glaze with powdered sugar, water and vanilla. I also took a decorators tip and bag, then used them to inject the doughnuts with grape jam. The recipe works really well both ways and produces similar yet different results depending which way you make them. The batter produces a heavier, more bread-like baked good and the dough version is fluffier and harbors more doughnut qualities under the sugary glaze. Either way you make them, I think you will be pleased with the results.

~thechildcooks

Baked Doughnuts
Adapted from Heidi Swanson’s 101 Cookbooks

Makes about 1 dozen

For the dough:

1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons warm milk, divided, 95 to 105 degrees (take its temperature–too hot and it will kill the yeast)
1 1/8 teaspoons active dry yeast (about half a packet)
1 tablespoons butter, melted and still warm
1/3 cup sugar
1 eggs
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

Place 3 tablespoons of the warm milk in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Stir in the yeast and set aside for at least five minutes. Place the remaining 1/2 cup of warm milk in a small bowl, stir in the butter and sugar, and add it to the yeast mixture. On low speed, stir in the egg, flour, nutmeg, and salt – just until the flour is incorporated. Switch to the dough hook and knead the dough for a few minutes at medium speed. At this point, make a few adjustments – if your dough is seriously sticky, add flour a few tablespoons at a time. Too dry? Add a little bit of milk. Eventually, you want the dough to pull away from the sides of the mixing bowl and become soft and smooth. Turn out the dough onto a floured work surface, knead it a few times by hand, and shape it into a smooth ball.

Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl (cooking spray works great here), cover with plastic wrap and put it in a warm place. Let the dough rise until its doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Punch down the dough and roll it out 1/2-inch thick on a floured work surface. Using a 2-3 inch cookie cutter, stamp out circles. Transfer the circles to a parchment-lined baking sheet and cut holes in the centers with a smaller cutter, about half the diameter of the first–remember the hole will close up on the second rising if it’s too small, so make it a little bigger than what a finished doughnuts would look like (alternatively, use a doughnut cutter, if you actually own one). Cover the baking sheet with a clean cloth and let the doughnuts rise for another 45 minutes.

Bake in a 375 degree oven until the bottoms are just golden, 8 to 10 minutes – start checking around 8. Better to underbake then overbake here–pull them early if in doubt.

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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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Cup ‘O Tea and Old-Fashioned Molasses Cookies

Gold Medal Century of Success Cookbook

So, because I did not have school today, my Mother, sister, Grandmother and I took the opportunity to go to tea at the local tea house. I had a turkey wrap, apricot white chocolate muffin and part of a ginger bread scone. My tea of choice was an exotic berry blend. The scone was light, fluffy and perfectly spicy; it wave me a crazy gingerbread craving. Thus, I came home and decided to make gingerbread cookies(which apparently are molasses cookies). But first I had to walk and get flour at the grocery across the street. And then I had to figure out how to make the cookies without a hand-held mixer(my arm now hurts). I just finished mixing them up five minutes ago and now have to wait two long hours while they chill in the refrigerator. For dinner tonight, I am making a cold rice-noodle and vegetable bowl. I will use red peppers, onions, broccoli, mushrooms, shrimp, noodles and possible some other vegetables. After dinner, I might get around to doing something with those egg whites…eventually.

~thechildcooks

Old-Fashioned Molasses Cookies from the Gold Medal Cookbook

Makes 6 Dozen Cookies

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup shortening

2 eggs

1/2 cups light or dark molasses

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 cup water

5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon salt

Mix sugar, shortening, eggs and molasses. Dissolve baking soda in the water; stir into molasses mixture. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cover and refrigerate at least two hours.

Heat oven to 375F. Roll dough 1.4 inch thick on lightly floured cloth-covered board. Cut with floured 2 3/4 inch round cookie cutter or other favorite cutter. Place about 2 inches apart on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake until light brown, 8-10 minutes. Cool.

Note: Before baking, my family likes to sprinkle colored sugar on the tops of the cookies.

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Filed under Cookies, Meals, Noodles and Stir Fries, Sweet