Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Bake 52: Week 9

B-a-b-k-a.  Who could resist a bread with this name? Say it slow.  Say it fast.  With an accent.  It's just so fun...and mysterious.  Is it a cinnamon roll?  Is it a bread?  A broll?  And to top it off, it had a cameo appearance in a Jerry Seinfeld episode (see Michelle's blog).   A fun name.  A complicated dough.  A delicious bread.  M-m-m-h!
The fabulous Michelle was our host this week and you can get the recipe on her blog HERE.
Before rising

Glaze on and ready for the oven

Transformation complete.  Doesn't this look like a butterfly?
My only tip is to eat this hot.  I didn't.  It's literally the first time I have never eaten hot, freshly baked bread.  I'm still regretting it!  I pulled it out of the oven around midnight and went to bed.  My kitchen smelt like a bakery in the morning and my family was thrilled to have Babka for breakfast.  Babka for Breakfast (that just sounds cool).  I warmed it in the microwave, but I still feel like I missed out on the true experience.  Darn, I guess I'll have to make it again:)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Bikini Girls and Arm Workouts

I recently stumbled onto these workout videos via Pinterest.  They are called Tone It Up with Karena and Katrina (and, yes, they are as cute as they sound) and if you can get past these beautiful, rockin-bodied bikini girls frolicking in the sand, they actually have some great workouts.  I've been doing this arm workout for the last couple of weeks and it is quick and simple and you feel it the next day.  Enjoy.  But not with your husbands around:)


Bake 52: Week 8

Peanut Butter Cookies
At 6:00 a.m this morning when my husbands alarm went off, another alarm went off in my head that said, "you forgot to post!".  I could say that the holiday threw me off or that my daughter staying home sick consumed my time or that I'm trying to hurry and read a book before book club, or that after I got home last night from RS I was having a mild anxiety attack after talking about 72 hour kits and earthquakes and realized my kits were expired a few years ago and that my 3year-old's still had size12 month sleepers in it and that he probably wouldn't drink the expired formula to save his life! (That was the longest run-on sentence I have ever written).  The truth is, Michelle (from our baking group) even reminded me last night and I plain forgot as I snuggled with my husband for an episode of Psyche.

Moving on to the cookies.  I actually don't have a lot to say - about the cookies.  I didn't find anything special about this recipe.  It was good, but nothing "wow'ed" me.  I cooked one batch a little too long because they didn't look done, but they turned out too crunchy.  Sticking to the right baking time left chewier, softer cookies, which everyone like.  Especially since I dressed them up with chocolate because Peanut Butter and Chocolate should never be apart.  I think the extra cup of nuts finely chopped was not needed for taste or calories.  My family love the big size of cookie three tablespoons of dough made.  Jennifer O. was our host this week and you can find the recipe HERE.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Bake 52: Week 7

Basic Pizza Dough

Growing up, "pizza night" consisted of some kind of homemade dough slathered in tomato sauce topped with yellow cheese and unseasoned ground beef.  That's right, unseasoned ground beef.  This is where I shiver.  Not necessarily for the lack of flavor (or the flavor), but for the dough that was never quite done.  I shivered again.  To this day, I still over inspect ever slice of pizza to make sure it is not doughy.  Needless to say I am not a big fan of homemade pizza, but my husband is and makes it for the family ever now and then.  It's not bad, but the crust...
As for this week's recipe, I got to say I loved it!  The MUST for this recipe is in the Test Kitchen Tips for perfect pizza dough and crust.  Preheating a baking stone for 30 minutes at 500 degrees worked fabulously! No soggy pizza, just crispness.  Yummy!
It bent in the middle, but it was not soggy flopping.
I subbed half the white flour for wheat and enjoyed it, but next time I will go with white for that classic pizza taste.  I used the Quick Pizza Sauce which was super yummy and healthy.  I'm actually looking forward to my next "pizza night"! For this great pizza dough recipe visit our host this week, Betsy, at her blog HERE.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Bake 52: Week 6


I love eating homemade bread.  I hate making homemade bread.  I love smelling homemade bread.  I hate making homemade bread.  It never seems to rise properly and is always to heavy.  I thought it was because I have a weak stand mixer without any dough hooks which requires me to knead the dough by hand, which, apparently, is the way many people make bread, I just haven't figured out how to do it right.  Anywho, after turning every wholesome, family bread recipe PG-13 while adding that a KitchenAid would fix EVERYTHING, my husband told me to "just buy one".  Easier said than done since it does cost money to just buy one.  However, on my last Girls' Night Out, my friend and I were at Costco (its much funner without kids), and while she is picking out her new food processor, the shiny red KitchenAid stand mixer next to it reminded me that I was suppose to just buy one, so I did.  And its beautiful in my kitchen.  And it kneads dough.  And my husband thinks my potty mouth is gone.
See how beautiful it is, just standing there, holding its first creation.
Okay, back to the Challah.  A fun, fancy-looking braided bread.  A simple, basic bread recipe that you can find from this week's host, Jenn, Here.
Even with my new mixer, I still had a rough time with the dough!  I guess I need some practice.  My dough looked really dry.  I didn't need to add any extra flour, not even to roll it.  

 I was skeptical.  And it was taking really long to rise, so I forced it a bit, and it still took its time.  Finally, after I braided it and let it rise again, it started looking right.  After it cooked it looked down-right pretty.  I think it was still on the heavier side, but that's the way I do bread.
   The recipe says to wait a couple hours before eating, but I consider it a sin not to eat warm bread.  We ate it right away with lasagna and everybody loved it.  We also tried some with butter and honey which was tasty too.  Overall, this is a great bread to add that extra little touch to a dinner party or just spreading some jam on for the kids.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Bake 52: Week 5

Whenever something starts with a graham cracker base, you know its going to be good.  Layer on the toffee bits, Rice Krispies, pecans, chocolate chips, coconut, and sweetened condensed milk and you get sinfully good!  Thanks to Jesse who hosted this week, you can get the recipe at her blog HERE.

I have a different 7 layer recipe that I have used forever, and I absolutely love, but it always crumbles apart.  After making Bake 52's recipe, I have come up with The Perfect recipe for 7 layer bars.  I kind of married the two and this is their offspring:
  • Add the toffee bits as part of a layer instead of in with the crust.  The flavor gets lost in the crust.
  • Add butterscotch chips.  This is simply a must, even if you are not a butterscotch fan (which I'm not).
  • Use the two cans of sweetened condensed milk.  It keeps it all together and it is just that much yummier.
  • Omit the Rice Krispies and pecans.  I think Rice Krispies get a little chewy hard in these kind of recipes and with the crunch of the toffee bits, you really wont miss the pecans--unless your a fan, then by all means, add them.
As for the original Bake 52 Seven Layer Bars, they were still really good!  And if you have the will power to let them sit for a day, they are even better!