Wednesday, 16 March 2011

A problem… with Cinnamon

I have a problem.

Its name? Baked goods… more specifically, baked goods with cinnamon.

My other problem is waiting.

I hate waiting! And when you are making baked goods, waiting is usually a factor. So let me start this one off with a warning…

This cinnamon bread takes a minimum of 6 hours to make.

Two hours of initial rising. Two hours of rising after you’ve made the bread, and one final hour to bake the bitch… and an hour of actual work.

Now, I decided to make this bread after a lovely meal with my dear friend Ayla. We had headed out to Chianti’s for our bi-weekly Pasta Tuesday when once the evening had ended on the earlier side; I decided that maybe a little baking was in order.
This has nothing to do with cinnamon bread... it was my dinner at Chiantis and it was delicious...

I had a craving for cinnamon buns, but knew that they took forever to make… that and I wasn’t really in the mood to make a couple dozen cinnamon buns to live in my freezer.

Then it hit me. All the cinnamon bun love, without all the extra work! Cinnamon bread. Genius. And luckily for me, my favourite online blogger, P-Dub had already done the hard work for me.

So, I followed along and made her bread.

But there was an issue. I was starting this bread at 8:45 at night. It’s very common for me to get night time cravings for baked goods, and I figured, ok, this will only take a couple hours, right?

Wrong… I totally forgot about the secondary rising period between forming the dough and getting it into the oven. Jesus…

So this is going to be a two-part deal…

I started off with a coffee (or two) because I had recently run out of my favourite International Coffee Creamer, and just replaced it on my way home. I thought for sure this would get me through the waiting periods... but alas no…

Start by melting 6 tablespoons of butter in a pan over medium low heat. Add a cup of milk and warm the mixture up, but don’t boil it.

Once it’s cooled to a warm but not hot temp (which takes time people! Another maybe, 20-25 minutes?) add in a packet of yeast.

Let that get friendly for about another 10 minutes... This will wake up your yeasty goodness.

Now, mix two eggs and some sugar. Then add in your yeast mixture.

Add in a teaspoon of salt, and two cups of flour. Mix this together until you can no longer use your 15 year old hand mixer. Add in two more cups of flour and combine.

Now, even though I sad nasty things about it in the past, this recipe is perfect for your kitchenaid stand mixer. Why you ask?

Because your hand mixer cant do the job, and your going to have to kneed it by hand.

If you’ve got the stand mixer, let it got for 10 minutes with a dough hook thing.

If you don’t, and your old school like me, get out your iPhone timer, and kneed the dough for 10 minutes. It’s a good workout and you can use that to justify eating this in a couple hours.

There, doesn’t it look nice?

Add this to a nicely warmed up bowl with a splash of oil at the bottom. Canola works best. Olive oil is not your friend in this one.

Now, leave it, the fuck, alone. For two whole hours. Clean up the kitchen from your mess you’ve made already, go take a nap, or watch a couple episodes of Survivor or Sex and the City.

Once you’ve waited again, forever, it will be bigger! I took both pictures of before and after really close so you cant really tell, but it has definitely doubled in size.

Roll it out into a long rectangle. I kind of screwed up at this point, because this is supposed to make a nice loaf of bread. It was only at this point, that I realized that my loaf pan is still at the boyfriends place. No hard, no foul, we are just going to make some sort of weird looking loaf today.

Smear some softened butter along the inside of your pan

Your goal should be to make your dough as wide as your loaf pan… I clearly screwed up here as well, as mine ended up really wide, and had to be curved like creepy little C’s …

Anyways, smear some softened butter along your dough.

And then in a bowl combine sugar and cinnamon.

Sprinkle that little bit of heaven all along the dough.

Then roll your dough into a log and pinch the seam.

Again, mine wasn’t perfect, I had to make tow to fit in this brownie pan, so had to roll both ends and the cut it.

Place it in a pan and let it RISE AGAIN for another two hours.

Now, its bloody midnight... and I am not going to pop this sunnuva in the oven at two in the morning… so everyone at work better be excited for cinnamon bread in the am.

Again, lots of screwing up, and I’m pretty sure I left out an egg at one point (but didn’t reflect that in the instructions so yours shouldn’t screw up) and I’m not totally keen on my yeast, but only time will tell people!!

Till the morning!

Ok.. so by the time I actually got this computer of mine to stop freaking out, it was well past midnight – and I knew I had to get up early to get the loaf in the oven, I gave up on the night-post and went to bed…

But, when I woke up in the morning…

Holy! Look how sexy those look

Crack an egg and a splash of milk in a bowl

Mixer up

And brush along the top… this will give it that beautiful brown top

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 40 minutes!

Mine only took about 35 …

Mmm!! Worth the wait? I think so…

The girls at work really liked this one too…

I’ll post the specifics a little later tonight!

Monday, 14 March 2011

Monster Cookies

Monster Cookies

These are my most favorite cookies. In. The. World.

Years ago, when I was just a wee lass, not knowing how to cook or bake anything at all, my (now evil ex)boyfriend bought me a cook book! Classic styles Companies Coming “Timeless Recipes for All Occasions”

At 19, with nothing more than Mac ‘n Cheese and Hamburger Helper under my belt, the thought of taking on anything more was quite the daunting task.

But, then after some encouragement of my friends, I got around to doing some baking. These were the first ones I mastered, and were always my favourite.

Now, I want to let you guys know something… Although in previous posts I’m pretty much a “fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants” kinda gal, that’s only when it comes to cooking. Baking is a whole different ball game, seniorita, and you need to follow the recipe.

This one I actually whipped out the measuring spoons and made it perfect. I’ll post actual measurements at the end of the post.

Monster Cookies – adapted from Companies Coming

Here's what ‘cha need…

Butter, Brown Sugar, 2 eggs, vanilla, flour (not pictured) baking soda, baking powder, salt (also not pictured) quick-rolled oats, walnuts or pecans (I had both, so added both) chocolate chips, and Smarties!

Two quick notes… one, my flour bag is HUGE and all ripped up and pretty ghetto looking so will not be posted in my pictures (unless I get a nice lovely container for it.) Secondly, Go to Bulk Barn!! As you can see, some of my ingredients are from there, and it was amazing, I got a huge bag of flour, a huge bag of sugar, chocolate chips and smarties for like $10 … amazing deal… Check them out.

Sift your dry ingredients… (Flour, your baking powder and soda, and salt)

It makes sure you don’t end up with nasty looking lumps of things like these!

Then add your rolled oats...

And your walnuts! (hehe… nuts)

And like, a handful of pecans


Now be a dear and mix all your dry ingredients together...

Then put your softened butter in a bowl

Add the brown sugar

And cream them together.

Now, I don’t have one of them fancy-dancy stand mixers, with the hooks and stuff that make bread and cookies and mixing easier. Were getting lazy with Kitchenaid now-a-days people! If you make these cookies, promise me, you’ll do it the old fashioned way.

Wooden spoon, pushing the butter and sugar against the side of the bowl, creaming them together. This is how your grandmothers did it years ago, and that’s why their cookies tasted a million times better then they do now.

You know what happens when you cream your butter and sugar together by hand? Love. Love happens right then and there.

So ya know, there’s love in these cookies.

Once it’s all come together, scrape down the sides of your bowl

And add an egg, mix.

Then another egg, mix.

And a teaspoon of vanilla

Once that’s all together and happy, slowly add your dry ingredients

Once you’ve mixed all your dry & wet ingredients, add in a handful of chocolate chips

And drop them by tablespoons onto your baking sheet.

An ice-cream or cookie scoop would work a million times better than the ‘two-spoons’ method… but I don’t have a cookie scoop.. so I had to make due with the two spoons.

Push in your Smarties to the top of the cookies and toss in a 400°F oven and bake for … well it depends. How does your oven cook? Mine cooks hot – so it they took about 9 minutes.

Your ideal time to pull out the cookies is when the centers are not quite set, but all the edges are golden brown. Then once their out of the oven, leave them on the hot cookie sheet for like 3 minutes to let the pan continue to cook them.

This will achieve a soft chewy cookie – my fave.

Ho Mama.

Check. This. Out.

This is a cookie to share! Go make friends with the stoners down the hall, and your resident manager who’s playing poker with his buddies.

These cookies are to share, and everyone’s going to want to know where you got the recipe.

:) Just send ‘em my way!

Heres the exacts:
  • 1 Cup              Butter
  • 2 Cup              Brown Sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp                vanilla
  • 2 Cups             flour
  • ½ Tsp              baking soda,
  • 1 Tsp               baking powder
  • ½ Tsp              salt
  • 2 Cups             quick-rolled oats
  • Some               walnuts or pecans
  • Some               chocolate chips
  • Some               Smarties!