Posts Tagged ‘baking’

My baking turned into the slightly obsessive zone with crackers.  I’m not exaggerating even a little.  I love making crackers.  I have made crackers almost every day for the past couple of weeks.  I love making them partly for the ease and speed with which a batch of baked deliciousness can be whipped up.  It’s also very satisfying to note how much money I’m saving by not buying the fancy packaged crackers that I lean toward.  But mostly, they are just so AMAZINGLY GOOD!  I love to make them, yes.  But really, I love to eat them.  And so does everyone else in my house.  And all of Eli’s friends.  Making crackers is a good, good thing.

It started with our King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking book and the innocent little recipe for Wheat Thins.  They do warn in the book that you will not be able to stop eating these crackers and I can now fully appreciate the weight of this warning.  These are highly addictive crackers.  The dough is easy to roll out very, very thin which yields the crispiest and tastiest of crackers.  They bake up quickly (and disappear almost as quickly).  A very good recipe!

Next came sesame crackers.  Nuttier and heavier and harder to roll out thinly, but yielding a good, substantial cracker.  Not as popular with the kid sector around here, but this mama doesn’t mind when she gets a few extra crackers to herself.

Back to the wheat thins recipe and now it was time to play around.  I fooled around with the sugar in different batches (none in some, a little bit extra in others).  I added poppy seeds.  Good.  And pretty.  (Mama quite likes that combo).

And then Ming Tsai’s Blue Ginger Cracker from Simply Ming.  The cracker dough is seasoned with minced garlic and a whole array of spices.  This recipe takes a little longer as the dough is yeasted, but it results in a very sophisticated, grown-up cracker.  Although given the dwindling pile, it’s clearly not just the grown ups who are eating them….

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The King Arthur Flour 200th Anniversary Cookbook has been kicking around our kitchen for some time now.  It’s one of those cookbooks whose pages are splattered and creased.  The kind of cookbook where you can open automatically to the recipe you want because the pages are so used to falling open just so.  A cookbook whose cover has developed quite the patina from heavy handling by greased and floured fingers.  How refreshing then, to take the same well-used book off the shelf and dive into an entirely new recipe! Thus began my slightly obsessive baking streak with cinnamon bread.

I have a little baking friend.  An 8-year-old girl who lives down the street.  She comes over to play with Eli, but always seems to wind up in the kitchen with me, her hands covered in flour.  The Cinnamon Bread recipe (really Cinnamon Raisin Bread) yields a hefty 3 loaves.  And, knowing that Eli wouldn’t dream of touching a raisin, I knew only one loaf would actually contain my favorite sun-dried treats.  I planned on keeping the other two plain in courtesy of the non-raisin-lovers among us.

We used the roll-up method, since it’s fun and pretty and what doesn’t taste better with butter and cinnamon swirled up inside it?  We rolled up the raisin loaf and one plain loaf and with her hands on the rolling pin readying for the third, my little baking friend implored me to stuff it full of chocolate chips.  No way, I said at first.  I want to eat this for breakfast.  She was insistent though, and I finally relented.  (Okay fine, it’s not that hard to convince me to stuff something full of chocolate).

All three variations have proved to be delicious.  But while we’re still enjoying  our cinnamon breads as breakfast toast (particularly good smothered with my friend Renee’s Blackberry-Crab apple Jelly), the Chocolate Swirl Bread is long gone.   Sometimes it really pays to listen to an 8-year-old.

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