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well, my candied flowers didn't turn out as well as I hoped, but it's still a festive piece of work  

Saturday was dreary here in Southern CT, a perfect day to bake. My first attempt at Challah! I forgot to add the salt, didn't seem to affect the taste. I sprinkled it over the egg wash befor

I. Never. Bake. But my 91 year old dad wanted a custard pie. I dug up a recipe, followed it closely, and produced a pretty decent product. Dad was thrilled. 

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I made these brown sugar cinnamon scones today. I don't bake much and had never made scones before and they turned out pretty well! I made two batches and for the second batch I didn't have enough white flour, so I substituted wheat flour (I read that I should use 3/4 of the amount of white flour the recipe calls for). Those scones are more crumbly but still tasty. Friends are hosting us for breakfast in the morning, I wanted to bring something, and I had heavy cream to use up, so...

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I've got this Dark Chocolate - Olive Oil Skillet Banana Bread from Food 52 in the oven right now. It smells good. I only had 2 bananas instead of 3, but calculated that I was only about 2 oz. short. The batter, at least, has a decent amount of banana flavor to it...I used a loaf pan instead on a skillet, so I'm going to have to keep checking in terms of baking time.

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21 hours ago, Pat said:

I've got this Dark Chocolate - Olive Oil Skillet Banana Bread from Food 52 in the oven right now. It smells good. I only had 2 bananas instead of 3, but calculated that I was only about 2 oz. short. The batter, at least, has a decent amount of banana flavor to it...I used a loaf pan instead on a skillet, so I'm going to have to keep checking in terms of baking time.

Sounds interesting. How did it turn out?

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I read the comments on the recipe and saw that the author said she baked the loaf version close to an hour. After checking a couple of times and finding it still liquid in the center, I let it go until 58 minutes total. It turned out delicious and moist in the center, but I think it got a little crustier on the edges than it was supposed to. I think I'd pull it at about 45 - 48 minutes next time. I'll definitely make it again at some point, though. The banana is more a background flavor but it's beautiful up against the two kinds of chocolate. I used Hershey's Dutch process for the cocoa.

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Yesterday I made a blueberry cornmeal cake from the Washington Post. I went 5 minutes short on the timing because it was getting a bit too browned on the top. Very moist and delicious. Great with vanilla ice cream.

I usually take non-dessert dishes to the annual potluck on our block, but I did a test run on this recipe because I thought it would be good to take. It's a go.

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Crisps seem to be a lost art.  My college-aged daughter is working hard to bring them back among her peer group,  Easy to make in a minimalist kitchen and easy to transport to a picnic or potluck.

in other baking news, the instapot’s killer app just might be clotted cream.  Between that and Inna Jam’s Seascape Strawberry (which I mail order from CA), scone demand has risen dramatically at my house.

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17 hours ago, ktmoomau said:

I made banana blueberry muffins topped with struesel last week, which were a big hit at office and at home.  I will make those again.  

Thoughts:

I detest overripe bananas in general.
Bad Beaujolais tastes like overripe bananas.
Chocolate chip - banana -walnut muffins should have a calorie tax.
Blueberries in muffins are terrific.
Muffins must not be too sweet, or blanched.
A slight crunch on a (non-strueseled) muffin top is always in vogue.
Struesel shows best as a thin crumble.

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18 hours ago, smithhemb said:

Crisps seem to be a lost art.  My college-aged daughter is working hard to bring them back among her peer group,  Easy to make in a minimalist kitchen and easy to transport to a picnic or potluck.

in other baking news, the instapot’s killer app just might be clotted cream.  Between that and Inna Jam’s Seascape Strawberry (which I mail order from CA), scone demand has risen dramatically at my house.

Would you mind sharing your instant pot clotted cream recipe?

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https://theviewfromgreatisland.com/instant-pot-clotted-cream-recipe/

Super simple, but it’s a 24 hour process — once it gets to target temperature, it spends 10 hours on keep warm, an hour or more to cool down, then 12 hours in the fridge.  And it’s important that you don’t use ultrapasteurized cream.  Fat content also matters.  I have been using Harrisburg Dairies Heavy Cream (from Whole Foods) with consistent success.  The one time I used cream delivered direct from the dairy (South Mountain Creamery), it failed.  Not sure if it was ultrapasteurized or if the issue was lower fat content (35% vs 40%).

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Chocolate shortbread cookies. I didn't get to making Christmas cookies this year, so I pulled the remainder of a batch of chocolate shortbread dough out of the freezer to bake. I had made the original batches for Valentine's Day, cut with a heart-shaped cutter. These are just round but will be good to make ice cream sandwiches with for dessert tomorrow night. The whole house smells like chocolate.

The recipe is from Tate's Bake Shop: Baking for Friends. It works perfectly.

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The week went a little screwy and I didn't use up a lot of stuff I had purchased last weekend and now have to make something of it all.  So I've got a pear pie with an oat streusel topping in the oven now.

Tomorrow I'll be using up a very ripe papaya that I got unexpectedly gifted, using a banana bread recipe and subbing in the papaya and flavoring with cardamom, cinnamon & basil and hoping for the best.

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Ended up using my banana cake recipe instead with a papaya/cardamom/ginger substitution and it turned into a very nice, moist tasty cake.  Gave it a cream cheese frosting.  Can recommend if you're stuck with a ripe papaya and dont' know what to do with it.

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I wanted to use the last of the bananas, and I am trying not to stress eat, but also allowing myself to not necessarily be totally Weight Watchers strict for my sanity/fridge/freezer/penty's sake.  So I made another batch of these cookies:  https://food52.com/recipes/80855-banana-bread-chocolate-chunk-cookies

I think this is a really good recipe.  The cookies turn out a bit cakey, which I really like.

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Saving the yeast I have , I pulled out my old Beard on Bread book and made banana bread yesterday after receiving a  mistake double order of bananas. After checking my cupboard, I discovered dried apricots and prunes I was planning to use for chicken Marbella - chicken is a bit hard to come by reliably these days so I baked Beard’s apricot nut bread today and am marinating the prunes in sherry for a prune bread bake tomorrow.

Sharing the extra loaves with neighbors .

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3 hours ago, naxos said:

Saving the yeast I have , I pulled out my old Beard on Bread book and made banana bread yesterday after receiving a  mistake double order of bananas. After checking my cupboard, I discovered dried apricots and prunes I was planning to use for chicken Marbella - chicken is a bit hard to come by reliably these days so I baked Beard’s apricot nut bread today and am marinating the prunes in sherry for a prune bread bake tomorrow.

Sharing the extra loaves with neighbors .

I love the prune bread from Beard on Bread! I'm pretty sure I made it for a DR picnic at some point.  I don't have a huge amount of flour because I haven't been baking much the last few years, but I have prunes and sherry. I might spare some of my flour to make that. (Yeast I actually have quite a bit of.)

I'm sure your neighbors will appreciate the bounty.

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Gotta say, as a longtime non-baker, that the bagel recipe from Serious Eats (https://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2017/01/homemade-bagels-recipe.html) has worked out really well.  Highly recommended.  I wasn't trying to hop on the quarantine baking bandwagon; bagels just sounded really good to me, we had enough flour to spare if I totally f'ed it up (as in, we wouldn't have used the last of our precious flour and yeast that apparently could have funded our retirement if we had sold them), and we have sesame seeds as well as Everything seasoning.  The recipe held up even on the batch where I tinkered with the size of the bagels.  Did I get lucky?  Probably.  YMMV.  

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Jumped on the sourdough bandwagon. Knew the bread baking would be fun had no idea how much I would like tracking down and making sourdough discard recipes.  All the sourdough discard recipes that I have tried from the King Arthur website have been winners. Also, the same can be said for all of Andrew Janjigian's sourdough discard recipes.

44501110_IMG_6010-loaf.jpg.99769e99f465185dc57fea0da914601a.jpg 

880387231_IMG_6014-cutloaf.jpg.494034ede27310cdc023972ca4684912.jpg

 

sourdough discard drop biscuits

516570134_IMG_6119-CooksIllustrated-Quarantinystarter-Sourdough-Discard-Biscuits.jpg.5da7e0c65461d7a259c4f2145be1ac9b.jpg

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Saturday was dreary here in Southern CT, a perfect day to bake. My first attempt at Challah!

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I forgot to add the salt, didn't seem to affect the taste. I sprinkled it over the egg wash before baking.

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We were out of bread flour for a while, so we found some recipes that use only all purpose flour and work really well.  My husband is the baker in our house.  After he made these baguettes the first time, I bought him a baguette pan and had him make more. :)

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I was missing bagels and generally our tastes in this area diverge as I like mine savory and he prefers his sweet.  But we can both agree on jalapeno cheddar bagels and he's made these a couple of times now as well.

IMG_20200516_183738865.md.jpg

 

I can't find any pictures, but using the bread machine is beneath my husband, so using the device is relegated to me.  Early on, I had a recipe that worked perfectly but then I ran out of bread flour.  Since then, I've made this Tuscan Herb French Bread a couple of times and it's turned out very well, both in looks and taste.

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I have made bakewell bars with apple jam and craisins, and family pie (a little like a cobbler/clafoutis), oh and corn muffins (but when you are using Jiffy Mix, is it really baking?). I made a pizza crust the other week, but I thought it was a little thick, I needed to stretch it more.

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I made some granola bars because I had a bunch of pecans, but I don't love them.  I would like them to be crunchier and I want another spice besides just cinnamon and vanilla, maybe like a graham masala or something??? Ideas?  All the crunchy ones had flaxseed meal though in the recipe, and I didn't have any of that.  They are fine, but I want them to be better next time. 

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On 7/6/2020 at 8:58 PM, ktmoomau said:

I made some granola bars because I had a bunch of pecans, but I don't love them.  I would like them to be crunchier and I want another spice besides just cinnamon and vanilla, maybe like a graham masala or something??? Ideas?  All the crunchy ones had flaxseed meal though in the recipe, and I didn't have any of that.  They are fine, but I want them to be better next time. 

I have found that adding an egg white helps with crunchiness. And for spicing, I have used and enjoy the baking spice mix from District Spice, but in looking them up to link here, it appears that they are closed for good, and I am sad. So maybe some other baking spice blend?

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On 7/6/2020 at 8:58 PM, ktmoomau said:

I want another spice besides just cinnamon and vanilla, maybe like a graham masala or something

Cloves? Allspice? Ginger? Nutmeg?

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We've been doing the jalapeno cheddar bagels for a while now, but decided to change it up last week and made asiago bagels instead.   The texture was a bit different, not sure if I like it quite as much, but they were good and went well with cream cheese for breakfast.

Continuing on the all-purpose flour kick, my husband tried another yeast pizza dough recipe and I liked how this one tasted better than the previous recipe.  We halved the recipe and added some Penzey's pizza sprinkles into the dough.  

 

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I’ve gotten the basic sourdough bread down to where I am baking a loaf a week easily. So decided to branch out and adapt yeasted pumpernickel raisin bread( what I called Russian rye growing up) to using a sourdough starter. 

I used a Silver Palate recipe which promised the bread I recalled as a kid but I think the ratio of flour to water was wrong and I ended up with a very dense grainy dough. After 3 hrs or no rise, I added some yeast and kneaded it in.

Loaves  did not rise overnight in fridge but I baked anyway - little oven spring but the bread has a nice soft texture a bit heavy on the molasses. Not quite what I remember but pretty good.

 

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I've been doing the whole sourdough thing, really starting to get happy with the results (though I am still terrible at the final shaping stage...the bread winds up rising to a decent shape but I still struggle to get it from a blob of dough to an actual round loaf before putting it in the oven).

I have settled on a version of this recipe except I use a 2:1 ratio of regular white bread flour to whole wheat flour, and I cut the hydration back to 70% from 80% (I can barely handle the 70% version).  You get a tighter crumb that way but I still like the way it turns out.

My latest loaf.

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51 minutes ago, Rhone1998 said:

I've been doing the whole sourdough thing, really starting to get happy with the results (though I am still terrible at the final shaping stage...the bread winds up rising to a decent shape but I still struggle to get it from a blob of dough to an actual round loaf before putting it in the oven).

I have settled on a version of this recipe except I use a 2:1 ratio of regular white bread flour to whole wheat flour, and I cut the hydration back to 70% from 80% (I can barely handle the 70% version).  You get a tighter crumb that way but I still like the way it turns out.

My latest loaf.

I’m intrigued by the tiny amount of starter!

I too have some shaping problems but the bread usually turns out ok. This one is softer with a tighter crumb- I think it needs a good  Stilton to or epoisses to accompany it. Sadly I have neither but might do a rush WF order.

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27 minutes ago, naxos said:

I’m intrigued by the tiny amount of starter!

I know, right? But it works if you give it enough time.  I started the dough about 9pm, let it proof on the counter until about 1 or 2 pm the next afternoon, with 4 stretch and folds every 30 minutes at the end.  Then in the refrigerator until late the following morning for baking.

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Over the weekend, I finally got around to making Pickle Brine Bread from the Gefilte Manifesto cookbook. It is a great cookbook that seeks to focus on making things from scratch with a focus on modern twists on Eastern European Jewish cooking. Since the cookbook has a bunch of pickle recipes, they include this bread recipe to help you use up leftover pickle brine. It turned out great - a half regular/half whole wheat slightly dense sandwich like bread with a mild pickle smell and in my case slight spiciness because I only had spicy pickle brine to use. It actually calls for 2 cups of fermented brine but I didn't realize I had so little left and so I used 1 1/2 cups mixed with 1/2 cup of water. It is mellowed by the addition of honey. It was great with just butter or good for some open face sandwiches. To go with the Ashkenazi theme I did one with smoked gouda and caraway kraut (also from the cookbook) with a bit of pickled ramps and the other was dill pickled herring with some carrot-horseradish relish (also from same cookbook and wonderful). It made two loaves and my neighbors also liked the second loaf I gave them. They also have good recipes for leftover pickle brine salad dressings - I often just add a splash of vinegar pickle brine instead of regular vinegar for salads.

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On 8/7/2020 at 11:12 AM, Rhone1998 said:

I've been doing the whole sourdough thing, really starting to get happy with the results (though I am still terrible at the final shaping stage...the bread winds up rising to a decent shape but I still struggle to get it from a blob of dough to an actual round loaf before putting it in the oven).

Have you thought about using one of the swirly baskets?  They make shaping easier?

I have made- cherry hand pies, peach/ginger upside down cake, lots of cookie varieties, tonight I just made peach coffee cake muffins in the last 2-3 weeks.  

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I just pulled some banana pumpkin mini-muffins out of the oven. They seem to have turned out really well. Unfortunately, the recipe only used two of my three aged bananas, but now I at least only have one banana to deal with.

The recipe yields 30 mini-muffins, but I only have 2 twelve-well pans, so I also made a gigantic muffin in a standalone silicone muffin cup.

This is the recipe I used, half all-purpose flour and half white whole wheat. I tinkered a little bit to use some things I had on hand. I also added some roughly broken pecan pieces (maybe 1/3 cup?), 1/4 tsp. Penzey's vanilla sugar, and 1/4 tsp. kosher salt. I cut the amount of vanilla down to a scant teaspoon (probably 3/4 tsp.) due to adding the infused sugar and also because it's double-strength vanilla extract.

Update: These are fabulous.:)

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