French Bread Roll followup…

IMG_0989Want to avoid my French Bread roll mistakes? ReIMG_0994ad the recipe! Use “bread” flour… and maybe slightly warmer water when dissolving the yeast. Not to mention, I didn’t add any salt because I thought it would only hurt the yeast- only to learn later that it actually would have helped it to a degree.

Also, maybe let the dough rise, oh, three times as long as it says instead of double. Finally, make sure the rolls are on the MIDDLE rack in the oven! Otherwise, you’ll have a nice brown color on the bottom, and a nice pale white-ish look on top (they were on the second from the bottom rack…).

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In other words, I didn’t do so well. These came out more like English Muffins. I think using all purpose flour is a big reason why. They were definitely in the oven too long- so whatever softness there may have been was robbed by a crunchy bottom. Continue reading

Four Layer Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting…

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I don’t have much time to describe the weekend feast I created with my fiancé for the football game, but I had to show you all how much better I got at cutting the 9′ round cakes in half! I learned from my mistakes last time with the Ganache cake– and made sure I put the smooth sides on the top so I didn’t have to ice the crumbly part.

I used the same cream cheese frosting recipe I had used for the Cinnamon buns last week because oh my god, it was so good. I also felt more confident using the butter knife to cut through the cake, keeping an eye on the size of each layer. The process of slicing, removing, picking up and flipping the piece over to the right spot on the cake is scarrrryyyy but somehow I was cool, calm and collected. It was a breeze. I’m really starting to get a knack for that part. I managed to avoid a lopsided cake!!

IMG_1033When it was time to actually eat the cake I was the happiest lady on the planet. Unlike the ganache cake, the layers were basically perfect. There was a little more frosting on the bottom layer but it was fitting as there wasn’t as much again until the very top. I signed up for a cake decorating class, so eventually I’ll have something more impressive to show for my cakes than just a spackle pattern on top.IMG_1057

As per usual, I had Ellie by my side the entire time. She was avid in trying to steal a bite but I had to keep it all to myself! I at least let her lick the plate when I was done 😉

IMG_1063I’ll update later today… A “French Roll followup” along with a few recipes! We made homemade marinara sauce for meatballs, as well as a Spinach Artichoke dip from scratch and oh my goodness! I know this is a baking blog but I’ll have to make an exception!

French Bread Rolls…(prep.. if you can call it that!)

Famous last words….“seems pretty easy”

Oh let me count the ways I think I screwed this up. Yeast is such a pain!

IMG_0976I would have bet money that I put warm enough water together with the yeast and sugar. But after I mixed them together and let stand, it didn’t really get ‘creamy’ as I read it should. Maybe too much water, but I don’t know. When I felt it, cold. Not warm. IMG_0977

Naturally this concerned me so I held the bowl over a warm burner for a little while… and then for maybe a little while longer, until I just became completely insecure. I just don’t know what ‘creamy’ means, especially given the fact that maybe the water was not as warm as I thought it should be. I’m afraid I may have ‘activated’ the yeast too quickly in this process. Sucks! (Image taken on cold burner, by the way!). Continue reading

Rewind: Creme de Menthe Brownies

creme de mentheEvery December my family hosts a Yankee Swap / Pot Luck Dinner. creme de menth brownies I made Creme de Menthe brownies this year. And yes, I am not ashamed to say I did “box” the brownies, but there’s more to these than that!

You have to make the frosting (which is your standard milk, confectionary sugar and creme de Menthe mixture) – and then melt chocolate with butter and pour it overtop and let harden. As you can see I didn’t exactly accomplish an even layer of either, but remember this is a beginner’s blog! Continue reading

One last rise..

last rolllast rollsLeft the last batch of cinnamon rolls out overnight, in the same room as the wood stove but across the way a bit. I’d say these rose the best out of all 4 attempts. So I think at least as far as ‘overnight’ baking goes, I’d prefer to leave the dough out all night- covered (with a little crisco on top just in case)- so they’re ready to go in the morning. Rather than take them out of the fridge and hope I have enough time to get the results I want. Continue reading

What the recipe didn’t say about Yeast…

Those who have tuned into my rants about the homemade cinnamon rolls may have noticed a trend. Yeast. I’m told I’m lucky to have even seen the dough rise on my first try- but I’m still stuck on what I have done to prevent it from really popping up. At this point I have tried/am in the process of 3 “proofing” methods:

-A warm oven and 20 pitiful minutes… Turned out dense and hardened up upon cooling.

-A slightly warm oven for 2.5 hours … Turned out almost dry on the outside but relatively fluffy inside- still not “perfect cinnamon roll” status though (left to right, beginning to end of 2.5 hour period)

Bun Proofing Bun Proofing Bun Proofing

Continue reading

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls (the morning of): Yeast is a Beast

Why didn’t I read the recipe with more care? The fiancé has to be out of the house at 7, and here I am at 6:20am trying to proof the buns in what, 20 minutes? I didn’t realize they needed a whole hour on top of all the time the dough took to rise yesterday.

Ellie AMBecause of this I just took a few out of the batch to make this morning, I’ll get the rest right tomorrow/this week. I figure if I let them proof til 6:25am, it’s not ideal but it’s something. Continue reading

Once upon a Cupcake

Halloween Theme Chocolate CupcakesThe ‘baking bug’ really first hit me back in October. It just took me a few months to realize I was really developing a passion for this, enough of one to motivate this blog 🙂

These Devils Food Cupcakes with Fudge frosting were out of the box…But I’m still proud of them because it was genuinely difficult to make sure the batter was even. There are special scoops for that stuff right? I used the ladle that always makes the best pancakes… Continue reading