Baking up a storm!

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Life has been a bit hectic lately, but that hasn’t stopped me from baking up quite the storm. It doesn’t help that I’ve fallen in love with the Great British Bake-off. Whenever I see someone making delicious food on tv, it always gets me excited to be in the kitchen. Hubby enjoys this, at least at first. After multiple sweet treats in a row… he may wish I’d stop watching such shows!

Baking Pies:

First I went through a pie making craze.

apple tart

Old fashioned apple tart.

Blueberry Pie

Blueberry Pie

Apple Pie

British Apple Pie (Less sugar, no spices)

I used a British style pastry, which was so much easier to work with! It allowed me to practice some of my pie decorating without having to worry about it crumbling on me.

At our church, we do a monthly seniors luncheon. Well, this past month the lady who usually runs it was away and the lady who usually makes the desserts was terribly sick. I volunteered to make the pies since I was in this pie-making craze. I made 8 pies, 4 different kinds. Coconut cream, Apple, Custard, and Pecan. I’m told they turned out well.

Tasty Pies

A few of the pies.

BAKING OTHER THAN PIES:

I also made some blueberry muffins, pesto biscuits, and chocolate eclairs during this time. These were purely selfish bakes! 😊 I’ve tried a few different scone recipes as well, but don’t have pictures. Our favorite is a Vegan Lemon Poppyseed Scone. The Eclairs went over quite well with hubby. We may have eaten all twelve within 4 or 5 hours.

Baking

Blueberry muffins

Baking

Pesto Scones

baking

Eclairs!

The baking has settled down a bit… mostly due to an increase in my weight! But I still have a few more treats I want to try out. I just need to find some people willing to eat a few so that hubby and I don’t eat them all.

Volunteers?

Roasted Cauliflower Grilled Cheese Sandwich

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Are you looking at the title and thinking, “say what? Cauliflower on a grilled cheese?” That was my initial thought when I read the recipe in our weekly eMeals plan. However, it turned out to be delicious.

We’ve used eMeals in the past but had taken a break from it. A month or so ago we discovered that they had Vegan and Vegetarian plans so we thought we would give it another go. The recipes have been tasty, though none can hold a candle to the recipes from Oh She Glows.

For our supper tonight we had the Roasted Cauliflower Grilled Cheese Sandwich and Roasted Brussell Sprouts with Carrots and Mushrooms.

Cauliflower ready to roast roasting veggies

Our Review:

Hubby and I greatly enjoyed all of it, except maybe the mushrooms, and the kids really liked the grilled cheese and the carrots. None of the kids were really into the Brussell sprouts, go figure. The grilled cheese is supposed to have some arugula on with the cheese and roasted cauliflower. I figured it best to omit that from the ones I made for the kids, knowing full well they wouldn’t eat it.

To be honest, I was surprised they ate the grilled cheese at all since it was made with Gouda and had the cauliflower on it. All three of them ate their whole sandwich.

Of course, the lure of ice cream for dessert may have played into that as well!

 

Cauliflower Grilled Cheese

 

What have you been cooking this week?

French Macarons

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Have you ever attempted French Macarons? Or tried one? They are ridiculously delicious! This is another one of the desserts I learned to make from one of the Craftsy courses.

My husband absolutely loves them. So today I decided to whip up a batch and surprise him.

Of course, I had some help!

First, Lil Miss and I weighed out all of our ingredients. This is a recipe that can go very wrong if you don’t weigh everything accurately, and sometimes even when you do! 😳

Next, we layered our icing sugar and almond meal in the food processor and pulsed it until blended.

Up until this point, Mr. Moo had been napping. Of course, once he woke up he had to help too. My mother-in-law got this adorable Cars apron and chefs hat for him because he is obsessed with vehicles and cooking!

Next, we whipped our egg whites and cream of tartar until it resembled foam and there were no liquid eggs. Then we rained in our sugar slowly.

It takes quite a while to get this beat to stiff peaks. The kiddos started to lose interest around this point. Which was really for the best.

After the meringue is whipped it’s time to gradually fold in the almond meal/icing sugar mixture. In the course, you are taught to do this in three increments using a J-fold. Then comes painting the mix up the sides of the bowl a few times until it slowly slides down the sides.

Pop the mixture into a piping bag and pipe your circles on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Typically I use a template under my parchment, but today I freehanded it.

This next part is fun! Slam the pan on the counter six times, then punch the underside twice on each end. Then let the pans sit for a minimum of 15 minutes to dry a bit before baking at 330F for 11-13 minutes. The first picture is what they should look like, with a few that cracked or went a little wonky. The second shows when something has gone wrong. Not sure what happened to those ones today, but they still taste good! 😊

The Macarons need to cool 10 minutes on the tray before being moved to a cooling rack. While they cool you can make your filling. I’ve done a rosewater buttercream, salted caramel, and others but today we went for a simple chocolate buttercream. You just pipe some on a cooled shell, and top with a shell of similar size. Here’s our finished macaron.

They were enjoyed by all!

Want to try a Craftsy Baking course? Check them out here. Online Baking Classes

Naan Pizza

Naan Bread Turned Pizza!

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Have you ever tried making Naan Bread?

There’s a great recipe on All Recipes. I’ve made it multiple times now and have even used it as a pizza crust.

You start by proofing yeast.

Next, you mix in the dry ingredients and knead. Then allow it to rise until double in size. This takes about an hour. While you are waiting you can chop up your garlic. I just popped mine in the fridge until I needed it. Once your dough has risen you flatten it and knead in your garlic. Break your dough into golf ball size balls and allow to rise for another half hour. I have a cast iron griddle that is flat on one side and is more of a grill on the other; find one like it here Cast Iron Griddle – Amazon. About half to two-thirds of the way through the second rise I pop my grill onto the two burners and start preheating. When the dough has finished the second rise, you shape it and pop it on the grill. Brush butter on the exposed side and let it cook a minute or two before flipping and brushing butter on the cooked side.

Repeat until all of your dough balls are shaped and cooked.

To make it into a pizza, I preheated my oven to around 350 F. I then topped it with a bit extra butter and garlic powder. Next, I sautéed some veggies in a bit of oil and added salt, pepper, cumin, curry powder and turmeric to taste. Once my veggies were tender and aromatic I spread them onto my naan. We follow a vegetarian/vegan diet most of the time so instead of using cheese on our pizzas we sometimes take panko bread crumbs mixed with a little olive oil and spread that on top. You could season your crumbs with herbs or garlic powder as well. Bake for 5-10 minutes until the breadcrumbs have browned. Keep a close eye on it, so they don’t burn.

This makes a super tasty pizza! Tweak it to your tastes or top with your favorite traditional pizza toppings. It would also make excellent garlic fingers if topped with butter, crushed garlic, garlic salt, onion salt, oregano and nice gooey cheese,

What toppings would you put on a naan pizza?

Homemade Doughnuts

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Sometimes I get ambitious and make homemade doughnuts. These particular doughnuts I learned how to make from a class I took on Craftsy. Check out their selection of baking classes here: Online Baking Classes. I have completed Simple to Sensational Doughnuts (where I learned to make the doughnuts I’m writing about now), Miniature French Desserts, and Classic Croissants at Home. I have a couple more that I have yet to complete but can’t wait to try, Danish Pastries from Scratch and French Pastry Shop Classics. You can expect to see some posts of my results when I finish! I recommend any courses by Colette Christian or Jenny McCoy since most of the courses mentioned above are taught by Colette and the doughnuts course is taught by Jenny. 😊

(I also have some sewing courses on the go, but that’s a post for a different category!😉)

Back to the doughnuts!

These particular doughnuts are a deep-fried, glazed and filled doughnut. The first step was to make the dough and cut the shapes.

Next we heat the oil.

Then we fry our doughnuts, flipping once until a nice golden brown.

While the doughnuts are cooling slightly, make your glaze. I went with a dark chocolate ganache. You want to glaze your doughnuts while they are still a bit warm. Let the glazed doughnuts cool completely. Meanwhile you can make your filling.

I chose to do a strawberry jam type filling. It was too thick to properly pipe in though, so next time I would maybe blend it up a bit to make it less chunky. Pipe some filling into your doughnuts through the side with a long piping tip.

Then enjoy your delicious doughnuts!

What flavour doughnut would you make? What baking class would you take from Craftsy? (Here’s the link again! Online Baking Classes)