Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Bake 52: Apple Dumplings with Caramel Sauce

I am not sure what I thought these were when I heard the name.  In my head I combined a dumpling, like from chicken and dumplings, and apples.  Let's just say the actual dessert is WAY better than the one I was expecting.  Emily was our hostess for the week and decided to go a little easy on us since it was Halloween.  I think it was the perfect pick!  Instead of slaving away over any kind of crust, the recipe calls for refrigerated crescent rolls (the kind in a tube).  You roll them out a little bit, throw an apple, some butter and cinnamon/sugar in the middle....
 twist it all up
And bake it.  I couldn't resist an egg wash (1 egg yolk and 1 T milk whisked together, brush over pastries) and sprinkled them with sugar before baking.  They were super easy and super impressive!  These would be perfect for any occasion when you need something quick and easy but also want everyone to feel special. 

And when you cut the thing open, buttery yummyness oozes out.  
Oh, and I didn't make the cider mixture, I went with some caramel sauce instead.  Which is just as easy.

Caramel Sauce:
2 T butter, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 2 T heavy cream, heat in saucepan until sugar is dissolved.

And, of course, serve with ice cream. :)

Our kids, the Lego Forrest Police Officers. 
   Tyler made the costumes and everyone thought they were pretty cool.  We decided they aren't the most practical things in the world, but it was still fun. I hope everyone had a fun and safe Halloween!

If you'd like the recipe for Apple Dumpling, you can get it at Emily's blog (I hope all is well on the East Coast, Emily!)  Thanks for hosting this week!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Bake 52: Creme Caramel

I went through a phase a few years ago.  And when I say 'a few' I mean like 8 years ago.  I was going to perfect flan.  It took me numerous tries and a few different recipes and techniques to realize that I just don't like flan.  I am not sophisticated enough for it, I'm sure.  Our friends were kind enough to sample my limitless attempts and say nice things, but I think we were all in the same boat.  When Tyler got home today he was hoping that he was seeing Creme Brulee.  When he realized it was something more flan-like, he wasn't super excited.  It's not that this is super gross, it tastes pretty good, except maybe a little egg-y.  It's sweet, it's dessert, I think it's more just a texture.  It's not creamy like creme brulee is, it's hard to describe....Maybe the texture of soft tofu?  There is also a recipe in the book for flan, so forgive me that I keep comparing when that's not actually what this is, it's just super similar.

I thought it looked cool in the ramekins ready to bake.  And usually when working with hot sugar/caramel, I end up with a giant blister somewhere, but not this time!  Lucky!
 If you like flan and are sophisticated enough for this kind of thing, you might love this recipe!
And as an added bonus, it's gluten free.  I think that's one of the reasons our hostess for the week, Michelle, picked this recipe.  You can find it at her blog.  Thanks for hosting this week Michelle and picking a fun recipe.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Bake 52: Oatmeal Scones

 I don't have a lot of experience with this kind of scone.  The kind that's more of a biscuit.  So I can't really say if these turned out how they were supposed to or not.  We basically treated them like biscuits and ate them with jam, honey, butter and such.  Is that what you're supposed to do with these things?

I almost didn't toast the oatmeal because I was being lame and I thought last time I did it, I toasted it for too long (I think with the granola bars).  But I sucked it up and toasted it and wondered why I had been being such a baby.  It wasn't a big deal.  The rest of the scones came together fairly easy especially if you have a food processor (which I do).  I think next time I would make the cinnamon raisin variation, I bet it would taste almost like an oatmeal raisin cookie but you can pass it off as breakfast. :)
They were good and if you like scones, you should give this recipe a try.

Jen O. was our hostess for the week and chose the recipe, you can get it at her blog.  Thanks for hosting this week, Jen!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

TWD: Bagels

 I love bagels!!  I even worked at a bagel place in college and I still want to eat them after eating them all the time for 2 months straight!  (I only worked there for 2 months or I would have kept eating.)

These were time intensive, but not too labor intensive (especially if you use a mixer).  I refrigerated mine overnight and I should have used a bigger bowl because the dough had a mind of it's own by morning.  There were a few things in the recipe that I wondered how important they were, like the ice in the bottom of the oven (to create steam)?  I did it anyway (using a pan) but didn't notice a difference between these bagels and others I've made so I'd probably save myself that trouble next time.  I think spraying the oven with a spray bottle might be just as effective.  I also just baked both pans of bagels at once and rotated the baking sheets halfway through.  I didn't want to repeat the process of boiling and baking because I am lazy.  I also didn't bother with the oven turning off and whatever else there was at the end of the recipe, I just took them out when they were done, let them cool slightly and ate them.  
My family loved them, Calvin ate 4!  They were quite a hit.

If you'd like the recipe, you can visit the blog of our host for the week, Heather.

If you'd like to see what the other TWD bakers did this week, you can go HERE to get to their links.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Bake 52: Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Caramel and Cream Cheese Frosting

I had very good intentions of sticking to the recipe this week.  Really, I did.  It's just that this is what was on the page right next to our recipe:  Buttermilk-Caramel Cake
And the only thing I love as much as pumpkin + chocolate is pumpkin + caramel.  How could I do anything but what I did?  I did stick exactly to the recipe for the cake and cream cheese frosting except I halved them both (and baked the cake in an 8x8 pan) and then I made the caramel frosting.  I don't regret it for a minute.  The only thing I do regret is not having pecans.  I think some toasted pecans either in the caramel frosting or on top of the whole thing would have been nothing short of amazing.  

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Bake 52: Eclairs

It's already week 40 of our baking group.  Can you believe it?  Only 12 weeks to go!

You don't have to ask me twice when it comes to making eclairs.  What's not to love?  While this recipe wasn't all that hard, it did seem harder that the one I normally use.  Probably because I have made the other recipe 8,000 times and I am more comfortable with it.  And the other recipe uses a short-cut instead of pastry cream.  Which can be a good and a bad thing.  I made a tweak to the glaze (I added a T of corn syrup and about 1/2 cup extra powdered sugar) and I think it was perfect and I might just use that glaze from now on even if I use the other recipe for the shell and the filling.
 I tried piping the filling in with a few of them, but it seemed like a lot of work for something my family would devour in 2 seconds so I cut the rest open and plopped in the filling.  And you know what?  My kids ate them anyway.  Weird, right?  Calvin scarfed two down before I was even sure what happened.  I managed to save 2 for Tyler when he comes home, but he better hurry. :)
 Jenn was our hostess for the week and let her husband choose the recipe (what a nice wife).  You can get the recipe at her blog.  Thanks for hosting this week Jenn and thanks for marrying a guy with such great taste. ;)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

TWD: Cranberry-Pecan Pumpkin Loaves

Okay so these were supposed to be 'Cranberry-Walnut Pumpkin Loaves' but I didn't have walnuts and I had pecans.  And I figured they were close enough (sounds like something I would do).  When I heard the name of this recipe, I was expecting quick bread and we had just made a pumpkin loaf for Bake 52 so I was interested to see the difference in the recipes.  This bread is SO not a "quick-bread" (It took 2 days to make) and it's yeasted, so basically, the difference is astronomical.    

I have only tried working with yeasted pumpkin bread once before and that was last Fall.  After quite a few tries at pumpkin bagels, I kind of gave up.  There was something about the taste that wasn't right.  I couldn't put my finger on it, but it was there.  I feel the same way about this bread.  I am getting that same taste in this bread that I disliked last Fall.  It's not right when you bite into it but not totally an after-taste either, there's something there in the middle, that doesn't sit well with me.  I think for me, the fruit and nuts were crucial to this bread because they masked the flavor that I speak of.  As long as I had a bite with nuts and cranberries or raisins, I was a happy camper. Maybe in general, yeasted pumpkin breads just need more sugar and the fruit supplies some sugar?  Who knows.  
 This recipe has re-awakened my desire to make it work how I would want it.  So this might be a great starting point for me.  And even if it wasn't a keeper, I feel like I learn something new with each recipe that I make.

Oh, and the recipe called for 3 mini loaf pans, but I used 4 pans and I am not sure how 3 would work.  I even measured to make sure I was using the right size pan.  

If you'd like to try the recipe, you can visit the blog of our host for the week:

If you'd like to see what the other TWD did this week you can go HERE.

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