Saturday, December 31, 2011

First Waffles of Christmas!

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Christmas gift: WaringPro Waffler
I got a new waffle iron for Christmas, and today was the day to try it out. We wore out the hinge on our last waffler. :) I'd been using Krustease pancake mix, which is very easy, especially for the kids. We were out of that, though, and it was time to find a better recipe.

I decided to try Food Network's Waffle of Insane Greatness, which was courtesy of Aretha Frankensteins, Show: $40 a Day Episode: Chattanooga, TN

The waffles were great! The outside had a crispy crunch, inside was creamy, overall they were light and wonderful. The first waffle was actually a tad lighter brown than the rest, but was still good. They were flavorful and delicious. We forgot to use butter, just added a light drizzling of real maple syrup, it didn't take much, didn't need anything more.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Droppers for Extract Bottles

This is a crossover between my cooking and 3d Printing worlds. :) An adapter to let droppers work on smaller mouth extract bottles. Read more here.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Cookies for Santa

We made Nutmeg Maple Butter Cookies from Smitten Kitchen, and iced them with Amanda's Awesome Icing, from I Am Baker

We decided on the Maple Nutmeg cookie. Turned out to be a good choice, yum!

I went on the scant side of the 1/2 tsp fresh nutmeg, fearing it would be too strong. I also used Grade A Dark Amber maple, because I didn't find a Grade B in time. I did not add maple flavor because, well, I'd rather use the real thing. I used imported butter, and for the flour, 1/2 Whitle Lily, 1/2 King Arthur All Purpose

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Home-made Toffee

I decided I wanted to make some toffee over a year ago, found this recipe, and made some. I made it again last Sunday, and wished I had made notes last time. The recipe is from "allrecipes":

Best Toffee Ever - Super Easy

Candy fresh from the fridge.
That first time, I skimmed through all the "allrecipes" comments, and decided to... make it exactly per the original instructions. I find it amazing how much people will alter a recipe before even trying it once per instructions! I recall that it came out well the first time I made it, but I couldn't find any notes on how it went, but I do recall: tasted great, stuck to my teeth more than desirable, I didn't taste the almonds much, and the chocolate that I used (Pete's Burgandy) was maybe overpowering the toffee.

Friday, December 16, 2011

I'm Dreaming of Great Santa Cookies!

Every year I help my kids make cut-out cookies for Santa. They love to choose the cutters, cut and lay them on the baking sheet, and then cover them with more icing and sprinkles than there is cookie underneath! Every year, though, I try a new recipe. I have some notion buried in the back of my mind (or maybe it's on my tongue) of what these cookies should be, and those that I've made always miss the mark. However, the kids will not be persuaded to abandon cut-out cookies.

I've tried my go-to sites (King Arthur Flour, Alton Brown, Cooks Illustrated, Food Network), and been disappointed. This year, I've found three new candidates off the net. They seem to simply be motivated home-bakers that are driven to make good things and enjoy the rewards of sharing. I have high hopes once again!

Blog Shift, Starting NOW!

It's time to revamp my blog. I found myself wanting to re-date my blog entries as a way to organize my articles. Also, I've been using Google Docs to store my recipe collection, which leads to the problem of having a Blog version and a Doc version of some recipes. That would be fine if I would leave them alone, but, well, I can't keep from tweaking the recipes as I find ways to improve them.

So, here is what I've decided to do. I'm building a Doughcrafter Website, where I will lovingly organize, cross-reference, and enhance my various recipes and articles. Note that this is an activity that I've just started, and that site is pretty bare right now. That will free me to use this blog to post about things like my current search for a really good cookie cutter recipe to use on Christmas Eve for Santa's cookies.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Scandinavian Cardamom Braid

 This is such a good, exotic bread, I'm not sure why I don't make it more often.  Cardamom is the second most expensive spice, after saffron and before vanilla bean. Happily it is also super strong, so you don't need much. The almonds toast on top while the bread bakes, and then a drizzle of buttery orange glaze... 

This is a holiday bread, and I usually only make it in December. It can be a real show-stopper at the office "goodies" table, or at a party. I usually have to cut the first slice myself, because no one wants to mess it up. I serve the glaze in a bowl on the side, for two reasons: 1. If there is any bread left over, it will keep better, and 2. Everyone gets to decide how much they want to drizzle on their serving.

 I just made it as a 6-strand braid, and it was beautiful that way also.