Wednesday, January 7, 2009


I have always been a carb girl. Well, maybe more of a chocolate addict, but desserts of any kind have always been my downfall. When i was in elementary school I remember my mom asking my pediatrician how much chocolate was too much. It seems the love affair began early. It continued throughout my adolescence - I know I personally sent at least one fellow student to grad night during the See's candy fundraiser my senior year of high school. And now I'm passing the addiction on to my kids. I know I will have to curtail my dessert habits at some point but its hard when Maryn and I have so much fun baking together!

Check out Maryn's adorable apron from our friend Sandy.

A cute Maryn and Grandma baking shot - we are a family of bakers!

Our favorite cookie recipe right now is a peanut butter chocolate chip cookie from the Kutsch Family Cookbook. Chris' cousin archived the recipes online so you can find the recipe here (thanks, Denton!). We especially like this recipe because it is easily halved - a good way to keep oneself from the belly ache of over-indulgence which is an easy thing to succumb to with this recipe - you don't realize how rich they are until it is too late. You've been warned!

*The recipe is good as is, but I've found that they rise a bit better if you add a teaspoon of baking powder as well as the baking soda that the original recipe calls for. Just a tip!*

And one more recipe in honor of Erica's food challenge for November. The ingredient was yeast. I've been attempting to bake bread for the last year or so with mostly imperfect results. I've mainly used this recipe for Oatmeal Toasting Bread. While the taste is good, the loaves are always a bit dense and never light and airy like the bread you buy at a bakery or the grocery store.

My latest attempt is from this recipe for cinnamon-sugar swirl bread. This time I broke out the Kitchen-Aid mixer with the dough-hook attachment as I didn't think my arms could handle stirring the required 7 cups of flour into the dough. I really like how the dough turned out and it rose well during the first proof. Maryn helped me brush the butter onto the rolled dough and sprinkled the cinnamon and sugar on top before rolling it up and placing it into a greased loaf pan. The second rise also seemed to go well until I uncovered the pans to place them in the oven. All of a sudden - poof! - my lovely loaves deflated. Do any of you fellow bakers have suggestions as to why this happened and how to avoid it next time?

*awesome baker Carol noted it was probably because I let them rise too long. No more watching good but distracting movies while attempting to bake bread! (I think I was watching PS I Love You)*
The dough after kneading and ready for the first rise.

After the second rise and ready for the oven

Anyway, the loaves came out of the oven about 40 minutes later looking quite beautiful and brown, if a bit flat on top. Never being one to follow instructions too closely, I cut into a loaf after a few minutes and was pleased to find it very light...much more so than my previous Oatmeal Toasting bread attempts. I think I may have undercooked it a bit and will leave it in a bit longer next time. But I was quite happy with the results and the flavor. I think this dough would be great even without the cinnamon-sugar in the middle or as cinnamon rolls topped with cream-cheese frosting.

I also like that it makes two loaves - one for you, and one for a friend (or the freezer).

Happy baking everyone! Let me know if you try either of these recipes and feel free to share any of your favorite cookie recipes or bread baking tips.


Katherine said...

Oh, yum! I'm hungry now.

I'm a cop-out and use a bread machine for all our bread. Even still, I mess up more than a few loaves...

Drew & Erica said...

Ooh, that looks delicious. I'm going to try your cinnamon-swirl soon. And I think you'd like my oatmeal bread. It's relatively light, although my last batch was dense (I think because I must have missed something or added too much flour :( ).