Sunday, March 29, 2009

Blueberry Muffins

I know, I've been seriously neglecting my assignments. But as I mentioned, I'm planning a wedding over here, interwebs. What's that? Tina had to move with a baby strapped to her back? Well Tina's a million times more talented than I am, interwebs, so shush. Besides, how do you expect me to make Irish Soda bread and then eat the whole loaf in a couple of hours before it turns to stone? I need to fit into my wedding dress and that's not the best way to go about it.

This week's challenge is Blueberry muffins. I think I need to have a little chat with Tina & Misty about availability and seasons. You see my muffins only have 1/2 a pint of blueberries because I refuse to spend $20 on a full pint. That's what happens when they have to come all the way from Chile.... or when I decide to walk to Sobey's instead of drive to the Supercentre, because I likely could have gotten them for like $8 instead of $10.

Sadly I could pretty much only get eggs, milk and butter from Culinarium this time. I like the milk a lot. Something about getting milk in glass bottles seems so wholesome.

One thing I have improved on since our first assignment is my mise en place. I'm constantly putting things away and wiping up before my spills crust into glue, a definite improvment. I also managed to not coat my dog in flour or icing sugar. Also a step up.

I'm still making do with just my handheld mixer... I'm getting better at following the time tips, if Julia says light and fluffy should take 3 minutes, then I whip for 3 minutes damn it.
Also, I'm not ashamed to admit that, often times, at this butter and sugar step I'm tempted to stop and just eat the whole bowl:

Kristina messaged to see if I'd tasted my muffins yet. Apparently Andrew thought her muffins tasted like "eating a stick of butter wrapped in paper with blueberries". Which to me doesn't sound like a problem... but for the record, mine did not taste like that. My final outcome seems to look quite close to hers though, so I'm not sure what the difference was:

Also, considering that I only used half the amount of berries, they turned out pretty full of berries :)

I really like these and will probably make them again!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Okay, I'm a little late with this post, it should have gone up on Sunday. I'm planning a wedding over here interwebs, give me a break.

Recipe #3, Purchase #2 - pastry blender:

I'm okay with it though, since it gave me an excuse to buy something at Crate & Barrel.

The pastry blender in action:

I really liked this dough. It was super easy to make and they gave both manual and food processor directions which I appreciated.

The only thing Culinarium contributed to this recipe was the cheese.
Unfortunately my tomatoes came from Mexico and my basil from Dominican Republic.

They still tasted pretty good in the end. I put it on our pizza stone because I didn't have any parchment paper. It stuck a little, but the flaky crust survived! I managed to only eat half of it, but I'm sure if Craig weren't here I would have eaten the whole thing.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

X Cookies

My friend Jacqueline corrected me last night - I keep calling this a "baking challenge", but when I explained the premise she said I'm in fact in a "baking club". The thing is it's pretty challenging for me, so I prefer my way of saying it. Sounds like I'm suffering for my baking. However it also sounds like one of us will be crowned Grand Baking Queen at the end of the year, and let's face it, that would be Tina, so in order to not give up all hope I shall refer to it as my "baking club" from now on.

I have this horrible tendency to read the ingredients of the recipe and not the directions. So challenge number 1 I discover is that a food processor is rather heavily needed for the X Cookies. Me, I have this :

For a recipe that ends up making 5 dozen cookies, this is going to take a while. I ended up halving it like Tina suggested.

Culinarium's contribution to this recipe is once again butter and eggs.

I didn't quite follow this recipe to a T. Which likely explains why I didn't really care for the final cookies, either that or I don't like figs, I can't be sure.

The Bulk Barn didn't have "candied orange peel" just something generically called "citrus peel" which I used instead. Also since I was buying all my ingredients there I skipped over the dark rum, as that's not really something you can get at Bulk Barn. Then I promptly forgot I needed it at all until after I'd made the dough. So I took to the internets and replaced the rum with molasses. If you told me 5 years ago that I would be the type of girl more likely to have molasses in her kitchen than rum I would have laughed. In your face. And called you a liar. But old lady me has in fact turned out this way.

The thing about using molasses is that it's quite sticky. Like glue-sticky. So trying to roll something like that into a rope, it's just... gross. Combine that with the fact that I missed a portion of dough hiding behind my hand blender and I may have overfilled the cookies. Also, I didn't have parchment paper, so the bottoms may be a little darker than normal.

On the plus side that extra dough allowed me to produce other cookies. I used the dough and a little dollop of jam. I made five with Lime Marmalade and five with Ginger Jam. Those. I loved. Perhaps due to their lack of figs. Though they weren't nearly as pretty: