love bake create

Home Sweet Home March 19, 2013

Filed under: Cookies — lovebakecreate @ 10:47 PM
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It’s taken WAY longer than I ever expected, but we’re (mostly) settled in. There are still a number of items in boxes (more than I’m willing to admit) and one room has been deemed the random crap storage room but that will eventually morph into the spare room/office. I’m just happy that Eric and I have a bed, even if Ella is taking up most of it. Speaking of which, we have ourselves one awesome traveller.

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No major freak-outs in the car and we managed to do laundry at one of the hotels, so little Peanut here stayed in her cloth diapers the whole trip. That’s right, Mother of the Year, that’s me.

I think for me, I finally felt somewhat at home when we woke up to this view in Canmore.

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It was amazing to see mountains again and so peaceful since I was one of the only few people out early on that Sunday morning (searching for food). Seems I was in such a trance that I managed to leave our night light in the hotel room. The following evening I think travelling finally got to me because I had one serious meltdown over that night light, tears and all. In my defence, it was the perfect night light.

So now I’m back at work, Eric is adventuring into the world of being a stay a home dad (and rocking at it!) with only minor issues, like realizing how much attention our little Peanut demands. I’d like to say I’m getting the 1950s treatment, coming home to a roast in the oven and a drink in my hand as I walk through the door. It’s more along the lines of barely getting my shoes off before a thirsty child is shoved to my chest and I’m told dinner might happen by 8pm, what did I want to make? Pizza has definitely been the cop-out more than once in the last couple of weeks.

Have I been overwhelmed? Absolutely! Broken down? A couple times. Baked? It’s what keeps me sane.

Mostly scones and quick cookies when they could be fit in. Oh, and everything has disappeared in record time. I didn’t get pictures, but these might be the easiest cookies I’ve ever baked. Tastiest too.

Super Easy Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup white sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 and 1/8 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

almost 1 cup chocolate chips

This ones great, because it doesn’t require a mixing bowl. Mix the butter and both sugars until they’re creamed (I used what I had on hand … a potato masher). Then mix in the egg and vanilla. Switch to a spoon (again, I used what I had on hand … soup spoon) and mix in the flour and baking soda until it’s just mixed in. Finally, add the chips and mix those in. Spoon the mixture onto a cookie sheet (good thing I had that soup spoon on hand) and bake for ten minutes at 375°F. Oh, and they do spread out while baking, so if you drop them too close together, you end up with conjoined cookies. Still tasty, but now you might have to break out a knife.

Other than lazy baking, I’ve had some ideas rolling around in my head. I’ve been having conversations in my head about where I want to take this blog and what I want to get out of it. I love baking (surprise) but I have so many other passions that I feel I’ve been ignoring, or at least not giving much credit to. So spurred by a late night discussion with Eric and the name of this blog, I’ve decided the following;

Love: My family and friends are my life (such a mom thing to say) and without both sides of that coin, I wouldn’t feel as wealthy as I do. My daily life is going to be making more of an appearance, if only to document it through pictures so that I can look back and smile.

Bake: It’s my outlet for stress, my way of connecting with others and a way of reminding myself that when all hell is breaking loose and nothing is going my way, the  laws of chemistry still apply so my scones will turn out. Unless I forget to check the expiry date on the baking powder. Always check the expiry date.

Create: Always. I’m creating a life all the time so there’s no sense in waiting for the perfect moment when I’ll have enough time, money, energy or whatever other resource I think I’m lacking. We all have exactly enough time to do the things we deem important, no more, no less. There’s never enough money anyway, so why worry ourselves? And energy? As long as I’m putting passion into what I’m doing, the energy will come, it always does.

Speaking of energy, I need to put some of it into calming the grumpy child in Eric’s arms and getting her to look more like this.

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Enjoy!

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Sweet Sunday Afternoons January 16, 2013

Filed under: Cookies — lovebakecreate @ 9:01 AM
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madelines

First a confession about the picture above; not mine. This is the lovely picture of what Madelines should look like, care of www.allrecipes.com. My first attempt at these delightful little biscuits looked more like this.

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Yes, they’re slightly burned. Crispy, if you will. This was a very good lesson of not every oven is the same. Seems that my mom’s oven is a super oven that bakes things in record time.

Theses crispy little cakes were part of the prep for a Sunday tea visit. Something about Sunday, tea and biscuits on a frosty winter morning that makes the whole day relaxed. Even after burning them, my relaxed self found a very appropriate solution. Icing sugar.

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There we go, no one will be the wiser. Also, they’re not shaped like the traditional Madelines, but acorns. So really, we can say they’re snow covered acorns.

The recipe itself is quite simple.

Ingredients

2 eggs

3/4 tsp vanilla extract

1/3 cup white sugar

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1 tbsp lemon zest

1/4 cup salted butter or margarine

First, set the oven to 375°F and melt the butter. I went for the fast option and used the microwave, but be careful not to boil it. The butter can be left off to the side to cool down to room temperature or put outside. Again, be careful if you’re doing this in Winnipeg. I had to warm the butter up to room temperature after leaving it in the garage for too long.

Beat the eggs and vanilla at high speed until they look fluffy and have little air bubbles in the mix. Then, still at high speed, add the sugar slowly and beat it for about five minutes or the mixture looks soft and pours like you see in the picture.

It should “pour like a ribbon” according to the original recipe.

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Next, sift the flour and fold it into the egg mixture, one third at a time.

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Finally, add the lemon zest and fold in the melted butter. I have to admit, in all the baking I’ve done, this is the first time I’ve zest-ed. My mom happily demonstrated her zest-ing tool.

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Pour into molds and bake for about 14 minutes, or 12 minutes in the case of the super oven. Don’t get distracted by a cute face while timing your baking.

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Come to think of it, the super oven might not have been solely to blame for my crispy Madelines.

Cheers to lazy Sundays and tasty cakes … even the crispy ones.

Happy baking!

 

Chewy, gooey and …. pumpkin-y? October 24, 2012

Filed under: Cookies — lovebakecreate @ 3:10 PM
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Ok, take chocolate chip cookies (yum!) add pumpkin since it’s still October, and that’s what we’re doing, and then … make them healthy!

You heard me.

These are actually very healthy when compared to other cookies. Not that they started as healthy cookies.

When I found this recipe for pumpkin cookies, I was excited to try it out, until I saw how much oil and sugar was involved. Maybe it’s because I’m still a walking buffet for my little girl, but I didn’t want to be consuming tons of fat and sugar. So, I tweaked the recipe and came out with this:

Gooey Pumpkin Cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup pumpkin purée (I make my own)

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup butter at room temperature

1/2 cup apple sauce

1 egg at room temperature

2 cups flour

2 tsps baking powder

2 tsps cinnamon

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp milk

1 tbsp vanilla extract

enough chocolate chips to make you happy

Instructions:

Cream together the sugar and butter. Keep mixing in the bowl while adding the pumpkin purée, apple sauce and egg. Why room temperature? I was reminded exactly why when I added a cold egg; warm plus cold will cause the mixture to go clumpy, like curdled milk, rather than creaming. Not a big deal, but mixing is better when things are creamed, not clumpy.

In a separate bowl mix together the flour, baking powder and cinnamon.

Obviously, the picture here is pre-mixed dry ingredients. Next, in a small bowl, dissolve the baking soda in the milk.

The baking soda is what makes the cookies fluffy as opposed to flat, rock hard disks. Why so little milk? There are so many other wet ingredients (pumpkin, apple sauce) that more milk would make the cookies too gooey and they just wouldn’t bake right.

Mix the baking soda/milk mixture into the wet ingredients and then add the dry ingredients. I decided to mix in the dry stuff by hand so that I wouldn’t over mix the batter.

Oh, and the chocolate chips! The original recipe called for 2 cups which I think over powers the taste of the cookie. Plus it called for nuts. First off, I rarely use nuts or raisins in cookies. Personal thing, but I believe that neither ingredient has any business being in a cookie. Secondly, when using chocolate chips in cookie recipes I never EVER measure how many go in. Ever. Put in enough chocolate chips until you’re happy with how many will go into each cookie, hence the amount that “will make you happy”.

You want an actual amount? Go for a cup plus 1/3 of a cup.

Drop the cookies onto a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes or until browned.

The nice thing about using apple sauce, aside from being healthy, is the moist gooey texture it gives the cookie. With less fat, these cookies still manage to be nice and soft the next day. Which was tested… by having cookies as a pre-breakfast snack.

Happy baking!