Tuesday, January 28, 2014

TWD/BWJ: Vanilla Chiffon Roll

There's something to be said for blissful ignorance.

Sometimes it's best not to know what's coming.

I skimmed through this recipe, checked to be sure I had the ingredients, and still had no idea that I would dirty up every piece of heavy equipment in the kitchen and need about three extra hands.

At one point, I was toasting walnuts in a pan, melting chocolate in a double boiler, and separating eggs when I suddenly thought "what's that smell?" A cake that needs to come out of the oven! I have no idea how long it cooked. Heard the timer go off at 12 minutes but was busy with the mousse and forgot about it. Ah well, it was fine anyway.

probably wasn't the best plan to also have a
crockpot full of chili cooking... limited my counter space
The fire marshall would
have a fit.

Not to mention that I was keeping one eye on the weather. Between the cracking of the first egg and the cutting of the finished cake roll, Atlanta went from southern city to winter wonderland. I probably won't leave the house for days. But I'll have plenty of cake. It's good, but honestly, I think it was too much trouble. Blissful ignorance only works the first time.

The recipe for Vanilla Chiffon Roll is in the Baking With Julia cookbook, and the other bakers can be found here.

Tonight I sit in the warmth of my home, thinking of those who aren't so lucky. It's a terrible mess out there. Atlanta is a city in distress. Thousands of people are stuck on the frozen grid-locked interstates. They're abandoning their cars and walking for help. School busses full of hungry, improperly-clothed children are unable to move. A woman gave birth on I-285. The airport is jammed with stranded passengers. And it's COLD. Many acts of compassion and courage are happening, even as I type these words.

Now a shoe. Taken on a much warmer day. I hope the people who've abandoned their cars tonight are wearing boots.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

TWD/BWJ: Country Bread

Was a couple of days late making this bread. Kept forgetting to make the sponge the night before and couldn't figure out the timing otherwise. I mean, what's the good of fresh bread if you have to bake it at 10 p.m. and don't get to taste it right away? Finally made it work on Thursday but didn't post the results. Then, about the time I'd forgotten all about it, the "leave your link" email arrived on the NEXT Tuesday. What? I inadvertently baked early? Still didn't post it though, so I'm back to being late. Sigh. One of these days I'll get it all together. Apparently there's a small child inside me who refuses to do things "on time". I'll give her a break. There are more important things in life.

Katie, the elderly KitchenAid came through again.
10 minutes kneading that dough without a complaint!
I love you, Katie.

Should've watched the video. Was already shaping the dough
when I realized that I didn't really understand the directions.
Was there supposed to be a hole?

About as good as it's gonna get

Who has a special basket for letting bread rise?
Not I, said the little red hen. Made do with a bowl.
It was fine.
My inner child didn't want to
make a checkerboard.
And didn't have
a razor blade. 

Finally, something was right! 

Oh yeah, I didn't win the lottery either. But I tried. I really want to go to San Fransisco and see this amazing art installation that'll be up until the end of February.

And something new in my life. Green Smoothies. Who knew? They're wonderful! I'm taking the Simple Green Smoothies 31-day Challenge for January. I feel so healthy. :-)

Finally, a shoe. Out on Pleasant Hill Road.

TWD/BWJ: Gingersnaps

I baked these. Didn't post. Whip me with a wet noodle.
I love making cut-out cookies.
And I especially love the set of alphabet cookie cutters I found
once upon a time at some yard sale or thrift store.
What's more fun that making cookies that SAY SOMETHING?!?

A few notes to myself for the next time:

1) Don't be afraid to add more of the spices

2) Bake longer than the recipe says. Wait til they've started
to fall a little bit in the oven. Then they'll be nice and crunchy.
Tough, chewy gingersnaps aren't that good. 
But the ones I accidentally left in the oven "too long" were great!

3) The milk and eggnog in glass bottles is worth the splurge.

4) Making Starlight Mint Surprise cookies on the same day
as any other cookie puts the other cookie at a disadvantage.
Just sayin'...

For anyone outside the family who may read this one day, Starlight Mint Surprise cookies are THE Christmas cookie of our childhood. We used to be able to buy these mint-flavored chocolate disks called "starlight mints" but now we have to make our own. The chocolates are covered with a brown sugar dough and topped with a nut. Part of the experience is licking the beaters and mixing bowl. Worth the egg risk once a year. It's simply not Christmas to me until I've had my first Starlight Mint Surprise cookies. I remember making them with my mother, and the tradition continues with my own kids. It's labor-intensive. A good time to sit and chat. One day I'll post that recipe, but for now, the poor Gingersnaps didn't have much of a chance.

The other Tuesday With Dorie Gingersnap bakers are here. The recipe is in the book we're baking through, Baking With Julia. As in Julia, you know, THE Julia. Just thought I'd mention it since I haven't covered the details in awhile.

Now a shoe. Was in McDonough for a funeral (the day after cookie baking) when I spied this one. Looks like it might be a soccer cleat.