Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Dutch Crunch Bread {Daring Bakers}

Have any of you gone to the Boudin Bakery in San Francisco.  I know they have many locations up and down the coast of California that sell the same products {and are really delicious!}.  But have you gone to the main location at Fisherman’s Warf?  It’s bread heaven.  There is tons of fresh baked bread all around you.  Just the smell brings you in.  Then you order a grilled cheese or soup in a bread bowl for lunch, and it tastes incredible because you can actually taste the fresh and authentic quality of the bread.  And you don’t stop at lunch; you buy a sourdough loaf and dutch crunch bread to bring home for later enjoyment.  I know that's what we do.

I might be overselling it, but I love it.  My husband and I have always loved it.  And we will always will :).

We’ll this week I made my own fresh Dutch Crunch Bread.  

Sara and Erica of Baking JDs were our March 2012 Daring Baker hostesses! Sara & Erica challenged us to make Dutch Crunch bread, a delicious sandwich bread with a unique, crunchy topping.  Sara and Erica also challenged us to create a sandwich with our bread! 

Dutch Crunch Bread quickly became one of our favorite breads to pick up from Boudin Bakery.  It’s a soft white bread, topped with a crunchy topping made from yeast, sugar, and rice flour.  The crunchy surface comes from slathering the yeasty mixture on unbaked bread.  While the bread bakes, the yeast activates and creates this amazing exterior.  It’s truly unique.

If you love fresh baked bread, you will love this bread.  And don’t think it’s any harder than baking normal sandwich bread or rolls.  It’s just as easy!  

You’ve got to give this bread a try.  You will fall in love with it.  Especially when you make a delicious, warm sandwich with it.  Enjoy!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Milk Bar Mondays - Cinnamon Bun Pie

I love breakfast.  It's one of my favorite meals out of the day.  But for some reason, I always have the same thing every morning.  Normally I have cereal with cold milk.  And it's always the same cereal - Right now, I'm addicted to Honey Nut Cherrios.  It's like I go in phases of the cereal I like.  Before Honey Nut Cherrios, it was Kashi Go Lean Crunch for like 2 full years.  

See I love making breakfast items, eggs on toast, pancakes, waffles, biscuits, egg sandwiches, and much more.  But I always just have cereal.  I know.  I'm weird.  Maybe I will change as I get older, but for now, it's cereal - every day.

One of my favorite breakfast items are Cinnamon Rolls.  I like them because their sweet.  And we all know I love my sweets :).  For this weeks Milk Bar Mondays, Erin from Big Fat Baker chose this incredible Cinnamon Bun Pie.  It’s a pie that actually tastes like your eating a Cinnamon Roll. 

The bottom layer of this pie is a soft dough {Milk Bar calls this dough their Mother Dough, as they use it is many recipes}.  This dough is placed in a pie pin and then topped with layers of browned butter, liquid cheesecake, brown sugar, and cinnamon.  Then to top it all off, you make a cinnamon streusel and sprinkle it over the entire top surface of the pie.  

It’s soft.  It’s dough-y.  It’s creamy.  It’s sugary.  It’s cinnamon-y.  It’s truly delicious.  This pie would make for a wonderful breakfast and/or brunch item.  And what’s great about it, is that you can bake it in advance and them re-heat it in the oven before serving.

Another great creation from the Momofuku Milk Bar Cookbook!
For the recipe, visit Erin’s Blog, Big Fat Baker.

And don’t forget to visit the other girls’ blogs to see their Cinnamon Bun Pie creations:
Audra from The Baker Chick
Cassie from Bake Your Day
Nicole from Sweet Peony
Jacqueline from The Dusty Baker
Meagan from Scarletta Bakes
AND we have added a new member to our group! Averie from Averie Cooks


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip

So, we’ve added a new show into the mix – Once upon a Time.  Have you seen it?  My husband actually got me on it.  He started watching old episodes one day on his iPad when he was bored.  Soon he was hooked, and of course I had to jump in.  And now I’m hooked.  

It’s basically a show about the old fairytales – Snow White, Cinderella, Red Riding Hood.  Except its based on the Grimm versions.  So it’s very dramatic, but also has romance going on.  {Have you seen Lost? It’s from the writers/producer of that}.  You should watch it.  It’s a really good show.  It now one of our favorites!

We’ll I can tell you right now I’m doing two of my things, watching Once upon a Time and writing this blog post.  I couldn’t choose between the two, so I’m just doing both at once :).

This dip is unlike anything I’ve ever had.  It’s a Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip – A dip that tastes like Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough.  The base ingredient is cream cheese.  Added with butter, sugar, and chocolate chips, this dip is simple, easy, and really does remind you cookie dough.  

Dip graham crackers, marshmallows, fruit, cookies, or really anything else into this chocolate chip cookie dough dip, and you’ve got a sweet treat.  Enjoy!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Funfetti Waffles

I’m back!  It feels like I’ve been away from the blog for so long!  Don’t worry I haven’t forgotten about you, I’ve just been away at this wonderful blogging conference in Orlando. This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend the Food Blog Forum in Orlando.  It was a truly amazing conference.  We heard from the incredible Jaden from Steamy Kitchen, and Todd and Diane from White on Rice.  We also got the opportunity to get up close and personal with some amazing blogging celebrities, such as Bakerella.  Everyone I met was so kind, and warm-hearted, and truly genuine.  It’s so refreshing and inspirational to be able to interact with such high-profile bloggers and see that they are all so down-to-earth and personable. 

Other than listening to these amazing speakers, and learning so much about blogging, photography, and much more, the highlight of my trip was meeting some incredible woman.  I was able to spend some quality time with woman such as Bakerella,  Jenny from Picky Palate, Nikki from Pennies on a Platter, Lauren from Lauren’s Latest, Julie from Table for Two, and Rachael from Kitchen Aid {and The Fabulous Foodie}.  I can honestly say that all of these woman are truly, truly, truly incredible.  In so many ways!  We were able to explore some of Walt Disney World together I had so much fun with them!  Here are some pictures of our time at Disney {I used my phone, so I didn’t get the best pictures}.

After such a wonderful weekend, I’m back home and ready to show you a wonderful dessert and/or breakfast. It’s Funfetti Waffles! You can choose if you want to call it a breakfast item or dessert item, or both :).

Here I give you fluffy waffles, flavored with Cake Batter and sprinkled with colorful, fun sprinkles.  They are topped with a Cake Batter Glaze and then sprinkled with some more sprinkles {because who doesn’t love sprinkles?!}.  One bite of these waffles and you’ll be in love.  It really is like having your favorite funfetti cake for breakfast.  Except, it’s warm and soft waffles with a delicious sugary glaze. 

For the recipe, Click hereEnjoy!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Green Velvet Cake Lollipops {Gluten-Free}

Remember when I told you on Monday that I had to walk 3 miles to get my car.  Here is the story:

My husband goes to the field every day at 7am.  We only have 1 car during the season, so he always takes the car to the field.  Sometimes I drop him off if I know I will need the car while he’s away, but that’s not too often.  I always wake up when he leaves to say goodbye, but then I normally go back to sleep for at least one more hour.  So its hard to get out of bed and drive him to field if I know I can have at least one more hour of sleep.  I’m sure you would do the same thing {especially if you’re not a morning person, like me} :).

It’s hard sometimes while I’m stuck at the house with no car.  Especially when I’m making cookies and don’t have eggs.  Or when all I want to do is run errands and I can’t do anything.  I either have to make do with what I have, or sum up the energy and will power to walk over to the field and pick up the car.  The field is about 3 miles away so that option isn’t picked that often!

But the Confetti Cookies I posted on Monday made me walk 3 miles to get the car, and then drive to the grocery store.  It’s nothing big or exciting, but just a story about something I have to do if my husband takes the car and I want that extra hour of sleep.

Well because you read that whole story, you deserve a reward.  And the reward is these Green Velvet Cake Lollipops!  I made these for St. Patricks Day, and hopefully you make them for your big and festive celebration. 

It’s a Gluten-Free Green Velvet Cake, mixed with Cream Cheese Frosting.  I dipped the lollipops in a green candy coating, and sprinkled some green and white sprinkles on top.  They are the perfect treat to give away to friends and family on St. Patricks Day, or to have out during the big green party. 

Enjoy!  And Happy {early} St. Patricks Day!  

Monday, March 12, 2012

Milk Bar Mondays - Confetti Cookies

I pulled an airhead move this week.  On Friday I set out to make this week’s Milk Bar Mondays recipe – Confetti Cookies picked by Cassie of Bake Your Day.  Except, for some reason I thought that she picked the Compost Cookies.  {I mean they both start out with C’s, so I wasn’t that far off}.  So, I walked 3 miles to get the car {I’ll explain why I had to walk that far to get the car later}, drove to the store to get all the ingredients, baked up the cookies, and then took pictures of them.  When I was finished I was actually pretty proud of myself for doing this all in one day. 

But then I woke up on yesterday morning, ate my breakfast, and then opened up Instagram to look at a few pictures.  While going through the pictures I saw a picture from Cassie of the cookies she made for Milk Bar Mondays.  My first thought was, “Hmm, those don’t look like my cookies.”  My second thought was, “My cookies don’t have sprinkles in them.”  My third thought was, “Oh crap!”  And my last thought was, “I made the wrong cookies! I was supposed to make the Confetti Cookies!” 

I immediately jumped up and made these cookies.  Luckily they are one of the simpler recipes in the Momofuku Milk Bar Cookbook, so they didn’t take too long to bake up.

I'm happy that I realized that I baked the wrong cookie, because these cookies were delicious!  They are meant to taste like Funfetti Cake, and they really do.  Their soft and flavorful, and speckled with fun, colorful sprinkles.  If your looking for that Funfetti taste but don’t want to bake up a cake, definitely make these cookies instead!  For the recipe, head on over to Cassie’s Blog at Bake Your Day.  

And don’t forget to check out the other girls’ cookies:

Audra from The Baker Chick
Erin from Big Fat Baker
Nicole from Sweet Peony
Jacqueline from The Dusty Baker
Meagan from Scarletta Bakes


Friday, March 9, 2012

Very Vanilla Sprinkle Cupcakes & My 200th Post!

Today is a special day!  This is my 200th post!  I have had this blog for a little under a year (actually a year next month!) and within that time I have already had 200 posts!  That’s 200 recipes.  200 write-ups.  200 times I’ve baked/cooked a recipe, wrote it up, wrote about it and my experiences, and then posted it.

I’ve had such a great time writing up these past 200 posts and I can’t wait to post 200 + 200 + 200 + 200 …. more!  It truly has been a journey, and it’s one that I am so happy to be on.  I can’t wait to see where the rest of this amazing journey takes me!

In just 1 short month, I will be blogging for 1 whole year.  Now that will be a time to truly reflect on such a wonderful year of blogging :).  But for now I have these Very Vanilla Sprinkle Cupcakes to celebrate and share with you.

It’s a Vanilla Bean Cupcake, scattered with colorful sprinkles.  Topped with a silky, smooth Vanilla Bean Whipped Buttercream.  Then to really bring home the celebration, more colorful and fun sprinkles are sprinkled on top of the cupcakes.

For my 200th post I wanted to share something that represents me.  And these cupcakes do just that. 
They are colorful, fun, girly, and pink. 
They shine with joy and happiness, and truly make you smile.
They are simple, yet shine
And they are made with vanilla and sprinkles, 2 of my favorite ingredients.

Now grab a cupcake and cheers to at least another 200!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

What to do with Leftover Melted Candy Melts or Chocolate

I have a bad habit of over-estimating the amount of candy melts and/or chocolate I need for a recipe.  Whether it’s for dipping cake lollipops, or drizzling over a dessert, I always seem to have some leftover.  I used to just throw it away, but it got to a point where it felt as if I was throwing money away.  Finally I realized that I could save it.

At first, I would just through it all into a container but then it would harden in this huge block that was hard to handle.  Then I tried saving it in the squirt bottles, but that was even worse.  Finally I got the idea that I could just form the candy melts/chocolate back into the shape that I received them – small rounds.  

What I did was carefully spoon the melted candy melts/chocolate onto a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat (or parchment paper if you don’t own a silicone mat).  I swirled the candy melt/chocolate into a small, flat round.  Then I kept creating these small rounds until I ran out of the candy melt/chocolate. I let the rounds cool until completely hardened, and then peeled them off the mat and stored them in a sealed container (or plastic baggie). 

It was as if I never used them in the first place.  Now I am able to store them easily and have them readily available to use for a different dessert/project.  

Now I never have to throw melted candy melts or chocolate away.  I’m so happy I thought of this idea!  And my wallet is especially happy :).  The best part is that it couldn’t be easier.  A quick, easy, and money-saving solution – the best kind!


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Vanilla Sugar

You could not believe how much sugar I go through.  It’s like I’m running a bakery in my home.  I buy sugar in bulk and go through it so fast.  Since I always have so much on hand, I always feel like I’m never going to run out.  Except, of course I do run out and end up having to make recipes with brown sugar, or just no sugar at all, for a couple days.  Some of those desserts have turned out horrible, and some actually haven’t been so bad.

A few weeks ago it happened and I didn’t have sugar for almost a week.  I just couldn’t get to store and had to make due.  But then I found this jar at the back of my cupboard filled with vanilla sugar!  I made a batch and totally forgot it. {I’m sorry to say that happens a lot.  I make ingredients, or by some, and get side tracked and totally forgot I even had them.  Then when I want to bake something with one of those items, I always end up buying more from the store.  I need to stop doing that!}

We’ll making Vanilla Sugar couldn’t be easier!  All you need is sugar and vanilla beans.  You add vanilla beans and the pod into a container filled with sugar.  Seal the container and let it sit for at least a week.  Now you’ve got sugar that enhances the vanilla flavor of everything you bake with it.  

Vanilla Sugar is especially great when baking vanilla cake or cupcakes.  It really brings the vanilla cupcakes to a whole new level.  Try it out and you’ll see :).


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