Archive | October, 2011

English Muffin Bread

28 Oct

English muffins are funny things, aren’t they?

They’re not much to look at…

They’re so strange on the inside, all holy and such.

Who the heck cares what they look like; throw one in the toaster and you’re in heaven, right? Right.

This is why I decided I’d take it upon myself to make english muffins. The problem was that this genius didn’t really prepare herself for such an undertaking and I didn’t have the proper equipment: a fail before I could even begin. Some might say this was a bad thing. I, however, say it was a good thing. If I hadn’t failed at attempting english muffins, I would have never tried this bread.

I’ve had my eye on this recipe for a while but just never got to it. Until now.

Well friends, after this came out of the oven….english muffins who?

This bread was such an easy bread to put together and the end result was so moist and flavourful. I’ll admit, I got a little excited. I’m still excited. Get off my back….carbs are worth getting excited about in my humble opinion.

You should definitely make this bread if you like english muffins.

You should definitely toast it and butter it and pop on a little jam or your topping of choice.

You should definitely shove enthusiastically into your face.

I’ll definitely be doing the same thing in the near future.

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Black and White Snickerdoodles

25 Oct

Yes, those are my boots in the picture.

Now….how the heck did something so wonderful come to exist? I know this is what you are wondering. I know you’re also wondering who on earth is responsible for such a thing.

Well, yours truly of course. I am guilty as charged. I did this. I breeded two amazing cookies together. I did it. Me.

The reasoning behind it, however, is slightly lackluster. In fact, I’m ashamed to say it stemmed from laziness.

It was my day off. I wanted to bake for you….I did. I wanted my laundry to be done, my floors to be swept, my bathroom and kitchen scrubbed as well. I just didn’t feel like it.

I’ve been wanting to make black and white cookies for ages. I’ve also had snickerdoodles on the brain thanks to a young dishwasher making me reminisce about baking snickerdoodles in family studies as well as food and nutrition class, with her entertaining renditions of school life.

I didn’t want to make both. The recipe for the black and white cookies was also way too big and demanded lots of steps that I didn’t want to do.

Solution? Combine the two.

This was the perfect compromise.

The taste: no compromise. The cinnamon is perfect. The chocolate and vanilla icing are super sweet. But they all go surprisingly well together. You should try this.

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Buttercup Squash Bars

22 Oct

Shameful acts I’ve committed in the past:

Stole a glue stick from the craft bin in my grade 2 class.

Confronted my younger cousin during recess in front of all her friends with all of my friends and yelled “Your epidermis is showing!!!!” thus making her cry.

Payed one dollar for my ticket at the Museum of Natural History in New York City even though the recommended donation was 15 dollars.

Threw out an entire pot of soup that my landlady gave me…because I just don’t trust her cooking.

Grocery shopped in my parents’ fridge and pantry.

Laughed at my best friend after she tripped and fell over her own boots instead of helping her up.

Ate six of these bars in one day. Along with additional desserts….

Enough said.

You have to make these. Just trust me.

I love using buttercup squash in baked goods. A lady at the farmer’s market told me (and I whole heartedly agree) that buttercup squash makes a better pumpkin pie than pumpkin itself. It is so flavourful, sweet, and super creamy when you cook it. Just wonderful. The best part is the fact that it looks like it’s wearing a little hat. So cute.

Ok. I’ll stop talking and let you get to baking these.

For serious.

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Hazelnut-Pear Upside Down Cake

19 Oct

Let’s not sugarcoat the truth here. I’m just going to say it. Out loud. No bells. No whistles. No frills.

I am not perfect.

Sometimes, I make some horrible creations.

Sometimes, I make something, and am so ashamed of it, I leave it in my car instead of bringing it in to work. Too shameful to be seen by another human.

This is how I felt last week. I made a pear-hazelnut tart. I was going for like an open-faced pie operation. I had this whole wheat pie crust that was looking and sounding pretty magical; “was” being the key word here.

Sometimes, Fabi makes stupid decisions.

Sometimes, Fabi has ideas in her head that just don’t really turn out to be that great in real life.

Sometimes, Fabi refers to herself in the third person and doesn’t quite know why.

This tart I speak of was all sorts of no good. It wasn’t that flavourful. It tasted like what it was. Nuts and pears on a pie crust. Oh, with cinnamon.

I left it in my car when I got to work. I tried to get some people as takers, but obviously the love wasn’t there and people weren’t biting. No pun intended.

This tart was just missing something.  A third element. Something that kicked the flavour up a “whole. Notha. Level.”

I decided to keep the flavour combo but ditch the tart idea.

This worked.

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Cheesy Sweet Potato Pockets

16 Oct

So, I made this cake.

Turns out, sweet potatoes don’t come in convenient measurements. You pretty much have to cook whatever mother nature decided to give you. That is why, I had leftover sweet potatoes. I see this more as a blessing than a nuisance. How else would I make these amazing pastry pockets of goodness?

After we had baked the cake, my mom and I decided that the only solution would be to team up, yet again, and attempt to make my grandmother’s specialty. They’re actually called “bourekas.” She would show up with a greasy-bottomed paper bag full of them every Friday night, without fail. Sometimes she’d surprise us with something more amazing, like her spinach-parmesan rolls (boulemas) or meat filled pastries (pastelikous sp?). But these were a staple. I truly miss all of her amazing treats. She was a damn good cook.

We tried to do her justice!

When we broke into one and I took a bite, I knew she would have approved. They were mighty fine eatin’ I’ll tell you that much.

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Sweet Potato Birthday Bundt Cake

12 Oct

I am officially related to an adult. My big brother. He’s no longer a teen, no longer a young adult. He’s a full blown adult. What to buy, such an old man? I drew a blank. Me! I drew a blank! The person who is the BEST at birthday presents….had to throw in the towel. You can’t buy this guy anything. Trust me, it’s hopeless; if it’s money, it’ll stay in the card. If it’s clothing, it’ll sit with the tags on for years. Anything too expensive will stay in its box. That’s my brother. I don’t ask why anymore. He does have to put up with my idiosyncrasies, after all and my hat goes off to him for that.

So, what did my family end up doing for my creaky fossil of a brother? We fed him: well.

My mom made a traditional South African dinner, filled with all sorts of yummy things that probably sound weird to you. Boerewors, pap, koeksisters, and even her famous cheesecake. Wait….cheesecake? Is that really birthday appropriate? We definitely didn’t care, as it was beyond delicious.

I couldn’t help feeling slightly less worthy of a sister though, having given him nothing but a sappy card, a science magazine and a Kinder Surprise. What do I do for a living again? Oh, that’s right, I BAKE.

The following week, I went home to visit again. I redeemed my somewhat shattered reputation and baked a birthday bundt cake for my brother. A sweet potato bundt cake, with brandy-brown sugar glaze.

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Pistachio Shortbread

8 Oct

I overdo things sometimes.

Ok…all the time.

Like stay up too late because there’s just too much stuff that I want to get done.

Like take on too many jobs at once and end up having to multitask like the wind.

Reach for just one more cookie of the chocolate chip variety.

Put just one more Winners purchase on my credit card.

Ok ok, so what did I do this time?

Well. You love shortbread, right? Why do you love it? It’s just simply….good. That’s the thing. It’s simple. And good.

Butter, sugar, flour. The end.

I had to do more. I put toasted pistachios in there.

I drizzled it with a rosewater icing.

Delicious? Yes!

However, as I ate a piece of yummy shortbread goodness….something inside me wished that I had left them plain.

You’ll love the pistachios all up in there, getting their nutty groove on like they own the place.

The full plate of shortbread that I brought to work and found empty at the end of the day tells me they were definitely good.

Maybe I’m just hard to please.

Plain?

Fancy?

Your choice.

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