Baking without a recipe

Everyone says baking is an exact science, and it is because of the reactions between the different ingredients. But it is possible to change a recipe because baking is really all about the correct ratios. For example, cookie dough, or, as I posted before, 1-2-3 dough, is a ratio of 1 part butter, 2 parts sugar, and 3 parts flour. With adding some eggs, some baking powder, and some flavor (such as vanilla extract) and you’ve got a cookie dough. I used this recipe to make cookie dough at work without a written recipe. I used 1 cup of butter, 2 cups of sugar (cream together); 2 eggs, added one at a time; a little vanilla extract, a pinch of salt, and 3 cups of flour (mix until all ingredients combine). I was making Snickerdoodle cookies, so I added some cinnamon. I also made peanut butter cookies using 1/3 cup peanut butter and 2/3 cup butter. All of the other ingredients remained the same. This is the first time I made cookie dough without following a recipe. I was quite proud of myself because of this. I will see exactly how well I did once I try baking them off, but I think it will be okay. If it does work out okay, I will definitely be more confident in my baking abilities and about how much going to pastry school has really taught me!

Daring Bakers’ Challenge: Chocolate Marquise

The May 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Emma of CookCraftGrow and Jenny of Purple House Dirt. They chose to challenge everyone to make a Chocolate Marquise. The inspiration for this recipe comes from a dessert they prepared at a restaurant in Seattle.

This challenge was mainly about the marquise, which is basically a frozen mousse. It was served with meringue and caramel and spiced almonds.

This was somewhat similar to the other mousse/meringue challenges we’ve had, but what made this one different, and had something I hadn’t really done before, which were the spiced nuts. I couldn’t find whole almonds, so I used slivered, and used extra cinnamon instead of adding cayenne. They were awesome! I even used some leftovers to top some cupcakes! I didn’t take a picture of everything, but I’ll share what I’ve got!

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March 2011 Daring Bakers’ Challenge: Yeasted Merigue Coffee Cake

The March 2011 Daring Baker’s Challenge was hosted by Ria of Ria’s Collection and Jamie of Life’s a Feast. Ria and Jamie challenged The Daring Bakers to bake a yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake.

This was my first time baking a cake like this. I have made cinnamon buns, which are similar in that they are yeasted, and have the same cinnamon-sugar-chocolate chip (and nut) filling, but what makes this different is the meringue and the shape.

I think it came out well and since I am typing this while they bake, I can only tell that they smell delicious already! The Daring Bakers also offered a different filling, one that used saffron and other spices. I stuck to the typical filling since this was my first time to make it, and those ingredients are just a bit cheaper.

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Chocolate Chip Cookies with a Twist

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, then you know that I like using ingredients that I’ve had leftover. I was also in the mood to make cookies with all of the talk about them on other blogs for the holidays. Therefore, I made whole wheat chocolate chip cookies. The twist in these cookies is the whole wheat flour, along with cinnamon-sugar and semi-sweet baker’s chocolate—all ingredients I had leftover from previous baking adventures. (Including, but not limited to, doughnuts and corn-stalk rolls.)

All week long, I’ve been eating the dough out of the fridge, and just baked off a few today. Both ways of consuming the dough are really great, but of course you have to wait longer for the baked ones. :)

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Time To Make The Doughnuts!

The October 2010 Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Lori of Butter Me Up. Lori chose to challenge DBers to make doughnuts. She used several sources for her recipes including Alton Brown, Nancy Silverton, Kate Neumann and Epicurious.

The yeast doughnut is from Alton Brown:
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/yeast-doughnuts-recipe/in…

The cake doughnut is a Nancy Silverton recipe:
http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2007/06/cook-the-book-oldfashioned-bu…

The raspberry jam bomboloni recipe is a Kate Neumann recipe:
http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/raspberry-jam-bomboloni

The pumpkin doughnuts are from Bon Appétit: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Pumpkin-Doughnuts-with-Powd…

I made the Yeast Doughnuts from Alton Brown since I have made cake doughnuts before and I also did not want to make the jam filled or the pumpkin flavored. The recipe is quite simple, and the mixing method is like any other yeast dough recipe.

I think the most challenging part of this recipe is the frying of the doughnuts. I have a candy thermometer, so it is easy for me to read the temperature of the oil. This is important because if the temperature is too cold, they will be oily. If it is too hot they will just burn on the outside and be raw in the middle. The recipe I followed said around 363ºF is ideal. I have a gas range and it is hard to keep a consistent temperature. Also, the temperature drops after each batch, so you need to watch it carefully.

I kept it simple and covered the doughnuts in cinnamon-sugar. Some people might want to make a glaze, while others might like powdered sugar. What ever you desire, I hope you have plenty of friends and family to share these doughnuts with!

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