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Fluff

15 Jan

I recently made these, and they’re so good that I’m a little scared of them.

20121231_170052

So sweet, they’ll love you back.

Did anyone else not know you can make cookies out of cake mix? That’s what the top and bottom of  these are. Yellow cake mix with jimmy sprinkles added in. Could it be that the mix inside all of the Betty Crocker boxes is the exact same? They just put different pictures on the boxes?

Anyway, yes this was yellow cake mix.  Though, I wondered why I couldn’t just get that Fun-Fetti cake mix and save a step. Would that not work to give it the color it needs? I didn’t want to go rogue by not following the recipe since it was my first time making it, but I’m about 97% sure it would work fine.

The filling is made with (among other things) marshmallow fluff. This was one of the reasons I decided to make these. See, I didn’t grow up in a home where fluff was a regular staple. In fact, I don’t think we ever had it in the house once.  Of course I’ve had marshmallows before, but I’d never actually purchased or eaten canned fluff before I made these. Despite my fluff-free upbringing, it’s been something of a joke in my family for forever. Basically it comes from my Dad and I watching one of those how-it’s-made shows about how they make marshmallow fluff. The narrator said something along the lines of “Americans purchase over ten thousand jars of fluff every day”. I don’t remember the exact statistic, but it was comically large. We looked at each other in astonishment and my Dad was like “WHAT! Man, who’s buyin’ up all the fluff?!”

Trust me, if you’re reading this and you know my Dad, you can hear him saying it and you’re laughing. It’s Classic Dad.

From that moment forward “who’s buyin’ up all the fluff” became something of a catch phrase between us. To this day I still think it in my head whenever I see fluff at the store or on a commercial or whatever. And it’s definitely the reason I decided to make those cookies.

So yeah, this stuff is actually pretty darn good. Not saying I’m about to start “buying up all the fluff” or anything, but it’s pretty tasty. My recipe only called for a quarter of a cup, so I had a bunch left over. I made the mistake of making a peanut butter and fluff sandwich for my 4 year old, and now he’s obsessed. I told him it was called a “fluffernutter”. Is that right? I don’t know how I knew that, it was just in my brain, which is slightly alarming.

 

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Avocado and Failure

26 Sep

First of all, doesn’t this look amazing?

Grilled Cheese and Avocado

Well it was amazing. Avocados and homemade butter are my current best friends.

On a related note, I made stick butter!

Only two problems so far – my butter gets way hard after it’s been in the refrigerator for awhile. I have to zap it in the microwave to get it anywhere near spreadable. Do they put something else in store butter to make it softer? The container of store bought butter that I have says the ingredients are sweet cream, salt, and EVOO. Guess I’ll try throwing in a little of that next time. The other problem is that I am totally eye-balling the size of these sticks, and I have no real idea how many tablespoons are in there. I don’t have those handy markings on the wrapper either, to tell me where to cut if I want a certain number of tablespoons. Don’t worry, I will work out the kinks before you receive your Christmas butter.

Anyway, so about failure. We’ve all been there, right?  I’ve got a fair amount of failures under my belt, so I’m no stranger. My failures include (but are not limited to):

  • Selling Mary Kay cosmetics
  • Almost every math class I’ve ever taken
  • Every history class I’ve ever taken
  • The pants I tried to make for my son where I sewed the legs together
  • That time I tried to wear high heels

Well  I failed again this week.There was this company I was trying to write for, one of those “write about such and such and we’ll pay you x per word, or y per article” deals. Anyway their testing process was extremely detailed and demanding. I remember having the feeling that the intent was to see how well I follow direction, rather than how well I can write. I devoted what I would consider to be “too much” time to completing this test, and thought I had hit all the requirements. I ended up making a styling mistake with some of the links in my article. Ok, all of the links in my article were displayed incorrectly. I got a “thanks, but we’ll be passing on your services” email. Hey, no hard feelings, company. I should have paid better attention to your ten-thousand instructions. My rationalizing thoughts were that if their article requirements are anything like their testing requirements, I probably don’t have time for that level of commitment anyway. Nor do I have the desire to write for a company who values fixable minutiae over my writing style and ability. I may or may not have fired off a sassy email informing them of my thoughts on the matter. Mission complete, looks like that bridge is good and burned.

Whatever, I’ll just go make some more butter.

The Many Faces of Sweet Cream

4 Sep

This weekend I did a little baking. Partly because I told some friends I would bake for a get together, and partly because of this. If you’ve seen me in the last week, that was playing in my head. I don’t mind it so much, mostly because I have a great deal of love for Julia Child. Also it finally knocked “Call Me Maybe” out of my head, which had been haunting me for a month.

So what I made was Strawberry Shortcake. I forgot to snap a picture of the final product so I don’t have that, but this isn’t so much about what it turned out to be, as what I discovered while making it.

Quick rundown of how I make it:

-a big thing of strawberries cut up and marinated in sugar for however long

-Kroger (or Bisquick or whatever) all-purpose baking mix. The back of the box has a boat load of recipes. Follow the one for shortcake

-Beat some heavy whipping cream, sugar, & vanilla for the whipped cream topping

I won’t insult you by explaining how it all goes together in the bowl.

Anyway, the confusion followed by enlightenment happened while I was whipping the heavy cream. Whip, beat, scrape the side, switch hands, whip, beat, scrape the side. Picture me with my rubber scraper in one hand and my hand held beater in the other, because I am the only sad housewife in the world without one of those $400 Kitchen-Aid stand alone mixers. It’s ok though, I’m working on that bicep definition.

It happened in an instant – 10 or 20 seconds tops. I looked at the cream and thought “that looks about right, I see some nice peaks, time to stop. Let me just switch hands real quick cause my right arm is getting really tired and I don’t want to drop the mixer as I set it d-” By then it was too late. I kept beating for a minute or so, clearly in denial and thinking I could continue to over whip the stuff back to perfection. At this point, this is what I had:

whip fail.

Like I said, I’ve made this once before, but I guess I had a ray of beginner’s luck because it turned out perfectly that first time. Anyway, thankfully I had purchased the larger carton of heavy cream. Actually before this I was frustrated, as Kroger offers a smaller carton of cream that is about a tablespoon too small for this recipe. The larger carton has twice what I need and last time the extra went to waste. Thanks to my ineptitude, none went to waste this time. I whipped another batch (whip, beat, scrape, switch) and it turned out well. Yay!

So I stuck the good whipped cream in the fridge and turned my attention to the slop pictured above. I came very close to tossing it down my sink disposal, where all kitchen abominations go whenever I’m done facing the failure. Something stopped me, though. I’m pretty sure it was when I thought about how it probably still tasted delicious, even though it looked like wallpaper paste. There must be something worthwhile I can turn this mess into. I whipped (pun) out my phone and typed “uses for over-w” and I’m telling you Google auto suggested “I’m looking for uses for that over-whipped heavy cream that I was trying to make for this strawberry shortcake recipe but I accidentally whipped it too long because I was using an old hand mixer and my hand got tired so I wasn’t concentrating” Ok, maybe not all that, but don’t you love how Google just knows what you’re looking for, and assures you that you’re not alone?  You can rest assured you’re not the first idiot who has Googled “I accidentally swallowed 9 pencils and a pack of crayons. Should I go to the doctor?” Anyway, I got a whole slew of hits about how you can correct over-whipped cream if you very carefully add a small amount of heavy cream back into the mix and continue to beat without breathing for a very small amount of time.  Not really an option for me since I used all my reserve cream to make the 2nd batch, plus whatever, I just don’t feel like messing with that.  So there’s one other option. Apparently if you just go right on ahead beating the heck out of over-whipped cream you’ll eventually get BUTTER. Who knew?! Probably most people on the planet, but I had no idea. So I did the whip/beat/scrape dance once more, drained the liquid into a bowl via a paper towel (note to self: get a cheesecloth) and soon I had this:

butter!

I was completely giddy. I ran this bowl into my husband like “Honey! Look what I made!” He was not as impressed as he should have been, just so you know.

Other plus: I saved the liquid that I drained and put it in my coffee this morning. Too dessert-y for every day, but a nice treat. And it saved me a Sweet-n-Low!

sweet liquidy goodness.

I used 2 tablespoons of the butter to make the shortcake, and then put some on my little boy’s toast this morning. He didn’t say anything about it being extra good but he did eat every bite, so there’s that.

So, what if I made tons of this butter, put it in mason jars, and gave it out for Christmas or something. Would that be crass? Can you give the gift of butter to someone without judgement? Does everyone else already know how to make their own butter and officially think I’m on the slow side for just now figuring it out?

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