Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Birthday Sablés! ...

I have been baking sablés for a long time, more than five years, turns out. My first foray into these wondrous French butter cookies was for Angelo, as a nod to The Gnome.

I have made many variations since: dark chocolate, espresso, cheese. Oh, yes, cheese. As cookie doughs go, it's an excellent base for all sorts of additions. Toasted coconut would rock!

But I digress. My point is that it took me more than five years to think to add sprinkles into the dough to give 'em a bit of festiveness.

And so, I finally did.

I would prefer if the sugar would not melt, please, if the colors would not bleed. Alas, the rules of the natural world apply. Moisture + food coloring = a less-than-perfect confetti effect.

But the idea was there, suitable for sharing. (If these had turned out more garish, I would have whipped up a plain batch instead. If I'm going to share something with someone, I must meet my own standards first.)

To up the festive factor, I pulled a collection of bright colors from the drawer that holds my spools of curling-ribbon compulsion and I made up wee bundles of cookies and beribboned those suckers until the cookies were barely visible.

And then I boxed them up and sent them on their way.

I shall bake these again. They make a fun little birthday gift but I can also use them for favors the next time party favors are called for, as I may have outgrown all the tchotchke plastic trinkets from the party store.

Or maybe I'll just send folks home with both. Who doesn't need a plastic camel pen topper, too?

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Madness! ...

How have I not posted to this blog in more than a year?! I've baked. I've photographed.

Humph.

I shall be more mindful.

Have a couple ideas in mind.

I'll be back!

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Almond Scones ...

My love for almond-flavored anything cannot be overstated. Also, I love scones. Scones just don't get enough love in the baked-goods world. But then, some folks make very bad scones. Dry. Leaden. Ugh.

It's not your fault, scones. It's not your fault.

I first made these scones for Angelo's birthday, and as much as I wanted to write about them then, I didn't want to spoil the surprise, so I refrained. 

This morning, though, up too early, and knowing that I had baking on deck first thing, I realized that I could take a picture of today's lovelies.

These contain a triple hit of almond: almond paste, almond extract, and sliced almonds. An almond trifecta, if you will.

This is the recipe, from Food52. You should take note of the ingredients, pick up what you need, and bake them.

Make sure your baking powder isn't old. Scones need a bit of oomph from baking powder and baking soda to combat density. The baking powder I used for Angelo's batch wasn't old, per se, but I should have bought a new container anyway. Today's scones seem a bit higher.

Angelo, if you'd like another shipment, just lemme know.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Realization ...

Yesterday, it dawned on me, the "fatal" flaw in my ebook(let) sales "plan": I suspect that most people don't want to know how to bake (package, gift, and ship) a better cookie.

I suspect that most would prefer for me to bake for them.

I often forget that the wider world is not as cookie-obsessed as I am.

Hmm. Maybe the bakery will have to happen one of these days after all ... .

Sunday, April 05, 2015

I'll Bake A Cake For You! ...

Though I bake often, I am not an accomplished cake baker. Still, if gay pals would like 'em for their weddings, I'd be thrilled to bake for their special days. As cakes go, they may be somewhat humble, but I can guarantee that they'd be baked with love.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Adventures In Food Coloring ...

I had this idea, see?

Given my grown-up disgust yet nostalgia for conversation hearts – I loved them as a kid, but now I'm convinced they're dried bits of toothpaste – I thought I'd put together a batch of shortbread dough, divide it, color each portion with just enough food coloring to be pleasant, not garish, and be pleased with myself for my minimal yet edible homage to the toothpaste bits. (OK, maybe they're antacids.)

I rummaged through the drawer through which I rarely rummage, in search of my heart cookie cutters. Found them.

Then I spun my spice-rack carousel until I arrived at the box of food coloring. Checked them. Still liquid. Good. (I have no idea when I last bought food coloring. I know it hasn't been recently.)

I made the dough.

I cut it into fourths.

I plopped one quarter in a Ziploc sandwich bag and added two drops of red. (I figured it would be better to knead the dough in plastic than get red dye all over my hands that I might then transfer to other blobs of dough intended to be other colors.)

I knew I wanted pink hearts. Two drops seemed like the right amount. Really, I could have stopped at one. Those are the pink hearts, above. Is it me or do they look a bit like tongue? But I was going to mix other colors, a drop each, so I figured I should use two drops per blob.

I also knew that I wanted to purple hearts, so another blob went into another bag and drop of blue and drop of red and smoosh.

Uh oh.

The blue didn't look much like blue. It looked like, um, black. Had the blue gotten bluer over time? Does blue food coloring eventually turn black? I guess so. But then I thought, "Maybe I just need to distribute the color." So I set about kneading it through the dough.

Now, admittedly, the light in my kitchen wasn't ideal at the moment and it has been a very grey day, but I wasn't seeing purple. I wasn't seeing lavender. I was seeing, um, grey. Purplish grey. But not so much with the purple.

At which point, I thought this (and then tweeted it):

The more I looked at the dough, the more the purple seemed to recede. Yeah, it was pretty damn grey. Which was not really part of my cute-cookie plan. (Though, come to think of it, I think Necco makes a grey wafer that's licorice-flavored. But I digress.)

I looked at the remaining quarters of dough. Should I leave them alone? Should I just let them be shortbread in hue?

Nope. Drop, drop. Green. Wow. Green does not degrade. Green stays green. Briefly, I pondered a shamrock, but I don't have a shamrock cutter.

And so I patted out the colored blobs of dough on parchment and cut out hearts and rolled the extra bits of dough that I flattened into cute rounded buttons.

And I put the baking sheet into the oven.

And I was pleased that the Tim Burton hearts purpled up a bit while they baked. They came out looking much less bleak than when they went in.

But the combination of tongue pink and nearly shamrock green and ashen-Grimace purple wasn't the most photogenic gang. So I opted to just shoot the pink.

I'm not really the food-coloring type. I'll stick to my usual cookie palette of white, off-white, and browns.

Unless Tim Burton calls.

Saturday, February 07, 2015

Absence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder ...

I miss this place.

I've gotten away from blogging but I shall be getting back to it directly.

In the meantime, yesterday, I was putting away dishes and as I nested some mixing bowls, I thought, "Huh. That'd make an interesting photo."

So this morning, I snapped a few. I like the colors.