Wednesday, June 16, 2010

White Bread

Did I ever mention I just had a baby 3 months ago?  Yah. That was meant as I joke. I always mention it. It's my excuse for everything. Well, this time, I am not using it as an excuse.  I am using the "I just had a baby" sentence to explain why I made white bread instead of cookies.  I am officially on a diet.  *Sigh*  I don't know why I torture myself but I do.  And before we go on any further, yes, I do know that carbs are not necessarily diet friendly.  However, I have been having baking withdrawals, and it's better to make white bread than say, a double chocolate triple layer fudge cake.  Not saying that I CAN make that, but just saying it's better that I not try that.

So I attempted white bread the other day....

It was my first attempt at using yeast, and I have to say I was proud of the way my yeast proofed in the warm milk.  For all non-bakers out there, apparently, yeast is supposed to bubble at 110 degrees to show that it is "alive".  This is called proofing.

Everything was going great with my baking.  The dough rose for a total of four hours and I popped it into the oven.  [Side note: I didn't realize how long it takes for dough to rise. End side note.]  Here is where it started to go downhill:

The recipe called for the bread to be in the oven for 40 minutes at 400 degrees, but 20 minutes went by and the dough started to get brown on top.  SIL and I made the decision to take out the bread early because it looked done... which was a bad move to say the least.  I let the bread cool, broke it in half, and discovered that the middle was uncooked.  It was all cakey and doughy and there was no way I would feed that bread to even my worst enemy.  I even forgot to take a picture because I was so disappointed.

You would think things couldn't get any worse but they did.... The edges of the bread were okay so HJ and I tore the bread to try it, only to discover that the recipe called for too much salt!  Waaaaaaaaay too much salt.  The recipe called for 2 tablespoons of salt, but I think they meant to type 2 teaspoons.  I thought I read it wrong so I checked it again, but nope.  It says 2 tablespoons.  If you doubt me, you can look at the recipe here.

So it went in the trash can.


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Happy Birthday HJ!

HJ and I decided to actively save money for a house recently, and he banned me from baking because it costs so much. (Enter sad face here.)  Yesterday, I decided to bake anyway (ha! so there!) because today is HJ's birthday and BJ's 3 Month Birthday! However, I decided to be good and use the ingredients I had, so I made cupcakes using the box cake mix, the ultimate betrayal of all bakers.  Oh well, it turned out yummy and I made homemade icing.  I used Birthday Cake mix and Cream Cheese frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

5 Tbl Butter (melted)
1 Block (8 oz.) Cream Cheese
2 Cups Powdered (Confectioner's) Sugar
Food Coloring

1. Mix or beat together cream cheese and butter.
2. Mix in shifted powdered sugar
3. Add in food coloring.

See how easy that is?  Well. I learned that no matter how easy a recipe looks on paper, I, being the new baker that I am, can still mess it up!  I didn't sift the powdered sugar, mostly because, well, I don't have a sifter, so there were small clumps of powdered sugar in the frosting.  Good thing I wasn't planning to give the cupcakes away!  And the other thing... doesn't the color look a little blegh?  I used four drops of blue food coloring but it didn't turn out the way I wanted. I've been reading that I shouldn't use the simple food coloring found in grocery stores (mine are from Wal-Mart) and I should use food coloring made specifically for baking.  I'd like to repeat that HJ has banned from buying anything related to baking, so I couldn't buy this specific food coloring.  I guess Wal-Mart food coloring will have to do for now!  After putting the cupcakes in the refrigerator, they came out yummy anyway.  So there.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Yellow Stars Sugar Cookies

I think I'm getting better at decorating! Hubby let me I purchased a #2 tip for outlining the other day at Ben Franklin... before this, I was using #4 tip because that's all that Wal-Mart had.  It was a lot easier to handle the #2 tip for the curves and decorations, and I liked using #4 to flood the middle.  It came out a lot better than the hearts.

However, my three followers may not know this but I am a new mommy, and I have a hard time finding the time to bake.  I either bake when BJ is sleeping or when HJ is home.  Well, this time, HJ was home but he was outside doing something in the yard.  After I got done outlining my stars, I filled in all of my cookies with the watered down icing and was about to spread out the icing... when BJ started crying!!! HJ tried to help and spread out my filling, but by the time he got there, most of my stars dried. I forgot to take pictures of those.  Well, actually, I purposely didn't take pictures of those because they turned out so bad!  But my nice ones came out pretty good.  Still not in sell-able condition but Im excited that I'm getting better.

I gave the nice stars to SIL as a present... and gave the rest of the junkie stars to MIL, FIL, and BIL. Lucky for me, they like sweets.  :-)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Cookies

Alright!  I made more yummy cookies... but they don't look very appealing!  I think I need to study how to take better blog pictures because every time I try to take pictures of my baking items, they resemble poop.  Oh gosh. Maybe I just like to make things that resemble poop because I have a newborn? Who knows....

Anyway, here's how my cookies turned out:

And here's the recipe:

Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies

To make the Chocolate Covered Part:

Melt in a double boiler:*

1 Ghiradelli Chocolate Bar
1 Tbsp Butter

Dip cookies in after the chocolate is melted.

*I don't have a double boiler so I just boiled water in a large pot and melted the chocolate in a smaller pot on top of the boiling water.

I have to figure out how to make the chocolate harden more.  In order for the chocolate to harden, I had to stick the cookies in the fridge.  This worked fine, except whenever I took a cookie out of the fridge, it would condensate.  AND> I burned myself on the oven door!  I seem to have a bad habit of pulling the oven door half way and pulling my items out, and as I was trying to pull my cookie sheet out of the oven, I rested my arm on the inside of the oven door!  What a dummie.  Now I have a quarter-size black scar on my arm that I hope will go away in time.  HJ's burn mark is still on his leg from months ago...

At least the cookies turned out good! hehe.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Pink Heart Sugar Cookies

 I have been scouring blogs looking for baking ideas to try, and I found the perfect thing to try.  Easy, fun, yummy SUGAR COOKIES!  (Find the recipe here.)  It looked so easy, I told HJ I think I could start a business making these... I should have actually tried making it before I made this statement.  Decorative sugar cookies are harder than they look!  I told you I'd be honest in my posts, right? Well... look at my disaster:

Looks like a pile of poop I need practice!

Okay, so they actually tasted good, and they didn't all turn out that bad:

But, ahem, I still need practice. 

 HJ and I also discovered another problem.... who is going to eat all of these things I bake??? HJ is trying to watch his weight, and I'm still trying to lose the baby weight, so we don't want to eat sweets.  I don't want to make them and throw them away... what to do, what to do.  

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

First Post

Hi readers.  My name is Tracy and this is my second blog.  (My first blog is all about being a mommy.  You can find it here.)  In this blog, I will attempt to bake an assortment of goods from scratch.  I've always been a 'box cake' kind of girl... but since becoming a mom, the inner-homemaker in me has been begging to come out; so I figured, why not document my experiences?

I'll do my very best to create high-quality baked goods, but sometimes they won't turn out the way I wanted... and I'll make sure to be honest in my posts and let you know either way!