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Dorset Muesli Muffins

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I have great friends.  When I tweeted that I had 7 different Dorset Cereals to sample, they were happy to help me out.

So far I have only been eating it for breakfast, though I have plans to do some baking!  My friend Amy has been keeping a bag of the Super Cranberry, Cherry and Almond Muesli cereal in her purse and snacking on it and loving it.  Besides the fruit in the title, this muesli aslo contains raisins and sultanas, sunflower seeds, flame raisins and toasted cereals.   It is a good source of fibre, contains 28g of whole grains per 60g serving, has no added preservatives, is UK Vegetarian Society approved, suitable for vegans and is Kosher.*

Canada_super_cranberry_LS

Photo provided by Polaris Public Relations Inc

My other friend Katy, also decided to bake using the same muesli, and below is what she made.

Banana-Coconut Muffins (adapted) with Super Cranberry, Cherry and Almond Muesli

She found the recipe here:

http://www.fatgirltrappedinaskinnybody.com/2011/10/coconut-banana-bread/

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The only problems were the recipe called for cooking too long (she took them out 20 mins early and they were a bit over cooked) and the dried fruit plumped up in the oven and rolled off the muffins when she took them out!  Maybe it would be better to mix the granola in, instead of on top.

This made 1 dozen muffins and 1 loaf.

*Information provided in press package.

I was sent 7 boxes of Dorset muesli cereals to sample and blog about.  All opinions are my own.

 

Today was a baking failure

Though most of my blog posts have been positive, great things I have eaten, experienced or made, I believe that I also need to share when things are not good.  You may remember this dinner out .  Today was a pretty big failure in the baking department. Let me explain.

A very nice friend entrusted me with her mother’s biscotti recipe.  I am honoured and wanted to make it for her.  I had only made biscotti once before, and screwed up which direction to cut, thus over baking it.  In today’s attempt, I could not seem to get the ingredients to bind together, resulting in a more granola type mess rather than a cookie. Le sigh (to quote my friend).

And because I was at my parent’s, where there is a large kitchen and workspace, I continued to bake, because that was the plan for today.  In time for lunch/brunch Apple Cinnamon Rolls from a blog I follow.  The only things I changed were the whole wheat flour (I could not find where my mother was keeping hers) and skor chips for cinnamon ones, as we do not have them in Canada.  This was the highlight of baking today, until we cut into them and discovered they were still doughy at the bottom in the middle of the pan.  Delicious and salvageable, so not a total failure.

Then the cookie I would have made for a Gastropost invite last week.  Probably better I was not able to attend, as the cookies did not turn out.  At all.  From Epicurious, I attempted Inside Out Carrot Cake Cookies.  Sounds great, I love carrot cake.  The ‘professional’ shot of them look yummy.  Mine do not.  Mine were pancakes.  Did not change a thing in the recipe, but they were too thin. And big.  Mom suggested folding them in half over the filling so they were still a sandwich cookie.  Somewhat salvaged.

So it was a frustrating baking day.  Am trying to make the best of it.  Hope when I start my holiday baking, it works out better. :/

Thanksgiving means apple pie

You may remember from this post last year, that I LOVE apples.  I have not gotten apple picking this year (yet) but I know that it was not a good crop from a flash frost this spring.  So lucky that last year I jarred some spiced apples (using a recipe from Mrs. Wheelbarrow) and had frozen cranberries from a visit to the bogs in Bala, because I bought this nifty contraption while in San Francisco this summer.

I will admit that (in my mind) I cheated making these hand pies.  I used pre-made pie crust.  The thickness was uniform and it made it easier to cut out the pieces.  I used the bottom of the mould to cut out my rectangles, very easy!

 

I found that the pies almost need to be double baked.  I did them for 18 mins initially and then for another 10-15 minutes when ready to eat.  Though they were slightly golden on the outside, the dough was not quite baked through after 18 mins (this was the recommended time on the box).  Tasty!

Apple/Cheddar on left, Apple/Cranberry with sugar top on right

 

A is for Apples

I love apples.  I will eat any dessert if there is apple in it.  My family knows this to the point that my grandmother would make me my very own little apple pie for dessert when we ate at her house.

Lovely apples in their natural habitat

To me, fall means apple picking.  Growing up, my mother’s godparents would drive down from Thunder Bay for a visit and to go apple picking.  We would always go to St. George to Orchard Home Farm.  Living a little too far away now, I am trying to find as good of an orchard (they send you postcards with the picking dates in late summer!).  This year, I went to Albion Orchard in Caledon with my good friend Amy and of course @WineGuyTo.

Our picking day was gorgeous! Bright sunny skies, warm but not hot.  We retrieved 10lb bags from the country market and found out that Ginger Crisp, Paula Red and Macs were pickable.  So off we went!  First though, we had to have some fun in the kid area.  Amy was drawn to this orchard for the wagon rides, but we didn’t see any happening.

Oh no Scooby!

We were maybe a little too tall...

The only problem I had with the orchard was the lack of signage.  I *do* know the difference between apples, but some do look very similar.  Our bags were filled mainly with Macs and Paula Reds and some  Ginger Crisps because there were hardly any on the  trees (though lots in the store).  At $1/lb, picking vs. buying in store was the way to go.

WineGuyTo getting those high up, hard to reach apples.

We came home with about 20lbs of apples, some pickled hot peppers, cider, decorative gourds,  and @WineGuyTo ate some butter tarts as we picked.

So far I have made apple crisp (with blueberries and cranberries) and plan to make apple pie for Thanksgiving, though there are many other possibilites! On a recent Frosting for the Cause: apple honey cupcakes, mmm.  But a must-make: apple cheddar soup and apple cake!  The rest will be eaten daily as part of breakfast/lunch.

Apple crisp about to be eaten

Flaky individual honey apple tarts

Where do you go to pick apples? Which variety is your favourite? I would love to know!

Albion Orchards
Operating Hours are 10am to 6pm Daily Mid August-October 31st
PICK-YOUR-OWN (PYO) & WAGON RIDES WEEKENDS ONLY
November & December: 10am to 6pm Mon-Fri, Sat & Sun 10am-5pm
Closing Day: December 23rd

Daring Kitchen Cooking Challenge: Japanese

One of the reasons I started this blog is because I had been reading on Twitter about people’s completed Daring Kitchen challenges and I wanted to make what they were making!  So I signed up for both the Cooking and Baking challenges.  So once a month now I will be showing what I made.

This month the challenge was to make a cold Japanese salad of soba noodles with two sauces and tempura.  I found all but one ingredient in the local Loblaws which made making this much less daunting.  A lot of it was prep work and I was able to make the sauces ahead of time.

Here is my batter, it has to be kept cold (hence the ice pack in the bowl; we ran out of ice cubes) and should be kept lumpy which I found hard to leave alone.

I then prepped the veg.  I went with what we had on hand, as we had just received our first Organic Food box which had zucchini and broccoli, and added in some red pepper.  Just to make sure it wasn’t a completely vegetarian meal, I threw in some pre-cooked shrimp.

Post with tempura

Precooked

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On to the soba noodles.  For those who don’t know, they are buckwheat noodles.  I enjoy buckwheat pancakes, so I was looking forward to them.   A very quick cook and it is traditional to eat them cold.

On the left is the Mentsuyu-traditional dipping sauce which is a mix of rice vinegar and soy sauce.  On the right is the spicy dipping sauce with green onions, mustard and vinegars.  We all preferred the second one, and went from dipping to putting it right into the noodles.  I topped the noodles with sliced green onions, keeping it simple.

Not sure I would make this again.  I am not a fan of deep-frying, I find it goes everywhere.  The noodles were good, might eat them hot the next time and with maybe a western-style sauce instead.

Now onto my baking challenge!

Making Whoopie….pies that is.

I have really felt like baking lately.  My problem is that there is only two of us in the house and we really don’t need to have of lot of dessert.  Problem solved: bake at my parent’s and share with them.  Today is my parent’s 40th wedding anniversary, so we are visiting for the weekend and what would be better than making whoopie….pies?

I had found a promising recipe and then someone neither bookmarked it or could find it in my browser history again, so a-searching I went.  I settled on this one by Erin Cooks.  Hers looked good, had good comments and wasn’t complicated.  The only change I made to the instructions was to use my Silpats.

Here is my batter (please excuse the pics, first time doing food and not my camera), looked good.

I thought I was portioning out the batter in 1 tbsp like instructed but my first ones were huge!  They really flattened out though still cakey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All the rest I made much smaller.  I let them cool on racks for about 2 hours before icing with Martha Stewart Buttercream.

In between, I switched over to making Lemon Whoopies (because my mom is allergic to chocolate so this way she can have some too!).  I used a recipe originally attributed to Joy the Baker and found here.  These turned out just like the photos, though I am still not happy about the flatness.

I will definitely make these again, but would love some feedback on how to make them more cookie shape (i.e. rounder on top and not so flat).  I want to experiment with flavours too, peanut butter, berries and maybe Nutella in time for Nutella Day on Feb. 5th.

 

 

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