Sugar topped lemon blueberry muffins for breakfast today!

Just whipped up some delicious muffins using fresh blueberries and Meyer lemons.  I have not made this recipe before but it comes from Canadian favorite Best of Bridge and is called Super Blueberry Lemon Muffins.  After the muffins were finished baking the tops were a lovely golden color but there was a drier look to the top than most muffins.  Fresh from the oven you dip the muffin in melted butter combined with lemon juice and then quickly dip them in white sugar.  What a difference to the finished product!  Beautiful.

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Chocolate Truffle Tartlets – Baking With Julia

Today was the second challenge for the Tuesdays With Dorie.  I made the chocolate dough in my 4 cup food processor which was working at full capacity but it gave the dough a lovely texture.  The dough was difficult to work with as it was quite crumbly around the edges.  In my younger days, I would not have had the patience to work with this dough.  Lots of patching.  I used a rectangular tart pan rather than the small tart pans as I thought that size would be too large for this rich dessert.  The filling was easy to assemble.  I used Callebaut milk and white chocolate plus purchased the ladyfingers.  I had a small slice with a cup of tea for my dessert.  It looked beautiful however I think a garnish was necessary.  Perhaps a flavoured whip cream or a fruit coulis of some sort.  I found the creaminess of the chocolate bits inside to be distracting.  My filling may have been undercooked.  There was a slight “egginess” to it, I felt.  I cooked it for the full time and it was set when I tested it but I think next time I would increase the cooking time slightly.  What I loved about today’s challenge was that I used a food processor for the pastry.  Previously I would have made it by hand but I really liked the texture of the dough.  I think I will invest in a larger food processor.

Bake with your nose.

Today while I was making peanut butter cookies I realized that if I am in the kitchen, I tend not to use the timer but rather can smell when the item I am baking is almost done.  Take notice the next time you are baking one of your regular items.  A couple of minutes before the timer goes off, you will notice that you can really begin to smell the baked item.  In my experience most oven temperatures are inconsistent.  Pay attention to the smell and it may save you from overcooking something.  By the way, the cookies were delicious!  Perfect on a lazy, grey afternoon  My favorite recipe from one of the Moosewood Collection books.

Interesting baking supplies from IKEA. Who knew?

Today I was in the marketplace area of IKEA and found these cute cake doilies.  Classic though, didn’t realize one of the hearts on the pink doily was broken until I got home.  Anyway there are 4 of them – brown, fuschia, lime and pink.  Kind of fun.  Plus I picked up this loaf pan.  It is 2L or 2qt.  What I liked was it is narrow and long.  I can see using it for some kind of fruit and nut bread twist.  Yesterday I was thinking about changing up hot cross buns into some kind of braided loaf.

The promise of bread dough rising.

Today was the first day of Tuesdays with Dorie: Baking with Julia and assignment number one was White Loaves.  This is the first time that I have made bread dough using my KitchenAid standmixer instead of a bread machine.  The dough had a beautiful texture to it right from the start.  The job was too tough for my mixer so I finished the dough by kneading it myself.  Tough work.  I have a new-found respect for those strong prairie women.  I was beginning to breathe hard by the time I was done.  Although my arm fatigue might have had more to do with six sets of tennis and a session of yoga in the past 24 hours than with the actual dough. So what did I learn?  I did measure the water temperature which I have never done before.  Attention to detail always helps the end results when it comes to baking.  I have never kneaded the butter into the dough after the other ingredients.  This would have been easier but persistence in hand kneading paid off I think. The method for shaping the actual loaf was also new to me.  You roll the dough out and then fold 2/3 toward you, then fold it over toward you again.  You pinch the seams together, roll up the ends and place the nice little loaf in the greased pan.  I let the dough rise longer than the recipe called for (had to go to a meeting at the school!).  The final step, of removing the bread from the pans for the last ten minutes, to ensure that all sides brown evenly was something new to me also.  The results are fabulous.  My grandmother, a prairie farm wife herself, taught me to knock on the bottom of the bread.  If it sounded hollow, then the loaf was done.  I took out the loaf when I thought it was done using this method but double checked it with the thermometer as suggested in the recipe.  Turns out Grandma was right!  The thermometer and the knocking test produced the same results.  The loaves are cooling now on the kitchen counter.  The house smells heavenly and I feel like I have reconnected with my heritage.  Can’t wait to have toast and tea in the morning.