Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Milk-Chocolate cookies

What it looked like outside
What do you do when it looks like this outside? Why, you read a good book (sometimes more than one) or bake some cookies! In my case, I did both!  After I was done with my school work I read. And then my Brother and I baked some cookies...

These  lovely little guys go by the name of Milk-Chocolate Cookies. We found this recipe in Mom's favorite cookie cookbook, Martha Stewart's Cookie Cookbook  
and we gave it a shot...
Einstein and the cookie. He kept looking at me like " Why are you putting this here?"

Thoughts...It went good. A couple things to note though. Once all the ingredients have been mixed into the batter, let the batter sit for a minute or two. This will help when you're spooning it onto the cookie sheet, that way the batter is not as runny. Another thing to note, is when the recipe says to put parchment paper onto the cookie sheet... DO IT! Or else when you are using the spatula to get them off of the cookie sheet, they will look like this...and this is with a non-stick cookie sheet.

Of course this doesn't effect the taste, it just makes them fun to eat and look just a tad silly!

The taste test - drum roll please! These cookies are chewy and chocolatey, which is one of the best combinations you could possibly come up with. Sometimes the top will come off as if it is a shell on top of the slightly gooey bottom.... What a fun little cookie!

One thing to note is when they start to crackle on the top and you can see inside a bit, they are ready to take out of the oven.
On a scale of 1 to 5, I just might say these were a 5 (the highest my scale will go!)

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Cranberry Pumpkin Bread

Hello! Pumpkin season is just about upon us - you know, that time of year when every doughnut, coffee, and bagel shop has that delicious pumpkin doughnut, or pumpkin coffee, or pumpkin bagel. So, that means it's time to talk about my favorite pumpkin recipe... quite possibly, of all time... Cranberry Pumpkin Bread.

Just out of the oven

The best way to describe it is it's like a muffin, but instead of baked in a muffin tin it is baked in a loaf pan. It's moist and soft, and so delicious with  a little butter spread on top. When you bite it you get the nice sweet taste of pumpkin and the lovely kick that the cranberries add. I'm not saying the cranberries make it tart or sour, they just make it a party in your mouth!

Out of the pan

Thoughts... One of the things I love about this recipe is it's really simple. Baking this went really smoothly... I think you have to be really, really skilled to mess it up.

The taste test - drum roll please! One word... Yummy! This is just tasty as can be. 

 P.S. I just realized I should have taken a picture of a slice of the bread and not just the whole loaf :-/ I'll do that the next time I bake a loaf or two!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Overlooked Baking Mistakes

So, last Sunday I was baking a Cranberry Pumpkin Bread. It tasted great when everything was done, but I made some mistakes. Not mistakes that affected the taste or anything, but these mistakes made my bread look funny. There were two mistakes... Mistake #1) I did not put enough batter in the pan so after it was cooked and out of the pan, they looked very short. Mistake #2) I kept opening the door to the oven! This resulted in them having to bake for longer, and the cool air rushing into the oven also made them sink a bit.

In honor of these mistakes I have created a list I like to call: Overlooked Baking Mistakes.

1) The Yield! Knowing the yield will help you know how much batter to put into each pan. Also a thing to note is if you put less or more batter in your pans, this will effect how long they will have to bake:-)

2) Knowing your oven. Knowing your oven includes, whether your oven is hotter or cooler than the average oven, does your oven have hot spots, and what kind of oven do you have? These questions will determine whether you will have to rotate the pans so it bakes evenly, when you should preheat your oven, and so on.

3) Opening the oven too soon! Yep. I am pretty sure everyone is guilty of this. Patience  Grasshopper!! You have to use other clues! Like, "Whoa that is way too pale! I know that won't be done yet."

4) Over/Under measuring. This can completely throw off your recipe.

5) Over/Under beating the batter. If you over-beat the batter it will be stiff, however if you under-beat the batter, chances are you will come across flour clumps when your eating what you baked later. So you really need to trust yourself and find that happy medium!

6) Folding certain ingredients in to the mix. This is so important for when you want what your baking to be airy, but it is also handy for when you mix blueberries or other fruits that you don't want to get smashed:-)

7) Bake time. It goes without saying that if you bake, say a cookie, too long it will be crunchy and if you bake it for less time it will be chewy - So pay attention to the bake time.

And last but not least...8) The pan sized. The size of the pan will often determined how long your baked goodie will be in the oven. It will also determined how many you can put in the oven at once!

***To prove my mistakes did not effect the taste of the Cranberry Pumpkin Bread... Well, I can't post a picture because they have already been eaten!!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Simple Vanilla Cupcake with Buttercream Frosting!

Hello!! This is So Easy My Cat Could Bake It, my blog about my baking journey! I chose that name for my blog because Einstein, my cat, is my buddy! Right now I am experimenting with baking to see if it is something I want to continue to do after high school or just continue with it as a hobby.  Each week I will bake a recipe, then write about whether it passed the taste test, what I liked and didn't like, what I learned, and so on.
Out of the oven
So, lets give this a shot, shall we? For my first recipe I chose a simple vanilla cupcake with a vanilla butter cream frosting. Why? I am a beginner at baking, and I was looking at some baking blogs and they all recommended starting with something simple... Something that doesn't have a dozen ingredients. So I went and looked in my cupcake cookbook and there it was. The name of my cupcake cookbook is The Cupcake: 80 Cute and Colorful Cupcakes by Love Food from Parragon Books.

Thoughts... It went really well, though I had a little hiccup with the frosting. When I added the milk it would not mix into the correct frosting consistency and that was because I was mixing it by hand. So I put it in the mixer and it got to that nice frosting consistency.

Einstein trying the frosting!
Nice fluffy frosting
The Taste Test - drum roll please! The frosting: Oh wow! It was awesome! This recipe made a lot of frosting, so I was afraid the amount I put on the cupcakes would make it way too sweet, but nope. It was nice and smooth and it was fluffy! The cupcake: It was also good, but it wasn't as light and airy as a cupcake should be, it was a bit more dense, more like a muffin, I guess. The cupcake wasn't as airy as the cake box variety nor as light as a bakery cupcake. So I think I will have to torment everyone by making another batch :-) FYI, the frosting recipe was also from the cupcake book.
Next time I will try mixing it in the mixer to see if that will help air get into the batter, thus making it fluffier. I will also maybe add baking powder. I did not put it in the mix because the recipe said not to if your flour was self-rising, I wasn't sure about the flour, so I did not put any in.  

Overall: On a scale from 1 (hated it) to 5 (loved it) this recipe was a 4 (liked it)

***Mom said the flour is not self-rising. She gets the all purpose variety because it is used in more recipes.... thus, it's more versatile.