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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Alpha Bakers: Babka

I love bread making. I don't know why and can't really explain it. There is just something calming about it. Perhaps it's working with the dough part? Though now with stand mixer there's not much of active hand working on the dough vs. watching the machine working the dough. Lazy 21st century? :). In any case, I was excited to make this bread and was also excited to eat it and share it with some friends. I made 1/2 a recipe, using 6 cup bundt pan and I think I overbaked it by 5 minutes or something like that because it came out a bit more dry than I expect. It's still good though and none of my friends said anything to the contrary. Al in all, a win!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Alpha Bakers: Dutch Pecan Sandies

I am not a big fan of cookies, especially the roll cookies. They are just high maintenance, in my opinion. There's so much to do, you roll it out, cut it, move it to the baking pan, then if the dough gets too soft, it needs to be refrigerated before it can be roll out again. To me, the cookies have to be really good for me to go through all the steps. So when I saw this on the schedule, I was not very excited about this. Until, I opened the Baking Bible to the recipe page and saw:

Beurre Noisette.

There. I'm sold. I'm making this. Half recipe.

It turns out these cookies are high maintenance. It is so soft and tend to want to roll to be too thin. However, I do love working with the dough as it is quite malleable and easy to combine. I have made sugar cookies several times and in comparison these cookies are easier to work with (though I can say I do not like having to freeze them, that takes more time). The cookie dough is so good and the smell of pecan, muscovado sugar, and beurre noisette together created a very intoxicating smell. And yes I never would have guessed I would use the word intoxicating in a sentence, much less in a baking post. And btw, I did use the wrong sugar, supposed to use brown sugar but I ended up grabbing muscovado.

As for the taste, they are really really good! I did not regret making them and would probably make them again, though it will be for cookie-loving friends as the folks I tried to share them with gave the cookies an odd stare. Perhaps it's because they are not pretty like the cookies you see in bakeries or even places like Panera. But these are so good - I exclaimed. Somehow most of them were not convinced. Oh well, more for me. I still have a few in an airtight container and even hubby, who is vegan, has eaten a few.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Alpha Bakers: Coconut Cupcakes with Milk Chocolate Ganache

"I don't like cupcakes."

That is what my friend told me when I mentioned it was the last thing I baked.

"They are basically cakes, just in cupcake form," is what I told her. I know this because I used to make all kinds of cakes into cupcakes form when I was baking through Rose's Heavenly Cakes.

"Yeah, but I don't like them. They are individually sized, with frosting on top and stuff," is the response I get.

Well no matter. I didn't make these for her. My other friends whom I shared them with thought they were yummy.

On a side note, I don't know what's wrong with things being individually sized with frosting. Isn't it the same with having a 9 inch cake sliced? Each cake slice is individually sized with frosting? The only difference with cupcakes is you have to buy the wrapper - which means spending some money on said wrapper. And if you want to be really precise, as Rose is, and as I try to be, you have to spend some time to weigh each cupcake individually so they are all even (which is my least favorite part of making cupcakes by the way). But it's not a big complain since I find cupcakes very cute so their cuteness way surpass my feeling against weighing each one individually.

End rant.