Archive | May, 2012

Pita Bread: Denver

23 May

Well, after Skyping with Nora for about 10 minutes before her phone died, I decided to take the extra time I have to MAKE PITA BREAD! I was feeling pretty apprehensive about this one, because my thought was: if it is good, I will never stop making it and then I will turn into one giant pita. I really, really like pita bread.

Alley-oop. I didn’t even take any photos of the mixing because it was so quick. I only made a few changes to my source recipe: instead of sugar, I used honey (just to see what would happen), and I used one cup of whole-wheat flour with two-and-a-half cups white/unbleached flour. SIDE NOTE: in my bag of whole-wheat flour, I found my missing 1/2-C measuring cup! It’s been gone for AGES and I had no idea where it was (or how I’d lost it, because it is not really something I take out of my kitchen). Clearly, it’s been too long since I’ve used my wheat flour hahaha.

Here’s my finished dough, pre-rise:

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And post-rise:

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Mmm!

Little dough balls:

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Aaaaaand into the oven they go. It looked like Sydney used a pizza stone to bake hers, but let’s be honest about how broke I am! I used a cookie sheet with some parchment. Ghetto fab, y’all!

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I am still not really sure how these know to puff into pillow shapes. I guess there are some things we’ll never know, right? Like magnets…how the fuck do THOSE work?

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These turned out DELICIOUSLY. They were crispier than pitas I’ve bought in stores, but I liked that. And when they are fresh out of the oven? Heaven. I think I will probably make these a ton in the future…They’re much cheaper than buying them, were easy, and are tasty. I tried mine with both hummus (good) and honey (good) on top. The honey in my dough gave them a subtle honey taste (who’d have thunk it?) and the whole wheat flour gave them a really nice texture. Win!

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Challenge #13: Pita bread

19 May

Ok, so this is a break from my normal challenge post. I am the queen of sweet tooth and love pastry baking, so I was really tempted to do a pie, but that will be next time. Because our recipe this week is… PITA BREAD. I am really excited about this because:

1) Pita looks really fancy and I’ve always assumed it was hard to make, but it doesn’t actually seem that  hard based on what I’m reading

2) Crepes of Wrath is a great blog

3) I looooove pita.

Lesgo!

French toast and bacon cupcakes: Portland

17 May

These turned out great, but I think I’ll reserve these only for special occasions from now on. I was a little bacon-ed out by the time they were finished off (not that I ate them all myself). They were indeed delicious, but I just knew biting into one that it was not good for me.  Still, who can resist both maple syrup and bacon in one recipe? I’ll be making pancakes very very soon.

My mom told me that the Internet told her that baking bacon on foil in the oven is an easy, less messy way to cook it, so that’s what I’ve been doing for a while now. I like it because I end up like less of a greasy mess, as opposed to the skillet method.

After whisking the dry ingredients together (I cut back significantly on the nutmeg, after remembering some previously unfortunate over-spicing incidents), I added the eggs, half and half, etc. and beat it.

LOOK AT THAT GLORIOUS BACON. (Sadly, the second batch that I did, I burned. Dang you, multitasking.)

But look at that glorious bacon in that glorious batter.

I was pretty pleased with how these turned out (a bit more like muffins in texture than I was expecting, but equally delicious). The frosting could have been a bit less melty, so perhaps next time I’ll make some adjustments on the frosting front. I’m sure we all remember the whoopie pie incident.

French Toast and Bacon Cupcakes: Denver

8 May

Whew. This is not a health food. Let’s just start with that. However, I’ve recently made a commitment to “clean up” my eating with my mom (we both were reflecting on our Great Sugar Addiction of Winter 2011 and decided to try to rein it in a little).  I decided to try to take this brutally delicious recipe and tidy it up a little. That said, cupcakes are cupcakes, and I’m realistic about it. I just made some little tweaks here and there to drop the sugar content some.

We start with extra-thick-cut, smoked bacon. Look at it. Glistening. Bacony.

And crispy. I made it first so it had time to cool before I folded it into my batter. I didn’t want any micro-cooked spots in my cupcakes.

I sifted my dry ingredients together – subbing fat/sugar-free pudding mix for the norm (it’s not like you’re gonna notice with all the other butter and sugar). Oh, and potato starch? What even is that? I used corn starch. Then I let it hang out.

Next came the wet ingredients – creamed the butter and sugars, added the egg whites. The key to the eggwhites, I found, is to add them very. slowly. In “The Simple Art of Perfect Baking”, one of my all-time favorite sciencey-baking books, this is always stressed, but I learned it first-hand doing this. I added my egg whites too quickly and they “curdled” my butter and after 10 minutes of whipping, it was clear they weren’t going to un-curdle.  One at a time, people! I scrapped my fist butter-sugar-whites mix and started over. Perfection!

I added a fair amount of maple extract with my vanilla, because I wanted to skip the maple syrup in the actual cupcakes (don’t tell my boyfriend).  Instead of the syrup, I used 3/4 C hot water (as suggested by some of the comments on the source recipe. I subbed normal milk for the half-and-half…with bacon and butter in the cupcakes, I’m not worried about missing the taste of the half-and-half. It makes me nervous to vary so far from the recipe, but I figured I’d try it anyway).  But…it came out PERFECTLY.

Finally, I rolled my bacon pieces in flour before mixing them into the batter. I didn’t want them to sink to the bottom! I loaded a few foil cupcake wrappers with the batter pre-bacon, and then folded in the bacon for the rest to go into paper cupcake wrappers (so I could tell which had bacon and which didn’t after they were baked). I suited them up and into the oven they went:

After 22 minutes or so, out they came!

And then came the frosting…and the bacon.

These were really delicious!! They were pretty light (glad I added that extra water) and tasted just like their namesake. Good find, Nora.