Pretzel Breads and Cake Cookies

Today’s theme is: things that are other things. A couple of weeks ago, I made pretzel breads, from the Bread Bible, as this month’s selection from the bread baking group I’m participating in. This weekend, Jay requested a repeat of the pretzels, so they must have been good. I also made mini gateaux breton cookies this weekend. Yup, that’s mini cake cookies. Pretzel breads and cake cookies.

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Pizza Rustica and Pink Pearl Lady Cake

I was sitting at my computer, thinking about just how little I felt like writing up a blog post about the last two recipes from the Rose’s Alpha Bakers group (along with the pretzel bread from the Bread Bible Bakers group), and I realized that I don’t *really* need to write them up. I can just post pictures, since, after all, a picture’s worth 1000 words, right?

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Irish Cream Scones

… as opposed to “Irish Cream” scones, unfortunately. The recipe says that the better the cream you use, the better the flavour. The best I could do was cream from Kawartha Dairy, and that was only because we happened to stop at the Victoria Street Market on our way back from the local restaurant supply store, where we needed to pick up vacuum sealing bags. Otherwise, it would have been Sealtest: the stuff made by mixing milk from just about every dairy in Ontario. Maybe someday Eby Manor will start making cream, and I can see if there’s a flavour difference with fancy pants local small-batch cream.

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Sweet Potato Loaf

Now that the whole loaf’s been eaten, it’s a good time to blog about it, no? In addition to the weekly “Baking Bible” bake-through, I’m also participating in a once-a-month Bread Bible bake-through as well. This month, it’s the sweet potato loaf, which is a lot better than it sounds, even if you’re not a fan of sweet potatoes. This bread is basically the same as Rose’s white sandwich bread, which is something I make 2 loaves of, every couple of weeks, so this was a pretty familiar process for me.

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Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is the second time I’ve made chocolate chip cookies from this book. The first was shortly after the book came out, because I just had to try them. I’ve long been on a quest for my own perfect chocolate chip cookie, and I think I’ve found it, and although this one is close, it isn’t quite it, for me. 😉 This time, while baking alongside the Rose’s Alpha Bakers group, I decided to try the Melt-in-the-Mouth variation, which includes grated chocolate.

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White Christmas Peppermint Cake

Just a quick post this week. I’m on vacation and not spending a while lot of time in front of the computer, but that’s where I post from, so… This post is both late and brief!

Cake batter prep

I’ve gotten so used to Rose’s method for butter cakes that I’m not sure I remember what the “normal” process is. For Rose’s method, you mix the dry ingredients with the (softened, not intentionally melted) butter and some of the liquid, beat for a minute and a half, then add the rest of the liquid and eggs in 3 steps, beating in between.

So fluffy and delicious
So fluffy and delicious

The batter comes out super fluffy, and in this case – absolutely delicious. 😉 I missed photographing the rest of the process, which involved a white chocolate custard being added to butter to make one of my favourite buttercreams. I think the only one I like better is Rose’s one with both white chocolate and cream cheese. Split the cake layers, add the frosting, sprinkle on some crushed candy canes, and we’re done.

I made this cake on Sunday afternoon, and when it was finished, I looked at it and said to myself, “Now what?” I wasn’t going to work the next day, so I couldn’t get rid of it there, and we still have something like 4 (partial) batches of fudge, some bourbon pecan truffles, and probably several other sweets I’m forgetting about, in the house. So, we had a piece each, and I put the rest in the fridge. I briefly considered broadcasting a “drop in for cake and tea” message to my friends, but decided that tidying the house was going to be too much like work. I think I’ll take it a new year’s eve party. I really like this cake, but there’s just too much other yummy stuff in the house for us to make a big dent in such a big cake on our own.  If you’re reading this, and you’re in the area… feel free to drop in tomorrow afternoon for white chocolate peppermint cake. I don’t promise a tidy house, but there might be other treats laying around, too!

Cranberry Christmas Bread

More bread, and more stuff I wouldn’t have picked out on my own, but I’m glad to have baked. I haven’t actually tasted this one yet, but I’m thinking it will probably make a nice breakfast tomorrow. This week’s selection for the Baking Bible bake-through is cranberry walnut Christmas bread. Timely, eh?

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Challah

Most of my posts on this blog lately are for things from The Baking Bible bake-through, but once a month, I’m also baking from The Bread Bible. I’ve said it before, and I’ll probably continue to say it every time I post about yeast-based breads: I love baking bread. It’s so forgiving. Even though I have no serious trouble with complicated multi-step recipes where you have to be involved for every single step of the recipe, and if you look away at the wrong second, it’s ruined (think caramel), I love that with bread, you do some stuff, then you let it sit for a while, then you do more stuff, then you let it sit again, etc. That means you have to plan ahead a little bit, but it means you can fit lots of other stuff into a baking day. Rose says she’s developed a better recipe for Challah, which is available here, but I just used the one from the bread bible.

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The Renée Fleming Golden Chiffon

I have to admit that this week’s selection from the Baking Bible was another one of those that didn’t inspire me, and is something I probably wouldn’t have baked if I wasn’t participating in this bake-through. On Saturday, instead of working on this cake, I made bourbon pecan pie truffles, because they just sounded delicious. I mixed & rolled them on Saturday, then spent some time on Sunday dipping them. I made a good mess, and had fun doing it, but managed to completely avoid baking this cake, even though I had all the ingredients on hand. Monday rolled around, and I saw everyone else start posting about it, and they all made some reference to it being quick and easy. Ok, fine, I decided to try and make it in the evenings this week. So, yesterday, I made the cake, and I said to myself, “I’m going to cheat, just this one time, and buy lemon curd for the whipped cream.”

Sigh. It’s always worth it to make it from scratch. I bought a jar of “lemon curd” tonight on the way home from the gym, and it was just awful. I knew as soon as I opened it that the smell was all wrong. Then I tasted it, and it was nothing but sadness. It actually tasted a little bit like stale vegetable oil. Of course, Jay pointed out that it’s probably not entirely the company’s fault, because it’s actually best before November 2015… which means it’s probably been sitting on the shelf at the store for a good long time, if a canned product actually managed to reach its best before date. So, it’s going back to Sobeys.

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Posh Pie

I found it amusing to learn that the name came before the concept for this week’s selection from The Baking Bible. As of Saturday morning, I had no real plans for this week’s recipe, so I figured I’d take my time making it, since we didn’t really have much in the way of plans this weekend. I made the cookie dough on Saturday morning, then left it in the fridge while Jay and I watched the Baden Santa Claus Parade from our front porch. Then we went out for a couple of hours to browse around the Christkindl Market in Kitchener. In the meantime, we both received a message letting us know that friends who moved to Toronto last year were going to be in town today and wanted to know if we could get together. Another couple offered to host, and I offered to bring the Posh Pie, not having looked at the recipe particularly closely. When we got home from our Christmas window shopping, I rolled out the cookies and put them in the oven before getting ready for my office Christmas party last night. This morning, I took a closer look at the recipe and realized I really should have made it yesterday, if I wanted to serve it tonight, but it seems to have worked out anyway!

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