Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I Can Eat All of These Myself

Christmas is almost here! It's my favorite holiday because of all the singing. This is one of my favorite song arrangements. You should listen to it while making today's recipe. It's a family recipe and one my Mama made a holiday tradition a long, long time ago. It's easy and probably the best homemade dinner roll recipe ever. After getting sick on the dough I can still go ahead and eat half of the baked batch myself.

The recipe comes from my Mama's grandma, or my great grandma Callow. She never used a recipe and, while instructing my Mama how to make them, said things like "a scoop of butter about the size of an egg" and "a coffee cup full of sugar." I make these every Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Easter. Try 'em out. You won't be disappointed :)

Callow Rolls
Courtesy of Mama, a.k.a. Shelley. Makes around 24.

1 package yeast (NOT "rapid rise")
1 TBS granulated sugar
1/4 cup hot tap water
small bowl
1 cup milk
4 TBS vegetable shortening
2 tsp salt
small sauce pan
1 cup cold water
2 eggs
4-5 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
large bowl
extra flour
biscuit cutter
9x13 inch glass or ceramic baking dish
3/4 cup salted butter

1. In small bowl add yeast, 1 TBS sugar, and hot water.
2. Stir yeast and let sit until foamy.
3. In small sauce pan on the stove top, heat milk until hot but NOT boiling.
4. Remove from heat.
5. Add shortening to the sauce pan in chunks or pieces, not all in one giant blob.
6. Stir in 4 TBS sugar and salt and stir until all ingredients are dissolved.
7. Add cold water to sauce pan and stir.

8. Pour pan contents into large mixing bowl.
9. Add the yeast mixture to the large mixing bowl.
10. Add 2-3 cups flour or enough to beat easily (not splashy but not stiff).
11. Add eggs and beat thoroughly.

12. Continue adding flour, around 2 more cups, to make a stiff spoon batter. That means you want your batter to stick to your spoon but not be a lump of dough yet.

13. Scrape down the bowl and cover with a warm, damp cloth.

14. Let batter rise in a warm place with no drafts. It can take a hour or so.
15. When batter has doubled in size, stir down and let rise again.
16. Cut up your butter and place in baking dish.
17. Microwave or heat in the oven until melted.
18. On a smooth, well floured counter top or cutting board, turn out your batter.

19. Start incorporating flour and kneading into a soft dough.
20. Pat out dough to be about 1/2 inch think.
21. Cut into individual rolls with biscuit cutter.

22. Roll each dough piece in the butter and arrange in dish. Six across and four down usually works for me.

23. Turn on oven to 375 degrees ad let rolls rise in the dish for a bit.
24. Bake for 25 minutes or until th middle rolls just start to brown.
25. Serve hot, with more butter, jam, or as a sandwich the next day with left overs.
26. This recipe is easily doubled. Enjoy!

I also have a new addition to my kitchen - ta DA!

No, it's not mine, but my favorite new friend is lending it to me while he goes to Costa Rica. If he ever comes back, maybe I'll return it ;)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

So Much Baking, So Little Blogging Time

I have a growing backlog of baking experiences to blog about. I go out of my way to make room for baking but not (gulp) blogging. In case you didn't know, it's really time consuming. Sometimes I stay up 'till midnight to take things out of the oven. Sometimes I wake up before 6, get ready for work, run out of buttermilk, run to the store, finishing baking, and arrive late to meetings. This week I tried 4 new recipes in 6 days. This is how it went:

Saturday - Didn't go to bed until 1am due to Annah's arrival and Fab Four holiday visit. Woke up 7 hours later. Talked for the next 4 hours straight. Realized we hadn't eaten anything and were starving. Ate Chocolate Chip Scones at noon. New recipe. Moderate success. They looked pretty much perfect before going in the oven.

Sunday - Woke up at 9 am after going to bed at 2am. Talked for a few hours and then made biscuits with brunch. New recipe. No picture because they were flat and unattractive.

Monday - Didn't start making cookies before Caitlin arrived for dinner with brownies in hand. If you're ever in a pinch and need some brownies stat, I recommend those at your local Safeway bakery. They are pretty incredible. I think the secret ingredient might be marshmallow. Or a whole lot of corn syrup. Delicious still today when I ate the last one. No picture.

Tuesday - Was going to make muffins for a Wednesday morning meeting but got home late and decided that making fresh scones in the morning was a better idea.

Wednesday - See reference to waking up before sunrise above. Blueberry scones. New recipe. Success.

Wednesday part 2 - Naomi came over with wine. I promised dessert. I decided to make an apple pie from scratch. It took 4 hours. Naomi didn't get her pie until today. I will blog about this more later because it's 11:29pm. The pie was awesome :)

How do you like the new blog look? Festive and season appropriate, no? I think a bit of sparkle may be a requirement from now on. Goodnight!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I Finally Found It!

I finally found an amazing, bake yourself, chocolate-CHOColate-CHOCOLATE cookie recipe that keeps a lovely shape and is soft and chewy. Yesssssssssssssss! They are a bit time consuming and labor intensive but it's worth it. Trust me. These cookies are ridiculous :)

ChocChocChocolate Cookies
Adapted from America's Test Kitchen
2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
4 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp instant coffee
10 TBS unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
12 oz semisweet chocolate
4 oz bittersweet chocolate
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
double boiler pan OR sauce pan and a small, heatproof glass bowl
another small bowl
medium bowl
large bowl
standing mixer
baking sheets
parchment paper (quilon free! do you remember why?)
silicone spatula
measuring spoons
a regular spoon

1. Add and inch or two of tap water to a sauce pan. Heat until simmering.
2. Break your chocolate bars up into pieces and place in a small glass bowl.
3. Place the bowl of chocolate on the sauce pan, making sure the bottom does not touch the water.

4. Stir occasionally until all of the chocolate is melted and smooth.
5. Remove bowl from pan and let chocolate cool on counter.
6. In medium bowl whisk the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt.
7. In your second small bowl, whisk the eggs, vanilla and coffee until all the coffee is dissolved.

8. Beat the butter and sugars together in a large bowl until light and fluffy, or about 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
9. Add the egg/coffee mixture to the butter/sugar and beat until fully incorporated. Scrape down the bowl.
10. Next add the chocolate and beat. Scrape down the bowl.
11. Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add the flour mixture, scraping down the bowl and just until everything is combined.
12. Stir in the chocolate chips.

13. Cover bowl with a plate (to save moisture at altitude, don't waste plastic!) and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
14. Clean up your mess.
15. Line your baking sheets with parchment paper.
16. Adjust the racks in your oven to be in the middle.
17. Turn on oven to 350.
18. Remove fully chilled bowl of chocolate ecstasy dough from the fridge.
19. Scoop larger than usual balls of dough (supposedly around 3 TBS) into your hands and roll a bit.
20. Place dough balls on the baking sheets leave extra space between each one because the cookies are going to be the size of your palm.
21. Bake for 5-6 minutes. Rotate the pans.
22. Bake for 5-6 more minutes and remove from oven when the cookies have cracked on top.
23. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes and then transfer to cooling racks.
24. INDULGE! With milk or vanilla bean icecream!

If you need more chocolate, use all semisweet chocolate bars or 2 cups of chips.
If you want a little more texture, use Kosher or sea salt.
If you want to share with your friends, wrap up in star printed gift bags!

Lessons Learned
Make desserts involving melted chocolate in the winter or in kitchens with air conditioning. I think my room temperature has negatively effected this type of recipe in the past. Don't microwave chocolate or try to melt in the saucepan itself. There's a really good chance you'll burn it and the resulting little, unattractive chunks do not look pretty or taste good.