The last few weeks have been pretty busy between school, exams, work, and getting ready for Christmas. I don’t have a lot of shopping to do exactly, but am in charge of practically all the christmas baking for our family and am organizing some stuff at work as well.
Christmas Baking List
Sugar Cookies – done!
Gingersnaps – done!
Banana bread – done!
Pumpkin cake – done!
Fudge – done!
Peanut butter balls – not done, need icing sugar
Peppermint patties – not done, need crisco
Peanut Butter Cups – not done
Chocolate Toffee – not done, need butter
Lots to do in the next few weeks. I’ve been working on a curried roasted potato recipe but don’t have any potatoes left to try again and it’s not quite right yet. Tonight I’m making lamb and chickpea curry because that’s basically all I can make with the ingredients I have at home.
About a year ago my mom gave me her old black and decker bread machine when I expressed interest in buying one. I used it till the motor died this summer, making about 1 loaf a week plus pizza dough and sometimes bun dough. With the bread machine came the original users manual/recipe book, which has a lot more recipes then the manual that came with my new bread machine does. One of the recipes in there has become my staple sandwich bread and I still make about 1 2lb loaf a week. I do adjust the recipe a bit, because I never buy powdered milk as the original recipe calls for and just use soymilk in place of the water. I have also made it with 100% whole wheat, but it’s a much denser loaf and doesn’t rise as much.
Seven Grain Bread
1 2/3 cup soymilk (heated for about 45 seconds till room temp)
2 tbsp shortening (I’ve tried both oil or margarine, both work fine)
2 tbsp honey
2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 1/2 cup unbleached all purpose flour
3/4 cup seven grain cereal (I use 8 or 12 grain from bulk barn)
1 1/4 tsp bread machine yeast
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1. Warm the soymilk in the microwave till room temperature. Measure ingredients in the order listed, except the pumpkin and sesame seeds, into the baking pan of your bread machine.
2. Insert baking pan into your bread machine, select whole wheat cycle and adjust your crust settings as per your preference. Press start. When the add ingredients signal beeps, add the pumpkin and sesame seeds. Take out of the bread machine when completion beeps sound. Cool on a wire rack before slicing.
I slice the bread and lay the slices on a sheet pan, saran wrap in between the layers, allowing them to freeze individually before putting into a bag. Makes it easier to take individual slices out later for sandwiches or toast!
I adore looking at cookbooks and getting inspired by them. Buying new cookbooks has become somewhat of an addiction…obsession…whatever! I created a new page listing all my cookbooks by category (you can find it here). Now I get to keep track of my obsession collection and share it with everyone, won’t that be fun! The idea to do this was sparked by me realizing that I don’t really USE my cookbooks that much and I should start doing so. I’ve already started going through all of them and writing down the recipes that I want to try on a sticky note to place inside the book. (I got the most adorable sticky notes from Chapters made by this company.) I’ve done about 4 or 5 books so far…only 25-ish to go.
While I was at my parents house this weekend I decided to do some baking as always. (Free ingredients and a clean kitchen without the possiblity of mice, how could I resist??) Since it was my dad’s birthday everything was chocolate. For his birthday supper dessert it was molten chocolate cakes with fresh raspberries and icing sugar. They were perfectly gooey and rich and chocolately. The raspberries were the perfect counterpart to the sweet and richness of the cake. I’m not going to post the recipe because I found it on the inside of the Bakers 70% chocolate squares box!
The highlight of the weekend baking, for me, was this delicious, rich, fudgey, peanut-buttery concoction. It tastes like reese peanut butter cups. Honest. Unfortunatly I left most of it at my parents place. But that doesn’t mean I can’t make my own once my pieces are gone!!
Peanut Butter Fudge Cake
2 Cups All Purpose Flour (I used half whole wheat)
2 Cups White Sugar
1 Tsp Baking Soda
1 Cup Butter or Margarine
1/2 Cup Cocoa Powder
1 Cup Buttermilk (I used plain soymilk)
2 Eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 Cup Peanut Butter
1/4 Cup Butter or Margarine
1/4 Cup Cocoa
1/3 Cup Buttermilk (I used soymilk again!)
2 Cups-ish Icing Sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Combine flour, white sugar, and baking soda in a large mixing bowl; set aside.
Melt 1 cup butter or margarine in a heavy saucepan; stir in 1/2 cup cocoa. Stir in buttermilk, and eggs until well blended. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils. Remove from heat. Mix into flour mixture, stirring until smooth. Stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla. Pour batter into a greased and floured 13 x 9 inch baking pan.
Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 20 to 25 minutes, or until an inserted wooden pick comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes on a wire rack. Carefully spread peanut butter over warm cake. Cool completely.
To Make Frosting: Combine 1/4 cup butter or margarine, 1/4 cup cocoa, and buttermilk in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Pour over confectioners’ sugar, stirring until smooth. Stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla. Spread chocolate frosting over peanut butter on cake. Cut into squares.