Interim Bread Recipe Report

I was going to try some burger buns and got side tracked looking at the baguette pan.  I thought some hoagie rolls would be good test beds for the new recipe.



I was browsing around yesterday at the blog run by the King Arthur Flour folks, looking at the post where they “introduced” the hot dog bun recipe for the pan I used yesterday.  They mentioned another use for the pan, aside from making hot dog buns–they used it with a devil’s food cake mix and filled the cakes with cream and other tasty things.  Pretty good comment thread below the main post, there were the usual squees from the fanbois and gals, plenty of “me toos” and “I can’t wait to buy my pan” but one gal said,  “Yeah! I made these and filled them with Whoopie cookie cream filling!”

I just had to look that up right away!  It must be a regional thing.. Ok, off to Google “whoopie cookie”….ah, here it is.

So, I looked for a whoopie cream filling recipe and found a very simple one I decided to try.  I’ve forgotten the URL so I’ll just list it:

1 c shortening

1 cup sugar (I used Splenda)

2 t vanilla extract

1 cup milk

5 T flour

Mix the milk and flour and cook in a small pan on medium, stirring constantly, until thick and smooth.  Yay!  We’ve just made library paste!  Moving on..  Beat the shortening and the sugar together in a mixing bowl, add the vanilla.  When the milk and flour mixture has cooled, add it to the mixing bowl and beat until the volume doubles.

There are tons of filling recipes out there, I’m sure this isn’t the best one.

[Double chocolate cupcakes courtesy of Mrs J]

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Doggie Treats! People Treats!

We are equal opportunity folks around here.  Mrs J started off the day making a new supply of baked doggie treats using pretty much the same recipe as last time but improving it somewhat with bacon and more garlic.  Did I say improving?  I ate one of these things and I’m not ashamed to admit they are pretty good.  Buddy and Jack both growled at me, and Annie gave me such a disapproving look I limited myself to just the one.

Well, with the aroma from baking those slowly fading I renewed my search for a copycat Ritz cracker-to no avail.  I did find a few other disgruntled folks with the same result for the same search but no recipe turned up.  I should say no recipe showed up for a Ritz clone-I was amazed at how many recipes Google returned that had Ritz crackers as an ingredient.  Saw one recipe for “mock apple pie” that used the crackers in some fashion.  I was loathe to find out about just how and so will just leave you with the mention.

We did settle on a recipe for butter crackers-just a generic butter cracker recipe that seemed very simple.  We made the dough in a food processor:

2 c flour

1 stick butter

1 t baking powder

1T sugar

1/2t salt

~2/3c water

Add the dry ingredients to the bowl of the machine and pulse a few seconds to combine.  Cut the cold butter into pats, and add them as you pulse for a few seconds each-you want the butter/flour mixture to start looking like meal.  Add the water while running the machine on low-the dough will form a ball shortly.  Take the ball of dough and cover with plastic in a bowl, or put it into an empty bread sack like I did.  Rest it for a while as the oven preheats to 400.

We opted to run the dough through the pasta machine to get better uniformity.  We ran a portion of dough then cut out 2″ discs with a biscuit cutter.  These we arrayed on a silicone baking mat on a tray, poked them with the tines of a fork to keep the crackers from forming tiny pita breads and brushed the crackers with butter.  That helped the salt stick a bit better if nothing else.  10 minutes in a 400 degree oven worked pretty well for us, a minute or two more perhaps, we tend to look in there when the timer beeps and dial in another minute or two as seems right at the time.

I’m already figuring tweaks to the recipe, one fellow mentoned using butter flavored shortening in lieu of butter, we may try some lard plus butter, and I think the addition of an egg yolk could be useful.

Stay tuned!

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Mmm…Cherry Pie

We’ve been watching all the celebrity chefs show off their mad apple pie skilz.  Mrs J was talking about how her Momma could crank pies out like a Mrs Smith’s pie factory, and how she helped as a young lass but for whatever reason she now struggled to make a decent crust.  Last night we watched Alton Brown make an apple pie that looked very good and we paid close attention to the crust recipe he used.

Mrs J noted, when my prodding became more intense, that we didn’t have any apple jack like Alton used.  I remembered reading in a comment thread somewhere that vodka would work as a moistening agent-it had no real taste and did the moistening of the flour just fine without forming any nasty gluten that was the enemy of flaky pie crusts everywhere.  She allowed that vodka would be worth a try but that we had no apples.  I reminded her that this was an exercise in building a crust, and that we did have some canned cherry pie filling.  She finally broke down and tried her hand at a cherry pie.

She used lard for the shortening, along with the butter.  Things proceeded pretty much according to plan, the flour came together in the food processor just as it did for Mr Brown.  She used 6 tablespoons of 80 proof vodka-the only change from the recipe.  The dough was chilled for an hour before she rolled it out.  The first piece went just fine, but the top proved fragile-she had to roll it out again.  It was finally ready to bake.

It spent 30 minutes in a 350 oven covered with foil, then the foil was removed and an egg wash applied to the top.  Back into the oven it went, she boosted the temp a bit, 375 I think at the end.  It spent an additional 45 minutes or more in the oven before we finally took it out.

Mrs J judges it the best crust she has ever made.  I am loathe to argue the point.


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