I have been neglecting the baking blog…

But I definitely have not stopped baking.

I’m taking a gourmet baking class at UAF and it is SUPER fun.


A cake with Chocolate Italian Buttercream. This frosting is serious bliss dudes. I was blown away by how light and delicate, yet rich the flavor is.


Pineapple Upside Down Cake. Since we made these, I have made two more (and we just made them a week ago!) This picture is pretty awful.


Flourless Chocolate Cookies
These got sent to work with Bret, and apparently one of his coworkers announced that they are crack and he is addicted. They were pretty delicious!


Annnnd cream scones with raisins. And I made the cornbread back there as well. These scones were probably some of the best I’ve ever had..but the half and half in them would probably do that, heh!

So yeah. I’m still around, still knitting, still baking…Just kind of overcome with work, school and we just moved so that took up a lot of time too!!! One of these days I hope to have a real post with a recipe. But we’ll see….

Jam Squares

I have made this recipe multiple times. It is amazing. I modified it slightly from this recipe over at Skinny Taste. I really can’t say why I change what I change, but I think it is delicious and they are not on the super awful side of things healthwise. In the end, however, it still is fat and carbs and sugar haha.

If you’ve been reading my previous posts, you know I’ve gone a little jam/jelly crazy. There are currently 2.5 flats of jam/jelly in my house and I’ve even started giving it away. In the past when I’ve made this, I used store bought jam (typically smucker’s simply fruit – it is my fav!!) and I’ve always wanted to try with homemade jam or jelly. It is AMAZING.

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And, another thing I love about this, is that the dollops of jam give you portion control. Of course, you can still eat like half a pan in a sitting..but at least you can know as soon as they come out of the oven what a single serving is.

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Blueberry purple is probably one of the best colors out there.

Jame Squares
Based off/Inspired by Strawberry Squares from Skinny Taste

Ingredients:
1/2 Cup Butter, Softened
1 1/2 C white sugar
4 Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional, I think cinnamon goes really well with blueberries)
1 C White Flour
1 C Whole Wheat Flour
Approx 1/2C Jam

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 350F and prepare 13×9 pan.

2. In a mixer or a bowl, combine sugar and butter until smooth. Add in eggs one by one, mixing after each. Add vanilla and cinnamon if desired. Add flour and combine. The batter will be pretty thick.

3. Spread into prepared pan, you will probably have to spread it out with a spatula. Using a toothpick or a knife, divide the batter into 24 2″ ish squares. Place 1 teaspoon of jam onto each square.

4. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

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They are so delicious.

Biscuits

So I guess I should eventually talk about the name of my blog, From Scratch. I LOVE making things from scratch. I really hate box mixes (although I do use them from time to time.) Same goes for can frosting. As I said, I do use them from time to time, but it really grinds my gears when I am looking up recipes and the recipe goes like this..

Ingredients
White Cake Mix
Can White Frosting

Directions:
Follow directions on mix box, frost when cooled.

I know USUALLY its a bit more then that, and I totally am down with doctoring box mixes..but seriously guys. I do not keep those in my house. If I am searching the internet for a recipe (which is dumb, considering how many cookbooks I own.) I want to find one FROM SCRATCH. I love making things from scratch. Cakes, cookies, breads, cinnamon rolls, frostings…Cooking I am a little bit more lazy about it, but baking from scratch is the bomb. I have never made biscuits, and as much as Pillsbury knows how to do it right, I figured it was time to do it myself. A friend/co-worker of mine had a baby last week, and my mom proposed we take her family dinner this weekend. So my mom made stew, I made biscuits and we are doing a combined effort on dessert (I made cookies and my mom made brownies!)

If you haven’t figured out, we like this lady and her family a lot.

So, I made biscuits. I used the recipe out of the Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book, partly because I’ve decided to start actually using my cookbooks and partly because I really trust this one.

The first time, I did it precisely as the recipe called for and I felt like the biscuits turned out small and some of them were not beautifully shaped. However, Pillsbury I am not, so that fact doesn’t matter too much.

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They do taste awesome though. Homemade biscuits, with butter and homemade AK raspberry jam. AKA a rockin’ party in my mouth.

The second batch I rolled out thinner and cut with a wider biscuit round (in my house, this was a pint jam jar the first time and a thermos lid the second time). I also baked them a bit longer.

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You can see the size/uniformity differences pretty obviously…

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Not quite Pillsbury flakey, but close!

Biscuits

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp Vinegar or Lemon Juice
1 C Milk
3 C AP FLour
1 Tbsp Baking Powder
1 Tbsp White Sugar
1 Tsp Salt
3/4 Tsp Cream Of Tartar
1/2 C Butter
1/4 C Shortening

Directions:

1. Combine Milk and vinegar, set aside.
2. Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl, and stir to combine.
3. Cut butter into small chunks, and add it and shortening to flour mixture. Cut it into the dough with a pastry cutter, until it is crumbly.
3. Add milk mixture to bowl, and mix until just combined.
4. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently until the dough is uniform. You don’t have to knead long.
5. Press or roll out until the dough is about 1/2″ thick. Cut using a biscuit round of your choice. I used a pretty big one the second time around. The first time it was about 2 1/2″.
6. Bake in a 450F oven for 12-14 minutes, until golden brown.

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Holy cow!!!

So we are quickly approaching fall here in Fairbanks (yeah, I know, don’t remind me. I don’t really want to think about it either) and so that means the fall veggies/berries are in FULL blast. I have been making loads of jam/jelly (for the first time ever!), and shredded zucchini like it is nobody’s business. Seriously. I have one in the fridge right now that needs to be shredded and frozen in fact. I have made zucchini bread like four times in the last three weeks.

The zucchini thing is a little bit ridiculous. One we week had sauteed zucchini with dinner three times. Last night we had zucchini boats for dinner. And like I said, the zucchini bread. And here is the craziest part: I didn’t even plant any zucchini at my house. There are three plants in the planter at my work, and my mom has two or three plants in her garden. And they are HUGE zucchini.

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I went to bake the other night and brought out a zucchini and Bret goes “Zucchini bread?? Have you forgotten how to make anything else???”

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But then I had a jam making lesson with my mom…and I am TOTALLY hooked. We went blueberry picking a while back (and we need to go again!) and between Bret and myself, we had almost 5 lbs of blueberries (maybe it was more?) that were picked in about 2, maybe 3, hours of picking. So I knew jam was in my future. So we had a jam lesson. And it was way, way WAY easier than I thought it would be! thus the insane amount of canning that has been going on at my house lately. I made low sugar blueberry jam, high bush cranberry jelly, and tonight I made raspberry jam. I am planning on making a batch of regular blueberry and a batch of spice blueberry as well. I have probably lost my mind. That is not news though.

I have been baking as well, but all the pictures turn out awful or I just don’t take any at all! I’m making biscuits tomorrow and hope to blog about them..

So, I say that jam making is easy but truthfully, my mom and I totally screwed up our very first batch!! We added the sugar and let the berries and sugar cook forever before adding the pectin. So we have some jars of really thick, chunky blueberry syrup that tastes great on pancakes.

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in my parents big, beautiful, and so well lit kitchen.

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blueberry fingers..

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big, beautiful alaska blueberries! ugh I love them!!

and of course…
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our kitty helper. aka, my cat soul mate Gabby. Sadly, she lives at my parents house and not with me:(

I promise a more baking related blog post soon…And perhaps some gratuitous jelly and jam on bread shots…

PB and Chocolate Chips

Last night I needed a mental health night. Usually on tuesdays I go to knit night at my favorite LYS, but yesterday I needed a night off. I sent Bret off to my parents for dinner (as he usually does on tuesdays), and I put on my sweats, did the dishes, cleaned the downstairs, ate some dinner and baked cookies. And watched bones the entire time. It was awesome.

Needless to say, Bret came home to a much happier, more well adjusted girlfriend.

I’ve been craving the PB/Chocolate combo lately, which is kind of funny because I typically only like it in Reese’s PB cups or as PB and Nutella. Anyways. I was reading How Sweet It Is and there was a recipe for Peanut Butter Cookies with Chocolate Chips. PERFECT!

I changed nothing, so I’m just going to link to her post and not post the entire recipe…

Here you go: Puffy Peanut Butter Cookies with Chocolate Chips from How Sweet It Is

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Yes, that is a beautiful, amazing, GREEN, kitchen aide stand mixer:) My bday just passed this last saturday and it was a gift from my parents. I. LOVE. IT. I kind of want to stare at it at all times.

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Raspberry Muffins

It is berry season in Alaska, full swing! Last weekend I went blueberry picking with my family and Bret and I came home with almost FIVE POUNDS of blueberries! I am really looking forward to going picking again. My mom and I have blueberry jam plans and Bret knows what is good for him – he will help me pick until the cows come home because it means more blueberry baked goods for him to eat!!!

Bret and I live way out in the woods and last summer I had noticed we had a lot of raspberry bushes in the yard, but I never got around to picking. Well this year I was determined to pick them! So tonight I did. I could’ve gotten more, but half the berries were not ripe, over ripe, or way in the bush so I couldn’t get to them without getting covered in bugs/stickers. But I got a good cup and a half, at least! So I decided to make some muffins. For some reason I was attracted to the idea of a lemon raspberry muffin, but these ones didnt turn out too lemony…

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Raspberry Muffins

Original recipe here

1 Cup Milk (I used skim)
1 Tbsp lemon juice

1/2 Cup white sugar
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 large egg
1/4 Cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla

1 cup AP Flour
1 cup Whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

1 1/2 Cups fresh or frozen (not thawed) raspberries

1. Preheat oven to 400F Combine milk and 1 tbsp lemon juice to make buttermilk substitute, set aside.
2. Combine sugar, lemon juice, egg, oil, vanilla and buttermilk. Mix until combined, set aside.
3. In a large bowl, combine flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
3. Pour liquids into dry ingredients, mix until just combined.
4. Gently fold in raspberries. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake at 400F for 20-25 minutes.

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The original recipe called for grinding lemon rind with sugar. I don’t keep lemons around the house, so I just added lemon juice to the sugar, and I can’t really taste the lemon in the muffins at all. Other than that, they are super delicious! And the fresh raspberries make them AWESOME.

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Schnecken – Snail Buns

I really can’t recall how I came across this recipe – but I have been wanting to try it for some time. I used this recipe, and they turned out pretty well! Bret (AKA Boyfriend AKA Household Taste Tester) liked them.

Schnecken is apparently German for snail, based off the way the buns look a bit like snails before you take them out of the muffin tin. The recipe has you make what appears to be a basic sweet dough, let it rise, fill it with cinnamon sugar, roll up, etc. Typical cinnamon roll. But there is an added bonus on these. Totally the cash and prizes. You make a sweet mixture of maple syrup, butter, sugar, and nuts that goes in the bottom of the muffin cups. So you end up with a cinnamon roll, with messy, sticky, syrupy goodness and nuts on top. When I googled schnecken it led me to a wikipedia page, which said that the dough is traditionally made with sour cream, but I couldn’t find a recipe that called for sour cream..in fact, I only found a couple recipes. I also didn’t dig too hard though…

I actually BUTTERED my muffin tin for this one, which is serious business for me. I am hard core believer in the power of Pam. But I did NOT want to deal with a sticky mess stuck in my muffin tin. So butter it was.

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Snail Buns

Original recipe source

Ingredients:

Dough:

  • 3 1/3 cups AP Flour + approx 1/4 for kneading
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 ounce fast rise yeast (For those unaware, this is one packet)
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk (I used skim, because that is what we keep in the fridge. Probably would be better with higher fat content!)
  • 2 large eggs

Syrup:

  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 4 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 cup walnut pieces (or pecans)

Dough glaze:

  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk

Dough filling:

  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/2 brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon

Directions:

1. Dough! Combine flour, yeast, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.

2. Over low heat, melt butter into milk. This will happen faster if you cut your butter into chunks. Once melted, take off the heat and beat in both eggs.

3. Pour egg/milk/butter mixture into flour mixture and combine. Now its time to knead! Knead by hand for 10 minutes or in a mixer with a dough hook for 5. At this point the dough will be pretty wet – slowly knead in approx 1/4 cup of flour, until the dough is uniform and smooth.

4. Form dough into a ball, place in a greased bowl and let rise in a warm place. Let the dough rise until almost doubled – approximately 1 hour.

5. While the dough is rising, make the syrup. Cream softened butter until smooth and add sugar, corn syrup, maple syrup and nut pieces until combined.

6. Spoon mixture into WELL GREASED 12 cup muffin tin. About 1 tablespoon of the mixture per muffin cup.

7. Preheat oven to 350F. Once the dough has risen, dump it out on a lightly floured surface. Punch it down, knead it a few times, and then roll it out into a rectangle approx 24 inches by 12 inches with the long side facing you.

8. Combine egg and milk in a small bowl and beat. With a pastry brush, coat the dough.

9. In a bowl, combine brown sugar, white sugar, and cinnamon. Spread evenly on top of the dough.

10. Rolling the long side away from you, roll the dough, not too tightly. At this point the dough will be cut into 12 sections.

11. Place each section, cut side down into the muffin cups.

12. If you desire, let rise for another 10-20 minutes.

13. Bake in a 350F oven for 20-25 minutes. Once baked, let cool for a few minutes and then, using a cookie sheet the same size as your muffin tin, flip them out so the syrup-y, nut side is up. I covered my sheet with tin foil to reduce the mess.

14. DIG IN.

 

Here is how I modified the original recipe a bit: I used AP flour. I am not to the point where I feel like buying bread flour is essential. Plus, I have a tiny kitchen and do not have the room to store multiple types of flour, other than AP and Whole Wheat. I also mixed the nuts directly into the syrup, and that was simply because I overlooked the direction to place them on top of the syrup into the cups.

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Next time, I am definitely going to do a few things different. Firstly, I didn’t see the point in glazing the inside of the buns. So I will probably skip that step, and perhaps add some butter to the filling. I will also attempt to get a more uniform dough rectangle when I roll out the dough – I really suck at that, and honestly tried really hard to get a nice rectangle this time and got pretty close!!

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I had to take the toaster off the counter to be able to effectively roll it out. I hate my kitchen. Or my lack of counter space.

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Fresh out of the oven

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So there you have it! My first baking blog. I hope you liked it. And I hope there will be more to come…:)