Sunday, October 28, 2007

Post Script on Chocolate Truffle Cookies

I took the cookies to a pumpkin carving get-together last night. They were a HUGE hit!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Chocolate Truffle Cookies

Cookie number 4 of the Cookie Challenge is a success!

Chocolate Truffle Cookies

These were fairly quick to make, if you don't mind the 30 minute cooling time in the fridge before you roll them into balls.
Good texture: slight crunch on the outside, yummy chewy on the inside.
Not too sweet (thumbs up!)
Nice and chocolaty (thumbs up!)
I would make them smaller next time, as they spread a bit more than I expected.

I will make these again for my Holiday gifts.

ho hum

I'm not really sure what this post is about. This morning I've been feeling ho hum one minute and optimistic and energetic in the next minute. My weekend seems like it will be nice a mix of chores and socializing, which is good. I like getting domestic things done, but it is so much work. It's good to break up the chores with fun stuff, little rewards.

It just occurred to me that perhaps my ho hum feeling comes from only having had a cup of coffee so far this morning. My cook, my favourite person, my Hubby is out of town for many months. I have to rely on my Self getting me fed now. If I don't eat regularly, I develop ho hum-ness.

[pause for nourishment break]

I just realized that I may have started choosing my meals based on what concoction uses the least amount of dishes. You see, we don't have a dishwasher. Dishes, dishes, dishes, every day, even after a simple snack. This everyday chore starts becoming a bore, especially when more than half of your house is still waiting to be cleaned up from the insulation installation that happened over a week ago. (Some clean up already has taken place, only to become covered in insulation dust all over again - sigh.) I feel sometimes I can barely keep up with the everyday chores, never mind the big jobs like cleaning up after a renovation type project.

On a brighter note, another baby has arrived in the world and I'll be packaging up a handmade blanket and card to send off to my friend, the new mother! I know she will love it and that her little ladybug will look gorgeous wrapped up nice in Italian cotton. I chose the catherine wheel design from a book and developed the pattern for the blanket myself (thanks to some Stitch N' Bitch women for their ideas and tips). I'm already working on a second blanket and getting the kinks out of the pattern. Sorry no picture just yet. It's too early on a Saturday morning to figure that out!

Progress has been made on the turtle baby; the tummy and shell are complete and the first little leg is started. Not sure if it will be together for next weekend, but I'll try.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Dough issue

I tried the Chocolate and Prune Cookies on page 171 today. These are rolled cookies. I've never had a lot of success with rolled cookies, so I tend to shy away from such recipes. At least I am consistent - I wasn't successful with these rolled cookies either.

Here is how they are meant to look:

Perhaps I did not let the butter get quite to room temperature before creaming it with the sugar. Perhaps the flour amount listed in the recipe is one cup too much. Not sure. The dough just didn't come together. It was much too dry. I'm leaning towards the flour as the problem. When I sifted the flour and cocoa powder on to the creamed butter, I immediately thought that the dry ingredients were going to overwhelm the wet.

I decided to make bars from the recipe. This is what I got:

They don't look bad, but they are dry'ish', crumbly, and tad too sweet for me. I can tell that they would be quite yummy and unique cookies, if I had been able to get the dough to come together. As cookies, you would be eating less dough at once and I think this would address the 'too sweet' issue.

I've decided to try again (not right away) and follow the recipe exactly. If the dough issue happens again, I will try the recipe a third time with less flour. In the mean time, I shall do a little research on rolled cookies to compare wet and dry ingredient amounts.

This recipe calls for 2/3 cup butter creamed with 3/4 cup sugar, add 1 egg yolk. Then add 1/4 cup cocoa powder and 2 1/4 cups flour. Any thoughts?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Luscious Lemon Bars

Finding time for the Cookie Challenge has been challenging. I'm home today getting insulation blown into our walls, so about the only place I can hang out and amuse myself is the kitchen. Perfect time to make these:

Luscious Lemon Bars
Not too sweet (thumbs up!)
Not lemony enough (thumbs down!)
My dough didn't form into a ball like I thought it might. I think I let the butter get too soft. It is still delicious and I could use it for many other bar recipes.

I would make them again with more lemon rind.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Turtle babies

I can't make a blanket for every new baby who will arrive in the next few months. There are just too many babies coming! Yippee!

Cutesy turtles will have to do. I picked the pattern from The Best of Woman's Day Crochet published in 1971 and bought by me in BMV on Bloor St W.

Thanks to Mezzodiva for help with picking out the colours. You rock!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

That was fast!

The first cookie is baked!

Chocolate Chip Cookies on page 28
Sweet & delicious. Light & buttery texture.
Recipe made 20, even though it stated 12.

Items I need to buy in order to continue The Challenge:
parchment paper
golden caster sugar
self-rising flour

New windows!

In order to appreciate the new windows, you have to see the old windows.

This used to be our front window. I didn't get a chance to take a picture of it still installed; the window guy was just too quick!

Here's the scary office window. We don't even think the glass was the right size. Can you see how it is resting at an angle?

Look closely at the precarious putty job the previous owners did.

Our new windows are almost completely installed. The actual windows are in, but the finishing touches won't happen until next week.

Stay tuned!

#19 on the life list (a.k.a. Cookie Challenge)

A while back I wrote about starting a life list. Back then I had only six items on my list, or perhaps only six that I was willing to share at the time. I'm up to nineteen items on my list now.

Number nineteen started brewing this past Sunday. I was having a wonky day. I dropped a thirty dollar cake in its box onto our living room floor and had a bit of a freak out over it. (The cake tasted fine that evening. It just didn't look as beautiful as it had in the store.) Anyway, after Hubby did his best at comforting me, making me laugh, and talking about how my freak out had very little to do with the cake face plant and more to do with other things, we decided to go to The Annex for a stroll.

I just love that stretch of Bloor St W! Music stores, book stores, clothing stores, furniture, food, and coffee all in one lovely five block strip. We went into BMV Books to poke around the shelves for kitchen design ideas. There's nothing like a little book store browsing to perk up my mood. Before diving in to the architecture and design books Hubby and I browsed the cookbooks. Hubby found this:

I love to bake! This book is like a gold mine for me! Since it was only nine dollars, it felt like an extra sweet deal. We bought it (along with two kitchen books).

I took a closer look at the book once I got it home. The first sixty-five pages is dedicated to discussion on ingredients, tools, technique, storage, and presentation.

The remaining 160 or so pages is recipes. Everything from fancy to savoury.

I was reading up on ingredients when our friend arrived for dinner on Sunday night. We started talking about the book, my love of all things related to baking, and it dawned on me that I could actually make every cookie in the book. Our friend pointed out that I'd better start an exercise program if I didn't want to gain 100 lbs in the process. That is an unfortunate side effect of having a sweet tooth and loving to bake.

After sleeping on the idea for a few nights, I've decided to take on my Cookie Challenge. I'm going to make every single cookie recipe in The Cookie Book - that's over 200 different cookies, according to the book. The Cookie Challenge is now number nineteen on the life list.

I do not think I will make the cookies in the order they are in the book. There's an entire kids' cookie section, so I'll have to work my way through those as occasions arise.

Train cookies:

Name cookies that could be used as place cards:

As a means to gather opinions on the cookies and avoid out growing my clothes, I shall share generously with co-workers, friends, and neighbours. One of my co-workers is already quite excited about this. Perhaps a little rating card will be developed to track my results.

The big question is: what cookie will be first?

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Home ownership = less blogging

Well, it is official. Since we bought our house in January, I've blogged a lot less. I don't even know if I've shared pictures of my recent crochet projects! What has come over me?!

Sad news for me, but happy news for my blog readers: Hubby is leaving the province for five or six months to work on his television show (his very own television show!). I think his absence will translate into more blogging on my part.

Blog entries I have in mind:

update on the life list
update on crochet projects
my planned cookie challenge
pottery update with pictures
likely many pathetic entries on how lonely I am

Stay tuned!