Tuesday, October 21, 2008

can't live without: my silpat baking mats

see that little mat under my snickerdoodle cookie ball? i never, ever make cookies without these anymore. i LOVE my silpat mats. not only are they the best thing to line your cookie sheets with to bake cookies, you can put caramel corn or anything sticky without having to grease and cleanup is a cinch. i even have a roul-pat for rolling out biscuits, pie shells, bread and dough of any kind.

here is the maintenance instructions found online:

Maintenance and Care
Wipe the Silpat® with a damp sponge after each use to remove crumbs or particles. If washing is required, lay the Silpat® in the sink and run warm water over surface. Use a Demarle approved detergent or a mild soap with a soft sponge to clean the surface. Do not use any scrapers or hard brushes to clean the Silpat®. Shake off excess water and hang or lay flat on surface to dry.

**i never use any special detergent, just mild soap**

Store the Silpat® flat on a tray, hang them with a clothing pin, or roll them up (do not fold or place heavy objects on top of rolled Silpat®).

- Never cut or use sharp objects on the surface.
- Do not fold or store in a folded position.
- Do not grease.

pretty easy right? seriously, one of the best things that has ever happened to me in the kitchen.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

coconut butter cookies

these little dudes are a huge sensation wherever they go. and they keep fairly well. it's one of my new favorite cookie staples. what's not to love? coconut and butter is one of the best combinations known to mankind. pretty easy to make but you have to have a food processor. i only have a little one, so i had to be tricky about how to make the dough and put it back and forth into the processor. here is the recipe:

1 pkg. (14 oz.) sweetened, shredded coconut
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup chilled, unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour (i used 1/2 cup of wheat and the rest white)

preheat oven to 350°. set aside 2 loosely packed cups of coconut on a plate. Place remaining coconut in food processor along with sugar, salt, and baking powder; process until finely ground. add butter, and process just until no lumps remain. add egg and vanilla; process just until smooth. add flour; pulse until a crumbly dough begins to form, scraping sides of bowl as needed (do not over-mix).

roll into balls, coating with coconut. (that didn't work well for me so i threw most of the coconut back in the bowl and mixed it around with my hands till it was pretty evenly dispersed.)

bake until lightly golden, 20-25 minutes. (i checked them at 15 - and i think that was plenty of time) cool on baking sheets 1-2 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

these are obviously best right after they cool, but i made them the night for my friend jessica's darling little baby girl, malina. it was her 1 year birthday party, which was the next day. to keep them fresh and maintain the texture as much as possible, i wrapped them all together in wax paper, then again in cling wrap. it worked pretty well and i'm a stickler for maintaining texture. if anyone has any tricks they try for that sort of thing, i'd love to hear what you think works best for you.

Friday, October 10, 2008

can't live without: my microplane grater

i got this for christmas (most of my christmas presents these days involve kitchen accoutrements at this point in my life-much to my delight) a while ago and i use it all the time. it's great for hard cheeses (gruyere, i love you), citrus zest and things of that nature. there is also an extra course version, which i use from time to time as well. i love this thing and i recommend it highly. i kept the cover it came with cause it's pretty sharp and with clutzyness like mine, you can never be too careful.

bake shop, re-mixed

ok, so it's been a minute. and i apologize.

like i said, work has been busy, and my health hasn't been great. in the interim, i decided to change things up on the blog. i feel like i'm running out of recipes and i can never make anything twice cause i already blogged about it. so i'm going to start reviewing kitchen gadgets and appliances. letting you know what i think is worthwhile and what i can't live without. also, i want to review other food joints. bakeries, restaruants, etc. in addition, i was thinking about taking requests. i know bracken asked about molten lava type cakes. i tried something i didn't like so i didn't post it, however, now i can post stuff i try and tell you what i think worked and why. and try to tweak stuff a bit more without expecting perfection so people don't copy down sub-par recipes. sort of like a test-kitchen process. are you picking up what i'm putting down? let me know what you think and give me your feedback, if you don't mind.