Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

I hope all my readers have a safe and happy holiday season!

Merry Christmas from The Gaited Baker y'all!!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap - Black and White Biscotti

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2012

This was my entry into The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap!

In order to participate, the blogger has to use a recipe they haven't posted on their blog before.  They could've made it a hundred times but as long as it wasn't on the blog, it was fair game.  Yeah, I have some cookies that I haven't posted yet but I wanted to do something new and different.  A brand new recipe!  Yay!  I do cookies all the time but I rarely make biscotti, which technically fall under the umbrella term of "cookie".  I've only made them a couple of times before and they have always turned out great.  And they are especially good cookies to ship, which I had to do with three people.  Biscotti in Italian literally means "twice baked".  Twice baking the biscotti dries it out which makes it a great cookie to dip into your morning coffee (or in my case, mug after mug of milk).  I'll be posting pictures of the cookies I received along with links to their blogs in a future post.

So why black and white?  Well, like I said.  I wanted to do something a little different.  Making cookies is pretty simple and I wanted to do something not-so-simple yet memorable.  I had thougth and thought about what to make.  Do I simply alter an existing recipe which I know works or do I think out of the box?  When I came across this recipe on the KAF website, I knew that was the recipe.   The world was suddenly right.  Birds chirped on my fingertips while deer and rabbits hopped around me.  Okay, well, maybe not quite that dramatic ;)  But I knew that this was the recipe I was meant to post.  Yes, that recipe was created just for me (completely disregard the fact that this recipe was developed back in 2009 and lots of other people have made it). 

I hope that the folks who received these cookies all enjoyed them.  And if any of you out there decide to take on this recipe, I hope you enjoy them too :) 

(My family and friends know I am a huge Seinfeld fan, so every time I mentioned these cookies, my husband and best friend would say, "Look to the cookie.")

Black and White Biscotti
adapted slightly from King Arthur Flour

6 Tbsp. Butter, salted
2/3 c. Sugar
1 1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
2 tsp. Vanilla
2 Eggs
2 c. All-Purpose Flour
2 Tbsp. Cocoa Powder
1/4 c. Mini Chocolate Chips
1 Packet of Sugar in the Raw (or 1 Tbsp.)

1.  Preheat oven to 350.
2.  Grease a cookie sheet or line with parchment paper.
3.  In a large bowl, combine the butter, sugar, baking powder, and vanilla.
4.  Add in the eggs (it may look a little funky - that's okay.).
5.  Stir in the flour and mix well.  The dough will be sticky.
6.  Divide the dough in half, placing one half on the cookie sheet and leaving the other in the bowl.
7.  Now for the the first fun part - you need to spread the dough into a log of about 14" x 2 1/2".  You'll need to wet your fingers with cold water in order to help this process otherwise you'll end up with sticky fingers (which is all well and good if you're five-years-old.)
8.  Put the pan into the freezer.
9.  In the remaining dough, mix in the cocoa powder.
10. Fold in the mini chocolate chips.
11. Remove the vanilla dough from the freezer and repeat Step 7 (the second fun part!).
12. Gently press the Sugar in the Raw onto the biscotti dough.
13. Bake for 25 minutes.
14. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 to 25 minutes.  (Or however long - it doesn't really matter.)
15. Using a serrated knife, slice the biscotti to about 3/4" thick.
16. Stand the biscotti on the pan and bake for another 30 to 40 minutes.  They'll feel a little soft in the center but will continue to dry out as they cool.
17. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Apple Cinnamon Muffins/Bread

Apple and cinnamon?  Yum.  "Yes, please" and, "Please, sir, may I have another?"

I'm sure you recall the Blueberry Muffin Bread recipe where I had too much batter and ended up having to use the remaining batter to make bread.  Well, I did the same thing here only I really don't know how it happened.  Unlike with the Blueberry Bread, I followed the directions, using white whole wheat flour and all-purpose instead of substituting white whole wheat for regular all-purpose.  This recipe is SUPPOSED to yield 12 happy muffins.... yeah, not for me.  I don't understand why or how it happened but I'm just glad it did!  To think that I now have the knowledge to turn muffins into bread.... OH THE POWER!!!!!  Oh, did I say that out loud?  Do forgive me.  I'm not that power-hungry... usually.

When baking with apples, you have to be careful about which type of apple you choose.  A Red Delicious, for instance, is great for eating but terrible for baking.  They disintegrate.   So much you won't even be able to tell there's apple in it.  My favorites?  Granny Smith and Braeburn, all of which are readily available in your local grocery store.  When I bake pies, I enjoy using a mixture of both those apples.  The Granny Smith is very tart and the Braeburn helps to cut through that tartness.  Honeycrisps are my favorite for eating around the holidays (because that's usually the only time you can find them) and are the apples most commonly used in apple cider.  See, you can learn new things on baking blogs!  For a quick overview of apples for baking, here's a quick link from for you.  Due to the sweetness from the sugars and cinnamon chips, I chose to use a Granny Smith apple here to help even out the flavors but you can choose whatever variety you like.

Apple Cinnamon Muffins/Bread 
courtesy of the KAF Cinnamon Flav-R-Bits package

1 c. White Whole Wheat Flour
1 c. All-Purpose Flour (or 2 c. All-Purpose)
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 c. Butter, at room temperature (salted - if using unsalted, add 1/4 tsp. salt)
1/2 c. Sugar
1/2 c. Brown Sugar
1 Egg
1 c. Buttermilk
1 large apple, peeled, cored, and chopped (I used Granny Smith)
1/2 c. Cinnamon Chips

Preheat the oven to 450°F.
Line a muffin tin with paper cups.
Combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, if using.
In a separate bowl, beat the butter with the sugars until fluffy.
Add your egg and mix well.
Mix in the buttermilk to the egg and sugar-butter mixture.
Fold in your dry ingredients, apple, and cinnamon chips.
Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups.  Should you find yourself with extra batter (which somehow, I did), spray 2 3x5 pans with cooking spray and divide the batter into the pans.
Bake for 10 minutes, reduce the heat to 400°F, and bake for an additional 8 to 10 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.
If you're baking breads, tent some foil over the pans and bake for an additional 10 minutes (30 minutes total).
Don't fret if your muffins come out dark - they're supposed to thanks to the brown sugar.
Cool the muffins for 5 minutes in the tin, then turn them out onto a rack to cool completely.

Tips-n-Tricks Tuesday - Cooling Muffins

(Yes, yes, I know it's Wednesday.  This was supposed to be posted yesterday but I forgot.  Better late than never!)

When you bake muffins, don't you just hate how sometimes you'll take them out of the oven and let them cool only to find that the bottom of your muffins have steamed?  They turn all mushy and icky.  It can ruin a perfectly good muffin, let me tell you!  But I have a way to fix that!  It's quite simple really...

Once the muffins have cooled for a few minutes, take the muffins and gently turn them sideways so the cool air can get around them.  You can use a fork or your fingers, if they're cool enough to handle that way.

(Have no fear - the recipe for these muffins are forthcoming!)

Monday, December 3, 2012

Blueberry Muffin Bread

In an effort to reduce the number of muffin recipes (especially blueberry muffin recipes), I've decided to try my hand at baking muffin breads (albeit not intentionally... ).

You see, my dad is diabetic (which was completely tragic, let me tell you) and he can no longer have regular white flour (oh the humanity!).  I had a conversation with him not too long about about if he can have white whole wheat flour.  Which turned into a debate over whether or not WWW was the same nutritionally as regular WW.  I was steadfast in my stance that *King Arthur Flour* White Whole Wheat was the exact same as regular Whole Wheat.  I said, "I went to a KAF seminar on whole grains, thank you very much.  So I know what I'm talking about.  I cannot, however, vouch for any other companies's white whole wheat."  (Although in my house, you don't bring in other flour.  It's pretty much sacrilegious.)  Anyhoo, the wheat berries used by KAF are the exact same as the wheat berries used in their whole wheat flower except the berries are really light in color versus the red berry color used in whole wheat flour (hence the color difference).  He agreed to try something baked with KAF's WWW and this is what I whipped up.  Of course, my husband happened to mention that he wanted me to bake some muffins for him for breakfast this week so it killed two birds with one stone.  (I've still yet to figure out why my husband asks me such things.  He thinks I like to cook!)

This recipe originally made 12 muffins using all purpose flour.  By all means, substitute all purpose flour and you'll end up with 12 happy muffins.  However, if you're me and remember that whole wheat flours require additional liquid AFTER you've already divided your extremely thick dough into muffins and STILL have batter left over.  Which I promptly poured into aluminum 3x5 pans thus making Muffin Bread!  Yay for thinking on the fly! And even more Yay! for the fact that it all worked out extremely well.

Blueberry Muffin Bread (or just muffins)
adapted from Down Home with the Neelys

8 Tbsp. (1 stick) Salted Butter, melted (if using unsalted, add 1/4 tsp. salt)
2/3 c. Sugar + 1/3 c. Splenda (or just 1 c. Sugar)
2 Eggs
1 tsp. Vanilla
1/2 c. Sour Cream (Daisy Light)
1/2 c. Milk (2%)
2 1/4 c. White Whole Wheat Flour (or All-Purpose)
2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
Small Carton of Fresh Blueberries

Preheat the oven to 350.
Line a 12-cup muffin tin with liners and spray two mini loaf pan with cooking spray (if going the WWW route).
In a large bowl, cream together your butter and sugar.
Add eggs, one at a time, and mix together.
Now you'll add your vanilla, sour cream, and milk until combined.
Slowly mix in your flour, baking powder and soda, and salt (if using).  (If you're using AP flour, your mixture should be pretty smooth.  If you're using WWW flour, your mixture is going to be crazy thick.)
Fold in your blueberries with a spatula.
Evenly divide your batter into your muffin tin with a measuring cup (I use a 1/4 c. measure).  If you're using WWW flour, you should have a large amount of batter left over which you will divide into two 3x5 pans.
Bake for 20 minutes.
Remove muffins and set aside to cool on a wire rack.
Tent aluminum foil over your mini bread pans and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
Cool on a wire rack.