Daring Baker #9 Chocolate Éclairs by Pierre Hermé

>> Sunday, August 31, 2008

First a special Thank You! to Tony & Meeta for hosting this month's event. You can check out all the other DB's efforts here.

I would have stayed in bed if I'd known what fresh hell was awaiting today. But seriously! Chocolate Éclairs! With chocolate pastry cream and chocolate glaze! What could be bad? Well, let me tell you. First there was a farcical string of technical issues, like egg shell in the choux and hubs deciding to dump out all the ice. Then there was the mysterious disappearance of every.single.one. of my piping bags, the unexplainable absence of a wooden spoon, and inexplicably neither box of parchment paper still has it's metal cutting strip attached. Gremlins? Poltergeists? Children of the Corn? I don't know about you, but I smell a brat. Or two. And ultimately? We just didn't like 'em. The éclairs I mean, not the children.

The challenge -as posted- consisted of 4 elements:

1. the cream puff dough
2. chocolate pasty cream
3. chocolate sauce (used to make the chocolate glaze)
4. chocolate glaze

I added a fifth element; whipped cream. Why? Cause it tastes good, that's why.

First the positive.

  • I like the recipe for the dough. You get to use the Kitchenaid to mix in all those eggs which is way easier than beating them in with a wooden spoon one at a time while praying your arm doesn't fall off.

  • Whipped cream tastes good.

    And now, the negatives.

  • The éclair recipe suggests 20 minutes total baking time. As if! My pastries were about one inch smaller than suggested and I baked them for a total of 27 minutes. Honestly I think they could have gone a few more minutes still, judging by the eggy taste. Also - opening the door midway? More than half were collapsed within 3 minutes. My experience suggests that was not such a good thing to do.

  • The chocolate pastry cream? Jello instant pudding. Only thicker. And not as tasty. Too much cornstarch? Cheap chocolate? I don't know - either way - not impressed, Mr. Hermé, not impressed.

  • Chocolate glaze? Eh. I could take it or leave it. Which is disappointing because I had pretty much planned on eating it with a spoon. Again, this might have a lot to do with the chocolate I bought. Ghirardelli 60% for inquiring minds.

  • And the chocolate sauce. Why Pierre? Why? Why add 1 CUP of water then spend the next 30 minutes stirring while it thickens? Necessary? I think not. And to add insult to injury, I was unable to determine any appreciable improvement in the chocolate glaze after adding the chocolate sauce. Plus I now have 3/4 cup of leftover sauce that just really doesn't taste all that good. Chocolate sauce = complete fail. I heard a rumor this makes excellent chocolate milk though, so I reserve the right to retract that last statement.

    And because I've made it all sound oh so enticing - here's the recipe in full for your baking dis-pleasure. Or you could just come on over and eat the 22 that are left. Maybe we're just doughnut people.

    Pierre Hermé’s Chocolate Éclairs
    Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
    (makes 20-24 Éclairs)

    • Cream Puff Dough (see below for recipe), fresh and still warm

    1) Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Divide the oven into thirds by
    positioning the racks in the upper and lower half of the oven. Line two baking sheets with
    waxed or parchment paper.

    2) Fill a large pastry bag fitted with a 2/3 (2cm) plain tip nozzle with the warm cream puff dough.
    Pipe the dough onto the baking sheets in long, 4 to 41/2 inches (about 11 cm) chubby fingers.
    Leave about 2 inches (5 cm) space in between each dough strip to allow them room to puff.
    The dough should give you enough to pipe 20-24 éclairs.

    3) Slide both the baking sheets into the oven and bake for 7 minutes. After the 7 minutes, slip the
    handle of a wooden spoon into the door to keep in ajar. When the éclairs have been in the
    oven for a total of 12 minutes, rotate the sheets top to bottom and front to back. Continue
    baking for a further 8 minutes or until the éclairs are puffed, golden and firm. The total baking
    time should be approximately 20 minutes.

    1) The éclairs can be kept in a cool, dry place for several hours before filling.

    Assembling the éclairs:

    • Chocolate glaze (see below for recipe)
    • Chocolate pastry cream (see below for recipe)

    1) Slice the éclairs horizontally, using a serrated knife and a gently sawing motion. Set aside the
    bottoms and place the tops on a rack over a piece of parchment paper.

    2) The glaze should be barely warm to the touch (between 95 – 104 degrees F or 35 – 40
    degrees C, as measured on an instant read thermometer). Spread the glaze over the tops of
    the éclairs using a metal icing spatula. Allow the tops to set and in the meantime fill the
    bottoms with the pastry cream.

    3) Pipe or spoon the pastry cream into the bottoms of the éclairs. Make sure you fill the bottoms
    with enough cream to mound above the pastry. Place the glazed tops onto the pastry cream
    and wriggle gently to settle them.

    1) If you have chilled your chocolate glaze, reheat by placing it in a bowl over simmering water,
    stirring it gently with a wooden spoon. Do not stir too vigorously as you do not want to create

    2) The éclairs should be served as soon as they have been filled.

    Pierre Hermé’s Cream Puff Dough
    Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
    (makes 20-24 Éclairs)

    • ½ cup (125g) whole milk
    • ½ cup (125g) water
    • 1 stick (4 ounces; 115g) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
    • ¼ teaspoon sugar
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup (140g) all-purpose flour
    • 5 large eggs, at room temperature

    1) In a heavy bottomed medium saucepan, bring the milk, water, butter, sugar and salt to the

    2) Once the mixture is at a rolling boil, add all of the flour at once, reduce the heat to medium
    and start to stir the mixture vigorously with a wooden spoon. The dough comes together very
    quickly. Do not worry if a slight crust forms at the bottom of the pan, it’s supposed to. You
    need to carry on stirring for a further 2-3 minutes to dry the dough. After this time the dough
    will be very soft and smooth.

    3) Transfer the dough into a bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using your
    handmixer or if you still have the energy, continue by hand. Add the eggs one at a time,
    beating after each egg has been added to incorporate it into the dough.
    You will notice that after you have added the first egg, the dough will separate, once again do
    not worry. As you keep working the dough, it will come back all together again by the time you
    have added the third egg. In the end the dough should be thick and shiny and when lifted it
    should fall back into the bowl in a ribbon.

    4) The dough should be still warm. It is now ready to be used for the éclairs as directed above.

    1) Once the dough is made you need to shape it immediately.

    2) You can pipe the dough and the freeze it. Simply pipe the dough onto parchment-lined baking
    sheets and slide the sheets into the freezer. Once the dough is completely frozen, transfer the
    piped shapes into freezer bags. They can be kept in the freezer for up to a month.

    Chocolate Pastry Cream
    Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by PierreHermé

    • 2 cups (500g) whole milk
    • 4 large egg yolks
    • 6 tbsp (75g) sugar
    • 3 tablespoons cornstarch, sifted
    • 7 oz (200g) bittersweet chocolate, preferably Velrhona Guanaja, melted
    • 2½ tbsp (1¼ oz: 40g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

    1) In a small saucepan, bring the milk to a boil. In the meantime, combine the yolks, sugar and cornstarch together and whisk in a heavy‐bottomed saucepan.

    2) Once the milk has reached a boil, temper the yolks by whisking a couple spoonfuls of the hot milk into the yolk mixture.Continue whisking and slowly pour the rest of the milk into the tempered yolk mixture.

    3) Strain the mixture back into the saucepan to remove any egg that may have scrambled. Place the pan over medium heat and whisk vigorously (without stop) until the mixture returns to a boil. Keep whisking vigorously for 1 to 2 more minutes (still over medium heat).Stir in the melted chocolate and then remove the pan from the heat.

    4) Scrape the pastry cream into a small bowl and set it in an ice‐water bath to stop the cooking process. Make sure to continue stirring the mixture at this point so that it remains smooth.

    5) Once the cream has reached a temperature of 140 F remove from the ice‐water bath and stir in the butter in three or four installments. Return the cream to the ice‐water bath to continue cooling, stirring occasionally, until it has completely cooled. The cream is now ready to use or store in the fridge.

    1) The pastry cream can be made 2‐3 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator.

    2) In order to avoid a skin forming on the pastry cream, cover with plastic wrap pressed onto the cream.

    3) Tempering the eggs raises the temperature of the eggs slowly so that they do not scramble.

    Chocolate Glaze
    Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
    (makes 1 cup or 300g)

    • 1/3 cup (80g) heavy cream
    • 3½ oz (100g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
    • 4 tsp (20 g) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature
    • 7 tbsp (110 g) Chocolate Sauce (recipe below), warm or at room temperature

    1)In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a boil. Remove from the heat and slowly begin to add the chocolate, stirring with a wooden spoon or spatula.

    2) Stirring gently, stir in the butter, piece by piece followed by the chocolate sauce.

    1) If the chocolate glaze is too cool (i.e. not liquid enough) you may heat it briefly
 in the microwave or over a double boiler. A double boiler is basically a bowl sitting over (not touching) simmering water.

    2) It is best to glaze the eclairs after the glaze is made, but if you are pressed for time, you can make the glaze a couple days ahead of time, store it in the fridge and bring it up to the proper temperature (95 to 104 F) when ready to glaze.

    Chocolate Sauce
    Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
    (makes 1½ cups or 525 g)

    • 4½ oz (130 g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
    • 1 cup (250 g) water
    • ½ cup (125 g) crème fraîche, or heavy cream
    • 1/3 cup (70 g) sugar

    1) Place all the ingredients into a heavy‐bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil, making sure to stir constantly. Then reduce the heat to low and continue stirring with a wooden spoon until the sauce thickens.

    2) It may take 10‐15 minutes for the sauce to thicken, but you will know when it is done when it coats the back of your spoon.

    1) You can make this sauce ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for two weeks. Reheat the sauce in a microwave oven or a double boiler before using.
    2) This sauce is also great for cakes, ice-cream and tarts.

    *****I can't leave a comment (must be logged on?) but this little snake eclair is dang near the cutest thing I've ever seen.

  • Operation Baking Gals Mission #2 Rice Krispies Treats

    >> Tuesday, August 26, 2008

    Who wants Rice Krispies Treats? Well, it doesn't really matter who wants 'em - they're going to a group of soldiers stationed in Mosul.

    I made three batches; 2 plain and 1 peanut butter. The plain recipe is here at the official Kellogg's site and the peanut butter one is here at Christmas-Cookies.com. The idea to do Rice Krispies Treats came from a list of recipes for treats that "travel well" that I found here at Baking Delights.

    The only changes I made were to use an 8x8 pan for thicker treats and I doubled the amount of peanut butter in the second recipe. In hindsight I wish I had tripled it - was really hoping for a more intense PB flavor. Also, if you decide to use this recipe be sure to check the weight of your bag of marshmallows - mine was a full pound!

    To learn more about this particular mission please visit my host Anna @ Maybe Just a Little Bite ... or to find out about the Operation in general go here to the official Baking Gals blog sponsored by Susan of She's Becoming Doughmesstic.


    Monochromatic Lunches Are The New Black

    >> Monday, August 25, 2008

    Have I mentioned I love hot dogs? Oh, yeah, guess so.

    1. hot dog
    2. potato salad
    3. carrots
    4. fudge-filled marshmallow


    Cubans & Clafoutis

    >> Sunday, August 24, 2008

    1. Cubanesque sandwich
    2. chips and dip
    3. pickles
    4. cherry clafoutis

    If you Google around you'll find folk's have some pretty strong opinions on what exactly constitutes a Cuban sandwich. As I have no stomach for controversy let's just refer to these delicious sandwiches as Cubanesque, shall we? There's a seeming dearth of Cuban bread out here in the desert by the way, but sweet Hawaiian bread subs in nicely.

    Cubanesque Crock Pot Pork

    Buy a pork butt that will fit in your crock pot. Salt & pepper it and shove it in the crock. Tuck in a rough chopped onion, a few garlic cloves and pour in a half cup of orange juice. Half 2 Mexican limes (or use 1/2 of a Persian lime) and add the juice. Poke 3 or 4 cloves into one of the lime halves and throw it in as well. Cook on high for about 4-6 hours until the meat is exceedingly tender. Done!

    After this pork cooled enough to handle I sliced it thin and made sandwiches on Hawaiian rolls with a little mustard, sliced pickle and Swiss cheese. I very lightly buttered the outside of the bread. I used the two hot skillet method to grill and press the sandwiches until they were toasty and melty and plain overall luscious.

    The clafoutis recipe was inspired by Kevin @ Closet Cooking closely following a recipe from Ceres @ Bacchus with only a few minor changes. I must say I'm a little sad that I lived the first 40 years of my life ignorant to the ways of the clafoutis. Never again will neglected fruit languish in my kitchen - clafoutis for all my friends!


    Give That Soldier A Cookie!

    >> Saturday, August 23, 2008

    You might have noticed this little GAL over there on the sidebar.

    Or maybe you saw these cookies I posted about a couple of weeks ago.

    Or maybe you didn't and you want to know what it's all about? Well here's the deal. Susan of She's Becoming Doughmesstic has put together quite the impressive list of folks that have committed to baking some cookies or other homemade goodie and sending it to a specified soldier to enjoy and share with his friends. Sound like something you'd like to do? Go take a look at Operation Baking GALS and get in on the good. A new team just opened up today, so it's not too late!


    Why Yes I Would Jump Off A Cliff : The VGT Omnivore's Hundred

    >> Friday, August 22, 2008

    Couldn't help but notice the proliferation of Omnivore's Hundred posts that kept popping up in my reader the past couple of days - I decided to play along. You can too!

    Why yes, I would jump off a cliff if that's what all the really cool kids were doing.

    Here’s what to do:

    1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
    2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
    3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating. ***I don't know how to "cross out" so these things, uh, make that, THIS thing will be italicized. Apparently I'm just not that picky!
    4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at www.verygoodtaste.co.uk linking to your results.

    The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:

    1. Venison
    2. Nettle tea
    3. Huevos rancheros
    4. Steak tartare
    5. Crocodile
    6. Black pudding
    7. Cheese fondue
    8. Carp
    9. Borscht
    10. Baba ghanoush
    11. Calamari
    12. Pho
    13. PB&J sandwich
    14. Aloo gobi
    15. Hot dog from a street cart
    16. Epoisses***
    17. Black truffle
    18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
    19. Steamed pork buns
    20. Pistachio ice cream
    21. Heirloom tomatoes
    22. Fresh wild berries
    23. Foie gras
    24. Rice and beans
    25. Brawn, or head cheese
    26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
    27. Dulce de leche
    28. Oysters
    29. Baklava
    30. Bagna cauda***
    31. Wasabi peas
    32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
    33. Salted lassi
    34. Sauerkraut
    35. Root beer float
    36. Cognac with a fat cigar
    37. Clotted cream tea
    38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
    39. Gumbo
    40. Oxtail
    41. Curried goat
    42. Whole insects
    43. Phaal***
    44. Goat’s milk
    45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
    46. Fugu
    47. Chicken tikka masala
    48. Eel
    49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
    50. Sea urchin
    51. Prickly pear
    52. Umeboshi
    53. Abalone
    54. Paneer
    55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
    56. Spaetzle
    57. Dirty gin martini
    58. Beer above 8% ABV
    59. Poutine
    60. Carob chips
    61. S’mores
    62. Sweetbreads
    63. Kaolin in Kaopectate!
    64. Currywurst
    65. Durian
    66. Frogs’ legs
    67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
    68. Haggis
    69. Fried plantain
    70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
    71. Gazpacho
    72. Caviar and blini
    73. Louche absinthe***
    74. Gjetost, or brunost***
    75. Roadkill
    76. Baijiu***
    77. Hostess Fruit Pie
    78. Snail
    79. Lapsang souchong
    80. Bellini
    81. Tom yum
    82. Eggs Benedict
    83. Pocky
    84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
    85. Kobe beef
    86. Hare
    87. Goulash
    88. Flowers
    89. Horse
    90. Criollo chocolate***
    91. Spam
    92. Soft shell crab
    93. Rose harissa***
    94. Catfish
    95. Mole poblano
    96. Bagel and lox
    97. Lobster Thermidor
    98. Polenta
    99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
    100. Snake

    ***had to look this up - thanks Wikipedia!

    EDIT! Just realized from reading other people's lists that I confused lapsang souchong with lap xuong. Lapsang souchong is smoked tea. Lap zuong is sausage. Whoooops!


    Magnificent Spiced Rice and some chicken

    >> Thursday, August 21, 2008

    If you live anywhere near Phoenix and you've never been to Haji-Baba then you should go. Not as in you should make a special trip or anything but you know, when you're in the area. If you order the schwarma (highly recommended) you might be tempted to pick up one of the little bags of schwarma spice mix they stock in the market half of Haji-Baba. Don't. It won't be as good. You will be disappointed. Unfortunately I didn't have the luxury of my own warning and I bought some. I've used it twice and there's enough left to do it again. Hopefully I can overcome my distaste for wasting perfectly good yet ultimately insignificant pantry items and just throw it out. Or maybe not. Anyway - leftovers for lunch!

    1. magnificent spiced rice
    2. chicken tender
    3. donut peach

    Of course this really wasn't about the chicken. It's the rice, rice baby. Oh yeah. I went there. Yes. This rice is at least as, if not more, magnificent than Vanilla Ice. And his hair. For realz ya'll.

    Magnificent Spiced Rice

    1 cup basmati rice
    2 tablespoons of butter
    pinch of saffron
    pinch of salt
    handful of slice almonds
    handful of raisins
    3 whole green cardamom pods
    2 2/3 cups of hot water

    Melt the butter in a pan (a deep heavy bottomed pan that has a good fitting lid) with the rice and the almonds over medium high heat until the almonds get toasted. You pretty much need to be stirring constantly during this part. Crank up the heat to high and dump in everything else. Give it a stir or two until it begins to boil, then give it one final stir and slap on the lid. Immediately turn the heat down as low as you can get it and set your timer for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes take off the lid and pick out the cardamom pods. If you're lucky they'll be right on top. Then all you need to do is "fluff" and enjoy!


    Lunch - Forgotten

    >> Wednesday, August 20, 2008

    A big pile of leftover grilled tuna flanked by two snowy mounds of rice with a side of fruit salsa and a bottle of soy/ponzu sauce. It probably doesn't get any better than that. I wouldn't know - because I forgot to take it.


    The Best Banana Bread You'll Never Try

    >> Monday, August 18, 2008

    1. pasta with spinach and egg
    2. strawberries
    3. cheese and crackers
    4. best banana bread ever

    I was gonna post the recipe for the best banana bread ever - but I must have lost it. I've looked everywhere. Well, everywhere that I could look without actually, you know, getting up and looking. If I don't find it I'll be really sad - cause it really was the best banana bread ever.

    **edited to add pasta "recipe"**

    Pasta with Spinach & Egg

    1 lb dried pasta
    big pile of spinach
    handful of grated parm
    couple of garlic cloves sliced really thin
    glug of olive oil
    glug of cream or half & half or milk
    4 eggs

    Start the pasta water. Pour a glug of oil into a saute pan with the sliced garlic and bring to medium heat. When the garlic gets soft but not brown through in a big pile of washed and dried spinach leaves. Stir the spinach around until it wilts, slap on a lid and take it off the heat. Start the water to poach your eggs (I do one per person). When the pasta is done scoop out about 1/2 cup of the pasta water and drain. Dump the drained pasta back in the cooking pan and add the spinach/garlic/oil, a glug of your chosen dairy, and the parmesan and stir it around. Poach the eggs unless you're lucky enough to have sous chef to do it for you, in which case ask them to poach the eggs. Toss the pasta around with enough of the pasta water until it looks moist but not drippy, you probably won't use the entire measure. Serve the pasta with a poached egg on top with a little coarse salt sprinkled over and let everyone pepper to taste. When you pop the yolk it all melts down into the pasta and tastes better than anything so simple has a right to taste.


    The Sporadic Cook

    >> Sunday, August 17, 2008

    My friend Julie started a blog. We used to like to go out to eat together. A lot. Before we were old and lazy and tired and poor - so we don't so much anymore. But now? It's almost as if we are sharing a meal again. Sort of. Anyway, she has a weird thing for that goofball Pioneer Woman, but I love her anyway. You will too. Go see! Do it now or you can't come to my birthday party.

    The Sporadic Cook

    I really wanted to post a picture of Me & Julie, so I searched and found this one.

    Of course that is not me, nor is it Julie, but it's the best I could do.



    1. a sort of ratatouille
    2. sliced steak
    3. blackberries
    4. sugar plum
    5. fruit gel

    Ratatouille is traditionally made with eggplant. This wasn't. I should probably be calling it Tomato and Zucchini Cooked Together or something like that, but I like to say Ratatouille. Actually what I -really- like to say is Ratatatatooey! Pronounced like RATA TATA TOOEY! Exclamation required. Here's a recipe. And by recipe I mean process. And by process I mean just cook it sorta like this.


    2 or so tablespoons of olive oil
    1 chopped onion
    few cloves of sliced garlic
    a big can of diced tomatoes (I'm in love with Muir Glen fire-roasted)
    a couple of zucchini sliced into rounds
    a handful of slivered basil leaves
    salt and pepper

    Cook the onion and garlic in olive oil until soft but not browned, then add the zucchini and tomatoes, bring to a simmer and cook covered for about 10-15 minutes until the zucchini are soft. Add the basil and salt and pepper to taste. If I were going to add eggplant I would dice it up and salt it and let it sit in a colander in the sink to drain out for a while. I'd add it with the tomatoes and cook for about 10 minutes before adding the zucchini and cooking for another 10 minutes or so. I would hope to remember that I'd already salted the eggplant and would be careful not to add too much salt at the end.

    About those plums...I bought those at Trader Joe's in one of those clamshell plastic things they use to package fruit. I also bought some prunes. It wasn't until much later that I noticed the fine print on each package. The plums were labeled "Sugar Plums (fresh prunes)" and the prunes were labeled "Prunes (dried plums)". I'm not sure what significance this has really - except that I'm still thinking about it.


    Haiku that Blog! v1.03 And the Winner Is ...

    >> Saturday, August 16, 2008

    Haiku that Blog! v1.03 And the Winner Is ...

    Oakley Rhodes from Lemonbasil

    Oakley! Come on down! You're the next victim, err honoree, for Haiku that Blog!

    Reading Mimi's blog
    is like breathing helium
    It's science AND fun.

    Were truer words e'er spoken? I think not. Truth is you pretty much had us all at helium. Except the dog. She voted for toasters lie.

    The field of dreams included:

    mannequin from Fractured Toy
    Naomi from PRIZEY & superdumb supervillain
    CanCan from My Greening: Going Green & Mom Most Traveled
    Valerie of Valerie Loves Me
    misty of Planet Misty & Planet Misty Reviews
    Oakley Rhodes from Lemonbasil
    Mary512 of Adventures in Mommyland
    toasters lie
    Sue Wintz
    Michelle is Just Getting Started
    Jinxy & Me with FOUR count 'em FOUR blogs
    Desi Mommy of Desi Mommy & The Tasty Tiffin
    Christy from Emerging From Scratch & Eclectic Momma
    Ramki from One Page Cookbooks - For the first time cook
    Lisa with peace be the journey & GFCF What's Cooking?
    Alexandra Hancock from Mommy's Got Green
    cmartin0055 of my blog reviews
    donna444444 from Donna's World
    KJ of |eye-dyllic|

    Thank you all so much for playing along! Oakley Rhodes please contact me (lunchbuckets AT gmail.com)with your mailing address so that I can package up your prize and leave it sitting on my desk for a couple of weeks.


    The WORK! The WORK!

    KILLING me. Seriously. But the worst is past, and I think I'll survive. I know you, yes both of you, have been waiting anxiously for the Haiku that Blog! winner to be posted...stay tuned. Well, don't just sit there hitting refresh. I'm getting to it.


    Boo's Famous Fruit Salad & More

    >> Monday, August 4, 2008

    My children have historically shown little interest in food - well, besides eating it that is - so I was really surprised when Boo decided to make herself dinner Sunday night. And even more so when she asked if she could take a picture of it so I could post it :)

    This is a mixed fruit salad with raspberries, blackberries, cherries, blueberries and plums. She smashed up some of the cherries first with some sugar (don't ask how much)so it would be juicy on the bottom. She then drizzled on some plain yogurt and topped it with granola. Beautiful and delicious!

    1. foil wrapped bbq chicken leg
    2. pasta salad
    3. donut nectarine
    4. cherries
    5. grape tomatoes
    6. lone cookie


    Operation BakingGals Mission #1 Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

    >> Sunday, August 3, 2008

    Susan from She's Becoming DoughMessTic has organized a great little idea called Operation Baking Gals (Give A Little Support) to get some homebaked treats to some homesick soldiers. Check out Operation Baking Gals website for more information.

    I decided to make my famous Oatmeal Raisin Cookies because, well because they're famous! Okay, not really famous, but they are really good, and I think they will travel well.

    Here's the dough ready to go in the oven. This recipe SHOULD make 3 dozen 2 tablespoon sized cookie dough balls, but as you can probably see I'm one short for some reason. Hmmmmm - sampling much maybe?

    This is what the cookies look like when they first come out of the oven. They don't stay puffy but will settle down and look kinda crackly when they cool. But I ain't got that kinda time today, so hot cookies it is!

    My Famous Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

    1 cup brown sugar
    1 cup white sugar
    3/4 cup vegetable shortening
    1/4 cup unsalted butter
    2 eggs
    1 tablespoon vanilla
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
    1 1/2 cups flour
    3 cups old fashioned oats
    raisins (optional)
    walnuts (optional)

    Cream the butter and sugar together until --- creamy. Beat in the eggs along with the vanilla, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. When that's all mixed together add the flour and mix on low speed until it's all incorporated. If you are adding raisins and/or walnuts do it now - I like about 3/4 cup of each. (I didn't add walnuts to this batch - just the raisins) Or try using chocolate chips and pecans. Stir in the oats last. Scoop out using a 2 tablespoon sized scoop and round into balls. Place dough balls onto an ungreased baking sheet and cook for 10 minutes. Let cookies cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes, then move to a wire rack. If you don't take the cookies off the baking sheet before they completely cool they will stick!


    Slow Food Lunch

    >> Saturday, August 2, 2008

    Where slow=lazy subtract uncooked rice and add hot dog bun.

    1. leftover chicken curry on a hot dog bun
    2. cherries
    3. potato salad
    4. tiny bean filled cake

    I have to admit this made for a suprisingly tasty sandwich. Good enough to repeat on purpose, though my first choice for bread probably wouldn't be an Aunt Hattie's potato bun.



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