Wednesday, October 21, 2009

TWD - Sweet Potato Biscuits

This week's TWD was Sweet Potato Biscuits. For me, it was a chance to redeem myself from my failed make-up Monday's biscuits. I gave up on the idea of mixing the butter in with my fingers. I thought last time the heat from my fingers and the time it took to mix it in affected the end result. So I turned to my old trusty stand mixer. By pulsing it, I was able to get the same effect and crumb texture without adding the heat from my fingers.

But honestly, I think two things made these biscuits easier than traditional biscuits - the sweet potatoes and the fact that I didn't really roll them out. I just sort of pressed them out into a circle and cut them.

They puffed up some, not high necessarily, but up, which was a vast improvement from the previous attempt. Not only were these good right out of the oven, they were good the next morning and with dinner tonight, with whipped cream cheese on them. YUM.

This week of biscuits reminds me of a story. My parents are in the same profession. Unfortunately, in the mid-1970s, women were still having a very difficult time in the workplace, particularly the professional workplace. My parents had both just passed the licensing exam. My father had a job but my mother couldn't get a job because she was pregnant with my younger brother. After having my brother in December, my mother was a stay-at-home mother for six months before she found another job.

When asked about that time in her life, she describes it as "the worst six months of her life." She was not cut out to be a stay-at-home mother of a four-year-old (me) and a newborn. (I'm sure it was my brother's fault . . . I was the perfect child.) Since she couldn't find a job, she decided she was going to be a gourmet chef and perfect making biscuits.

I don't know why she chose biscuits. Probably because the ingredients for biscuits are always on hand or because they were relatively quick compared to other baking projects or because they are cheap to make. Anyway, it was a failure. The only things she perfected were gaining weight, being depressed, and yelling at my dad.

It all ended well. She got a job and has worked every day since. I liked having a working mother; she was a great role model. However, she hasn't made biscuits since.

These biscuits might change her mind.

TWD - Make Up Monday - Pecan Sour Cream Biscuits

OK. I made these as part of my make-up Mondays. I'll just put it out there. They sucked. They were like small, beige hockey pucks. Actually, they were small, beige, burned hockey pucks. And that's what they tasted like as well.

I didn't even take pictures because they really weren't pretty, but I did take them camping with us on Saturday. (I made them Friday night.) I figured I could put them in with the bacon and eggs on Sunday morning and they would at least fill us up for hiking. Yeah, well. We ate a few of them but it was mostly because we were really hungry and it was about 34 degrees outside when we got up.

I take complete blame for the failure. I knew I was working the biscuits too hard but I just couldn't let it go . . . I just had to have them rolled out perfectly and evenly. Well, I paid for my perfection streak. BUT, I learned a lot and applied it to the actual Tuesdays with Dorie recipe this week. Coming up next!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

TWD - Allspice Crumb Muffins

I've made this recipe twice in the last two weeks. It is one of those recipes that is great because I would almost always have all of the ingredients on hand. I guess the problem would be that, while they are good muffins, they aren't my favorite muffins ever.

The crumb gave me some trouble the first time. It basically melted off all over the muffin tins and burned. The second time, I reduced the amount of butter by a tablespoon and that corrected the problem.

Here is the muffins pre-cooked and fully topped with crumb:

Completely covered, right? Then why did I have this much crumb left over?

Here's the finished muffin - a quick picture before I left for work this morning:

TWD - Make Up Monday - Pumpkin Muffins

I really loved this recipe. First, it was really easy and fast. Second, it tasted almost like pumpkin bread but better with pecans and raisins. Of course, I used my whiskey-soaked raisins which probably helped the flavor. I will definitely make this one again and again.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

TWD - Chocolate Crunched Caramel Tart and Split Level Pudding

For the first time in a long time, my job got the better of me last week. I pride myself in maintaining a good balance between work, social, and home life but this past 10 days . . . all I have to say is "I surrender!" Work won - bringing work home every night and working on the weekend. All if it made me not want to be at the computer ever again and consider a job change to toll booth operator.

I think my stress played out in the Chocolate Crunched Caramel Tart. The crust went well until I let it go 30 seconds too long in the oven. Too dark. The pecans (used instead of peanuts, which I don't really like) were perfect until I let them roast a little too long. The ganache was fine.

In the end, my fiance loved it, which is good. I didn't like it that much, mostly because I had tasted Jennifer's (from Keep Passing the Open Windows) the night before and hers was P.E.R.F.E.C.T. Melt-in-my-mouth perfect. So mine paled in comparison.

On the other hand, my attempt at Split Level Pudding went well. I used some extra cream in the ganache because I usually find ganache too rich and thick. I made the cinnamon version of the top layer, which was SO good. I was worried that I had to use my stand mixer because I only have a small food processor. It worked just fine and the pudding was the perfect consistency.

Like other people, I only got four pudding coffee cups out of the recipe, but I could be a pudding hog. Whatever. I've been called worse. This week, in fact.