Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Daring to do it: Twelve Days of Cookies

I love desserts, as you might have noticed.  This month's challenge was a great one to expand my repertoire of sweet treats!

Holiday season is the time for sharing and Peta of Peta Eats is sharing a dozen cookies, some classics and some of her own, from all over the world with us.

Now, I am not a big one for Christmas cookies.  No big surprise there, huh...  In that sense, it was actually kin of hard to motivate myself to move on this challenge.  Holiday cookies just aren't my thing.  But desserts are.  And it turned out that this was the perfect time for new ones. 
Growing up, we didn't do the traditional Thanksgiving dinner.  I mean, we did for a while, but there was a lot of leftover turkey not being enjoyed, so we decided to make our own tradition.  Enter the all-dessert Thanksgiving!  Yes, we d "real" food first, but the Thanksgiving part is all desserts.  I'll show you our "turkey" a little later.  But first the cookies.
Peta gave us twelve different recipes to choose from.  (Get it?  Twelve days, twelve cookies...)  I showed the lite to Hubby and let him choose the ones he was most interested in.  He chose three.  I was lazy.  I only made two.
Foaming Milk Cookies:
Dry ingredients - flour and sugar:
Wet ingredients - margarine melted in soy milk:
The foam - baking soda dissolved in water:
Mix it all together:
I froze the dough in logs, then sliced them to bake:

The baked cookies:
These cookies were very light.  I really liked them.  My family seemed to think they would be helped with some chocolate drizzled on top.  I might try adding some vanilla next time I make them.  But they will be made again.  I think they are really good.
Chocolate and Caramel Turtle Bars:
Turtles are usually made with pecans.  I didn't have any.  I used almonds...
The base - flour, brown sugar and melted margarine:
The caramel.  Need I say more?
And here is where my camera battery died.  There should be pictures of the crushed almonds, the chocolate, etc.  Oops.
The cooling bars:
The final product:
These were so good.  I mean, I made a half batch for our "feast" and there were only three bars left at the end of the day.  So good that Hubby asked me to make them again the next day.  Which I did.  Except the second time I burned the caramel, so the batch was no good. But still!  These are going to be a regular in our house, I can just tell!
In addition to at least one of they twelve challenge recipes, Peta wanted the Bakers to also make another "celebration sweet."  So here is our family's favorite Thanksgiving tradition:
(Sorry it is sideways...)  We love our turkey cake!  And Little Girl had a BLAST decorating it!
Thank you, Peta, for a fun filled challenge.  And thank you for sharing some of your favorite recipes with us!
Take a look here if you want to see what the other Bakers made this month.  Just be prepared to drool!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Daring to do it: Brining and Roasting

Audax always comes up with great challenges.  What makes them so great is that his goal is to teach us methods of cooking and baking which we might otherwise overlook.  This month's challenge was no exception. 

Audax of Audax Artifax was our November 2012 Daring Cooks’ host. Audax has brought us into the world of brining and roasting, where we brined meat and vegetables and roasted them afterwards for a delicious meal!

Brining is not something I had any experience with.  Sadly, I still don't....  See, even though Audax gave us some great recipes, I just felt like brining was very much a way to prepare meats.  I thought about brining vegetables, and even considered breaking into a pumpkin to brine seeds, but it just didn't happen.  Sorry, Aud!
But roasting!  Roasting is something I am very familiar with.  I love the way that roasting brings out a sweetness and fullness of flavor in even the most common of foods.  (If you have never eaten roasted parsnips, please do yourself a favor and try them.  So. Good.)
This month I roasted:
Carrots and yellow squash:
 Butternut squash (which made a really yummy soup - I just didn't get any pictures of it!):

Thank you, Audax, for teaching us so much, and for all of your encouragement in the Kitchen!
Take a look here if you want to see what the other Cooks created this month!