Saturday, February 22, 2014

Photo Challenge Day 22: An Act of Kindness

I made this bread yesterday for my coworkers. Chocolate Cranberry Sourdough. I never made so many friends at once. Stay tuned soon for the recipe!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Photo Challenge Day 21: Funny

My cat's not amused face when I try to take her picture.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


I think everyone has an opinion on brownies. It's just one of those things. Similar to politics (sort of).

 Some people like their brownies fudgy. Some don't. Some like nuts in theirs. Other people find that gross.

I'm a brownie purest. Don't put anything in my brownies. And if they have the texture of cake, I'll eat them, but only out of principle. Biting into a brownie and realizing its cakey is like biting into a oatmeal raisin cookie thinking its chocolate chip. It's a day ruiner.

I also prefer brownies made with cocoa powder. It lets me control the sugar/fat content of my brownies and adjust depending on what I want. Plus, it usually results in a deeper chocolate flavor. The result is a brownie with a barely flaky crust and moist fudgy interior.

Brownies are a one pot project that are extremely easy to make and don't require much time. There really is no excuse not to make brownies. I mean, can you think of one?

I realized that I hadn't done a recipe on here with chocolate, which is not like me at all considering I am a chocoholic. Like exercise, eating chocolate gives me endorphins. Or so I tell myself.

Anyway, make these brownies (or don't). But I promise that if you make them, they will brighten your day just a little. Unless you burn them. Then, I can't help you there.

Cocoa Brownies
Adapted from here

Some pointers:
-I doubled this batch. I recommend that you go ahead and do the same.
-The original recipe calls for using a double boiler. Pft, who has time for that?
-The whole "stir for 40 strokes": you are doing this to form gluten. These brownies have very little flour, so you need to encourage extra gluten development. You don't have to count your stirs, just keep this concept in mind.

In a pot over low-medium heat combine:
  10 tablespoons unsalted butter
  3/4 cup sugar
  1/2 light brown sugar
  3/4 cup cocoa powder
   pinch of salt
  1 teaspoon vanilla

Melt these ingredients until smooth and and slightly hot to touch.

Take off heat and add in one at a time:
2 eggs

Last, add in:
1/2 cup A.P flour

Once the flour is incorporated, stir for an additional 40 stirs with a wooden spoon. Poor batter into your sprayed and lined pan. Bake at 325 for 20-25 mins. For a double batch it took over 30. You want a toothpick when inserted in the middle to barely have batter on it and the batter should be set.

Photo Challenge Day 18: Magic

Magic: how walnuts turn purple when baked.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Photo Challenge Day Sixteen: Create

I went off the grid these past two days. I apologize. To return, another photo.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Photo Challenge Day Thirteen: Perfect

I don't really see things as perfect. I'll have moments of "oh, this is perfect", but those moments are more of a feeling than a realization. Nevertheless, when I look at nature, I can see no reason to find anything wrong with it. My basil plant I decided to grow a while ago has been the most resilient plant I know. For lack of a better word, I find it perfect.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Photo Challenge Day Eleven: Out & About

This picture was taken before the endless rain and thunderstorms that took up the rest of the day.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Photo Challenge Day Eleven: Mistake

I made a lot of mistakes today: I messed up a brioche, I got scolded at work, I didn't spend enough time with my parents, I procrastinated on studying for a test, I didn't take enough time to appreciate my boyfriend--the list goes on.
But, one mistake I did not make today was going out and having a margarita. It was nice. It felt good.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Let's talk bread: Rye Bread

Lately, I've been in a rut. Mostly because I'm stuck in the endless cycle of work/sleep. My days off fall during the week when no one is available. And baker hours suck. I get in these ruts of hating my job and the habits it puts me into.

While I may not like all aspects of my job, there are a few things about it that I enjoy. The main one being bread. I get to make some awesome bread. I sometimes forget how much I have learned in the past two months, and how much of it I have had to teach myself. 

I work by myself. Everyday, at 5 am I come in, turn on the ovens, get my mixing bowls, and start measuring out all the breads I have to make that day. Baguettes, brioche, white toast, rye baguettes, ciabatta, the list goes on. It's stressful, but I like the product I am making. While the world is just rising, I am in my small bakery creating dough that will eventually turn into bread others will eat.
I cannot stress enough how important time is when bread baking. It is your number one ingredient. You have to have the patience to let your bread be. For this rye bread, time is all it takes to let it fully develop and come out tasting great. 

While I may not have a recipe for this rye bread (mostly because the recipe isn't mine to share), I can offer a few words of advice.

-As I said earlier, rye bread needs caraway. Its something you can eyeball. I mix my caraway seeds in with my bread, but you could top it with the seeds instead.
-If you do choose to put seeds in your bread, make sure you wait till the last few minutes of mixing. Otherwise, the seeds will tear the gluten and create a tough bread. 
-Use old dough in your recipe. Old dough creates flavor. If you don't have old dough, don't worry about it, but if you do, use it!

So while I go on being in my rut (and getting over myself), bake and enjoy some rye bread. Rustic and nostalgic, rye bread is true comfort. 

Photo Challenge Day Nine: Details

 Ignore the bigger picture for a moment and instead concentrate on the details: the cracks in the crust, how the tips are baked to the darkest of browns, the flour marks, and the way the bread opens up where it was scored. 

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Photo Challenge Day Eight: Water

So I had this plan where I was going to come home and make some fruit water and photograph it and explain how awesome it tastes, but then I took a nap. And then it was dark. And then I realized I still needed to take a picture. So here is my poor lighting take on water.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Photo Challenge Day Seven: Utensil

This photo prompt stumped me. I don't have a favorite utensil, nor one that I overly use (besides a fork). Nevertheless, I do have a weakness for vintage cookware, and these pink spoons are among my collection.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Photo Challenge Day Five: Square

Square-ish books I've been reading.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Photo Challenge Day Four: Childhood

PB&J: No matter how old I am, it will always be my favorite.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Sugar Cookies

I had the day off today. Well, technically, I just took it. Sometimes, taking time for yourself is the best medicine.

Although I bake for a living, I almost never bake at home. I used to love it. I was the person who had an extra fridge just to keep my extra 50lb bags of flour and sugar. I got excited in kitchen stores and bookmarked every top ten food blog. It was an exploration in creativity, a new means of expressing myself.

Now, not so much. I bake at work and that's it. I still find myself fantasizing about what recipe I want to try next, or new ways to make an old favorite better, but when it comes to actually getting in the kitchen and baking, I turn the other way. I think it has to do with the monotony of doing it everyday. I didn't want baking to be the only thing I did, the only thing that defined who I was.

Part of the reason I decided to start this blog is to try and revive that old love. No matter how old I am, or what I do, baking will always be a form of expression. And so, to keep it simple, I give you sugar cookies.

I believe that everyone should have a few basic recipes that are reliable. Sure, crazy cookie recipes are fun, but the basics are what you fall back to when you need to impress a boyfriend, create a good first impression, or what you bring to a family dinner. Why? Because its what everyone loves. Besides chocolate chip, sugar cookies live in the realm of classic. A good sugar cookie is just barely baked, melts in your mouth, and provides just the right amount of sweetness without being overbearing.

These cookies fall into all of those categories. Within an hour, you can have all of them baked, cooling on your counter, and ready to be enjoyed.

Sugar Cookies

Cream together: 
2 1/2 sticks of butter
1 cup sugar

Add in:
1 egg
1 teaspoon of vanilla

Combine together then add to butter mixture:
2 1/2 cups of A.P flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes depending on size.
I rolled mine by hand and dipped in sprinkles. But if you wanted to roll out into a shape, let the batter cool in the fridge for 30 minutes before rolling.

Photo Challenge Day Three: Orange

Fun with sprinkles. Because, why not bake cookies on your day off?

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Photo Challenge Day Two: Favorite

My favorite cuddler, cord chewer, constant meower, eating machine, and friend.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Photo Challenge

This blog is all about enjoying the everyday things you create, whatever that may be: food, photos, art, etc.

I just recently got my camera and I am new to the whole camera culture.

I'm currently that person who is out with friends taking twenty minutes to photograph a flower as I play with all of my settings.

It's embarrassing.

So, to help myself (and those who are out with me) I've decided to embark upon a photo challenge.

If you haven't seen this yet, I recommend you give it a try!
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