23 November 2009

Challah at ya girl!

As our contribution to the Local Foods Thanksgiving meal on campus, Chalutzim made over 40 loaves of challah using locally grown whole wheat flour using our special recipe. The challah went over well at the meal, and attendees were asking for the recipe.

Even after that marathon of baking (from 1pm through midnight), I came out still stressed and wanting to bake more. So what did I do?

Make more challah, of course!!!

Here is the fabulous, sought-after Chalutzim "Better than Yo' Mama's" Challah recipe that we enjoy every week:

1 1/2 tbsp active dry yeat
1 3/4 cup warm water
1 tbsp sugar
3/4 cup honey
1 tsp salt
1 cup oil
4 eggs plus 1 egg for egg glaze
6-8 cups flour

Mix 1 tbsp sugar with the yeast, and stir in warm water. Allow yeast to proof for 20 minutes. Then add honey, oil, and eggs and mix well. Stir in salt, and then slowly add flour cup by cup. Once dough is thick and not too stick (read: so tough to stir that your muscles hurt), cover with damp cloth and place in a warm area to rise for at least 2 hours. When dough has doubled in size, tip onto lightly floured surface and cut dough in half. Take one half, cut into three or four chunks, roll into ropes, and braid. Tuck ends under and place on a greased cookie sheet or a Silpat. Blend one egg with 1 tbsp water, and brush mixture lightly over the loaf using a pastry brush. Repeat with second half of dough, putting onto another cookie sheet. Bake at 400F until golden brown. Bread is done when tapping on it yields a hollow sound.

Makes 2 loaves.

16 November 2009

IronCupcake Earth: Apple!

As a college student, I constantly find myself wishing I were back in Kindergarten-- taking naps, playing with Play-doh, and having snacktime. With that in mind, I've created a cupcake that combines the best of those days of apple juice, graham crackers, and no homework.

Kindergarten Cupcakes

For the cupcakes:

1/2 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup applesauce, lightly sweetened
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 cup grated apple (preferably Johnathon or Braeburn)

For the topping:

6 graham crackers, crushed roughly
3 tbsp butter, unsalted
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp honey

Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine all cupcake ingredients, folding in the shredded apple last. Spoon into buttered and floured muffin tin. Combine the graham cracker crumbs, butter, and brown sugar. Sprinkly over the top of the cupcakes and bake for 15-20 minutes. Once cooled, drizzle with honey.

If you like the cupcake (or even just the photo), please vote for it! Voting will begin no later than Friday, November 27th at 8 p.m. at NO ONE PUTS CUPCAKE IN A CORNER, http://www.ironcupcakemilwaukee.com and will be open through Thursday, December 3 at 12 noon

Our Generous IronCupcake:Earth Prize Providers:
To get in on the excitement next month, check out http://www.ironcupcakeearth.com

24 October 2009

Cinnamon sugar goodess

Last night at home means last chance to bake for my family. Digging through my mother's drawer of baking goodies, I found her old cookie press, and went to town:

(supposed to be a Scottie)

Cinnamon Sugar Spritz cookies (adapted from Food Network website)

  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 cups sifted flour
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
Blend sugar and butter until creamy. Add egg, vanilla, and cinnamon. In a separate bowl, blend dry ingredients and add incrementally to wet ingredients. Once blended, put dough into a cookie press. Place shapes onto a buttered cookie sheet and bake at 350 degress Fahrenheit for 10 minutes or until crisp.

20 October 2009

"Starfish and Coffee" Cupcake

This month's Challenge was to create a cupcake based around a song title. I chose to create one around what I consider the theme song to my life: Prince's "Starfish and Coffee." The chorus rattles off a grocery list of things that don't seem to belong together in a child's lunch:

"Starfish and coffee,
Maple syrup and jam,
butterscotch clouds, a tangerine, and a side order of ham.
If you set your mind free, baby, maybe you'll understand
Starfish and coffee,
Maple syrup and jam."

My creation is an espresso cupcake, spiked with tangerine zest and topped with clouds of butterscotch buttercream frosting, almond Pocky, and a tangerine slice:

If you like the cupcake (or even just the photo), please head over to http://www.ironcupcakemilwaukee.com starting Friday, October 30th at 8 p.m. through Thursday, November 5 at 12 noon

Our Generous IronCupcake:Earth Prize Providers:
To get in on the excitement next month, check out http://www.ironcupcakeearth,com

"Starfish and Coffee" cupcake

Italian espresso cupcake (makes 24 cupcakes)

-2 cups bleached all-purpose flour
-1 teaspoon baking soda
-1/4 tsp salt
-2 tbsp tangerine zest
-2 cups sugar
-1 cup mayonnaise
-2 eggs
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-2 tbsp instant espresso powder
-1 cup hot coffee

Blend all dry ingredients together and set aside. Blend egg and sugar until fluffy. Add mayonnaise and vanilla and mix well. Add half of the dry ingredients, mix to combine. Then add the brewed coffee, blend, and finish by mixing in the rest of the flour mixture. Bake for 12-15 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Butterscotch Buttercream frosting

-1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
-1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine softened
-4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar (approximately 1 lb.)
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-2 tablespoons milk
-Almond Crush Pocky biscuits (optional)
-Tangerine slices (optional)

Blend all ingredients in a large mixer on high until combined and fluffy. Frost cupcakes, and top with pieces of almond Pocky and a tangerine slice, if desired.

Cupcake coming soon...

I thought of what sort of cupcake I'm going to create for the IronCupcake competition. I'll post pictures and recipes tomorrow if it turns out well, but here's the teaser: coffee and tangerines...

18 October 2009

New Year, New Kitchen

Another new academic year means a slew of new classes, new professors, and new living arrangements-- including a new kitchen.  Oh, and a whole lot more stress baking.

Thanks to my roommates and friends (who are complete enablers when it comes to my kitchen experiments), I am now hooked on cooking blogs and troll the internet for new favorites when I should really be doing my physics or chemistry problem sets.

I doubt many people will read this blog, but after stumbling on IronCupcake: Earth, having a food blog seems a necessary evil if I want to compete in the challenges. And here we are.

The challenge for this month: choose a song and develop a cupcake around it. As a singer-songwriter, I can't think of a better way to kick off my IronCupcake career. I have six days to come up with a submission... wish me luck!