Friday, June 27, 2014

Daring Bakers: Cinnamon Rolls

This month the Daring Bakers kept our creativity rolling with cinnamon bun inspired treats. Shelley from C Mom Cook dared us to create our own dough and fill it with any filling we wanted to craft tasty rolled treats, cinnamon not required!

It has been forever since I have managed to do a Daring Kitchen challenge, and even longer since I have managed to post about it.  Well looks like Cinnamon rolls were enough to get me out of retirement.  When I first saw the challenge I was pretty sure I was just going to make your standard cinnamon rolls - nothing fancy.  Then I saw all the delicious looking variations and decided on the roasted banana cinnamon rolls with maple glaze. 

They went together very easily - the banana's roast while you are letting the dough rise on top of the stove.  I only had two issues:

1 - My daring twist to this recipe was boiling down the maple syrup.  A friend of mine gave me a jar of syrup from his maple trees - he had boiled it down some but still way too thin.  The only advise I would give to this - is make sure to keep an eye on it.  The syrup boiled all over my stove - lots of fun to clean that up.  The syrup was delicious though :)

2 - My other issue was that I put these together at night and baked them in the morning to bring to work.  Do you have any idea how hard it is to drive 45 minutes to work with fresh cinnamon buns in the car - almost impossible.

I did make it to work without even tasting one and my co-workers appreciated it.  They were gobbled up in short order and got lots of complements.  They were very good - loved the banana - just enough for some good banana flavor without being overwhelming - and the maple glaze added just a hint of maple flavor - a very nice combination.

Hopefully will be back posting more soon.  As always - if you you want to check out this recipe or any of the other great Daring Kitchen challenge recipes check them out here.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Daring Bakers: Whoopie Pies!

The December Daring Bakers' Challenge had us all cheering - the lovely and talented Bourbonnatrix of Bourbonnatrix Bakes was our hostess and challenged us to make fun, delicious and creative whoopie pies! Delicious little cake-like cookies sandwiching luscious filling in any flavors we chose... What else is there to say but "Whoopie!"

I knew there was something I was supposed to be doing last night.  I made the cookies over a week ago and then forgot to write my post in time - Holiday's are a busy time - especially when you are on a new job with no vacation yet :)

So no creativity here.  I was baking for a cookie exchange so I was thinking more quantity over creativity.  I needed 90 cookies which means I baked four batches which came to around 200 half cookies.  After my first few sets I did run out to grab a small scoop.  Using a spoon was doable but it was much easier with the scoop and I think it made the cookies much more uniform.  

The cookies looked wonderful.  They were mini whoopie pies but still were pretty large for a Christmas cookie.  A full size whoopie pie would be a lot of cookie.  It is hard for me to review these since whoopie pies are not really my favorite cookie.  They were certainly good and if you like whoopie pies these would probably be a good recipe.  For me - I have seen enough whoopie pies to last me a while.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Daring Cooks: Cabbage Rolls

For this months Daring Cook's challenge Olga from Effortnesslessly challenged us to make stuffed cabbage rolls using her Ukrainian heritage to inspire us. Filled with meat, fish or vegetables, flexibility and creativity were the name of the game to get us rolling!

It has been many years since I have had a cabbage roll and I don't know why.  Olga introduced us to some very interesting variations - I didn't even know there was such a thing as a seafood cabbage roll.  I really wanted to try one of these but since it would be my wife and sons first time to try a cabbage roll I figured I should do good old beef this time.

There was nothing hard about making the cabbage rolls but it was several steps and took a couple of hours to complete.  The recipe said it served 8-10 so I decided to cut the recipe in half.  Well even cut in half the recipe made me 20 good sized cabbage rolls - lots of leftovers.  Well it turned out the leftovers were a good thing.  Someone at church just had a baby so we were able to provide them with a nice supper and a few lunches for us.  Everyone enjoyed them - maybe I can get my wife to let me try the seafood version next time.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Tribute to The Queen of All Daring Bakers, Lis

I feel kind of strange as I write this as I have never done anything like this before but it is something I really wanted to do.  Tuesday night after I got home from a social event and found an email waiting for me from someone I didn't know.  That email was to tell me that Lis; one of the founders of The Daring Kitchen website; had passed away earlier that day.  My heart sunk.

I have been a part of the Daring Kitchen; first the bakers and then the cooks; since early 2010.  I had just become a stay at home dad with an infant so the challenges were a great diversion.  I really didn't know much about Lis, her intros to the challenges were always full of energy and humor, but that is all I knew.  That all changed late in 2011.  Lis posted a message that she needed some technical help with the site and I volunteered. 

The past three years I have been much more involved with Lis and the site.  She would email me often with different tasks or questions on the site.  I never really felt that it was a chore.  Lis's emails were always full of humor and she always sounded genuinely grateful for everything I did.  She even sent me several gifts just as a small thank you.  I never asked for anything in return but I know that she always wanted the site to make enough money so that she could pay the people that were helping her out. 

I know I was surprised at how much her death has affected me.  They say this electronic age is making us all have less "real" relationships.  Lis is someone I have never met, never heard her voice, and I don't even know what she looked like.  But in her emails, she would always ask about family, or my job, and she would always talk about some of the things she was going through.  She would complain about some of her health issues, but always kept her humor even in that.  When I heard of her death I didn’t feel as if it was just an electronic relationship.  I had two nights with not much sleep and it felt every bit real.  I have been dealing with some website things and I keep thinking I can just email Lis to ask her.  I see that cookbook she sent me or the product I just reviewed, strange how many things I have to remind me of someone I never met.

I have felt very encourage by all the things people in the group are doing with this.  I am both sad and happy at the same time reading how she has touched so many of the other members.  Many of the members are cooking or doing a challenge in memory of Lis and I only wish I would have had the time to do something like that, but for now this will have to suffice.  I haven’t had much time yet to look at what everyone else has done today but I look forward to reading all of it.

So what about the website.  Like I said, for the past three years I have been the tech guy on the site.  I am the only one other than Lis that even has access to the whole site.  I have to admit, when I was first told the news, I just assumed the website would go away.  I knew Lis did a lot to keep it going and I knew that I did not want to take all that on myself.  Well, now it is starting to become obvious that it is not going to go away.  I have been contacted by several people who don’t want this community Lis helped create to go away, and some have even offered to help :)  Some have even been in contact with Lis’s husband and I am told that he doesn’t want it to end either.  The bottom line is, there are still some hurdles to get over, but we are going to do our best at keeping this thing going.