Sunday, June 21, 2015

A new adventure for Betty and a pie for Captain Jack.

As stated in the earlier post. Captain Jack is not a fan of the white wheat flour baked goods. He has been saying why can't you just bake with AP flour. I also know one of his favorite pies is Strawberry rhubarb. We grow our own rhubarb so I went berry picking....if you have one fresh ingredient why not use all fresh ingredients?! Now I have made plenty of tarts in my day but never a full pie. This one was quite the adventure...broken dishes, burned hand, dropped ingredients the list goes one but it came out ok! A nice glass of sangria didn't make it worse either! I found this recipe.....and did not really stray from it at all I will have to make it again though because some of the rhubarb is still not all the way soft and some of the bottom crust is quite undercooked (my favorite way to enjoy!) I am thinking it has to do with the fact that I baked it with foil over the top because after the first step of baking for 10 minutes at 425 my crumble was a tad toasted and I did not want it to burn anymore. I have copied and pasted the directions but this is not my recipe I simply followed this one (changed a bit below but not much)....again tweaks here and there based off of too much liquid and such but nothing dramatic. I did use a squeeze of fresh orange juice rather then zest.

Recipe courtesy of Magnolia Bakery
Yields one 9” pie

Pie Dough
1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 oz butter (1 stick), cold & cut into small pieces
2-3 tablespoons cold water
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 tsp orange zest (optional) ( I squeezed a very small amount of juice from an orange)
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 cups rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1” & 1⁄2” pieces
3 cups strawberries, trimmed and cut in half (or quarters if they are large)
2 TBLS unsalted butter
4 oz butter (one stick cold, unsalted & cubed)
1 1/3 cups flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
  Make your pie dough first.
1. For pie dough, place the flour, butter, and salt into a food processor; pulse until the butter is pea sized and resembles a coarse meal.

2. Add the water, one tablespoon at a time, and pulse until a crumbly dough forms.

3. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and flatten into a disc.
4. Wrap and refrigerate the dough for approximately 30 minutes.

In the meantime, for the filling:
1. Chop and measure out fruits for the filling.

2. Combine the granulated sugar, flour, and salt in a large bowl.

3. Remove 2 tablespoons and set aside.
4. Mix the dry mixture (minus the 2 tablespoons that were set aside) with the strawberries, rhubarb and orange zest, and let sit.

To make crumb topping:
1. place the butter, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt into the food processor; pulse until the butter is mixed in and the texture is crumbly; set aside. (Or mix together in a bowl with a pastry cutter).

** Preheat oven to 425.

Take Dough out of fridge:
1. On a lightly floured work surface, roll the disk of dough into a circle shape, about 11” in diameter and 1/8” thick.
2. Fit the dough over a 9-inch pie pan and crimp the edges as desired.

3. Sprinkle the 1 to 2 tablespoons of the sugar/flour mixture that was set aside onto the bottom of the crust. ( I only used about half of it) 
4. Pour the rhubarb/strawberry filling evenly into the pie pan.

5. Cover the pie evenly with the crumb mixture. Press sides down.

6. Place the pie on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and put into the oven for 10 minutes. ( I only did for 8 because of crumble was burning).
7. Reduce oven heat to 350° and bake for 35-45 minutes longer until the juices are thick and bubbly.
Remove from the oven and allow the pie to cool for at least 4 hours (if you know me CLEARLY I did not do that).
8. Top with ice cream or whipped cream and enjoy! 

Strawberries for Days.....berry picking and my favorite dessert.

                                                   STRAWBERRY SEASON IS HERE :)

 SUMMER has finally arrived. Although I am teaching summer school come July, Friday was my first official day of summer. But of course I had a doctors appointment that morning. That is ok it was a short one for my foot! Anyways, I was already in Providence and have had the want to go strawberry picking from seeing all the pictures online. Other than ice cream strawberry shortcake (with biscuits and not cake style) is my favorite dessert. I could eat it for every meal. Ok not really but you get my point. Heat the biscuit and top it with ice cream, strawberries and whipped cream and you have one happy girl. SO GREAT. Anyways...I decided because I was already half way there why not head over to the lovely Four Town Farms in Seekonk. This place has become my new favorite (well last summer it did). Everything is so fresh and they have an awesome you pick flower place come later in the summer! I can't wait! I headed over there in the hopes it would be less crowded on a Friday than a Saturday. I think a lot of people had the same thought. That is ok though because they have a pretty great system going on. You hop on the hay ride to the field and are then assigned a row to pick it! A ROW just for you! It was AWESOME. I kept the little girl next to me entertained and went a little overboard with the amount I was picking. BUT in my defense I was planning to bake a pie as well. See my dad always says why can't you just make a regular pie (using AP flour and not white wheat or regular cookies). He has been making this statement a lot lately because he loves rhubarb. So another reason why I wanted to go picking was to get fresh berries for the pie to make for Father's Day (we grow our own rhubarb). So in my head the amount of berries in my basket was justified :) . After deciding I had plenty of berries, I decided I should stop because I could always go back if need be :). Also, I was just super hot at this point because the sun decided to come out and be about 88 degrees. Before leaving I wanted to pick some peas! This farm is just so cool, right next to the berry field they had a section where you could pick your own peas. Now I have never really been a person just to snack on peas but have been taking them to work with lunch and am addicted now! There were a lot of people picking these too. I have never seen such fat peas and they are delicious. Just look they are huge!
I saw the tractor coming back so finished up picking the peas and hopped back on. Of course I just had to go in and check out the farm store too. Not only for veggies but for flowers too ( I knew I was baking so was good and skipped over the baked goods). After perusing around a bit I ended up with enough veggies for days (or knowing me a day ha). Again, everything is just so fresh and VERY reasonably priced (almost a steal!). I did not end up with any flowers but checked out my Gerber daises I had purchased a few months ago when I got home....Still growing nice and tall!

Sorry for the rant if you are reading this you want to know how to make strawberry short cake...onto the recipe. I found the original here.... of course put my own Betty twist on it. There is no added sugar (the sweetness comes from honey--but it is not an overwhelming flavor because my mom doesn't like honey and she likes these and said they taste good) which I like because when you have fresh berries they tend to be sweet enough on their own! Enjoy!

Strawberry Shortcake Biscuits:

  • 1 and 3/4-2 cups white wheat flour
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • a pinch of salt
  • 6 TBSP cold butter
  • 1/2 cup + 2 T milk (buttermilk would probably be the better choice but I did not have any in the fridge so went with regular milk)
  • 3 TBSP honey ( plus a squirt or two more of the bottle to cover the amount that might have not made it from the TBSP measuring spoon:) )
  • A dash of cinnamon
  1. Preheat your oven to 400F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Whisk together the flours, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. 
  3. Cut the cold butter up into small pieces and add into the dry flour mixture. Mix until flour combines with butter. The butter should be small pea size crumbles.

  4.  Whisk together the buttermilk and honey in a separate bowl. Add the dash of cinnamon and whisk until incorporated.
  5.  Pour the wet mixture over the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon just until ingredients are combined. You do not want to over work the dough.
  6. Pour onto a floured surface and knead a few times, adding a few more handfuls of flour until the dough holds together nicely and isn’t too wet. Biscuit dough should not be too dry but also not be too wet ( I did have to add about 1/2 cup more flour). 
  7. Using your favorite biscuit cutter cut or the bottom of a cup ( you can even just make them drop biscuit and use a spoon) out shortcakes.  
  8.  Brush honey on top or brush milk and sprinkle white/brown sugar on top. I tried the honey this time and loved it!

  9. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly golden and baked through.

  10. Cool thoroughly on a wire rack or enjoy as a short cake right away...or maybe in 5 minutes :) (they are already nice and warm :) ) Cut it half (starting from the side DO NOT cut in half from the top you want it like a sandwich!). Top with whipped cream, strawberries, and ice cream! or how ever you like your shortcake! 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Chocolate Chip Oreo Blondie Bars

Yes you can call me a nerd but I love my job. Therefore I bake for my kiddos and give them some pretty fun gifts if I do say so myself....

 Anyways back to the baking. I have noticed during snack time and lunch that Oreo cookies are quite popular in my class this year so why not bake with them? Now I do love cookies but Oreo cookies are not my top choice. BUT these birthday cake ones have made me find my liking for oreo cookies again....they are a little deadly to me. NO CONTROL. Oh well.
Again, back to the baking...I found this recipe ( while searching for Oreo desserts but of course had to put my own Betty Twist on it. I took out the white chocolate chips and subbed in the birthday cake cookies. I also changed around a bunch of the measurements. Have fun! Feel free to use any variation of the cookie and let me know how it works if you do!

    2 cups brown sugar
    1 stick unsalted butter (softened)
    2 eggs
    1 tsp vanilla ( or a nice pour :) )
    2 cups all purpose flour
    2 tsp baking powder
    a pinch of salt
    12 OREO cookies (crushed)
    1 cup mini chocolate chips

Optional: Top with 5 extra OREO cookies (crushed)

1. Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees and line a 13x9 with parchment paper
2. Crush OREO cookies- I placed mine in a plastic bag and crushed them with a big spoon!

3. Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl with a mixer.

4. Add in eggs and vanilla and stir until combined.

5. Mix the baking powder and salt with 1 cup of flour.
6. Pour 1 cup of the flour mixture into the butter mixture and mixed until combined.

7. Add in the rest of the remaining flour mixture and mix until just combined.

8. Mix in the chocolate chips until combined.
9. Mix in the OREO cookies until just combined.

10. Add dough into the lined baking dish with rubber spatula-Dough is tough to spread so make sure it is even.

11. Place in oven and bake for 30-35 minutes on until lightly browned and knife/toothpick comes out clean minus some chocolate :). If you would like take the bars out 15 minutes in and top with OREO’s that you have crushed for the top. ******See note at bottom

12.Allow bars to cool ( if you want!) and enjoy with a cold glass of milk or ice cream or both :)

**I had to put my bars back in after cooling for about 20 mins. The bottom was quite gooey still.  I don't mind it this way but some do. I put the oven at 350 for 8 mins and covered the top with tin foil