Sunday, December 30, 2012

Classic (Salty) Shortbread

Short.  A neighbor friend would always leave pie-shaped shortbread cookies at my door during the holidays. Wrapped in plastic wrap, tied with ribbon, I appreciated the homemade gesture of friendship - until I was over at her house recently for coffee. Sipping, chatting, wrapping Walkers shortbread in plastic wrap, tied with a ribbon.   

BAKED'S finale for 2012, Classic Shortbread with Fleur de Sel, is something simple, short and definitely homemade. Aside from the traditional shortbread ingredients of butter, sugar (with BAKED'S choice of either confectioner or granular sugar), an egg yolk and a dash of salt, they include a small amount of rice flour. Rice? Ok, I'll give it a shot. Tender, buttery cookies that stand up to whatever shape you choose. Most shortbread recipes spread, making me wonder why rolling and cutting in cute, fanciful shapes is even necessary. These heavenly squares, sprinkled with fleur de sel, put any store-bought shortbread to shame.

To get the recipe, venture on over to BAKED SUNDAY MORNINGS.

–  h a p p y   n e w  y e a r !     mike

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Soft Salted Caramels

Kraft.  I always thought, who in their right mind would go to the trouble of making their own caramels? They're readily available on the shelf and who would know the difference? I thought it ranked right up there with 'make your own graham crackers' or 'make your own vanilla wafers'.   
BAKED'S creation, Soft Candy Caramels, are proof that it's worth going the extra mile.

Soft, candy-like - but all grown up. A sprinkling of fleur de sel on top gives them that salty-sweet flavor that was - and is - still popular.

Of course anything that features boiled sugar, corn syrup and condensed milk can't be bad. Speaking of bad, I failed with the first attempt, but am glad I tried, tried again. This batch turned out considerably better. They are headed to the office tomorrow. I hope they are a nice variation to the already-stuffed counters of holiday bakery goods.

I'll just tell them I removed the plastic Kraft wrappers and used my own.

To get the recipe, venture on over to BAKED SUNDAY MORNINGS.

 –  h a p p y   h o l i d a y s !     mike

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Spicy (Chili) Brownies

 Ho Ho Hot.  I started off the proverbial holiday baking bonanza with these spicey brownies. I figured they might stand out against all the other office-baked goods - baked by people who never bake during the year, but feel obligated to in December. Sugar cookies with canned frosting, topped with sprinkles. 

BAKED'S creation, Spicy Brownies, are right on target.

They get their spicy "zing" from not only a heaping tablespoon of ancho chili powder, but from a healthy dose of both fresh grated and ground ginger which really gives them a kick. Fresh grated cinnamon tones down the spiciness - and brings it into a holiday treat, in my opinion. Dense, fudgey, a perfect holiday brownie.

They were a hit at the office. What set mine apart were the sprinkles - which I begrudgingly added - just so I fit in.

To get the recipe for this unique breakfast treat, venture on over to BAKED SUNDAY MORNINGS.

 –  h a p p y   h o l i d a y s !     mike