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Thursday, March 18, 2021

English Tea Cakes

I have been really into simple baking lately. Nothing fancy or overly complicated. Just nice, easy cookies. I need to take on something more unique but maybe later. I loved the introduction to this recipe and had to make it, English Tea Cakes from the 1951 edition of The Cookie Jar. Tea cakes are similar to cookies, right?

The only thing I was missing was the currants. I had raisins and golden raisins but no currants. The British school teacher calls for currants and so I must get them!
I got a box of Zante currants, which are basically really small raisins. They are kinda cute!
Creaming butter and sugar! I tried for an artsy shot. 
Time to add the currants! These are fun. I am going to have to find more recipes with them. It does seem like a lot of currants...
Believe it or not, I actually read all through the instructions it just never clicked that this was more of a bar recipe instead of a cookie recipe. The recipe did not give dimensions for the pan except 'shallow.' Okay...I just grabbed my largest cookie sheet. I hoped it will fill out the pan in the oven, like a cake.
Hmm... It did not fill out the pan. Damn. It kind of looks like an uneven sheet cake. Oh well.
Time to cut them into little squares. I used a pastry cutter instead of a knife and it worked so much better! I was actually able to cut in straight lines. Wow!
Look at these delicious cuties! The currants all fell to the bottom of the tea cakes but next time I'll just have to cover them in flour first.
I just happened to decide to bake on a beautifully bright day. Sunshine and light tea cakes!
These are moist yet light delicious snacks! The thinner parts of the pan turned out much crisper than the thicker center but all parts were edible and tasty. Next time I would either bake it in a smaller pan or spread it out more evenly. I loved the little Zante currants! It felt like you got more currant flavor through out the cakes. These kept very well in a sealed container on the counter.

My Rating: Keeper! Easy and just different enough.

Dylan's Rating: Yum! I like the thinner ones better.

Friend Rating: "I did my best to make them last all week- last one this morning- They were GREAT!"

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Best Yet Walnut Bread

Sometimes the best way to figure out what to bake is just to read recipes aloud. Someone will let you know, loudly, what they want (Dylan). This is not a recipe I would have chosen since it seems a little plain but it caught Dylan's attention so I thought I would give it a go. It is from my handwritten green cookbook and probably from the 1940's-ish. 

I do not have the best of luck with breads but let's try. Looks super easy!
This is such a simple recipe with everything readily available. Who doesn't have flour, milk, and walnuts around?
All dry ingredients are mixed. All wet ingredients are mixed. Walnuts are waiting patiently. 
Easy peasy mixing! It did turn out quite thick.
Added the walnuts. They got tired of waiting.
As I mentioned before, I do not have very good luck with breads. I have a 8 inch bread pan and it looks like the dough is just enough. My main problem is that the bread overflows! This does not look like it will. I have hope!
At 60 minutes the center was still a bit runny. Same with 70! I had to bake it for 80 minutes for the center to come out clean. It also looks like it the edges are a bit hard. Smells delicious but I'm afraid it is overbaked.
I had to warm up a slice and add a nice smear of butter. Do Not Put Vintage Dishes in the Microwave! or Dishwasher! They will be destroyed, shattered into a million pieces and you will be crying on the floor.
This was surprisingly yummy! The ends were ends hard as a rock but the insides was nice and moist. I would probably try this again with a larger pan. The walnuts were spread evenly throughout. I enjoyed it! I kept feeling like something was missing but I think I am too used to banana bread. I have to admit: I have never had just plain walnut bread. 

My Rating: Definitely a keeper!

Dylan's Rating: This is so delicious! Ends are a bit hard.

Friday, February 5, 2021

Cinnamon Buns

This year we have have only gotten one good snow day so far. I didn't think we would get any but it just waited a little before it it dumped a few inches on us. I am not a fan of snow or any kind of cold weather but it is pretty to look out. From the window. Wrapped in a blanket. With a mug of hot chocolate. Far far away from the snow. Since I had a boyfriend lazing around the house and enjoying his snow day I thought I'd make something sweet and simple. 

I found this nice recipe in a 1936 booklet from Arm & Hammer and Cow Brand called Successful Baking for Flavor and Texture. Looks super easy and uses sour milk, just like my last baking adventure.
There is nothing too unusual about these ingredients. Except for the sour milk. 1/2 tablespoon of vinegar then add milk to the 1/2 cup line. Easy peasy. Still looks gross.
Man, this came together really easy! Pretty much just mix everything together.
A quick knead gives me this lovely little ball.
Even though I now have marble countertops, I still love to use my marble slab. And now I have a lovely, new, handmade, rolling pin! I am pretty certain it is about a quarter of an inch think even if it's not exactly a perfect rectangle. 
Such a beautiful layer of cinnamon and sugar!
In true Jenn fashion I decided not to measure. But I'm feeling good about this! It cut nice and easy and almost no filling fell out. Yeah!
The recipe said I could add pecans if I wanted. What a weird thing to say. Who wouldn't want to add pecans?! After placing all the buns in the pan I think I may have cut them a little too thin. I had to squish the last 2 in the middle but it doesn't look too bad.
Such cute little buns!
I'm not going to admit how long it took me to find the baking information on the recipe. Always read the entire recipe before starting even the fine print at the bottom. I ended up baking them for 30 minutes total, 10 more than recipe. The center ones were looking a bit undercooked.
Smells delicious! Looks...okay. I can't tell if the pecans burned or just caramelized. I thought there was going to be a little more sauce on the top almost like a sticky bun. That didn't happen. Still smells really good!
Delicate little pecan cinnamon buns!
Is this picture sideways?
Although not the prettiest, these turned out pretty tasty! I still think the pecans burned a bit but Dylan insisted it was all caramelization. I probably over baked them. Next time I think I would do slightly wider rolls and a larger pan. These were the perfect size to snack on all day. None of them made it to the next day. 

My Rating: Easy and tasty enough to bake again!

Dylan Rating: I really like these! Delicious!