— The Bake and Brew

Archive
January, 2012 Monthly archive

In my world, dating comes with cookies.

Let me specify.

“Can I take you out to dinner?” comes with cookies.

“You want to hang out sometime?” no cookies for you.

You know why? Any fellow left in this day and age with the stones to legitimately ask a girl out on a for-real, grown-up date is worth baking these cookies for. This fellow not only has the courage to ask that petrifying question, but he’s one who picks you up and actually walks you back to your door, has a solid handshake when he meets you for the first time, come to that, he still shakes hands when meeting people.

(For credentials sake : My dates have been made cookies, brownies, and cupcakes. They were all truly quality fellows.)

Moral of the story: if you ask a lady out on that actual date, she’s going to be really hard pressed to say no.

Down to business…

Dateable Rocky Road Cookies
(adapted from A Cozy Kitchen)
makes about 18 cookies

1/2  cup cake flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
4 ounces milk chocolate – I used one bar Ghirardelli
(2 oz chopped into 1/4 inch chunks, 2 oz chopped into 1/8 inch chunks)
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, frozen or refrigerated
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup small marshmallows
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Italicized ingredients/measurements are those differing from the original recipe

1. Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt together.

2. In a separate medium microwavable bowl, melt butter and 1/4 inch chunks of chocolate together in microwave. Melt 30 seconds, stir, 30 seconds, stir again. Continue until chocolate has melted down to very small bits. Just continue stirring until completely smooth. (It’s better to not melt this enough than burn it…your home will reek for days if you burn chocolate)

3. Add sugar, egg, and vanilla extract to chocolate mixture and whisk until smooth. It may look and smell like grainy carmel.

4. Add 1/2 flour mixture, whisk until combined. Add the other 1/2 and mix well again. You may need to switch to a spoon or spatula if the whisk becomes too clogged.

4. Fold in marshmallows, pecans, and 1/8 inch chocolate bits.

5. Cover with plastic wrap and let chill for one hour. Have a beer and hang out.

6. Scoop 1 1/2 inch sized balls onto greased cookie sheet, two inches apart, and put in refrigerator again to chill for fifteen minutes while oven preheats.

6. Bake 12-14 minutes at 350 F. The tops of cookies should be dry and slightly cracked. Carefully remove from cookie sheet almost immediately after taking out of oven, and let cool.

7. Take to aforementioned boy.

Come back on Wednesday to see what I have planned for February!


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Here’s what I’ve been reading through my Google Reader  at 6:30 am each morning this week…

1. WTF of the week: woman banned from homebrew competition because she has lady parts. (source onesource two)

2. Muncie’s Heorot was the only Indiana bar to make it into Draft’s 100 best beer bars this year. While it is quite true that they have an outstanding selection (Delirium on tap!) and they finally got some good bartenders in there after my favorites left, all things considered (selection, price, service, owners, atmosphere, crowd, etc.), Savage’s and the Fickle Peach still take the top spots in my book for Muncietown.

3. Adorable solution for your messy spice bowl or shelf: small spice jars + blackboard chalk.

4. These cabins. Oh good heavens these cabins.

5. One morning last week.

6. After reading Helene Dujardin’s book Plate to Pixel, I thought “Hey, I might actually be able to learn how to take a decent photo.” She also makes me think I could actually make her Gluten-Free Salmon Bisque.

7. For those of you wanting to fancy up your liquor cabinet. Or if you’re like me, your “liquor cabinet” is a corner of your shelf devoted to the one bottle of scotch and one bottle of gin or vodka. Use some of that vodka, milk, and sugar, and you’ll have another smart drink to add (The Kitchn)

8. Camping/road tripping/skinny dipping video by Deschutes Brewery.

9. If you need to kill an hour or two, here’s an interesting & lengthy response by Stone’s Greg Koch to this inspired by this. It took me two mornings to read through it thoroughly. But now I’m curious about IBUs (don’t know much about them yet) and even more bewildered by some beer styles/classifications and their interpretations.

10. I need two more hours in the day just so I can make this grapefruit cake with grapefruit/mint glaze every day of my life. (Food 52)

Come back Sunday for the last cookie post of January! 

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I may lose a few friends over this post. I may even get a few dirty looks.

It wasn’t for me. Before you get your pitchforks, let me say I don’t hate it, but Buried Hatchet has not been and apparently still isn’t the beer for me. We don’t get along very well, I don’t have the stomach for it, and we just don’t have the right chemistry. I’m so disappointed that we still don’t match up, because I know lots of people who downright adore this beer, but I do hope they won’t hold it against me.

Maybe this is something that just isn’t happening for the time being. For example, I’ve tried for the past four years to read David Foster Wallace – I’ll absolutely concede that he’s a great writer, and many of my friends are extremely passionate about his writing. But try as I might….I’ve started about four separate books and he doesn’t catch me. Maybe one day in the future I’ll have travelled far enough along my beer or literary journey and things will just click with either of them.

Is there a particular beer that everyone fawns over that you just don’t care for?

On to liquid forms of art…


Back to the basics

Southern Star
Strong American Stout (Southern Star), Stout (RateBeer), American Double/Imperial Stout (Beeradvocate)…sheesh
8.25% ABV
Bought at Friendly Package Liquors

All in all…
This aroma comes barreling at you from the second you crack it open. It isn’t an unpleasant smell at this point: a bit of the chocolate in Young’s Double Chocolate Stout + the alcoholic smell of a Founders Porter.  But once I poured it in a glass and took a semi-deep breath it smelled to me like curdled Founders Breakfast Stout, in that there was a heavily roasted black coffee scent, but it just went way too far & sharp for my taste. The color is unique, though – a little softer brown than a glass bottle of Coca-Cola, with a velvety thick and flexible tan head (kind of like a Volvo interior leather tan).

So Turkish coffee is prepared by boiling very finely powdered coffee with a little sugar, and served as such (the dregs will settle to the bottom of your cup). It’s insanely robust, but is also very sweet and unique. This tastes as if Turkish coffee was boiled with a pinch of cardamom, and with the acidity of the coffee turned way up. If the acidity, curdled, and burnt carmel scent weren’t there I would probably be a bigger fan. And I mean burnt carmel as in “I can’t believe I burnt this carmel and now its permanently affixed to my saucepan and setting off the smoke alarms.” The one aspect that I do love is the aftertaste of toasted slivered almonds.

Recommend to a friend?
Not this time around

Safe for lightweights?
No, so I will be using my ABV on something else next time.

Six pack worthy?
Well they come in packs of four, but I won’t be getting a four pack anytime soon

But don’t take my word for it…

Beer America TV
(video review – appearance by Scooter from Texas Brews, and a couple interesting facts about canned beer & “aluminum taste”)

The Hopry
(video & written review… I really appreciate that this gent provided a truly unique observation on the Hatchet flavor that I read/heard…tootsie rolls!)

Texas Brews
(written review)

Aleheads
(written review)

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Fractions.

Damn fractions.

I can rock mathematics. I really can. I had to teach myself calculus for my Economic Growth class at university, and I can recite and solve my favorite growth equation for you (nerd alert). But sometimes when I look at recipes, I have a brain hiccup.

Yesterday I made shortbread cookies with the best of intentions and highest of hopes. I had this adorable square silicone cookie pan to make tiny shortbread squares, but eighteen minutes into baking they were bubbling way over with butter visibly pooling in the middle. Ugly little buggers.

I may have used 2 cups of confectioner sugar instead of 1/2 cup…I’ll be honest. I did use 2 cups of confectioners sugar instead of 1/2 cup. Classy, no?

If I haven’t been clear already about not wanting to hide mistakes, sometimes completely absent-minded mistakes, this should reinforce that point. Sometimes I use tablespoons instead of teaspoons. Sometimes teaspoons instead of tablespoons. But every once in a while those mistakes turn into something delicious. These actually turned into perfect bite-sized lime tarte shells. But I woke up this morning still craving the real lime shortbread cookies, and thank my lucky stars they turned out spectacularly.

They look perfectly innocent, but I found it almost impossible to stop eating them…sweet, dry, and crumbly, with the perfect amount of lime – not overwhelming, but eager enough so that you just have to have another.

Lime Shortbread Cookies (round two)
Yields 30 cookies

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups + 2 tablespoons All-Purpose flour
3/4 cup + 1 teaspoon powdered (icing, confectioners, 10x) sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons lime juice
zest from one lime

1. Cream butter in mixer, then beat in vanilla, lime juice, and lime zest.

2. Sift flour, confectioner sugar, and salt together. With mixer on low, add 1/2 of the flour very slowly until mostly incorporated.

3. Remove mixer bowl, scrape dough off beaters, and then get prepared to get your hands dirty. Instead of using the mixer to incorporate the rest of the flour you will use your hands.

4. Pour the rest of the flour mixture into the mixer bowl, and lightly fold the flour in. This ensures you don’t overwork the gluten in the flour (making the cookie tough), and the warmth from your hands helps dissolve the sugar in the flour. It’s going to be extremely sticky and messy at first, but if you are slow and steady, then a singular ball of dough will slowly form.

5. Using a spoon, scoop out about 1-inch sized balls and place on greased & floured cookie sheet, or parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Place them 1 inch apart, and bake for 22 minutes at 325 degrees F.

6. Remove from oven, and let cool on cookie sheet for 10 minutes. Then transfer to cookie rack or another cookie sheet. Once completely cool, sprinkle confectioner sugar generously. (I used a strainer to do this – just spoon sugar in and lightly tap so that the sugar sprinkles evenly)

Be sure that you have an enormous glass of milk or water with you when you eat a dozen of these. 

Come back Wednesday for the final canned beer post of January!

Read More

Fractions.

Damn fractions.

I can rock mathematics. I really can. I had to teach myself calculus for my Economic Growth class at university, and I can recite and solve my favorite growth equation for you (nerd alert). But sometimes when I look at recipes, I have a brain hiccup.

Yesterday I made shortbread cookies with the best of intentions and highest of hopes. I had this adorable square silicone cookie pan to make tiny shortbread squares, but eighteen minutes into baking they were bubbling way over with butter visibly pooling in the middle. Ugly little buggers.

I may have used 2 cups of confectioner sugar instead of 1/2 cup…I’ll be honest. I did use 2 cups of confectioners sugar instead of 1/2 cup. Classy, no?

If I haven’t been clear already about not wanting to hide mistakes, sometimes completely absent-minded mistakes, this should reinforce that point. Sometimes I use tablespoons instead of teaspoons. Sometimes teaspoons instead of tablespoons. But every once in a while those mistakes turn into something delicious. These actually turned into perfect bite-sized lime tarte shells. But I woke up this morning still craving the real lime shortbread cookies, and thank my lucky stars they turned out spectacularly.

They look perfectly innocent, but I found it almost impossible to stop eating them…sweet, dry, and crumbly, with the perfect amount of lime – not overwhelming, but eager enough so that you just have to have another.

Lime Shortbread Cookies (round two)
Yields 30 cookies

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups + 2 tablespoons All-Purpose flour
3/4 cup + 1 teaspoon powdered (icing, confectioners, 10x) sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons lime juice
zest from one lime

1. Cream butter in mixer, then beat in vanilla, lime juice, and lime zest.

2. Sift flour, confectioner sugar, and salt together. With mixer on low, add 1/2 of the flour very slowly until mostly incorporated.

3. Remove mixer bowl, scrape dough off beaters, and then get prepared to get your hands dirty. Instead of using the mixer to incorporate the rest of the flour you will use your hands.

4. Pour the rest of the flour mixture into the mixer bowl, and lightly fold the flour in. This ensures you don’t overwork the gluten in the flour (making the cookie tough), and the warmth from your hands helps dissolve the sugar in the flour. It’s going to be extremely sticky and messy at first, but if you are slow and steady, then a singular ball of dough will slowly form.

5. Using a spoon, scoop out about 1-inch sized balls and place on greased & floured cookie sheet, or parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Place them 1 inch apart, and bake for 22 minutes at 325 degrees F.

6. Remove from oven, and let cool on cookie sheet for 10 minutes. Then transfer to cookie rack or another cookie sheet. Once completely cool, sprinkle confectioner sugar generously. (I used a strainer to do this – just spoon sugar in and lightly tap so that the sugar sprinkles evenly)

Be sure that you have an enormous glass of milk or water with you when you eat a dozen of these. 

Come back Wednesday for the final canned beer post of January!

Read More