Bake Club: Scones

A couple of years ago I received a jar of flour, sugar, baking powder and freeze dried raspberries as a gift. I made them and thought freeze dried raspberries are the greatest thing ever. I still think highly of them, but the greatest thing ever is actually the magic of buttermilk. I tried to recreate this scone recipe several times and each time it was good. Once it even tasted just like that jar of scone mix. Recently, I decided to make them again, except I decided to use buttermilk, because I had it in the fridge and I like how fluffy it makes cake and biscuits. I accidentally made the best scones ever.

When you bake with buttermilk, you need to add baking powder so it has something to react to. I found if I use 1 cup of flour, then I need 1 tsp of baking powder. If I use 1 1/2 cups of flour I need 1 1/2 tsp of baking powder – see where I am going here? Baking soda reacts immediately with the buttermilk causing the dough to rise and baking powder gives the dough lift and keeps it elevated or a slow continued rise with the heat. These two ingredients are key to a fluffy scone.

I bet you are wondering the difference between a scone and a biscuit? A scone has egg in it. It also tends to be drier and needs support from fruit, jam and nuts, or other flavourings like herbs and onions. Scones tend to be a bit denser, something I like with tea for breakfast or as an afternoon snack to help me last until dinner.

Messing around with proportions I think I came up with a version I really like. It was soft and luscious and perfect for breakfast. This recipe is not sweet. If you like a sweeter bread, add an additional 1/2 cup of sugar. If you need more sweetness, think about jam or honey as a condiment, or make a compound butter. Honey butter is nice.

I sifted together 2 1/2 cups of all purpose flour, 2 tbsp of granulated sugar, 2 1/2 tsp of baking powder and 1/2 tsp of baking soda. You could use bread flour but I never have it in the house. Give it a good whisk before adding 1/2 cup of cubed butter. It should be cold but honestly, I never have cold butter. Butter as it melts in the oven creates pockets of steam that add to the flakiness. If you are quick and gentle, room temp is fine.

I tossed the butter pieces into the flour to coat them well. Then I use my thumb and two fingers in a circular rubbing motion to work the butter into the flour until the butter is pea sized. Using a pastry cutter does the same thing. I read once using two knives works too…. two knives? Just get your hands dirty. That is what they are for. Then you get a feel for you baking and you know when to stop.

After the butter is worked in you can stick it in the freezer for about 10 minutes if you wish. I don’t because I think it’s fine. I am not trying to win the GBBO. At this point I add an egg to 1 cup of butter milk and whisk them together. Making a well in the center of the flour, I pour the buttermilk egg mixture in. With a fork, I pull the flour into the center getting everything moist and incorporated.

I added fresh raspberries that had seen better days and a cup of freezed dried raspberries, the last of my visit from Trader Joe’s. You can add anything you like here, nuts and apples, blue berries or rum soaked raisins. The choice is yours and do what you like, but don’t go over 1 1/2 cups of extras because the dough won’t be able to hold it together – chocolate and banana would be nice too!

Gently fold everything together. Now the tricky part. This is a wet dough. Prep a baking sheet with parchment or a silpat lined tray. Four your hands! I did this on a cutting board and regretted it. Do it on the baking sheet. Pat the dough into a large circle about an inch thick. Cut and separate the wedges.

Brush with butter milk and sprinkle sugar over top. I used granulated sugar but any will do. If you dust with icing sugar, wait until they come out of the oven.

Bake for 20 minutes at 400F. I prefer them the next day but some of my family like them warm out of the oven. I freeze these and pull them out as I need them. If you try them, let me know what you think!

They aren’t pretty but they are delicious.

Bake Club: These are not kiddie cookies

I am starting to develop my own baking recipes and adding them to my vintage cookbook if they pass the family. If they like it and want it again, it passes, if they don’t – total fail and it is left out. I cleaned up the pantry and needed to do something with some raw pecans and hard raisins.

I liberated a bottle of spiced rum from my son and poured about 1/8 cup over the rest of the raisins, 1/2 cup. I let the raisins soak for about an hour. It smelled so good.

I melted 1/4 cup of salted butter in a sauce pan and added the rest of my raw pecans. I let the butter foam and I watch it closely because I didn’t want it to burn. It took about 2 minutes on medium heat. Make sure you remove it once you can smell roasty toasty nuts. I poured everything through a sieve and reserved the butter.

Preheat your oven to 350F I whisked together 1 cup of flour, 1/2 tsp sea salt, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/8 tsp nutmeg. I then added 2 cups of quick oats. Whisked it together and set it aside.

Pull out your mixer either a stand or hand beaters because you need to whipped the butter and sugars until it looks like frosting. Cream together the reserved 1/4 of browned butter – it has a pecan flavour and smells fantastic. (scrape in those brown solid bits because it adds the best flavour) Add 1/2 cup of salted butter – room temperature, 3/4 cup of packed brown sugar, 1/4 cup white sugar, 1 egg , 2 tsp vanilla, 2 Tbsp of maple syrup (the real stuff. If you don’t have it, leave out the fake and carry on) Mix this until it is light and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes.

Add the flour and mix until almost combined. Add the plumped raisins (I didn’t drain the rum, I added it to the cookie batter – because RUM IS DELICIOUS!) and the buttered pecans. Combine and let it sit for 5 minutes to let the flour hydrate. This makes a huge difference. Take the time.

On a parchment lined or silpat lined baking sheet, drop 1/4 cup or a ice cream scoop of batter on the sheet. My tray holds 6 scoops nicely. Bake for 15 minutes at 350F.

They taste best warm out of the oven, or room temperature or frozen. These are good and yes there is a rum flavour to them. The alcohol bakes off so you don’t need to worry if that is something that concerns you. There is alcohol in vanilla too – that bakes off and you don’t seem to mind that so please refrain from harassing me about alcohol. I like it, now you know.

If you do give the a try, let me know what you think!

Rum Raisin Oatmeal Cookies with Butter Pecans

  • 2 cups quick oats
  • 1 cup of All Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 browned butter
  • 1/2 cup salted butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 cup spiced rum
  • 1/2 cup of raisins
  • 1 cup of raw pecans

The Garden

When the pandemic began in the spring, I was inspired to plant a garden. I prepared containers, bought a yard of soil and several packets of seeds. My dad said I could have a couple of beds out in his garden. I immediately said yes. The advantage to dad’s yard is he will make sure everyone is watered.

My containers yielded enough peas for a week of snacking, 3 harvests of bush beans, soon I will have about 5lbs of carrots and a dozen plum tomatoes. The lettuce and celery in the container is bitter. But I hate lettuce so I don’t care much. Hopefully the cucumbers will grow longer than an inch. I am growing small pickling cucumbers and those little fellas are tiny so far. The lavender is in full bloom and that will be harvested soon. We have alpine strawberries that are devoured when we are out in the garden. We have had about 2 dozen off of that plant.

At my dad’s garden we harvested a squash, 10lbs of potatoes, 10lbs of carrots, and two dozen onions. Earlier in the season I thinned out the onions. At that point they were like green onions or scallions. I chopped them finely and froze them. I had about 4 litres of green onions. I have used them for everything from green onion pancakes to egg and rice dishes. It is so lovely having a bag of frozen green onions at the ready, when they are gone I will likely buy a bunch and do it again. My freezer is full of rhubarb, shredded zucchini, fresh yeast and carrot juice.

Apples are just about ready to harvest. We have a branch that hangs over the fence and that will be enough for a pie or two. I am drying my potatoes and onions and will pop them into a burlap bag and store under the stairs in the basement. A lot of this knowledge came from my former mother-in-law. She was the daughter of a farmer. The rest of it came from Lois Hole’s vegetable book and YouTube.

I didn’t think I would reap much but I have about two months worth of food. There is a rebel plum tree growing on my path in the side yard. We are going to transplant her. 90% of the trees and shrubs in my yard are self starters. I respect that. Its as if they know I have a plant sanctuary and they are safe in my yard. There is a patch of violets that grows in the gravel path, a dozen potentillas and they are a virtual alpine weed. I have moved them around my yard to encourage a hedge. I have a spruce, pines and an aspen that started off as seedlings and have given them a home in my yard. I may not get anywhere because of the pandemic but I have cultivated a lovely sanctuary in my yard. It is enough.

Next year I think I will plant more beans and onions and less peas. 100% less lettuce and 50% more carrots. I follow people who have plots in local community gardens to see what they are growing. I think there is a movement back to cultivating home grown food. I would like to purchase a few stand up gardens because its just easier as I age. I miss my grandpa. He would have whipped up a few for me if I asked.

That is what I have been up to this summer. Staycation and not going ANYWHERE including a store. Have you been gardening? Do you have a bread and butter pickle recipe that is delicious? Let me know and drop me a line. Hang in there friends, I think we will be dealing with the pandemic for a long time to come.

Bake Club: Cornflake Chocolate Chip Cookie

I joined Christina Tosi’s Bake Club. I decided to try her famous Cornflake Chocolate Marshmallow cookies right out of the gate. I read her recipe and watched her do this on a lot of different videos. I used this recipe. In theory and in taste it is the perfect cookie. I made it. I read the reviews and learned there is something not right about the recipe because it couldn’t possibly be my skills. It was everyone else that was a terrible baker…not me. I will get to that, but first, let’s go through the process (no matter how disastrous the end result was for me).

Step one: Make the Cornflake Crunch (Warning: this stuff should be called crack. It is addicting.)

I made this the day before because it needs to be at room temperature before you use it. I crushed cornflakes and added powdered milk, sugar, salt and melted butter. I tossed them together and spread it out on a silpat lined baking sheet and baked it for 20 minutes.

It tasted familiar but also like nothing I have eaten before. After it cooled I stored it in an air-tight container.

Dang it was good. I would be happy snacking on this. Forget carrot sticks….

The next morning, I began the mixing of the cookie batter because it needed to chill for a while. The reviews said to freeze it, but I trusted Christina and only chilled them in the fridge.

THIS WAS MISTAKE NUMBER ONE.

The first part of the instructions call for beating the life out of the butter, sugar and eggs for 10 minutes. TEN MINUTES! So I did.

This stuff was so light and fluffy you could make clouds with it.

Then I needed to add the flour and mix until almost combined – that took less than one minute. Next add the Cornflake Crunch, marshmallows and mini chocolate chips.

Simple enough. I took my large cookie scoop as instructed and scooped out tightly packed balls of dough and lined them up on a sheet pan to chill a minimum of 30 minutes. I chilled them for four hours because I had errands to run.

The batter made enough for 24 balls. EXACTLY 24 balls. I had weighed the ingredients for precision and was very impressed. The dough tasted promising, like the cookie would be delicious!

The recipe directed me to bake for 18 minutes in a 375F oven.

THIS WAS MISTAKE NUMBER TWO

This yielded flat lacy dark brown cookies. nothing like the cookies in the picture. Luckily it was only six. I shortened the time to 13 minutes and it was a bit better. Then finally to 10 minutes and they were lighter in colour but still really spread out. Super crispy on the outside. Just like the reviews said it would be.

I think the oven was too hot. They taste good, but super greasy and not cookie like at all. I was so disappointed. I had high hopes and wanted this to be a successful return to baking. Now I have a box of toffee with cookie crumbs instead of cookies.

They look nothing like Tosi’s, so my inclination is to say lower the temperature of the oven to 300F or even 350F and bake for 10 minutes then check them. I am not sure if I will try again unless I find the recipe from her cookbook.

I will give bake club another try. I think I will make birthday cake next. It is grandpa’s birthday tomorrow, he would have been 97 and he hated cake. So if it turns out terrible, he won’t mind.

Bake Club

I have a new crush.

She is everything I have been looking for and more. But I suppose I should back up a bit…

When June rolled in the BLM was changing the way white people saw themselves and understood capitalism is embedded with systemic racism. It was a wake up call for me and everyone I know. It changed who I follow, it changed my fun activities, it changed me. I should say – changing. I am a work in progress. I am learning. The point is, I am not the same as I was in May.

In the early part of 2020, I participated in a fun Basically Baking series by Bon Appetite. It taught me a lot and my crush Sohla El-Waylly taught me so much about baking and riffing on projects. Then she suggested the Editor in Chief Adam Rapoprt should resign. Wait…what? I followed the dismantling of my beloved YouTube series and felt a little lost while I learn more about the disgusting things that happen in a work place. I was aware from a certain perspective, obviously the female one but digging deeper taught me a lot. I noticed my social feed was pretty white with a few BIPOC sprinkled in. I actively looked for other chefs that didn’t look like me.

I turned off YouTube and headed straight for Netflix where I found Samin Nostrat and watched SALT FAT ACID HEAT. I recognized her from New York Times Cooking. This documentary fascinated me. I wanted more and was prepared to enter a rabbit hole of diverse chefs. I listened to her on podcasts and interviews. I tried some of her recipes, I crushed hard. Then I found another Netflix documentary series called Chefs Table. This took me around the world where chefs explored their cultural foods. I learned about Spain, Thailand, Japan, deep South African American cooking, Mexico, and so many more. I was then exploring spice combinations and that led me to Spice Island here in the city. Me trying new things. Then one episode later about a desert bar in New York City, I met my new crush.

Christine Tosi the owner/chef at Milk Bar. She famously uses cereal milk in coffee, cookies, cakes. I am a sucker for all baked goods. Who am I kiddin? I am a sucker for someone who loves Captain Crunch and corn based cereals in general. Plus she seems like the like of gal I would be friends with. She is fun, ambitious, innovative and creative AND adorable. All things I admire in strong female leaders.

I googled her and SHE HAS A BAKE CLUB! I love Samin but she doesn’t bake that often, she is all about roast chicken and pasta and vegetables. Christine Tosi is about DAIRY and GLUTEN and CEREAL and COOKIES and CAKE. All things that I don’t eat all the time, but when I do I don’t want it to be fat free, gluten free or sugar free. I want it to be delicious. Tosi’s pantry series on YouTube was made for me. She is hilarious and delightful and feels normal like she isn’t trying to be anything but herself.

Obviously I joined her bake club. I wish I could say I have been baking all of June and July following the baking club but I only found her yesterday. Bake Club is Sundays. I have no idea what it is going to be, but I have decided to start with an older Bake Club recipe called Cornflake Chocolate Chip Marshmallow Cookies. But first I need to make Cornflake Crunch which is the major ingredient in the cookies. I need some ingredients for that but will report back this weekend. I am so excited to be a part of a new bake club!

Meanwhile…

I am still working from home. I don’t go anywhere. Cases are rising in my province and our provincial government has a war going on with doctors and teachers. Its not awesome. I have been reading a lot (Martha Beck, Judy Blume, Rebecca Serle, Sarah McCrum), I achieved certification as a crystal practitioner (need a grid? reach out!), and I went rhubarb picking.

I made cobbler. But can we take a moment to admire the strawberries?

I diced up rhubarb and tossed them and a the strawberries in a cup of sugar and 1/4 cup of flour and a pinch of salt. ( I needed more flour it was too juicy)

I made a crumble topping – 1/4 cup each of chilled butter, brown sugar and white sugar. 1 tsp salt. 1/2 cup of flour and rub together until butter is the size of peas. Toss on top and bake at 400F for 45 mintues – ish.

Not everyone likes rhubarb so the smaller pan was bumble berry for my daughter.

It was delicious! I chopped the remaining rhubarb into a 1/2 inch dice and a 4 inch stick.

I freeze these on a cookie sheet so they don’t clump together in the freezer bag. I feel pies and cakes coming on but I need a bit more so I can make some jam.

Life is good right now. I have everything I need and more. I am one of the lucky ones. I hope you are all safe and healthy.

Stress Baking: Green Onion Cakes

There is a food here in Edmonton that locals go wild for. We stand in line at every festival waiting for a hot green onion cake to be served to use with a side of chile sauce and black vinegar. Edmontonians have a rabid obsession with these flakey hot disks of deliciousness. I don’t know if you have heard, but summer was cancelled by our Chief Medical Officer. I will miss the green onion cake truck so I decided to make my own.

I am learning that most people call these scallion pancakes… what?? Not in Edmonton. There is even a shop by the dude who brought them to Edmonton called The Green Onion Cake Man, so that is the proper name when you visit here. I was flipping through Instagram and saw a sponsored post by Robin Hood Flour to make these. I looked through the recipe and those that was easy enough. I had all the ingredients so why not? The recipe wasn’t as easy to follow because a online content specialist developed the format and not someone who follows recipes. I had to flip back and forth for measurements so I am sure there is an easier recipe out there, but this one is very delicious.

I made the shaggy dough. The number one most important step is to add boiling water. This will hydrate the flour to make it easy for rolling paper thin.

Then I chopped the green onions (scallions for you non-Edmontonians) and tossed it with the sesame oil and flour – this was different from the recipe but I have watched Green Onion Man make it this way. The recipe says to just combine flour and oil, I combined all three. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes. It needs time for the gluten to develop and rest. Divide the dough into four parts. I weighed them to make it even and fair.

I rolled the dough into a 8″ circle, and spread 1/4 of the onion paste onto the disk. Then I rolled it tightly into a tube – cinnamon bun style.

There were zero pictures in this recipe so I watched a video to get the hang of it. (Not all online marketing content writers are good at explaining things- I’m judgey because this is my industry).

Then you are supposed to spiral it – thusly:

How cute is that little snail-like bundle?

Now roll the living daylights out of it – the first one was terrible – let it rest about 5 minutes before rolling.

Then I popped it into a hot pan and fried them about 2 minutes a side with a lid – the lid helps these beauties rise and show off their flaky innards.

My pan was too hot so I suggest 3-4 minutes on medium, not medium high.

These did not last longer than 30 seconds. I recomend not using too much of the whit becuase they cut through the dough. Just use the greens. I saved a couple onions to regrow because I jumped on that bandwagon too. I plan to grow a few more because so many things taste nice with fresh sprigs of the green tops.

It takes about 8 days of changing the water everyday until you have enough to harvest. These little guys are four days old and grew one inch yesterday.

What projects are you working on this week? Let me know! I am looking for more inspiration. I am making butter tarts this week for the daughter’s birthday and planning out my garden. I am beginning to feel a lot like Laura Ingalls or Anne Shirley.

Stay healthy friends!

Basically: Sticky-Buns

Basically’s last week of baking projects ends with a multi-step complicated recipe that rivals Cinnabon. I kid you not. Just don’t over bake it and you can recreate Cinnabon’s huge confectionary. This week was Cinnamon-Date Sticky Buns and I learned a couple of things that I will recreate next time, because the more you know…

The final recipe landed in my inbox on Saturday morning, because it is a two-day time investment. However, I think it could be done in a day, but more on that later. 

The first task was to soften the yeast at a temperature 98F. This was the first time I ever used a thermometer and actually test the liquid temperature. I microwaved the buttermilk to take the chill off, and it took about a minute in my microwave. I added the egg and yeast, let it sit for a bit, and I was ready to roll.

Problem number 1, I don’t have a food processor, but I do have a stand mixer and have made bread dough endlessly in it over the past few months. So into the mixer went the ingredients. I used the dough hook, but I didn’t knead the dough with the ook this time. Reading the recipe, it seemed important to get a feel for the dough, and after I went through this process, I 100% agree. 

There were strict instructions not to add flour as you knead it on the counter. This was counter-intuitive, but I followed the rules. I invested in a bench scraper finally, and all I can say is WHY DID I WAIT SO LONG?? I was too cheap to spend $20, and I find a use for things every damn day. It is my new favourite kitchen tool. Anyway… I pushed and pulled the dough back and forth until it was soft and silky and a little bit tacky – not sticky. It was a beautiful feeling dough. 


Into the fridge, it went to sit overnight. Here is problem number 2, I assumed it would double in volume, it didn’t apparently it doesn’t or isn’t supposed to. I put it into my biggest bowl and popped a plate over the top. There was a bit of a skin on it the next morning. I watched the Instagram story about this and Sohlea puts it into a ziplock bag overnight. So I recommend a smaller bowl or container with a tight-fitting lid. 

Rolling out the dough and shaping it with the bench scraper made this task infinitely easier (WHY DID I WAIT SO LONG?) It also has a hand ruler on it so I could measure and mark out the 8” I needed. It was so pretty it brought a tear to my eye. 

Problem number 3:

  1. I don’t have a food processor. 
  2. I also don’t have dates in my pantry. 
  3. I don’t have a cast iron pan

I know I promised to follow the recipe exactly but winging it has become second nature to me. Be flexible and resourceful. 

I melted butter and spread it on the dough, and then I spread(?) sprinkled(?) brown sugar over the top. I shook liberal amounts of cinnamon over the sugar.

Rolling these into a tight spiral was so easy with the bench scraper, I know you are tired of hearing me talk about it but seriously, THIS IS IS THE BEST THING EVER!

I divided the log into three and the three again so I ended up with nine equal-ish roles. 

I solved the pan part by using one of my saucepans with a tight-fitting lid. This was excellent for proving and baking but terrible for storage. 

I let it rise for one and a half hours until the poke test didn’t bounce back and everyone was snuggly fit together. 

Into the oven it went for 20 minutes, then I removed the lid and baked another 15 because I like a softer texture like Cinnabon and a light brown colour.

I made a glaze using buttermilk – as directed. This was the perfect balance of cream cheese tang without the heaviness.  I normally don’t glaze, but I was glad I did. I only used half – I wish I used all of it.

The texture was light and airy, soft and spongy all at the same time. We stored them in the pan, and the seal wasn’t very tight, so they began to dry out by day three. Happily, the glaze kept them moist. 

Next time I would transfer them to an airtight container or my cake dome. 

Would I make these again? Heck yeah! But I would do it in one day and let rise until double in size or put into a ziplock bag overnight. I would also use this dough for dinner rolls or add different fillings like pumpkin and cinnamon, or lemon poppy seed. The possibilities are endless with this dough. 

This series taught me so much about baking that I thought I already knew. 

  1. Tools are important.
  2. Room temperature eggs are a game-changer
  3. Following directions exactly makes things taste better
  4. Not all recipes are created equal (I have tried different websites and not everyone tests or explains things well, so experiment!)

So…. How did I do? This is theirs:

This is mine:

I nailed it. Thanks Basically, I will miss your weekly challenges and feel a little lost about what to try next. I have a green onion cake I will share because that was insanely reminiscent of the Fringe Festival Green Onion Cake Man and Disney has dropped some of their theme park favs so maybe you will see Dole Whips and Churros in my future. Meanwhile, drop me a note and tell me what you’d like to see me try. 

Stay healthy friends!

Basically: Galette Fail but Pizza Wins

This week’s recipe was the Triple Treat Onion Galette. A onion and garlic pie if you will. I know promised to follow the recipe exactly as shown but I didn’t. I didn’t have onions or garlic or scallions. Flour has become a precious commodity and making something my garlic allergy daughter can’t eat and son won’t eat seemed like a waste of flour. So I made pizza dough. It is galette shaped. And that is all I have to say about that. When I had high tea at the Grand Floridian eons ago, I had an onion tart that was delicious. It was a savoury jamy tart and I quite liked it. I imagine this gallet would be similar but on a larger scale. So maybe one day I will make it when I have an abundance of supplies, but for now, I am not risking it.

Instead we decided we wanted pizza and by we I mean my adult children, more specifically, my son. This was where I would spend my precious flour.

I normally make pizza by pouring in a bottle of beer instead of yeast. It is an easy way to get a rise and is quick. We don’t have any beer left and the liquor stores are closed so I made pizza crust the old fashion way, with yeast. I searched the Bon Appétit website searching for BA’s best pizza dough but found this one instead. I had all the ingredients, I read through the instructions and it said I could make the night before and keep it in the fridge. Perfect! That way we could have pizza for family movie night, a long ago tradition we had when the kids were younger. We would make homemade pizza watch a movie, have half-time (a tradition that dates back to family night movies with my dad. At the half-way mark, he would pause the movie, we would get snacks, do any business we needed to and then settle back into the movie, something I continued with my kids. They got to pick their treat, usually root beer and cream soda, popcorn or chips, smarties and reese peanut butter cups.)

The pizza dough was easy especially since I have been watching copious amounts of bread dough videos. Shout Out to Everyday Food, Oh Yum, Preppy Kitchen and my beloved Bon Appétit! I learned that my Kitchen Aid will knead the dough….wait…I have been kneading my bread by hand forever. I rarely used my dough hook before and now I know how to use it properly.

The dough was so lovely it brought a tear to my eye.

This is the recipe from Bon Appétit.

After the dough is mixed and is a shaggy ball, begin kneading. Normally I did this by hand to feel the dough, but the dough hook gives me a better result. It takes about 10 minutes of kneading with the dough hook and gradually adding flour about a tablespoon at a time until the dough climbs up the hook and is tacky, not sticky. This was the loveliest kneaded bread I have ever produced.

I stuck it in the fridge over night and it doubled in size. Normally I would prove it for an hour in the warming oven or a warm spot.

I split the dough in half and formed a circle with my hands, just like they do at Panago Pizza. I made the circle too big, next time I will measure. I preheated my pizza stones and placed the dough on the hot stone. I moved quickly to add the sauce toppings and cheese. Baked it for about 10 minute snad then rotated top for bottom to get even browning.

My kids said, and one is a pizza tasting expert, “this was the best crust they ever had”.

Now I just need to perfect the sauce.

What are you guys stress baking this week?

Basically: Carrot Cake

Everyone loves carrot cake but me. To me it is oily and I hate cream cheese frosting. Some how people think I love it and it ends up being my birthday cake more often than not. Thinking about it, I don’t really like cake. It tends not to be flavourful and fake frosting is the worst. Then this challenge happened and I found a cake that it delicious.

This week’s Basically recipe is Cardamom Pistachio Carrot Cake. I could eat this every day and it would STILL be my favourite. The recipe was not complicated but it was specific, so no winging it. When I saw the ingredients I was a little bit worried because things are not always easy to get during this time of isolation. I have all the ingredients except cardamom, pistachios, and carrot juice. I watched Sohla El_Waylly‘s instagram story and she didn’t have all the ingredients either because working from home is tricky. I knew I could make my own carrot juice if I couldn’t find any. But you know what? Sobey’s had it. Who knew you could buy carrot juice?? I bought cardamom and raw pistachios at Bulk Barn, $13!!!!! My first thought was, one cup of pistachios better be worth it. (Spoilers* it was!)

I weigh everything now. The results have made everything better. Not just a little bit better but next level “I should get my own show” better.

This is what $13 looks like. It wasn’t even a full cup!!! But… and I mean BUT… Tasting these beauties in brown butter was next level. It infused the butter and made the flavour next level.

I am a pro at brown butter now, just as the foam goes golden, remove it. The milk solids will toast up off the heat.

Pistachio browned butter has a green hue to it.

I whisked the dry ingredients together, forgot to add the spices. Why? I don’t know. I added them at then end and it turned out fine. In went the eggs, then the butter. This was the important part. Slowly drizzle the butter into the sugar mixture. It made it fluffy like marshmallow fluff. This is the key to a non-greasy carrot cake. Who knew? (Apparently Sohla and Basically did).

This took a few long minutes but it was a lovely result!

Then I folded in the carrots and nuts and put it into a 8” pan. I didn’t have a 9” so I needed to adjust the time. More on that later.

I was skeptical. Then I tasted that batter. I would have been fine just eating it like pudding or ice cream… omg turn this into ICE CREAM!!!!

I baked it for 55 minutes and looked at it. The centre was not rising. Sohla said that means it isn’t done, so I baked it for another 10 minutes. Still not done, so I baked it for another 5 and athoner 5. Then I was worried it would burn so I took it out even with the centre indented, but the tester came out clean so at least it was cooked.

I needed a cooled cake to put the glaze on so I left it overnight and made the glaze the next day. The glaze was an ordeal but now that I know what I am doing, the next time will be a snap.

First off, my pot was too big. So I dumped it into a smaller pot. This was my first mistake. She said to use a small pot and dump your ingredients in, don’t stir and watch it boil. She promised it wouldn’t boil over. Sohla was a liar pants. It boiled over in a small-ish pan.

It was a mess and the smell of burnt sugar on my stove was terrible. I then waited – as instructed- for the bubbles to subside. I was skeptical but it did happen.

I reduced it for a few minutes, tested it on a cold plate and then set aside to cool. Here was disaster number two. When I stuck my finger in it I burned myself because this is molten candy. I let it cool too long then it became solid candy. I now know 5 minutes is the sweet spot. You are welcome.

I poured it over the cake. it is kind of like those mirror glazes. It sorts itself out when you have the temperature right.

The end result? The best fricken cake I have ever eaten. I am making this for my birthday because I am worth it. I am making it for desserts when I go to a dinner party and I am going to make it just to snack on.

So, how did I do? This is theirs.

Mine – I need better food lighting.

I’d say close but not perfect. I have 48 birthdays to practice so I will have nailed by then.

Are you stress baking too? Let me know what you are making and drop a few pictures! Stay healthy friends!