Nancy Barber (nlbarber) wrote,
Nancy Barber

Baking report

Last weekend was the first time I delved into Small-Batch Baking by Debby Maugans Nakos, purchased in July. (Don't think I start using most of my cookbook purchases so promptly....some of them have been on the shelf for years and never yet been cooked from. One of these days I'll go purge the collection again.)

The concept behind Small Batch Baking is recipes that make only 2 or 3 servings. Ideal for me if I didn't often share with the folks next door, but even then it looks like the 2-3 servings can be stretched to 4 easily (me plus the 3 kids), and to 5 (include my brother) or even 5 plus a taste (for sugar and carb sensitive sister-in-law) for some recipes. Or we could always double a recipe if it was particularly good.

Saturday was when this started. My usual Friday challah baking was cancelled due to the diving meet. This left me without my usual stress-relieving nesting activity for the end of the week, but not for long. I started out with Herbed Cheese Bread, substituting sharp white cheddar for the provolone that I didn't have on hand to go with the Parmesan, fresh thyme, and fresh rosemary the recipe also called for. (Well, it said dried rosemary, but the rosemary bush always needs trimming.) The recipe made a nice handful of dough, easily kneaded, and which produced a mini-loaf (using a 5"x3" loaf pan) indeed just right for 2 servings. Very well flavored, though I might up the amount of herbs next time. Younger niece says it's just fine as it is.

While the bread dough was rising, I started on Chocolate Raspberry Oatmeal Squares, a bar cookie recipe which somewhat contradictorily says "makes 3 bars; serves 2". So who gets the third bar? The bar was an oatmeal based crust, spread with raspberry jam and chocolate chips, then more of the oat mixture for a crumb topping. When it's baked and cooled, you melt more chocolate and drizzle it over the top. Younger niece and nephew appeared in time to help with this one, and really liked the small batch size---though they'd probably like a little more finished product. We cut it into 4 pieces, and again the taste test was a success. I want to reduce the raspberry preserves by half next time for our sweetness preferences. Younger niece says it needs better chocolate. (I used Hershey's Special Dark chocolate chips, which is indeed a come-down from the bar of Scharfen Berger that went into something we baked recently.)

Come Sunday morning and the cookbook was still out on the kitchen counter, so I made Fast Food Style Biscuits, which is supposed to mimic the fabulous Hardee's biscuit. (All the Hardee's I used to be able to reach for a breakfast run have closed...probably just as well.) The results were not quite as successful, though I think at least part is due to my unperfected biscuit making technique. The biscuits were a little flat and quite crumbly, but tasted great. I'll try this one again. I need to work on my technique....

Sunday afternoon younger niece called, bored, and asked if we could bake something else from the cookbook. What suited her cravings and my available ingredients was Irresistible Oatmeal Cookies, made with the suggested substitution of dried cherries for raisins. Recipe was to make 8 cookies to serve 2 or 3: we made 9. Very good again.
Tags: baking, bread, cookbook, cookies

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