Friday, August 20, 2010

End of Summer

I'll be sad to see this summer go, though it was certainly an interesting one for me. My roommates are all heading back though this week/weekend, and I couldn't be more excited.

Today I made the blackberry cheesecake bars I'd made earlier this summer (mainly for Katie to try but also so that everyone had something yummy to come back to), and I finally finished Uncle Silas and started East Lynne by Ellen Wood.

Happy end of summer! :)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Blueberry Crumb Muffins

Today, after being back in my house at school for three days, I decided it was time to bake something that everyone could enjoy as they're moving back in (and also, my go-to move, that I could eat for breakfast).

I made these blueberry muffins with a delicious brown sugar crumb on top. They turned out really good and they helped stop me from eating all the berries in the house every time I open the fridge.

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cups blueberries
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup brown sugar
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease or line muffin pan.
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, white and brown sugars, salt, and baking powder. Stir in oil, eggs, and milk until well blended and very few lumps remain. Gently fold in blueberries being careful not to mash them. Fill muffin tins 2/3 full, or slightly more for a larger muffin top.
For the crumb topping, mix together the flour, softened butter, cinnamon, and brown sugar. Place a small amount on top of each muffin.
Bake muffins in the preheated oven for 20 to 30 minutes, or until a wooden skewer pierced in the center comes out clean and dry.

Baking at Home

This was the last thing I baked while I was home over the summer. My dad really wanted me to try this fudge that was on the back of the toll house chocolate chip bag, and I thought it turned out really good. It had a marshmallow base, but also required some heating and then refrigerating.

Delicious melting butter and other goodies.

Try not eating six hunks. I dare you.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Pound Cake

I've been back and fourth, home and busy for the last couple of weeks, so I've had a little trouble keeping up with baking (but not for lack of wanting to). However, last week I made a pound cake with some friends that I haven't had a chance to post yet.

Elyse has the recipe, so I won't be posting that, but I do have some pictures! The cake turned out good, but not as sweet as we had expected. We also took it out too early so it was really undercooked in the middle, but the warm, gooey batter actually made a really delicious frosting. Mmm...

I didn't think Mikey added enough sugar, so I was a little sad. I'll forgive him though, only cause I like his silly band.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Zucchini Bread

I've been planning to make zucchini bread for a few days, and today when I actually made it I realized I bought too much (YAY!) and I can grill the other squash or make a side dish for dinner out of it. I love zucchini basically any way you make it, and that's part of what I love about it--it's so versatile that it can be grilled or baked or used in soup or even baked into a sweet, cinnamon flavored bread like this one.

I haven't had zucchini bread in a long time. My grandma used to make it when I was little, but I don't remember the last time we had any around. This variation was made with brown sugar and was slightly sweeter than I remember. It turned out pretty heavy, but I thought it was still okay.

3 eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 2/3 cups packed brown sugar
2 cups grated zucchini
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
In a large bowl, beat eggs well. Add oil, brown sugar, zucchini, and vanilla; stir well. Blend in flour, cinnamon, baking powder, soda, and salt. Pour batter into greased and floured 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.
Bake at 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) for 1 hour. Cool.

Friday, July 23, 2010

They Came!

My books for next year (well, some of them) came today! :)

They're so pretty...

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Moving On To a More "Governess-Heavy" Novel

Last night I finished Lady Audley's Secret. I really enjoyed the novel, but like with Vanity Fair, the woman was not really a governess for much of the book at all. Without giving away too much of the plot, I will say that Lady Audley's secret was definitely a good one. Though perhaps slightly too drawn out at times, Braddon included many clues within the novel that tied up nicely at the end. Also, the final twist of the book was incredibly well done and something that I really appreciated. In Victorian literature, I sometimes find the plots a little bit predictable, but I think it's important to realize that many of today's books and movies are loosely based on these older novels, and also that in our society today we've been trained to "expect the unexpected."

One of my criticisms of Lady Audley's Secret is not as much a critique on the book itself as of the quote that I posted in another of my posts about the book: "Lady Audley's Secret (1862) subtly undermined the Victorian myth that female self-assertion was a form of insanity." For much of the book I saw Lady Audley as incredibly powerful because of her sexuality and able to use that to her advantage, but by the end I thought that rather than sticking with that she caved and let them call her insane. A part of me wished that I had seen a bit more of her power as a female shine through regardless of the pain that may have caused for other characters.

Though they haven't necessarily been as "governess-heavy" as I'd hoped, in both Lady Audley's Secret and Vanity Fair I've been able to consider how women rose to a higher position after holding a situation as a governess. This morning I started Uncle Silas by Sheridan La Fanu, a novel that I think will focus much more on the role of the governess since it is told from the point of view of her charge.

So far I'm really liking the style and the plot seems to already be captivating. I'm excited to keep reading :)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Sun Dried Tomato, Basil, and Feta Scones

Today I realized my banana bread has gone bad, and my cobbler is gone. I needed to bake something else, and I wanted it to be something that I could eat for breakfast but I would also consider eating with my dinner or as a snack, and something that wasn't too bad for me.

I landed on these delicious sun dried tomato, basil, and feta scones that I found when I was browsing foodgawker, my new favorite website, last night. I got the recipe from a blog called A Big Mouthful: Adventures In Food.

The scones turned out very tasty, but I think just for me personally I would use a little more basil and feta next time and a little less sun dried tomato, but that's just because I'm not a huge sun dried tomato fan. I think they'd be really good with soup or a salad, and I probably will eat them for breakfast as well.

3 cups all purpose flour
2 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
8 Tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 1/4 cup buttermilk
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
3/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, well drained of oil and roughly chopped
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt.
Cut in the butter piece by piece. Using a pastry cutter, cut in butter until it becomes the size of small peas, and is well incorporated. Refrigerate for 20-30 minutes.
Remove the flour mixture from the refrigerator and gently mix in the buttermilk, feta cheese, sun dried tomatoes and basil, making sure to not overmix. You will have a sticky dough. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and roll out to a thickness of 1 inch. You can either cut the scones into triangles or use a cookie cutter to make circles. Place onto parchment-lined pans.
Bake for 15 to 17 minutes, or until they are puffed and browned on top.

Friday, July 16, 2010


The surroundings and drink of choice (yummm, piƱa colada) changed a bit today, but the book stayed the same.

Fun day at Soak City with my mom, and still managed to get a little reading in. :)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Another Thesis Read

"Lady Audley's Secret (1862) subtly undermined the Victorian myth that female self-assertion was a form of insanity."

Loving the book I'm currently reading for my thesis; it's giving me a new perspective on how I might center the project.

Blackberry Cobbler

This morning I realized three things:
1. It feels like it's been forever since I baked something (when really it was just last Saturday)
2. I have quite a bit of milk left that is slowly going bad
3. If I don't bake these blackberries into something like I planned, I'm just going to eat them all

As a solution to that problem, I made a blackberry cobbler. I've never made cobbler before, but I've had it quite a few times so I knew what it was supposed to taste/look/feel like. In the early stages of this little endeavor, though, I was a little bit nervous. Who knew cobbler was so liquidy before it bakes? The end result, though, if I do say so myself, was perfect. I rarely say that about anything I make (let alone bake), but this was really that good.

1 cup butter or margarine, divided
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 1/2 cups self-rising flour*
1/3 cup milk, room temperature
2 cups fresh or frozen blackberries
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons sugar
In a 10-in. round or oval baking dish, melt 1/2 cup butter; set aside. In a saucepan, heat sugar and water until sugar melts; set aside. Place flour in a mixing bowl; cut in remaining butter until fine crumbs form. Add milk, stirring with a fork until dough leaves sides of bowl. Turn out onto a floured surface; knead three or four times. Roll out to an 11-in. x 9-in. rectangle 1/4 in. thick. Spread berries over dough; sprinkle with cinnamon. Roll up, jelly-roll style. Cut into 1/4-in. thick slices. Carefully lay slices in baking dish over butter. Pour sugar syrup around slices (syrup will be absorbed). Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes. Sprinkle sugar over top and bake 15 minutes more. Serve warm or cold. (*If self-rising flour is not available, use 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus 1/4 teaspoon salt and 2-1/4 teaspoons baking powder.)

I cut out a piece and tried it almost right out of the oven, and it was fantastic. I think it could easily be served hot or cold, and a dollop of whipped cream or ice cream certainly couldn't hurt...though you definitely don't need it.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Comfort Food

I've been a bit of a couch potato today, but I still got of miscellaneous to-do list items done. I did make some tasty breakfast to go with my morning (or actually more like afternoon today) coffee.

I bought a bunch of bananas last week, thinking I'd eat more of them than I actually did, but also knowing that whatever I didn't eat I could definitely bake into something instead. That's basically what inspired this cream cheese banana bread, a little variation on the regular banana bread recipe that I usually use. Banana bread has always been a sort of comfort food for mom and grandma made it sometimes when I was little, and Elyse makes it pretty often and always gives me a pretty generous hunk. To make a long story short: I love banana bread. I like the "reduced fat" kinds, I like it with chocolate chips, I don't mind it with pecans or walnuts, and I love it plain. Today, I tried this cream cheese kind, with a thin strip of cinnamon and brown sugar running through the center.

1/2 cup margarine, softened
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 cups white sugar
2 eggs
1 cup mashed bananas
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Cream the butter or margarine and cream cheese together. Gradually add the white sugar, and continue beating until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the mashed bananas and vanilla. Add flour, baking powder, and soda; mix until batter is just moist.
In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, and cinnamon.
Divide 1/2 batter into two greased and floured 8x4 inch loaf pans. Sprinkle brown sugar mixture over batter in pans, and top with remaining batter.
Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 55 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Cookie Dough Cupcakes

There's not much more I can say about these than that they are the best cupcakes I have ever had. I'm sorry it even took me this long to post them (I made them while I watched Cupcake Wars on Tuesday night), because that means it was possibly a few days longer before some people in the world knew about them. I originally found the recipe here.

Make some cookie dough (from scratch is obviously going to be the best, but break and bake could easily work too), and freeze it. We're talking rock solid.

Fill cupcake trays 2/3 full with cake batter--I used yellow cake, but I think any kind would probably be delicious. Place a tablespoon sized cookie dough ball in the top center of each. There's no need to push it down or anything, just set it there.

Bake for 18 minutes, or until when you stick a knife in the cake part, it comes out clean.

Let them cool (or hey, don't all the way, that's delicious too!), frost, and enjoy the delicious, gooey, cookie dough mess.

I also made these garlic rolls (actually before I made the cupcakes), but I felt like the cupcakes took precedence. These turned out pretty delicious too though.

3/4 cup +1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/3 cup water at room temperature (70 to 90 degrees)
5 1/2 teaspoon olive oil, divided
4 large cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 packed tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1. Whisk together flour, sugar, and yeast in a small bowl. Whisk in salt last (preventing direct contact with yeast). Make a well in the center and pour in water. Stir together to moisten the flour, just until dough begins to form, about 20 seconds. The dough will look shaggy and bumpy, not smooth.
2. Pour 4 teaspoons oil in a 2-cup sized bowl or cup (bigger if you are increasing recipe size). Place dough in and turn to coat. Cover tightly and rest on the counter until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
3. Place a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F at least 30 minutes before baking. Meanwhile, stir together 1/2 teaspoon olive oil, garlic, and kosher salt in a large bowl (you’ll see why later). Set aside.
4. When the dough is ready, place it on a board and gently press into a 10″ x 6″ rectangle. There will be left-over oil in the cup/bowl that the dough was rising in. Spread that oil over a baking sheet.
5. Spread half of the garlic mixture across the rectangle dough.
6. Create a roll, and cut into smaller rolls and lay on baking sheet with about 2″ space in between. Bake for 12 minutes or until golden. Meanwhile, add the remaining teaspoon of olive oil and parsley to the garlic mixture. Stir.
7. When garlic rolls are done baking, toss in the garlic and parsley mixture and serve immediately.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Red, White, and Blueberries!

Happy Fourth of July! :) I've got lots of little red, white, and blue treats for today. I'll post them now before it's off to the waterpark with my little cousins before their birthday party.

I made both of these next recipes to take to their party. The first I have been saving for a few weeks now, just waiting for this weekend to use it since it's so festive. Here's my red, white, and blueberry cheesecake. It was my first try with phyllo dough, but I think I did okay (if after we cut it tonight it turns out I didn't, I'll make sure to report back).

8 sheets phyllo dough
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 cups fresh blueberries
1/2 cup strawberry jelly
On a flat surface, place one sheet phyllo dough. Brush it with melted butter or margarine, and cover with another piece of phyllo. Repeat until all 8 sheets are used. Using kitchen scissors, cut layered phyllo into a 12 to 13 inch circle. Carefully press circle into a greased 9 inch pie plate; gently fan edges. Bake at 425 degrees F (220 degrees C) until edges are just golden, 6 to 8 minutes; cool slightly on a wire rack.
In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs until well combined. Fold in 1 cup of blueberries. Pour filling into prepared crust.
Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) until set, 40 to 50 minutes. To prevent over browning of crust, gently cover pie with foil for the last 25 minutes of baking. Cool completely on a wire rack.
In a small bowl, beat jelly until smooth; spread over cheese filling. Arrange 1 cup blueberries on top in a star pattern.

You could definitely also just leave this as a blueberry (or whatever kind of fruit you had on hand to use) cheesecake, and I think it would be comparably delicious.

The next thing I made was a blueberry pie from a Weight Watchers® recipe my mom had. At first, I wasn't as excited about this one, but I ended up making my own graham cracker crumb crust and using the leftover crumb mixture as the topping, and now I'm really excited. I can't wait to try this one (I think I'll actually be tasting it before the cheesecake!).

5 cups blueberries
1 graham cracker crust
3/4 c packed brown sugar
3T flour
1/2 t. vanilla extract
1/4 t. grated lemon rind (I used lemon juice)
1 (8 oz.) carton low-fat sour cream
1/4 c. dried breadcrumbs
1 T granulated sugar
1 T butter or margarine, melted
Preheat oven to 375*. Place blueberries in crust. Combine brown sugar, flour, vanilla extract, lemon rind, and sour cream. Mix well and spread over blueberries. Combine breadcrumbs, sugar, and butter or margarine to make topping. Bake at 475* for 40 minutes or until set and crumbs are lightly browned, let cool for 1 hour.

Finally, this morning I made my brothers and I some red, white, and blueberry pancakes for breakfast. I'm a firm believer that pancakes taste 10x better when made from scratch rather than from a mix (which is not to say I don't believe in the magic that is Bisquick, but still...), and I think this is the best recipe I've found for pancakes so far, at least when you're adding fruit.

11/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted, plus more for serving
2 cups fruit (today I used sliced strawberries and blueberries)
Pure maple syrup, for serving
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, milk and vanilla. Preheat a nonstick griddle over medium heat.Whisk the wet ingredients into the dry. Stir in the melted butter. The batter should be thick and smooth. Fold in the strawberries.Spoon the batter onto the griddle 1/4 cup at a time. Cook the pancakes until set and thoroughly bubbly, about 3 minutes. Flip them with a spatula and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes more. Serve with butter and maple syrup.

Have a safe, fun, food-family-and-friend-filled holiday! :)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Happier Reading

Since I finally finished Vanity Fair, I've moved on to reading Anne Bronte's Agnes Grey as my current thesis reading. This book is so much more enjoyable for me; first of all, the main character actually wants to be a governess. This is also my first experience with any of Anne's work, and now I can officially say that she, Charlotte, and Emily are all wonderful writers. I'm a little more than a third of the way through the book, and I'm already back to being engrossed in my thesis topic.

Lemon Bars and Ice "Cream"

Phew. I'm home for the weekend so I finally have a little bit more time (and ingredients) on my hands. Hopefully you'll be seeing quite a few updates this weekend.

Luckily, I took a picture of these when I did, because they're completely gone now--the recipe yields an entire pan and I made them yesterday afternoon, so they were pretty well received. These lemon bars were quite tasty, with [I think] just the right amount of lemon. I cut some of them into regular squares, but I thought this flower looked cute and summery :)

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter, melted

4 eggs
2 cups white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
5/8 cup lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9x13 inch pan.
In a medium bowl, stir together 2 cups flour and brown sugar. Blend in the melted butter. Press into the bottom of the prepared pan.
Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until golden. In a large bowl, beat eggs until light. Combine the sugar, baking powder and 1/4 cup of flour so there will be no flour lumps. Stir the sugar mixture into the eggs. Finally, stir in the lemon juice. Pour over the prepared crust and return to the oven.
Bake for an additional 30 minutes or until bars are set. Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars.

I don't know if you can really consider this on baking, but I "stumbled upon" this idea online, and given my love for banana ice cream I couldn't resist seeing if it would really work. This banana ice "cream" is made from just bananas, which were frozen, pureed, and then frozen again. It was pretty good, and it definitely worked to get the right consistency of ice cream, but next time I'd consider adding maybe just a little bit of skim milk and a pinch of sugar. You could definitely add some chocolate chips, other fruit, or a spoonful of peanut butter too to give it some variation.

Monday, June 28, 2010


I finished Vanity Fair. :)

Like a Giant Peanut Butter Cookie

I know this looks like a giant peanut butter cookie. Let me reassure you--it tastes like one too. I tried this delicious peanut butter bread warm and with just a little butter spread on top, and I'm not sure it could get better than that. However, I bet it would be tasty with a little jelly on it or a bit of honey. I found the original recipe here.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup quick-cooking oats
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 egg
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a bowl, combine the flour, oats, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut in the peanut butter until crumbly. Combine the egg, milk and vanilla; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.
Transfer to a greased loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack.

Now for some other news. Drumroll...this blog might finally be seeing some of the "pages" part that I originally intended! I'm finally finishing Vanity Fair tonight, and I'll be starting Anne Bronte's Agnes Grey tomorrow. I can't wait to move on to some new reading for my thesis, and actually just some new reading in general.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Crumbly Muffins

Yesterday morning I made these spice muffins to replace the scones that I didn't really like. I wish I had a few more spices on hand (mainly cloves) to add to them, and I also wish that I had included a little brown sugar and/or cinnamon in the crumb topping. However, they were pretty good and provided me and Katie Corr an adequate breakfast (and snack...and dessert...).

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup cold butter or margarine
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup buttermilk (or substitute)
1 egg, lightly beaten
In a bowl, combine flour and sugar; cut in butter until crumbly. Set aside 1/2 cup for topping. Add baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg to the remaining crumb mixture. Stir in buttermilk and egg just until moistened.
Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Sprinkle with reserved topping. Bake at 375 degrees F for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Busy Days

It's been a busy couple of days, so I haven't updated in a while, but I haven't stopped baking. Pat's grad party was last weekend, so I was busy with the family and friends from out of town, but I made these oatmeal raisin/chocolate chip cookies with my cousin Marissa.

On Monday, I moved out to my house in South Bend semi-permanently. When I finally got my power back, I made some scones so I'd have something to eat for breakfast.

To be honest, these were not that good. Since I'm still a little sparse on ingredients in the house, I had to substitute for baking powder, and I think that really messed with the taste. I have made these before, however, using the same recipe, and they turned out delicious, so I'm posting the recipe here.

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white sugar
5 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter
1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Lightly grease a baking sheet.
In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut in butter. Mix the egg and milk in a small bowl, and stir into flour mixture until moistened.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead briefly. Roll dough out into a 1/2 inch thick round. Cut into 8 wedges, and place on the prepared baking sheet.
Bake 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Change of Address

Kelly McGauley
Lula's Cafe
South Bend, IN

Starting the day with Vanity Fair, an "ebony and ivory" scone (dark and white chocolate chips), and a petite vanilla nut coffee. I'm moving in to Lula's this summer.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Mini-cinni Rolls

This morning I had jury duty, which was overall not so bad. I got a lot of reading done, and I got to witness stupidity in adults to a level that I feel should not exist. It was quite the interesting experience, and for a while it even looked like I might end up on a case, but in the end I got to go home after about five hours.

When I got home, I made these cinnamon rolls. They're mini, so they could be served almost like cookies, but they were pretty tasty and really easy.

I'm sure they'd be good with some sort of frosting or glaze, but I don't like mine quite that sweet, so I left them alone.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup butter flavored shortening
2/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup brown sugar
5 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease a baking sheet, or use parchment paper.
In a large bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt and cream of tartar. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Mix in milk and vanilla. Knead briefly on a floured surface. Roll out into a large rectangle, 1/2 inch thick. Spread softened butter onto surface of dough. Mix together brown sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle evenly over butter. Roll tightly, and cut into 12 equal slices. Place on prepared baking sheet.
Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

A Berry Good Quick Bread

I looked for recipes this morning that would use some of the berries we have in my house, because I'm feeling really summery today and I thought that would be a good plan. The recipe I went off of called their finished product "squares," but either because of the alterations I made or because of their descriptive error, mine turned out much more like a cake or a quick bread. I was a little disappointed but only because this was not quite the light, fluffy, berry dessert I had in mind. However, it was delicious nonetheless, and it was very easy. I think it would make a good breakfast/coffee cake type thing. The recipe I've included here has the alterations (and there were quite a few) that I made already included, but I started with this one.

3 tablespoons butter
1 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 pinch ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1/3 cup orange juice
1 1/4 cups fresh blackberries
Preheat oven to 325 degrees C (165 degrees C). Lightly grease one 8x8 inch baking pan.
In large bowl beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat well.
Combine the flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture and stir to combine. Mix in the vinegar and juice. Fold in the blackberries.
Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake at 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) for 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool.

On another note, I'm obviously I'm moving very slowly on Vanity Fair. It's not that I'm not enjoying it or that I'm not interested, I'm just not as involved in it as I usually get into a book.

In other reading news, on my way back from South Bend Thursday, I listened to the first six chapters of Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights, which I am really liking. I will finish it between my drives there and back this coming weekend. I've also been reading bits of the beginning of The Help by Kathryn Stockett, which is written beautifully. I think I am so focused on finishing Vanity Fair, though, that I'm having trouble letting myself become really immersed in any "fun reading" at the moment.