Saturday, February 2, 2013

Lots of Baking

We're having a lovely Saturday morning.  The sun is shining, the Dear One is relaxing with the Toronto Globe and Mail, Saturday edition, a favourite activity of his.  I gave the living room a super cleaning yesterday, just short of "Spring Cleaning" as I didn't wash the walls, windows (it was too cold), or the blades of the ceiling fan. Nevertheless, it's a treat to have the room spic and span.

Saturday morning is a good time for me to do some baking.  I started by loading the bread maker with the ingredients for hamburger buns. I always use the bread maker to make dough, but never bake in it, just don't like how the bread turns out that way.

Once the dough was underway I started mixing a batch of cranberry/bran muffins.  I had made the cranberry sauce yesterday.  The recipe for both the cranberry muffins and cranberry sauce can be found in the post of March 10, 2012.  (I've never learned how to make a link to click on.  That would be a good idea, though.)

Once the muffins were in the oven, I rinsed out the mixing bowl and started a double batch of Cranberry/Orange loaf.  The recipe for that was posted on May 31, 2011.  I now always double the recipe, as long as I'm doing the mixing anyway.  I was baking it in two standard bread loaf pans, but always had trouble with the centre being too soggy while the outside was quite dark.  This time I used my "mini loaf" pan and two other small bread pans.  They turned out great! -- eight mini loaves and two small ones.

We like the hamburg buns to be quite large and flat.  I learned that in Chile.  So I don't let them rise very long.  I was holding back the first tray while I upped the oven temp. to 400 and quickly made a batch of 12 cherry tarts.  That was quite simple because I use the prepared tart shells.  They definitely have too much fat in them, but tart shells and other pastries are just not my thing.

We have two large containers of pitted Evans cherries in the freezer, put there last summer.  This is a great way to use them.  Here's my recipe for that:

Cherry Tarts
Mix 3 TBS sugar, 1 TB Minute Tapioca, 1TB corn starch in a medium saucepan.
Gradually stir in 1/2 cup of unsweetened cherry juice.
Bring to a boil and cook, stirring until thickened.
Add 1 1/2 cups of pitted Evans cherries and a 1/2 tsp of almond extract.
Spoon the cherry mix into 12 tart shells.  Bake in 400┬║ oven for 12-13 minutes.
Cool.  Eat up or put in the freezer.  They freeze well.  (They are good even when eaten frozen!)

The first picture also shows the closest I ever came to a fire in the kitchen.  See the scorched area of parchment paper on the tray to the right?  It's hanging over the left front side of the tray.  You can click on the picture to see it enlarged.  The tray on the right has been baked, the tray on the left is on its way into the oven.

This tray of buns was rising on the stove top, in a crosswise position where it caught the warm air from the oven.  I had just cooked the cherry filing for the tarts and forgot (!!!) to turn off the burner before I moved the bun tray into position.

OOOH!  I am SO grateful I caught it before it actually ignited.  That might have ruined the morning!

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