Monday, August 27, 2012

August Daring Bakers: Swans!



So, every month you see the "Mandatory blog checking lines" somewhere in my Daring Bakers posts.  The lines that follow the statement are used by the Daring Bakers coinstabualry to make sure we've completed teh challlenge each month.  The lines are composed by Lis of the Daring Bakers.  She's our chief baker and wonderwoman extraoridinaire.

Check out this month's Mandatory blog checking lines:

Kat of The Bobwhites was our August 2012 Daring Baker hostess who inspired us to have fun in creating pate a choux shapes, filled with crème patisserie or Chantilly cream. We were encouraged to create swans or any shape we wanted and to go crazy with filling flavors allowing our creativity to go wild!

Gulp.

Deep. Breath.

Gulp.

 
Yep.  I was this month's host.  How crazy is that?  Hosts are usually the elitest of the elite of the Daring Bakers.  It's not something I ever wanted to do, but I was called to do it so I jumped right in.  Luckily, there are a lot of safety nets!  Thanks, Lis, Audax, Scooney, and all the other bloggers who helped me out this month.

On top of the challenge, Mr Boom and I actually boarded a plane and flew to Hawaii to our niece's wedding.  In the seventeen years we've been married, Mr Boom and I have been on a plane exactly twice.  This was his first time flying over water.  Lis had to post the challenge for me since we were gone on August first, the day the post goes up. Oh, and and top of that?  BIG fires all around us this month.  Several friends lost homes, pets, and livestock.  We had foster animals at our house, and then were a few hours away from having to evacuate ourselves.

Interesting month.  Needed friends.  Had friends.  Was a friend.  It's all good.

Anyway, swans!



I've wanted to make pate a choux swans since I was in third grade.  Thirty two years later, I'm finally getting around to it.  What I found to be even more exciting than my own sense of accomplishment, was the thrill of seeing other bakers' amazing creations.  We had ladybugs, crabs, sharks...we had chocolate, vanilla, berry....we had it all and we had a lot of fun.

Here's the challenge as presented.  I hope you'll try it out!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Daring Bakers August challenge: Crackers!

I'VE GONE CRACKERS!

Actually, all of us Daring Bakers have gone crackers! 

Blog-checking lines: Our July 2012 Daring Bakers’ Host was Dana McFarland and she challenged us to make homemade crackers! Dana showed us some techniques for making crackers and encouraged to use our creativity to make each cracker our own by using ingredients we love.

This month's challenge was a heck of a lot of fun, and extremely timely for me. Since my cow is off at summer camp with a very handsome bull, I decided to lease a goat.  The ideas was that she'd eat down the pasture while the bovines were absent. This wasn't an animal I'd keep...just a weed eater and a milking trainer for me.  What better animal to learn to milk on than a sweet little goat who loves her job? This way I'd be ready for that crazy cow when she returned home! 

We were NOT to fall in love with the goat. 

Absolutely not...

Anyway, I made two types of crackers and several types of goat cheese. Based on a Smitten Kitchen recipe, I made Crisp Rosemary Flatbreads.  YUM!

Then, based on several different Ritz rip-off recipes, I made some ritzy crackers.

The ritzy crackers were okay, but the flatbreads were divine!  But is there anything from Deb that isn't????  If you haven't made her graham crackers yet, please just do that now. I made those when we did the Nanaimo Bars for Daring Bakers.  Sooooo good. 


To go with the crackers, I made mozzarella, ricotta, and to types of pressed curd cheeses.  If Blogger wasn't such a pain in the butter, I'd show you more pics, but I can't take any more of this!

Tanya: I think you're just about the only person who reads this lost and dejected blog, and this message is just for you.  I'm hosting DB next month, and if you want in on the action you have to sign up before the end of the month! 

Cheese and crackers.

Cheese OR crackers?

Which would you rather be?

Oh, and by the way?  We're keeping the goat.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Daring Bakers June challenge: Battenberg cakes


The June Daring Bakers challenge was so yummy, and was one of the challenges that showcased individual bakers' kitchen personalities to the hilt.  Choose a flavor, choose a color, choose a shape...

Blog-checking lines:
Mandy of What The Fruitcake?! came to our rescue last minute to present us with the Battenberg Cake challenge! She highlighted Mary Berry’s techniques and recipes to allow us to create this unique little cake with ease.


Battenberg cakes are essentially a charming combination of two or more types of cake, presented in a neat little checkerboard pattern, with a choice of filling and a firm covering wrapped around. For my first attempt, I made a pink and yellow Battenberg, covered with my first attempt ever at making a fondant.  The cake was so pretty, and the apricot glaze between the layers was super tasty in combination with the almond and vanilla cakes.
My second attempt was a chocolate and coconut rendition of an Almond Joy candy bar.  I simply altered the original recipe by adding some unsweetened toasted coconut to the cake batter, and then adding some unsweetened cocoa powder to one half of the batter.
Yum.


This post has taken just short of three hours to put up. It was due a month ago, but I had do many problems I gave up.  Since I'm hosting Daring Bakers in August, I decided I'd better get caught up. This has been just short of hell.

I'm not in love with Blogger. 

I am in love with Daring Bakers and Battenberg Cakes!