Sunday, August 2, 2009

Weekend (Baking) Report

Yesterday was a genuinely beautiful day, and yet I had trouble forcing myself to leave the house because of the hoards of tourists swarming the island and hoards of mosquitoes swarming my yard. I couldn't motivate myself to go to the beach because I can't put sunscreen on my own back, and anyway, I was completely engrossed in the final Harry Potter book, which I had to read after seeing Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince last week. I had also been wanting to try a few recipes, so it was a perfect excuse to save my skin from the sun & mosquitoes and get some reading done while things were in the oven.

First recipe up was a mango bread that I found on the food blog Joy The Baker. I had a couple of mangoes kicking around that I had contemplated turning into mango bellinis, but when I saw this recipe it won out. (Baked goods > alcohol, at least in my book). I got the dry ingredients mixed and was about to add the wet ones when I realized that I didn't have enough oil, and I didn't have any apple sauce either to substitute. (I'm very bad at reading through recipes and checking for ingredients before diving in.) Since I had just gotten back from town and dealing with traffic/tourists, I couldn't stomach another trip in, so I put that one aside until Erik could bring home the missing ingredients after work. Fast forward a few hours (2 other baking projects, a trip to the beach, a lot more Harry Potter reading), I finished making the bread, and put it in the oven at 9, just as Erik and I were sitting down to souffle and salad (more on that later). A bottle and a half of wine later (aka an hour and a half and a little bit later) I realized it was time (or really, past time) to pull it out. Slightly overbaked, "caramelized" on top, it was still delicious. I can't take any credit for this recipe at all, but the link to find the recipe is right here:  

Mango Bread

The bread has good texture, lots of rich gingery/spicy flavor, and I bet it would be equally good with peaches, or even with no fruit at all. All in all, two thumbs up!

But rewind a bit. When I realized that I was short some canola oil, I switched over to try some banana oatmeal cookies from Cooking Light that reminded me of my signature banana bread, but in cookie form. I'm entirely too lazy to copy out the recipe, but here's the link: 

Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

  One great thing about them was how quickly they came together--10 minutes or so and they were ready to go in the oven. Also, since they don't spread much, I could fit lots on the cookie sheet (using my NEW silicone mat, thank you, Liz!!) They were delicious right out of the oven, but I found by today they had dried out a tad too much, and their banana flavor increased a lot overnight, so I would probably make them with the purpose of eating them the same day (ie, when I knew I would have lots of people to feed them too.)

And finally, in between these two projects I made a classic cheese souffle, which sadly turned out to be a flop (in the most literal sense, since we're talking about souffles here). Something was a little off, because my egg whites just never got as stiff as they should have, and I think I rushed the cheese sauce, because it was a lot runnier than I remembered. For once I actually followed the recipe quantities perfectly (other than halving it), but it was just not meant to be. Although it puffed up in the oven it collapsed as soon as I pulled it out. While collapse is inevitable, this one fell with unmatched and previously unseen speed. The texture was more like scrambled eggs and was even a little watery, which was also a first for one of my souffles. Anyway, I'll stop discrediting myself by describing my less-than-stellar souffle, and I promise that when I try it again it will be blog-worthy.

So overall,
Mango Bread: A
Banana Cookies: B
Souffle (texture): C-
(taste): A-

And that's the weekend baking report!

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