dreamcatchings: (spn: cas cell)
I'll admit it: Thin Mints are the only Girl Scout cookie that I think is worth a damn. I don't like coconut, caramel makes my throat burn slightly and if I want peanut butter cookies, I'll make them. The shortbread are decent but there are tons of shortbread cookies out there so it's not an issue. Then there are the Thin Mints, which I have always preferred to Grasshoppers. But just try and find GS cookies. When it is GS season, I can't locate the ruddy brats and the prices are always going up while the number of cookies I get in a box continues to decrease. It's not shiny happy fun time by a long shot.

So this year I decided that I would try to make my own. My kitchen is covered in chocolate. Normally this wouldn't be an issue because, well, what can possibly be bad about things being covered in chocolate, but it is a bit of a mess and certainly annoying. I consider myself to be a little bit above average when it comes to baking and the like, but I am a drop cookie by and large. These are not drop cookies. They involve kneading and chilling and rolling and then dipping.

The recipe I was using warned that the dough would be crumbly, which was a bit of an understatement. I ended up having to add a little Crisco to the dough to get it to pull together enough to be rolled out. Then there's the fact that I'm not sure making my own is any cheaper. It might cost me more. I got about four and a half dozen cookies. The meltable chocolate to dip them in was almost $4 by itself. I think I'm already over budget.

I haven't melted and ducked the cookies yet. I'm sort of dreading that step.

ETA: Coating the cookies? Yeah. Nightmare. Haven't eaten them yet obviously but not anything I care to repeat.
dreamcatchings: (Default)
I'll admit it: Thin Mints are the only Girl Scout cookie that I think is worth a damn. I don't like coconut, caramel makes my throat burn slightly and if I want peanut butter cookies, I'll make them. The shortbread are decent but there are tons of shortbread cookies out there so it's not an issue. Then there are the Thin Mints, which I have always preferred to Grasshoppers. But just try and find GS cookies. When it is GS season, I can't locate the ruddy brats and the prices are always going up while the number of cookies I get in a box continues to decrease. It's not shiny happy fun time by a long shot.

So this year I decided that I would try to make my own. My kitchen is covered in chocolate. Normally this wouldn't be an issue because, well, what can possibly be bad about things being covered in chocolate, but it is a bit of a mess and certainly annoying. I consider myself to be a little bit above average when it comes to baking and the like, but I am a drop cookie by and large. These are not drop cookies. They involve kneading and chilling and rolling and then dipping.

The recipe I was using warned that the dough would be crumbly, which was a bit of an understatement. I ended up having to add a little Crisco to the dough to get it to pull together enough to be rolled out. Then there's the fact that I'm not sure making my own is any cheaper. It might cost me more. I got about four and a half dozen cookies. The meltable chocolate to dip them in was almost $4 by itself. I think I'm already over budget.

I haven't melted and ducked the cookies yet. I'm sort of dreading that step.
dreamcatchings: (g/c: happier days)
If you have any knowledge of me and did not just stumble onto my journal randomly and are brand spanking new then you know I do a lot of baking. Cookies, cakes, brownies, breads, etc. I love baking. It's so much like chemistry. I like the orderliness of it even though I know that chemical reactions always have a chance of failing. I've had baking failures. I readily admit to them even though they might reduce me to tears or swearing like a sailor while I pace around my kitchen muttering darkly and dangerously.

Something you might not know about me is that my hands do not like me or, at least, they do not like me when I am kneading bread. They get all stiff and sore and aching. Both sides of my family have hand issues so I should expect it, but it still pisses me off. My current stand mixer (oh bless you, Sunbeam) is older than me. It's from the 60's and was my paternal grandmother's. My father and uncle thought I should have it after she passed. It's a workhorse, but it can't do bread dough. I fear every single Christmas that I will kill it by making it go through Cookiepaloza. I also have a bread machine, which is decent for kneading bread but can pretty much only do one loaf at a time. This gets totally annoying when my dad asks me to bring him two loaves of something because it means an entire day of waiting for the bread machine, second rise, shape, bake, wash the bread machine pan and repeat. I'm not a fan.

So I started researching stand mixers. KithenAids have mixed reviews and, really, the general consensus on the wide world of wonder web is that they're not really fit for bread, which does not suit my purposes. Sunbeam doesn't offer the capacity that I need. Viking, once again, seems to be less fit for bread than what I was hoping. Cuisanart has decent reviews but, again, it's mostly aimed toward other than bread baking. After a lot of research, I decided that the Bosch Universal Mixer was probably the best machine for me given what I want to do with it. It doesn't come in pretty colors, and it looks a little like something that should be on STNG but the reviews are good, especially for bread. I have dithered on and off about a new stand mixer for awhile now as it is a bit of an extravagant expense. However after once again fearing the good old Sunbeam would quiet during Cookiepaloza, I decided that once the tax refunds came back I would be stand mixer bound.

They did.

I ordered my Bosch earlier today. I hate making big purchases, but I really think I'm going to love this little beauty.
dreamcatchings: (Default)
If you have any knowledge of me and did not just stumble onto my journal randomly and are brand spanking new then you know I do a lot of baking. Cookies, cakes, brownies, breads, etc. I love baking. It's so much like chemistry. I like the orderliness of it even though I know that chemical reactions always have a chance of failing. I've had baking failures. I readily admit to them even though they might reduce me to tears or swearing like a sailor while I pace around my kitchen muttering darkly and dangerously.

Something you might not know about me is that my hands do not like me or, at least, they do not like me when I am kneading bread. They get all stiff and sore and aching. Both sides of my family have hand issues so I should expect it, but it still pisses me off. My current stand mixer (oh bless you, Sunbeam) is older than me. It's from the 60's and was my paternal grandmother's. My father and uncle thought I should have it after she passed. It's a workhorse, but it can't do bread dough. I fear every single Christmas that I will kill it by making it go through Cookiepaloza. I also have a bread machine, which is decent for kneading bread but can pretty much only do one loaf at a time. This gets totally annoying when my dad asks me to bring him two loaves of something because it means an entire day of waiting for the bread machine, second rise, shape, bake, wash the bread machine pan and repeat. I'm not a fan.

So I started researching stand mixers. KithenAids have mixed reviews and, really, the general consensus on the wide world of wonder web is that they're not really fit for bread, which does not suit my purposes. Sunbeam doesn't offer the capacity that I need. Viking, once again, seems to be less fit for bread than what I was hoping. Cuisanart has decent reviews but, again, it's mostly aimed toward other than bread baking. After a lot of research, I decided that the Bosch Universal Mixer was probably the best machine for me given what I want to do with it. It doesn't come in pretty colors, and it looks a little like something that should be on STNG but the reviews are good, especially for bread. I have dithered on and off about a new stand mixer for awhile now as it is a bit of an extravagant expense. However after once again fearing the good old Sunbeam would quiet during Cookiepaloza, I decided that once the tax refunds came back I would be stand mixer bound.

They did.

I ordered my Bosch earlier today. I hate making big purchases, but I really think I'm going to love this little beauty.
dreamcatchings: (red dwarf: got it wrong)
I've had what I'm going to consider a busy weekend so far.

On Thursday I ran errands and got the car's tires fixed. Finally. It took two trips for them to notice what was wrong and fix it. It's only a $20ish fix, though, so it never bothers me too much. When I was there two weeks ago, I paid $10 for a tire rotation so I don't think they're ripping me off. It was just that the hole or issue or whatever wasn't big enough to find last time and this time it was. When I get new tires, I'm going there. I trust them.

I also started getting some apps together for a new RP game that [livejournal.com profile] mizzmarvel pointed me at. I think it'll be a lot of fun. I seriously miss RPing.

Friday was getting the taxes done, cleaning the oven (it was terrible and needs its own post), making the first king cake of the season and then, yep, doing two more apps for the RP game mentioned above.

Taxes are a major argh, though. My work keeps withholding money for Kentucky instead of Indiana, which ends up screwing me over because I owe Indiana enough that they penalize me for it. I basically have to file Kentucky, Indiana and Federal. Kentucky and Federal give me money back and then I have to turn around and pay a whole year to Indiana at once. It bites. I have to go yell at work about getting it fixed on Monday again. I did it last year, too. Hopefully this year it will stick because I hate pay $177 to get my taxes prepared when they're actually simply enough I can do them myself other than the whole multiple state thing.

Today I have already been to the post to mail Kentucky taxes (no online return for them, wtf) and [livejournal.com profile] mizzmarvel's Christmas/birthday box since the item I was waiting for finally arrived. Then I need to make this week;s lunches, do dishes and get RP stuff going.

Of course my monthly helper is doing its best to sap all my energy and making me hate sitting in my desk chair so grrrr.
dreamcatchings: (Default)
I've had what I'm going to consider a busy weekend so far.

On Thursday I ran errands and got the car's tires fixed. Finally. It took two trips for them to notice what was wrong and fix it. It's only a $20ish fix, though, so it never bothers me too much. When I was there two weeks ago, I paid $10 for a tire rotation so I don't think they're ripping me off. It was just that the hole or issue or whatever wasn't big enough to find last time and this time it was. When I get new tires, I'm going there. I trust them.

I also started getting some apps together for a new RP game that [personal profile] mizzmarvel pointed me at. I think it'll be a lot of fun. I seriously miss RPing.

Friday was getting the taxes done, cleaning the oven (it was terrible and needs its own post), making the first king cake of the season and then, yep, doing two more apps for the RP game mentioned above.

Taxes are a major argh, though. My work keeps withholding money for Kentucky instead of Indiana, which ends up screwing me over because I owe Indiana enough that they penalize me for it. I basically have to file Kentucky, Indiana and Federal. Kentucky and Federal give me money back and then I have to turn around and pay a whole year to Indiana at once. It bites. I have to go yell at work about getting it fixed on Monday again. I did it last year, too. Hopefully this year it will stick because I hate pay $177 to get my taxes prepared when they're actually simply enough I can do them myself other than the whole multiple state thing.

Today I have already been to the post to mail Kentucky taxes (no online return for them, wtf) and [personal profile] mizzmarvel's Christmas/birthday box since the item I was waiting for finally arrived. Then I need to make this week;s lunches, do dishes and get RP stuff going.

Of course my monthly helper is doing its best to sap all my energy and making me hate sitting in my desk chair so grrrr.
dreamcatchings: (misc: once upon a time)
It's another weekend full of baking for me. So far I've made Casatiello bread, which takes about 6 hours and thusly should never, ever be started at 9pm. Next time I make it I'll endeavor to remember that. I am currently baking a New York style cheesecake, which is hugely tall and has to be left in the oven for five hours after its cooking time of one hour ends. Tomorrow or tonight I have plans to make gumbo as lunch for the upcoming work week.

I need to figure out plans for this week's breakfasts, but I might just eat the Special K meal bars I bought. I meant to get more of the protein shakes, but I forgot them each time I went to the store.

I've been trying to get my ebooks in order. It's a much larger endeavor than I ever would have imagined, but it really needs to be done so I can easily locate things and stop adding the same files to Calibre over and over again. That gets annoying because then I have to go through and update the book information anyway. Grrrr.

Nothing much happening. I'm ready for winter to be over any minute now because the threat of snow and ice is getting totally old. I should move somewhere warmer. I just hate moving.
dreamcatchings: (Default)
It's another weekend full of baking for me. So far I've made Casatiello bread, which takes about 6 hours and thusly should never, ever be started at 9pm. Next time I make it I'll endeavor to remember that. I am currently baking a New York style cheesecake, which is hugely tall and has to be left in the oven for five hours after its cooking time of one hour ends. Tomorrow or tonight I have plans to make gumbo as lunch for the upcoming work week.

I need to figure out plans for this week's breakfasts, but I might just eat the Special K meal bars I bought. I meant to get more of the protein shakes, but I forgot them each time I went to the store.

I've been trying to get my ebooks in order. It's a much larger endeavor than I ever would have imagined, but it really needs to be done so I can easily locate things and stop adding the same files to Calibre over and over again. That gets annoying because then I have to go through and update the book information anyway. Grrrr.

Nothing much happening. I'm ready for winter to be over any minute now because the threat of snow and ice is getting totally old. I should move somewhere warmer. I just hate moving.
dreamcatchings: (scully: smart is sexy)
Here comes the snow. When I woke up I was a little disappointed with the news forecasters because there was just a light dusting over things. Now, though, the flakes they are a-coming. I am glad that this storm didn't occur until I was off. Woo! I won't have to call in or stress myself out over driving in it.

Things I'm planning to cook this weekend:


  • chocolate chip sweet rolls
  • eggnog
  • queso
  • Asian chicken and steamed veg



That's the plan anyway. I may end up making some bread, too. We'll see. I tend to make bread and then not really eat it. Add to that the fat that I'm been eating Special K cereal for dinners when I get home after work and Special K protein drinks for breakfast during the work week and then likely ruin the good strides over my weekend when I want to play and try new things. The thing I'm most looking forward to? Using my dutch oven for the first time. The sweet roll recipe calls to make the dough in the dutch oven. Yay!

I need a cooking/baking icon stat! Or if I can't find a good one, I might need something from Pushing Daisies.
dreamcatchings: (Default)
Here comes the snow. When I woke up I was a little disappointed with the news forecasters because there was just a light dusting over things. Now, though, the flakes they are a-coming. I am glad that this storm didn't occur until I was off. Woo! I won't have to call in or stress myself out over driving in it.

Things I'm planning to cook this weekend:


  • chocolate chip sweet rolls
  • eggnog
  • queso
  • Asian chicken and steamed veg



That's the plan anyway. I may end up making some bread, too. We'll see. I tend to make bread and then not really eat it. Add to that the fat that I'm been eating Special K cereal for dinners when I get home after work and Special K protein drinks for breakfast during the work week and then likely ruin the good strides over my weekend when I want to play and try new things. The thing I'm most looking forward to? Using my dutch oven for the first time. The sweet roll recipe calls to make the dough in the dutch oven. Yay!

I need a cooking/baking icon stat! Or if I can't find a good one, I might need something from Pushing Daisies.
dreamcatchings: (paige: all i am)
I'm one of those people who ends up getting too emotionally involved in things. I can't help it; it's simply the way I am. When my favorite characters in television series, comics or books die, I don't just cry. I mourn them. I have stopped reading comic book series and stopped acknowledging certain episodes for the simple fact that I take it as a personal attack when something I have grown to love betrays me. In the case of my television shows and various books the writers have betrayed me. They have played with my heartstrings and then abandoned me to all the blue days. They showcase the importance of sacrifice or just the typically causalities of war, and I hate them for it.

I also emotionally invest myself in my baking. I have thrown fits and cried hot tears over cakes and breads and pastries. A cake that won't come out of the pan in one piece upsets me just as much if not more than losing a favorite character. This is not a reaction of mine that has improved with age although I do have to admit that I have stopped throwing things. I suppose I'll have the admit that as a little victory.

I can't understand why it gets to me so much when I fail at baking but a botched recipe is a death to me. It's not just the wasted money, though that does hurt because I (like everyone else I know) am on a budget so while having to go buy more flour and eggs and milk won't financially destroy me, it does knock things out of whack. It means another meal in rather than splurging to eat out or it means that I have to wait another month to buy jeans. It all adds up. I am desperately tight with my money. The last thing in the whole wide world that I want is not to be able to pay my bills. (I have a whole diatribe on capitalism, but I'll go into that another day.)

Baking disasters are like deaths to me, and I suppose that I do go right through the grieving process with them: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and finally Acceptance. With me Anger is typically replaced by overwhelming, crushing guilt.

The latest disaster of mine comes in the form of a cookie. I thought it was going to be moderately simple cookie. The recipe didn't look hard. It looked a little time consuming but nothing too horrendous. I'm making tiramisu, you see, and no one carries ladyfingers. (I take that back. I found a store that carries them, but it's not a part of Louisville that I want to be driving in because it cause a panic attack all on its own.) So I decided to make them.

My kitchen is currently covered in ladyfinger batter, my fingertips are slightly burnt and there are some very flat ladyfingers in tupperware containers. In short I want to cry and have now lost the wind beneath my wings that was carrying me forward on this recipe. And there's another thing: I have come to efffing HATE piping bags. I used to not like them but respect them. I used them every now and again with a nice buttercream for some very shoddy decorating work. We had a cordial working relationship. It was one where you say hello and smile when you pass on the stairs. Now we're at the point where if the piping bag was my co-worker, I would follow them home and tire iron their car while they slept and possible set their house on fire with them in it. (Note: There are no co-workers I have who I want to do this to.)

It started out good. There were egg whites and my stand mixer. There were peaks. I swear there were peaks. I added sugar and there were still peaks. It seemed fine. I added the egg yolks and then I added the flour. I'm not sure where everything turned into one of those disaster movies where the sky is falling. I don't know if I didn't whip the whites enough or if I folded the flour in too much, but I recognized that "Louisville, we have a problem," when I went to try and load the batter into the pastry bag.

Let's start with the fact that I should have put the parchment paper on the cookie sheets before adding the batter to the bag. In my defense I expected the batter to stay in the effing bag. The piping bag is apparently not Alcatraz in that everyone, even the blind, can escape the piping bag. The piping bag is a very shitty jailer. It basically doesn't care. The piping bag is that mother you pass in Wal-Mart who has given up. Her brood of children are yelling, running, playing with knives and basically being little jackasses yet all she does is stand there, a look on her face that says all she wants is to head for the aisle with the crappy beer, pop one open and smoke. If someone happens to steal her children while she does that, so be it. She'll miss them later but right now she's had more than she can humanly bear. This, my friends, is the piping bag only it's constantly in this state of mind. It never cares. It has always given up.

So I loaded the piping bag and doubts were already forming in my mind. It was runny. It was coming out of the tip and generally just getting everywhere. Then the parchment paper was too wide for my cookie sheets. The cookies were runny. They looked nothing like the wonderfully crisp ones in the picture on the website whose recipe I was following. They looked like puddles. Puddles of fail. The bowl of batter also looked like fail.

The whole thing was turning into the sort of hellish nightmare where you start to wish Freddy would show up in just so he can kill your ass and put you out of your misery.

I'm a tenacious person, though. I did what I always do: I continue. Oh, I got onto FB and made an update in regards to it as well as this entry I'm typing up now, but I continued cooking the little fuckers even when the piping bag decided that the top was as good a place to allow batter out of as the bottom and covered my hands in ick. I should not be surprised, though, since the piping bag is of the opinion that the entire world is its cookie sheet.

I made a number of lackluster ladyfingers. I haven't counted them, but I know it's not enough. I need to wipe down the entire kitchen to get the batter off, and I still need to make a sponge cake as a ladyfinger substitute since I don't have enough ladyfingers to complete the tiramisu, and there is no way in HELL I am trying that recipe again today.

I meant to make this funnier, but my journey towards the acceptance part of this death was a little less comical than the last kitchen disaster I experienced. Maybe one day I'll stop mourning them and berating myself. Until then I'll just keep writing it out.
dreamcatchings: (Default)
I'm one of those people who ends up getting too emotionally involved in things. I can't help it; it's simply the way I am. When my favorite characters in television series, comics or books die, I don't just cry. I mourn them. I have stopped reading comic book series and stopped acknowledging certain episodes for the simple fact that I take it as a personal attack when something I have grown to love betrays me. In the case of my television shows and various books the writers have betrayed me. They have played with my heartstrings and then abandoned me to all the blue days. They showcase the importance of sacrifice or just the typically causalities of war, and I hate them for it.

I also emotionally invest myself in my baking. I have thrown fits and cried hot tears over cakes and breads and pastries. A cake that won't come out of the pan in one piece upsets me just as much if not more than losing a favorite character. This is not a reaction of mine that has improved with age although I do have to admit that I have stopped throwing things. I suppose I'll have the admit that as a little victory.

I can't understand why it gets to me so much when I fail at baking but a botched recipe is a death to me. It's not just the wasted money, though that does hurt because I (like everyone else I know) am on a budget so while having to go buy more flour and eggs and milk won't financially destroy me, it does knock things out of whack. It means another meal in rather than splurging to eat out or it means that I have to wait another month to buy jeans. It all adds up. I am desperately tight with my money. The last thing in the whole wide world that I want is not to be able to pay my bills. (I have a whole diatribe on capitalism, but I'll go into that another day.)

Baking disasters are like deaths to me, and I suppose that I do go right through the grieving process with them: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and finally Acceptance. With me Anger is typically replaced by overwhelming, crushing guilt.

The latest disaster of mine comes in the form of a cookie. I thought it was going to be moderately simple cookie. The recipe didn't look hard. It looked a little time consuming but nothing too horrendous. I'm making tiramisu, you see, and no one carries ladyfingers. (I take that back. I found a store that carries them, but it's not a part of Louisville that I want to be driving in because it cause a panic attack all on its own.) So I decided to make them.

My kitchen is currently covered in ladyfinger batter, my fingertips are slightly burnt and there are some very flat ladyfingers in tupperware containers. In short I want to cry and have now lost the wind beneath my wings that was carrying me forward on this recipe. And there's another thing: I have come to efffing HATE piping bags. I used to not like them but respect them. I used them every now and again with a nice buttercream for some very shoddy decorating work. We had a cordial working relationship. It was one where you say hello and smile when you pass on the stairs. Now we're at the point where if the piping bag was my co-worker, I would follow them home and tire iron their car while they slept and possible set their house on fire with them in it. (Note: There are no co-workers I have who I want to do this to.)

It started out good. There were egg whites and my stand mixer. There were peaks. I swear there were peaks. I added sugar and there were still peaks. It seemed fine. I added the egg yolks and then I added the flour. I'm not sure where everything turned into one of those disaster movies where the sky is falling. I don't know if I didn't whip the whites enough or if I folded the flour in too much, but I recognized that "Louisville, we have a problem," when I went to try and load the batter into the pastry bag.

Let's start with the fact that I should have put the parchment paper on the cookie sheets before adding the batter to the bag. In my defense I expected the batter to stay in the effing bag. The piping bag is apparently not Alcatraz in that everyone, even the blind, can escape the piping bag. The piping bag is a very shitty jailer. It basically doesn't care. The piping bag is that mother you pass in Wal-Mart who has given up. Her brood of children are yelling, running, playing with knives and basically being little jackasses yet all she does is stand there, a look on her face that says all she wants is to head for the aisle with the crappy beer, pop one open and smoke. If someone happens to steal her children while she does that, so be it. She'll miss them later but right now she's had more than she can humanly bear. This, my friends, is the piping bag only it's constantly in this state of mind. It never cares. It has always given up.

So I loaded the piping bag and doubts were already forming in my mind. It was runny. It was coming out of the tip and generally just getting everywhere. Then the parchment paper was too wide for my cookie sheets. The cookies were runny. They looked nothing like the wonderfully crisp ones in the picture on the website whose recipe I was following. They looked like puddles. Puddles of fail. The bowl of batter also looked like fail.

The whole thing was turning into the sort of hellish nightmare where you start to wish Freddy would show up in just so he can kill your ass and put you out of your misery.

I'm a tenacious person, though. I did what I always do: I continue. Oh, I got onto FB and made an update in regards to it as well as this entry I'm typing up now, but I continued cooking the little fuckers even when the piping bag decided that the top was as good a place to allow batter out of as the bottom and covered my hands in ick. I should not be surprised, though, since the piping bag is of the opinion that the entire world is its cookie sheet.

I made a number of lackluster ladyfingers. I haven't counted them, but I know it's not enough. I need to wipe down the entire kitchen to get the batter off, and I still need to make a sponge cake as a ladyfinger substitute since I don't have enough ladyfingers to complete the tiramisu, and there is no way in HELL I am trying that recipe again today.

I meant to make this funnier, but my journey towards the acceptance part of this death was a little less comical than the last kitchen disaster I experienced. Maybe one day I'll stop mourning them and berating myself. Until then I'll just keep writing it out.

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Sara

July 2012

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