Sunday, August 31, 2008

DARING BAKERS Chocolate Eclairs

This months Daring Bakers challenge was Pierre Hermes Chocolate Eclairs. I quickly made time to make these because I was so anxious after reading the recipe. I have to admit, I thought that this challenge was going to be a piece of cake. So, off to the store to stock up on the ingredients that were needed. And luckily I did just that, you know, the stocking up thing. The choux proved to be the most difficult thing. One time, two times, three times and finally on the fourth time I end up with choux that finally puffed. The four times of making it were over about a week period. On the final effort I was intending for these to be a dessert that I would take to my cousins house for dinner that night....wrong! I finally got the shell made and then had trouble making the, this was proving to be the most difficult challenge yet for me! After many efforts and lack of time left in my schedule, I cheated. I pulled out the vanilla instant pudding and whipped that up. I finishing it off with making a chocolate glaze out of some Ghiradelli milk chocolate chips that I had in the pantry. I would love to try this recipe again once my kids are in school just to see if I can actually make them correctly.

Ready to add the eggs to the choux
Piped them so small and still didn't puff
Looked good in the oven still!
Finally, they stayed puffed after
35 minutes in oven
One almost chocolate eclair!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Wild Blueberry Pie Cook-off

At the beginning of August we usually travel to Michigan's Upper Peninsula to vacation and visit with the in-laws, as they have retired there now. One of the things that I especially love to do while we are there is to pick wild blueberries. This opportunity came again this year while the husband took off with the youngest of our 2 children to do some backwoods exploring. So, with the mother-in-law and oldest son in tow, off we went to find the perfect blueberry patch. We hit the jackpot of all blueberry patches right off the 2 track road that my father-in-law uses to go cut wood. We picked for over an hour and came back with enough to make 2 nice size pies. Pies that we made from just winging it with no cookbooks.

The mother-in-law only added sugar, butter and corn starch to her pie and used a refrigerator pie crust.

For my pie I made a double batch of super yummy food processor pie crust that I found on I added sugar, flour and lemon juice to my berries and covered with the double crust.

Monster Cookies

Yesterday I had an overwhelming desire to make something that I was given a recipe for a while back. The recipe comes from a great aunt and uncle's recipe box and from what I remembered it was yummy. I was served one of these cookies when I was a very young child. I couldn't believe how big the cookie was or why any adult would willingly give a child something that large. I don't remember the taste of the cookie at all, I just remember that I REALLY enjoyed every bite of that cookie. So, I emailed my uncle and he zipped off the recipe to me as follows:

Hi Lori: here is the original recipe. It makes a lot.
For 1/6 of the original recipe it calls for tsp of corn syrup.
12 eggs
1 # margarine
18 cups oatmeal
8 TBSP baking soda
1 TBSP Light Corn syrup
1 # M&M candies
2 # brown sugar
3 # peanut butter
4 cups white sugar
1 TBSP vanilla
1 # chocolate chips
1 # butterscotch chips
You can also add raisins, nuts, sunflower seeds and coconut.
Mix all ingredients, add oatmeal, candies and nuts last in a very large bowl.
Bake 350 for 10-15 min ( 16 min for "Big" cookies)
Makes 23 doz regular size. You can also use chocolate frosting on them after they have cooled
Get out the old calculator and downsize the recipe as I haven't found one for a smaller amount
Lots of luck, Uncle Fred

Well, I was overwhelmed by the amount that it makes, the amounts of the ingredients that I had to use and especially by the words "Lots of Luck" at the end of my uncles email. So, I got out the calculator and started dividing, adding, multiplying and finally came up with this recipe:

9 cups rolled oats
4 tsp baking soda
1 cup M&M's
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips (optional)
1 cup white chocolate chips (my addition to the recipe)
6 eggs
1 cup butter
2 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 cups white sugar
2 1/2 cups peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
Raisins, nuts, sunflower seeds and coconut may also be added :)

Mix together the oats, baking soda, chocolate chips, M&M's and whatever other add-in's you are using. Set this bowl aside. In another bowl, mix sugars, butter, vanilla, eggs and peanut butter. Combine the two mixtures. Either scoop with a large ice cream/cookie scoop or roll into small 1" balls. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven. Large cookies should cook for about 16-17 minutes and smaller cookies should take about 10-12 minutes. DON'T overcook or you will have very hard Frisbee's or hockey pucks!
These were taste tested by my family and my sisters family last night and got all thumbs up!