Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Rainbow Realta (aka the stash-busting blanket)

So in between all the baking I have done over the last 2 weeks, I have been trying to complete another afghan.  Back when I was completing this blue afghan  as a gift for my daughters teacher, my son decided that he  wanted a blanket for his end-of-the-year gift for his teacher too.  He didn't want a boring blanket though, his teacher "liked colours!".

I was on board with that, after all, I knew I had more then enough colours in the various yarn stashes around the apartment, and I had the perfect pattern for the job.

I found the pattern very easy to follow and it is very versatile to whatever colour pallet you have to work with.

The Realta afghan  created by the very talented Gingerbread Lady.  She is also the creator of the Kitties in a Row Blanket  that I made. ( shown in this post).  Check out her blog.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Mini Streusel Coffee Cakes

Well its the calm after the Bake Sale, all there is left to do is clean up the debris in the kitchen and try to ignore my kids pleas to have "just one more cupcake Mama...pullleeeeeze". (and ignore my own inner voice trying to sweet talk me into a strawberry lemonade bar....mmmmmmmmmm....lemons........)

The turn out this year for the Fun Fair was excellent even with all the black clouds looming over us. When the the deluge started I think we only lost about a third of the crowd, with the rest making a beeline into the school gym (which did wonders for bake sale table as there wasn't much of anything else for them to do while they waited for the rain to stop!)  And what a glorious feast we had laid out for everyone...cupcakes galore,cookies, pies, strudel, cakes, tarts, fudge, loaves, and squares of all sorts.

I only grabbed a few quick shots of a few of my favorite inspirations for future baking .

Cookie Monster!!!!!!! ( C is for cookie, that's good enough for me...)

At the beach  (we also had these made in Ice cream cones)

Formal strawberries.  These were such a huge hit.
  Such talented people!!!  

So as I was planning what I would bake for the sale, I rediscovered some mini baking pans that I bought a while ago.
They're round so i didn't want to do a loaf because i thought it would just end up looking like a short, squat muffin.....individual cinnamon rolls? idea but i didn't really like that either (maybe another time).  So Somehow i came up with mini coffee cakes.  

Yummy!!!!!!!!!   So much so in fact that my kids kinda ate their way through most of the first batch I made and so I had to do 2 more batches for the sale.

Streusel Coffee Cake     Recipe adapted from "Company's Coming - Muffins and More by Jean Pare"

butter or margarine   1/3 cup
sugar                        1/2 cup
egg                           1
flour                          1  1/2  cups
baking powder          2 tsp
salt                           1/2 tsp
milk                          3/4 cup

Cream butter, sugar and egg

In separate bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt.  Add to creamed mixture, alternating with milk.

Streusel Filling
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
The original recipe didn't call for this but after the first batch I decided they needed something extra.  Microwave the mixture until its runny enough for you to spoon/drizzle into batter

Fill greased liners about 1/4 full with batter then drizzle filling in.  Cover with more batter


packed brown sugar    1/2 cup
flour                            2 tbsp
cinnamon                     1 tsp
melted butter               3 tbsp
mix topping ingredients and sprinkle over the top of each cake.  Bake at 350 F for about 25 min ( or until lightly golden brown and toothpick comes out clean)  Makes 7 mini cakes.

The cake on the right is from the first batch.  I filled it slightly less and I smoothed out the batter before adding the topping.  The left is the second batch.  I filled it more and left it lumpy.  I like the look of this batch better.

Another new recipe that is going into the keeper binder!!!

I also made Snickerdoodles, King Squares and Lemon Loaves for the sale but didn't take pictures as I was doing them so those posts will have to wait for another  baking day.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Strawberry Lemonade Bars

So the kids' school is having their annual Family Fun Fair this Thursday and one of the highlights is the Bake Sale table.  I'm on the Parent Council which oversees this event and for the last couple of years I've had the pleasure of organizing the bake table.  I have and will be making lots of goodies for this event but I'll break each one down to its own post over the next few days.

Today I tried something new.  Strawberry Lemonade Bars.

(sorry for the camera phone shots, but my camera is being temperamental and is refusing to work even with brand new batteries.)

I've made lemon bars many times (and in fact I will be doing that post later)  but while looking around on bakebakebake  I came across this post for Strawberry Lemonade bars.   Hmmmmmmm......2 of my favorite things. 

I did make some adjustments to this recipe for this round of baking to take advantage of some strawberry jam that i had made with the kids last summer that never set (but kept in the freezer just waiting for this recipe!).  For this batch I used the jam and meant to omit the sugar (as the jam is full of it) but forgot and added the sugar anyways.  The end result?  I personally found it a bit on the sweet side although every one I got to play guinea pig  be a taste tester says they tasted great and not too sweet at all.

Also the recipe in the link is a halved recipe which was fine for me as I wanted to test it out, however i found that there just wasn't enough dough for the crust so i made a second batch of dough.  I used a brownie pan instead of the 8 x 8 recommended.  I left the filling as the halved amount.

The following is the recipe as I made it this time.
Crust - 4 tbsp sugar
           1/2 cup margarine (you could of course use butter)
           1 1/2 cup flour
            1/2 tsp salt

Cream butter and sugar

add flour and salt and mix until crumbly.  Press into tin foil lined brownie pan. (lining with foil allows you to lift the whole thing out of the pan to make cutting more easier) Bake at 350f/175C for 15-20 min or until edges are slightly golden brown,

  Filling - 1/2 cup lemon juice ( I used juice and pulp from 2 large lemons)
               zest from both lemons (about 2 tsp)
               1/4 cup strawberry jam mush :o)
                1/2 cup + 2 tbsp sugar
                2 eggs
               2 tbsp flour
                1/4 tsp baking powder
                1/8 tsp salt

blend first 5 ingredients, in separate bowl blend flour, baking powder and salt then add to lemon mixture stirring until smooth.  When crust is done, pour filling over it and return to oven for another 20-25 min or until filling is set.  Let it completely cool before moving to fridge.  Let chill a few hours to really set it.

I also had a few mini tart shells on hand and I filled a few of those.  Although I liked the tart shell I think I prefer the taste of the bar crust.

All in all this is a keeper and I will keep you all updated on any further tweaking that I do to it.  If any of you give it a go, I would love to hear from you about how you did.