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Baker Meg takes a bow.

My friends, you may have noticed that I haven’t posted in a while. Well, the simple truth is, I probably won’t post for a while. Here are three reasons why.

1. Baking is a luxury, and I am recently and willfully unemployed. As much as I love two dozen cookies/muffins/brownies fresh out of the oven, I don’t need those items to survive each day, and baking ingredients cost dough. $$. Sad but true. Food prices are going up, in case you haven’t heard, and I need to eat more vegetables, milk, cereal, and maybe peanut butter in a non-baked fashion. Ok, and chocolate. Done.

2. Baking is hard to do on the go, and I’m moving. After almost 4 years in the District, I finally had my quarter-and-a-year life crisis. I’ll be fleeing the city in early May for….cough….an eco yoga park in Buenos Aires. Don’t ask me what ‘eco yoga park’ means, exactly, but I’m doing it. And then who knows what. Traveling around Argentina como una gringa soltera for a while, FOJ-ing, nannying, beaching, city-hopping on a budget, living. I don’t know. It’s probably stupid. And then I move to London in September to become a poor student again and live in a studio the size of my current studio kitchen. So that’s a lot of moving and down-sizing.

3. But amigo, don’t fret!! I’ll be back. Baker Meg Euro-style may be in the cards. Until then, ok bye. And thanks for listening to me ramble and bake. It’s been really fun. Please buy my multi-grain bread one day.

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le homemade cream puff.

The Cream Puff

A Simple Poem

By Megan Dold

O cream puff, I do love you

You hardly ever let me down.

Kind of healthy (?) and delicious

When you’re near I just can’t frown.

But then one day I tried to bake you

And you put up quite a fight

Nearly set C’s kitchen on fire

Almost ruined our day and night

But neither smoke nor tears would keep me

From another tray, a second time

And then you came out of the oven

looking perfect and sublime

So I still love you, this is true

But there’s one thing that I must say:

I’d rather buy frozen puffs from Costco

Bake something else and call it a day.

Fin.


So this is a bit of an “alternative” cream puff recipe, using vanilla pudding mix and all. The puffs actually did turn out very delicious in the end, but the process was…well, you know. I just wrote a second grade poem about it.

“Easy” Cream Puff Recipe

Adapted from AllRecipes.com

Makes about 25 cream puffs

Ingredients

2 (3.5 ounce packages instant vanilla pudding mix

2 cups heavy cream

1 cup milk

1/2 cup butter

1 cup water

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup all-purpose flour

4 eggs

Directions

1. Mix together vanilla instant pudding mix, cream and milk. Pour the mixture into a ziplock bag, place in the

refrigerator to set.

2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

3. In a large pot, bring water and butter to a rolling boil. Stir in flour and salt until the mixture forms a ball. Transfer the dough to a large mixing bowl. Using a wooden spoon or stand mixer, beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto a baking sheet with parchment paper.

4. Bake for 20 minutes in the oven, until golden brown. MONITOR CAREFULLY AS THEY MAY BURN SUDDENLY WITHOUT WARNING.

5. When the shells are cool, cut about 1/8 of an inch off the tip of the bag filled with the pudding mixture. Make a tiny incision on the bottom of the puff (or if they are already cracked a bit at the top, don’t bother) and squeeze a bit of cream into each puff. Voila.

I’ve been a negligent baker this month. I don’t have anyone or anything to blame, except maybe a work trip and mini-holiday here:

But before I went there, I made these:

for a Super Bowl party and forgot to blog about it. Note that these cookies are designed for true chocolate-lovers. The recipe is here.

‘Tis kind of a big day in Baker Meg history. For the first time ever I have successfully baked something healthy-ish and original by myself, without a recipe, and the result doesn’t taste like duck poop.

Back it up. Today was a pseudo snow-day for me, so I was only willing to bake something that required minimal effort and movement. Although OPM failed DC residents by and large, my generous employer permitted us to “telecommute” anyway, so I spent most of my day working in HIGHLY PRODUCTIVE 10 minute increments with some obligatory + creativity-inducing gchat/google reader/staring at the ceiling time in between.

After completing my successful work day at home, I remembered that I had all this pomegranate molasses left over from my cupcakes last week. I also had half a bag of white chocolate chips randomly in my cupboard. The two seemed complementary in my mind, so I went ahead and married them in a white-spelt flour wedding. And it was meant to be.

Pomegranate molasses white chocolate cookies

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup spelt four
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup pomegranate molasses
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375F. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in one bowl. In another large bowl, cream together butter, sugar, pomegranate molasses, and vanilla. Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix together until just combined. Fold in the white chocolate chips. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and add tablespoon-sized pieces of dough to the sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, until golden. Cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet, before transferring to a cooling rack.

When it comes to the vast kingdom of desserts, cupcakes rank low on my list. I’ve only posted one cupcake recipe on this blog before, and even that was more of an ambiguous ‘muffcake’ (half cupcake, half muffin). Perhaps I’m so dismissive of cupcakes because I tend to just eat the top part/frosting first (who doesn’t??) and then once that’s gone, well, there’s little point in eating the rest. This is why Panera chocolate chip muffies are the best thing ever. I digress.

But my blah cupcake attitude shifted ever so slightly upon receiving a petite cupcake glass dome for my birthday. It fits exactly 4 cupcakes. Even I will admit that it is much too pretty to collect dust on a shelf, so I had to bake something for it.

These “healthy” cupcakes have applesauce and whole wheat flour. Of course, the best part of these cupcakes is the frosting. It takes forever to make, but oh my gahwd. It’s good.

Almond Cupcakes with Pomegranate Frosting (adapted from Handle the Heat)

Makes 10 cupcakes
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white whole-wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line 10 muffin cups with liners.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

3. Beat together the sugar, butter, vanilla, and almond at high speed in a large bowl until well mixed.

4. Add eggs one at a time. Add the flour mixture with the applesauce, beating after each addition until just combined.

5. Pour batter into prepared muffin tin until each cup is 3/4 full and place in oven. Bake for 25 minutes. Let cool completely on rack before frosting.

Pomegranate Frosting
3 ounces 1/3 less fat cream cheese
1/4 cup confectioners sugar
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses (recipe below)
Beat the cream cheese and sugar with an electric hand mixer until well mixed and fluffy. Add the pomegranate molasses in and beat until incorporated. Ice the cupcakes.

Pomegranate Molasses
2 cups POM pomegranate juice
3 tablespoons sugar
splash of fresh lemon juice
1. Combine ingredients in a small saucepan set over medium heat. Bring liquid to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for about 40-50 minutes. Let cool to thicken, the use or store in the refrigerator.

honey roasted root vegetables

Root vegetable medley!

Yum!

Honey roasted root vegetables (adapted from Cooking Light)

Ingredients
2 cups  chopped peeled sweet potato
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped peeled turnip
1 1/2 cups  chopped parsnip
1 1/2 cups  chopped carrot
1/4 cup tupelo honey
2 tbso olive oil
1/2 tsp  salt
Cooking spray or butter

Preheat oven to 450°. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and toss to coat. Place vegetable mixture on a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 450° for 35-4o minutes or until vegetables are tender and begin to brown, stirring every 15 minutes.

Tilapia with a gazillion capers!

Yum!

Lightly breaded tilapia with capers

Ingredients
3/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup  lemon juice
lots of capers
2 tsp butter
1 tsp olive oil oil
2 (6-ounce) tilapia or sole fillets
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Preparation
Combine first 3 ingredients. Melt 1 teaspoon of butter with oil in a large nonstick skillet over low heat.

While butter melts, sprinkle fish fillets with salt and black pepper. Place the flour in a shallow dish. Dredge fillets in flour; shake off excess flour. Increase heat to medium-high; heat 2 minutes or until butter turns golden brown. Add fillets to pan; sauté 3 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Remove fillets from pan. Add broth mixture to pan, scraping to loosen browned bits. Bring to a boil; cook until reduced to 1/2 cup (about 3 minutes). Remove from heat. Serve sauce over fillets.

baked parsnip chips.

It’s official. I am obsessed with turning root vegetables into delicious oven-baked chips. Perfect with hummus. Perfect alone.

Seriously though. So easy, so healthy, so good. Next time I’m going to make an entire medley of baked root veggies at once. The baking sheet will look like a painting of autumn leaves (!) maybe. Sweet potatoes, carrots, beets, rutabagas…basically, whatever I can find from this list at the Teet.

Baked Parsnip Chips

Preheat oven to 400. Clean and slice 5 parsnips into thin, chip-like pieces. The thinner the better so that they can get crispy without burning. Mix chips in a large bowl with at least 3 tbsp olive oil–just use your judgment to coat all of the pieces. Lay evenly on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until chips are browning at the edges.