Saturday, February 1, 2014

Dreaming of Yarn, Covered in Flour

In my Couchworld, life plods along, marked occasionally by little trips to new places, visits to cafes, knitting, crochet, sewing, and baking.

Sometimes, anyway.

In the real world, I wake up early, I work out at the gym for an hour, I go to work, I come home and walk the dog, cook the dinner, do some yoga, pack my bags for the next day, and go to bed. It's a busy day, seldom tedious, but... busy.

This week, I've made sure I spent at least a couple of evenings working on my current crochet project. It's slowly coming together, but I wish I had a finished object to share... maybe next week...

But let us not lament, for I have baking photos to share! Hurray for the baking!

My KitchenAid mixer is still sitting broken and gutted on my dining room table. I have the gear for it, but I'm waiting for some food-grade grease to arrive so that it can all be put together with some fresh grease. I dithered about just getting some regular motor grease, but frankly, the thought of it potentially dripping down into my batter was not that appealing.

So for now, I make bread the old-fashioned way, with good ol' muscle power, kneading by hand until I get sick of it it reaches the proper elasticity before I set it to rise. In a recent wander through town, I picked up this little do-hickey for making bread:

That, friends, is a dough whisk. It looks like an instrument of torture, but I actually got it for when I make my Dutch oven bread that doesn't require kneading. I've found that it comes in handy for my day-to-day bread, as it really does a good job of mixing the ingredients thoroughly until it comes together enough to knead.

So, I made bread last Sunday, but while I was at it, I decided to use some of the rising time to make another recipe I've been slowly collecting ingredients for: Skinny Cranberry Bliss Bars. They're less than half the calories of the original Starbucks ones, AND they have chunks of white chocolate in them. They are punch-the-air-good. Mine aren't as pretty as they are on the recipe page. I think I was supposed to wait until the topping set before I cut them, but well... you know. And mine don't have the white chocolate drizzled over top because, well... you know...

So, I made those, and they were fabulous, but the recipe uses two egg whites. I hate wasting egg yolks, so I wondered if I could make crème brulée with them. Crème brulée is like custard made with double cream, but I had three problems there:
  1. I had no double cream.
  2. I was too lazy to walk to the store to get some.
  3. I didn't want to leave the Cranberry Bliss Bars. I just couldn't do it.

I did, however, have half a can of evaporated milk in the freezer, so my brain started pondering if I could make it work with that. And, one Google search later, I found this recipe. And an hour later, I had these:

Here they are, posing with their bread buddies:

I didn't brulée them i.e. I didn't melt sugar over top of them, because I've never been able to do that properly without a blowtorch. Yes, I used to have a blowtorch. Yes, it was for cooking. No, it wasn't taken away from me, I just couldn't take it with me when I moved from the UK. It's hard to explain that kind of thing in your luggage.

I suppose I could have used all that kitchen time to actually work on my yarn projects, but when the baking calls, the baking calls. The house was nicely warmed by the oven. My clothes smelled like freshly baked bread and Cranberry Bliss Bars. I also made some tomato soup for lunch sometime during all this baking, and I think I made dinner, too, but I can't remember what we ate. So, by the evening, I was kinda tired.

And friends don't let tired friends knit, right?

This weekend, though, I am determined to get this project off the hook and ready to wear. I shall not be distracted by the Cranberry Bliss Bars. Or the coffee cake I've been thinking about making. Or the sorbet recipe. I can't promise about the French toast.



YarnKettle said...

I have a dough whisk like that too. It is so funny when you start mixing, it looks like you're not mixing at all then you have dough. A great little tool to have.

Your bread and baking always looks to tempting and perfect. Such lovely photos.

AdrieneJ said...

I have to admit, I don't always trust that my whisk will work that well, so I sometimes twist it as I mix. This has resulted in a slightly loosened handle, which I'm going to have to put a bit of glue on sometime.

And yes, the baking is tempting... too tempting. Those bars really didn't last that long in this house!