Thursday, April 24, 2008
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
The most efficient way to bake these cookies is to portion and bake half of the dough. While the first batch is in the oven, the remaining dough can be prepared for baking. Avoid using a nonstick skillet to brown the butter. The dark color of the nonstick coating makes it difficult to gauge when the butter is sufficiently browned. Use fresh brown sugar, as older (read: harder and drier) brown sugar will make the cookies too dry.Makes 2 Dozen Cookies
14 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 3/4 sticks)
1/4 cup granulated sugar (about 1 3/4 ounces)
2 cups packed dark brown sugar (14 ounces)
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons (about 10 1/2 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1. Heat 10 tablespoons butter in 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until melted, about 2 minutes. Continue to cook, swirling pan constantly until butter is dark golden brown and has nutty aroma, 1 to 3 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and transfer browned butter to large heatproof bowl. Stir remaining 4 tablespoons butter into hot butter to melt; set aside for 15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 large (18 by 12-inch) baking sheets with parchment paper. In shallow baking dish or pie plate, mix granulated sugar and 1/4 cup packed brown sugar, rubbing between fingers, until well combined; set aside. Whisk flour, baking soda, and baking powder together in medium bowl; set aside.
3. Add remaining 1 3/4 cups brown sugar and salt to bowl with cooled butter; mix until no sugar lumps remain, about 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula; add egg, yolk, and vanilla and mix until fully incorporated, about 30 seconds. Scrape down bowl. Add flour mixture and mix until just combined, about 1 minute. Give dough final stir with rubber spatula to ensure that no flour pockets remain and ingredients are evenly distributed.
4. Divide dough into 24 portions, each about 2 tablespoons, rolling between hands into balls about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Working in batches, toss balls in reserved sugar mixture to coat and set on prepared baking sheet, spacing them about 2 inches apart, 12 dough balls per sheet. (Smaller baking sheets can be used, but it will take 3 batches.)
5. Bake one sheet at a time until cookies are browned and still puffy and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft (cookies will look raw between cracks and seem underdone; see photo below), 12 to 14 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking. Do not overbake.
6. Cool cookies on baking sheet 5 minutes; using wide metal spatula, transfer cookies to wire rack and cool to room temperature.
Step-by-Step: Checking Doneness
Achieving the proper texture—crisp at the edges and chewy in the middle—is critical to this recipe. Because the cookies are so dark, it's hard to judge doneness by color. Instead, gently press halfway between the edge and center of the cookie. When it's done, it will form an indent with slight resistance. Check early and err on the side of underdone.
I was playing tennis with Chloe yesterday. Kind of. We played a game that involved a tennis ball and a racquet. When I'd try to stop she'd say, "But Mom, I LOVE tennis." Bracken is so proud. We were watching tennis the other day and she kept cheering for "Ria." We were watching Maria Sharipova play Serena Williams, so we're not entirely sure who she was cheering for. She yelled the name regardless of who she was watching. Despite the fact that Bracken would prefer to have her root for an American, I think in the end, any cheering and excitement for tennis is fantastic in his book.
And in my book, anything she does that doesn't involve a tantrum is fantastic. I know I made the mistake of mentioning that the tantrums had decreased and I was enjoying her growing up. Well, Sunday night as we drove home from Bracken's parent's house, having left early after 2 hours of pretty much solid crying from my almost 3 year old, I found myself hoping she would throw up, or exhibit some other symptom of disease that would account for the animal like shrieks she'd been emitting. But, no. My headstrong little girl is just having a really hard time of it lately. And, consequently, so are the rest of us.
But, she did poop in the potty the other day and finally earn her magic wand. Sure, it was accidental, and very small, but we take what we can get.
Bracken's big achivement for the week was getting our new fence stained. It was a big project that didn't start off very well, but turned out great once we borrowed a compressor and sprayer. Now onto the sprinklers.
And me this week? I built some planter boxes out of some of our old fence sections, and repaired one of our gates. I also learned that touching the blade of a jig saw to see if it's loose should wait until after the blade has had a chance to cool down. And gloves, though they may seem to slow you down a little, are a good idea when working with fence wood. Yeah, I used to be smarter. I think. I really don't remember any more.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
1. Pick up the nearest book (at least 123 pages)
2. Turn to page 123
3. Find the 5th sentence
4. Post the 5th sentence on your blog
5. Tag 5 people
I had three books sitting all together, so I did all three of them. In each book, I wanted to cheat because the lines surrounding the tagged ones were much more interesting.
Motherhood Made a Man Out of Me:
It would have been ridiculous to build another one just for Dicky.
She's talking about garden boxes, and decides to make cookies instead. Hilarious book.
The Dog Walker:
Hell, she didn’t understand odds.
Honestly, I've already forgotten the context, but I really enjoyed the book about a voyeristic dog walker, and the man she doesn't know she's in love with.
I thought it must have been a mistake and they’d forgotten about me, so I hung up and called again.
In a book about the competitions that exist in motherhood, a mother is trying to get her daughter into the "right" preschool.
Anyway, thems are my books, which I have to limit myself on because I find myself reading instead of taking care of my children, and Addie likes to eat whatever I'm holding.
I tag Ashley, Lindsay, Becca, Sandy and Sarah.
And now our major bummer of the week. Something I didn't disclose in showing previous pictures of my backyard is that part of the reason we were able to get such a great backyard is that there are power lines running overhead. Because of that, SMUD, the power company, has an easement on our property. A couple months ago, one of their men came by to tell me that two of our trees, our liquid amber and one of our fruitless mulberries, were growing too close to the lines, and are such fast growing trees, they would need to be cut down. I was hoping this idea would get lost in bureaucratic paperwork, but no. Yesterday, a man showed up to cut down the trees. Now, I wasn't too concerned about the liquid amber. It's pretty in the fall, but it does drop pokey balls and stuff. But this was our mulberry.
This was the tree the swings hung from. The tree that Chloe begged to climb everyday. The big shade tree in our yard with the bird feeder and wind chimes in it. The tree we planned to one day build a tree house in. The tree that Chloe sat on the couch and repeated, "My tree. My tree," as they brutally cut it down.
Actually, I think she's getting over it. She's pretty excited to have piles of stumps to climb on. And now I have more motivation to find her a swing set on craigslist. And I didn't really love where that tree was located. And SMUD will be bringing me 4 new trees, and I will make sure one of them will be of a good tree climbing variety. But I will still miss my tree.
But moving on. Chloe loves to help me feed Addie now. We both get our spoons, and we both make the "open your mouth" face.
Chloe also got to paint her fingers and toes by herself for the first time this week. Notice I say fingers and toes, not fingernails and toenails. It all comes out in the wash, right?
I created my own variation on an America's Test Kitchen recipe this week. It was super easy, required very little hands on time, and Bracken has told me he would gladly eat it every week.
1 28 oz (or two 14 oz) can diced tomatoes
1/3 cup dried minced onions
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1-2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
1 lb. hamburger
1 8oz. can tomato sauce
8 oz. (10) curly edged lasagna noodles, broken into 2 inch pieces
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
Pour the tomatoes with their juice into quart measuring cup. Add enough water to make 4 cups.
Heat 12 inch skillet over medium high heat. Add hamburger, and cook until almost browned, breaking into small pieces. Add onions and cook until brown. Drain excess oil. Return pan to heat, and add garlic and Italian seasoning to cover meat, and cook until fragrant. Sprinkle with noodle pieces. Pour tomatoes and sauce evenly over noodles and meat. Cover and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium low and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until pasta is tender, about 20 minutes. (The sauce should still look watery after 15 minutes of cooking. If dry, add up to 1/4 cup additionaly water to loosen sauce.) Remove skillet from the heat and stir in Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with additional cheese to top.
Monday, April 14, 2008
Hopefully you can help me make the right decision. Thanks in advance.
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Sunday, April 6, 2008
Almost No Knead Bread
The egg hunters emerge.
Mom, with her gardening face and hair on, and naked-baked Chloe dyeing Easter eggs the day before. Chloe got very in to the tie-dye technique.
Addie was very into eating the spoons. Behind Bracken and Addie is my herb box, which has parsley, sage and oregano that all survived the winter, which is exciting. You can also see the corner of the composter I put together out of used pallets. Also featured is the really old section of our fence.
Chloe diving into her chocolate bunny. For the record, chocolate bunny for breakfast does not make for a very pleasant morning. Or Sacrament meeting.
Addie Too Cool.
The long view of our yard, filled with clever egg hiders. Down the left side of the yard is our brand new beautiful fence.
To the back left is the bed we planted our berry patch in. Along the back fence is our lime and lemon grove. The lime tree is covered in buds, and the lemons, which I started from seeds, are
filling out. The area with the picket fence is where we lock the children when we're not using them.
Grandpa Jack, Aunt Eden, and Addie in her Easter dress.
Autumn finding eggs among my garden boxes. They're all starting to fill with little seedlings. The peas on the left continue to produce prolifically, and I will be so sad when it gets too hot for them and I can no longer eat sweet fresh peas as I work.
Isaac hunting eggs by my root vegetable box. I've got several potato plants started from potatoes I found growing in my compost pile. Bracken thinks its gross, but I think he'll change his tune when harvest time comes. You can also see the rickety swing which came with our house, and the new cover I made for it. It's sitting in our pool pad, and I'm so antsy to get the pool set back up. So is Chloe. Most days she strips off all her clothes, puts on her water wings and life jacket, and stands in her 2 foot wide, 3 inch deep pool.
Mariah and Chloe by my bulb bed. In the foreground are crocus and grape hyacinth, and behind the tree are tulips, hyacinth, iris, dutch iris, and several other varieties of plants I didn't plant, but am looking forward to seeing bloom.