Crumpets!

Crumpets! It’s almost impossible to say crumpets without an exclamation mark when you’ve made your own at home. Even Paul labeled the folder with pictures from this session as Crumpets!.

The word crumpet is used as a slightly derogatory slang word in England, similar to tart. However, there is nothing derogatory about the grilled bread treat. Especially when it’s slathered in butter and jam.

Homemade crumpets couldn’t be easier and are made entirely on the griddle unlike English muffins which are started on the stove and end up in the oven.

You simply mix up the ingredients, let the batter rest for an hour, and then scoop it onto the griddle to cook. The King Arthur Flour blog has great step by step instructions with pictures. Within minutes you’ll have ready-to-eat crumpets to top any way you please.

Have you had the chance to try Biscoff Spread yet? Thanks to my bookclub friends who have been raving about it for months, I finally brokedown and bought some. We tried it for the first time decadently spread on our freshly made crumpets. And, oh my, I’m venturing to say it’s better than Nutella.

I’ll have a bit of this crumpet. 😉

Crumpets! Recipe

Photos by Paulrus

Basic Biscuits

One of the reasons I enjoy belonging to baking groups is that the decision of what to bake is made for me. I like baking things on my own, of course, but there are just too many recipes I want to try. It gets a bit overwhelming.

For the most part joining baking groups worked for me. That is, until I joined too many {TWD, Sweet Melissa Sundays,Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge, Daring Bakers} life got hectic, I needed sleep, etc. Now that I’m back to blogging, I’m limiting myself to one (1!) baking group: Tuesdays with Dorie (TWD v2.0).  Even though I’m officially joining only one (1!) baking group, I still want to finish all the original TWD recipes (after today I have 62 left!) and that’s the basis of today’s recipe.

The TWD Bakers baked Basic Biscuits in October 2011. There’s nothing basic about the taste and yummy-factor. They rose and were flaky. The recipe was hosted by Jennifer of Cooking for Comfort. You can find the recipe HERE or in Dorie Greenspan’s Baking…From My Home to Yours.

photo by paulrus

Hello? Is there anybody in there?

Where have I been? Since you’ve seen me last I’ve done a lot of running, some baking, and a little bit of travel. Last April 1st, like an anti-April Fool’s joke, the man of my dreams walked (or, actually,  it was more of a saunter) into my life. We sat around talking a bit and then he had to leave to go back to work. I asked my friend (his sister-in-law)  if he is single and she literally jumped up and down in excitement. In trying to sell him to me she mentioned, “You like to bake and he likes to eat baked goods!!” True. And that was that.  Long story short, Paul and I are now proud parents of Nani #17, a puppy we adopted from a labrador rescue, and we’re planning a casual backyard wedding in May.

I’ve missed blogging and I’ve missed being part of the baking community. I saw the celebrations when the awesome and dedicated Tuesdays with Dorie bakers posted the final recipe from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking…from My Home to Yours. I felt a twinge of sadness over dropping out of the challenge to bake every recipe in the book.

I will complete the challenge of using every recipe from the book. For my first recipe back to blogging, I chose Blueberry Brown Sugar Plain Cake. I had all the ingredients on hand. It’s a fairly simple recipe with an extra step of whipping egg whites and then folding them into the batter.

Cindy of Everyday Insanity hosted the recipe the week it debuted (June 7, 2011). You can find the recipe on her blog here: Blueberry Brown Sugar Plain Cake

Make it yourself. It’s super easy and quick. The combination of the brown sugar, blueberries, and the tiny bit of cinnamon indicates there’s nothing plain tasting about this cake.

photo by paulrus

{sms} Pear, Blue Cheese, and Walnut Muffins

Yes, this is an actual post. You are not hallucinating. I’ve been busy living life and  having an awesome summer.  It’s a weak excuse for not posting. I’ve been baking along with the the various weekly baking groups. I have internet and a new computer at home. I’ve been lazy with taking pictures and writing posts.

I’m recommitting to Pink Stripes. I feeling disconnected to the the food blogging world and I miss my blogging friends.

With that note, I’ll move along and tell you about this week’s Sweet Melissa Sundays recipe: Bosc Pear, Blue Cheese, and Walnut Muffins. Rather than sweet, these are savory muffins. I adore the combination of pears and blue cheese. I also like walnuts. Trader Joes did not have bosc pears so I subbed bartlett pears. I liked the muffins. I think they would be great with manchego instead of blue cheese because manchego also pears (hee! Okay, pairs) well with pears.

I probably won’t make them again because I would rather eat blue cheese and pears on their own with out all the mumbo jumbo of the other muffin ingredients.

Thanks to Andrea of Nummy Kitchen for hosting this week’s selection. For the recipe visit her blog or buy the book.

{sms} cherry almond granola

Good stuff. I make granola all the time. In fact, I’ve made Sweet Melissa’s Cherry Almond Granola once before. It was used in the 4th recipe baked for Sweet Melissa’s SundaysGranola Breakfast Cookies–way back in April 2009. It’s kinda weird because you can see I’m wearing my wedding rings. Weird. It was a previous life.

Another difference between then and now is that this week I’m hosting the recipe. Oh, and this time I didn’t drop my granola container and waste most of the batch. 😉

Granola is great because you do anything with it. You can use it in cookies and bread. You can eat as cereal. You can eat it with yogurt and fruit. And, of course, it’s great on double-bean vanilla ice cream.

Cherry Almond Granola

From The Sweet Melissa Baking Book

Makes 4 quarts granola

    • 5 cups rolled oats
    • 3 cups rye flakes (see note)
    • 1 cup unsalted shelled sunflower seeds
    • 1 cup roasted shelled pumpkin seeds
    • 1 cup whole natural almonds
    • 1/2 cup dry milk powder
    • 1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
    • 3/4 cup clover honey
    • 3/4 cup pure maple syrup
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
    • 1 cup dried currants
    • 1 cup dried cherries
    • 1 cup golden raisins

    Before You Start

    Position a rack in the bottom and top thirds of your oven. Preheat the oven to 250° F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

    1. In a very large bowl, combine the oats, rye flakes, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, almonds, and dry milk powder.
    2. In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, whisk together the oil, honey, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, and ginger and bring to a simmer, 3 to 4 minutes.
    3. Pour hot mixture over the oat mixture, and mix well to combine.
    4. Divide the granola equally between the prepared cookie sheets, spreading it evenly into a single layer. Bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, stirring every 15 minutes, until golden. Remove to a wire rack and cool completely.
    5. Break up the granola into a bowl. Add the currants, cherries, and raisins and mix thoroughly.

    The granola keeps in an airtight container at room temperature and in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

    Note: Rye flakes are similar to rolled oats and can be used in much the same way. You can find them at natural foods stores.