bakerisbetter

Lemon Tarts and Squares

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Baked these squares off for the folks at the window at school 🙂

Recipe Used:

What I Changed

  • Used the sugar cookie dough that I had lying around as a base. Important to only par-bake (70%?) to make sure it doesnt get too hard in the second bake

What I Liked

  • Wish the stovetop version had a better set
  • Overall, lemon desserts are easier to make than I had thought 😛 Especially when the crust is ready to bake!
  • I wish they had formed more of a crust, but I think that would require a better creaming of eggs/sugar, which I was too lazy to do/strapped for time 😛 Would be curious to see what the trick is there, though! Edna had mentioned there was something in the technique to me at one point but I never made them at her place

What I Would Change

  • Baking the crust less–I burned a small part of some of the squares!
  • Always better to dust with sugar as late as possible b/c it just dissolves into the tart, even if it’s cold out! The squares had actually been covered in a solid layer of sugar after cooled and the picture is from ~24-36h later

Other Comments

  • Makes for such a pretty flower design 🙂 🙂 Should have let some of the yellow show through!
  • Important to make sure the sugar completely dissolves in the eggs, which can be hard to do by hand if the ingredients are cold. If not dissolved, the sugar really sinks to the bottom :/
  • I think I actually prefer a sweet/sugar cookie crust to contrast with the tartness of the lemon, as opposed to a barely-sweetened pie crust

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Confetti Cookies/Sugar Cookies

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Because I’ve been on a funfetti roll!

Recipes Used

What I Changed

  • Added 1 T corn syrup to half the dough

What I Liked

  • Solid recipe, but don’t think it was amazing. The sprinkles on the outside actually added a lot!
  • I kept flip-flopping on whether I preferred the cookie with or without the corn syrup

What I Would Change

  • Would be interested in seeing how it tastes rolled in cinnamon-sugar
  • Maybe increase the almond extract a little?

Other Comments

  • I actually used the dough as a lemon tart and caramel tart base…worked like a charm and it was super convenient to have it ready to go in the fridge!
  • Important to only par-bake the sugar cookie dough for the lemon bars, otherwise they got too hard in the second bake

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Pop Tarts and Pie – Apple and Pumpkin

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Recipe Used:

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What I Changed:

  • Sour cream pastry
    • Added 2 T sugar
    • Used cake flour
    • Made this recipe twice, reduced the butter slightly the second time to 226g
    • Mixed by hand
  • Cream cheese pastry
    • Used half cake flour, half all purpose
    • Used heavy cream
    • Added 2 T sugar
    • I added the cream cheese and butter at once, but I think next time I’ll start with the cream cheese bc of the lower moisture content? Might help facilitate the mixing…
    • Mixed by hand

What I Liked:

  • Both of the pie crust recipes were tender and delicious, though the cream cheese one was noticeably more acidic and flavorful

What I Would Change:

  • Would reduce the cider vinegar juuuust a smidge
  • Would want to try the sauce with vanilla added, and brown sugar instead of white (also hope to make toffee at some point soon!)
  • Didn’t like that the caramel got a bit grainy when reheated…but also kind of returned to normal at room temp idk? Liked it overall!
  • Would take out or at least reduce the cornstarch in the apple filling

Other Comments:

  • So, so important to layer the pastry. When working with the acidic dairy products, cake flour, and minimal mixing techniques, the risk of a tough crust stays low
  • Having a thin layer of pastry is actually just as important in getting layers, otherwise the dough just collapses down on itself
  • Pre-baking helps create layers, though I learned the hard way that the sour cream pastry couldn’t really be pre-baked too well…
  • Need to get a pastry cutter

 


Buttermilk Cake

One of my favorite cake recipes 😀 Love KAF!

Recipe Used

What I Changed

  • Added half a teaspoon of cinnamon
  • Didn’t bother with the topping

What I Liked

  • It was incredibly moist!
  • Perfect way to use up a ton of buttermilk! PLUS super easy. I’ve been looking for a recipe like this for foreeeever

What I Would Change

  • Could have probably increased the cinnamon a bit
  • Would have been great with some chunks of fruit tossed in, I think!

Other Comments

  • Can’t imagine how well this would pair with 1237512831 types of frosting – cinnamon, brown sugar, butterscotch, caramel/dulce de leche

Funfetti Cake with Cake Batter Frosting

POST 100 🙂 🙂IMG_3989.JPG

Funfetti Cupcakes with Cake Batter Frosting

Had to repeat the cake recipe and made a lot of changes so I’m going to have a different format!

Cake:

  • Recipe Used:
  • What I Changed:
    • Measured everything by weight
    • Added 2t butter extract
    • Increased vanilla to 2t, used clear imitation vanilla (idea from Momofuku Milk Bar’s published recipes, which says that imitation vanilla replicates a more nostalgic “funfetti/birthday cake” flavor
    • Made a half sheet of cake, a 4.5 inch cake, and a dozen mini-cupcakes
    • The half sheet took about 35 minutes, and the 4.5 inch ones took anywhere from 25-30 minutes, and the mini-cupcakes took about 15-20 minutes at 350. Eyeballed most of it, too early to really keep track of bake times but in general I don’t think I over/underbaked much
  • What I Liked/Disliked:
    • ALL THE SPRINKLES SANK TO THE BOTTOM!!! Argh what an awful recipe…not surprised the author didn’t have more sprinkles in the photos. I was so excited to try it, too. And to prove to myself that there was an imbalance in liquid and dry ingredients I added 1/2 C Cake Flour to a bit of remaining batter and baked another batch–it was far more dry and overmixed, but it rose so much better (in my opinion illustrating that the batter was too heavy for the baking powder to even have its full effect) and the sprinkles didn’t sink.IMG_3946.JPG
      Where is my funfetttiiiiii
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      Found it. Shaved off this bottom layer, going to turn this into a standard white cake. I suppose it is still a delicious cake…

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      What is this?! Alllll the sprinkles sinking!!!
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      What a huge difference after adding some flour!

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      Comparison of the mini-muffins with and without the extra flour.

      • Adding sprinkles halfway through the bake helped a little but those sank pretty far down, too
      • That said, it was a delicious cake with a very, very tender crumb…but I still needed a batter that would hold sprinkles soooo in round two I quartered the recipe and removed the two whole eggs…did the trick! Was not as moist and tender but definitely velvet-y, thanks to the shortening
      • The recipe was: 28.25g Butter, 25g Shortening, 112.5g Sugar, 1/2t VanExt, 1/2t ButterExt; 30g Egg White (1 White); 78.75g Cake Flour (don’t forget sifting!), 3g BP (just over 1/2t), Pinch Salt (1/8t), 60g Milk
  • Next Steps:
    • Use real vanilla extract because it tastes better and nostalgia in this cake only gets me so far 😛
    • Omit the butter extract because I feel like I need a better sense of what it tastes like with vanilla alone
    • Consider adding almond extract after I figure out what to do with the vanilla and butter extracts
    • Whip the egg whites separately and fold in
    • Looking at the KAF White Cake Recipe, I’m curious as to how the cake would turn out if I swapped milk for yogurt…I would imagine it would create a much thicker batter, at the very least

Cake Soak:

  • I know Momofuku does a soak and I THINK Bud and Marilyn’s does one too, though it’s very light?
  • 1 Cup Whole Milk Reduced to  1/4 Cup and Strained + 1/2t Baileys + 1/2t VanExt + 1/2t ButterExt
  • I added this soak to the bottom layer but didn’t add enough to taste it/allow it to penetrate – but in a separate bowl I mixed some leftover soak with some leftover cake and it was AMAZING! Loved the richness it added and the way it created different textures
  • Next Steps:
    • Won’t reduce (makes it a little too thick to penetrate easily)
    • Use a greater volume
    • Do the soak when the cake is warm (I dont have much experience in soaks but I’m pretty sure this will make a big difference…to do the soak before the cake has really settled/set, thicnk I read it somewhere once)
    • Mayyybe poke holes? Might be too much…
    • Might omit the butter extract, I think I prefer baileys to help replicate the cake batter flavor actually 😛

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Cake Crumbs

  • I tried adapting two recipes from Momofuku to my taste…I was okay with both, didn’t love either
  • Birthday Cake Crumb Recipe: http://milkbarstore.com/main/menu/recipes-and-how-tos/#birthday cake crumb
    • 100 g granulated sugar (1/2 cup)
      25 g light brown sugar (1 1/2 tablespoons, tightly packed)
      90 g cake flour (3/4 cup)
      2 g baking powder (1/2 teaspoon)
      2 g kosher salt (1/2 teaspoon)
      20 g rainbow sprinkles (2 tablespoons)
      40 g grapeseed oil (1/4 cup)
      12 g clear vanilla extract (1 tablespoon)
    • What I Changed:
      • Quartered the recipe
      • Didn’t have grapeseed oil so I subbed corn oil–I think this probably changed a lot in terms of flavor, though they are both pretty neutral oils I THINK?
      • Subbed brown sugar with granulated sugar, didn’t want to start introducing the flavor of brown sugar
      • Added butter extract (an amount equivalent to the vanilla extract )
    • What I Liked/Disliked:
      • I actually ended up with what I felt was too runny a mixture…it turned into a bunch of nice crumbs in the end butttt didn’t hold it’s shape at all from how I originally placed them (they all melted into each other). I think there’s a good chance it had something to do with the things I substituted/added but who knows
      • Also did not like the flavor…maybe that had to do with the oil…but ALSO definitely had to do with the imitation vanilla, yuck
      • Though they weren’t too sweet, which I liked
      • Loved the look
      • And they were nice and addicting-ly crunchy, which I also really liked
      • As always I like to mess with things a bit so I reserved a little, added Cake Flour one teaspoon at a time until I could roll the dough into small balls–they puffed up and became hollow little dots! Too cute! I tried to decorate with them but decided I didn’t like them in the end (Shawn was opposed to these “mushrooms”)
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        These are the birthday cake crumbs in the back and the cute little “mushrooms” I got once I added more dry ingredients! Forgot to grab a picture of the crumbs prior to breaking them up, but yeahhh they really just didn’t hold their shape whatsoever until after I added extra flour.IMG_3966.JPG
  • Milk Crumb Recipe: http://milkbarstore.com/main/menu/recipes-and-how-tos/
    • I actually started this recipe once before and didn’t take it to completion, was happy with the salty milk-crumb product in the middle
    • 40g (½ cup) milk powder
      40g (½ cup) flour
      12g (2 tbs) cornstarch
      25g (2 tbs) sugar
      2g (½ tsp) kosher salt
      55g (4 tbs [½ stick]) butter, melted
      20g (¼ cup) milk powder
      90g (3 oz) white chocolate, melted
    • What I Changed:
      • Added some sprinkles at the very end
      • Quartered the recipe
      • No extracts added–just making a note
    • What I Liked/Disliked:
      • A little too sweet
      • Not crunchy enough at all!! Very soft, especially at room temperature
      • Great taste though…white chocolate, butter, milk ❤
  • Next Steps:
    • Definitely going with the Birthday Cake Crumb as a base…
    • I think I’ll try adding milk powder or cornstarch next time instead of cake flour, by the teaspoon of course
    • Going to use melted butter instead of oil, definitely
    • Real vanilla!!! Might omit the butter extract again just to identify the flavor of the vanilla alone

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Perfection ❤

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Mid-decorating!

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Cake Batter/White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

  • http://wickedgoodkitchen.com/white-chocolate-cream-cheese-buttercream-frosting/
  • What I Changed:
    • Half batch
    • Used all unsalted butter
    • 1t VanExt, 1t ButterExt
    • Omitted Lemon Juice…lemon juice and cake batter? No…
    • Used a baking bar to facilitate the melting process
    • Had approx 30 g powdered sugar, then used 100g granulated sugar…kind of just a random amount. Had to mix this in with a small portion of the butter/cream cheese first to try and dissolve as much as possible, then added it back into the full frosting batch and whipped to full volume, at which point it had fully dissolved
    • Used only 2.5 oz white chocolate–veeeery important to make sure this is slightly cooled/at room temp
  • What I Liked/Disliked:
    • DELICIOUS! A tad too sweet but the cake wasn’t too sweet so it worked
    • Super duper silky
    • Really replicated the cake batter flavor, I guess white chocolate must have something to do with it…
    • Was SUCH a great consistency…firmed up quickly enough and although it melted a little once warmed, overall it was really great
    • Just the right amount to decorate the cake with, too!IMG_3964.JPG
      Slices through beautifully! (From the fridge)
  • Next Steps:
    • I would want to find away to preserve the flavor but also cut back on the sugar AND I want to firm it up a bit if possible
    • I think next time I’ll cap the sugar off at 90g, though I don’t know what combination of powdered sugar and granulated I’ll use…I guess all powdered ideally and add more as needed
    • I think I’ll swap a tablespoon or two of the butter for cream cheese to make it more firm and less sweet/more tangy (two-in-one!)
    • Could also try adding milk powder to firm it up without making it too sweet! Now there’s an idea…IMG_3971.JPG
      Before I decided to remove the mushrooms heh…IMG_4011.JPG

 


Simplest Buns

 

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One of the top-rated bread recipes on KAF’s site. No frills, no funky ingredients!

Recipe Used:

What I Changed:

  • Went with 170g water
  • Didn’t brush with butter, no sesame seeds
  • Reduced salt to 1 t
  • Underbaked slightly
  • 10 buns, 16 min at 375

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What I Liked:

  • Very easy dough to work with

  • Stayed soft for 3-4 days at least (was suprised with this, considering there weren’t any stabilizers! Is egg a stabilizer?

What I Would Change:

  • Miss the mild flavor from the potato 😛
  • Maybe brush with honey butter?

Other Comments:

  • I don’t know that I really loved this recipe or that it stood out…I wonder if a lot of folks start with this recipe on KAF because it’s straightforward (or because apparently people want homemade burger buns haha) and just get really excited the first time they try homemade bread 😛
  • Finally used the drying rack!!

 


Soft White Dinner Rolls, Revisited

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Everything bagel topping makes everything better ❤

After the Parker House Rolls, I was thinking I may have under-proofed the Soft White Dinner Rolls a bit, so I decided to re-do them!

Recipe Used:

What I Changed:

  • Made 1/4 batch
  • Brushed the tops with water and a little bit of everything bagel topping
  • Reduced the salt slightly
  • Used potato flour again
  • Went with the smallest amount of water

What I Liked:

  • This dough is SO smooth and easy to work with–doesn’t stick to your hands at all, really!

  • Has more of a chewy/hearty bite than a lot of the other rolls, which I liked!
  • I think this roll lets you taste the potato particularly well

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What I Would Change:

  • I really need to get into the habit of letting these cool on racks instead of on pans to help keep the bottoms crisp…

Other Comments:

  • Glad I decided to re-do these! I liked them a lot more the second time around, they felt much lighter
  • Among the recent rolls I’ve made, my favorite one right out of the oven is probably the Golden Pull-Apart Butter Bun, with the Parker House Rolls coming in at a close second. I may have over-proofed my Parker House Rolls…they were suspiciously soft, to the point where they stuck to the roof of my mouth 😛 I’m sure I’ll make them again at some point! I’m also curious to test out other Parker House Roll recipes! But a lot of the others I saw didn’t necessarily call for potato or dry milk, so I can’t imagine them being as good 😛 In terms of which ones were my favorite 2-3 days later, I think it’s between the Soft Dinner Rolls and the Golden Pull-Apart Butter Bun.