Sunday, April 26, 2015

Easter Treats Part One: Hot Cross Buns

When I started Mommy, Can I Lick the Spoon?, I decided that I was going to post all of my baking, regardless of whether it was successful or a complete fail. This post falls into the fail category. Well...maybe it's more of a semi-fail - I have a total fail coming soon!

When I hear the word Easter, one of the first things that comes to mind (after chocolate eggs, turkey dinner and bunnies of course), is hot cross buns.

As far back as I can remember my mom would always make them at Easter.
Hot Cross Buns, which are traditionally eaten on Good Friday, are small, spiced yeast buns with raisins and marked with a cross on top.
Sounds pretty good right?



I had never made buns or bread from scratch, but decided that this Easter was the perfect time to try.
To be totally honest, I really didn't feel like making them, but because I had my mind set on it, I had to follow through. So, with my mom's recipe in hand, I started the 4+ hour long task.

I made them the day before Easter Sunday because I figured they would be a quick, easy breakfast after what I was expecting to be a very chaotic Easter egg hunt. Lauren was more than a little excited for the Easter Bunny to be visiting, and I knew that after the hunt I wouldn't want to make a big breakfast.

The actual making of the buns was pretty easy. There was a lot of kneading, resting and rising time.
I quickly realized that making buns takes patience, something I don't have a lot of. It was somewhat challenging, but I made it through and they turned out alright. Not perfect, but alright.*

We had friends over around the time they finished baking, so of course we had to try the delicious smelling, hot out of the oven buns.
Like I said before, they were alright - they seemed a little doughy to me, but everyone liked them and gobbled them up.

At least they looked good...

On Easter morning when I was getting breakfast ready, I grabbed the hot cross bricks buns and they were really dry. I heated them up and put some butter on, but they were really heavy and dry.
Seriously, warm butter couldn't even fix them!
The tops were edible, but I think that was thanks to the icing. But icing makes everything better right?

Needless to say, I still ended up having to make breakfast.
I guess that's what happens when you break a tradition that's hundreds of years old and have hot cross buns on Easter Sunday and not Good Friday!

Maybe next year I'll try again...maybe!

*All the years that my mom made these, they were soft and melted in your mouth. So either I'm really bad at baking them or my oven sucks. I'm blaming the oven.

Hot Cross Buns:
(makes about 15 buns)

Ingredients:

Buns:
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • About 5 cups of flour
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • ½ cup butter
  • 2 eggs 
  • 1 cup dark seedless raisins
Icing:
  • ¾ cup icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp milk


Directions:

About 4 ½ hours before

  1. - In a large bowl, combine sugar, salt, yeast and 1 ½ cups of flour
    - Over low heat, in a one quart saucepan, heat milk and butter until very warm
    - With mixer on low speed, beat liquid into dry ingredients until blended. Increase speed to medium and beat 2 minutes
    - Beat in 1 egg and 1 cup of flour to make a thick batter. Continue beating 2 minutes, scraping bowl often
    - Stir in raisins and add enough additional flour (about 2 - 2 ½ cups) to make a soft dough

  2. - Turn dough onto floured surface and knead until smooth and elastics (about 10 minutes), adding more flour while kneading
    - Shape dough into a ball and place in a greased medium bowl, turning dough over so that the top is greased
    - Cover and let rise in a warm place, away from draft until doubled - about an hour

  3. - Punch down dough, turn onto floured surface
    - Divide into 15 equal pieces
    - Cover with bowl and let rest for 15 minutes
    - Grease a 13x9 baking pan

  4. - Shape dough into balls and place in the baking pan
    - Cover and let rise until doubled, about an hour

  5. - Preheat oven to 350 degrees
    - In a small bowl, beat remaining egg
    - Cut a cross in each bun
    - Brush with egg
    - Bake 25 minutes or until golden brown

  6. - Once done, remove from pan to a wire rack
    - Cool buns for 15 minutes

  7. - Prepare icing** and spoon into decorating bag with a medium writing tip***
    - Pipe the icing into the cross

  8. - Enjoy!
**As I've said before, I have a hard time following recipes. For the icing, I didn't really measure the icing sugar or milk, I just made it a consistency that I liked. And I added some vanilla. 

***I used Wilton No. 4 Round Decorating Tip

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

I'm always on the hunt for good recipes. By good recipes I mean those simple, traditional, old school, no fail recipes.
And this recipe, is one of those!

I wish I had some interesting back story about it, but I don't. I found it on Pinterest about a year ago, and it quickly became a family favorite!


These cookies are soft and chewy with slightly crispy edges. They are packed full of oats, raisins, and cinnamon and sweetened with brown sugar.
I've made this recipe a couple times with add-ins like coconut and chocolate chips (I have a hard time sticking to and following recipes!), but these chewy oatmeal raisin cookies, don't need any of those extras!


Seriously, when I bake these cookies, we have to make sure that we're going to visit Nana, Grampa or Great Grampa or else we will eat all of them!

And don't they look amazing in that Joseph Rèal Design serving bowl?


So, grab a glass of milk and a cookie (or 10) and enjoy!

Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies Recipe:
(Makes about 4 dozen cookies)


Ingredients:
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract*
  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon**
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 3/4 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup raisins 

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  • In a large bowl, cream together butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until smooth
  • Beat in eggs and vanilla until fluffy
  • Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt
  • Gradually beat in dry ingredients into butter mixture
  • Fold in oats and raisins
  • Drop by rounded teaspoons onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper)
  • Bake 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown
*I always add a little extra vanilla
**I like cinnamon, so I usually add about a teaspoon
(See...I can't stick to recipes)
(Recipe adapted from Six Sisters Stuff)


Monday, April 6, 2015

Ham & Cheese Muffins

My girls love all things carbs...especially pasta, muffins and bagels.
Lately I've been making them carrot muffins which they love and have been devouring, but I was starting to get sick of them...the muffins, not my girls! So I decided to make them something more savoury. I found a recipe for these ham & cheese muffins/buns on Weelicious and figured I'd try them out.


I wasn't sure if the girls would like them because quite often when I spend time making something new, they wont touch whatever it is. But after one bite, Lauren was asking for more. She probably would've eaten all 24 if I had let her.


Of course Olivia wasn't interested in them at first, but the next day she was all over them. And why wouldn't she be?? They're muffins...with meat AND cheese!


The recipe calls for whole wheat and white flour, but I only used white flour because I play by my own rules didn't have whole wheat flour and they tasted fine. The recipe suggests serving them with butter or as weird as it sounds, honey. We had to try honey and it was pretty tasty. But they're also good plain!

Toddler approved!