Posts on February 2015

Sad Scones

TG - pizza jam

“Are these gluten free?”
“Yeah.”
“Oh, that’s why…”

Yesterday, with all kinds of time on my hands and just one real chore to do (you guessed it: laundry), I decided I was craving scones.  I wanted to clean out my coconut and almond flours, so I found a recipe that used these and was also vegan.  In theory, this should have been a pretty awesome and easy recipe, providing me with breakfast and treats for the entire week.

There were a few staggeringly obvious issues with what happened next:

1. I decided to make a vegan and gluten free version of something I had never made  in its “normal” form.

2. I decided that 72% dark chocolate chips could easily be substituted for blueberries.

3. I decided to multiply my recipe by 1.5, because eight scones just wasn’t enough.  I then fudged the math multiple times, and/or changed quantities (because no one wants to use 9/8 of anything, amirite?).

Even though I’ve taught dozens of 7th graders, plus my 31-year old girlfriend, fractions in the past five years.

Attempting to fit 1.5x the recipe onto a pan was almost unsuccessful, until I decided to make two “pies” worth of scones.

TG - giant dough ball

TG - pies

A few things I did like about this recipe:

– It told me to play with my food.  Okay it didn’t quiiiite say to make a snowball out of the dough.  But it said to use my hands which I took to mean: make a snowball out of the dough and pretend to throw at your dog.

TG - snowball

– It told me when to wash my hands after making said snowball.  I appreciated the explicit directions.

– It calls for dumping a bag of chamomile tea into the dough.  The dough itself looked like cookies and smelled like tea.  What could go wrong?!

TG - dough

A few things I did not like about this recipe:

– It uses my least favorite word ever.  I guess I may need to get used to this word now that I’m attempting to bake things more often.  Let’s all practice together…

mm…mmm… moist.

ACK.  EW.  Reminds me of the time my coworkers plastered my classroom with post-its after I took a day off.

2013-05-24 16.04.49

2013-05-24 16.04.54

Oof.  Maybe not over it quite yet.

– It told me I could use any kind of milk, so I used 1 cup of unsweetened and 1 cup of vanilla almond milk.  I think these definitely only have a shot at being tasty if you use the sweetest milk option you can find.

– Most importantly: The scones tasted like shit.

When I realized how terribly yucky my scones were, I set about making Chia Jam to make up for it.  When warmed up and doused with raspberry jam, they were relatively edible, and thus have not been tossed into the trash can yet.  Each of my roommates pretended to enjoy one of them, until Edith (my co-chef from the Lentils day)  lovingly let me down and informed me that the scones were, indeed, as bad as I thought they were.

What did I learn from this experience?

Just because something is pretty doesn’t mean it’s nice.

TG - dip

TG - jam

Sugar

photo 2
There are a few things about my personality that are pretty glaringly obvious, once you get to know me:

1) I love sweets.
2) I hate chores.  Most especially, folding laundry and dishes.
3) I am a huge procrastinator.

What happens when all three of these personality traits collide?  You find me procrastinating my two least favorite household chores by baking.

Baking is an interesting topic for me.  I used to hate it, mostly because I was terrible at it.  Baking is way closer to chemistry than cooking is, and I got my worst grades ever in high school Chem class.  I have/had a really hard time understanding that measuring cups and teaspoons and tablespoons are important, and usually just eyeball quantities the way I would with cooking.  Unfortunately, that’s not something that really super works with baking.

One too many baking fails and I basically gave up on baking, for almost a year.

Until this Winter.  Until I got my hands on the Oh She Glows Cookbook and saw the amazingness that was the Raw Cookie Dough Balls (recipe only found in the Cookbook, but a similar one found here).  Until I realized that vegan baking is awesome because even if you fuck things up, you don’t have to worry about getting Salmonella.

I’ve been avoiding folding my laundry for almost a week.  At this point, I’m probably going to have to spend another dollar fifty to re-dry the laundry, it’s so wrinkled.  But instead of attacking the problem head-on, I have been dilly dallying.  I picked up the baby blanket I’m crocheting for a friend.

Gus wasn’t a fan of the crocheting.

photo 1

So, I started baking.

Mostly, I just wanted to make the Amazing. Chia. Jam. that has made me a celebrity at work, and that I literally crave once every few hours on a daily basis.  I first discovered this jam when making the Raspberry Chia Seed Jam Oat Crumble Squares, but since have been known to make a pot of this jam and eat it on toast with a spoon.  So I looked up recipes that involved coconut, because when I was Hangry Shopping at Trader Joe’s, I “accidentally” ended up with sweetened coconut flakes in my cart.

So, I made these incredible Coconut Macaroon Thumbprint cookies.  I’m telling you, it was so easy that even this measuring utensil-hating girl did it!

photo 2Then, I got so overexcited that I decided I should make not one, but two batches of cookies in a day.  Also I realized that as yummy as these macaroons are, I originally was craving chocolate.  So, I made the Crispy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies from the OSG cookbook (similar recipe here).

Unfortunately, I got kind of cocky and told all of my roommates about how amazing at baking I’d become, before realizing that these cookies basically tasted like chocolate covered flax seed.  Angela Liddon, I love you, but I can’t with the Flax Eggs.  Kevin, the vegan guru of the house, told me they tasted okay, but I think that’s just because he’s used to his vegan desserts tasting like baked cardboard.  If I were to make these again, I’d definitely use applesauce or chia for the egg.  Or an actual egg, since I’m not actually vegan.

photo 3They were definitely crunchy and if you could try not to think about the flax flavoring, were at least edible.

The best part, however, was what I decided to do with the extra dough.  Cookie Pie was my favorite dessert in college, so I thought it would make sense to combine all of the leftovers of everything into my own version.

At this point, my roommates were highly intrigued, and everyone had to taste the RaspberryChiaSeedJamCoconutMacaroonPeanutButterAlmondOatChocolateChip Pie.  I daresay it was delicious.

photo 5

A few days and zero folded articles of clothing later, I decided I wanted to bake again.

This time, I decided to try to use whatever I had in my house already, so ended up picking a recipe for Frozen Banana Bites from the OSG cookbook.  I combined the ideas from the cookbook while reading this article on How To Make Chocolate-Covered Banana Bites.  These were literally the easiest thing I’ve ever made, yet the most impressive to my bromates (and brand new, female roommate who arrived just as I was removing the bites from the freezer!).

photo 1I should have stopped there.  But I decided I’m a baking machine and should make one more sweet.  After all, tomorrow is Super Bowl Sunday and I haven’t picked up the ingredients for the Blue Cheese Guacamole Stuffed Mushrooms I promised I’d make, so why not make another batch of cookies instead?

By this time, I have very few ingredients left in my kitchen.  I have no chocolate chips or cocoa powder.  No butter (vegan or regular).  But I do have almond butter, white whole wheat flour, vanilla, and baking soda.  So I decide to go for the Auntie Angie’s Soft Peanut Butter Cookies recipe.

Dear Auntie Angie, I’m sure you’re a nice person, but your cookies suck.

They’re pretty-ish.

photo 3

But they suck.

I suppose maybe the problem could be that I substituted Almond Butter for Peanut Butter.  But I’m going to operate under the idea that Auntie Angie’s cookies just plain suck.  Don’t make them.  I’d tell you to make these instead, but the whole point was trying to find a recipe without eggs.  Sigh.

They basically taste like almond-y balls of flour, and I’m super disappointed.  The only thing I can think to do is look up a recipe for Vegan Frosting and dye them Patriots colors to serve at our party tomorrow.  I’ll let you know if the frosting makes them any better.

So, I’m 2 for 4 in the baking department (or roughly 50%, or 1/2 in simplest form).  Could be worse. And at least I have had Chia Jam.