Weekly Photo Challenge: Possibility answer

What is this? I didn’t get too many guesses, possibly because it was too easy, or too hard. Possibly because not that many people cared. Possibly because the bad economy precludes our enjoying fluffy photo guessing games. So many possibilities…

Blogging buddy Martin from Thoughts from Finchley, came up with the correct answer.

Yes, it’s yeast, full of possibilities.  A little yeast turns flour and other ingredients into bread, rolls, pizza dough – the list of possibilities is endless. Those ingredients, without the yeast, have fewer possibilities of turning into something delicious and nutritious.

Later today, I’ll try out a little yeast on my new bread machine, pictured in the background. The possibilities again are endless. I could end up with a delicious loaf of bread, or a shapeless lump of dough, and a chance to write about the hilarity that ensues from same, or something in between.

© Huffygirl 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookies: The recipe is in my head!

The well-used recipe

I have a whole recipe box full of recipes for all kinds of cookies, but 99.9% of the time when I’m baking cookies, I choose my tried and true chocolate chip. I’ve made these cookies so much that I have the recipe memorized – no need to get out the battered and grubby-looking  recipe card, although I sometimes do just to make sure I haven’t missed anything. This recipe is adapted from the original Toll House Cookie recipe  (what do toll houses have to do with cookies anyway?) that appeared on the back of the Nestle semi-sweet chocolate chip package 37 years ago. One of my modifications was to add extra chocolate chips, because, let’s face it, that is the REAL reason why we eat chocolate chip cookies. This makes a large batch of cookies, unless you eat too many samples of the dough during baking. (Yes, I know the FDA, CDC, NAACP and FAA do not recommend eating raw cookie dough. But c’mon – is there anyone who doesn’t do this?)

1 1/3 cups Crisco or other vegetable shortening, softened

1 cup white sugar

2 cups light brown sugar, packed

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 teaspoons water

Cream together the above ingredients with a large mixing spoon. 

Then add:

4 large eggs

1 1/2 packages of semi-sweet chocolate chips (12 ounce packages)

Mix well. If you like to have nuts in your cookies,  add those now as well.

Add the chocolate chips before adding the dry ingredients - much easier to mix in!

Add the following dry ingredients,  adding about half of the ingredients, stir, then add the rest:

4 1/2 cups white flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons salt

After dough is thoroughly mixed, drop by tablespoon-full onto cookie sheets covered with parchment paper.

Use a tablespoon or a cookie dough scoop.

Bake 375 degrees Farenheit for 10 minutes and 10 seconds. Cookies will puff up and appear to be underdone when removed from the oven. Allow cookies to rest on the cookie sheet a few minutes to finish baking, and they will be soft, but completely done. Enjoy.


 © Huffygirl 2011

The Mother of All Bread Machines

I’ve just packed up the mother of all bread machines and am sending her back – back from whence she came. Turns out the mother of all bread machines is more like the mother-in-law of all bread machines.

I’ve been on the quest for a perfect bread machine for some time and I thought this was going to be the one. Expensive. Highly touted. Carried exclusively by my favorite well-known upscale kitchen outfitter. Stainless steel exterior. Digital display. Lots of bells and whistles. And here’s the kicker: the mixing paddle is supposed to retract, leaving you with a small discrete slit in the bottom of the loaf, instead of hole like most bread machines too.

But, the mother of all did not deliver. Sure she was quiet – not cranking away like an outboard motor like my old machine did. Sure there was a cute digital display with all sorts of elaborate choices. But alas, the mixing paddle did not retract, leaving a gaping hole in the bottom of the loaf the size of Cleveland. And did I get any of those nice neat loaves of bread like they show in the pictures? NOOOO.

So excited to give the mother of all bread machines a whirl, I put her right to use, barely out of the box. First I tried a two-pound loaf, using my favorite, tried and true bread recipe. Instead of a nice loaf of bread, it came out a like a misshapen blob, looking more like the bread meteor of death. Well, that was a big recipe, and one not originally made for bread machines,  so I thought I’d give her another chance. 

Next I tried a one pound loaf, straight from the recipe book that came with the machine. This time the bread barely rose, causing my son to ask if it was  Passover already. And with the loaf of bread so short, the ginormous hole left by the paddle came right up through the top of the loaf.

 Always the optimist, I tried again. I used my favorite bread recipe which had worked fine in my previous bread machine. I poured in all the ingredients. I set the machine for “dough only.” The dough mixed. It rose nicely, but was thrown sloppily all over the pan, instead of formed into a loaf shape. No worry – I took it out, removed the errant paddle, shaped it into a loaf and put it back in the pan. Then, I used the rise and bake setting to finish the loaf. Finally – a perfectly shaped loaf of bread! But, I’m sending the machine back any way, because I already have a machine that does this:

© Huffygirl 2011