Thursday, September 29, 2011

making, baking....

 It's so true that less is more. In this case, the less time I have to spend on obligations not in sync with our family life equals more yummy things happening in our kitchen.  
 I have been using my new-found freedom and energy to do all the baking I have missed the past year. Brownies, peanut-butter cookies (my daughter requested those), apple-walnut spice cake (too many walnuts at the moment!)
and these amazing cinnamon rolls! The recipe is from Serena's delightful cookbook.
 I have long been attempting to duplicate the best cinnamon rolls that my husband and I  ever had in a cafe a very long time ago in small town in northern Michigan. All the recipes I've tried so far have been disappointing, but this recipe comes close. As my husband bit into one, he said, "mmm, Copper Harbor!!". Big smile. The children have no idea what he meant but I sure did! The rolls were so addictive I made a second batch and then we all had to go on a bit of a diet for a few days and take a few more hikes in the forest :) The glaze of butter and cream cheese is wickedly yummy and my little 6-year old son thought I should just make the glaze for eating.  He was very helpful kneading the dough, too. That's the best part, I think!
I also have to admit to baking three batches of brownies. No photo as proof but I'm afraid it's true. However, the brownies were not for us but for special guests / school picnics / colleagues at work. Still am having trouble getting them out of the oven in time. They really are better not too well baked.

This has also been an extremely productive year for jam-making. Strawberry, red and white currants, gooseberry and apple, and cherry; those are my staples since we have moved to this house and cultivated some fruit in the garden (actually, more than enough!). My husband had been nurturing a neglected elderberry tree that came with our house and this summer it had so many berries I could make jelly for the first time. I'm not that familiar with it and the jelly is a gorgeous deep red / purple and tastes a bit grape-ish. Great source of Vitamin C. The quince are also another fruit high in C. I really thought with the elderberries, I was done with jam. But then my sweet neighbor asked if I wanted some quince, her tree branches were just laden with fruit and looked like they could barely hold them all. I didn't even really know what quince were until last week! They are very hard and have a shape reminiscent of a pear as well as a lemon.
As the juice I made from them was cooling, my 10-year old came in the kitchen and drank a glass of it, he claimed it was really delicious (he probably added a “bit” of sugar!). I added a bit of vanilla to make the jelly and it is not only quite tasty but also a beautiful shade of gold like honey.

These jars got dressed pretty to be given away as a gift. I usually just slap on a simple label and store the jars in the cellar. There is plenty down there for more gifts and for morning toast...I could possibly set up a stall at the market! I sincerely hope we are now done with jam-season and I also think we're going to take a little break with the baking now too. I think everyone would be happy if I would just get out the cookbooks for a decent dinner now....




madhu said...

Those cinnamon rolls...yum!

un arc-en-ciel dans le lavabo said...

wow you've been so busy in the kitchen !
we have many many walnuts too. less than last year though, which is almost fortunate (although i'm reluctant to say this when in some other coutries some people don't have enough food) we're always sharing with nearby friends who enjoy walnuts. i made a GF version of the walnut a spice cake.
my daughter also loves PB cookies and this is a permanent request of hers :)
I'm looking for a quince paste recipe, they're served in trendy restaurants over here , with salads.... i have two bg quinces to use and i'm curious if it can be successful to make my own ...
happy Autumn Karen xoxo