Should maybe mention that I`m hiatusing till August, on account of not baking. But it`s ok, because the not baking is on account of being IN JAPAN.

Later!

Mine didn’t involve much math, but it did feature a chisel and a sledgehammer.

piday2

piday3

piday1

A few steps of this transformation miiight be missing. Or it could be a magical coconut. Crack it open and–POOF–instant pie!

“Who bakes their own bagels?” my mom asked.

Apparently me. Of all the things to make, it does seem a little silly. It’s not too hard to get delicious, fresh-baked bagels for cheap. But there’s a big difference between fresh-baked at a bakery and fresh-baked by your own hands in your own home.

While bagels may not be my favorite food (though they’re up there), they’re my most beloved, since I associate them with my best friend in the whole wide world. :D

As I started comparing recipes, I soon discovered that even at the basic level none of them agreed on anything. Not how much yeast or sugar to use in proportion to the flour, not how long to let the dough sit for, not how long to boil them, not how long to bake them or at what temperature. So, a little skeptical about the hopes for the edibility of my final product, I improvised and, hurray, it worked!

1 packet yeast
1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1. Dissolve yeast into warm water. Stir in sugar. Add 1/2 cup all-purpose flour. Let sit for 10 minutes.
2. Add the whole wheat flour, then the salt, and then the all-purpose flour a little at a time, adding a little bit more water as necessary to get all flour to form dough.
3. Knead the dough on a floured surface for 10 minutes. Cover with damp cloth and let sit for 20 minutes.
4. Divide dough into 8 balls. Make holes in center of balls and form bagel shapes. Cover loosley with plastic wrap and let sit 1 hour.
5. Bring a large pot of water + 1 tablespoon sugar to a boil. Boil bagels a few at a time, for about 5 minutes each, turning often with a slotted spoon. Remove and dry.
6. Place on greased, corn meal-covered baking sheet. Bake at 425 for 20-25 minutes, placing another baking sheet underneath after the first 10 minutes to prevent burnt bottoms.
6. Mm, fresh bread!

Next time I’m making sourdough bagels, since sourdough > all other bread, and they’re not quite so easy to find, especially not on this coast.

bagel1

bagel2

bagel3

bagelsliced

Amish Friendship Bread: the chain letter of baking. I think it’s the first I haven’t broken. Today it was finally time to turn my ten-day-old bag of fermenting goop into something delicious.

breadinpan

friendshipbread

crumbles

The only trouble I had was that it doesn’t cut so much as fall into pieces. Hrm.

starter

Now it’s a matter of finding more Amish-lovin’ people to pass it on to. Shouldn’t be hard. Who doesn’t love the Amish?

One of my coworkers wanted me to give her husband what she couldn’t this Valentine’s Day. So I did, and for cheap, too. A definite milestone: my first pie for pay. Didn’t screw it up. Don’t think I poisoned her husband (though I’m being optimistic–I haven’t heard either way). Whoo.

valentinespie

Dough for dough. Works for me.

Also got to make banana cream pie for Caroline’s family, and it only took the sacrifice of two pre-made pie crusts and (momentarily) my dignity). It’s not the prettiest, but it’s tasty…at least if you like banana.

bananacream

These vegan oatmeal cookies went on an epic journey, braving the US postal service, to get to my friend Kelli.

After a lot of comparing, I went with this recipe, using peanut butter and walnuts, substituting dried cherries for the chocolate chips, and adding a couple teaspoons of cinnamon (because it is my go-to secret ingredient).

doughy

oatmealcookie

The problem I’m beginning to notice with taking pictures of baked goods: I take the same pictures over and over.

chaircookie

More dramatic pictures often seem silly.

cookiemonster

Plus, the models have an unfortunate tendency to disappear quickly before I can dream up more creative shoots. Maybe I’ll have better luck in the future? I am contemplating cut-paper backdrops or something (anything!) to mix it up a little. Possibly this is absurd.

Dude, I won stuff for these. They’re tasty. People like them. Go make them.

Inspired by–what else?–The Taste of Home Baking Book. But made vegan. And therefore WAY COOLER.

2 ½ cups + 2 tablespoons flour, divided
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 ¼ cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup (2 sticks) Earth Balance vegan butter, melted
3 cups thinly sliced peeled organic Granny Smith apples (about 2)
1 jar (12-13oz.) organic raspberry preserves
½ cup finely chopped walnuts

1. Preheat oven at 350º if your oven is crazy and runs high like everyone I’ve ever used. Otherwise, 375º.
2. In a nice big bowl, mix the 2 ½ cups flour, oats, sugar, baking powder and cinnamon. Beat in melted butter. Measure out 2 cups and set aside for later.
3. Press the rest into the bottom of a 13×9 pan. Bake for 15 minutes.
4. In another bowl, toss apples with 2 tablespoons flour and stir in preserves. Spread over the crust as soon as it comes out of the oven.
5. Add the nuts to the oat mixture you set aside. Sprinkle it over the top. Then shove it back in the oven for another 30-35 minutes or until lightly browned.
6. Cool completely. Cut into bars.
7. Serve. Wow crowds. Make tummies happy.

Next time I bake, I need to remember this: DON’T DROP THE OVEN DOOR ON YOUR FOOT. In my old house, the hinge kept the oven door from going all the way to the ground. But here… I’ve had purple toes twice already and I don’t want to do it again! My mother was not impressed by my language.

Anyway. I’ll stop rambling and stick in the pictures.

applerasp

streusel

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