Tag Archives: baking

The best banana bread

We’ve all been there, you had high hopes of eating those bananas the minute they are perfectly ripe. But, you blinked and they went from perfection to perfect for baking.
This bread has a lot of bananas in it, so you almost have to plan for it. It also has an ingredient you will almost never find in our recipes, vegetable shortening. Butter just doesn’t give the right texture so shortening it is.

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The Best Banana Bread

1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup vegetable shortening
2 eggs
7 ripe, peeled, mashed bananas
2 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
3/4 cup chocolate chips

Cream the sugar and shortening together. Add eggs one at a time until mixed then add the bananas all at once and the vanilla.
Add the baking soda, powder and salt. Then add the flour.
Remove from mixer and fold in nuts and chocolate chips.

Grease and flour a 9 x 13 pan (i generally use glass. This bread is really more cake like. You could do it in bread molds but I am lazy).

Pour mixture into pan and spread it out so it is even. Bake at 325 for 45 minutes.

Let cool completely and enjoy!

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Acme Baking Company perfects the Salted Caramel

I am a novice candy maker, I have attempted three caramels in my lifetime and unlike a lot of fellow novice bakers I have had success every time. That being said, the perfect Salted Caramel still alluded me. So this year, for my boss’ birthday, she requested home made salted caramels and I accepted the challenge.

The resulting recipe is soft enough to bite into but firm enough to cut and wrap – they literally melt in your mouth.

Acme Baking Company Heavenly Salted Caramels
boiling, sugar, candy, caramel
Prepare an 8×8 pan – I chose to line the pan with parchment and then lightly sprayed the parchment with non-stick spray.

In a medium sauce pan heat the following over low heat while cooking the sugar mixture:
4 tbsp butter
1 1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tsp salt (I used table salt)
2 tsp vanilla

In a 3.5-4qt sauce pan cook the following to 310 degrees:
2 cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup

When the sugar mixture reaches 310 degree, slowly add your heated cream mixture. This will bubble, spit and erupt furiously – don’t be afraid it will all calm down but be sure you add the cream slowly to avoid a boil over or any kind of accidental burns.

Once the mixture calms down a bit, stir it just a little (with a fresh utensil) and allow to come to “FIRM BALL” temp which should be around 250 degrees.

At 250 degrees, remove the mixture from the heat and add an addition 2 tbsp butter. Stir the mixture until the butter is completely melted and the entire thing looks smooth and shiny.

Pour the hot mixture into your prepared dish and allow to cool for about 10 minutes. Then sprinkle with fleur de sel. Cool almost completely and cut long strips with a pizza cutter and then the actual pieces from each strip with a sharp knife. Wrap each piece individually.

Acme Baking Co – Fleur de Sel Caramels

At Acme Baking Company we don’t claim to be candy makers, before this year our attempts were limited to fudge and this amazing pecan roca that can be made using a microwave. Sure a candy thermometer graces our kitchen gadget drawer but it had never seen the inside of a pot of boiling sugar until now! It can be intimidating but if you follow our instructions you should have success.

We should note, that we typically use a 6qt hard anodized non-stick pot but we think we will graduate to a heavy stainless steel pot soon. The other thing  worth mentioning is that candy making is really easy to clean up. It sounds like it would present a sticky mess but remember sugar dissolves in hot water so with a little patience your mess will be cleaned up.

Fleur De Sel Caramels

Before you start it is important that you have your pan prepared. Line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper and spray lightly with non-stick spray. (I generally spray and then gently wipe it mostly off with a paper towel)

1 cup heavy cream
5 tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp vanilla bean paste (this can be purchased at Williams Sonoma or online – you can also use a whole, split vanilla bean. Just remove it before adding the hot milk to the boiling sugar)
1 1/4 tsp sea salt – finely ground
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water

In a small sauce pan, heat the cream, butter, vanilla, paste and salt over medium low heat. Do not boil this mixture but make sure you get it really hot and stir it frequently.

In a large, 6qt, sauce pan heat the sugar, corn syrup and water over medium heat. Stir frequently until the sugar dissolves. Once the sugar is dissolved continue to heat the mixture, occasionally swirling the pan until the mixture becomes  a light amber color. This will take some time so be patient and don’t try to rush it by increasing the heat of the burner.

Once the mixture is a nice golden color, stir in the cream mixture. Pour slowly and stir constantly – the sugar mixture will boil up so don’t go too slowly. Once the cream is all added you will not be stirring anymore. At this point you should insert a candy themometer without letting the bulb touch the bottom of the pan. Continue cooking the mixture until it reaches “firm ball” stage or about 248 degrees.

Immediately remove from the heat and pour into your prepared pan – avoid the temptation to scrape the pan. Let the mixture cool for 10 minutes or so and then sprinkle the top with a coarsely crushed sea salt. Cool completely and then cut. I typically use a lightly oiled pizza cutter. Wrap the pieces in wax paper, cellophane or foil 4” squares – you can buy these or make your own.

A little lemon in your honey – uniquely flavored frosted cookies

Lemon Honey Dough Cutout Scraps

At Acme Baking Company, we are always trying to find unique flavor combinations that result in delicious baked goods. This recipe was less of a “find” and more of a “I guess it is time to share it” treat. I have been making these cookies since I was a little girl, they are a staple at Christmas in our family and I have never come across anyone else who makes them.

A big plus, you can make the dough, roll, cut, and bake weeks in advance because these cookies freeze perfectly – when you are ready to finish them up take them out of the freezer, allow them to thaw and frost as desired. I typically use a thick buttercream frosting which is flavorful and rich but if you prefer more refined decorations the flavor in this cookie would shine equally with a basic royal icing.

Lemon Honey Cutout Cookies

Ingredients:
2/3 c. shortening
2/3 c. granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp lemon extract
1 1/3 c. honey
5 1/2 c. flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp salt

Cream together the shortening and sugar, add the eggs, lemon extract and honey. Sift together the dry ingredients and add the creamed mixture.

Divide into 4 balls of dough, flatted to disk shapes and wrap in cling wrap. Chill at least 1 hour, then, on a floured surface, roll each dough disk out to about 1/4″ thickness. It is important that your thickness is consistent because you want all your cookies to bake in the same amount of time. Cut out in desired shapes. Place on parchment lined cookie sheets.

Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes or until  you can gently touch the cookie and no fingerprint remains. Cool completely and either freeze or frost as desired.

Recipe yield will vary based on the cookie cutter size, but on average you shoudl get about 5 dozen cookies.

Quick Palmier- an Acme Baking Quick and Easy Favorite

20111124-144327.jpg Sprinkle surface with cinnamon sugar (3 tbsp sugar to 1 tsp cinnamon) take 1 sheet of thawed puff pastry and place it on top of the sugar mixture. Top puff pastry with another cinnamon sugar (3 to 1 again). Roll the puff pastry out until it is fairly thin. You will be pushing the sugar mixture in on both sides.
Making 1 inch folds roll in from the long sides. Roll evenly on both sides so they meet in the middle.
Slice 1/4 inch thick and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment.
Bake at 350 to 400 for 13 minutes or until brown. The sugar will melt. Let the cookies cool on the sheet.

Glazed Lemon Cookies – fancy cookie that is easy to bake!

acme baking company glazed lemon cookie

At Acme Baking Company we get excited about baked goods that are easy to make and look great. These delicious glazed lemon cookies come up aces on both the ease and aesthetic fronts. Perfect little disks of crisp, delicate lemon cookie topped with a rich and bright glaze.

Glazed Lemon Cookies

Cookie Dough:
3/4 c. granulated sugar
2 tablespoons lemon zest
1 1/4 c. flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons cold cubed butter
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 large egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

In a food processor, blend the sugar and lemon zest until the sugar is yellow in color and slightly damp. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and blend until combined. Add the cubed butter and blend until the mixture looks like graham cracker crumbs.

Mix the lemon juice, egg yolk and vanilla in a glass with a pour spout. Pour as a steady stream into the dough mixture while the food processor is running. Let the dough continue to be processed until a ball forms.

acme baking company dough logAcme Baking Company wrapped dough log

Place a length of plastic wrap on your counter, transfer the dough to the plastic wrap and form a round log about 2 inches thick and 12 inches long. Wrap the plastic wrap around the dough and place in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

Cut the dough log into slices just shy of 1/4 inch thick. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 325 degrees for 13-16 minutes until the edges begin to brown.

Let the cookies cool on until firm on cookie sheets then transfer to a cooling rack.

Glaze:
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons cream cheese
1 1/2 c. (6oz) powdered sugar

Whisk together the lemon juice and cream cheese until completely smooth. This took my a while and was definitely a forearm workout. Once complete smooth add the powdered sugar. If the mixture is a little too stiff (mine was) add a little bit of water (a couple of teaspoons max) and whisk until incorporated. Don’t be tempted to add more water, the mixture will come to the right consistency.

Spread about 1 tablespoon of glaze on each cookie disk. Spread the edges using the back of a spoon. Let the glaze set completely, this could take up to an hour.

Snickerdoodle! Just the name sounds fun

I think there are four cookies in everyone’s arsenal of go-tos. Chocolate chip is always at the top of the list, followed by peanut butter, oatmeal and the snickerdoodle! The snickerdoodle is second on my list of faves – it is a simple cookie with only 8 ingredients (if you count the cinnamon in the topping.)

I seem to be in a timewarp lately, baking all my childhood favorites. This recipe only incredibly slightly modified comes from a cookbook called Cookies which was published in 1980! I was four years old when this book came out and for some reason my mom had two copies so when I moved out, I took one. Shhhh, don’t tell my brother.

Snickerdoodles

1 c. butter
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs
2 3/4 c. flour
1 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Coating

3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon

Method

I like to cream the sugar and butter together, then add the eggs one at a time. To keep things simple I throw in the baking soda and salt – let them mix a minute and then add the flour all at once. Don’t mix it too long, just until the flour is incorporated.

Make 1 inch balls of dough, roll in cinnamon sugar mixture place on baking sheet. Normally I line my sheets with parchment but for some reason snickerdoodles always turn out better if I line the pans with tin foil, shiny side down.

Bake at 375 for 10 to 12 minutes.

Should make about 3 dozen cookies