rocky road bars

My third offering for the Chocolate Auction. I got this recipe from Nicole Weston’s excellent blog Baking Bites. She credits Everyday Food magazine with the original recipe. Beneath the layer of mini marshmallows, chocolate chips and walnuts is a thin layer of very moist and dense brownie. I debated about cutting the bars up because I thought it would’ve been nicer to see the bottom layer (which is not visible in the pan), but couldn’t figure out how to package it cut up.

cocoa-nana bread

This is another Dorie Greenspan recipe I made for the Chocolate Auction. I renamed it “Choco-Nana Bread” for the auction because I didn’t want the bidders to hear “Cocoa-Nana” as “Coco-Nana” and think that the bread contained coconut. This is a rich chocolate and banana bread riddled with semisweet chocolate chips.

chocolate malted whopper drops

One of three different items I made for the Chocolate Auction at our church. I love, love, LOVE malty things, including chocolate malted milkshakes and Whoppers malted milk balls, so I was hoping that there were others who felt the same way. This cookie comes from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My House to Yours. The cookies are soft and tender and despite the fact that they contain cocoa powder, semisweet chocolate chips and chopped Whoppers, they are not excessively chocolatey, which is good because I prefer that my cookies don’t beat me over the head with their chocolateyness.

english muffins

This was my first attempt at English muffins. I did some research online and learned that English muffin recipes vary quite a bit. Some are made from a firmer dough and the muffins are formed by making little balls and squashing them. Other use a wetter dough, such as the one I made, and require the use of English muffin molds to keep their shape when they are cooking. I struggled a bit with flipping the muffins (to cook both sides) — the tops were still wet and would spill out of the molds, but all in all, I was quite pleased with the results. The crust was thin and crisp, and the crumb was a little craggy when the muffins were fork-split. Toasted and spread with a little butter — they were heavenly!

white sandwich bread and rolls

In an attempt to save face from the disaster that was my previous white sandwich loaf, I gave it another try (although with a different recipe this time). I also made some quasi-Kaiser rolls for the sandwiches we’re having tonight (busy night + no time for dinner = sandwiches and soup). Quasi because in spite of following Peter Reinhart’s shaping instructions to the letter, I couldn’t get them to knot as his did. But they look fine and no one will probably be the wiser.

Soft Pretzels

I tried the soft pretzels again today with a few tweaks, which solved some of the problems I had the last time. The results were darker and chewier — more like a pretzel than a bread roll. I made some topped with garlic salt (a favorite of the boys), some with grated Parmesan and some with garlic salt and sesame seeds. I still need a little work on my pretzel twisting technique as well; I think they look more pretzel-like if you roll them super-long before attempting to twist them. But the difference is mostly cosmetic and I’m fine with them the way they are.

whole grain banana muffins

I’m perpetually on the hunt for THE banana muffin. And these days, I’ve been consuming so much bread (and other white flour baked goods) that I’ve become a little preoccupied with adding more fiber into my diet. So when I had a couple aging bananas on my counter, I decided to try this oatmeal banana muffin recipe from the Quaker Oats site. Really, it just has oats in it, so I’m not sure it qualifies as Whole Grain with the more earthy folks, but it works for me.

For the chopped nuts, I used some chopped hazelnuts I had in my freezer, and I cut out one of the tablespoons of butter (so I used 4 rather than 5). I also added a teaspoon of cinnamon. And finally, I opted to use a whole egg instead of the 2 egg whites. The muffins are really tasty and aren’t overly sweet. They have a little chewiness to them from the oats, and a little crunch from the nuts, and are moist from the bananas. I can see them being good with some grated coconut or dried pineapple in them, but they’re great with just the banana too.