Friday, September 21, 2012

Baking...Like a Boss

I cannot express how much I love this new season.
They call it "fall" here.
(Not my picture, but one of our town )

It's amazing.
I know you have autumn in Utah, but to tell the truth.....not like this.
I grew up in Arizona. There is not such thing as Autumn/Fall. It's too hot to wear long sleeves when you go Trick or Treating and sometime in November, it's finally not like living on the surface of the sun. You might even need a sweatshirt for the months of December -February. There are no piles of leaves to jump in and your jack-o-lantern starts to rot if you carve it more than a week before Halloween.
Don't get me wrong, it was great to be a teenager in the land that heavy winter coats forgot. 
When I moved to Utah, I was delighted to have Spring and Fall.
However, those seasons are what I referred to as Sybil Time. You'd start off the morning freezing, by noon it would be so hot you considered just leaving that coat you wore in the morning by the side of the road, it was too hot to even carry the stupid thing. Sometimes it would freeze early and ruin your garden and just as you were pulling out the sweaters and accepting the cold weather, it would be 85 degrees again for a few weeks.
The weather in Salt Lake had multiple personalities most of the time. 
Summer, Winter and "Mother Nature has a hangover, so she'll just put on whatever looks clean."

Here, we've had this GROSS humid summer.  It's awful. Cooking is terrible because even the crock pot makes the whole house seem to heat up. I used my oven as little as possible and every time I did, we paid the price. Our electric bill was insane. It was way worse than any bill I'd had in the worst Arizona summers. we were all dehydrated and the summer weather was a huge shock to our bodies and we had a lot of migraines and stink.
Then, September came and slowly the weather has been cooling down. One morning there was a crisp breeze and it practically smelled like Autumn. I was expecting it to be a fluke, but every day it's just a little bit cooler and the air feels a little more clean and the leaves are slowly changing color. In Utah, you have window of about 1-3 weeks where the leaves all turn and you make sure to load up the kids and drive to the mountains if you want to see all of that "autumn" stuff in nature- at least, that's how we experienced it. 

The house is pleasant. The weather outside is amazing. Cool enough to wear jeans now, but they don't become denim sauna pants by late afternoon. It's comfortable and I can cook now without my whole house going into shock.
I promised Zane I'd make pumpkin roll. It's his favorite dessert I make and I don't blame him. It's as addictive as crack. Sweet pumpkin and cream cheese flavored crack.
I made one today, but it looks bad. I used the wrong pan, so the cake was too thin and even though it tastes like orange heaven, it looks like an orange poo.
So I'll post a picture of one that another person baked.
Someone who cooled it the right way and used the right pan and who sifts her powdered sugar so it doesn't look like clumps of carpet fresh.

The recipe I use is the one you find on the inside of the can of Libby's Pumpkin. If you haven't made this- DO IT. Everyone you share it with will want to kiss you after they are done licking the filling off their fingers and singing songs of praise. It's so good.

I also made a new recipe today.
We're having pasta for dinner tonight and since I was feeling extra bake-y I made bread sticks.
They were so easy and they are super good.
I got the recipe from the Worldwide Ward Cookbook, Mom's Best Recipes.

The think that makes these amazing is that they are quick and simple and you cook them in a pool of butter.
I know!

Buttery Bread Sticks
1T Yeast
1 1/2 C warm water
2 T sugar
1/2 t. salt
3 C flour
1/2 C butter

Preheat the oven to 350.
 Take your stick of butter and put it on a shallow baking sheet and pop it in the oven until it melts.

put yeast, sugar and water in a bowl and let it do it's thing for about 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, mix flour & salt, then add yeast mixture.
knead until it's firm and elastic. I just did it all with the dough hook in my mixer, it worked great. I think I let it run about 5 minutes. The recipe says hand knead for 10. 
Whatever floats your boat.

Let the dough rest and raise for about 10 minutes, then divide it into 12 balls- roll and shape like bread sticks.
Take your bread stick snakes and roll them in the melted butter in the pan.
I sprinkled garlic powder on mine, if we had Parmesan cheese in the house I would have used some of that, too.
Let the sticks rise in the pan of buttery goodness for 15-20 minutes.
Then brush on some more of the butter, just to make sure it's going to make your heart stop beating for sure.

Bake for 15-18 minutes.

Pinch yourself that they were that easy and they are so freaking good. 
Olive Garden has nothing on these, I'm telling you.
 It's my new favorite roll recipe.
The bottom is soaked with butter and has a light flaky crust on it, but they are very soft.(
 I turned one upside down so you could get an idea of how much butter those babies soaked up, but it looks burned in the picture. It's not burned, just too much of whatever Instagram effect I used/)

They took about an hour start to finish. It makes 12 bread
sticks, but I can't count so I only made 8. The story I'm telling the family is that it only made 7 though because I was hungry, Yo.
There I go again with the "Yo."
That's my cue to stop typing and eat some pumpkin roll.

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