Sunday, January 3, 2010

Baking Resolution

My January Baking goal is complete.

New Bread! Shortbread (Scone like)

I made some shortbread from the Williams Sonomoa Breads cookbook (which is different from the WS Cooking Basics shortcake I love by about 1/4 c butter) and it came out really good. I made 2 half batches - one following the recipe and one substituting half the flour for almond flour and changing the fruit from currants to chopped dried cherries. Both worked well, but with the almond flour, I should have added less liquid by at least a tablespoon. I wound up adding extra flour which diluted the taste a little, but still worked ok. The almond stuff rose less and darkened more, but the cherry almond shortbread/scone clone was still pretty tasty and guest worthy. Props to Williams Sonoma cookbooks - I have yet to make a bad recipe from these two books; my cinnamon roll recipe is from their Breads book as well. The shortbread is definitely on my short list of go-to snacks. Next time I make it, I think a powdered sugar glaze would work great to mimic the cherry almonds mini-scones from Trader Joes.

Repeat Bread Cho-Pow (/SHOW-pow/)

This is Philipino bao, or steamed bun, from someone my mom knows in Minnesota. I remember them being a favorite and taking them in my bag lunch to the circus in 5th grade. As an adult, I've made them perhaps 4 times before, including last new year when my family visited so we could pack them for our Rose Parade breakfast; they were gone before we hit the edge of town. The filling is minced pork with a sturdy leafy "green" that preferably has some red, and some (candied) ginger and sherry and optional boiled egg. I use kale but my mom uses swiss chard. I also started adding minced dried shitake mushroom as it helps keep the filling from watering out while I stuff the sweet buns. I had cooked some pork from my freezer but it smelled funny and I threw it out in favor of some precooked pork from Trader Joes. They sell "mexican" oven-roasted carnitas with about 1/3 more than I needed for only $4, so I'll do that again unless I have leftover pork on hand.

I came up with a better way to form them this year. Instead of stretching them in my hands and keeping things floured so they don't stick then wetting the edges to close them, I kept the dough stickier and just buttered up my work surface. I plopped the dough ball down on the counter and stretched the edges out thin. (I leave it thicker in the middle so the top doesn't get too thin when cooked.) With the sticky bread dough lightly stuck to the counter, I put the filling on, then fold opposite "sides" in to the bottom to seal it (3X), then roll it off the lightly greased surface and put it in the steamer. I got a little aggressive with quantity this year and made more smaller ones because it was so easy to fill and wrap them this way, but went back to larger ones after noticing I had a few that were just too thin.

Cho-Pow/bao freeze excellently and reheat in the microwave to be good as new.

Don't know yet what February's baking will be, but most likely the Valentine's Red Velvet cake will be the repeat.


Anonymous said...

Do you like chocolate shortbread? I have a great recipe if you do (I love all kinds of shortbread, and love to experiment with it).

Junior and Orion said...

You are so good! Our Meowm hardly ever cooks!

Anonymous said...

Hey, I put the recipe for the shortbread on my blog- that way, it doesn't take up room on yours. You should just be able to copy and paste it to a notepad or word doc, and print it from there.

CrankyOtter said...

West: awesome, thanks