Baked Sunday Mornings: Date Squares

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I can’t say I was excited about this recipe. I think the name reminded me of my least favorite Baked recipe, Bale Bars. But, cookies are my favorite thing to make and this recipe sounded like a breeze.

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They were super easy to put together, and the only dates I found at my local store were already chopped into small pieces, making things go even quicker.

I had two small issues: the first was that my crumb mixture was too dry. It really did need more butter and I considered adding more, but in the end I just went with the original recipe. That made them more messy and I lost a lot of the crumbs, but there was a cohesive bar in there that cut nicely and came out of the pan easily, even without using parchment. (how could I be out of parchment?!)

My other issue was that I read the instructions wrong. It said to rotate halfway through baking, about thirty minutes and for some reason I took that to mean rotate thirty minutes in, then bake another thirty. I realized my mistake about five minutes after rotating so luckily I didn’t ruin my bars.

I have to say, the bars are really tasty and were nothing like my sad bale bar failure. My kid-testers enjoyed them too even though one of them was really disappointed that there was no chocolate involved. He thought ‘date squares’ were cookie bars you made for a date, and would naturally contain chocolate.

Go see what everyone else thought!

Next up: Wintermint Cake!! This cake is due the same weekend as my birthday, so I think I know what kind of cake I’ll have for my birthday this year!!!

Baked Sunday Mornings: Going Rogue

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We were supposed to make Devil Dogs with Malted Buttercream Filling this time, but I am too deep in my yearly pumpkin obsession to do chocolate and buttercream right now. For me, pumpkin is pretty fleeting–October and November, then on to other things for Christmas baking–but I can do chocolate anytime.

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I didn’t intend to go rogue necessarily, but a few weeks ago my boys were flipping through Baked Elements and pointed at the Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls recipe. ‘Mama. Make these.’ And I have been thinking of them ever since.

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These cinnamon rolls were so easy to make, but they look so beautiful they would be perfect for any fall brunch. The only 10″ pan I own is a springform and that was perfect. Once they were out of the oven I just took the sides off the pan and slid the rolls, still on the 10″ round onto the cake stand to frost. If I was going to travel with them I would have just put the round into the cake taker and been on my way.

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I did make the frosting ahead of time but that ended up not making a difference. I used an offset spatula and smeared/dripped the frosting evenly onto the rolls. As lovely as the picture is in the cookbook, I require more than just a delicate drizzle of frosting on my cinnamon rolls: they need to be drenched.

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The pumpkin made the finished rolls soft and puffy and they were spicy and yummy from the cinnamon and nutmeg. (I didn’t have ground cardamom) I would definitely make these again, and I probably will before pumpkin season closes out for the year.

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Go over and check out my friend’s devil dogs!

Next up: Good Morning Sunshine Bars! Yay, I’ve been wanting to make these!!

Baked Sunday Mornings: Chocolate Hazelnut Spread

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I was thrilled to make my first recipe as part of Baked Sunday Mornings. Of course last weekend I made a Lemon Drop Cake and yesterday I made the Sweet & Salty cake but this my first time following the official baking schedule.

I was relieved that it was a quick and simple recipe so I could still have lots of time to celebrate my man’s birthday. I bought raw hazelnuts from Whole Foods last week when I was shopping for good chocolate for the cake. It was hard to gauge in cups at the bulk bin so I accidentally bought $15 worth of nuts, twice as much as I needed. Now I know why Nutella is so expensive: those suckers are not cheap. But the good news is they are immensely tasty so having extra on hand is not a bad thing.

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I roasted all of the nuts at once and spent the next day or so removing the skins at my leisure. I first rubbed them with a damp towel, as the recipe suggested. With the skins that remained I either slipped them off or rubbed handfuls between my hands to gently remove them. I don’t think you need to have totally naked hazelnuts, but the papery skins need to go so they don’t mess with the texture of the spread.

I am always amazed and delighted whenever whole nuts liquefy and turn to butter. However, my small 4 cup food processor was not so excited. 😦

My husband wanted to buy the big daddy when we were first looking at them but for some reason I vetoed it. Big mistake. I wasn’t too worried about it burning out but if I was I would have taken the hazelnuts out once they liquefied and mixed in the other ingredients by hand.

I didn’t do that and the motor did get a good workout. I smelled a bit of burning machinery towards the end. I won’t be sad if I’m forced to buy a bigger food processor! 😉

I didn’t use hazelnut oil, the nuts were expensive enough so I didn’t want to buy any more special ingredients. I used grapeseed oil which was fine but next time I would definitely use hazelnut oil so it could impart more warm nuttiness to the finished product.

The spread was perfect and yummy and will be happily spread on apples–done already 😉 and over toast and crackers and maybe biscuits or scones. We are definitely fans of Nutella here and homemade is even better!

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See you next week!! Next up: alfajores! Don’t forget to head over and see what everyone else did this week!

Weekend Baking

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I was looking forward to my day off with my sweetie all week. I decided that I would surprise him by baking a batch of yummy cinnamon rolls for us to share during our lazy Sunday. I started the process Saturday night. After the dough log firmed up in the freezer I sliced it up and put 10 pieces in a greased 13×9 pan, covered it with a towel, crossed my fingers and went to bed.

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It’s still weird for me that such an easy dough works so perfectly, especially since I was using the Milk Bar Mother Dough with the Brioche Cinnamon Roll recipe from the Craft of Baking book. I was worried that I would wake up to small little slices, but was greeted instead to a full pan of fluffy dough-love. I used the leftover filling that oozed out during the rolling/wrapping process by spooning it on top of each roll.

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While the rolls baked I made the glaze and set up a handy little drizzle station with a plastic tray and a cooling rack. After about 30 minutes they were all set. I was so happy that my romantic brunch turned out so well. What did NOT go quite as planned, however was the fact that my husband was called into work bright and early on our ONE day off together. He got dressed and left, leaving a sad husband-shaped empty spot in our bed.

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Baby G was still asleep so I got up to see if I had totally wrecked my cinnamon rolls or not. The funny thing was, since my honey wasn’t around to enjoy them with me I didn’t really care they turned out or not. But my bakers’ ego was definitely thrilled to see how puffy and beautiful the rolls had become overnight.

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I decided to make the best of eating breakfast alone by putting on The Smiths and making a good strong pot of coffee.

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Even though I was really disappointed that my honey would have to come home to cold cinnamon rolls, I was pretty happy with the way they turned out….and so was Baby G. 🙂

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