Back in the kitchen

The mocha surprise dessert that started this whole blog was sinfully rich and sweet, but just a wee bit over the top for my tastes. Imagine me thinking something tasted too coffee-like! ‘Cause I’m all into coffee and chocolate combinations. There were no complex or subtle tastes. It was just “out there”, sort of like a brownie with liquidy innerds. I may try it again, I may not. But it was easy to make.

I just found a recipe for a cast iron skillet apple pie. A pre-made shell lines the skillet, and apples, seasonings and such are filled to overflowing inside. Then the shell folds around the mound of seasoned apples. Sounds easy enough. And I’m all into easy. I’ll let you know how that turns out. I can make pie crust, but it’s always ugly as sin when baked as a pie with fluted sides. But with this skillet style, I could use a home-made crust because rustic is exactly the look I’d be going for anyway. Although it would add a few levels of time and complexity. Maybe I’ll make it both ways to see if I can detect a sufficient difference to stick with home-made dough.

I’m a scratch baker. I always start with the basic ingredients and build from that. There’s only one recipe I use that uses a pre-made cake mix, and it’s only used as part of the crust. I do confess to making brownies from a box a few times when my daughter was young, when she’d tell me at the last minute that I was supposed to bring a dessert to her classroom.

But despite being a scratch baker, never will my round cakes or pies make it to a big family dinner or formal gathering. The taste is all there, but the looks are definitely not. And I don’t care enough to work at improving the quality of the look.

So most of my cakes are sheet cakes. The icing on top covers a multitude of sins!

My mother-in-law used to make scratch parker-house type rolls. The raw dough was dipped into butter, left to rise, then baked. Delicious! I tried to make it. The taste was there, but the seal that folded the dough onto itself would pop and the bread would look like chairs, divans, sofas, couches. So I started calling it furniture bread! I don’t know what I did differently from my mother-in-law, but the dough never stayed sealed. So I stopped making it.

This weekend, I made my mother-in-law’s biscuits. Well, sort of. The texture was definitely there, but I rolled the dough too thin. But I have to say I did feel like I was channeling my mother-in-law when preparing the dough. Nothing has measurements. Some self-rising flour, some shortening, some buttermilk. She would break apart the shortening in the buttermilk and start folding in the flour with her hands when the consistency was right. Her dough was always ALWAYS perfect.

Mine were way too thin, for the most part. There was just enough dough to have a top and a bottom, but they were more like wafers than biscuits. My husband dutifully ate them, but no compliments were forthcoming. But, for the first time, I feel I have the consistency down pat. So I will make them again.

Fortunately, my daughter learned at her grandmother’s side, so she also can make the biscuits. Hand me down recipes are the best. But more on that later.


~ by Heather on July 8, 2010.

One Response to “Back in the kitchen”

  1. Did I inspire you to make Mama J’s biscuits??? I’ll make them again when you come down in July 🙂 Don’t forget some SALT! I forgot it when I made them last weekend and, let me tell you, it makes a BIG difference.

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