Monday, November 29, 2010

Homemade Croissants.. Step by Step

I told y'all I've been on a pastry kick lately and I meant it.

This week? Light, buttery, flaky, delicious homemade croissants.

I know what you're thinking...I just went from training wheels to unicycle.

Well, you're right...but see the thing is, I like a challenge and what could be more challenging than the labor of love that is fresh croissants?

Preparing croissants can be summed up quite simply: pound, roll, roll, place, fold, roll, fold, fold, roll, fold, fold, chill, roll, fold, fold, roll, fold, fold, chill, cut, chill, roll, measure, cut, shape, proof, bake.

Got that?


Ok, How bout this...

Phew! Now take a break and go to sleep..
because the next morning 
you have to start all over again..

Now all you've got to do is proof the lil guys..
that means letting them rise for 2 hours before you can 
pop em in the oven and bake them.

And after all that hard work...

Warm, fresh, buttery, wonderful croissants...

I must give a big thanks to Julie over at Willow Bird Baking and the Tracey of Tracey's Culinary Adventures, because without their photo tutorials I wouldn't have been successful as I was this first go around.

Now for those of you still reading for the recipe and actual tutorial, be fair warned.. this is an extremely long and lengthy recipe, I'm talking two days long... but let me also say that these little french super stars are well worth the time and effort involved.

I started the process around 6pm on a Friday night, woke up early Saturday morning around 7am and had fresh croissants in my belly by 10am. So this is not a recipe if you're in a hurry and want something quick and easy...there are a lot of steps involved as well so pay attention! (I'm not yelling at you, just being assertive)

Are y'all ready for this?

Homemade Butter Croissants
Recipe by: Gourmet, Found through Willowbird Baking
Makes 14 croissants and some extra little ones

1 1/2 cups whole milk, warmed to about 110degrees F (I used a candy thermometer)
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 TBS plus 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
3 3/4 cups AP flour (plus a little more for kneading and rolling)
1 TBS salt
3 sticks, cold unsalted butter
1 egg, lightly beaten, for egg wash
1 tsp cream or milk, for egg wash

These Might Come in Handy:
Stand mixer with dough hook
Candy thermometer
Ruler (or ruler tape that I found at Micheals)
Pastry scraper/Dough Knife
Pastry Brush
Parchment Paper
Pizza cutter
A lot of Time

Let's get started! The following process is a combination of Julie's instructions and Tracey's.

Day 1
Round 1: Making the Dough.
 Stir together warm milk, brown sugar and yeast in mixer bowl. Let stand about 5 minutes or until yeast has foamed. *Very important!* If your yeast doesn't start to foam you need to start over. The mixture has to get foamy for the yeast to work so you get light and fluffy dough.
Add flour and salt, mixing with dough hook at low until dough is smooth and very soft (about 7 minutes).

Transfer dough to lightly floured work surface and knead by hand for about 2 minutes, adding more flour when necessary, making a soft and slightly sticky dough. Form dough into a roughly 1 1/2 inch thick rectangle, wrap in saran wrap and chill until cold, about an 1 hour.

Round 2: Pounding the Butter.
(Get your ruler handy)
About 40 minutes until chilling your dough its time to pound your butter.
Line your work surface with a big piece of saran wrap, short side in front of you.
Remove your butter from the fridge and lay the sticks horizontally on the saran wrap so their sides are touching.  Fold saran wrap back over butter so its completely covered.
 Using a rolling pin, pound the butter to soften (it should be malleable, but still chilly).

Pound and roll out on both side until butter forms a uniform 8 by 5-inch rectangle.

Transfer to fridge to chill. By this time your dough should be ready to roll out.

Round 3: Rolling out Dough.
Unwrap dough and roll out on a lightly floured surface, constantly during with flour when necessary- liftng and stretching dough into a 16-by 10-inch rectangle.

 Arrange dough with short side nearest you.
Get the flattened butter out of the fridge, remove from saran wrap and place it in the bottom half of the dough rectangle, so that the long sides of the butter are parallel to the short side of the dough.

 Fold top half of dough over butter, pinching edges of dough together so butter stays wrapped inside.

Gently pound  and stretch rectangle of dough and butter, into about a 10 by 6-inch rectangle. If your butter is started to ooze out, sprinkle it with some flour or take a break and place dough in the fridge for a little bit to chill out. Again, with shortest end closest to you, fold dough like you would a letter: Fold bottom third up and top third over bottom third. Like so..

Pat yourself on the back! One "Turn" is complete!

Turn dough so that the folded part (like the spine of a book) is on your left. It's now time to start "Turn 2"

Repeat the process shown above- rolling out dough into a 10 by 6-inch rectangle and then folding like a letter, bottom third up, top third down.

You have now completed 'Turn 2." Use your fingers to make 2 imprints on the corner so you don't lose your place..

Wrap your dough in saran wrap and place in the fridge to chill out for about an hour.. in the mean time go grab something to drink.

Once the dough has been able to chill out for an hour or so, complete two more turns- just as you did before, for a total of four turns: Turn 1-Roll, fold, fold Turn 2- Roll, fold, fold.

At this point, you've done all you can for the time being. The dough needs to chill for about 12-20 hours before proofing. So go have dinner and have a nice night of sleep because you've got a lot more to do tomorrow morning!

Day 2
Before beginning, line two baking sheets with parchment paper and get that ruler handy yet again.
Get your dough out of the fridge (you'll notice it may have grown a little) and using a dough knife, cut in half.

Wrap one half of the dough and place it back in the fridge, because you want your dough chilled its important not to try and do too much at one time.

Round 4: Preparing your Croissants.
On a lightly floured surface, roll dough out into a 6 1/2 by 20 inch rectangle- feel free to trim edges for a cleaner croissant. The dough should be about 1/4-1/8 inches thick.. like this:

 Arrange your dough so the long side of the rectangle is directly in front of you.
The next step is to cut your dough into triangles that will be used to form the croissants.
On the side closest to you, use your ruler and starting from the left side of rectangle measure 5 inches from the end and make a tiny incision. From there, measure another 5 inches and make another mark, and repeat one more time- finishing with four 5-inch sections. Now along the top, measure 2 1/2 inches in and make a mark. Then measure 5-inches from there and make a mark. Repeat two more times, measure 5 inches each time
If you're having a hard time wrapping your head around this check out this diagram..

Marking your dough.

You're now ready to cut you dough into triangles. The 5-inch sections are going to the bases of your triangles. Starting at the bottom corner, use a pizza cutter and cut ending at the 2 1/2 inch mark. Then cut down toward the first 5-inch mark you made, creating a triangle. Continue diagonally cutting meeting mark to mark until you have 7 triangles and 2 scrap sides. This diagram may be helpful. 

 Cutting your Dough.

Round 5: Shaping your Croissants
Make a small cut at the base of each of your triangles.
Holding your triangle, stretch the dough a little on the corners of the base.
Place the triangle back on the work surface and roll base toward tip, curling the sides of the triangle away from each other (towards you) to create the crescent shape. The croissant should roll 3 times with tip sticking out. Curl ends toward each other to get more of crescent shape and press together if desired. Repeat process with rest of your triangles and place back on baking sheet about 2 inches apart.

Make egg wash (egg yolk and cream) and generously brush shaped croissants.

Repeat Round 4 and 5 with reserved dough waiting in the fridge.

 Looking for something to do with the extra dough that's been cut? Just roll it up too for little mini pastries, better yet add some chocolate or jam before doing so.. just go with it.

Round 6: Proofing your Croissants
I know by this point you just want to throw them in the oven and be done with them, but they still need a little more time.. I told you.. patience is a necessity. They're divas (but justifiable so). There are a couple ways to proof these little stars. I went the warm route, but other recipes call for a cool proof that consists of placing the prepped croissants in the fridge for about 3 hours or even overnight (I want to try all but just haven't had the time so I'm sharing what I did and what worked).

Turn oven on to 100°F (or as low as your oven will go). After a few minutes, turn oven off and open the door. When the temperatures drops to just warm, place croissants in the oven and close the door (I kept the oven light on as well). Leave croissants in the warm oven for about 2 hours, until they are about 1 1/2 their size and have the texture of a marshmallow- if you touch them there will be a slight indent.
After 2 painful hours have come and gone, remove croissants before heating the oven for baking. At this point I also dabbed the excess butter that had started to pool around the bottom of the rising croissants- not because I was trying to be healthier, but because I didn't want the butter to burn while baking.

Preheat oven to 425°F and place an oven proof dish full of water on the bottom rack of the oven.
Put croissants (one pan at a time) in oven and immediately reduce temperature to 400°F and bake for 8 minutes without opening the door.

Rotate baking sheet 180° in oven and reduce temperature to 375°F, baking until golden brown- about 8-10 minutes. Don't be tempted to take them out when they're light brown.. they may not be done! We're looking for golden outsides.

Holy're done! You did it! You made your first batch of croissants!! Now you totally deserve eating at least 4.

A few words of advice:
1. First off, if you have ANY questions please don't hesitate to email me or find me on twitter!
2. Definitely allot enough time for the whole process.. like I said before, I started the process around 6pm Friday evening, woke up around 7am Saturday morning and didn't get to enjoy croissants until about 10am.
3. Don't get caught up in the measurements when rolling out the dough.. if you can't get the inches exactly, try to get as close as you can and work with it.. don't force it.
4. If you see smoke billowing from the oven while the croissants are baking don't freak out!! It may not be the actual pastries.. You might have to turn on a fan or open a window (or two) to make sure your smoke alarm doesn't go off, but more than likely it is just the excess butter oozing out and burning at the bottom of your oven- if anyone has any suggestions to keep this from happening, please, I'm all ears!
5. Have fun! They're not as scary as they seem... just give em a try- they're worth every hour :)

 Happy Baking!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Cranberries & Cream Crostata

I apologize for not posting more often this week, but I was busy! Between trying to get the house in order after our weekend away and another wedding cake to get done before leaving for Mountain Man's family home Thanksgiving morning, my posts fell to the wayside.

I do hope everyone stuffed themselves silly with turkey and all the fixins like we did on Thursday and enjoyed every second of it!

Not being able to help Mama Mountain Man with Turkey Day preparations this year, I wanted to at least bring dessert. Fortunately, this month's Daring Baker Challenge was perfect for a Thanksgiving feast and would offer a little something different than the traditional pumpkin and pecan pie.

The 2010 November Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Simona of bricole. She chose to challenge Daring Bakers' to make pasta frolla for a crostata. She used her own experiences as a source, as well as information from Pellegrino Artusi's Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well.

Although we had to use Simona's pasta frolla recipe for the crostata base, she gave us creative freedom when it came to the choice of filling. If you remember, I made a crostata a couple of months ago, but this version is quite different and maybe even a little more tasty.

Going with the Thanksgiving theme, let me introduce to you my Cranberries & Cream Crostata.

There are a few steps involved in the recipe- Making the dough, letting it chill an hour and then making the cream and cranberry fillings.

Pasta Frolla 
(Crostata dough)

Scant 3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 3/4 cup AP flour
pinch of salt
1 stick butter, cold and cut into small pieces
grated zest of half a lemon
1 large egg and 1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten in a small bowl

Place sugar, flour, salt and lemon zest in a food processor and pulse a few times to mix.
Add butter pieces and pulse a few times until the mixture has the consistency of coarse meal.
Empty ingredients onto a work surface.

 Make a well in the center of the mounded flour and pour beaten egg into it (reserve a teaspoon of egg mixture for egg wash).
Using a fork, incorporate liquid into dry ingredients and then use your fingertips.

Knead lightly just until the dough comes together into a ball. 
Shape dough into a flat disk, wrap in saran wrap and place dough in fridge to chill for an hour or so.

After dough has had some time to chill, start to prepare the cranberries.

Honey Soaked Cranberries
2 1/2 cups cranberries (fresh or frozen)
2/3 cup honey
2/3 cup water

Bring water and honey to a boil in a medium sized sauce pan. Add cranberries and return to boil for about 10-12 minutes. Remove berries from heat and allow mixture to cool and thicken (about 5-10 minutes).

While your berries are thickening, make your cream.

Crema Pasticcera
(lightly sweetened pastry cream)
2 large eggs
1/3 cup sugar
2 cups + 2 TBS whole milk
3 strips of lemon peel (use a potato peeler to cut strips)
3 TBS AP flour

Pour milk into a pan, add lemon peel and warm just before boiling point is reached. In a mixing bowl, beat eggs with sugar until mixture is bubbly. Sif flour over egg mixture and beat briefly until incorporated. Temper egg mixture with a small quantity of milk, then slowly add rest of milk, mixing with a wooden spoon. Pour mixture back into pan and set it to very low heat, stirring every couple of minutes. When froth on surface has disappeared completely, the cream should start to feel slightly thicker. At this point, turn heat up slightly and make sure to stir constantly. When cream reaches boiling point and thickens, continue to cook briefly for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat, remove lemon peel and place saucepan in a cold water bath, stirring cream to bring down the temperature. While cream is cooling, stir every now and again to precent formation of film.

Assembling and baking the Crostata con la Crema

*You will need a 8 or 9 inch fluted tart pan, cake pan or springform pan.
Heat oven to 350.
Take dough out of fridge and unwrap.
Lay dough on top of saran wrap and place another piece over top to make rolling the dough out a lot less messy (the dough disk should be sandwiched between 2 pieces of saran wrap).
Press dough with rolling pin- starting from the middle to each end, creating a circular shape.
Roll dough into a circle about 1/8th inch thick.

Remove top piece of saran wrap from dough.
Flip dough over pan (exposed side down), center it and delicately press it all around so corners are well covered. Peel away saran wrap.
Trim excess dough hanging over the edges of the pan (reserve for later). Press remaining dough around border into sides of pan so an even thickness is reached all the way around.

Prick bottom of the dough with a fork in several places.
With left over dough, roll with pin and cut out fun shapes with cookie cutter.

Cover bottom of crostata crust with an even layer of cream and then top with cooked cranberries.

Decorate with cut outs.
Brush edges of crostata and cut outs with reserved egg yolks (you may need to add 1 tsp of water to beaten eggs to make it brush-able)
Place tart in oven and bake for 30-35 minutes.
When done, remove from oven and allow to cool on cooling rack for at least an hour. Make sure you crostata is completely cooled before serving.

What did you have for dessert this Thanksgiving??
Happy Baking!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Have Wedding Cake, Will Travel

That's right folks, another traveling wedding cake!

Is it nerve racking you ask? A little bit..but it's also very exciting, especially when the bride and groom have no idea what is in store for them.

And how do I get myself into these things you ask? Well, it's quite easy when you like to make cakes and all of your good friends still live on the east coast.

Case in point, this little number I traveled to Savannah with this past weekend for two of our very good friends.

This cake was very special to me because the couple I made it for is also very special. Andrea and I were roommates for two years during grad school and upon meeting, immediately became fast friends. T.Ray and A.Way (as she used to be called) met around the same time Mountain Man and I did at a local gym that Taylor actually co-owned. As the roommate, I got to watch as her and Taylor's relationship grew and couldn't have been more excited when they asked me to make their wedding cake. In just a few short weeks after their first date, the two became inseparable- doing all sorts of things together, to include working out (Taylor is into the whole weight lifting thing if you can't tell), which is what inspired the custom cake topper I made for them out of clay.

I kept the decorations a secret from the bride and groom and I'm so glad I did.. they were absolutely ecstatic about the topper.. I think Taylor literally gave me 3 bear hugs after seeing it, laughing the entire time.

Perfect (ok semi-perfect) little clay replicas of the couple in all their wedding glory.. we even got them to try the pose out in real life too!

Andrea and Taylor couldn't have asked for better weather for an outdoor wedding. The ceremony took place in one of the many squares adorning the city and the reception was held in one of the most haunted homes in Savannah- the Kehoe House. We laughed, we cried, we ate cake and danced the afternoon away all in a perfect Savannah Fall day.

For those of you wondering how I made this travel happen here's a quick recap:
Fortunately (for me), their wedding was small, which meant we didn't need a large cake. I actually baked, decorated and covered the cakes in fondant in Texas and then did the rest once we arrived in Savannah. The night before we left I boxed up the cakes, covered them in saran wrap and then wrapped them in bubble wrap so that they couldn't move much. MM and I hand carried the cakes throughout the rest of the trip as our carry-ons and boy did we have to answer a lot of questions along the way. The flight attendants were awesome about it though and even let us keep the cakes on the plane during our layover (one of them actually hung out in our seats so the cakes weren't disturbed by the cleaning people). Saturday morning I set up the cake before the wedding, added the ribbon, the topper and the rest was history.

Oh and don't worry, I've got another one in September :)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Turkey Day Cupcakes

Can you believe Thanksgiving is next week?

This year is flying by I tell ya.. I feel like every year the months get shorter and shorter, the hours in the day disappear without a word and weekends come and go in the blink of an eye.

That being said, this is my favorite time of year. The leaves are changing (kind of), the weather gets cooler and what foodie doesn't love a holiday that revolves around food? Where it is absolutely OK to say yes to thirds, dessert is a must and the main goal of the evening is to stuff yourself until you fall asleep watching football!?...I can't wait!

To celebrate this joyous occasion I made some festive little Turkey Day Cupcakes.

I apologize ahead of time that I didn't take photos of the process, but I had to pick MM up at the airport so I was running out of time- but I'll try to explain as best I can. If you have any questions please don't hesitate to get in touch.

Turkey Day Cupcakes

Vanilla Butter Cake
Recipe from the Mermaid Bakery
Oven: 350 Bake time: 25-30 minutes
Makes 2 or 3 8inch cakes 

1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
4 eggs, at room temperature
2 3/4 cup AP flour
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350. Prepare pans- grease and dust with flour- line the bottom with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add eggs one at a time, beating after every addition. Mix in vanilla.
Whisk flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl.
Alternate adding flour mixture and buttermilk to butter/sugar/egg mixture in two parts, beginning and ending with flour mixture.
Pour into prepared pans and bake for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean and cake bounces back to touch.
Place on cooling rack for about 20 minutes before removing cakes from pan to continue cooling.

Chocolate Frosting
1/2 cup (1 stick) melted butter
2/3 cup cocoa powder
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla

Melt butter in microwave. Stir in cocoa powder until combined. Slowly add powdered sugar, vanilla and milk beating on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add more milk if necessary.

Turkey Materials
Whoppers Malted Milk Balls
Banana Laffy Taffy
Wilton Candy Melts

Feathers: Melt Wilton Candy Melts per directions on package. Cool for a few minutes and then place melted candy in piping bag or candy bottle. Using piping bag or bottle, make feather shapes on parchment paper. Cool completely- until feathers are good and hard.

Turkey Heads:
For the beaks- With hands slightly flatten Lafffy Taffy. Using a sharp knife, cut taffy into small triangles.
Using the warmed candy melts, place a small amount on flat part of taffy triangles and attach to malt balls. Allow taffy to set and candy to harden.
Once beak is set, use warmed candy melts and pipe small dots for turkey's eyes.
(I had a left over tube of red frosting so I made the little gobblers, but if you don't have it don't worry)

Pipe cupcakes with chocolate frosting. Place turkey head on top of piped frosting. Place feathers behind head and pipe a small amount of chocolate frosting behind feathers for stabilization and a little tail.

What are you doing for Turkey Day??

Oh and did I mention that I'm flying with another wedding cake this weekend? 
Well if not, I'm flying with another wedding cake this weekend so be on the lookout..
this time around is a little different, but I'm traveling to Savannah again. I would show you a sneak peak, but I know the bride reads here and her cake is a surprise!

Have a great weekend everyone.. see you Monday!
Happy Baking!! 

Monday, November 15, 2010

Homemade Soft Pretzels

April has been requesting I make soft pretzels for at least 2 months now.. she even sent me a message one day at work with this picture and a caption that read, "I didn't know you made these too!"

She's a pretty good photo-shopper, right? I definitely laughed out loud at my desk.

Originally I tasked Mountain Man to make these little yeasty twists- after all, he is the self proclaimed yeast expert  in our house or should I say was.

While Mountain Man was away on a week long conference I decided to take the opportunity to finally make April the pretzels she's been begging for.

After a few pointers from MM on the way to the airport, I felt confident enough in my baking abilities to take on the mighty beast that is yeast without his supervision.

I must admit, the more I work with yeast the more I realize it's not as scary as I had originally made it out to be. Yes, yeast makes baking an hours long process and it is most definitely a diva (you don't see sugar throwing a temper tantrum when the water isn't warm enough), but the end product is well worth it.

These pretzels were everything I had hoped for and more. I love finding recipes that I just know will be a perfect addition at our bakery one day.

I'm even going to go out on a limb and say that these are better than any mall pretzel I've ever had.

Homemade Soft Pretzels
Recipe courtesy of Alton Brown (the genius that he is)
Prep time: 1 1/2 hours
Bake time: 15 minutes
Oven: 450 degrees
Makes 8 pretzels

1 1/2 cups warm water (110-115F degrees)
1 TBS sugar
2 tsp salt
1 package active yeast (2 1/4 tsp if you have a jar)
22 oz AP flour (approximately 4 1/2 cups)
2 oz unsalted butter, melted
veggie oil for pan
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 large egg yolk with 1 TBS water
sea salt, for sprinkling

Combine 1 1/2 cup water, sugar and salt in a bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle yeast on top. Lightly whisk to break up yeast and allow to sit for 5 minutes or until mixture begins to foam (if the mixture doesn't foam, discard and try again)
Add flour and butter, and using the dough hook attachment of the mixer, mix on low until well combined.
Change to medium speed and knead until dough is smooth and pulls away from bowl (approx. 4-5 minutes)
Remove dough from bowl, clean bowl and oil well with veggie oil. Return dough to bowl, cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for about an hour or until dough has doubled in size* see tips

Once dough has risen, preheat oven to 450. Line 2 pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with veggie oil. Set aside.

Bring 10 cups of water and baking soda to a rolling boil in a large saucepan.

Meanwhile, turn dough out onto slightly oiled surface and divide into 8 equal pieces.
Roll each piece of dough into about a 24 inch rope. Make a U-shape and holding ends of rope, cross over each other and press onto bottom of U making a pretzel shape and make sure you press well!
Place twists onto prepared pan.

Place pretzels, one at a time, into boiling water for about 30 seconds each.
Using a large spatula or pasta drainer remove them from the water and return to sheet pan.
Brush each pretzel with egg/water mixture and sprinkle with sea salt.
Bake until gold brown for about 12-14 minutes.
Transfer to cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before eating.

Yeast Tips:
-When working with yeast, make sure your water is 110-115 degree with a candy thermometer.
-Yeast needs a warm place to do its magic, so when allowing your dough to rise make sure you put it in a warm place. A few suggestions:
        - Turn the oven light on and place your covered bowl in the oven.
        - If it's a sunny day, place your covered dough outside in direct sunlight.
        - If you have a garage that stays warm, place your covered dough in there (if your garage doors          
          have windows place it in the sunlight)

I highly suggest breaking into one of these while they're still warm. If you're eating them a little later, pop in the oven a couple minutes or throw em in the microwave.. they're fabulous warm.

Happy Baking!
Think I should submit to YeastSpotting??

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Gluten-Free Double Chocolate Pumpkin Brownies

I'm always on the look out for good gluten-free desserts for Mountain Man's dad.

Once you know someone who suffers from a gluten intolerance, it's amazing how much more you notice GF foods and alternatives. I swear the gluten-free section in the grocery gets larger every month and the number of restaurants with special menu choices increases as well.

When I first saw these brownies over at Noelle's An Opera Singer in the Kitchen, I knew we were going to have to try em out for Papa MM. Noelle's site is dedicated to her vegan life style, with some very healthy and yummy looking dishes to include some good GF recipes too.

I'm not going to lie, if you're not used to eating GF foods the texture for baked goods can be a little off. These brownies however, are pretty tasty even coming from someone not totally used to the texture just yet. Don't be fooled though, you can't taste the pumpkin (sigh) but the chocolate peanut butter combo is obviously fantastic.

Double Chocolate Pumpkin Brownies
Recipe found at An Opera Singer in the Kitchen
Oven: 350 Bake time: 30 minutes
Makes 9 brownies

50 grams (1.75 oz) chocolate chips
2 TBS veggie oil
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 TBS flaxseed meal (or 1 egg)
6 TBS warm water
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup Gluten Free AP flour (or regular flour)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Spray 9x9 dish with cooking spray.
Using a double boiler, melt down chocolate, peanut butter, and oil.
Remove from heat and let cool.
In a separate bowl, mix flax seed meal and warm water together, whisking until egg like consistency is reached.
Add maple syrup, pumpkin and vanilla to flaxseed mixture.
In another bowl, mix flour, baking powder and cinnamon.
Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture and fold in chocolate mix, mixing until well combined.
Fold in chocolate chips.
Bake for 30 minutes.
*For a smooth cut, use a plastic knife and let cool for at least 5 hours.

Happy Baking!
In decorating news, earlier this week I got asked to make some 'Congrats on the New Baby' themed sugar cookies for a co-worker's friend that will be featured as a Traveling Sweet soon, but I wanted to share the final product with ya'll!

The lil guy's name is Teddy so how perfect are these cookies??

Every time I decorate sugar cookies I feel better and better about the final product- my hand is definitely getting steadier with all the fine details! I just hope that one day my cookies will look as good as Bridget's over at Bake at 350..still a ways to go, but maybe one day :)