Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Baking Day With Grandma Biggs

Last Saturday, (probably one of the only REALLY hot days of the Oregon Summer) my Grandma Biggs and I had ourselves a baking day! Oh boy... before we planned it, we didn't know it was going to be a blazing, hot day, oh well, It was great fun! We made six things on Saturday, some of them were on a whim, and some were planned. I went to her house around ten in the morning, and when I walked in her house, I smelled banana bread, She started without me! Grrrr. Ha. It was a nice welcome, and it's always wonderful to start baking with a lovely banana bread scent, it kind of sets the mood. We visited for a little while, and then we began our baking! I began with the cookie recipes that I brought, which were Cheesecake cookies from The Love Family of 5 , and Lemon Butter cookies from 80 Breakfasts
Cheesecake Cookies
~3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
~3 ounces cream cheese
~2/3 cup sugar
~1 teaspoon vanilla extract
~2 cups all-purpose flour
~graham cracker crumbs for coating
Instructions: First, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, beat together the butter, cream cheese, and sugar with a hand-held, electric beater. Once those are creamed together, add in the vanilla, beat again. Next, stir in the flour. Now, you will want to grind up graham crackers into tiny crumbs, you are going to roll the cookie dough into 1" balls, and roll the balls into the graham cracker crumbs. Set them on a cookie sheet, and bake them for 12 to 15 minutes (depending on your oven). 
Lemon Butter Cookies
(for the cookies)
~1 cup and 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
~1/3 cup granulated sugar
~1 teaspoon salt
~1 tablespoon of finely grated lemon zest
~7 tablespoons unsalted butter (well chilled)
~1 egg yolk
(for the glaze)
~1 cup powdered sugar
~3 tablespoons lemon juice
Instructions: Mix together the flour, sugar, salt, lemon zest, and butter with a pastry cutter, fork, or your fingers. Combine until the "dough" looks like coarse crumbs. Next, add in the egg yolk and stir in with a fork until it's combined well into the first mixture. Test the dough, if it is too sticky, add a little bit of flour to the dough, if the dough is too dry, add a little bit of ice water into the dough. Now take the dough and roll it into a ball, cut the ball in half, use one half to make a dough log that is 1" in diameter, do the same with the other half of the dough ball, make it into a log. Wrap the logs separately in saran wrap, and place them in the freezer for 30 minutes. When the 30 minutes is over, take the logs out, unwrap them, and cut them into bite-sized cookies, or 1/4 inch rounds, cut them using a serrated knife. Place the cookies on a greased cookie sheet, and set your oven to 350F. Bake the cookies for about 9 to 10 minutes. 
Now for the glaze, mix the powdered sugar and lemon juice together. When the cookies have completely cooled from baking, drizzle the glaze over the cookies for an extra lemony taste. 
And here are the cheesecake cookies and the lemon cookies. 
The next thing we made was somewhat planned. We knew we wanted to make something with berries, because my grandma grows raspberries in her backyard, and down the street there are tons of blackberry bushes where she goes to pick blackberries. I wanted to use both of the berries in the recipe, and at first, we planned to make a blackberry and raspberry cobbler, but then my grandma found another recipe for us to try, it was a day to try new recipes! It was her neighbor's Creeping Crust Berry Cobbler recipe, oh my goodness! It was so delicious. We made two cobblers, and I took one home with me, we ate it at a family gathering on Sunday, and we had it with vanilla ice cream. It was absolutely delicious. 
Creeping Crust Berry Cobbler 
(a recipe from Margaret)
~1/2 cup butter/margarine 
~1 cup all-purpose flour
~1 tsp. baking powder
~1/2 cup milk
~2 cups fruit: blackberries, raspberries, apricots, peaches, anything...
~1 cup sugar (you may do less sugar if you would like)
Instructions: Melt butter in a 10 inch baking dish. Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder together in a bowl. Add in the milk and mix. Spoon the milk and flour mixture over the melted butter in the pans. Heat fresh or canned fruit with sugar, adjusting less sugar if the fruit is canned. Pour over the dough (and if the berries/fruit have juice, just use a slotted/straining spoon so there isn't an excess of juice.) Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes until the crust is golden brown. Crust will rise to the top. Serve warm or cold, if any lasts that long :)
We had tons of berries left, so my grandma was searching through her recipes, trying to find something else we could make with the left over berries. We decided on these yummy Berry Crunch Bars. They weren't crunchy, and they weren't bar-like, it was more like a cobbler. Unfortunately, I forgot to ask her for that recipe, but I do have a picture of it. It was delicious as well. I wish I remembered to ask for this recipe... I will get it from her and put it on here, or make another post out of it. 
When I first arrived at her house, I smelled the banana bread, but it was actually banana apple bread. I love fruit breads. They are so easy, and so delicious, especially when they are right out of the oven, and you serve them with butter melted over the slices. It reminds me of the fall time, or Christmas time. 
Banana Apple Bread
(I did not help make this, but I am including the recipe)
~3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
~4 teaspoons baking powder
~1/2 teaspoon baking soda
~1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
~1 teaspoon salt
~2/3 cup vegetable shortening
~1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
~4 eggs, well-beaten
~2 cups bananas, mashed (about 4 medium)
~1 apple, peeled and grated
Instructions: Before you begin, wash your hands of course, PROPERLY! Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9-by-5-inch loaf pans. In a bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In another bowl, mix together shortening sugar till creamy; add in the eggs and beat well. Add flour mixture alternately with mashed bananas and beat until smooth. Add apple and mix. Pour mix into the prepared baking pans. Bake for 55 min to an hour, or until a toothpick comes out clean. 
This is the bread and the creeping crust cobbler
This next recipe we made was on a whim. We didn't plan to make Zucchini brownies. The brownies actually turned out to be more like a zucchini chocolate cake. We also ate this at the family gathering, with vanilla ice cream. It was amazing. These are delicious, and super easy to make! 
Chocolate Zucchini Brownies
(from "Brownie Recipes" by Carole Eberly, originally called Virg's Zucchini Brownies)
~2 cups all-purpose flour
~1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
~1 teaspoon salt
~1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
~1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
~2 eggs
~1/2 cup shopped nuts (optional, we didn't use them)
~2 teaspoons vanilla extract
~2 cups grated zucchini
~1/2 cup vegetable oil
Instructions: Sift flour, sugar, salt, cocoa and soda together; combine with eggs, vanilla, nuts if used, zucchini and oil. Spread dough in a GREASED 9-by-13-inch pan and bake for 30 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven. 
I didn't get too fancy with the result pictures... 
It was dessert mania on the 29th of June. We made 6 delicious goodies, and treats. I love baking with my grandma. Despite the heat, and some back pain I had, it was a wonderful day! I got to spend the day with my grandma, and while some of the treats were baking, my grandma pulled out some old photo albums she had, and we looked through the old pictures. My grandma said we needed another day where we could through all the pictures. I love going through old pictures, and hearing the stories. It's so much fun. As I was getting ready to leave, my grandma made a list of everything we made, and dated it. 
It says...
"6/29/13
Courtney & Grandma's Baking Day
Banana Apple Bread
Creeping crust cobbler
2 berry crunch bars
Cheesecake cookies
Lemon butter cookies
Virg's zucchini brownies"
It was a super fun day! And I want to do it again, and maybe in not such hot weather. 
But even it hot weather, it was fun! 
I love spending time with my grandma. 

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