Lots of baking this weekend (lots of eating, some exercise as well!).  I learned a lot about various things that I’d like to share with you all – feel free to comment on any of these or add your own experiences!

  • The type of white cooking chocolate used in recipes is really important.  Generic brand white chocolate buttons are great as choc chips in cookies, but not necessarily great when wanting to melt them and then have them hardened again.  Not mentioning any brands, but using a known brand versus the store-brand made such a difference in our cheesecake recipe!
  • M&M’s are gluten free when you source them from the US, but not from Australia.  Every type of M&M’s I’ve looked at the ingredients list here in Australia contain wheat.  And Smarties are the same.  I am thinking of writing to the company that makes M&M’s and ask why it is different from the different countries.  Until I can get gluten-free M&M’s, I won’t be able to make monster cookies again … and I want to!
  • Cinnamon rolls made using yeast rise … lots.  I followed a recipe that said I could make them up to when they’ve been rolled up and put in the tin to rise, then you can leave them at room temperature overnight.  I woke up the next morning to find they’d exploded over the top of the tin … still a nice taste, but kind of took the shine off of it all.
  • Using white sugar or brown sugar makes a difference in the texture for German ginger cookies … I’m not sure whether it was the type of sugar, or that one of the recipes required chilling, but out of the 2 I tried (in the never-ending quest for the ultimate German ginger cookie for Grant), one was light and fluffy, the other was a bit more crispy.
  • Using cornmeal and rice flour in a shortcrust pastry base works for some fillings and not for others.  It just seemed to be much thicker than the other crusts I’ve worked with.  This pastry worked well with a banana caramel filling, and a pecan pie filling, not so good with the pumpkin pie filling.
  • The Ugly Crust pastry works just as well for savoury pies as for sweets.  We made a beef casserole filling and mashed potato topping and put it in a pre-baked Ugly Crust.  Really yummy.  Thanks Janelle for inspiring me to try savoury stuff!

Stay tuned for the next exciting adventures in the kitchen …

Until then, enjoy cooking at home!


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