Category Archives: baking

This week on the Great British Baking Show challenge

It was caramel week on the Great British Baking Show challenge I’m doing on Facebook, and the organizer chose Millionaire Bars as our bake du jour. I made a peanut butter shortbread and a coconut caramel with semi-sweet chocolate.

Friends, Paul Hollywood would be greatly disappointed in my Millionaire Bars.

The shortbread was too thick and the caramel was too squishy. I wish I’d put a little flaked sea salt on the top, because they are Wonkarificly sweet.

But they are delicious.

I’d like to smash them up and sprinkle them over some vanilla ice cream.

Of course I’m calling them David S Pumpkins muffins. Any questions?

It is decorative gourd season, mighty friendlies, and I got my October off to a properly spooky start by walking straight into a dangling spider in the garage this morning. Later this evening Rockford will be figuring out where we put all of the Halloween decor when we moved in some 10 months ago, and then we will commence with the spookyfication of hearth and home.

In further autumnal news, today I made some pumpkin muffins with a lot of chocolate chips and every fall-evoking spice in the cabinet. They were delicious, and they tasted like break-apart chocolate oranges because I also put an orange’s worth of zest in them.

The children, naturally, did not care for them.


David S Pumpkins Muffins
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
zest of one orange
1 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Pop paper liners into a muffin pan.

Mix sugar, maple syrup, oil, eggs, pumpkin and water. In separate bowl mix together the baking flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices, zest and salt. Add wet mixture and stir in chocolate chips.

Fill muffin cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake in preheated oven for 20.

And here, friends, is what we’ll be having for dinner this week.

Monday: Chili

I made chili for a church thing yesterday, and I far overestimated how much I’d need. So the “spare chili,” as Pete calls it, will be appearing on our table this evening.

Tuesday: Meatball soup
I used to make Rachael Ray recipes all the time, and then I just stopped for no particular reason. Rachael fatigue, I guess. But lately I’ve been very enthusiastic about soup and meatballs — because I am about to turn 40 and that’s what happens, kids — and when I googled “meatball soup” this popped up.

Wednesday: KFC?
I don’t know. These busy Wednesday nights are wearing on me.

Thursday: Breakfast for dinner
Maybe I’ll let the kids make their own eggs this week.

Friday: Tacos
Poppy is volunteering at a fundraiser for a friend’s non-profit, but the rest of us will be at home eating tacos.

Hungry for more? Check out the Menu Plan Monday linkup at OrgJunkie.

My Paris-Brest pastry had a flat tire

Cream-filled pastries and feats of athleticism go together like peas and carrots, so the history behind November’s Daring Bakers Challenge recipe makes perfect sense.

The Paris–Brest-Paris bicycle race was first run in 1891 and is the oldest open-road bicycle race that’s still being run. It’s held every four years now, and it isn’t open to professionals. It’s 1,200 kilometers from Paris to Brest and back again, and PBP participants have 90 hours to complete the course. An equivalent distance in the U.S. would be from Kansas City to Detroit. That’s a pretty long bike ride.

The Paris-Brest pastry was created in 1910 to commemorate the PBP race. It’s piped into a circle to look like a bicycle tire, and it’s filled with a fluffy praline-flavored pastry cream because… ummm… I guess just because praline pastry cream is delicious.

The Paris-Brest is made with a pâte à choux dough, which I’ve made successfully in the past. It didn’t go so well this time around, though, and I think it’s because I didn’t cook it quite long enough and didn’t get enough air into the dough. My bicycle tires were pretty well flat. I decided to make the pastry cream with cookie butter rather than praline, mainly because I didn’t want to make praline. Poppy — who often prefers a very subtle flavor — thought I should have used less cookie butter, but the rest of the household was pleased with the result. It was a little bit grainy, but it tasted nice.

Since my pastry was more cracker-ring than pastry, I wasn’t able to cut them in half to fill them. Instead, we piled the cookie butter cream into the centers and called it a day.
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