Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Easiest Homemade Burger Buns

No matter how experienced we may be as homecooks or chefs, we all of that thing. That one thing that we're a bit apprehensive to bake or cook. Mine at the moment is bread. 

If you knead a quick yeast roll recipe, you're in the right place! 

I love really good bread; crusty on the outside, warm and soft on the inside. And because I'm such a fan, I'm a bit hesitant to experiment with baking it myself; but, there is one recipe that I've yet to seriously mess up. Taste of Home's 40-Minute Hamburger Buns is a really straight forward, no-nonsense recipe. It's a really good starting point for bread bakers and will help to build your confidence, as I've learned, in your skills. 

This is a great recipe for an impromptu cook out; it's fast and fresh. Tonight, I made this on a whim when I came home from work to the scent of pulled pork in the slow cooker.

The original recipe says that it yields 12 buns, but for pulled pork, I made them really big - yielding 4 HUGE buns. Rather than kneading the dough by hand - just too sticky and messy - I used by KitchenAid mixer with the dough hook, making this recipe even easier.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Embracing The Box: Dark Chocolate Strawberry Filled Cupcakes

So, today I had every intention of featuring a blog post all about strawberry turnovers; flaky, delicate, and delicious. Well...that didn't happen. As with baking, sometimes things don't go accordingly and you have to figure out another direction; so I made cupcakes. Cupcakes make everything better.

From my failed turnovers, I was able to salvage a flavorful filling that I incorporated into boxed dark chocolate cake. Now, that being said; 'boxed' is not a dirty word in my kitchen - it's realistic. Sometimes you want something sweet and fluffy, but not the work from-scratch baking can involve. Embrace the box and the ease it brings to baking, and take it one step further to make it your own. In this case, my own is a dark chocolate cupcake filled with a bright strawberry filling and topped with a bit of homemade cream cheese frosting.

One note that I think is worth mentioning that my household is small, and in order to avoid covering every surface in my kitchen with cupcakes (there are certainly worse things), I only use half of a boxed cake mix when baking. That amount makes about 12 regular or 6 jumbo cupcakes. The half I don't use is put into a labeled zip-lock bag and I write the ingredients and baking information right on the bag.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Strawberry Muffins

Hosting a brunch is a popular Easter celebration, and though I'm not hosting this year, I did find a small way to contribute to my family's table - Jumbo Strawberry Muffins. These are an easy and hearty muffin that hold up better than you might think given the water content of the strawberries.

When I started working on this recipe, I turned to one of my favorite recipe websites, Allrecipes. The original strawberry muffin recipe, found here, was a good starting point, but I really try to avoid using oil whenever I can - I find that butter, no surprise, is just better. Better taste. Better crumb. I also like to increase the amount of baking powder and give the muffin a bit more bounce.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

More Than "Basic" Cream Cheese Frosting

I found that cream cheese frosting is, for the most part, recognized as a fall/cold weather dessert component. It compliments warmer flavors, like the spice cake I made earlier this week. But don't relegate this creamy deliciousness to the cold months; there's so much more to this versatile, subtle frosting that makes it an easy go to...especially when you might not have enough butter in the fridge to make both a cake and a butter cream; this can be a life saver.

There are a ton of variations floating around out there for a basic cream cheese frosting, and one of the big differences I've noticed is that some include a bit of butter and other do not. I've found that the recipes that do include butter are a bit more stable. They're still creamy, but I think the frosting is more likely to hold its form when piped, especially when taken straight from the fridge. And, certainly, different consistencies are are needed for different baked goods; the recipes I've included can be easily adjusted to work with both cinnamon rolls and piped cake frosting by adding a bit more powdered sugar or a bit of milk.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Betty Crocker Experiment #1 - Double Chocolate Chunk Peanut Butter Cookies

Betty Crocker. This brand is synonymous with baking, and has been since the early 1920s. With a baking mix for almost everything, Betty is my go-to for any emergency baking, including late night treats to satisfy the sweet teeth at home. The cookie mix pouches are a staple in my kitchen and offer a nice and easy alternative to from scratch baking; but as with everything, I needed to find a way to make the Betty Crocker products my own. So the experimenting began!

I've tried several combinations, all of which had the same or similar baking times and temperatures, and this was one of our firsts.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Banana Bread

Over the last few years, I've made a solid effort to perfect a few basic recipes, including the classic banana bread. This warming breakfast and anytime snack doesn't last very long in my house; my husband has been know to polish off a whole loaf in a day or two. And with good reason!

No matter what you're into, this basic bread has a variation for everyone. After working with a couple variations, this one is my favorite; starting simple, it offers tons of opportunity for customization and to really make this into your own. Personally, I still prefer my banana bread plain and simple - baked up and cut while still warm with a bit of butter. Having tried it though, I also included an oat topping that is also really tasty.

Monday, March 31, 2014

350 Degrees Until Done Launches

Welcome to 350 Degrees Until Done! This is my first foray into blogging and taking my baking to the next level. As someone who has been baking as long as I can remember, and or who spends just as much time at my computer as I do in front of my stand mixed, I'm excited to share that I've learned as a hobby baker.

Ill be sharing some of my tried and true recipes, as well as my experiments and adaptations; all of which are designed to be accessible to the everyday baker. I'm not a pastry chef or a master baker; my goal is to share and empower others to bake with confidence. So take up your whisk and try something indulgent!